Reviews

The Red Shoes, New Adventures at Southampton Mayflower and touring

MATTHEW Bourne’s newest creation, a dance adaptation of the Powell and Pressburger film The Red Shoes, itself inspired by Hans Christian Anderson’s fairy tale of the same name, is a triumph. The message of the story is that Art is the greatest force, more important than love and human relationships and, literally, to die for….

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Clare McCaldin, mezzo soprano and Libby Burgess, piano, Concerts in the West

THE Concerts in the West voice and piano recital is usually a significant one, and with Clare McCaldin, mezzo, and Libby Burgess, the experienced pianist, we were treated to a very well-constructed programme that mostly worked. For the audience however the necessary concentration was quite a challenge. With a predominantly despairing approach by Gerald Finzi…

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Dancing at Lughnasa, ImpAct Theatre, Wimborne Tivoli and touring

THE late Brian Friel has been compared to many of the 20th century’s great playwrights, including Becket and Pinter, but the most accurate comparison, surely, is with Chekhov, and none of his plays more merit the comparison than Dancing At Lughnasa. Like Chekhov, Friel, a prolific writer who died in 2015, had great humanity and…

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The Grapes of Wrath, Nuffield Theatre Southampton and touring

ABBEY Wright’s production of Frank Galati’s adaptation of John Steinbeck’s The Grapes of Wrath has everything  you might want from a 2017 production – colour-and-gender-blind casting, community actors with their many friends and family whooping from the auditorium, full frontal nudity, audience getting splashed with water, “new” music played on unusual instruments, disability inclusion … …

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A Passionate Woman, Yeovil Swan Theatre Company

IF you lose someone you love, can you wish hard enough to bring them back? That’s the premise of the wonderful film Truly Madly Deeply and for some of the time in A Passionate Woman you think that is what you are seeing. The award-winning playwright Kay Mellor (Band Of Gold, Playing The Field, Between…

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Great War/Cold War, Salisbury Studio Theatre

ALAN Bennett, JM Barrie and Lesley Bates share a birthday – 9th May – and now they are also linked in the production of two one-act plays entered by Salisbury Studio Theatre in the Totton and Woolstore Theatre festivals. The plays, Barrie’s rarely performed The Old Lady Shows her Medals, and Bennett’s An Englishman Abroad,…

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We are Bronte, Langton Matravers and touring

THE Bristol-based Publick Transport theatre company has jumped on the Bronte bandwagon, extracted the essence of the books the family wrote and their own life stories, distilled and sorted them and created that show that’s part lunacy and part brilliance. Isolation on the windswept Northern moors might not sound like a barrel of laughs, but…

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I Capuleti e i Montecchi, Pop-Up Opera at Port Regis and touring

POP-Up Opera made its Shaftesbury debut at Port Regis with the current touring production of Bellini’s I Capuleti e i Montecchi. Librettist Felice Romani used the same source as Shakespeare for his work, but for the Pop-Up version Harry Percival (philosopher, economist, computer scientist and stand up comedian) has provided a modern interpretation in surtitles,…

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Sunny Afternoon, Bristol Hippodrome and touring

JUKEBOX musicals tend to either use the songs of one artist or writer to tell a brand new story, as happens in Mamma Mia or Singing in the Rain, or to tell the story of the artist themselves, as with Twentieth Century Boy and Sunny Afternoon, which started a national tour as soon as its…

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