As I left the theatre I heard a fellow audience member comment to her friend; “I suppose it’s like real life, but nothing happened”. Shelagh Delaney’s first play, A Taste of Honey, presents a glimpse into the lives of Helen and Jo, a mother and daughter duo in working-class Manchester. Part of the ‘kitchen sink dramas’ of the 1950s and 1960s and workshopped by Joan Littlewood (of Oh What A Lovely War acclaim) at Stratford East, A Taste of Honey is an honest appraisal of the realities of the lives of Helen and Jo.
This was always going to be a different version of Pride & Prejudice; nothing could prepare me for just how different or how thoroughly entertaining it would be.
Dada Masilo’s radical interpretation of ballet classic Giselle is ballet, but not like you’ve ever seen it before! Traditionally Giselle falls in love, dies of a broken heart, and then forgives her lover Albrecht from beyond the grave, saving him from the wrath of the Wilis (a group of supernatural women who dance men to death) whilst frothing about the stage on pointe.
Gaslight is a play based on Patrick Hamilton’s novel of the same name. It also gave its name to the scientific phenomenon “Gaslighting”. Bill Kenwright brings this production to Birmingham as the second stop on a brief tour before a stint in the West End.
The Birmingham Royal Ballet once again demonstrate their standing as one of the world’s greatest ballet companies with this refreshed adaptation of Adolphe Adam’s classic, “Giselle.”
Like a hardy sunflower, “Calendar Girls” re-emerges season after season in a slightly different variation each time. First a film in 2003 featuring a bouquet of top female comedy talent, then as a stage play and, now in what must be its most confident, liberating and life-affirming incarnation, as “Calendar Girls - the Musical”.
You may have read the book, but this production brings the story new energy as it erupts onto the stage in a mix of nerve-jangling tension, anger, teenage love and raw emotion underscored with a 70’s soundtrack. Fans of the book will enjoy the new dimension and the visuals created.
With the unsettling rise of right wing ideology on both sides of the Atlantic this production could not have been timelier and politically apposite. Rufus Norris has snatched the Broadway classic and deftly and intelligently reimagined it for a twenty first century audience.
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