Reviews

The Memory of Water, SNADS at Sturminster Newton Exchange

SHELAGH Stephenson, best known for her radio plays, wrote the semi-autobiographical The Memory of Water for the Hampstead Theatre in 1996, gathering together her own family history and the tried and tested “three sisters” structure. Vi has died and her three daughters have gathered in the crumbling clifftop house where they grew up to sort…

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Maxwell String Quartet, Concerts in the West

BASED on a competition in Japan this month, the concerts given by the young Maxwell String Quartet were both a challenge and a delight. Ravel’s Quartet of 1903 is a work admired for its lyricism and beauty – it pleased Ravel’s contemporary Debussy, and audiences thereafter. Careful preparation ensured that the gliding phrases and the…

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Rex the King, Inn the Square, West Coker and touring

THERE’S nothing new under the sun, as Ecclesiastes would have it. We might think that the cult of celebrity is a modern phenomenon, but of course it’s not. And it’s just as important to be careful what you wish for now as it ever was. If someone suggests you go to the pub to see…

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Fracked!, Bath Theatre Royal

PLAYWRIGHT Alistair Beaton is not a scientist – he makes that very clear right at the start of his programme notes. He’s not a policitian either. But something about the fracking debate caught his attention, and, like the “words man” he is, he set out to research and then to write a play that would…

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Trowbridge Chorus at Holy Trinity Church

THE anticipation that followed a name change for the Trowbridge singers was reinforced by the exciting spring concert at Holy Trinity on Saturday 13th May. Formed in 1906 as Trowbridge Philhar­monic Choral Society, members thought it was time for a change, and Trowbridge Chorus was chosen as a name to encourage new members and reflect…

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Al Stewart at the Cheese and Grain

DIRECT from the London Palladium, said the man, as Scottish-born Bournemouth-raised California resident Al Stewart took to the stage of the Cheese and Grain in Frome at the end of his 2017 tour. Here in the UK, it has always been the first, intimate, albums that are best loved, but his success in America came…

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Jo Philby and Elaine Grieve, East Dorset Heritage Trust, Wimborne

SINGER and songwriter Jo Philby, born and brought up in North Dorset, has lived on Orkney for the past 15 years. She was back on home turf with her musical partner, Orcadian instrumentalist and harmony singer Elaine Grieve, for evening concerts in Bournemouth and Shaftesbury  and one matinee at Wimborne’s Allendale House, newly redecorated thanks…

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Medea at Bristol Old Vic

THE story of Medea echoes down the blood-stained centuries. Hers is the ultimate crime – the murder of her own children. When we hear her story or read newspaper reports of a woman setting fire to her own home with her children in it, or driving her car with her children over a cliff, we…

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Before The Party, Salisbury Playhouse

RODNEY Ackland was once described as an English Chekhov. Then like his contemporary, Terence Rattigan, his popularity fell off the cliff as the new wave of realistic or “kitchen sink” plays stole the headlines and the audiences. Gradually the witty and sharp Ackland has been reinstated in the affections of both theatres and audiences. His…

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What if the Plane Falls Out of the Sky?, Loco Klub, Bristol

IDIOT Child, one of Bristol’s many adventurous small theatre companies, opened its latest work in the quirky and intimate setting of Loco Klub at Temple Meads station, at the start of an eight-venue national tour. Performed by Susie Riddell, Adam Fuller and Emma Keaveny-Roys, the play continues the company policy of making playful and peculiar…

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