Reviews

Gretchen Peters at St George’s, Bristol

IT’S an unforgettable moment when a performer comes down from the stage into the audience  and sings a song. I saw David Bowie sing Wild Eyed Boy from Freecloud from the stalls at Taunton, and now Gretchen Peters sing Love That Makes a Cup of Tea from the front row of St George’s in Bristol,…

Read more...

Candide, Iford Opera

FOR more than 30 years, Opera della Luna founder and director Jeff Clarke has wanted to stage Leonard Bernstein’s Candide, the opera (or is it a musical) version of Voltaire’s classic, first published in 1759. He always thought that the tiny Harold Peto cloister at Iford, where he has launched so many productions, was too…

Read more...

Busk, Music In Life Productions at Bath Rondo

DONNIE and Zak are sister and brother. Zak is older and yearns to be a musician, but he knows that Donnie has more talent. She has “the voice.” Even with their old “salvaged” piano, with its critically missing middle B, you know that Donnie can sing. It’s almost as if she was born to it…

Read more...

Kathryn Tickell and The Darkening at Komedia, Bath Festival

BATH Komedia was packed for the festival concert by Kathryn Tickell and her new band, The Darkening. It was only the third performance from the new lineup, and the leader was suffering from the after effects of a throat infection, so she sang less than usual.  Thankfully it did not inhibit her signature anecdotes. Her…

Read more...

Joan Baez at the Colston Hall

IF anything good could be said about Bristol Colston Hall’s connection to slavery (it is named after wealthy slave trader Edward Colston) it was that the audience at Joan Baez’s Fare Thee Well concert in the city was treated to one of her rare performances of No More Auction Block/O Freedom – to exorcise the…

Read more...

Humble Boy, IES at Ilminster Warehouse

FELIX Humble, a theoretical ast­ro­­physicist, could blame his inab­ility to connect to the real world on a total lack of copy from his parents. Charlotte Jones’s extraordinary play Humble Boy starts on the day Felix comes home to the funeral of his father. Loosely based on Hamlet, the play has Stoppardian and Ayckbournian  moments, but…

Read more...

Jane Eyre, Studio Theatre Salis­bury

CHARLOTTE Bronte’s novel Jane Eyre is accurately described as iconic, providing indelible set-piece scenes as it unfolds its story of an unloved orphaned girl and her quest to find love and acceptance. When Polly Teale adapted the book for the Shared Experience theatre company in 1997, she took a fresh approach, looking at the repressed…

Read more...

Fermented Honey, AUB students at Pavilion Dance, Bournemouth

SUPERSTITION, religious fervour, jealousy, domination and unrequited love are at the centre of Fermented Honey, a piece devised by graduating actors on the performing arts courses at Arts University Bournemouth based on the writings of Gabriel Garcia Marquez and Pablo Neruda. The setting is the Santa Clara asylum for female lunatics. The stage of Pavilion…

Read more...

Der Rosenkavalier at St George’s, Bristol

HAVING enjoyed a number of live screenings of plays, musicals and operas over the past few years, I was greatly looking forward to St George’s screening of Richard Strauss’ matchless opera Der Rosenkavalier, or to give it its English title The Knight of the Rose. Not that it could be described as being “live” in…

Read more...

Miss Saigon, Bristol Hippodrome and tour

SPECTACULAR, brilliant and legendary are just three of the words in the publicity for this, the completely revamped tour of the second big show by the writers of Les Miserables. This is the first time I have seen Miss Saigon since just before it closed in 1999, having also seen the very first cast in…

Read more...