Jan 5 2013 Chester Chronicle
STARTING THIS WEEK
THE ACCRINGTON PALS (Royal Exchange Theatre, St Ann’s Square, Manchester, January 17-February 16)
ON THE eve of the First World War the young men of Accrington hear Kitchener’s call for a New Army and become the smallest town in England to raise a Pals Volunteer Brigade. When they arrive in France, the brutal reality of the trenches is beyond anything they were prepared for. And back home amongst the women they leave behind – their mothers, wives, daughters, lovers – nothing can ever be the same again. Peter Whelan’s epic and deeply humane play, dramatises the lives of ordinary people caught up in historical events. Funny, intimate and moving, the play charts the fortunes of a close-knit community on the brink of change. Call 0161 833 9833 or visit www.royalexchange.co.uk.
KAFKAESQUE (The Lowry, Salford Quays, January 14-15)
INSPIRED by the writing of Franz Kafka, author of The Trial and Metamorphosis, four dark and comic tales exploring what it means to be human. Two actors play eight unforgettable characters in this powerful re-imagining of Kafka’s original masterpieces. Kafkaesque is co-written by Rob Johnston, writer of The Myth of Escape, which began as a rehearsed reading at Replay 2011, and winner of The 2011 Kings Cross Award for New Writing for his play Einstein’s Daughter. Call 0843 208 6000 or visit www.thelowry.com.
9 TO 5 THE MUSICAL (Empire Theatre, Lime Street, Liverpool, January 14-19)
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 847 2525 or visit www.liverpoolempire.org.uk.
STARS ARE FIRES (The Lowry, Salford Quays, January 17-19)
WHEN Carly's mum dies, her dad decides they need a fresh start 'back home' in Northumberland. But Carly's home is Manchester, it’s what she knows and who she is. As she struggles to adjust to their new, cold, lonely life, she wonders how well her dad really knows her and if he even cares at all. Monkeywood Theatre presents this play by Francesca Waite. Call 0843 208 6000 or visit www.thelowry.com.
SWAN LAKE (Opera House, Quay Street, Manchester, January 15-17)
MOSCOW City Ballet is currently at its outstanding artistic best - winning new invitations to perform internationally. This is their signature piece of their entire repertoire. The orchestra, choreography, interpretation, beauty and outstanding virtuoso performance win repeatedly rave reviews. Call 0844 372 7272 or visit www.manchesterpalace.org.uk.
ARABIAN NIGHTS (The Lowry, Salford Quays, November 30-January 12)
LONG, long ago in a faraway land, there lived a clever young girl named Shahrazad. And there was nothing she liked better than to read stories. Longing to free her town and its vengeful king from the dark demons that haunt them, she brings to life the magical stories One Thousand and One Nights. Dominic Cooke’s production is a richly imaginative, enthralling and funny delight that will kep children and adults spellbound. Call 0843 208 6000 or visit www.thelowry.com.
THE ART OF FALLING APART (Unity Theatre, Hope Place, Liverpool, January 9-26)
BIG Wow return with their sell-out hit show following out-of-sorts people living out-of-kilter lives. The sow has been described as “loud, non-stop and impeccably timed, perfectly paced with the occasional moment of sentiment and all this is thoughtfully underwritten with an astute reflection on what it means to be alive”. Performed by Tim Lynskey and Matt Rutter, scripted and directed by Robert Farquhar. Call 0844 873 2888 or visit www.unitytheatreliverpool.co.uk.
A CHRISTMAS CAROL (New Vic Theatre, Etruria Road, Newcastle-under-Lyme, November 17-January 19)
THE greatest Christmas classic of them all has been adapted and directed by New Vic artistic director Theresa Haskins and brought to the stage by the creative team behind Alice in Wonderland and Peter Pan. Hard-hearted Ebenezer Scrooge discovers the true meaning of Christmas during one ghostly night in Dickens’ London. With lavish costumes, wondeful music, magical staging and lots of laughter. Call 01782 717962 or visit www.newvictheatre.org.uk.
