Aug 17 2012 Chester Chronicle
ABSURD PERSON SINGULAR (New Vic Theatre, Etruria Road, Newcastle-under-Lyme, October 16-November 3)
ALAN Ayckbourn and the Stephen Joseph Theatre Company are back for their annual New Vic visit with a sparkling new revival of his award-winning 70s classic. Last Christmas, the Hopcrofts held a seasonal drinks party for a few select friends. It turned out to be a near disaster. This Christmas, round at the Jacksons, it’s been an even worse chapter of accidents. What on earth is going to happen next year when they all meet up at the Brewster-Wrights? Call 01782 717962 or visit www.newvictheatre.org.uk.
THE ALCHEMIST (Playhouse Theatre, Williamson Square, Liverpool, September 14-October 6)
WHEN Face, scheming servant and self-styled master conman, is left in sole charge of his gentleman’s London town house, he calls in his not-so-trusty fellow tricksters, the slimy Subtle and the irresistible Dol. Dispensing spurious charms and promises of gold, they whip the vain and greedy sucker list of London society into a frenzy of get-rich-quickery. But when they mistakenly target a fellow hustler, the sticky-fingered trio are in danger of coming unstuck. Ben Jonson’s 17th century satirical farce will be spun into pure comedy gold in the hands of rising star director Robert Icke. Call 0151 709 4776 or visit www.everymanplayhouse.com.
AMERICAN IDIOT (Palace Theatre, Oxford Street, Manchester, November 12-24)
GREEN Day's explosive, award-winning Broadway musical gets its premiere in the UK with a major national tour featuring a thrilling American tour cast. The story of three boyhood friends, each searching for meaning in a post 9-11 world, the show features the music of Green Day with the lyrics of its lead singer Billie Joe Armstrong. Call 0844 372 7272 or visit www.manchesterpalace.org.uk.
BEATING BERLUSCONI (Pyramid, Palmyra Square, Warrington, September 20)
AFTER ecstatic reviews and huge word of mouth, Paul Duckworth and his 30 characters rewturn in this hilarious comedy. Based on the true story of a Liverpool FC fan who ended up sitting next to the Italian Prime Minister at the Champions League Final. Call 01925 442345 or visit www.pyramidparrhall.com.
BLACK ROSES: THE KILLING OF SOPHIE LANCASTER (Royal Exchange Theatre, St Ann’s Square, Manchester, September 19-29)
ON AUGUST 21, 2007, Sophie Lancaster was beaten unconscious in Stubbeylee Park, Bacup and later died from her injuries in hospital. She was 20-years-old, had just passed her A-Levels and was working out what to do with her life. She was killed because she dressed differently. Black Roses is an elegy for Sophie in which she tells her own story through a series of poems by the award-winning poet Simon Armitage, alongside the words of her mother, Sylvia Lancaster, remembering her daughter’s shortened life. The piece provoked an unprecedented response when it premiered on Radio Four last year, winning the BBC Audio and Music Best Speech Programme of the Year Award. Now it has been re-imagined for the theatre with Coronation Street stars Rachel Austin and Julie Hesmondhalgh. Ring 0161 833 9833 or visit www.royalexchange.co.uk.
BOUNCERS (Regent Theatre, Stoke-on-Trent, October 31-November 3)
MEET Les, Judd, Ralph and Lucky Eric as they prepare for another night, another crowd. Lads are on the pull, girls are on the razzle and the beer and alco-pops are flowing free. Slow dancing and snogging, chips and late-night kebabs – and the bouncers see it all. It’s a night to remember – you’ll laugh til they throw you out! Visit www.ambassadortickets.com or ring 0844 871 7649.
CABARET (The Lowry, Salford Quays, September 24-29)
WILL Young as the Emcee and TV and film star Michele Ryan as Sally Bowles are the main attractions in a sensational new production of Kander and Ebb’s provocative musical. Both stars will be making their musical theatre debuts in a show which features such stunning numbers as Money Makes The World Go Around, Maybe This Time and the showstopping title song. Call 0843 208 6000 or visit www.thelowry.com.
