The Royal Exchange in Manchester opened its doors on on 15 September 1976. The Guardian takes a look back at some of the mighty productions staged in its atmospheric in-the-round space, but misses out the marvelous Cush Jumbo in this roll-call of illustrious alumni.
Ours is not to reason why but Josie Rourke has made a star-studded video, written by herself and James Graham, of Sweet Charity’s ‘The Rhythm of Life’ in order to encourages COVID-19 vaccination take-up ahead of the NHS’s 73rd birthday.
Nicola Roberts and Sandra Marvin do the lion’s share of the singing of Cy Coleman and Dorothy Fields’ iconic song, with the likes of David Walliams, Asa Butterfield, Derek Jacobi, Don Warrington and Russell Tovey adding in their own tuppence-worth to persuade naysayers to get the jab. Continue reading “Get a vaccine and get the ‘Rhythm of Life’”
The ninth and final series of Waking the Dead works well as a brutal finale even if it never quite addresses Boyd’s key issues
“Get the collar and the ‘how’ doesn’t matter”
Series 9 proved to be Waking the Dead’s last and I’d say it goes out on a good’un. Stacey Roca’s DS Howard suffers the familiar fate of so many of the show’s non-OGs, hustled out off-screen. But her replacement is actually cleverly worked, by not being a replacement at all. Instead, Eva Birthistle’s Detective Superintendent Sarah Cavendish is transferred in from Counter-Terrorism and with the subject of Boyd’s retirement brought up from the off, there’s a completely different dynamic in the team for once.
And I really liked it, particularly with the brutal honesty with which Cavendish diagnoses the screwed-up relationships of the cold case team and the almost-Stockholm Syndrome nature of everyone’s defence of Boyd’s behaviour, even when it is threatening their lives and careers (btw whatever happened to Spencer working for CID?). But in the way of these things, she is made to suffer for this (and how!) as the show careers towards the kind of final scene you just know is on its way. Continue reading “TV Review: Waking the Dead Series 9”
All the Web’s a Stageis a streaming initiative consisting of 12 marvellous jam-packed hours of all your favourite performers from the West End and theatre to comedy, drag and magic!
It’s fitting that the free livestream will be held on Thursday 23 April, Shakespeare’s birthday and the date that theatres began their process of restoration after strict censorship in 1661, the last time British theatres were ordered to close for a prolonged period.
The livestream is raising money for our artistic comrades who have been severely impacted by Covid-19. Whilst we appreciate the government’s initiatives, and the support made available for many self-employed workers, there are still many freelance artists who fall through the cracks of these new government programs. As a result, thousands of artists who are now unable to earn an income are facing the coronavirus crisis with no available financial support.
You can watch the livestream on the Theatre Together website or on the Theatre Together Facebook page this Thursday from midday. Continue reading “News: #AllTheWebsAStage details announced”
“We’re a dying breed”
Obviously, the choice to stage David Mamet’s ode to toxic masculinity Glengarry Glen Ross was made long before the hashtag #MeToo shattered the blinkers of anyone unaware of what men have been getting away with. But it feels indicative of a theatrical culture that has reflected and reinforced a societal imbalance – all-male plays, written by men, directed by men, lauded by prize ceremonies and thus easy targets (and safer bets) for revivals, a self-perpetuating loop that doesn’t seem to even be coming close to stopping.
And why should it, one might argue. Sam Yates’ production is astutely cast and tightly wound as it visits the world of Chicago real estate. Firstly through a set of short duologues in a Chinese restaurant in which we variously meet a set of salesmen and discover their place in the pecking order. And then after the interval, they’re all brought together in their office (an impressive almighty set change from Chiara Stephenson) which has been broken into and where all the frustrations and feelings they’ve been bottling up now come tumbling free. Continue reading “Review: Glengarry Glen Ross, Playhouse”
David Tennant’s opening season took the template of the opening series and ran with it, Russell T Davies’ vision finding its ideal mate in the Scottish actor. The typically adventurous sweep was tempered with a more tender vision, which considerably upped our emotional investment (previous companions returning, romantic connections whether past or present).
