STARTING THIS WEEK
ALICE IN WONDERLAND (Emlyn Williams Theatre, Clwyd Theatr Cymru, Mold, October 17-19)
STEP into an upside-down world where familiar things are made strange, with enchanting and horrifying results. Alice in Wonderland is about crossing the threshold between childhood and adulthood, and about the behaviour of one generation seen through the eyes of another. Volcano’s “brave, stupid and beautiful” brand of theatre is an intriguing match for Lewis Carroll’s exquisitely deranged tale of childhood, misunderstanding and adventure. Volcano brings you an older-than-usual Alice, and the strangeness of the world she encounters is not supernatural but deeply rooted in the insanities of our culture and society. Plunge with us down the rabbit-hole into a 21st-century asylum adventure, full of ambition, distraction, uglification and derision. Call 0845 330 3565 or visit www.clwyd-theatr-cymru.co.uk.
ANIMAL FARM (The Brindley, High Street, Runcorn, October 18)
THIS powerful, fast-moving dramatisation of Orwell’s classic satire remains faithful to the spirit of the original novel. Written by George Orwell as a political fable, Animal Farm remains as pertinent and relevant today as it was when it was first published in 1945. Featuring post graduate acting students from the Academy of Live and Recorded Arts based in Wigan (voted the best UK drama school in the 2012 Stage Newspaper awards), Animal Farm is directed by the Oldham Coliseum Theatre’s artistic director, Kevin Shaw. Adapted for the stage by Ian Wooldridge. Having previously worked with ALRA students on productions of Jane Eyre and The Tempest, the Coliseum Theatre is delighted once again to be touring the North West with this exciting interpretation of Orwell’s classic novel. Call 0151 907 8360 or visit www.thebrindley.org.uk.
FEEL ABOUT YOUR BODY (Axis Theatre, Axis Arts Centre, Crewe, October 24)
AN UPLIFTING, life-affirming and hilarious spectacle about how we ‘feel’ about our bodies. Expect silliness, see a man talk to his bottom and find out what not to do during a heart attack. The show contains some brief nudity, some brief dancing and some puerile songs! New Art Club return with another beautifully engineered blend of physical and verbal lunacy. Call 0161 247 5302 or visit www.axisartscentre.org.uk.
HURRICANE HILL (Unity Theatre, Hope Place, Liverpool, October 18-19)
WRITTEN and directed by Chris Leicester of Chester. At the isolated house of a famous recluse, a stranger arrives and a past will finally be faced. Which life is more valuable - that of a child or a brother-in-arms? Given the regiment he was in, what Paul Glover had to do that night in Afghanistan might just have passed for the ordinary but lurking in the shadows, life had dealt its hand and now the weight of his actions would materialise - with utterly destructive consequences. Call 0844 873 2888 or visit www.unitytheatreliverpool.co.uk.
JUST US THREE AND THE SEA (The Brindley, High Street, Runcorn, October 19)
MEET Sedrick the Seagull and help him find his way back to the sea. One day when out flying with his friends, Sedrick finds himself. Lost in the forest with a broken wing. He wonders how he will ever get home! But then he meets Gerry the Giraffe and Bernard the Bear and discovers what friends are for as they set off on a journey. Interactive musical story presented by Animal Playground for children aged 3-7 and for children with special educational needs. Call 0151 907 8360 or visit www.thebrindley.org.uk.
ME AND MY GIRL (Lyceum Theatre, Heath Street, Crewe, October 22-26)
ACTON Amateur Operatic Society present the much-loved Lambeth musical. This must-see musical comedy for all ages is a love story between the classes, set in 1930s Lambeth, Mayfair and Hampshire. Songs including Me And My Girl, The Sun Has Got His Hat On, Leaning On A Lamppost and the unmistakable Lambeth Walk. Written by Douglas Furber with music by Noel Gay. Call 01270 368242 or visit www.crewelyceum.co.uk.