CALENDAR GIRLS (Forum Studio Theatre, Hamilton Place, Chester, September 10-22)
TIM Firth’s hit comedy comes to the Chester stage. When Annie's husband John dies of leukaemia, she and best friend Chris resolve to raise money for a new settee in the local hospital waiting room. They manage to persuade four fellow Women's Institute members to pose nude with them for an ‘alternative’ calendar, with a little help from hospital porter and amateur photographer Lawrence. Based on the true story of 11 WI members who posed nude for a calendar to raise money for the Leukaemia Research Fund, Calendar Girls has become the fastest selling play in British theatre history. Visit www.chestertheatre.co.uk or call 01244 341296.
CHICAGO (Regent Theatre, Stoke-on-Trent, September 17-22)
“MURDER, greed, corruption, exploitation, adultery and treachery… all those things we hold near and dear to our hearts.” So begins the international award winning musical, starring Ali Bastian as Roxie Hart, Stefan Booth as Billy Flynn, Tupele Dorgu as Velma Kelly, and Bernie Nolan as Matron ‘Mama’ Morton. Based on real-life events in the Roaring Twenties, nightclub singer Roxie Hart shoots her lover and, along with Cell Block rival double-murderess Velma Kelly, fights to keep from death row with the help of smooth-talking lawyer Billy Flynn. Created by the musical theatre talents of John Kander, Fred Ebb and legendary choreographer Bob Fosse, Chicago’s sexy, sassy score includes All That Jazz and Razzle Dazzle. Visit www.ambassadortickets.com or ring 0844 871 7649.
THE COUNTRY WIFE (Royal Exchange Theatre, St Ann’s Square, Manchester, September 12-October 20)
IN THE glamorous and gossip-fuelled London of the 17th Century, randy rake Harry Horner feigns impotence to charm his way into the hearts and boudoirs of the apparently respectable wives of London society. Newly arrived in town, with his ‘country wife’ Margery, Jack Pinchwife is jealous to the core and strains to keep his innocent spouse away from Horner’s clutches. She, however, is desperate to savour all the pleasures of the big city. And when Harry finally meets Margery, a collision course is set. William Wycherley’s subversive comedy of sex and seduction was so scandalous it was banned for 200 years. It is now brought to sparkling life by Olivier Award-winning director Polly Findlay. Visit www.royalexchange.co.uk or ring 0161 833 9833.s
A DAY OF PLEASURE (Playhouse Theatre, Williamson Square, Liverpool, October 4-6)
NEW York 1978. The cab driver is waiting to take him to the airport. The evening before he travels to Stockholm to collect the Nobel Prize for Literature, storyteller Isaac Bashevis Singer recalls a fascinating childhood full of mystery, torment and adventure. A Day of Pleasure is about more than a young boy growing up in a strange and exotic world, it is about growing up itself. The play is performed by Stuart Richman, a founding member of the Liverpool Everyman, and directed by Neil Sissons. Call 0151 709 4776 or visit www.everymanplayhouse.com.
DEAD RINGER (Lyceum Theatre, Heath Street, Crewe, September 18-22)
IAN Dickens Productions International Ltd present the witty thriller with a star cast led by Tony Adams who became a household name as Adam Chance in the long-running soap opera Crossroads, Keith Drinkel who played Liz Macdonald’s dodgy boyfriend Bob in Coronation Street; Joanne Heywood - Miss Lovelock in Grace & Favour and popular stage actor David Callister. When the Prime Minister drops dead from an apparent heart attack on the eve of a general election, two cabinet members who fear they need his charisma to get re-elected hire an out of work actor to replace the deceased. This dead ringer is supposed to fill in until after the election is won, but he grows to like the role until he discovers that the real PM was poisoned. Call 01270 686777 or visit www.lyceumtheatre.net.
