STARTING THIS WEEK
AS YOU LIKE IT (Caernarfon Castle, August 29; Conwy Castle, August 30-31; Nant Clwyd y Dre, Ruthin, September 1)
COME and watch a boy playing a girl, who disguises herself as a boy, and pretends to be a girl in order to woo a boy, who doesn’t know that the boy is in fact the girl he has previously fallen in love with. In turn, the girl disguised as a boy attracts another girl, also played by a boy, who doesn’t know that the object of her desire isn’t a boy. Join The Lord Chamberlain’s Men when they return this summer with their all male production of Shakespeare’s most beautiful summer comedy. With warring brothers, clowns, comic peasants, romance, death threats, escape and even a wrestling match there is something for everyone. Call 01492 872000 or visit www.venuecymru.co.uk.
BLOOD BROTHERS (The Lowry, Salford Quays, September 2-7)
WRITTEN by Willy Russell, the legendary Blood Brothers tells the captivating and moving tale of twins who, separated at birth, grow up on opposite sides of the tracks, only to meet again with fateful consequences. The superb score includes Bright New Day, Marilyn Monroe and the emotionally charged hit Tell Me It’s Not True. Few musicals have received quite such acclaim as the multi-award winning Blood Brothers, and Bill Kenwright’s production, having recently celebrated its 23rd phenomenal year in London, continues to enjoy standing ovations at every devastating performance. Call 0843 208 6000 or visit www.thelowry.com.
GRANDPA IN MY POCKET (Pavilion Theatre, Rhyl, September 4-8)
THE popular CBeebies television show comes to the stage for the first time, tapping into themes at the heart of the series, such as the playful cross-generational relationship between grandparent and grandchild, but also exploits the uniquely intimate and creatively unconstrained qualities of theatre. Nottingham Playhouse have produced a show which will delight and engage audiences through an ensemble storytelling technique with song, dance, physicality, puppetry and real interaction with the audience, who are invited to help to tell the story. Call 01745 3300 00 or visit www.rhylpavilion.co.uk.
POSTMAN PAT LIVE (Floral Pavilion, New Brighton, Wirral, September 1)
PREMIER Stage Productions are delighted to present a brand new, fun filled, all action show featuring everyone’s favourite postman. See Pat and his friends live on stage, with an exciting new story based around the forthcoming feature film. As local talent scouts come to Greendale, Pat’s friends encourage him to give it a go. How will he get on? Will Pat become a new singing sensation and leave his postbag behind? With songs, laughs and participation, together with brand new scenery and costumes, Postman Pat Live is the must see show for three- six-year-olds this year. Call 0151 666 0000 or visit www.floralpavilion.com.
THE RISE AND FALL OF LITTLE VOICE (Grove Park Theatre, Wrexham, September 5-14)
JIM Cartwright’s original, hilarious and hauntingly moving play. Shy, reclusive Little Voice is a girl with a big secret – a singing voice to die for. Unfortunately, her brash, self-centred mother Mari doesn’t care for LV or her beloved music. So Little Voice stays locked in her bedroom listening to her late father’s record collection and perfecting impersonations of Shirley Bassey, Marilyn Monroe and Judy Garland among others. When Mari starts dating small time talent agent Ray Say, she thinks she’s found love at last. And when Ray hears LV sing, he thinks he’s found the jackpot. All Little Voice wants to find is happiness. But we don’t always get what we want. A play that is touching, tender and tragic all in one. Visit www.groveparktheatre.co.uk or call 01978 351091.
STAND UP: THE MUSICAL (Floral Pavilion, New Brighton, Wirral, September 3-7)
A new show that brings together the worlds of comedy and musical theatre. It tells the story of three comedians at different stages in their careers. Darren Day as Tony Monore, Billy Pearce as Stan Chester and new comic performer Matt Wilman as Scott Thomas, are three comedians all looking for the same thing. Lionel Blair is the canny and ruthless but hilarious agent Oliver Squires, and Brookside’s Dean Sullivan is the wise and witty comedy club manager Bob Fletcher. A full supporting cast of West End performers come together for this limited run that combines the very best in stand up comedy and musical theatre with a hysterically funny new musical score by Daryl Denham and Maurice Cheetham. Call 0151 666 0000 or visit www.floralpavilion.com.
SWEETS FOR MY SWEET (Floral Pavilion, New Brighton, Wirral, August 30)
BILL Snell’s play tells the story of young lovers Billy and Mo who work in a 70s sweet factory. While Mo has an ultimatum for Billy in their personal life, the shop steward’s work life gets more complicated too when he has a showdown with a foreman. If all that sounds like heavy drama, it is kept light with a series of comic scenes, including an introduction to the ‘dippers’ – the girls whose job it was to make the buttered Brazil sweets, and by a Tamla Motown soundtrack. Call 0151 666 0000 or visit www.floral
THE SUNSHINE BOYS (Epstein Theatre, Hanover Street, Liverpool, August 15-September 7)
LIFE in Theatre Productions present Neil Simon’s critically acclaimed Broadway and West End Vaudeville comedy. Liverpool theatre veterans Andrew ‘Drew’ Schofield and Alan Stocks play the lead roles of Al Lewis, the laid-back, smiling assassin, and the cantankerous old clown Willie Clark. They are a one-time vaudevillian double-act who, throughout their 40 year career, grew to hate and despise each other. It’s now 1972, in New York City, and CBS invite the comedy duo to be re-united for a nostalgic History of Comedy TV special. Forced together once again, their old rivalry resurfaces and hilarious shenanigans occur as they prepare to take centre stage for one final time. Call 0844 888 4411 or visit www.epsteinliverpool.co.uk.
