Reviews

A Christmas Getaway, New Old Friends, Bath Ustinov Theatre

TAKE 18 characters in the entrance hall of a country house on Christmas Eve, a cocktail tray, illicit romances, true love and the best laid plans, throw in four actors, sleight of hand, fleet of foot and versatile of voice. You have the perfect recipe for an evening of astonishing fun and frolics, served up…

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OZ, Tobacco Factory, Bristol

UNTIL halted by the pandemic, Bristol’s Tobacco Factory Theatre had built up a reputation of arguably being the best Christmas show on offer in the area. This new adaptation of L Frank Baum’s classic OZ stories, by Sarah Henley, Zoe Squire and director Emma Earle, has been greeted with such enthusiasm that before the opening…

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Beauty and the Beast, Poole Lighthouse

THE auditorium was packed with excited children and their parents, all dressed up in panto garb, for the first Sunday matinee of the Poole Lighthouse Beauty and the Beast, based on Andrew Pollard’s script first seen in Salisbury in 2018. Adapted and directed by Chris Jarvis, back at Poole as Dame Betty Bon-Bon, it also…

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Robin Hood – Legend of the Forgotten Forest, Bristol Old Vic

I’VE been banging on for decades about the importance of giving a young audience a mag­ical experience of live theatre at their first visit – usually a pantomime or Christmas show. And at Bristol Old Vic this holiday season, it’s as though all my wishes have come true in one event – Wardrobe Ensemble’s marvellous…

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The Wind in the Willows, Merlin Theatre, Frome

THE Merlin’s Christmas community show has built up a reputation for invention, spectacle and energy, and the eager and talented performers were, like so many others around the country, frustrated and disappointed by last year’s prohibitions. So there was great delight and anticipation for the 2021 show, a production of Julian Fellowes’ 2016 version of…

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Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs at Bristol Hippodrome

WHILE it might be a bit of an exaggeration to claim that the last line if the title (The Finest Panto in the Land) is 100% true, this is certainly a production that sets out, and does leave a lasting impression. There are two reasons for making that claim. One is the visual effects created…

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Witness for the Prosecution, APS, Sherborne

YOU wouldn’t call Agatha Christie an obvious feminist, but in Witness for the Prosecution, which she considered her best play, she does a great job puncturing the pompous superiority of her principal male characters. It’s classic Christie – more twists and turns than an Alpine mountain pass. It’s not so much red herrings as unpredictable…

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Mother Goose, Yeovil Octagon

A FULL-fledged pantomime is back on stage at the Octagon in Yeovil this season, once again starring those local favourites Gordon Cooper, Jack Glanville and Lizzie Frances, and giving the audience a chance to join in – even behind the advisory masks. It’s Paul Hendy’s new version of Mother Goose, the timeliest of pantomime stories…

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The Railway Children, Studio Theatre Salisbury

MIKE Kenny’s adaptation of E Nesbit’s classic story The Railway Children has been packing audiences in to railway stations, first at York and then at Waterloo and King’s Cross, since 2007 – and now it’s come to Salisbury’s intimate Studio Theatre. And it is an absolute delight. It’s a huge risk to take a cherished…

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