ONE FLEW OVER THE CUCKOO'S NEST (Grove Park Theatre, Wrexham, October 17-26)
DALE Wasserman’s stage adaptation of Ken Kesey’s legendary novel premiered on Broadway in 1963, with Kirk Douglas in the lead role that would make Jack Nicholson a superstar - Randle Patrick McMurphy. He is a sharp, funny rebel who pretends to be insane so he can finish his prison sentence in the relative comfort of a mental ward. When McMurphy meets his fellow inmates, he discovers that they are a lot more sane than the reactive, restrictive world of the authorities, which is embodied by the cruel and controlling Nurse Ratched. Both hilarious and deeply moving, this tale of the human spirit and its fight against conformity is a modern classic. Visit groveparktheatre.co.uk or call 01978 351091.
ALL MY SONS (Royal Exchange Theatre, St Ann’s Square, Manchester, September 25-October 26)
TALAWA Theatre Company and the Royal Exchange Theatre in Manchester will present a major revival of Arthur Miller’s classic play. The production will star two of the country’s most distinguished actors – Don Warrington (Rising Damp, Death in Paradise) as Joe and Doña Croll (Casualty, Doctors) as Kate. Joe and Kate Keller are an all-American couple who have the ghosts of World War Two living in their own backyard. Joe is a successful, self-made businessman, a loving family man and a pillar of the community. He is a partner in a machine shop building fighter plane parts. One thing overshadows Joe and Kate’s happiness - their son is missing in action, presumed dead by all but his mother. Call 0161 833 9833 or visit www.royalexchange.co.uk.
SEASON’S GREETINGS (Anthony Hopkins Theatre, Clwyd Theatr Cymru, Mold, October 3-November 2)
IT'S Christmas Eve in the Bunker household. Neville and Belinda are hosting the festivities and family and friends are gathering to eat, drink and make merry. Grouchy Uncle Harvey is settled in front of the TV. Bernard is more concerned with his amateur puppet show while his wife Phyllis causes mayhem in the kitchen as she prepares dinner. Season's Greetings is an uncompromising portrait of a traditional family Christmas in which culinary disasters, drunkenness, neglected wives, infidelity under the tree and an amorous Santa create a sparking bittersweet comedy and a riotously funny take on the festive season. Alan Ayckbourn is one of our greatest dramatists. His plays include Taking Steps and A Small Family Business which were recent hit productions at Clwyd Theatr Cymru. Directed by award-winning director Tim Baker whose successful productions at Clwyd Theatr Cymru include Rape of the Fair Country, To Kill A Mockingbird and his own adaptation of the children's novel Sky Hawk. Call 0845 330 3565 or visit www.clwyd-theatr-cymru.co.uk.
THE SERVANT OF TWO MASTERS (Kingsley Community Centre, October 16-19)
KINGSLEY Players are back on stage for a four night run of this riotous comedy. The original version by the 18th century Italian, Carlo Goldoni, was the inspiration for Richard Bean’s award-winning adaptation One Man Two Guvnors which is still playing to packed houses in the West End. The story is set in Venice and follows the exploits of the servant Truffaldino who lands himself jobs with two different people at the same time. Not all the complications are of his own making – unknown to him, one of his ‘masters’ is in fact a woman in disguise and the other master is her lover. Visit www.kingsleyplayers.co.uk or call 07925 516760.
THE WINTER’S TALE (The Brindley, High 2000 Street, Runcorn, October 15-17)
THIS play with music, set in 1970s and early 1990s, with professional actors, community performers and local bands will delight all the family. Jealousy, power, passion and death meet comedy, renewal, romance and song. Leontes, lead singer with a world famous band is feeling safe in his privileged kingdom. He has a beautiful wife, a promising young son and a baby on the way but the presence of his best friend and musical rival Polixenes will disrupt his contented life. Tragedy follows but 16 years later everything begins again, a different time, different music and a new generation. A modern reworking of Shakespeare's classic tale. Presented by Nulty Pilton Productions and The Brindley. Ring 0151 907 8360 or visit www.thebrindley.org.uk.
