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Author Archives: The Reviews Hub - North West

Shirley Valentine – The Lowry, Salford

Jodie Prenger as Shirley Valentine

Writer: Willy Russell Director: Glen Walford Reviewer: Jo Beggs By 1986, when he wrote Shirley Valentine, Willy Russell had already established himself as one of the country’s most acclaimed comic playwrights. Educating Rita had already, and fairly swiftly, made its way from the stage to the screen and Russell had proven that eighties man could speak with a powerful feminist ...

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Wonderland – Liverpool Empire

Steven Webb and Kerry Ellis in Wonderland

Book: Gregory Boyd and Jack Murphy Music: Frank Wildhorn Lyrics: Jack Murphy Director: Lotte Wakeham Reviewer: Matt Forrest  Wonderland sees the characters from the Lewis Carroll tales of Alice in Wonderland and Alice Through the Looking Glass given a modern day make over with a political message to boot. Alice (Kerry Ellis) is now a 40-year-old single mum with all manner ...

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Talking Heads – Octagon Theatre, Bolton

Writer: Alan Bennett Director: Ben Occhipinti Reviewer: May Mellstrom Alan Bennett's series Talking Heads showcased the art of the monologue on television to great acclaim; here, three of those mini-masterpieces make the leap from screen to stage in the Octagon's quietly captivating production. The television format has its benefits, camera close-ups provide a window into each characters world that the ...

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In Tents and Purposes – The Lowry, Salford

Writer: Roxy Dunn Director: Chris Head Reviewer: Lizz Clark Do we make our own luck? This story of two friends who have their fortunes told at a festival, and live the next ten years under the shadow of the predictions, explores just that question. Roxy Dunn's strait-laced Libby wants to be a writer, but is told she'll end up broke ...

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Trainspotting Live – The Lowry, Salford

Writer: Irvine Welsh Adaptor: Harry Gibson Director: Adam Spreadsbury-Maher and Greg Esplin Reviewer: Andrea Allen Calling all future audiences of Trainspotting Live, heed this advice, when walking into the theatre sit well clear of the “worst toilet in Scotland”. In Your Face Theatre are combusting across the UK with this loud, visceral, gloriously intrusive and gut-wrenchingly gross production. You’re going ...

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Rose – Home Theatre, Manchester.

Janet Suzman as Rose sits on a white stool

Writer: Martin Sherman. Director: Richard Beecham. Reviewer: Sam Lowe. Martin Sherman's play first premiered at the National Theatre in 1999, and today it is still relevant and poignant. Rose is a one person show about an eighty-year-old woman called Rose who lives in Miami, Florida. Rose takes the audience on a journey through her long life, this is an epic ...

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Joli Vyann: Imbalance – The Lowry, Salford

Male dancer holding female dancer horizontally above his head

Choreographer: Jonathan Lunn Reviewer: Jo Beggs Jan Patzke and Olivia Quayle are Joli Vyann, a duo who make performances fusing acrobatics and dance. Their work to date has mostly consisted shorter outdoor performances but Imbalance is an hour-long indoor show, performed in the Lowry’s studio space as part of a short tour. The problems with giving this kind of work ...

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Persuasion – Royal Exchange Theatre, Manchester

Writer: Jane Austin Adaptor: Jeff James with James Yeatman Director: Jeff James Reviewer: Jo Beggs Now here’s a winning formula. Take a two-hundred-year-old classic of English literature, play it on a minimal set and give it a nineties club vibe, while remaining astonishingly true to the original. Sounds impossible, but Jeff James has managed to pull it off with huge ...

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