Reviews

Betrayal, Bath Theatre Royal

SEVEN months ago, en route to Bath Theatre Royal to review Band of Gold and New Old Friends, we were telephoned with the news that the theatre had closed until further notice following government instructions. What an exciting relief to be back, albeit masked and distanced, in the beautiful theatre for the first of three…

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Romeo and Juliet, The Handlebards at Bradford on Avon and touring

WHAT more apt venue for cycling theatricals The Handlebards than the home of Moulton Cycles in Bradford-on-Avon? And what lovelier setting to watch a hilarious three-wheeled version of Romeo and Juliet on the night before the imposition of Boris’s latest three-word slogan, the Rule of Six? The company usually tours in two groups, boys and…

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Waiting for Godot in Paddock Gardens

SAMUEL Beckett, according to the Amateur Players of Sherborne programme, wrote “Art has nothing to do with clarity, does not dabble in the clear and does not make clear,” … and there’s me thinking that the present government doesn’t understand The Arts. Sherborne’s open air production of Beckett’s masterpiece was the result of a happenstance…

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Triumph on the river bank

WITH the ten minutes notice in which our leaders specialise, the intrepid alfresco theatre companies of England were told that they could go ahead with outdoor performances. Illyria was one of the first four to take up the challenge, creating a Covid-secure bubble  in which to tour a delightful, satirical, hilarious three-person retelling of Kenneth…

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Summertime at Springhead

 WHAT more perfect way to celebrate a return to live performance than a concert in the beautiful gardens of Springhead at Fontmell Magna – and that’s how conductor and Dorset farmer John Eliot Gardiner reconnected his singers and musicians with their audience. Testing Springhead’s Covid arrangements, an invited audience was led to separated blocks of…

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Small steps back – but a kick in the teeth from the PM

OUR diaries, like those of many thousands (millions) of people, have been empty for weeks. Suddenly, we had not one but two events to go to, both on the same day – a private view at The Art Stable and a sale and tasting at preserve maker Ajar Of’s “Jammery” at Hazelbury Bryan. Small steps, but…

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Nicholas McCarthy, Concerts in the West

THE story of Nicholas McCarthy’s young life so far has been one of challenge, determination, tenacity and success. He shot to fame in 2012 at the closing ceremony of the Paralympic Games in London where he joined the likes of the band Coldplay. It was apt that a pianist of just 23 years and born…

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Les Vepres Siciliennes, WNO at Bristol Hippodrome

THE description in the programme of Les Vepres Sicil­iennes is that it is a Grand Opera in five acts, and this production direction by Sir David Pountney is befitting of that description. Virtually everything about it is on the grand scale, not least of course Giuseppe Verdi’s towering score varying from the highly dramatic to…

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The Sound of Music, YAOS at Yeovil Octagon

FRIDAY 13th and the world in chaos – what better antid­ote than an Austrian even­ing of classic Rodgers and Ham­m­erstein with Yeovil Amat­eur Operatic Society? This is the third time that the hugely versatile and talented company has produced the musical, which celebrated its 60th anniversary last year, and the first time that renowned choreographer…

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The Marriage of Figaro, Welsh National Opera at Bristol Hippodrome

CONTINUING their theme of revenge, which runs through the three productions WNO are touring this spring, Mozart’s delightful comic opera followed the dramatic Carmen into the Bristol Hippodrome. Presented and costumed on much more traditional lines than Carmen, director Max Hoehn’s The Marriage of Figaro (recreating Tobias Richter’s original)  sets out to explore and exploit…

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