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South West Reviews

The Commitments – Mayflower Theatre, Southampton

brian gilligan and cast the commitments theatre royal glasgow

Director: Caroline Jay Ranger Writer: Roddy Doyle Reviewer: Sharon MacDonald-Armitage The West End smash hit The Commitments rolls into Southampton’s Mayflower to rapturous applause. Based on the film of the same name, this show tells to story of a group of dysfunctional, disenchanted, Dubliners from the 1980s, who at worst dislike each other and at best are tolerant, but they ...

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Airswimming – Rondo Theatre, Bath

Writer: Charlotte Jones Directors: Andy Cork and Emma Firman Reviewer: Claire Hayes  Here’s a shocking premise for a play; that women who don’t conform to convention should be shut away in an institution and left to decay. And yet, in early 20th Century Britain, this was too often their fate; from unmarried mothers to those who simply didn’t fit in, ...

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Fire in the North Sky: Epic Tales from Finland – Phoenix Arts Centre, Exeter

Concept, composition and arrangements: Nick Hennessy, Kristiina Ilmonen, Anna-Kaisa Liedes, Timo Vaananen Director: Paula Crutchlow Reviewer: Ben Miller-Jarvest Before Fire in the North Sky ever begins, we are presented with a plain black backdrop, a couple of stools, a gleaming drum-kit to one side and several acoustic instruments strewn upon the floor, while five large photos of turn-of-the-century Finland stand ...

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Spillikin – Drum Theatre, Theatre Royal, Plymouth

Writer and Director:  Jon Welch Reviewer: Joan Phillips Spillikin catches perfectly the cultural and scientific zeitgeist on two fronts. Firstly, how we help the increasing numbers of people affected by dementia in our community. Secondly, what role Artificial Intelligence (AI) and technology can take in supporting these efforts. Writer/director Jon Welch manages to balance both themes throughout this thoughtful and ...

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Murder for Two – The Watermill Theatre, Bagnor

Murder For Two at The Watermill Newbury

Book, Music and Lyrics: Joe Kinosian and Kellen Blair Director: Luke Shepherd Review: David Jobson   This year marks the 50th anniversary of the Watermill Theatre, and to start off this special year the venue is once again delving into a genre that they’ve come to specialise in. The small-scale musical where the cast play both actor and musician. This ...

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WNO: La Bohème – Wales Millennium Centre, Cardiff

Music: Giacomo Puccini Libretto: Giuseppe Giacosa and Luigi Illica Director: Annabel Arden Revival director: Caroline Chaney Conductor: Simon Phillippo Reviewer:  Barbara Michaels Welsh National Opera’s production of Puccini’s La Bohème was last staged at the Wales Millennium Centre back in 2012.  One of the most frequently performed of all operas, La Bohème was described by Luciano Pavarotti as “The perfect ...

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Feeding the Darkness – Cygnet Theatre, Exeter

Writers: Journeymen Theatre Directed &Performed by: Lynn Morris and Dave Morris Reviewer: Becca Savory Fuller It might be uncomfortable viewing, to spend an hour delving into the theme of state-sanctioned torture, but our discomfort is partly under scrutiny in this sensitive performance by Journeymen Theatre.  When we look away, allowing apathy and ignorance to cloud our view of the world, ...

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A Regular Little Houdini – Chapter, Cardiff

Writer: Daniel Llewelyn-Williams Director: Joshua Richards Reviewer: Jacqui Onions A Regular Little Houdini brings together magic and history in an engaging one-man show. This well-crafted play transports the audience to Newport, South Wales, in the early 1900s. It links together historical moments including Harry Houdini’s visits to Newport’s Lyceum Theatre and the building of city’s landmark transporter bridge, all told ...

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