Another week passes and the world of theatre continues to thrive and excite. This week’s shows include looking at the past and the future – from famous literary voices to some of the finest comedians the UK has ever seen. Some of our shows look at our society and asks some striking questions about our moral code and ethics, and of course there is a sprinkling of musical theatre in there as well. Don’t forget to let us know if you have seen any of the productions or if there is a show that we of course shouldn’t miss out on.
As part of a season marking the centenary of the First World War, both of these productions by Christopher Luscombe will play in repertoire in the Royal Shakespeare Theatre, Stratford-upon-Avon. They will also be broadcast live into cinemas worldwide and streamed free into schools. Luscombe directs a single company of actors in a fresh pairing of two of Shakespeare’s most sparkling comedies. The productions will be set just before and just after the First World War in a splendid country house based on Charlecote Park in Warwickshire – four miles from the RSC’s home in Stratford-upon-Avon
Mental illness seems to be on the rise with statistics claiming that one in four of us will experience some form of mental ill heath in our lives. The Assessment by art and activism collective The Vacuum Cleaner ask: “Is half the population struggling with their minds? Are psychiatrists over diagnosing? Or are changing attitudes making it easier to seek help? And what about you? You are not a statistic, you’re a person with a free mind. How’s your mental health?” If the boundaries between madness and ‘normality’ are blurred, how do we define what is a mental illness, and what isn’t? This new performative event invites you to delve into your own mind, to be assessed for common mental health conditions, while testing the current processes of diagnosis.
14th and 15th October
Chichester have developed an incredible body of critically acclaimed musical revivals and Gypsy starring Imelda Staunton in the iconic rôle of Momma Rose is set to follow on from hits such as Sweeney Todd, Singin’ in the Rain and The Pajama Game. Having put her daughter Baby June on stage as the star of a Vaudeville show Momma Rose does her utmost to ensure things stay that way. When June leaves the show against her mother’s wishes, Rose turns to June’s twin sister Louise to take her place. Louise is a far different personality than June and her shyness makes it difficult for her to replace her sister. Coupled with the fact that Vaudeville is coming to the end of its popularity and burlesque is taking its place, it is the relationship between Louise and her mother that is tested.
Runs until 8th November
It’s 2013. Thousands of people are out on the streets of Sofia, protesting against government corruption, and on an unspoilt stretch of the Bulgarian Black Sea coast, British developers are about to start work on a controversial new holiday resort. Simultaneously intimate and panoramic, Coastal Defences is an intriguing look into the country of Bulgaria, asking how far people will go to affect change in a culture that’s looking to the future while trying to hold on to its past. This production is part of Theatre West’s One Day season, the company’s first project since its recent move from the Alma Tavern, which is happening in venues across the city and will be preceded by Canopy of Stars, a ten minute short play by Miriam Battye.
Runs until 18th October
This is My Family is a fast-paced musical comedy from the writer of Calendar Girls. Following a sell-out run at the Sheffield Crucible, Daniel Evans’ production of the Tim Firth musical re-opens the newly refurbished Sheffield Lyceum ahead of a national tour. 13 year old Nicky has won a competition, and can take her family on a dream holiday to a destination of her choice. Where she chooses however, is the last place they were expecting…
Runs Until 18th October
Presented by Mouth on Fire in Bewley’s Café Theatre, Patrick Kavanagh: A Lifeleads its audience on a journey through the writer’s life, tracing an emotional and spiritual journey. Taking in his time living on the Raglan Road, the play portrays Dublin in the 1940’s, 50’s and 60’s. Utilising excerpts from his poetry and other works, A Lifetranscends the boundaries between page and stage allowing its audience a unique insight into one of Ireland’s most beloved writers.
Runs until November 1st.
In the week of Oscar Wilde’s 160th Birthday, European Arts Company transfer their production of The Trials of Oscar Wilde written by John O’Conner and Merlin Holland (Oscar’s Grandson) to Trafalgar Studios. The play is the first to use the recently released full transcripts of Oscar’s court cases and combines them to form this intimate and revealing courtroom drama. Was he harshly treated or the author of his own downfall? Using the actual words spoken in court, we can feel what it was like to be in the company of a flawed genius – as this less than ideal husband was tragically reduced to a man of no importance.
Runs until 8th November
This affectionate, moving and fantastically funny homage to one of the greatest comedy double act’s that Britain has ever seen vividly brings back warm memories of a bygone era. Recreating some of the finest moments of Eric and Ernie’s television and stage performances, cherished moments from the archives sit alongside new material created by Ian Ashpitel and Jonty Stephens who also take on the iconic duo.
14th – 16th October
Flanders, August 21st 1917. British forces advancing towards Passchendaele are struggling through driving rain and mud. The fighting is fierce and bloody. Each day thousands are killed, wounded or lost to oblivion. Two miles behind the front line a Field General Court Martial begins. Private James Smith of the King’s Liverpool Regiment is charged with desertion. Early One Morning continues the Octagon’s WWI commemoration’s which tells the true story of 26-year-old soldier James Smith from Bolton.
Runs until 1st November