Reviews

Christmas Eve, Ustinov Studio, Bath

THERE are lots of ways to describe Christopher Hampton’s adaptation of Daniel Kehlmann’s play Christmas Eve, which has its UK premiere run at Bath until 18th November. It’s a love story. It’s a new way of looking at the relevance of midnight at Christmas (sans Prince Charming.) It’s a tense political thriller whose heartbeat is…

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Shackleton, Tall Tree Theatre, Artsreach tour

SOMETIMES you come across a show that is perfect. It is very rare, but Tall Tree’s debut production, Shackleton, which had three half-term dates with Artsreach, is a little treasure. It is a tale of a dog, but it’s not a shaggy dog story. It’s a story of a dog who wants adventure and a…

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The Withered Arm: New Hardy Players at Ashton Barn, Dorchester

WITH Hallowe’en just a day or so away, Thomas Hardy’s The Withered Arm could hardly be a more appropriate tale for a decidedly chilly autumn night. Performed in the highly atmospheric surroundings of Ashton Barn, and to a large and appreciative audience, the story of a wronged woman, a young bride, a worsening affliction and…

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Carneval String Trio, Concerts in the West

Kamila Bydlowska violin, Shiry Rashkovsky viola, Timothée Botbol cello; performances in Lower Pulworthy, Hatherleigh; Bridport Arts Centre; Ilminster Arts Centre Ilminster and The Dance House, Crewkerne THE wonder of the violin, viola and cello trio is the immense possibilities that it holds for compositional creativity and listener response. The range of pitch, tone-colours and texture…

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An Ideal Husband, Salisbury Studio Theatre

WHEN you think of Oscar Wilde as a playwright you instantly smile – all those dazzling one-liners! But there is equal delight in his exquisite satirical portraits of stuffy aristocrats heading inexorably towards a time of change like the Titanic to the iceberg. An Ideal Husband (1895) is a dramatic comedy which revolves around an…

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Debut of BSO’s new Artist in Residence

Brahms: Variations on a Theme by Haydn Hindemith: Clarinet Concerto Weber: Concertino Schumann: Symphony No. 4 Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra, leader Amyn Merchant Kirill Karabits: Conductor Andreas Ottensamer: Clarinet The BSO’s Artist-in-Residence scheme has added a level of interest  and excitement to their programming over the last few years.  Two years ago, the Korean pianist Sunwook…

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Crazy For You, Bristol Hippodrome and Tour

TO have one Strictly Come Dancing champion starring in a musical tour may be regarded as fortunate, but to have two … well, you get the idea. When this production started life as the latest actor-musician show at the tiny powerhouse that is the Watermill Theatre, Newbury last Summer, Tom Chambers was the star.  Now…

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9 to 5, Yeovil Amateur Operatic Society at the Octagon

DOLLY Parton’s musical version of the hit film 9 to 5 could hardly be more timely than in the week of Weinstein in the tenure of Trump – I dare you to say that shows about sexist, bullying, egotistical, lying, hypocritical bigots are dated! The film was released in 1980, and the story was re-imagined for…

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The Importance of Being Earnest, Shaftesbury Arts Centre

IT isn’t easy to take a play that everyone knows backwards and do something different with it, but director Beth Archer has succeeded with her production of Oscar Wilde’s masterpiece at Shaftesbury Arts Centre, until 14th October. When Wilde wrote The Importance of Being Earnest, coming from an Anglo-Irish background very different from the aristocratic…

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The Best Man, Theatre Royal Bath and touring

THERE  has never been a time when the eyes of the world have been so focussed on 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, so a revi­val of Gore Vidal’s play The Best Man could not be more relevant. Bill Kenwright’s new production, starring Martin Shaw as the would-be president of the United States and Jack Shepherd as the…

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