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South West Reviews

The Land of My Fathers and Mothers and Some Other People – The Boat Shed, Exeter

Writer & Performer:  Rhys Slade-Jones Reviewer:  Becca Savory Fuller The Land of My Fathers… is presented as a work-in-progress production at Exeter’s newest performance space, The Bike Shed Theatre’s pop-up summer venue, The Boat Shed.  So, how to review a piece that’s so clearly in an early stage of development?  Lead-artist Rhys Slade-Jones forgets what’s coming next, trips over his ...

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Racing Demon – Theatre Royal, Bath

Writer: David Hare Director: Jonathan Church Reviewer: Claire Hayes Jonathan Church’s inaugural summer season for Bath’s Theatre Royal signalled changes from the moment his programme was revealed – without any hint of the usual Shakespeare or Coward. Instead, it opens with a revival of David Hare’s 1990 play Racing Demon, a meditation on the state of the Church of England, ...

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Coppélia – Bristol Hippodrome

A male ballet dancer holds a female aloft in front of a group of female dancers

Composer: Léo Delibes Conductor: Paul Murphy Choreography: Marius Petipa, Enrico Cecchetti, Peter Wright Reviewer: Claire Hayes Based on the stories of E T A Hoffmann, Coppélia is the lightest and most fragile of confections; the tale of a mechanical doll who entrances and enrages in equal measure. Yet the enchantment of this enduringly popular 19th Century work is underscored by ...

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Shirley Valentine – New Theatre, Cardiff

Jodie Prenger as Shirley Valentine

Writer: Willy Russell Director: Glen Walford Reviewer: Barbara Michaels Holiday time is here, and with it come thoughts of jetting off to exotic climes, sunshine and wine, with maybe a touch of romance thrown in.  How timely, then, is a revival of Shirley Valentine, Willy Russell’s enduringly popular 1986 rom-com.  First written as a one-act play, it was presented on ...

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13 – Tobacco Factory Theatre, Bristol

Writer: Mike Bartlett Director: David Mercatali Reviewer: Joan Phillips First staged in 2011, Mike Bartlett's play, 13, resonates with today's world more than ever with its ominous portrayal of a nation on the verge of a social and political breakdown. But sadly its disappointments are much the same. Bartlett's depiction of a political system under siege from the rise in ...

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The Graduate, New Theatre – Cardiff

Writer: Charles Webb Stage Adaptation: Terry Johnson Director: Lucy Bailey Reviewer: Barbara Michaels The sexual mores of the Sixties are the background for The Graduate.  Laughable as they may seem in some respects to the youth of today, seen against the sexual culture of the time they have their place in social history.  Despite this, it is almost impossible to ...

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Thoroughly Modern Millie – Bristol Hippodrome

Joanne Clifton as Millie Dillmount in Thoroughly Modern Millie

Book: Richard Morris and Dick Scanlan New Music: Jeanine Tesori New Lyrics: Dick Scanlan Director: Racky Plews Reviewer: Claire Hayes If it’s light-hearted escapist entertainment you’re after then the jazz age Thoroughly Modern Millie, with Strictly Come Dancing’s Joanne Clifton asserting her musical theatre credentials in the title role, could just fit the bill. Be warned though, around the edges, ...

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The Railway Children – The Northcott Theatre, Exeter

Adaptation: Dave Simpson Director: Paul Jepson Reviewer: Charlie Hackett Edith Nesbit’s classic children's tale is brought to life in this new and mostly successful, adaptation. Following the disappearance of their father in mysterious circumstances and with their mother not able to provide for the family, Roberta, Peter and Phyllis are forced to leave their comfortable lives in London, heading north ...

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