Before taking our seats, we circle the stage single-file. In the centre, two bodies are twisting and reeling within a powdery white circle. The performance that follows is a sensory explosion of music and movement, thrashing together as equal and powerful partners.
Robert Icke's version on this profound historical tragedy by Friedrich Schiller Mary Stuart was magnificent tonight at the Lowry Theatre.
Icke's did not neglect the factual accuracy of this piece of history however he managed to find a sense of freedom through his stylization and portray the complexities of which Juliet Stevenson and Lia Williams convey effortlessly.
It is fair to say that Terence Rattigan is a playwright who has fallen out of fashion in theatrical circles over the last 50 years, with his earnest, delicate portrayals of love and manners seemingly out of step with the demands of a modern theatre audience.
‘Birdsong’ is an adaptation of the novel written by Sebastian Faulks and created for stage by Rachel Wagstaff. The story is set primarily in the trenches of WWI, following the character Stephen Wraysford, and his journey through love, death, and dealing with the mentally damaging effects of war.
Art is something of a theatrical phenomenon. It isn’t often that a play originally in French, and by a virtually unknown author at that, becomes a huge hit on the English stage, and proves to have the staying power to run for eight years in its initial West End production. It’s now well over twenty years since the play was first produced in English, and it shows no signs of running out of steam.
Anyone familiar with the YouTube ‘off camera’ rants of spoof reporter Jonathan Pie (Tom Walker) will also be familiar with both the targets of his rants and the vitriol and rage with which he expresses his despair and disgust at the state of the modern world.
Opera North’s season of Fatal Passions brings crowd pleasers Madama Butterfly and Don Giovanni to the stage alongside Verdi’s lesser known Un ballo in maschera. Based on the real life assassination of the Swedish king Gustav III Un ballo in maschera features some of Verdi’s most sophisticated and subtle music combining the composer’s French and Italian influences. This production - nimbly conducted by Richard Farnes - highlights the score’s sophistication, making the most of every melodic moment.
An opera about a completely unprincipled, amoral rogue whose sole aim in life is to seduce as many women as possible might seem to be ideal for the times we live in: Harvey Weinstein, Donald Trump, and the other objects of the #metoo campaign are more tawdry, less noble modern versions of Mozart’s protagonist. Certainly, Bonnie Gordon’s programme note, headed “Time’s Up” for Opera North’s production makes the point explicitly:
An art form created by the likes of Gypsy Rose Lee and made famous by Cher and Christina Aguilera, burlesque is teasing, sexy, glamourous and powerful.
Bella Besame’s production of burlesque is romantic and everything you could want from a night at a cabaret. With round tables, low lighting and sexy dancers, what more do you want on a Saturday night?
With sub-zero temperatures outside, the audience at The Lowry Theatre certainly required some warming up and it's safe to say Birmingham Royal Ballet (BRB) delivered in abundance.
Well known music by Tchaikovsky, and one of the most opulent stage sets I have ever seen, it was clear from the offset that this was going to be an unforgettable evening.
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