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.
ARISTOCRATS (Emlyn Williams Theatre, Clwyd Theatr Cymru, Mold, September 19-October 12)
DURING a perfect summer in the mid 1970s, the children of the O’Donnell family drift back to the crumbling ancestral home. The domineering Judge O’Donnell lies dying upstairs as his children drink, dance and struggle to face the future. Long-unspoken truths and glorious fictions collide in Brian Friel’s achingly beautiful play about the disintegration of the Irish gentry. Aristocrats is directed by Clwyd Theatr Cymru associate director Kate Wasserberg following her acclaimed productions of Salt, Root and Roe by Tim Price, Glengarry Glen Ross by David Mamet and, in 2010, Dancing at Lughnasa by Brian Friel. Call 0845 330 3565 or visit www.clwyd-theatr-cymru.co.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 any more? 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.
DAYTONA (Anthony Hopkins Theatre, Clwyd Theatr Cymru, Mold, September 16-21)
HAUNTING, funny, poignant and full of mystery, Daytona by Oliver Cotton is a play with not one but two love stories at its heart. Happy in their shared passion for ballroom dancing, Joe and Elli plan to win the next big competition. But the unexpected arrival of a figure from their past threatens to throw everything off balance. What can this man want of them on this cold winter’s night? What can possibly be gained from this uneasy reunion? When they discover the story behind his sudden return, Joe and Elli must confront a profound moral dilemma. The play stars Maureen Lipman, one of this country’s best-loved actresses, and Harry Shearer, famous for providing character voices for The Simpsons and the 1984 mockumentary This is Spinal Tap. Call 0845 330 3565 or visit the website www.clwyd-theatr-cymru.co.uk.
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.
ISLAND MAGIC (Emlyn Williams Theatre, Clwyd Theatr Cymru, Mold, September 19-20)
SET in the warm climes of a magical island this is a tale of bravery, magic and romance. A truly feel good musical play performed by the enchanting Trapdoor Theatre students. 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.
MELODY LOSES HER MOJO (Playhouse Theatre, Williamson Square, Liverpool, September 20-28)
MELODY is in the care system and is out of control. The only thing that is constant in Melody’s life is her toy monster – Mojo. Blessing has come from Nigeria to stay with an ‘Aunty’, but when the relationship breaks down, she is trapped in the care system and longs to be back with her Nana in Lagos. Rizla has just left the care system. He has been taken in by some older guys in the local hostel and has found his new ‘family’. This bold, gritty and challenging story fuses Hip Hop Theatre, dance, puppetry and street art to follow the amazing journeys of three remarkable young people, whose stories intertwine in a world full of magical and surreal moments. The remarkable artistic team includes Sue Buckmaster (Theatre-Rites), Kwesi Johnson (Kompany Malakhi), club artist Mark Wigan (ID magazine/The Brain Club) and Hobbit (International Beatboxing Champion), alongside 20 Stories High’s Keith Saha, writer/director of the award winning Ghost Boy which was at the Everyman in 2010. Contains strong themes (including family loss, suicide), strong language, sexual references and drug use. Call 0151 709 4776 or visit www.everymanplayhouse.com.
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.
ROUGH JUSTICE (Nantwich Players Theatre, Love Lane, Nantwich, September 6-14)
THRILLING drama from Nantwich Players set during a murder trial which has several twists and turns which help to crank up the tension. It is especially emotive as the victim is a young child, and both parents have their story to tell. Call 01270 600727.
SHH! (Emlyn Williams Theatre, Clwyd Theatr Cymru, Mold, October 15-16)
A RIVETING and poignant piece of dance theatre from Shut Up and Dance that digs unblinkingly into the lives of a couple. Their domestic bliss, erotic dreams, personal fantasies and internal dramas collide in a virtual house with no walls and in full public view. It builds on the themes of human communication explored within the images in Sue Williams’ 2006 Arts Mundi finalist exhibition. The evening show includes an exhibition of related images from Williams’ work. Not suitable for children. There is a suggested age limit of 16 for the production. Call 0845 330 3565 or visit www.clwyd-theatr-cymru.co.uk.
SWEETS FOR MY SWEET (Lantern Theatre, Liverpool, September 6-7)
BILL Snell’s play tells the story of young lovers Billy and Mo who work in a 70s sweet factory. While Mo has an ultimatum for Billy in their personal life, the shop steward’s work life gets more complicated too when he has a showdown with a foreman. If all that sounds like heavy drama, it is kept light with a series of comic scenes, including an introduction to the ‘dippers’ – the girls whose job it was to make the buttered Brazil sweets, and by a Tamla Motown soundtrack. Call 0151 703 0000 for details.
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. Call 0844 372 7272 or visit www.manchesterpalace.org.uk.