Don’t Go Back To Sleep: The Lockdown Album

HOME Theatre, Manchester; Wednesday 21st October, 2020

Exactly what is this Covid-19 pandemic doing to us all, does anyone know when our collective and individualised suffering will end? And how do you even go about just documenting all that has happened, how can anybody hope to make sense of it all?

With the first anniversary looming depressingly on our horizons, a way of life built from the yields of hi-tech science and engineering has had its limits conspicuously and almost embarrassingly exposed. So surely this then is the perfect moment for the maligned arts world to emphatically barge its way forward and prove its ability to deliver some much-needed coping mechanisms?

Read More »

Dr Blood’s Old Travelling Show

The Lowry Theatre, Salford; Saturday 17th October, 2020

Saturday nights at the theatre aren’t really allowed anymore. But Saturday nights outside the theatre are perfectly fine. And that’s made a lot easier if you can knock something out from the back of an old van on the service road behind The Lowry.

It’s a bit sad seeing the imposing theatre building fully closed with all the lights turned off, it’s also quite spooky, and that sets the tone rather nicely for the intriguing spectacle that is Dr Blood’s Old Travelling Show.

Read More »

#txtshow (on the internet)

[online]; Thursday 8th October, 2020

This is definitely not a simple case of watching theatre in your own home – these here are full-on, professional Zoom-ing rules. Put some sensible clothes on, no sitting around in pants just in case they can somehow see more than the webcam shows. It could happen. Better to be safe than sorry.

External keyboard and mouse plugged in, comfortable sitting position, not too close to the camera – never overshare on Zoom, we all know these rules now.

Read More »

Mister Dusty Rose’s GHOST SHOW

Antwerp Mansion, Manchester; Wednesday 7th October, 2020

New York, many years ago: in a cold, barren room a gramophone laboriously screeches out a depressingly solemn melody – the awful, high-pitched, tinny sounds emanating from the trumpeted speaker cone yield only indistinct words which immediately hang heavy in the still, dour atmosphere.

This dark and unwelcoming realm is that of Mister Dusty Rose (Anthony Logan Cole) – a self-proclaimed Mysterious Gentleman of Variety, a man with a fondness for telling stories, but only those which he has caught himself it seems.

What could that mean?

Read More »

Little Wimmin

HOME Theatre, Manchester; Saturday 14th March, 2020

In January 2020, the celestial conjunction of Pluto and Saturn ushered forth the auspicious dawn of a new air from Uranus. So said Figs In Wigs’ resident astrologer – a mystical prophet who seems to have also decreed that theatrical tradition should best be dealt with by repeatedly shafting a literary classic with the ravenous lust of performance artistry.

The opening scene of Little Wimmin is an eerily cosmic experience involving god-like super beings of profound awesomeness; ‘scene’ is probably the wrong word: instead it seems to be more like an imprecise epoch of heightened uncertainty and disorientation – one which deftly sets the general tone for the rest of the evening.

Read More »

We Won’t Fall

The International Anthony Burgess Foundation, Manchester; Thursday 27th February, 2020

The year is 2020, the place is Manchester – but this is nothing like the Manchester of 2020 as we currently know it.

The Party For the People has taken power and society is split: there are those who conform and dictate; and those who have no choice but to rise up and break free – no matter what the cost.

This is a truly hellish nightmare: the genuine 24-hour party peoples of Manchester have been suppressed and oppressed by a set of establishment cranks who have rubbed salt in the wound by literally naming themselves “The Party For the People”.

Read More »

Four Minutes Twelve Seconds

The Coliseum Theatre, Oldham; Tuesday 25th February, 2020

Seventeen-year-old Oldham lad Jack is a young man who seems destined to be going places. His parents have made big plans for him – and they’re willing to push hard against anything that stops him from getting there.

But when young Jack is violently attacked by the family of his own girlfriend, his parents realise with great shock and horror that their carefully crafted world of closeted safety is about to be suddenly and permanently thrown into utter chaos. 

Read More »

Extraordinary Wall Of Silence

HOME Theatre, Manchester; Saturday 15th February, 2020

In 1880, an international conference of deaf educators held in Milan, Italy decreed that, due to the “incontestable superiority of articulation over signs”, deaf students should not be taught sign language and they should instead be given the chance to conform by only ever learning to lip read.

A decision made by 164 attendees – of whom only one was actually deaf themselves, and which also included one very surprising famous name – went on to have profound consequences for the deaf and hard-of-hearing community globally.

Read More »

Wuthering Heights

The Royal Exchange Theatre, Manchester; Wednesday 12th February, 2020

If all else perished, and he remained, I should still continue to be; and if all else remained, and he were annihilated, the universe would turn to a mighty stranger. 

Emily Brontë

Nearly two centuries have passed since it was first published but Emily Brontë’s one and only novel Wuthering Heights still stands alone as the go-to benchmark for any twisted expression of all-consuming passion and uncontrollable obsession.

Read More »

2019: End-of-year theatre review

2019 for The Greater Manchester Reviewer has been a story of 71 different shows across 24 different venues. Highlight of the year was undoubtedly the decision to immerse fully into the GM Fringe Festival in July, an action rewarded by exposure to the raw energy that gives rise to creative performance. As well as that, there have been some excellent touring productions and some impressive examples of new writing.

Here’s a very personal take on the best performances that have been on in Greater Manchester this year …

Read More »