Reviews

Grease, Bristol Hippodrome

LIKE most people, I first came upon Grease when the now legendary film starring John Travolta and Olivia Newton-John arrived like a bursting meteor of energy in 1978. Big impression as it made, I never expected to find it gathering big audiences in the theatre, well over half of whom were not even born when…

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Macbeth, Swan Theatre, Yeovil

DIRECTOR Ian White, a life-long lover of the theatre and Shakespeare’s Scottish play in particular, sees the Macbeths as a couple with “a mature and successful marriage” – indeed the only one in the canon. As such, he says, the guilt and the blame for the murderous tyranny that they unleash has to be shared….

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Murder Most Foul, St Mary’s Church, Kilmington

WORSHIPPERS at the church of St Mary, on the outskirts of Kilmington just north of Stourhead, walk weekly over the site of a heinous crime committed in Tudor times. Audiences at the three performances of Murder Most Foul have a clearer idea of the story behind the murders of William Hartgill and his son John,…

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Acis and Galatea. Iford Arts, Bradford-on-Avon

IT would be hard to imagine a more perfect setting for baroque opera than the Italianate cloister in the beautiful Harold Peto-designed gardens of Iford Manor near Bradford-on-Avon. Over the years, the cloister and the gardens were the setting for operas from every period, jazz, folk and world music, picnic proms and more. It was…

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Beauty and the Beast, Bristol Hippodrome

IN the golden era of Hollywood, you could always pick out a production made by one of the five studios – MGM. Warner Brothers, Paramount, Columbia, and RKO – who dominated the industry, because of the visual production quality of their films. No matter how good or bad the film might be they were always visually…

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The Dresser, Bath Theatre Royal

RONALD Harwood’s 1980 play The Dresser is out on tour again in a new production, opening at Bath Theatre Royal and stopping at 12 venues around the UK until February. Set in January 1942 in a provincial theatre, with German bombs falling all around, it’s a period piece harking back to the days of the actor-manager,…

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Apples and Angels, Wassail Theatre, Burrow Hill

SOMERSET theatre company Wassail launched its new “community” play, Apples and Angels, at the evocative and atmospheric setting of Burrow Hill. It’s headed for a major production in Yeovil in the future. It’s a magical journey through folklore and legend, orchards and expectations, disappointment and regeneration.  In some ways it helps to be an old…

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Absurd Person Singular, Bath Theatre Royal and touring

THERE are few things about the stresses and strains of Christmas that Alan Ayckbourn hasn’t chronicled. Our most prolific playwright has used the traditional gathering as the setting for many of his plays, and the first one was Absurd Person Singular, now almost 50 years old and on tour in a production by London Classic…

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Crimes, Camera, Action, New Old Friends at Bath Theatre Royal

IF there is one thing that we can probably all agree on at present, it is that we need to laugh. So huge thanks to the ever-inventive New Old Friends for their latest show, a delicious send-up of the classic Hollywood golden era film noir. You’ve got the hardbitten private eye, the ditsy scared blonde,…

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