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Tag Archives: David Birrell

The Threepenny Opera – The Octagon, Bolton

Book and Lyrics: Bertolt Brecht Music: Kurt Weill and Elizabeth Hauptmann Director: David Thacker   Reviewer: Harriet Mallion Adapted from John Gay’s 18th-century ballad opera, The Beggar’s Opera, Bertolt Brecht’s iconic play The Threepenny Opera traditionally offers a socialist critique to a struggling world. The latest production from The Octagon transforms the dominant themes of poverty and corruption into a ...

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Talking Heads – Octagon Theatre, Bolton

Writer: Alan Bennett Director: Ben Occhipinti Reviewer: May Mellstrom Alan Bennett's series Talking Heads showcased the art of the monologue on television to great acclaim; here, three of those mini-masterpieces make the leap from screen to stage in the Octagon's quietly captivating production. The television format has its benefits, camera close-ups provide a window into each characters world that the ...

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Educating Rita – Octagon Theatre, Bolton

Writer: Willy Russell Director: Elizabeth Newman Reviewer: May Mellstrom Talk to anyone about Educating Rita and two names inevitably crop up - Julie Walters and Michael Caine. To those whose only experience of Willy Russell's meaning-of-life tale is the 1983 film, it may come as a surprise to learn it began life three years earlier, as a stage play featuring ...

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The Wind in the Willows – The Mayflower, Southampton

Writer: Julian Fellowes Music and Lyrics: George Stiles, Andrew Drewe Director: Rachel Kavanaugh Reviewer: David Jobson After more than a century, The Wind in the Willows still enchants children with its charming tale. It has been adapted countless times for stage, movie and TV. Now it’s traipsing the open road with songs to match in this new musical adaptation of ...

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The Wind in the Willows – The Lowry, Salford

Book: Julian Fellowes Music &Lyrics: George Stiles &Anthony Drewe Director: Rachel Kavanaugh Reviewer: John Roberts There is something endearing about Kenneth Grahame’s story of friendship and survival among the animals of the woodland. It’s appeal never seems to weaken as new generations are introduced to the tales of Mole, Ratty, Badger and the eponymous Mr Toad. So it was no ...

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The War Has Not Yet Started – Drum, Theatre Royal, Plymouth

Writer:Mikhail Durnekov Translator:Noah Birksted-Breen Director:Michael Fentiman Reviewer: Joan Phillips   The War Has Not Yet Started is a composite of 12 short stories reflecting some of the very human anxieties of today’s troubled world. Written by Mikhail Durnenkov and translated from the original Russian by Noah Birksted-Breen, this 80-minute play bleakly captures some of society’s deepest, sometimes hidden, and often ...

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An Enemy of the People – Octagon Theatre, Bolton

Writer: Henrik Ibsen Adaptor: Arthur Miller Director: David Thacker Reviewer: Jim Gillespie   This production by the Octagon, in conjunction with the local University, is part of a wider celebration of the centenary of Arthur Miller’s birth on 17 October 1915. It also carries a personal resonance for Bolton Octagon Director David Thacker, who worked with Miller on his adaptation ...

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The Family Way (All in Good Time) – The Octagon Theatre, Bolton

Writer: Bill Naughton Director: Elizabeth Newman Reviewer: Dave Cunningham   The rising price of property is making acquiring a home increasingly difficult for the younger generation. Which brings an unexpected contemporary relevance to Bill Naughton’s 1966 social comedy The Family Way. The stress of residing with their in-laws Ezra (David Birrell) and Lucy Fitton (Barbara Drennan) has an unfortunate effect ...

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