Reviews

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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Faustus, That Damned Woman

CHRIS Bush’s new gender-swapping take on Marlowe’s Faustus, on at Bristol Old Vic until 21st March, is a play for anyone who has inexplicably real, vivid and terrifying dreams, is worried about a global pandemic or has seen their computer freeze, and in its icy state eat up all their work and throw it who…

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Legally Blonde, BODS at Bath Theatre Royal

PINK is the colour that dominates this show, and “In the Pink” are the  words that describe Steve Blackmore’s silky smooth production for Bath Oper­atic and Dramatic Society. Not only do costume coordinators John Cousins and Anna Fraenkel pick up the colour in the costumes, the sets and accessories on view are equally colour coordinated…

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The Red Shoes, Matthew Bourne’s New Adventures at Bristol Hippodrome

MANY words of praise – fantastic, great and legendary amongst them – have become devalued because they are now too often applied to people and events that do not deserve such a description. It was only after much thought that I decided to declare that director/choreographer Matthew Bourne’s production of The Red Shoes left me…

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Carmen, WNO at Cardiff and touring

REVENGE, we are told, is a dish best served cold. That may be a truth in life, but it is not a good description of the three operas, all of which have revenge at their hearts in very differing forms, which make up the Welsh National Opera’s Spring tour programme. There is certainly nothing cold…

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Once, Bath Theatre Royal and touring

ONCE upon a time (in 2007, actually) there was a low budget Irish film that charted the unusual relationship of two musicians, one Irish and one Czech. It became an international hit, with its charm, its music mixing Irish standards, new songs and Eastern European Klezmer and its unpredictable story line. Four years later it…

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Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf, Bristol Tobacco Factory

EDWARD Albee’s Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf crashed onto the theatre scene almost 60 years ago, div­iding critics and audiences. Since then it has bec­ome a classic of Amer­ican theatre, perhaps best known as the five-Oscar 1966 film starring Eliz­abeth Taylor and Richard Burton, as well as a regular academic text. It is set in…

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