Set in Philadelphia in July 1960, at one of the national political conventions, this is a play about power, corruption and morality. It’s a race between two men who seek their party’s nomination for the American presidency. Both men are flawed; William Russell is promiscuous and his marriage is in trouble, while Jo Cantwell is ruthlessly pragmatic, believing his ends justify the dirtiest of means. Human nature is such that no one is beyond reproach, but as presidential candidates, their private lives become public property – and the outgoing President needs to decide who to support.
Reviewed by Roz Scott on Wednesday 27 September |
Thoroughly Modern Millie is a stellar performance, which left me buzzing and thankful to be alive, as we follow a group of young would-be actresses set out on a life of adventure in New York – propelled into their new lives at high speed, with the optimism and exuberance of youth. Set in the 1920s, it tracks the period just after the 18th Amendment was passed, declaring Prohibition and banning alcohol in the United States.
Reviewed by Roz Scott on Friday 7 April |
Invincible is a play about a clash of cultures, when a middle-class couple from London move up north and try to forge a friendship with their very different working-class neighbours. Tensions within each couple are evident from the outset, as is the gap between them, a combination which provides a lot of light entertainment.
Reviewed by Roz Scott on Thursday 30 March |
Set in 1660s London during the reign of Charles II, and starring Laura Pitt-Pulford in the title role, Nell Gwynn tells the story of a vivacious and bawdy woman with a love of life and a tendency to get her own way. A lowly orange-seller and former prostitute, Nell interjects during a play, thereby becoming the first woman to appear on stage. A series of jokes ensues about the physical merits of women in theatre; Nell dazzles actors and audience alike, and eventually catches the eye of the King.
Reviewed by Roz Scott on Thursday 9 March |
When I first saw Blood Brothers – nearly twenty years ago now – I loved everything about it. And as this current production shows, the storyline, acting and music still have the power to move me. On a deprived Liverpudlian council estate, single mother Mrs Johnstone is trying to scrape together an existence for herself and her seven children; living from hand to mouth and unable even to pay the milk bill, she is persuaded – or pressured – into giving away one of her new-born twins. The recipient is the middle-class Mrs Lyons, and as though they’ve struck a deal with the Devil, the decision returns to haunt the women as the two boys grow to adulthood.
Reviewed by Tig Land on Tuesday 29 November |
This new adaptation of D H Lawrence’s notorious 1928 novel is convincingly acted, engagingly presented – and in its own way, quite thought-provoking, too. Simply staged, throwing focus on the characters and the knot of secret passions they share between them, it’s a worthy homily on the need for human connections in an increasingly dehumanised age.
Reviewed by Richard Stamp on Wednesday 16 November |
Some of the greatest hits of the Sixties usher us into the auditorium, and the simple set – a bachelor pad in New York – is also a mirror-perfect reflection of this time. Black-and-white pictures of Judy Garland and Bette Davis hang down, showcasing some of the icons of the era. And these are, of course, gay icons too … and so the stage is set for the revival of this celebrated play, often credited with transforming attitudes on its 1968 debut.
Reviewed by Tig Land on Thursday 10 November |
It was with enormous anticipation that I waited for the curtain to come up on this stage adaptation of a much-loved film. The familiar story follows Holly Golightly (played by Coronation Street’s Georgia May Foote) – a flighty, flirty young singleton, who works her way through both men and boys as if they are going out of fashion. The unfolding of her life is commented on by Fred (Downton Abbey’s Matt Barber), a writer with big dreams and ambitions, who appears to be both enthralled and fascinated by Holly’s every move.
Reviewed by Tig Land on Thursday 27 October |
This adaptation of the E M Forster’s classic novel transports the audience back to a time of elegance, poise, and obvious class distinction. We meet Charlotte Bartlett (played by Felicity Kendal), a very prim spinster, who is chaperoning her young and somewhat naive cousin Lucy as they travel round Italy. They meet Mr Emerson and his son George, who gladly give up their rooms to provide the ladies with the view that they might truly deserve. Amongst the contrasting beauty and the darker side of Florence, and despite their obvious class difference, Lucy and George find themselves drawn to each other – and eventually succumb to a passionate clinch, witnessed by Charlotte. The play then rests on how their story will unfold once they return to England.
Reviewed by Tig Land on Wednesday 12 October |
Present Laughter fizzles with witty dialogue from the outset. It is one of Noel Coward’s most natural plays: full of humour, with characters you care for, and very few villains. The upper-class setting is just that, and the characters are genuine; although a discriminating audience may recognise some well-known traits, no-one is stereotyped or typecast. And therein lies the success of this production, masterfully executed by a convincing cast.
Reviewed by Roz Scott on Thursday 11 August |