DREAMBOATS AND PETTICOATS (Regent Theatre, Stoke-on-Trent, October 22-27)
THE million-selling album is now a West End smash hit musical. Relive the greatest time of your life with this rockin’ rollin’ musical inspired by the hit albums. In 1961 emotions run high as young musicians Norman and Bobby compete to win the hearts of theiradoring female fans, especially the gorgeous Sue. Featuring a host of hit songs including Let’s Dance, Only Sixteen, Three Steps To Heaven and Runaround Sue. Visit www.ambassadortickets.com or ring 0844 871 7649.
FAR (Playhouse Theatre, Williamson Square, Liverpool, October 24-25)
WAYNE McGregor’s anatomy-defying choreography ansd groundbreaking approach acdoss dance, science, film, music, visual art and technology has fuelled a string of truly unique works. Inspired by the Age of Enlightenment, with an ensemble of 10 performers, Far is set to a haunting score by critically-acclaimed composer Ben Frost. Call 0151 709 4776 or visit www.everymanplayhouse.com.
42ND STREET (Opera House, Quay Street, Manchester, October 23-27)
WEST End stars Dave Willetts and Marti Webb will join forces to headline the legendary Broadway musical – the timeless, inspiring tale of small-town Peggy Sawyer’s rise from chorus line to Broadway star. Winner of the 1980 Tony Award for Best Musical and 2001 Tony Award for Best Revival, the memorable score of hit songs includes Lullaby of Broadway, We’re in the Money and, one of the great show-stoppers, 42nd Street. Call 0844 372 7272 or visit www.manchesterpalace.org.uk.
GREASE (Palace Theatre, Oxford Street, Manchester, October 8-13)
DUST off your leather jackets, pull on your bobby socks and take a trip to a simpler time as bad boy Danny and girl-next-door Sandy fall in love all over again. It’s the original High School Musical, featuring all the unforgettable songs from the hit movie, including You’re the One That I Want, Grease is the Word, Summer Nights, Hopelessly Devoted To You, Sandy, Greased Lightnin’ and many more. Call 0844 372 7272 or visit www.manchesterpalace.org.uk.
LEGALLY BLONDE THE MUSICAL (Opera House, Quay Street, Manchester, September 11-22)
JENNIFER Ellison will return to the stage as she joins Pop Idol finalist Gareth Gates for this hit show based on the film starring Reese Witherspoon. Ellisn takes on the role of the lovable Paulette while Faye Brooks, who has starred in Grease in the West End, is to take the lead of Elle Woods, with Iwan Lewis playing Emerett. The winner of seven major awards including the Olivier Award For Best Musical 2011, this is an all-singing, all-dancing romantic comedy that is about knowing who you are and showing what you’ve got. The story has Elle follow her ex-boyfriend to Harvard Law School in an attempt to win him back and prove to everyone that she can be serious. Call 0844 372 7272 or visit www.manchesterpalace.org.uk.
THE LONELINESS OF THE LONG DISTANCE RUNNER (Playhouse Theatre, Williamson Square, Liverpool, October 30-November 3)
A LONG distance race. Real time. Follow one runner, alone with his thoughts. Colin is defiant. A young rebel inhabiting the no man’s land of detention centres and young offenders’ institutes, as his steady running rhythm transports him over a harsh, frost-bitten earth. Adapted by Bafta-winning playwright Roy Williams, this gritty adaptation unlocks the biting realism of Alan Sillitoe’s classic novel. Call 0151 709 4776 or visit www.everymanplayhouse.com.
LOST AND FOUND (New Vic Theatre, Etruria Road, Newcastle-under-Lyme, September 18-22)
TWO world premieres of two stand-alone but interconnected plays by BAFTA-winning playwrights. Lost by Jane Thornton sees Tom and Chelsea start their holiday jobs at the Court Hotel where they meet Len and Betty whose 50-year-old marriage looks like it has run aground on the Yorkshire sands. John Godber’s Found takes up the story of Tom and Chelsea but now he’s heading back to university and she is destined for the dole. The Court Hotel brought them together - will ambition drive them apart? Call 01782 717962 or visit www.newvictheatre.org.uk.
