Reviews

Metamorphoses, Bath Theatre Royal, Ustinov studio

HOW lucky are those of us who can get to the Ustinov Studio at Bath! Described by What’s On Stage as “the most exciting performance space in the south west, if not the country,” this tiny theatre currently hosts one of the most mesmerising, brilliant and profoundly moving dance performances you are ever likely to…

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Macbeth, English Touring Theatre at Bristol Old Vic

SHAKESPEARE’S Macbeth is having a moment this year, with several productions making their way onto the stage and directors competing with each other to discover contemporary relevance in this story of war, murder, greed, power and mental torment. While David Tennant gives his Scottish king in London and Ralph Fiennes tours unusual venues around the…

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Wicked, Bristol Hippodrome

ALTHOUGH L Frank Baum wrote 14 stories about the Wonderful World of Oz, the one best remembered is that used for the classic 1939 MGM film The Wizard of Oz, starring Judy Garland. There is no doubting who are the goodies and who the baddies in this version, with Margaret Hamilton’s Wicked Witch of the…

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HMS Pinafore, Opera Della Luna, Bath Theatre Royal

IF you think of the comic operas of Gilbert and Sullivan and ponder their connection with the often dark novels of Charles Dickens, you might say: “Nothing there. What’s your point?” But Opera Della Luna’s founder-director Jeff Clarke looked a bit deeper, considered the things they have in common – particularly Gilbert’s concern with social…

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Things I Know to be True, Swan Theatre, Yeovil

ONE of the things that has happened in theatre in recent years is that the majority of the audience whoops and cheers within a second of the final word of a play being spoken. I was heartened and relieved to find that the (largely young) audience at Yeovil’s Swan Theatre was totally silent and still…

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A Wife for All Reasons, Amateur Players of Sherborne

HENRY VIII and his six wives exert a lasting fascination – there are even current “figures” who seem to use him as a role model, and increasingly the viewpoint of the wives is gaining traction, notably in the smash hit musical SIX, which started life on the Edinburgh Fringe. Taunton-born Devon resident Stephanie Easton made…

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The Roaring Girl, Bristol Old Vic Young Company at Weston Studio

LOOKING back at the list of plays that this company has tackled during its often turbulent, never dull existence – everything from distinctly personalised views of Shakespeare to completely unscripted plays evolved from workshops – you will not find, until now, a Jacobean comedy or tragedy. What then would they do when presented with an…

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The Circle, Theatre Royal, Bath and touring

‘I’M old fashioned. I love the moonlight. I love the old fashioned things’, so go the Johnny Mercer lyrics to Jerome Kern’s haunting melody, and the song could well serve as an introduction to Tom Littler’s lovingly directed production of W Somerset Maugham’s wonderfully constructed The Circle. Written just over 100 years ago, it caused…

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The Drifters Girl, Bristol Hippodrome and touring

THE first thought that comes to mind when you see the title The Drifters Girl, is “what girl?” The Drifters, formed originally in the 1950s, were, and presumably still are, an all male American R&B soul vocal group – so who is the girl. She was the formidable Faye Treadwell, who with her husband George,…

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