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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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The Father – Oldham Coliseum

Writers:  Florian Zeller and Christopher Hampton Director: Kevin Shaw Reviewer: Richard Hall The Coliseum’s final in-house production of the spring/summer 2017 season is a bold and innovative choice for this venue. The Father, by French novelist and playwright Florian Zeller, is a powerful, dark, tragic comedy about the harrowing and devastating impact of dementia on one man and his family. ...

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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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Operation Black Antler – Home, Manchester

Writer/Directors: Matt Adams, Richard Hahlo, Jem Wall, Ju Row Farr, Nick Tandavanitji Reviewer: Matt Forrest The chances are if you utter the words “Forget about it” in a faux Italian accent, someone within ear shot will reply “Forget about it” back, such is the appeal and fondness for the 1997 film Donnie Brasco, which saw Johnny Depp go deep undercover ...

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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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