Malory Towers

HOME Theatre, Manchester; Tuesday 24th September, 2019

WiseChildren_1

 

In 1946, celebrated children’s author Enid Blyton published the first of what would go on to be six books about a girl’s boarding school in Cornwall: an imposing edifice on a beautiful clifftop where teachers Miss Potts and Miss Grayling would oversee the transformation of young girls into fine young women – that school was known as Malory Towers.

Malory Towers the stage play by the Wise Children theatre company picks up the characters and essential themes of the books in order to set up a captivating two-hour long stage spectacle – a show that comfortably looks and feels like the manifestation of a classic, Blyton-esque childhood adventure.Read More »

Beryl

The Octagon Theatre, Bolton; Monday 23rd September, 2019

Beryl_1

 

Beryl Burton – a Yorkshire lass, born and raised in Leeds in the late 1930s: she was a wife at the age of 17, a mother by the age of 18; yet somehow, despite chronic health problems from an early age, this most unlikely of prospects went on to become one of the most successful and dominant female sports stars that the world has ever known.

Beryl by Maxine Peake tells the awe-inspiring story of how a chance meeting with a young man wearing strange cycling shoes sparked the genesis of a sporting legend who went on to win close to one hundred domestic and world titles in a successful racing career that endured for decades.Read More »

Care

HOME Theatre, Manchester; Friday 20th September, 2019

Care

In July of 2018 the National Health Service celebrated the 70th anniversary of its founding, having been formally launched in 1948 by the then Health Secretary Aneurin Bevan at the Park Hospital in Davyhulme (now Trafford General Hospital).

Care by ensemble theatre company The PappyShow is a powerful, moving examination of what health care has now become as well as being a speculative peek into what the uncertain future may hold for everyone.Read More »

We’ve Got Each Other

HOME Theatre, Manchester; Thursday 19th September, 2019

(c) Alex Brenner

 

Tommy used to work on the docks. Union’s been on strike: he’s down on his luck, it’s tough.

So tough.

Gina works the diner all day. Working for her man: she brings home her pay, for love.

For love.

Paul O’Donnell is a genius, he’s got a great idea: he’s going to put on a musical – a full-scale theatrical extravaganza with gratuitous deployment of jazz hands, sparkly fingers, confetti cannons – the works. There’ll be a cast of thirty five musicians and dancers, it’ll be two-and-a-half hours long with an interval of twenty minutes – huge sell-out crowds will flock to the West End to see it.

There’s one big problem though: no one’s stumping up the cash to make it happen.Read More »

Red Dust Road

HOME Theatre, Manchester; Thursday 12th September, 2019

Red Dust Road  National Theatre of Scotland / Home Edinburgh International Festival

 

Originally published as a book in 2010, Red Dust Road is Scottish Poet Laureate Jackie Kay’s autobiographical account of the life-long search for her biological parents: a Scottish mother who worked as a nurse in the 1960s and a Nigerian father who was studying at Aberdeen University.

Tanika Gupta’s stage adaptation is an assembly of multiple scenes that span fully five decades from the 1960s onwards. The random sequencing is such that these scenes aren’t delivered in chronological order. Hence, as the show progresses, what slowly begins to form is a fascinating, jigsaw-like rendering of the Jackie Kay story with all its attendant intrigues.Read More »

The Jumper Factory

HOME Theatre, Manchester; Wednesday 11th September, 2019

The Jumper Factory - HOME, Young Vic. Photo © Leon Puplett (02878)

 

Six very angry looking men are sat on stage, staring down the audience. This is a war of attrition, who will back down first? Each one is oozing arrogance, evidenced by the outrageous manspreading on display, as well as a nonchalant leer which suggests that these guys are just not arsed.

The six men are prisoners – inmates of HMP Wandsworth – but this is no ordinary story of life behind bars; The Jumper Factory is arguably much more about the drawn-out agonies of disconnection from the outside world.Read More »

Hive City Legacy

HOME Theatre, Manchester; Wednesday 4th September, 2019

Hive City Legacy, HOME, pic 60 (photo by Helen Murray)

It started with a buzz – a league of extraordinary femmes, eight queen bees emerging from their hives with a simple but evocative mantra: activate, pollinate, liberate. 

Make way for the matriarchy they say, this is the Hive City Legacy: a super-high-energy hour of story-telling, singing, dancing, aerial acrobatics – and a whole lot more.Read More »

Jerry Springer: The Opera

Hope Mill Theatre, Manchester; Tuesday 13th August, 2019

JerrySpringer_2

It ain’t easy being me:

billions of voices,

making all the wrong choices;

then turning around and blaming me.

 

Nearly three decades have passed since The Jerry Springer Show burst off American cable channels and became a massive and instant TV hit across the world. The simple formula for creating entertainment out of ordinary people airing their dirty laundry in public still holds an elusive X factor that imitators have never quite matched.Read More »

The Community Centre

The King’s Arms, Salford; Thursday 8th August, 2019

TheCommunityCentre_4

Welcome to the community centre, a very Mancunian community centre: this is the gentle, beating heart that quietly ticks away; the lifeblood that unites an extravagant community of assorted characters.

Written by soap star and comedienne Nicola Gardner, The Community Centre depicts a day in the life of a fictional hub where visitors can come to simply pass the time away, and it appears that the under-worked staff can do the same too. Read More »

Swim

HOME Theatre, Manchester; Tuesday 9th July, 2019

Swim_1

The day has not yet begun, but she’s going for a swim. She will swim in the cold waters of the lake, it will help her to heal, maybe it will also help her to forget.

Theatre maker Liz Richardson has been on secret swimming trips, but not just to the local pool: these are wild swimming adventures, out in the open, exposed to the elements. A new hobby it seems, though one which, below the surface, appears to be as deep and mysterious as the open waters in which she’s swimming.Read More »