Jan 20 2013 Chester Chronicle
STARTING THIS WEEK
ALL THE BENS (The Lowry, Salford Quays, January 24-26)
BEN likes Al, but Al says he’s straight and isn’t keen on being stalked by a gay man he’s just met off the Internet. Al likes Henry, but has other things to worry about. Like his girlfriend. And life. Henry likes numbers, especially the number 7. When Ben meets Al, and Al meets Henry, that’s when everything changes. All the Bens is a vibrant portrayal of loneliness, desire, and what happens when you meet your monster in the park. Call 0843 208 6000 or visit www.thelowry.com.
DISSOCIATION (The Lowry, Salford Quays, January 28-30)
THIS IS the latest play from writer/director Luke Bailey - a hard hitting theatrical thriller that pulls no punches in its tense exploration of trust and ambition. Aspiring musician, Rhienen, is trying to piece his life together following a sentence in a young offenders institute. As tension boils amidst the ever expanding underclass, Dissociation takes a simmering glance at the reality of ‘social mobility’ in a fictionalised ignition of the 2011 riots. It's a macabre celebration of urban culture that takes the audience on a heartbreaking journey that will leave you questioning the true meaning of society. The Coop is a a company of passionate artists of every description, who aim to deliver challenging work for the wider community. Recommended for ages 14+. Call 0843 208 6000 or visit www.thelowry.com.
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.
FETISH KNIGHTS (The Lowry, Salford Quays, January 30-February 2)
AFTER its critically acclaimed, sell-out 2011 and 2012 runs, Rob Ellis’ smash-hit comedy returns. A star-studded cast portray fictional Manchester residents whose secrets and lies explode in a series of shocking twists you won’t see coming. Love, laughter, tears and ‘Yoghurt Tourette’s’ make this an unmissable show. Starring Dean Sullivan (Brookside), Claire King (Emmerdale), Nikki Sanderson (Coronation Street), Sue Devaney (Dinnerladies) and Rob Ellis. Call 0843 208 6000 or visit www.thelowry.com.
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.
HIGH SOCIETY (Venue Cymru, Llandudno, January 24-February 2)
MICHAEL Praed (Robin of Sherwood) stars as Dexter Haven, Marilyn Cutts (Fascinating Aida) as Margaret Lord, Teddy Kempner (Acorn Antiques The Musical) as Uncle Willie, Daniel Boys (Any Dream Will Do) as Mike Connor with Sophie Bould (The Sound of Music) as Tracy Lord. Get ready for the musical event of the season as Cole Porter’s timeless classic skips into town, in a dazzling new production from the acclaimed producers of The King and I, based on the classic Frak Sinatra-Bing Crosby film. Call 01492 872000 or visit www.venuecyru.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.
MOSCOW STATE CIRCUS (The Lowry, Salford Quays, January 24-27)
THE sensational Moscow State Circus returns to The Lowry with their spectacular new show, Babushkin Sekret, as a mammoth cast of Russia's greatest and most talented circus artistes combine contemporary and classical circus to present breath-taking acts. Featuring aerial acts, acrobatics, gymnastics and balancing acts – from vertical poles to the high wire – you’ll be left amazed as the critically acclaimed performers push the boundaries of human physical ingenuity to the limits. Call 0843 208 6000 or visit www.thelowry.com.
MY ARMS (The Lowry, Salford Quays, January 24-26)
A RAINY night in Manchester. Colin finally returns home to face up to his past, but wife Helen is struggling to rebuild what is left of their broken home. Told in reverse order, My Arms is a compelling new drama about the limits of love and our willingness to forgive. Call 0843 208 6000 or visit www.thelowry.com.
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.
THE SECRET LIFE OF YOU AND ME (The Lowry, Salford Quays, January 31-February 1)
A LIVE scrap book. An unfinished love affair. A made up true story. Lowri is in trouble. She leads a double life. By day she ponders the passing of time, sifting through the fractured memories of people left with snippets of who they were. By night she makes art in strange places: fleeting, filmic moments with unsuspecting mortals. All to draw meaning from our jumble- sale lives. But the telescope has turned on this meddling voyeur. You are invited to witness her attempt to piece together a sparkling constellation from stuff, love and darkness; to understand what we are, how we fit together and what we leave behind. Call 0843 208 6000 or visit www.thelowry.com.
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.
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.
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.
THE LION KING (Palace Theatre, Oxford Street, Manchester, December 1-April 20)
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.
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.
CANNIBALS (Royal Exchange Theatre, St Ann’s Square, Manchester, April 3-27)
A BOLD and unique world premiere by Manchester playwright Rory Mullarkey. On a farm, in a village, on the fringe of Europe, life is simple but hard. When the sweeping forces of war and progress pass through, Lizaveta must run for her life. Finding shelter on an old woman’s farm, she tries to piece her life back together. But her past catches up with her and she must keep moving. Her journey through a land of mud and blood, icon painters and holy fools, takes her across continents to the other side of the world. Through Lizaveta’s eyes familiar places and notions of love, family and identity become distant and strange. It is directed by Michael Longhurst who recently directed If There Is I Haven’t Found It Yet starring Jake Gyllenhaal in his American stage debut. Call 0161 833 9833 or visit www.royalexchange.co.uk.
