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Around the World in 80 Days – Liverpool Playhouse

 Writer: Jules Verne Adaptor: Laura Eason Director: Theresa Heskins Reviewer: Tate James With mathematical precision, Phileas Fogg winds his way about the world, hopping from train to boat to elephant in Jules Verne’s 1873 novel; and it is with the same mathematical precision that this exceptional adaptation by Laura Eason bounds across the stage, dragging its willing audience across continents ...

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Sweeney Todd – Liverpool Everyman

Music & Lyrics: Stephen Sondheim Book: Hugh Wheeler Director: Nick Bagnall Reviewer: John Roberts If you attend this tale of Sweeney Todd, be prepared to see a version of the Sondheim musical which sees director Nick Bagnall strip back the piece and focus on the fundamental and important elements of music, lyrics and storytelling – this condensing brings an unrivalled ...

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Heart of Darkness – The Lowry, Salford

Writer: Joseph Conrad Adaptor: Andrew Quick and Pete Brooks Director: Pete Brooks Reviewer: Jim Gillespie This is not Conrad’s Heart of Darkness, although it would be improper not to give him a writer’s credit. It is also inaccurate to describe it as an adaptation, although much is made of the difficulties of adapting a Victorian novel about events in Africa ...

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The Wizard of Oz – Theatre Royal St Helens

Writer: Simon Foster Director: Chantelle Nolan Reviewer: John Roberts Theatre Royal St Helens and Regal Entertainment have an undeniable reputation of producing pantomimes of the highest standard, in fact they were one of the first venues in the country to produce an Easter pantomime, this year the present a new version of The Wizard of Ozand it’s just as spellbinding ...

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Gary Delaney: Gagster’s Paradise – The Lowry, Salford.

Reviewer: Jay Nuttall The mark of a great comedian is, when leaving a gig, not remembering any of the jokes. It helps to write a couple down before they become ephemeral. Gary Delaney’s Gagster’s Paradise is so cram packed full that most comedians would hope to write as many funny lines in ten years that he puts into one hour. If ...

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Mark Thomas: Check Up, Our NHS at 70 – Liverpool Playhouse

Director: Nicolas Kent Reviewer: Matt Forrest This must be the first time I’ve attended a comedy show where half way through there is a projected video of a stomach operation, whilst a laid-back jazz track plays out, with Thomas bellowing “staple, cut, staple”. But then again, this no normal show; this is a show about an institution that has impacted ...

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West Side Story – The Royal Exchange, Manchester   

Concept:  Jerome Robbins Book: Arthur Laurents Music: Leonard Bernstein Lyrics: Stephen Sondheim. Director:  Sarah Frankcom Reviewer: Dave Cunningham Nowadays audiences are accustomed to perceiving West Side Story as a classic musical perfect for viewing on Sunday afternoons so it is hard to accept that, when first staged, its depiction of gang violence was controversial.  Now the UK has become a racially divided ...

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Blood Brothers – The Lowry, Salford

Writer: Willy Russell Director: Bob Tomson & Bill Kenwright Reviewer: Matt Forrest It’s hard to believe that Blood Brothers just celebrated its 36th year, if anything, it feels older purely because the affection with which it is held. It’s certainly an institution of the theatre circuit and there’s no question why: this is a timeless, heart-breaking tale, of love, class and ...

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