What We're Watching - The Pantaloons - A Midsummer Night's Dream

The Pantaloons – A Midsummer Night’s Dream – Arley Hall and Gardens For my second ever trip into the Pantaloons lovely world I am in the opulent surroundings of Arley Hall’s walled garden, with Lord and Lady Ashcroft sat in front of me. A slight change from where I saw this company’s hilarious telling of Pride and Prejudice earlier this year – my local library! There is a slight change to the line-up as well, with only 40% of the last cast reappearing, but the mood is exactly the same, with the actors making music and joking with the audience, even welcoming return visitors like old friends. The only difference is we have all brought picnics, which will become props in the play. The cast is

What We're Watching - John Hegley: Family WordShip

John Hegley - Family Wordship Didsbury Parsonage Trust – As part of the Didsbury Arts Festival How often, at multi-artist events, are you let down by the big name draw? I’ve been to mini local music festivals where the pub bands and tribute acts will have the crowd in the palms of their hands, and then a reformed group from the 80s come on to headline, and they play as though they’ve got a train to catch. I’ve been on caravan parks and cruise ships where the entertainment staff are performing their socks off for minimum wage and a free breakfast, and then the act off the telly (albeit a runner up from the X Factor or an Andrew Lloyd Webber musical competition) take the stage and dials their

What We're Watching - Police Cops in Space aka Hush Hush

Hush Hush aka Police Cops in Space After an interest pricking anti-marketting campaign (‘Don’t Come. You Are NOT Welcome’ was about the only blurb on the Lowry website) and being shown a video of two actresses (who were not in the show) creepily shooing us away, but reminding us we had to pay what we thought the show was worth on the way out, I am sure that a fair proportion of the audience had no clue what they were about to see. My son even made us move from the front row because the video had spooked him so much (and me behind the tallest widest man in the auditorium – thanks son!) What we were treated to was The Pretend Men’s creation, Police Cops in Space (which my research has uncovere

What We're Watching: Virtuoso

The line between genius and mania is usually very thin, and never thinner than in Room 5064’s production of Virtuoso. It is the true story of John Ogden, the greatest ever English (Mancunian) piano player, you probably never heard of. William Humble’s script, originally performed by Alfred Molina and Alison Steadman, follows the troubled ivory tinkler on his journey from maestro to miser, as he struggles with mental illness. Haunted by the spectre of his father, who also suffered, those around him fade away as the cash cow runs out of milk. After we are treated to some footage of the real Ogden performing in his pomp, the lights come up on a cluttered stage (a baby grand piano would be diffi

What We're Watching - Operation Black Antler

What we’re watching. Watching? Watching only tells a miniscule part of the story. This is total immersive theatre. Like Donnie Brasco, you might never come out! I purposely read as little as I could about Blast Theory and Hydrocracker’s co-creation Operation Black Antler, other than I would be invited to take the role of an undercover cop. After meeting with my fellow ‘audience’ members (only seven of us), in the middle of Manchester, we received a text to rendezvous at a nearby Safe House. Met there by an agitated Detective Sergeant Mitchell (Olwen May), and ‘deep swimmer’ cop Watts (Jamie Samuel) we are juiced in on the undercover operation. A seemingly innocent fundraiser is being held at

What We're Watching - Theatre Review. The Play That Goes Wrong

THE PLAY THAT GOES WRONG – LOWRY THEATRE – 7 June 2017 For a non-musical show to attain the dizzy heights of ‘West End Smash’, and run in London for several years, you know it must be good. That’s why as soon as the tour of The Play That Goes Wrong was announced at the Lowry Theatre, I was straight on the internet to book. Mischief Theatre certainly ensure you get your money’s worth. As the audience gather, the lead actor mills about them at front of house, looking for the dog used in the production that has ran away, and the stage manager (Kate Bernstein) and sound engineer (Graeme Rooney) try to tame the elaborate but badly-behaved set (which is as much a star as the rest of the cast), hil

Laugh and Let Die Stalwarts Team up with Brookside Legend

Laugh and Let Die stalwarts Matt Seber and Pete Gibson are about to star in a major play about piano genius John Ogdon. Virtuoso examines the meteoric rise to fame of the Manchester trained classical musician and his subsequent and tragic mental collapse. Brought to you by Room 5064 Productions and staged at The Three Minute Theatre in central Manchester between 15-21 June, Virtuoso is directed by Brookside legend Sue Jenkins – whose Actor’s Lab trained many of Laugh and Let Die’s principal performers, including creative director Rob Ireland. Matt, who is known to murder mystery audiences for hilarious creations such as loveable PC Ormack and the pompous industrialist William Inzane in Titan

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