WICKED (Palace Theatre, Oxford Street, Manchester, September 12-November 16)
THE global musical phenomenon that has been casting its spell over audiences across the world for nearly a decade, flies into Manchester for a strictly limited run. Wicked tells the incredible story of an unlikely but profound friendship between two girls who first meet as sorcery students. Their extraordinary adventures in Oz will ultimately see them fulfil their destinies as Glinda The Good and the Wicked Witch of the West. Former West End cast members Nikki Davis-Jones, Emily Tierney and George Ure will all join the cast as Elphaba, Glinda and Boq respectively. Call 0844 372 7272 or visit www.manchesterpalace.org.uk.
COPENHAGEN (Emlyn Williams Theatre, Clwyd Theatr Cymru, Mold, October 31-November 23)
A TENSE thriller based on a real event at the height of the Second World War. The German physicist, Werner Heisenberg, is now working for the Nazi Government, so why should Niels Bohr, his close friend and colleague, trust him anymore? In 1941 these two great scientists meet for a brief moment in Copenhagen. Everything they say is fraught with great personal danger, but crucially has the capacity to change the course of the conflict that ravages Europe. They fail to understand guarded language or to trust one another's motives and part disastrously. Michael Frayn’s play reconstructs what went wrong at that meeting and its consequences for world history. Directed by Emma Lucia, following her successful productions of Educating Rita by Willy Russell and God of Carnage by Yasmina Reza at Clwyd Theatr Cymru. Call 0845 330 3565 or visit www.clwyd-theatr-cymru.co.uk.
A DIFFERENT DRUM (Northgate Church, Northgate Street, October 25)
ONE of Riding Lights Theatre Company's most inspirational plays has been recreated for 2013. In the blood of a flea, wrapped in a bundle of French silk, the plague arrives in the Derbyshire village of Eyam, and with it comes a devastating decision. As the entire community chooses the bold path of sacrifice, they begin to march to a different drum.Beginning in the 17th century, the play follows a thread through history to the present day, picking up accounts of others who have dared to break the boundaries of self-interest. Full of life and colourful music, the play imagines how different the world could be if we responded unswervingly to the call to ‘do unto others as you would have them do unto you’. Call 01904 613000 for details or visit www.ridinglights.org/drum.
ERIC AND LITTLE ERN (Anthony Hopkins Theatre, Clwyd Theatr Cymru, Mold, November 5-8)
THIS affectionate, moving and fantastically funny homage to the greatest comedy double act that Britain has ever seen vividly brings back warm memories of a bygone era. Recreating some of the finest moments of Eric and Ernie’s television and stage performances, cherished moments from the archives sit alongside new material created by the performers. Together they make a brilliant comedy that recreates the all-ages appeal of Morecambe and Wise in their heyday. Creators and performers Ian Ashpitel and Jonty Stephens are seasoned stage and TV actors with a wide range of credits from Shakespeare’s Globe to Lead Balloon, while director Owen Lewis most recently staged solo shows for Suggs, Mrs Moneypenny and Hardeep Singh Kohli; previous stage credits include the West End and international hit Pete and Dud: Come Again. Call 0845 330 3565 or visit www.clwyd-theatr-cymru.co.uk.
