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Theatre Reviews

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Manchester theatre reviews
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Manchester theatre reviews

Hard Times

Hard Times at Oldham Coliseum

by Stephen Jeffreys adapted from the novel by Charles Dickens

Reviewed by John Waterhouse and John Gormally May 2017

 

The novels of Charles Dickens have an almost timeless appeal. Each new generation continues to relate the sufferings and travails of his protagonists to the injustices and wrongs of their own world. It may also be said that only William Shakespeare can equal Dickens in giving us across his various works such a broad range of characters who remain familiar to us, demonstrating both admirable virtues and all too human failings. How many other writers other than Shakespeare and Dickens have given their names to the actual times they lived in.

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Manchester theatre reviews

The Toad KnewThe Toad Knew at Lowry Theatre

Reviewed by Matthew Dougall May 2017

 

A highly original and creative spectacle which sees six talented performers inhabit a dark and sinister, perhaps subterranean, world where the boundary between animal and human is unclear. Their purpose is seemingly to create pure light from a looming, omnipresent, ominous but excellently constructed set of lights hanging down from the stage, all interconnected and all seemingly with a life of their own. It could be said that once these come together it represents a giant heart that beats for all of their 'kind', or maybe it is an all-seeing eye that they need to worship.

 

If I am honest, then there are several stories; all of which intertwine, within this 100 minute non-stop roundelay, and I think every audience member will come away from the evening with a different insight and impression, with their own version of the story that has unfolded before them. I think that that was the company's intention.

 

Using physical theatre, dance, song, slapstick and circus skills all to excellent effect, this company of 6 inhabit this stage and their world with accomplished ease, and yet we know that it takes years of practice to make some of those moves look graceful and simple.

 

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Manchester theatre reviews

Crucible by Arthur MillerCrucible by Arthur Miller

at Manchester Opera House

Reviewed by Karl Barnsley May 2017

 

I won’t ever wilfully miss an opportunity to see an Arthur Miller play. I love his work and want to see it done well, I don’t think that’s a big ask. Taking the opportunity to see the Crucible at the Manchester Opera House, I went along with not unreasonable expectations of seeing a fantastic show. Read on to be the judge of whether or not I thought Sell A Door Productions staging of Arthur Miller’s most celebrated play met such expectations.

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Wonderland

Wonderland

at Palace Theatre, Manchester

Reviewed by Matthew Dougall April 2017

 

Great acting, superb singing, and a look at the dark side of Wonderland! This is Frank Wildhorn's (music), Jack Murphy's (lyrics and book), and Gregory Boyd's (book) wonderfully sinister, almost Tim Burton-esque take on a much-loved children's classic.

 

Wildhorn's music is both fun and a little bit scary at one and the same time, with some genuinely brilliant moments and lovely harmonies, whilst the story is both familiar and strange.

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Manchester theatre reviews

Lord of the Dance

Lord of the Dance: Dangerous Games

at Palace Theatre, Manchester

Reviewed by Matthew Dougall April 2017

 

It was way back in 1994 when Michael Flatley and Irish dancing took the world by storm in a specially commissioned piece for the interval at the Eurovision Song Contest. The show has morphed and changed somewhat since then growing in both size and popularity.

 

There was even a well publicised and acrimonious split between Flatley and the producers who both went their separate ways, forming two first class companies touring the world, both gaining acclaim and recognition with full houses wherever they went. I haven't seen any of the previous Flatley incarnations prior to this evening, and so was highly curious and extremely expectant.

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Manchester theatre reviews

Spring and Port Wine

Spring and Port Wine at Oldham Coliseum

By Bill Naughton

Reviewed by John Waterhouse April 2017

 

This is a play in the tradition of Lancashire comedies, centred around family issues in close-knit surroundings but rather than the austere background of say Hobson’s choice. Set around the turn of the last century, Spring and Port Wine puts the same familiar issues into a more modern setting, at the dawn of the swinging sixties.

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