Reviews

Shirley Valentine, Salisbury Playhouse and touring

WILLY Russell’s 1986 play Shirley Valentine, written as a solo performance for one remarkable actress, was flesh­ed out when it was filmed with Pauline Collins, Tom Conti and Alison Steadman, and it’s the cinema version that is best known. Now, in a new production by Ian Talbot of Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre fame, is…

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Gabriela Montero and BSO Principals, Poole Lighthouse,

Montero:  A Piece for Ruth Rachmaninov: Piano Sonata No.2 Op. 36 Shostakovich: Piano Quintet in G minor, Op. 57 Montero: Improvisations Gabriela Montero, piano with Mark Derudder and Carol Paige, violins, Tom Beer, viola and Jesper Svedberg cello   “THERE are not many artists about whom it can be said that their talent borders on…

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Beautiful – The Carole King Musical, Bristol Hippodrome

ONE of the most frequent criticisms levelled at musical biographies in the golden years of Hollywood was that the scripts rarely did anything more than scraped the surface of the true story of those whose lives were being depicted, and this show reminds me of one of those glossy presentations. Like those films, it does…

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The Cat and the Canary, Theatre Royal, Bath

IF you look down a list of plays written in the 1920s, you will find quite a few successfully produced which border on the style of Grand Guignol, melodrama and horror. Most of them – with titles like The Monster, A Man with Red Hair and the Edgar Wallace pair The Flying Squad and The…

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Table Manners, Amateur Players of Sherborne, Studio Theatre

WHY do women fall for Norman? In the original stage and television productions, Alan Ayckbourn’s bumbling Casanova was played, first, by Tom Courtenay, and on screen by Tom Conti, two actors possessed of such charisma that we would probably go weak at the knees if they read a paint chart aloud. There is a huge…

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Academy of Ancient Music, Bach Fest at Bath Assembly Rooms

“THIRTEEN, unlucky for some” is the oft-heard bingo cry when the number 13 comes up, but I doubt that any of the sell-out audience for the last concert of this seasons Bach Fest felt that they were unlucky after spending the evening in the company of Bojan Cicic, director and violin, and the other members…

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Peter Pan – The Boy Who Could Fly, Bourton Players

“COME fly with me” invite three attractive young dancers at the opening of the Bourton Players’ highly original 2020 pantomime. But health and safety isn’t having any of it. No flying in the village hall, say Alf Warning (Linda Curry) and his incompetent sidekick Sid Down (Emma Martin). They don’t want anyone flying – or…

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The Taming of the Shrew, RSC at Plymouth Theatre Royal

THE Royal Shakespeare Company’s welcome return tour to Plymouth brought three current productions – Measure for Measure, As You Like It and the gender-swapped The Taming of the Shrew – back to the south west. The Justin Audibert production of The Shrew confounds expectations, set in a matriarchal Padua where Katherine and Bianco are the…

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The Sixteen, Bath Bach Fest at St Mary’s, Bathwick

WHEN I mentioned the Bach Fest to a friend, to whom the music which fills the programme did not appeal, they immediately hid behind that old excuse, “well of course such an event is very elitist”. To which I replied “there must be an great number of elitist music fans in the Bath area, because…

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Chloe and the Colour Catcher, Exeter Phoenix and touring

IMAGINE a world where corrupt and fearful politicians forced a unifying greyness on the entire population – a state where everyone wore the same, talked the same, looked the same and lived in fear of breaking the rules. That’s what’s happened in Greytopia, where her Grey­nesty  has collected all the colour and joy and locked…

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