Round-up of news and treats and other interesting things

Manchester’s Royal Exchange have announced the details for their production of Twelfth Night which arrives this spring. It is directed by the award-winning Jo Davies who makes her Royal Exchange debut with Shakespeare’s whirlwind comedy. Faith Omole, Kevin Harvey and Mina Anwar return to the Exchange as Viola, Orsino and Maria, Kate Kennedy takes on the role of Olivia and Anthony Calf is Malvolio. 

And in its own spin on the gender, identity and love issues at the heart of the play, award-winning Manchester-based transgender artist and activist Kate O’Donnell makes her Royal Exchange debut in the role of Feste, the wise observer in this foolish, lovesick kingdom. Live music from the critically acclaimed folk musician Kate Young and lap-tap guitarist Joe Gravil adds to the complexity of this intricate comedy which probes gender-politics and ideas of belonging. The play runs from 13 April – 20 May.

The cast is completed by Aaron Anthony, Simon Armstrong, Harry Attwell, Daniel Francis-Swaby, Tarek Merchant and Jill Myers. The creative team includes Designer Leslie Travers, Lighting Designer Jack Knowles, Sound Designer Pete Malkin and Composer Alex Baranowski.

If it ain’t broke, why fix it? Jonathan Church doesn’t appear to have changed at all in his move from Chichester to Bath as his aesthetic of quality but safe drama continues with the announcement of his inaugural summer season at Theatre Royal Bath.

We can look forward to a whole lot of old white men drama in:
David Hare’s Racing Demon (with David Haig)
Sand in the Sandwiches (with Edward Fox) by Hugh Whitemore,
Alfred Hitchcock’s North by Northwest,
Looking at Lucian (with Henry Goodman) by Alan Franks
and Alan Bennett’s The Lady in the Van.

I’m sure it’ll all be very good, and popular with traditional audiences in Bath, but such reliance on classics doesn’t set the pulse racing at all or currently reflect anything at all to do with modern Britain.

Since I now like rock musicals apparently, the next show to pop up at The Other Palace is now on my radar/ Tony and Grammy Award-winning songwriter Duncan Sheik follows up the successful UK run of his musical thriller American Psycho with Whisper House a haunting new musical that combines a thrillingly original rock score with a touching and beautiful tale about learning to embrace the unknown. Starring Simon Bailey, Nicholas Goh, Simon Lipkin, Niamh Perry, Dianne Pilkington and a seven piece on-stage band Whisper House opens on 18 April with previews from the 6 April.

The Lyric Hammersmith also announced its new season running May 2017 to January 2018 including three major new productions: a UK premiere directed by Sean Holmes, a new adaptation of a classic directed by Sean Holmes and the return of the now traditional Lyric pantomime co-directed by Sean Holmes.


In June, the Lyric will present the UK Premiere of Ferdinand von Schirach’s Terror in a translation by David Tushingham, a gripping and timely play that has been stirring debate around the globe. The audience are at the centre of this courtroom drama, voting to decide the verdict at each performance. Guilty. Not Guilty. You Decide.
In the autumn, Lesley Sharp takes to the Lyric stage playing Irina Arkadina in a vibrant new adaptation of Anton Chekhov’s The Seagull by Lyric Associate Artist Simon Stephens.

The festive season will see the return of the much loved Lyric pantomime with a brand new production of Jack and the Beanstalk.

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