MADAME BUTTERFLY (Palace Theatre, Oxford Street, Manchester, September 25-29)
NORTHERN Ballet Theatre presents Madame Butterfly. East meets West as the soaring melodies of Puccini ‘s emotive score are interspersed with traditional Japanese music. Call0844 372 7272 or visit www.manchesterpalace.org.uk.
MOTHER F (Royal Exchange Theatre, St Ann’s Square, Manchester, October 19-20)
A CELEBRATORY, raucous and touching comedy about mothers. A mother dies and two daughters rummage through her letters and photos in the attic where they discover a rather alarming secret from beyond the grave that unites them, changing their relationship forever. Mother F is about the most ordinary, extraordinary, wonderful, awful and beautiful mother in the world. Directed by Ben Keaton and with choreography by Sian Williams. Call 0161 833 9833 or visit www.royalexchange.co.uk.
9 TO 5 THE MUSICAL (Opera House, Quay Street, Manchester, October 12-20)
AN HILARIOUS story of friendship, gossip and revenge featuring the music of country superstar Dolly Parton. Direct from Broadway, based on the hit movie, the musical centres on three office workers who turn the tables on their sexist, egotistical, lying, bigot of a boss. The UK cast includes Natalie Casey and Bonnie Langford. Call 0844 372 7272 or visit www.manchesterpalace.org.uk.
PAT KIRKWOOD IS ANGRY (Royal Exchange Theatre, St Ann’s Square, Manchester, October 3-6)
AFTER a sell-out tour of The Girl I Left Behind Me, Jessica Walker presents her latest one-woman show about the legendary Manchester-born singer and actress. Jessica brings to the stage the often turbulent life and beautiful songs of Pat Kirkwood, in a funny and heart-breaking new piece. Named Britain’s first wartime star in 1939 and with many illustrious credits, including a show written for her by the great Noël Coward, Kirkwood is now mostly remembered for the scandal surrounding an alleged affair with the Duke of Edinburgh, the repercussions of which were to haunt her for the rest of her life. Ring 0161 833 9833 or visit www.royalexchange.co.uk.
RAMBERT DANCE COMPANY (Regent Theatre, Stoke-on-Trent, November 14-15)
IN 2012 Mark Baldwin celebrates 10 years at the helm of Rambert, the national company for contemporary dance, returning to present the Labyrinth of Love Tour. Powerful, heart-breaking and humorous, Marguerite Donlon's brand new work reveals the joy and pain of love in all its glory. 22 of the world's finest dancers also perform the Rambert version of Nijinsky's seminal ballet L’Après-midi d’un faune, paired with Mark Baldwin's colourful modern-day response to this 100 year-old piece, What Wild Ecstasy. Tim Rushton's heartstoppingly athletic Monolith completes this spectacular and diverse performance, featuring live music throughout by the Rambert Orchestra. Visit www.ambassadortickets.com or ring 0844 871 7649.
THE SACRED FLAME (Playhouse Theatre, Williamson Square, Liverpool, October 16-20)
WHAT happened on the night the young Great War hero Maurice Tabret died at home in his bed? His doctor says he died of natural causes but his nurse points the finger of suspicion at his beautiful wife Stella. Putting a twist on the classic murder mystery, this part-thriller, part-love story is by popular playwright and novelist Somerset Maugham and is presented by English Touring Theatre. Call 0151 709 4776 or visit www.everymanplayhouse.com.
SISTER ACT (Opera House, Quay Street, Manchester, September 25-October 6)
FROM producers Whoopi Goldberg and Stage Entertainment (Hairspray, High School Musical) the smash hit musical comedy based on the classic film comes to the Opera House direct from its record-breaking run at the London Palladium. Call 0844 372 7272 or visit www.manchesterpalace.org.uk.
