Reviews

The Play that Goes Wrong, Bath Theatre Royal

IN these dreadful days of mutating viruses, blocked seaports, blustering Brexit negotiators and tiered living, what we most need (apart from the certainty we can’t get) is laughter. And that’s just what Mischief Theatre is serving up on stage at Bath this Christmas. For reasons you can read elsewhere on the FTR, audiences are enjoying…

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Happy Ever After, Poole Lighthouse

CBEEBIES original Chris Jarvis has been performing in professional pantomime since 1995, and for many years before that as an amateur. He was DETERMINED that the traditional Christmas entertainment would not be another thing to fall prey to the dreaded Covid-19, so he and a group of nine friends have devised and produced a panto…

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Oleanna, Bath Theatre Royal Ustinov Studio

WHEN David Mamet’s play Oleanna first appeared back in 1992, 14 years before the “Me Too” movement saw the light of social media day, it was so divisively controversial that it was even blamed for the break-up of marriages. Interestingly, as the current Lucy Bailey production in Bath proves, it has lost none of its…

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Nurse Nellie Saves Panto – oh yes she does!

Yeovil Octagon until 3rd January   FOR anyone who is interested in live performance, pantomime (whether you like it or not)  is synonymous with Christmas, and when theatres around the country went dark for even longer than the first lockdown, received grants from the government, reopened and then were closed again, it seemed as though…

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Little Robin Redbreast, Salisbury Playhouse, to 27 December

THE worldwide effects of the Covid-19 pandemic are incalculable, and perhaps the sector worst affected in the UK is the live entertainment industry. Closed two weeks before the start of the first lockdown, and remaining closed when other businesses opened, the rules left managements scuttling for solutions to make their communal, intimate and essentially social…

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A West Country homecoming

JOHN Payne is one of Frome’s best known residents – active in many organisations and a prolific writer on a wide range of subjects, from William Morris to Catalonia to the city of Bath. His latest book, which he hints may be his last (but writers rarely do retire, it’s a bug that keeps on…

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Tamarind and The Star of Ishta

SOMERSET-based author Jasbinder Bilan has followed up her Costa Children’s Book Award-winning debut novel with a delightful new story, which similarly draws on her family background in India close to the Himalayas. Jasbinder came with her family to the UK when she was still barely a toddler, but although they lived in a big city…

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The Secret Garden

AUDIENCES at Iford Opera in 2018 arrived to find parts of the Manor gardens cordoned off and obvious signs of film crews in the narrow lanes, but curiosity was met with stony, and contractual, silence. Iford Manor owners, staff and all those involved with the festival were sworn to secrecy, and it was only later…

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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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