MANSFIELD PARK (Anthony Hopkins Theatre, Clwyd Theatr Cymru, Mold, November 12-16)
CATCH this spellbinding adaptation of Jane Austen’s captivating novel as it returns to tour in 2013. Unceremoniously uprooted from her humble family home, intelligent young Fanny Price is dropped into the bustling, aristocratic household of her uncle, Sir Thomas Bertram, where she finds herself buffeted from one crisis to the next in the company of her cousins and their well-to-do friends. Yet throughout this turmoil one thing remains a constant – her love for the generous, worthy and steadfast Edmund Bertram. But will this love be her salvation? Or will she be forced to marry the charismatic Henry Crawford for connections and wealth alone? Can Fanny triumph over her adoptive family’s demands and follow her heart to acquire the husband and life she so desires and deserves? Written by Tim Luscombe, whose other acclaimed Austen adaptations include Northanger Abbey and Persuasion, and directed by Colin Blumenau, Mansfield Park is a must-see for lovers of Jane Austen, and indeed all classic drama, from the country’s last remaining Regency Theatre. Call 0845 330 3565 or visit www.clwyd-theatr-cymru.co.uk.
PARTICLE VELOCITY (Anthony Hopkins Theatre, Clwyd Theatr Cymru, Mold, November 9)
FOLLOWING the success of 2012’s Crossing Points, Phoenix Dance Theatre return to Clwyd Theatr Cymru with a bill that is alive with music and sound. Set to a specially commissioned score, Phoenix artistic director Sharon Watson’s Repetition of Change uses movement to unravel our genetic code, taking the audience on a volatile journey through the fascinating world of DNA. Specialising in explosive, powerful dance, Douglas Thorpe’s Tender Crazy Love is a blistering duet that features his trademark raw, visceral choreography. Ki by Jose Agudo is a ferocious solo inspired by the fearsome Mongol warlord Genghis Khan that fills the stage with physical dance. Completing the bill is All Alight, celebrated choreographer Richard Alston’s first work for Phoenix. Featuring the full company, this elegant piece is danced to Ravel’s moving Sonata for Violin and Cello. The score for Repetition of Change, Forms Entangled, Shapes Collided by Kenneth Hesketh, was commissioned with funding from the RPS Drummond Fund for Phoenix and Psappha. Call 0845 330 3565 or visit www.clwyd-theatr-cymru.co.uk.
A REGULAR LITTLE HOUDINI (Anthony Hopkins Theatre, Clwyd Theatr Cymru, Mold, November 26-27)
HOUDINI toured Britain twice. Both times, he had run in’s with the police in Newport. An unusual young boy, obsessed with Houdini, growing up in Newport’s booming docklands, seeks to emulate Houdini’s commitment to his art and takes us through eight years of Britain’s biggest industrial growth, in the pursuit of amazement! World premiere of a new one-man show written and performed by Clwyd Theatr Cymru regular, Daniel Llewelyn-Williams. Directed by Joshua Richards (fringe first winner and winner of best of the festival award for Playing Burton and Rosebud). Call 0845 330 3565 or visit www.clwyd-theatr-cymru.co.uk.
REMEMBER REMEMBER (The Brindley, High Street, Runcorn, November 2)
A RED hood, a glass slipper, two little elves and a big bad wolf. In a world of forbidden stories and forgotten fairytales. Can you help put the pieces back together and perhaps discover a story of your own? A magical, interactive experience, combining original music, animation and play. Enter the world under the watchful eye of the Grand Master Timekeeper and play your part in this exciting adventure. Suitable for 4-7-year-olds. Call 0151 907 3dd 8360 or visit www.thebrindley.org.uk.
TEECHERS (Lyceum Theatre, Heath Street, Crewe, October 28-30)
A BITING, witty modern comedy from John Godber, the writer of Bouncers, Perfect Pitch and The Debt Collectors. Join Gail, Hobby and Salty, three fifth form students who, through their end of term play, tell the hilarious story of an idealistic new teacher in his perilous first days inside a local comprehensive school. The three cast members effortlessly transform into a vast array of other characters in this contemporary classic including teachers, dinner ladies, students, an obstructive caretaker and of course, the school bully. Featuring Frances Wood (BBC’s The Voice) as Gail, Teechers puts the education system under a microscope and examines the themes and issues which are still relevant today. Call 01270 368242 or visit www.crewelyceum.co.uk.