DICK WHITTINGTON - THE ROCK ‘N’ ROLL PANTO (Anthony Hopkins Theatre, Clwyd Theatr Cymru, Mold, November 23-January 26)
THE team behind such past festive hits as Sleeping Beauty, Aladdin and Robin Hood and The Babes in the Wood return with another fabulous rock ‘n’ roll panto. A cast of 10 multi-talented actor-musicians spice up the traditional panto magic with more than 20 hit songs. Call 0845 330 3565 or visit www.clwyd-theatr-cymru.co.uk.
HANSEL AND GRETEL (Unity Theatre, Hope Place, Liverpool, December 4-January 12)
TAKE a trip with Hansel and Gretel deep into the magical forest, where the trees are alive, wonderful creatures roam and a house made of sweets stands proud in the sparkling moonlight. Make friends with a not-so-helpful bird, face a wicked witch and eat sweets and cakes along the way! With jolly songs, belly laughs, heroes and villains, all topped off with a sprinkling of magic. Call 0844 873 2888 or visit www.unitytheatreliverpool.co.uk.
JACK AND THE BEANSTALK (Playhouse Theatre, Williamson Square, Liverpool, November 30-January 19)
THE Liverpool Playhouse stages the city’s now legendary rock ‘n’ roll panto for the festive season - taking over from the Everyman which is under refurbishment - packed with timeless hit songs, hilarious slapstick and colourful sets. Directed by Mark Chatterton who co-writes wth Sarah A Nixon. Call 0151 709 4776 or visit www.everymanplayhouse.com.
JACK AND THE BEANSTALK (The Brindley, High Street, Runcorn, December 14-January 13)
THE Brindley’s great festive pantomime this year features Coronation Street's Bruno Langley as Jack. Also featuring Nick Newbould as Silly Billy, Jamie Greer as Dame Trott and Paula Bell as Queen Blunderbore. Ring 0151 907 8360 or visit www.thebrindley.org.uk.
THE LION KING (Palace Theatre, Oxford Street, Manchester, December 1-March 31)
ONE of the biggest success stories in musical theatre history comes to Manchester for four months, directed by Julie Taymor and featuring songs from the hit Disney movie. Members of the cast hail from 12 different countries with the roles of Young Simba and Young Nala to be played by local talent. The company is made up of 46 members including Cleveland Cathnott, who is currently part of the London company of The Lion King and will be playing the role of Mufasa. Stephen Carlile will take on the role of Scar while Nicholas Nkuna makes his UK debut as Simba. Carol Stenett will continue her role as Nala from the West End production and Gugwana Dlamini will return to her previous role of Rafiki. Call 0844 372 7272 or visit www.manchesterpalace.org.uk.
ONE MAN, TWO GUV’NORS (The Lowry, Salford Quays, January 8-19)
AFTER a sell-out season at The Lowry in 2011, the National Theatre’s smash-hit comedy – which has since become a West End and Broadway sensation – makes a triumphant return. Richard Bean’s award-winning play is a glorious celebration of British comedy: a unique mix of satire, songs and slapstick. Fired from his skiffle band, Francis Henshall becomes minder to two guvnors who, for complicated reasons, he must keep apart. Jodie Prenger, winner of BBC TV’s I’d Do Anything, will take the role of Dolly. Actor, stand-up comedian and presenter Rufus Hound will play Francis Henshall. Call 0843 208 6000 or visit www.thelowry.com.
PETER PAN (Opera House, Quay Street, Manchester, December 8-January 13)
DAVID Hasselhoff, best known for the iconic roles of Michael Knight in Knight Rider and Mitch Buchanan in Baywatch, will play the evil Captain Hook, and returning to the Opera House stage by popular demand, Tam Ryan stars as Smee. Amy Bird stars as Peter Pan. Call 0844 372 7272 or visit www.manchesterpalace.org.uk.
RATS’ TALES (Royal Exchange Theatre, St Ann’s Square, Manchester, November 29-January 12)
RATS’ TALES brings together a dark and magical cycle of folk tales from around the world, to create an unforgettable evening for everyone with an imagination. Packed with thrills, laughs, loves and more than a bit of magic, it explores the power of storytelling to create a theatrical event, which can be enjoyed by the whole family. Poet Laureate Carol Ann Duffy continues her exciting collaboration with the Royal Exchange to create an unmissable experience that will astound audiences. The Exchange also welcomes renowned theatre-maker Melly Still (award-winning director of Coram Boy and Beasts and Beauties) as she brings the theatre to life, mixing live music, stunning visuals and playful storytelling. Call 0161 833 9833 or visit www.royalexchange.co.uk.
