“Harrowing but a powerful masterpiece of theatre”

‘The Lovely Bones’ adapted by Bryony Lavery for a stage play hit the ground running on its opening night at Salford’s Lowry Theatre on a cold and wet Tuesday evening which continues to run until Saturday 19th October.

Henrik Ibsen’s Hedda Gabler tells us that if you’re invisible in your daily routine of a life then perhaps you’ve already disappeared.

One of the reasons that the work of William Shakespeare is enduringly popular over 400 years after his death is that he asks questions and poses dilemmas that transcend his own time, relevant in whatever age they are performed. Artistic Director of the RSC Greg Doran, has taken ‘Measure for Measure’, one of the least well known of the canon, and delivered a blistering examination of the corrupting effect of power and sexual harassment which resonates strongly in a #metoo world.

Since he was appointed as Artistic Director of the RSC in 2012, Greg Doran has worked his way through the Shakespearean canon in a methodical manner. He now brings two of the more problematic texts (Shrew and Measure for Measure), together with ‘As You Like It’, for a 10 day residency at The Lowry. All three plays are performed by 27 actors as a reparatory company and it is a real treat for northern audiences to see these productions, ahead of their transfer to London at the end of the year.

Mike and Paul have been friends since they were in school. Life has not been easy for either of them, although their friendship has endured. But what does that friendship look like? Where did it start? How has it grown and changed as the boys have grown into men?

A glamorous revenge filled comedic thriller that makes you want more with every scene. The story follows four feisty ladies Chrissie, Roxanne, Carly and Anita thirty years after their successful singing careers in the eighties. The play focuses on what goes on during the night from hell when lead singer Chrissie tries to reunite the band she dumped. Chrissie is desperate to salvage herself from bankruptcy after being conned out of her fortune by her toy boy husband. But there a price to be paid.

For the first time ever the Royal Shakespeare Company are performing three plays at The Lowry Theatre between 25th September and 5th October. The Taming of the Shrew and Measure by Measure will take place later, however I was in attendance on the opening night of As You Like It. Looking at the programme most of the actors will be playing roles in at least two of the productions.

‘It’s so bad’ says a character in the play and she could have been describing this production.

This is not so much a play than a rant. There is no real plot or narrative, no drama, little character development, nothing that you would recognise as theatre.

It is said that Shelagh Delaney was inspired to write A Taste of Honey after being taken to see a production of Terrence Rattigan's Variation on a Theme in Manchester. She decided she could do better. She was 19 years old, the daughter of a bus inspector and living in Broughton, Salford. Six weeks after starting her play, she sent it to Joan Littlewood at her Theatre Workshop and after some development it was first produced in May 1958. It was the start of the “kitchen sink drama” genre but the term doesn't really give credit to the depth of Delaney's play.

We all under estimate how strong we are. The power within our body and mind is kept hidden, held in reserve until we need it. What if we didn’t hide it but pushed ourselves to the physical limit!

“The Community Centre” is a gentle comedy full of colourful characters. It is set – obviously – in a community centre in a rough area, the centre of the community, the heart in a heartless place, where a group of regulars gather to spend their days socialising and saving money on their fuel bills.