CHESTER MYSTERY PLAYS (Chester Cathedral, June 26-July 13)
EVERY five years, the spectacle and history, miracles and mystery that are the Chester Mystery Plays come to the city. A huge community production, which tells the greatest stories ever told. Written in the 14th century, by monks of the Abbey of St Werburgh (now Chester Cathedral), the plays tell Bible stories from The Creation to The Last Judgement. Originally produced by the guilds of the city the Chester Mystery Plays were banned in the 16th century. A modern revival was established in 1951 to celebrate the Festival of Britain and the plays have been produced approximately every five years since. The 2013 production is directed by Peter Leslie Wild with a new script by Stephanie Dale and original music composed by Matt Baker. Call 01244 500959 or visit www.chestermysteryplays.com.
COPPELIA (Empire Theatre, Lime Street, Liverpool, February 5)
RUSSIA'S acclaimed ballet company returns to the UK with The Russian State Ballet & Orchestra of Siberia. Every toy has a story, especially in this charming comedy of errors, a witty combination of antics and abracadabra set in a doll maker’s workshop. This light-hearted tale of mistaken identity and confused lovers follows mischievous Swanilda, her impetuous suitor Franz and the eccentric toymaker Dr .Coppelius as they are brought to life by sparkling choreography and the animated score of Delibes. Coppélia is perfect for first time ballet goers, families and everyone in between. Call 0844 847 2525 or visit www.liverpoolempire.org.uk.
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.
DON QUIXOTE (Palace Theatre, Oxford Street, Manchester, July 22)
SOFIA National Ballet presents Don Quixote. No ballet can equal this Russian showpiece of thrilling technique, pure panache and explosive balletic fireworks. This is the enchanting story of an eccentric, yet noble old gentlemen Don Quixote. Call 0844 372 7272 or visit www.manchesterpalace.org.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.
FIREARMS AND FINGERTIPS (Royal Exchange Theatre, St Ann’s Square, Manchester, March 20-23)
A MODERN day morality tale about gun crime. Fifteen-year-old shooting victim Spencer is being willed back to life by his distraught mother as he lies in his hospital bed. At the same time, two agents of death, Chalice and Brown are callously killing time until The Grim Reaper arrives. This is a tale about the consequences of guns in society by musician, filmmaker and playwright James Shaw. Spoken word, visual art and projection combine with a live soundtrack including The Beatles, Nancy Sinatra and Daft Punk, provided by scratch champion, DJ Rasp. Call 0161 833 9833 or visit www.royalexchange.co.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.
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.
A MURDER IS ANNOUNCED (Lyceum Theatre, Heath Street, Crewe, March 5-9)
THE villagers of Chipping Cleghorn are agog with curiosity over an advertisement in the local gazette which reads: ‘A murder is announced and will take place on Friday October 29, at Little Paddocks at 6.30pm.’ A childish practical joke? Or a hoax intended to scare poor Letitia Blacklock? Unable to resist the mysterious invitation, a crowd begins to gather at Little Paddocks at the appointed time when, without warning, the lights go out. What follows is a classic Agatha Christie puzzle of mixed motives, concealed identities, a determined Inspector grimly following the twists and turns and the inimitable Miss Marple on hand to provide the final solution in a dramatic confrontation scene just before the final curtain. The production stars Dean Gaffney of EastEnders who is also a noted stage actor, Gemma Bissix from Hollyoaks and former Doctor Who companion Katy Manning. Call 01270 686777 or visit www.lyceumtheatre.net.
OLIVER REED - WILD THING (Epstein Theatre, Hanover Street, Liverpool, February 6)
IN THIS blistering solo show, join legendary hellraiser Oliver Reed as he knocks back a few drinks and shares his incredible life story. From the boyhood excitement of learning he was a descendant of Peter the Great, through the success of Oliver!, boozy adventures with Keith Moon and disastrous chat show appearances – this was a life well lived. But though Ollie may appear an unstoppable force of nature, this is Malta in 1999, and time is fast running out for the ‘Wild Thing’. Actor and writer Rob Crouch brings Reed back to vivid life in this swaggering, brilliant evening of entertainment. Call 0844 888 4411 or visit www.epsteinliverpool.co.uk.
PRISCILLA QUEEN OF THE DESERT (Opera House, Quay Street, Manchester, February 9-23)
JASON Donovan will reprise his West End role of Tick in this touring production also starring Richard Grieve and Graham Weaver. Based on the smash-hit movie, this is the heart-warming, uplifting adventure of three friends who hop aboard a battered old bus searching for love and friendship and end up finding more than they could have ever dreamed of. With a dazzling array of outrageous costumes and a hit parade of dancefloor favorites including It’s Raining Men, Say a Little Prayer, Go West, Hot Stuff and Always on My Mind, this is a wildly fresh and funny musical. Call 0844 372 7272 or visit www.manchesterpalace.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.
SWAN LAKE (Empire Theatre, Lime Street, Liverpool, February 6)
RAYMOND Gubbay presents The Russian State Ballet and Orchestra of Siberia. An immortal love story filled with emotion and beauty, Tchaikovsky's magical score creates a truly unforgettable experience. Formed in 1981, The Russian State Ballet of Siberia has quickly established itself as one of Russia's leading ballet companies and has built an international reputation for delivering performances of outstanding quality and unusual depth. The soloists and corps de ballet are superb and never fail to delight audiences with their breathtaking physical ability and dazzling costumes. Call 0844 847 2525 or visit www.liverpoolempire.org.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, February 5-6)
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.