Bottleneck

The Coliseum Theatre, Oldham; Wednesday 6th March, 2019

 

2019 is a big, big year for football anniversaries in the North West. Manchester’s true believers, the proper, hardcore red and blue football fanatics should already have the relevant alarms set on their mobile phones:

  • 21:30 on 26th May – exactly twenty years since Solskjaer flicked his right leg out.
  • 17:00 on 30th May – also twenty years, since Dickov gave birth to a new blue moon.

But before either of these events are commemorated there’s an altogether different anniversary to deal with, one that will transcend rivalries: whether they be of a red / blue variety or even of a much more hostile Liverpudlian / Mancunian form – 15:00 on 15th April will mark the thirtieth anniversary of Britain’s worst ever sporting disaster.Read More »

The Last Yankee

Bolton Library Theatre; Tuesday 5th March, 2019

 

In 1993, after having already worked closely on several different productions over many years, legendary American playwright Arthur Miller sent director David Thacker the script for a new play that he had written and asked him to stage it in England.

Thacker duly obliged and, twenty six years after The Last Yankee made its British debut at the Young Vic, the now Professor David Thacker of Bolton University brings the same showpiece of theatrical Americana to a newly improvised performance space in Bolton for its North-of-England debut.Read More »

Wise Children

HOME Theatre, Manchester; Thursday 28th February, 2019

 

April 1989, Brixton in south London – a.k.a. “the wrong side of the tracks”. 75-year-old twins and former chorus girls Nora and Dora Chance are off to a birthday party, a 100th birthday party for their father, a man who is very much on the right side of the tracks – the extravagant and flamboyant theatrical legend known as Melchior Hazard.

But the celebrations soon turn sour as the night transforms into a party like no other: three sets of twins from the same family lock horns over the unbearable tragedy of a mother being abandoned by her own children, and of children being cruelly abandoned by their father. The evening descends into a tempestuous muddle of emotional carnage, but for the Chance sisters it has been a long time coming – they may be 75 years old but finally Nora and Dora can be the children who got wise.Read More »

Zucchini

53Two, Manchester; Wednesday 27th February, 2019

 

Zucchini

[zoo-kee-nee]

noun

  1. a variety of summer squash that is shaped like a cucumber and that has a smooth, dark-green skin.
  2. the plant bearing this fruit.
  3. a partner in a queer-platonic relationship.

 

Jamie (Alaister Michael) needs to talk, or more precisely he wants his girlfriend Katie (Elaine McNicol) to talk – he desperately wants to know what she’s feeling and he appears to have spared no expense in order to find out.

On the auspicious occasion of their third anniversary, a local hotel room has been booked, a bunch of flowers have been hastily dumped into a couple of spare hotel mugs, and a Mars bar has been declared as one of the evening’s planned highlights.

It’s little wonder then that Katie doesn’t have much time for it all. Read More »

A Skull In Connemara

The Coliseum Theatre, Oldham; Tuesday 26th February, 2019

 

Connemara on Ireland’s west coast: intrigue hangs in the air, like a sinister mist which refuses to clear. This is a place where aspersions are being cast, insinuations are being insinuated – the rumour mill tediously grinds away in low gear leaving a tense, thick atmosphere as cold as the weather that the locals keep complaining about.

Connemara’s grave-digger is Mick Dowd, he and his apprentice Mairtin dutifully clear out the old burials to make room for newer occupants. Mairtin is fearful, he swears that some of the skulls are grinning at him; Mick is far more pragmatic, he just gets on with the job at hand, whilst also taking every opportunity to comically exploit his young accomplice’s naivety.Read More »

The Adhesion Of Love

The Martin Harris Centre, Manchester; Wednesday 20th February, 2019

AoL_8384

 

Bolton, Lancashire – the 1880s. Three shillings and sixpence is what it costs for the latest, cutting-edge diagnostics for any man experiencing a sense of mild distress at where his life might be heading. The diagnostics in question? A quick scratch and sniff of his freshly laid s*** sample and the inquisitive attentions of a pseudo-scientific necromancer who boasts of having discovered that a lady’s ankle circumference measurement is directly proportional to her womb volume.

The Adhesion Of Love is a amusingly comical tale based on the remarkable true story of nineteenth century Boltonian John Wallace: an otherwise entirely ordinary man who developed such a deep passion for the literary works of American poet Walt Whitman that he eventually sailed across the Atlantic for a summer holiday in order to meet his hero.Read More »

Mydidae

Hope Mill Theatre, Manchester; Tuesday 19th February, 2019

 

Mydidae_2

 

Marian (Hollie-Jay Bowes) and David (David Gregan-Jones) are one of those couples. So, they’re like totally comfortable using the toilet in front of each other, but being one of those couples it’s probably something that they’ll need to tell everyone else about. David seems most keen on the toilet talk, specifically about why his piss doesn’t smell of the asparagus that they both had for dinner last night.

To be fair, their bathroom does look quite impressive: a visually-pleasing jigsaw puzzle comprised of every shade of pastel blue that IKEA offers. And centre-stage is a large, free-standing bath where, being one of those couples, Marian and David choose to relax and unwind with a few glasses of £6-a-bottle red wine.Read More »