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BE FESTIVAL: Solitudes – Birmingham REP

Two men and a woman in masks

Kulunka Teatro (Spain) Reviewer:  John Kennedy Kulunka was awarded Audience Prize at BE Festival 2011. Again, it sets the bar incredibly high with its mask/mime evocative narrative of a lonely, house-bound elderly couple. Their tick-tock Westminster chiming wall clock marks out the anticipated moment: it's time to play cards. The ritual of the green baize smoothed out upon the table, ...

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BE FESTIVAL: Légende – Birmingham REP

A man is looking at a simple structure made of two wooden blocks

Writer: Romain Teule (France/Portugal) Reviewer:  John Kennedy Ambient found sounds of passing traffic and tweeting birds drift about the auditorium. A gangly, bean-pole of a young man daddy long-legs about the stage. His performance lecture is an intriguing deconstruction of English pronunciation, syntax and literal interpretations. The screen text projections seeming drivel, enough to confound even Professor Stanley Unwin's tautological scatology. ...

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BE FESTIVAL: Wednesday – Birmingham REP

Performances reviewed: The Sensemaker (Woman's Move, Switzerland) Portraits And Short Stories (Panama Pictures, Netherlands) Everything Is OK (Marco D'Agostin, Italy) My Country Is What The Sea Doesn’t Want (Casa Da Esquina, Portugal) Reviewer:  John Kennedy 23 June 2016: a febrile atmosphere possesses The REP: it was Referendum Day and optimistic display boards celebrated pan-European messages of hope and inclusion. The ...

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The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (abridged) – Old Joint Stock Theatre, Birmingham

Writers: Adam Long, Daniel Singer and Jess Winfield (based on the book by William Shakespeare) Director: Adam Lacey Reviewer:  Selwyn Knight The Shakespeare canon is pretty extensive – 37 plays generally accepted as by him, the less generally accepted Shakespeare Apocrypha and, of course, the 154 sonnets. In their 2006/7 season, the Royal Shakespeare Company performed the complete works in a ...

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The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time – Birmingham Hippodrome

Writer:  Simon Stephens, based on the novel by Mark Haddon Director: Marianne Elliott Reviewer: John Kennedy Awash with deserved accolades and awards, this National Theatre adaptation of Mark Haddon’s best-selling novel has a devilishly inventive conceit to contend with. How the hell will they stage it? With a narrator and ensemble chorus worthy of a Greek tragi-comedy and technical prowess ...

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The Play That Goes Wrong – Theatre Royal, Nottingham

Writers:  Henry Lewis, Jonathan Sayer & Henry Shields Director: Mark Bell Reviewer: Dave Smith The Play That Goes Wrong first saw the light of day at London’s off-West End Old Red Lion Theatre in 2012, since when it has transferred to the West End Duchess Theatre (where it is still playing and currently booking into 2018) and the Lyceum Theatre on ...

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Tony Bennett Celebrates 90 in Concert – Symphony Hall, Birmingham

Tony Bennett smiling with hands held out

Reviewer: John Kennedy ‘Of all the contemporary artists I know, she has the most natural jazz voice, but I'm worried about her and I'm praying for her.’ Tony Bennett’s concerns for Amy Whitehouse following their collaborative duets were sadly apposite. His admiration and kindness drew him the appreciation and affection of yet another generation of fans. Many here tonight weren’t ...

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More Unbearable Pleasures Of Being A Woman – The Old Joint Stock, Birmingham.

Two girls look out

Writers: Joanna Eden and Leigh McDonald Reviewer: John Kennedy The show’s hedonistic title riffs on an obtuse nod to novel/film The Unbearable Lightness Of Being. while, disappointingly, the sex isn’t anywhere as near explicit, it at least manages to dodge the car crash – mostly. Think Victoria Wood and French & Saunders’ wine-soaked quality-time mothers together with Stephen Sondheim existentialism. Mac & Eden are shouty, ...

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