BLOOD WEDDING (Liverpool Institute for Performing Arts, Mount Street, Liverpool, March 7-9)
A CLASSIC play from 1933 by Federico Garcia Lorca, performed by third year acting students, which evokes the heat and passion of Spain with a young bride-to-be’s family unaware of the emotions lurking beneath the ties of family and duty. Call 0844 873 2888 or visit www.lipa.ac.uk.
THE BLUES BROTHERS - APPROVED (Regent Theatre, Stoke-on-Trent, February 28-March 2)
THE police, theatres and members of the public are here by warned to be vigilant and on the look out for two men dressed in black hats, black ties and sunglasses. Otherwise known as The Blues Brothers. They’re back and on a mission! Direct from a residency in Chicago and a national tour of the USA. The boys are joined on their mission to bring soul and blues back into your heart by the fabulous Bluettes and an incredible Blues Brothers Band. Visit www.ambassadortickets.com or ring 0844 871 7649.
DIRTY DANCING (Palace Theatre, Oxford Street, Manchester, May 21-June 15)
AN UNPRECEDENTED live experience, exploding with heart-pounding music, passionate romance and sensationally sexy dancing. Seen by millions across the globe, this worldwide smash-hit tells the classic story of Baby and Johnny, two fiercely independent young spirits from different worlds, who come together in what will be the most challenging and triumphant summer of their lives. Featuring hit songs, including Hungry Eyes, Hey Baby, Do You Love Me? and the heart stopping I've Had The Time of My Life. Call 0844 372 7272 or visit www.manchesterpalace.org.uk.
DRIVING MISS DAISY (Anthony Hopkins Theatre, Clwyd Theatr Cymru, Mold, January 29-February 2)
HAVING broken box office records on Broadway and played to sell-out crowds in London, David Esbjornson’s award-winning smash hit production has dazzled audiences and critics alike. It tells the charming, poignant and compelling tale of the unlikely friendship that blossoms between a prickly, elderly southern matriarch and her kind-hearted chauffeur. Starring Gwen Taylor and Don Warrington. Call 0845 330 3565 or visit www.clwyd-theatr-cymru.co.uk.
EARTHQUAKES IN LONDON (Liverpool Institute for Performing Arts, Mount Street, Liverpool, February 21-23)
A NEW play by Mike Bartlett performed by third year acting students. A brilliant scientist but dysfunctional father predicts global doom while his three daughters struggle to keep their lives on track in this epic rollercoater of a play. Taking us from 1968 to 2525 and back again, it explores our anxiety about the future of the planet and our ability, nevertheless, to enjoy the excesses of today. Call 0844 873 2888 or visit www.lipa.ac.uk.
EDUCATING RITA (Emlyn Williams Theatre, Clwyd Theatr Cymru, Mold, February 28-April 5)
WILLY Russell’s classic character comedy comes to the Clwyd stage in a production directed by Emma Lucia. Rita is unhappy with her job and the low expectations of those around her. So she embarks on an Open University course in English literature which brings her into contact with tutor Frank, a failed poet whose cynicism has led him to take solace in the bottle. Their encounter will change both of their lives forever. Call 0845 330 3565 or visit www.clwyd-theatr-cymru.co.uk.
LA FILLE MAL GARDÉE (Empire Theatre, Lime Street, Liverpool, February 4)
RUSSIA'S acclaimed ballet company returns to the UK with The Russian State Ballet & Orchestra of Siberia. Recreated by Alexander Gorsky, this remains one of the oldest ballets still regularly performed and tells the tale of the love between Lise and Colas, and Lise's efforts to thwart her overly possessive mother's plan to marry her off to a rich, unattractive vineyard owner! Featuring comedy, drama and beautiful virtuoso dancing, these are just some of the highlights which also include the flute dance, Fanny Elsler pas de deux and the famous clog dance. Call 0844 847 2525 or visit www.liverpoolempire.org.uk.
