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North West

War Horse – Empire Theatre, Liverpool

Writer: Michael Morpurgo Adaptor: Nick Stafford Directors: Marianne Elliot and Tom Morris Touring Director: Katie Henry Reviewer: Matt Forrest 12 years on from its premiere at the National Theatre, residencies on the West End, Broadway and numerous national and international tours it would be no exaggeration to say that War Horse has become a theatrical institution, and on the basis ...

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There Is a Light That Never Goes Out (Scenes from the Luddite Rebellion) – The Royal Exchange, Manchester

Writers: James Yeatman and Lauren Mooney Director: James Yeatman Reviewer: Dave Cunningham The challenging nature of There Is a Light That Never Goes Out at The Royal Exchange is made clear in the tag line: Scenes from the Luddite Rebellion.  The play does not attempt to give an exhaustive examination of the disruptive events during the industrial revolution when workers, fearing ...

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Twelfth Night – Grosvenor Park Open Air Theatre, Chester

Writer: William Shakespeare Director: Julia Thomas Reviewer: John Roberts Julia Thomas has found magic with her production of Shakespeare’s hilarious comedy Twelfth Night as part of this year’s summer season at the Grosvenor Park Open Air Theatre. Not only has she managed to perfectly cast the rep company to play to their strongest suits, but she pushes the pace of the ...

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The Borrowers – Grosvenor Park Open Air Theatre, Chester

Writer: Mary Norton Adaptor: Bryony Lavery Director: Robert Shaw Cameron Reviewer: John Roberts  It’s that time of year again when the in-the-round pop-up auditorium takes residence in Chester’s Grosvenor Park and a large ensemble of actors bring three shows in rep throughout the summer (The Borrowers, Twelfth Night and Henry V). An occasion is always guaranteed due to the intimate nature ...

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Scouse Pacific – Royal Court, Liverpool

Writer: Fred Lawless Director: Bob Eaton Reviewer: John Roberts First produced at The Royal Court as a Christmas production, now almost a decade later the show gets a summer revival, which feels as fresh and as funny as it was when it was first performed. Needless to say this comic castaway caper features an almost face cohort in the roles ...

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The Empathy Experiment – The King’s Arms, Salford

Writer/Director: Rose Condo Reviewer: Sam Lowe The Empathy Experimentis structured creatively and solidly, with titles borrowing from the scientific semantic field. It is that good, it has become the inspiration for the structure of this review. Observation Rose Condo is an award-winning poet from Canada. The objective of this spoken word, experimental performance about an experiment is whether or not ...

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MIF: The Fountainhead – The Lowry, Salford

Writer: Ayn Rand adapted by Koen Tachelet Director: Ivo van Hove Reviewer: Dave Cunningham The 2019 Manchester International Festival (MIF) has not been without controversy. There has been a dispute about authorship of one of the plays and an absent presenter literally phoned-in her address at the opening event.  Staging an adaptation of The Fountainhead– Ayn Rand’s epic tribute to ...

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Tree – Upper Campfield Market, Manchester

Creators: Idris Elba & Kwame Kwei-Armah   Director: Kwame Kwei-Armah   Reviewer: Jay Nuttall   An umbrella of questionable ethics has become Tree’s canopy in the lead up to the opening of one of Manchester International Festival’s flagship productions. A high-profile disagreement between creatives and the role they should or should not be credited with has pushed this production into ...

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