Bringing back the Cybermen was an interesting move, as was the introduction of the notion of parallel worlds (and how important that became…). And if the series-long motif of Torchwood didn’t really pay off, especially not when one considers what Torchwood the show became, the finale to Doomsday is pretty close to perfection. Continue reading “Countdown to new Who: Doctor Who Series 2”
Rob Edwards, To Kill A Mockingbird, Octagon Theatre, Bolton
David Neilson, Endgame, HOME, Manchester
Daniel Rigby, Breaking The Code, Royal Exchange, Manchester
Don Warrington, King Lear, Royal Exchange
Niamh Cusack, Ghosts, HOME
Kaisa Hammarlund, Sweet Charity, Royal Exchange
Julie Hesmondhalgh, Wit, Royal Exchange
Kathryn Hunter, The Emperor, HOME
Breaking The Code, Royal Exchange
The Emperor, HOME
Wit, Royal Exchange
Best Supporting Actor
Daniel Crossley, Sweet Charity, Royal Exchange
Raad Rawi, Breaking The Code, Royal Exchange
Marc Small, To Kill A Mockingbird, Octagon Theatre
Miltos Yerolemou, King Lear, Royal Exchange
Best Supporting Actress
Natalie Dew, Breaking The Code, Royal Exchange
Sharon Duncan-Brewster, A Streetcar Named Desire, Royal Exchange
Natalie Grady, Martha Josie and the Chinese Elvis, Octagon Theatre
Amy Nuttall, The Winter’s Tale, Octagon Theatre
Best Visiting Production
946 – The Amazing Story of Adolphus Tipps, HOME
A Girl is a Half-Formed Thing, Lowry, Salford
Love’s Labour’s Lost / Much Ado About Nothing, Opera House
The Encounter, HOME
The James Plays, Lowry
Best Actor in a Visiting Production
Edward Bennett, Love’s Labour’s Lost / Much Ado About Nothing, Opera House
Rufus Hound, The Wind in the Willows, The Lowry
Simon McBurney, The Encounter, HOME
Michael Pennington, King Lear, Opera House
Best Actress in a Visiting Production
Lisa Dillon, Love’s Labour’s Lost / Much Ado About Nothing, Opera House
Aoife Duffin, A Girl Is A Half-Formed Thing, Lowry
Lisa Maxwell, End Of The Rainbow, Opera House
Zizi Strallen, Mary Poppins, Palace
Daisy Badger, Look Back In Anger, Octagon Theatre
Ben Hunter, The Girls, Lowry
Norah Lopez Holden, Ghosts, HOME
Kirsty Rider, Pride And Prejudice, Lowry
Holly Willock, The Wind In The Willows, Lowry
Young “Michael” cast, Billy Elliot, Palace
Young “Scout” cast, To Kill A Mockingbird, Octagon Theatre
Andrea Chénier, Opera North, Lowry
Billy Budd, Opera North, Lowry
Don Giovanni, ETO, Buxton Opera House
Tamerlano, Buxton Festival, Buxton Opera House
“Things are going to get, now and for the rest of your life, extremely difficult”
Well actually, things are getting easier to watch theatre in different ways and as I leave on holiday for a wee while, I thought I’d round up a few of the current offerings.
Mike Bartlett’s smash hit Wild at Hampstead Theatre was livestreamed yesterday and is available until midnight on Tuesday.
Talawa’s touring production of King Lear is available on the iPlayer (I was a tiny bit disappointed with this to be honest)
And Phoebe Waller-Bridge’s Fleabag has been developed into a TV series – not got round to watching it yet but could well be good
2016 is nearly upon and for once, I’ve hardly anything booked for the coming year and what I do have tickets for, I’m hardly that inspired by (the Garrick season has been ruined by the awfulness of the rear stalls seats, and I only got Harry Potter and the Cursed Child tickets due to FOMO). Not for the first time, I’m intending to see less theatre next year but I do have my eyes on a good few productions in the West End, fringe and beyond. Continue reading “20 shows to look forward to in 2016”