GOODNIGHT MISTER TOM (Opera House, Quay Street, Manchester, January 29-February 2)
SET during the dark and dangerous build up to the Second World War, Goodnight Mister Tom follows sad William Beech, who is evacuated to the idyllic English countryside and builds a remarkable and moving friendship with the elderly recluse Tom Oakley. Call 0844 372 7272 or visit www.manchesterpalace.org.uk.
HORMONAL HOUSEWIVES (Palace Theatre, Oxford Street, Manchester, April 24)
THE girls return in 2013 with hilarious all-new sketches, as well as all the very best bits from last time round. Looking at everything that makes today's woman tick (or ticked off). Call 0844 372 7272 or visit www.manchesterpalace.org.uk.
I'M SPILLING MY HEART OUT HERE (Royal Exchange Theatre, St Ann’s Square, Manchester, February 14-16)
YOU'RE growing up and you're not quite sure what you know about yourself or anybody else. Exams, dates, best mates - it's a daily scramble across no-man's land. This is the story of ten teenagers and their world. The Young Company is the Royal Exchange’s resident company for young people aged 14-21 years. Throughout the year the Young Company will take part in an exciting and unique programme of projects and events, which will include working alongside industry professionals and going behind the scenes with backstage tours and technical theatre training. Call 0161 833 9833 or visit www.royalexchange.co.uk.
IN A PICKLE (Emlyn Williams Theatre, Clwyd Theatr Cymru, Mold, January 29-February 2)
A NEW total theatre experience for ageds 2-4. Inspired by Shakespeare’s The Winter’s Tale, the young audience is taken on a voyage of discovery through the landscape’s of the Bard’s imagination and the music of his language. An Oily Cart/Royal Shakespeare Company co-production. Call 0845 330 3565 or visit www.clwyd-theatr-cymru.co.uk.
MAURICE’S JUBILEE (Opera House, Quay Street, Manchester, January 24-26)
A ROYAL encounter. An enduring love. For 60 years Helena has been the Queen of Maurice's heart. But his great love is another Queen who Helena says he's never met. Maurice's Jubilee is a funny and poignant exploration of one man's enduring commitment to a dream. Starring Sheila Reid, Julian Glover and the play’s author Nichola McAuliffe. Call 0844 372 7272 or visit www.manchesterpalace.org.uk.
THE MISANTHROPE (Playhouse Theatre, Williamson Square, Liverpool, February 15-March 9)
DISGUSTED with French society, where powdered tops gossip in code and bejewelled coquettes whisper behind fans, poet Alceste embarks on a one-man crusade against fakery, frippery and forked tongues. But could the woman he adores be the worst culprit of them all? Following the huge success of Tartuffe and The Hypochondriac, this reunites writer Roger McGough and director Gemma Bodinetz with the works of Moliere. Call 0151 709 4776 or visit www.everymanplayhouse.com.
MOSCOW STATE CIRCUS (Regent Theatre, Stoke-on-Trent, March 5-6)
THE Moscow State Circus will present its latest and most spectacular show with this sensational extravaganza Babushkin Sekret. Inspired by the Russian legend of the 12 chairs, this new show will combine contemporary and classical circus in a way never before seen. A mammoth cast of Russia's greatest and most talented circus artists will take you on an incredible journey. The newly devised show includes the beautiful queen of Russian Circus Yana Alievia on a revolving ariel chandelier, the Whirlwind Rubsovsm troupe who acrobatically catapult themselves at breakneck speed, the juggling Sherbakovs on the reverse pyramid of St Petersburg, and the Doktrov, flying and spiralling in the apex of the auditorium with grace, beauty and elegance. Visit www.ambassadortickets.com or ring 0844 871 7649.
THE MOUSETRAP (Regent Theatre, Stoke-on-Trent, February 18-23)
ONE of the world’s longest running stage productions is embarking on its first ever UK tour. Agatha Christie’s record breaking production has entered its 60th year in London’s West End. To mark the anniversary, Mousetrap Productions has licensed 60 productions world-wide including this one at the Regent. Visit www.ambassadortickets.com or ring 0844 871 7649.
NEW JERSEY NIGHTS (Empire Theatre, Lime Street, Liverpool, January 29-February 2)
THE international hit show takes you on a musical journey celebrating the greatest hits of Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons. Featuring four great singers, perfect harmonies, stylised costumes, a rockin' live band and amazing dancers the show delivers all of the Four Seasons hits, including Sherry, Rag Doll, Can't Take My Eyes Off Of You, Big Girls Don't Cry, Let's Hang On, Walk Like a Man, Dawn, Silence is Golden, Oh What a Night and many more. Call 0844 847 2525 or visit www.liverpoolempire.org.uk.
