From Surprise, Surprise to Blind Date, Cilla Black became a firm favourite as a staple of British television. But what came before that, how was this household name status achieved? Cilla - The Musical is more than a jukebox, in a similar vein to Carole King's Beautiful, Cilla - The Musical is a biography of the rise of an iconic entertainer and singer. Following the early life of an ordinary Liverpool teenager, from Scottie Road, Priscilla White, who dreams of stardom and within 10 years, at the age of 25 achieves just that. From her days of performing with friends in clubs around Liverpool, including the Cavern Club and the Beatles, up to and including the tragic death of her manager and friend Brian Epstein. This production enthrals.
Just five people with five totally different personas, appearances and backgrounds, kept a packed Hull Truck Theatre enthralled on Tuesday night, as the cast of Abigail’s Party took to the stage.
For those of us who can remember the 1970s, the stage was truly a trip down Memory Lane – the record player with smoky-brown, see-through plastic lid; pineapple chunks and cheese on toothpicks, stuck into half a grapefruit covered in tin foil, to name but two.
I bet I wasn’t the only one who felt a rush of nostalgia.
There is something slightly surreal when the first three rows don safety goggles as performance artist Selina Thompson sets about a big lump of pink salt with a sledgehammer.
Thompson may be observing the rules of our safety first times, but this intense hour long performance is the exact opposite of that as she reflects on an epic journey she took retracing the transatlantic trade slave that cost millions of lives. A trade which she reflects is the bloody basis of Europe’s riches even today.
There was a real buzz in the air tonight at The Crucible Theatre, Sheffield for the official press launch of William Shakespeare’s ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’, and after witnessing this incredible re-imagining of the literary genius’ work you can see why! The fact of the matter is that Sheffield Theatres has done it again!!
Robert Hastie, Artistic Director of Sheffield Theatres has taken one of William Shakespeare’s best known works and wilfully and creatively re-imagined it. It was contemporary, rich, refreshing and exactly how Shakespeare’s work should be performed.
One of the many smart touches in this imaginative version of Bertolt Brecht’s classic anti-war text is sending the audience down into the cold, dusty bowels of a Leeds warehouse to promenade with Mother Courage as she drags her cart on an endless journey round the cauldron of conflict.
It would all too easy for Britain’s sole remaining radical theatre company to indulge in tired agit-prop, but instead director Rod Dixon and his team craft a vibrant, dark piece that is utterly relevant in a world that seems determined not to learn the lessons of our violent history.
If it wasn’t for the certain knowledge that I would be spending the next few weeks in traction, I would have bopped as wildly as I did in my youth, when the first strains of She Loves You rang out on Monday night, at Hull New Theatre.
That song, a Beatles classic, was the perfect opener for Let It Be, a glorious production, direct from the West End of London, which charts the meteoric rise of four lads from Liverpool – John Lennon, Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr and George Harrison.