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Theatre Reviews

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Manchester theatre reviews
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Manchester theatre reviews

Replacement Child

The Replacement Child

at Hope Mill Theatre

Reviewed by Katie Leicester February 2018

 

Hope Mill Theatre hosted this tragic but compelling play of every parent’s nightmare to have a child die unexpectedly.

 

The Replacement Child is produced by Abooo, a new theatre Company set up by actress Clare Cameron who plays ‘Jude’ in the production. The Company is dedicated to celebrating theatre made by and for parents. As a mother herself Clare wanted to see more stories on stage that mirrored her own experience of child birth and parenting in general.

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Manchester theatre reviews

George's Marvellous Medicine

George's Marvellous Medicine

at Lowry Theatre, Salford

Reviewed by Matthew Dougall February 2018

 

A Curve, Leicester and Rose Productions joint venture, this was a slick and entertaining stage adaptation by David Wood of the Roald Dahl children's classic story.

 

On entering the auditorium we were presented with an excellently designed and compact set which aided the play and our understanding of the situation and place. Grandma's rise from the caravan was especially well designed. This, combined with some excellent special effects really helped the audience to be complicit in a rather bizarre and difficult to create on stage storyline.

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Manchester theatre reviews

Swan Lake

Swan Lake

by Saint Petersburg Classic Ballet

at Storyhouse Theatre, Chester

Reviewed by Andrew Marsden February 2018

 

Tchaikovsky’s ballet is widely regarded as one of the most popular ballet pieces. It is, in effect, the ballet for people who don’t like ballet. Elements of Tchaikovsky’s score have been used in television adverts, film soundtracks, and popular music. This staging of Swan Lake came courtesy of the St. Petersburg Classic Ballet company, performing at Chester’s Storyhouse Theatre.

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Manchester theatre reviews

Dance: sampled

Dance: Sampled

at Lowry Theatre, Salford

Reviewed by Matthew Dougall February 2018

 

A whole day of dance with a showpiece main event, Dance:Sampled, included small dance presentations, shows and workshops to encourage and excite people into dance - in all its various and wonderful forms. There was everything from folk dancing workshops to clowning, hip-hop and flamenco, all happening in different spaces throughout the whole theatre building. The main house was given over to a rather long but extremely interesting presentation, which featured 7 short choreographies from different companies throughout the UK and beyond, showcasing different styles of dance.

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Manchester theatre reviews

The Newspaper Boy. Photo by Richard Kelly

The Newspaper Boy at 53two

by Chris Hoyle

Reviewed by Jane Tuttle February 2018

 

Dibby Theatre Production’s The Newspaper Boy is a triumphant piece of comedy writing by proud Mancunian Chris Hoyle. Directed by Simon Naylor, this tightly written, coming-of-age story, set in 90s Manchester bobs along at a pace akin to a good night-out at the Hacienda from days gone by.

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Manchester theatre reviews

The Kitchen Sink

The Kitchen Sink by Tom Wells

Directed by Chris Lawson, at Oldham Coliseum

Reviewed by Simon Belt and February 2018

 

In the programme, Chris Lawson (Director) invites us to have a seat whilst he pops the kettle on for our evening in the home of one ordinary family. That was nice. In the first scene we have the cheeky grin of Sam Glen (playing the son Billy) asking his Mum, Kath (played by Sue Devanney), if Dolly Parton's nipples on the painting he's just done are ok. For a stage set, the kitchen was very inviting, perhaps because of its design and attention to detail with plumbed in radiator for extra warmth (Anna Reid), or maybe because of the believable and delightfully sweet exchange between Billy and Kath.

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Manchester theatre reviews

Teddy

Teddy at Lowry Theatre

Reviewed by Matthew Dougall February 2018

 

With a script a heady mix between Jim Cartwright's 'Two' and John Godber's 'Bouncers' (Tristan Bernays) but set in the post war decade of Teddy Boys and Rock N Roll, this is a duologue between a young Teddy Boy and Teddy Girl as they tell their own stories of living in Blitz-torn London to poor and broken families, and how they are saved by the music. They are separate stories at first but when they meet each other and their stories become one, the story takes on a Bonnie and Clyde-ish feel (with gender role reversal), until the inevitable happens which finally finds them both in prison and having to make the biggest decision of their lives.

 

Combine this with a whole load of period music, played by actor-musicians on the side of the stage; the marvellous Johnny Valentine and The Broken Hearts, and this is quite a unique presentation which, thanks to some excellent acting skills, is extremely engaging.

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Manchester theatre reviews

Flashdance

Flashdance

at Palace Theatre, Manchester

Reviewed by Matthew Dougall February 2018

 

Words like crowd-pleasing, feel-good and upbeat truly have found their home with this latest touring production of Flashdance, the Musical based on the popular 1980s film of the same name.

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Manchester theatre reviews

Showstopper! The Improvised Musical

Showstopper! The Improvised Musical

at Palace Theatre, Manchester

Reviewed by Matthew Dougall February 2018

 

An improvised Musical? Entirely original with no preconception at all of plot, character or style with no rehearsed songs or choreography, but entirely made up on the spur of the moment? 'Impossible!', I hear you cry. And I have to admit that while watching the show this evening, I too was very sceptical. I was convinced that they must have had some pre-rehearsed material that they can somehow slightly alter or shoehorn in to whatever is necessary on the evening; however I now realise that that simply is not the case. This talented crew of 6 performers work together with each other truly improvising their way through a 90 minute (including interval) Musical which is completely original and therefore completely different every time.

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Manchester theatre reviews

The Man of Mode

The Man of Mode at HOME

Reviewed by Matthew Dougall February 2018

 

For their first public production of 2018, Manchester School of Theatre chose a rarely performed and somewhat neglected comedy from the Restoration period. Written just 60 years after the death of Shakespeare, one marvels at the way the 'mode' of writing, vocabulary and character have changed so dramatically in such a short time.

 

Innovative for its time, following trends being set by French writers, especially Moliere, and supposedly lampooning The Earl of Rochester, John Wilmot, I have the feeling that it would have been far bawdier and proletarian than the rather clinical version I witnessed today.

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