SOUL MAN (New Vic Theatre, Etruria Road, Newcastle-under-Lyme, September 5-15)
NEW musical by Chris Monks which takes Verdi’s Rigoletto, a masterpiece of love, lust and revenge, from 19th century Italy to 1970s Leeds. In 1974, Justin Jones, the best stand-up comedian this side of Leeds, has something to hide. Pursued by vengeful enemies and with the cards stacked against him, this Joker needs to get himself and a priceless cargo out of the country before it’s too late. Call 01782 717962 or visit www.newvictheatre.org.uk.
STARLIGHT EXPRESS (Venue Cymru, Llandudno, September 18-29)
BILL Kenwright presents one of the best loved, longest running and most unique musicals in theatrical history. Andrew Lloyd Webber's Rock-On-Roller skating sensation explodes back onto the stage with a new production for 2012. Light years ahead of the rest, this futuristic tale about love and hope in the face of adversity promises to take you on the ride of a lifetime – with two hours of speed, spectacle, energy and turbo charged excitement, combined with an electrifying sound track, dazzling sets and costumes, some of Andrew Lloyd Webber's most memorable musical hits and extraordinary non stop roller-choreography by TV's favourite dance show judge Arlene Phillips. There are some exciting 3D film sequences for which you will need to pop on some special 3D glasses. Call 01492 872000 or visit www.venuecymru.co.uk.
STEPTOE AND SON (Playhouse Theatre, Williamson Square, Liverpool, November 6-10)
ADAPTED from the legendary scripts of Ray Galton and Alan Simpson, this new production revives the much-loved characters of Harold Steptoe and his manipulative father Albert in a darkly comic and deeply moving look at the tender but cruel relationship between father and son, bound together by birth, business and bad luck. Call 0151 709 4776 or visit www.everymanplayhouse.com.
STORIES FROM AN INVISIBLE TOWN (Playhouse Theatre, Williamson Square, Liverpool, October 16-20)
WHEN Hugh Hughes returned to his childhood home in Llangefni to help his mum pack and move house, a tapestry of memories from his past, his family and the town he once called home began to unfold. His memories have grown and grown - bursting from Hugh’s head and into a website for us to explore and enjoy. Now audiences have the chance to join Hugh, his brother and his sister, as family skeletons leave their closets in this unpredictable and hilarous evening of family stories. Call 0151 709 4776 or visit www.everymanplayhouse.com.
UPRISING (Royal Exchange Theatre, St Ann’s Square, Manchester, October 12-13)
THE Brixton uprising of 1981 was brought into sharp focus by the riots, 30 years on, across the UK in summer 2011. Uprising is a compelling story of our time. The award-winning author Alex Wheatle MBE presents his moving autobiographical story of how he became a writer. From the brutality of children’s homes to being on the ‘frontline’ in riot-torn Brixton and sharing a prison cell with a fierce Rasta-man, Alex takes audiences on a journey through Britain in the 1980s. A journey punctuated by the muscular singing of lyrics that made him the famous ‘Yardman Irie’ of the Brixton club scene. Call 0161 833 9833 or visit www.royalexchange.co.uk.
THE WIDOWING OF MRS HOLROYD (New Vic Theatre, Etruria Road, Newcastle-under-Lyme, September 28-October 13)
A PASSIONATE journey through the final days of a tempestuous marriage and a vivid portrait of life in a Midlands mining village, this rarely performed masterpiece from the pen of DH Lawrence is directed by Fiona Buffini. Miner’s wife Lizzie Holroyd is just about at the end of her tether. Trapped in a loveless marriage to violent Charles, fearful for her children, worn out with work and worry. When she finds herself drawn to an attentive young electrician, she starts dreaming of a different life. But tragedy threatens to engulf them all. Call 01782 717962 or visit www.newvictheatre.org.uk.