RAPE OF THE FAIR COUNTRY (Anthony Hopkins Theatre, Clwyd Theatr Cymru, Mold, February 14-March 9)
COMPELLING drama by Alexander Cordell that captures a family’s role in their nation’s turbulent past. It is 1826 - the Mortymers are a Welsh family caught in the bitter crossfire between their English employers and the early trade union movement. Moments of warm humour and great poignancy abound as we are swept from the fiery hell of the furnaces to the icy stillness of a Welsh mountainside and on to bloody scenes of rebellion. Directed by Tim Baker and adapted by Manon Eames. Call 0845 330 3565 or visit www.clwyd-theatr-cymru.co.uk.
THE STORY OF THE WILLOW PATTERN PLATE (Clwyd Room, Clwyd Theatr Cymru, Mold, February 14-15)
TREASURE Trove Puppet Company presents the exciting tale of Koon se, the Mandarin’s daughter who has fallen in love with Chang, the Mandarin’s servant. This will not do! With beautiful scenery, this classic story is brought to life using glove puppets and imaginative stahing based on the designs of the Willow Plate Pattern. Call 0845 330 3565 or visit www.clwyd-theatr-cymru.co.uk.
THREE BIRDS (Royal Exchange Theatre, St Ann’s Square, Manchester, February 27-March 16)
THE Royal Exchange Theatre in association with the Bush Theatre presents the winner of the 2011 Bruntwood Prize for Playwriting by Janice Okoh. A darkly comic drama about childhood, family and fantasy. Siblings Tiana, Tionne and Tanika have found themselves home alone. Tiana's keeping it all together by taking charge of housework and homework. But Tionne's experiments are getting stranger and stranger and Tanika's starting to act up. As the outside world begins to press in, the three will do anything to keep their secret safe from the adults who come to call. Call 0161 833 9833 or visit www.royalexchange.co.uk.
TITUS ANDRONICUS (Unity Theatre, Hope Place, Liverpool, January 9-26)
A SHAKESPEAREAN tragedy of hatred, murder and cruelty. An embittered Roman General returns fromwar, having captured the Queen if the Goths and her three sons. Sacrificing the eldest, in memory of his own sons killed in battle, he provokes the Queen's hatred. But when she marries the new Emperor of Rome, she begins to plto her murderous revenge. One of the country's fastest rising ensemblessupported by Stephen Fry and the Royal Shakespeare Company, PurpleCoat Productions deliver an intense and highly emotional telling of one of history's most underrated tragedies. Not recommended for under 12s. Call 0844 873 2888 or visit www.unitytheatreliverpool.co.uk.
TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD (Royal Exchange Theatre, St Ann’s Square, Manchester, February 20-March 30)
HaRPER Lee’s Pulitzer Prize-winning novel is one of the most enduring and best-loved stories of our time. Written as an urgent plea for tolerance and compassion at the height of the Civil Rights movement, it tells the story of Scout Finch as she grows up during the 1930s depression in the small town of Maycomb, Alabama. Her childhood innocence is shattered when her father, Atticus Finch, defends a young black man accused of rape. This is a universal tale of prejudice, deep inequalities and humanity. Call 0161 833 9833 or visit www.royalexchange.co.uk.
TRIFLES AND BLACK COMEDY (Clwyd Room, Clwyd Theatr Cymru, Mold, February 11-13)
MOLD Players present a double bill of plays. Trifles by Susan Glaspell is set in an isolated farmhouse in Tennessee which was the scene of a murder 100 years ago. Will the officers of the law find the evidence they need to hang the culprit? In Black Comedy by Peter Shaffer, Carol and Brindsley have invited a multi-millionaire to view Brindsley’s sculptures. To impress him, and Carol’s formidable father, they have ‘borrowed’ antiques from a neighbour. When the lights fuse and several unexpected guests arrive, the evening ends in chaos. Call 0845 330 3565 or visit www.clwyd-theatr-cymru.co.uk.