With Halloween almost here and a new film version recently released Dracula is currently in the public consciousness. What better time, then, for a new tour of The Mark Bruce Company's adaptation, a dance performance that follows Bram Stoker's story but throws in a few original ideas to keep the whole thing fresh.
Friday, 17 October 2014
Wednesday, 15 October 2014
Finally, keep an eye on Islington Mill's goings on as it’s now back in operation and its event listings once again prove it to be a key creative hub in the Manchester area. The awesome 2 Bears (Hot Chip’s Joe Goddard and Raf Daddy) are set to play there on 29 October, followed by a big Halloween event promising ghost tours, film screenings and live music.
Monday, 13 October 2014
1956 Theatre’s Manchester repertory season begins with Little Women, adapted from Louisa May Alcott’s classic American novel following the rites of passage of four sisters - Meg, Jo, Beth and Amy - at the time of the American Civil War. This adaptation by Amy-Jane Ollies (who also plays the second eldest sister) and Nicole Garvin sees the action shift to World War 2 Britain, which enables some discussion about the girls’ places in the world, their entitlements and expectations, with Jo’s desire to study and write conflicting with Amy’s - the youngest - dreams of marrying someone rich.
Friday, 10 October 2014
Early One Morning, from writer Les Smith, tells the tale of a boy from Bolton who was shot for desertion during the first world war. Put like this it sounds simple, but beyond these bare facts lies a complicated and complex story... ...Private James Smith (Michael Shelford) is a broken soldier who can no longer cope with the constant bombardment of bombs, orders and trauma. In desperation he tries to walk back to Bolton only to be caught, courtmartialed and sentenced to be shot at dawn. His comrades are asked to organise and carry out the killing, causing them to question the morality and sanity of their situation. Meticulously researched and poignantly provoking, Smith's script - first performed in 1998 - cuts back and forth between Bolton and Passchendaele, providing a desperate glimpse of what life for a WW1 soldier was like.
Words: Andrew Anderson
Images: Ian Tilton
Participatory theatre. Those two words can strike fear into even the most hardened drama devotees. But they needn't, as when it is done well it represents the best things about live performance: it is spontaneous, unpredictable, engaging and endearing. Sherlock Holmes: A Working Hypothesis, is a fine example of just why that is.
Tuesday, 7 October 2014
Colder Than Here, from writer Laura Wade, is the first production from What A Little Bird Told Me Theatre company. It's a tale of a family coming to terms with a problem that modern medical science had made: knowing - roughly - when you're going to die. Diagnosed with cancer and given a life expectancy of 6 to 9 months, Myra (Joyce Branagh) decides she wants to tie up loose ends and set her family up for when she is gone. However, she is the sun around which her family orbits, the one from whom they get much of the light in their lives. How will they cope once she is gone?
Monday, 29 September 2014
Friday, 26 September 2014
The premise of Compact Contacts is to stage six short plays, handpicked by Pull Your Finger Out productions, and stage them in the foyer of the Contact Theatre. Tonight, the foyer is crammed with people on benches and bar stools as well as a healthy amount of stragglers standing around the fringes all awaiting the first twitch of the curtain. The fifteen minute performances are staggered in groups of two before short intervals. This gives the audience a decent amount of time to digest what they have just seen before returning to the next batch with their sense of anticipation heightened. It is an inspired idea and one that works to great effect.
Wednesday, 24 September 2014
Set in the archaic beauty of Manchester’s Victoria Baths, Walter Meierjohann’s directorial debut with Romeo and Juliet for HOME’s site-specific season is a sight to behold. Situating the audience in the depths of one of the empty pools, the production successfully immerses them right from the outset with the two opposing families appearing intimidatingly above you from either side of the pool (in a moment somewhat reminiscent of Chicago's iconic Cell Block Tango).
Tuesday, 23 September 2014
Taking on Shakespeare is a herculean task in any nature, and taking it to the fringe scene is a bold and brave move. To deal with such caliber can be quite ambitious with the short rehearsals, small spaces and limited budgets of fringe. I for one have been hesitant as to whether it could be done; my past experience of fringe productions of Shakespeare have consisted of untamed onomatopoeia, embarrassing staging and such a thing as ‘Shitfaced Shakespeare’ – which in short (though I’m sure you’ve guessed) is a production of a Shakespeare play with one inebriated actor royally screwing it up. All of which was marketed as a contemporary niche.