Jan 10 2010 by Michael Green, Chester Chronicle
BLITHE SPIRIT (Royal Exchange Theatre, St Ann’s Square, Manchester, December 9-January 23)
NOEL Coward’s glorious supernatural comedy comes to the Exchange with a cast headed by Suranne Jones. When Charles Condomine and his wife Ruth hire the services of eccentric Madame Arcati, they don’t realise they are in for an evening of high spirits - especially with the madcap mystic accidentally brings Charles’ ex-wife Elvira back from the beyond. Visit www.royalexchange.co.uk or ring 0161 833 9833.
BURGLAR BILL (Emlyn Williams Theatre, Clwyd Theatr Cymru, Mold, January 13-14)
EVERY night, Burglar Bill has stolen fish and chips and a stolen cup of stolen tea for supper, then he swings a big stolen sack over his shoulder and goes off to work, stealing things. One night, Bill steals a nice brown box with little holes in it but what he finds inside throws his routine into chaos and changes his life forever. Pandora’s Box Theatre Company bring to life this much-loved story using live action, puppets, music and comedy. Suitable for ages 3-8. Visit www.clwyd-theatr-cymru.co.uk or ring 0845 330 3565.
DICK WHITTINGTON (Everyman Theatre, Hope Street, Liverpool, November 28-January 23)
THE Everyman rock ‘n’ roll panto is one of the highlights of the festive season on the North West stage. Writers Sarah Nixon and Mark Chatterton have taken on the classic story of London’s most famous pre-Boris Johnson Mayor in a production which is also directed by Chatterton and packed with rock ‘n’ roll numbers. Visit www.everymanplayhouse.com or ring 0151 709 4776.
GRIMM TALES (Library Theatre, St Peter’s Square, Manchester, December 5-January 23)
THE Brothers Grimm’s dark and spooky stories have been brought to life on stage by Poet Laureate Carol Ann Duffy in this new Library Theatre Company production which promises to provide a feast of physical, musical and mythical theatre. Suitable for ages six and upwards. Visit www.librarytheatre.com or ring 0161 236 7110.
MERRY DING DONG (Royal Court Theatre, Liverpool, December 11-January 23)
FRED Lawless, co-writer of Slappers and Slapheads, has created a festive play specifically for the audience at the Royal Court. A combination of scouse comedy and rock and roll panto the show will have audiences singing and laughing as events unfurl. The cast includes Jake Abraham, Stephen Aintree, Eithne Browne, Stephen Fletcher, Lindzi Germain, Rachel Rae and Alan Stocks. Visit www.royalcourtliverpool.com or ring 0870 787 1866.
PORRIDGE (The Lowry, Salford Quays, December 22-January 16)
FOLLOWING the success of the stage revival of Dad’s Army, another classic BBC sit com comes to The Lowry. Penned by the original writers Dick Clement and Ian La Frenais, this hilarious new play sees Fletch trying to rescue the festive spirit from Scrooge-like Mackay. Visit www.thelowry.com or ring 0870 787 5793.
ROBIN HOOD & THE BABES IN THE WOOD (Anthony Hopkins Theatre, Clwyd Theatr Cymru, Mold, November 20-January 23)
THE same team who produced Jack and the Beanstalk and Cinderella - The Panto With Soul return to Mold for what is sure to be another sell-out show. Robin Hood tries to outwit the Sheriff of Nottingham and save the babes and their Nanny and marry Maid Marian. A talented cast of actor/musicians serve up more than 20 rock ‘n’ roll classics along the way. Visit www.clwyd-theatr-cymru.co.uk or ring 0845 330 3565.
THE SLEEPING BEAUTY/THE NUTCRACKER (Regent Theatre, Stoke-on-Trent, January 13-14)
THE Russian State Ballet and Orchestra of Siberia return with two ballet masterpieces: Tchaikovsky’s reworking of the classic Sleeping Beauty fairy tale and The Nutcracker, the most famous of all fantasy ballets. Visit www.ambassadortickets.com/stoke or ring 0844 871 7649.
THE SOUND OF MUSIC (Palace Theatre, Oxford Street, Manchester, December 14-January 16)
A REAL coup for the Palace Theatre sees Connie Fisher herself return to her role she sensationally made her own on national TV and the West End stage in this classic Rodgers and Hammerstein musical. The production also features TV and stage star Michael Praed as Captain Von Trapp and, direct from the West End show, Maggie Preece as Mother Abbess. Ring 0844 847 2484 or visit www.palaceandoperahouse.org.uk.
THE 39 STEPS (Playhouse Theatre, Williamson Square, Liverpool, December 3-January 16)
DIRECT from the West End comes Alfred Hitchcock’s classic spy thriller, brilliantly and hilariously recreated by Patrick Barlow. It follows the adventures of handsome hero Richard Hannay as he encounters dastardly murders, double-crossing secret agents and devastatingly beautiful women. Four fearless actors play 139 roles in 100 minutes of fast-paced fun. Visit www.everymanplayhouse.com or ring 0151 709 4776.