Reviews

La Boheme, Opera Up Close at Bristol Old Vic

ALTHOUGH opera purists and some serious musicians dismiss La Boheme as a lightweight work with only limited merit, [composer Benjamin Britten disliked it inten­sely], audiences in general have taken the opposite view for more than a century and a quarter, making it one of the most popular and often presented of operas. When Opera Up…

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Educating Rita, Theatre Royal, Bath

TO quote David Pugh and Dafydd Rogers the producers of this play: “This is the best British comedy ever written”. I think there are several other plays that would be legitimate challengers for that accolade, but there is no doubting that Willy Russell’s story of Rita, a 26-year- old ill-educated Liverpud­lian hairdresser seeking to expand…

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The Planets, BSO at Salisbury Cathedral. Salisbury Festival

IN the 2019 Salisbury Festival, with a celebratory theme of the moon walk 50th anniversary, a concert in the city’s magnificent cathedral, with the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra playing Holst’s Planets Suite, had to be a high point. Added into the mix was Luke Jerram’s seven-metre rotating globe Gaia, featuring NASA imagery of the earth’s surface…

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A Midsummer Night’s Dream, The Lord Chamberlain’s Men, Salis­bury Festival and touring

WHAT better way to start the open air touring season than with the scintillating 2019 version of the alfresco Shakespearean favourite, performed by the Lord Chamber­lain’s Men? Coinciding with Salisbury Fest­ival, their Rack Close performance on Friday delighted a large audience from the opening song to the closing moments. Peter Stickney’s witty, incisive and clever…

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Bath Festival, The Lure of Holly­wood in Film and Song, Prue Leith, Chineke!

IAIN Burnside turned the clock back to one of Bath Festival’s greatest moments – Century Songs in 2000 ­– when he was reunited with William Dazeley and Sophie Daneman at Komedia for the 2019 festival. They were joined by Somerset-born mezzo Marta Fontanals-Simmons and Neil Brand for two performances exploring the composers of Hollywood scores….

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The Listening Room, Poole Lighthouse and on tour

THE Sterling Studio at Poole’s Lighthouse was packed when Crowded Room brought its touring play The Listening Room to Dorset. It’s an intense and thought-provoking piece about restorative justice, and one which is increasingly relevant to all sections of society in 21st century Britain. Five actors (one also the writer) perform three unconnected stories. At…

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Alasdair Beatson (piano) and Elissa Cassini (violin), Concerts in the West

MOST professional violin and piano duets will present performances of the Fauré Opus 13 and Brahms Opus 108 violin sonata that are note-accurate and have well-considered musical thinking. There are some performers who add a full physical and powerful dimension to their playing that transport the works to higher level. Elissa Cassini (violin) and Alasdair…

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My Mother Said, I Never Should, Bath Theatre Royal

CHARLOTTE Keatley’s play about mothers and daughters, celebrating its 30th anniversary, is as relevant and universal today. Translated and staged in 31 countries, its characters are recognisable and its poignant outcome no less effective for its predictability.  Performed by four actresses, the clever use of time keeps the audience on its toes as Doris (born…

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Die Fledermaus, Iford Arts at Bath Guildhall

THERE was a great sigh of relief when Iford Arts director Judy Egglington announced that the organisation would continue, in spite of losing the idyllic venue where it had operated for the first 25 years of its life. The first year of the “new” Iford is, inevitably, a bit of an experiment, with opera at…

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