Carlton Players, under the co-direction of Phyllis Brighouse and Marc Smith, begin their latest season with this classic piece of detective fiction from Agatha Christie reflecting her travel experiences in the Middle East.
Grimley – the fictional setting for 'Brassed Off' - certainly puts the 'grim' in the saying "it's grim up north". Set in 1994 with echoes of the 1984 miners' strike in the background, 'Brassed Off' is the story of the Grimley colliery which is facing closure.
Great theatre is not just confined to the big city theatres and the west end productions, you often find some fantastic gems unexpectedly in small local theatres all around the region, one theatre that rarely disappoints is the Garrick Theatre in Altrincham, last season I witnessed some fantastic top notch acting from productions; Handbagged and Gaslight to name just two.
Having performed this musical myself last year, Ellesmere Port Musical Theatre Company had a challenge on their hands when I came to review their most recent production of ‘9 to 5’ as I knew every song, line and harmony inside out. Luckily for me, my high expectations were well satisfied and I left the theatre feeling elated from the nostalgia and talent I saw during this wonderful production.
I always commend a theatre company for taking on the challenge of such a raw, emotional and (in its time) controversial musical. Entering the Carriageworks Theatre I was pleased to see that LIDOS (Leeds Insurance Dramatic & Operatic Society) had stayed true to tradition and built an excellent set, reminiscent of New York’s East Village in the early 90s. Pipe scaffolding lined the stage, separating levels and various locations for the musical. This was covered in old band posters, graffiti and murky looking windows, perhaps foreshadowing the harsh living environments outside.
I must start by admitting that I have never seen one of Shakespeare’s most famous plays, Hamlet. I have heard much about the plot and the famous lines from it but never watched the entire play. Knowing Shakespeare’s tragedy plays to be a difficult undertaking I was somewhat apprehensive about my attendance. Luckily, I had no reason to worry as the production was superb. Woolton Drama Group has managed to convey a complex plot well and has made their production extremely accessible.
Manchester Musical Youth is one of the finest youth theatre companies in Manchester (or I'd go as far as to say the whole of the North West actually) and they are expanding their reach: as well as The Apprentices (for 8-11 year olds) and the 'regular' MMY, we now have 'The Graduates' for 18-30 year olds.
Intriguing from the title to the very last bow, Merseyside Academy of Drama (MAD) present their production of ‘How to disappear completely and never be found’.
NADOS present Made in Dagenham, The Musical. Based on the 2010 film, of the same name, it centres around the true-life events of 1968, when women sewing machinists at Ford’s Dagenham plant walked out. The strike developed into a call for equality of pay and is recognised as a catalyst that lead to the Equal Pay Act of 1970.
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