STARTING THIS WEEK
THE ACCRINGTON PALS (Tarvin Community Centre, October 8-12)
ASHTON Hayes Theatre Club present Peter Whelan’s powerful drama based on a real life story, one of the best plays ever written about the First World War. On the eve of 1914 the men of Accrington hear Kitchener’s call for a new army and become the smallest town in England to raise a Pals Volunteer Brigade. But the brutal reality of the French trenches is far beyond anything they were prepared for. The play, however, is less about the men than the women they leave behind. Mothers, daughters, wives and lovers who struggle to adapt to the new life they have to lead and who find strength in their growing sense of solidarity. Call 01829 752394 or visit www.ashtonhayestheatreclub.co.uk.
BLOOD (Axis Arts Centre, MMU Cheshire, Crewe Green Road, Crewe, October 3)
A CAPTIVATING multi-sensory experience that goes beyond dance. Jean Abreu’s new work is a celebration of the strange beauty of life where one man’s scientific exploration of his flesh and blood leads him in search of the composition of his soul. Microscopic images of bodily fluids from Gilbert and George’s The Fundamental Pictures, New Testamental Pictures and The Rudimentary Pictures come alive and dance with the performer in an exquisite and subtle duet in what is the first time iconic artists Gilbert and George have allowed their work to be used in dance. These are magnified and animated by digital artists and partners in BCAA.it, Mirko Arcese and Luca Biada into a fluid, organic environment that both responds to and is manipulated by Abreu in this intensely physical performance. Call 0161 247 5302 or visit www.axisartscentre.org.uk.
LANDSCAPE II (Axis Arts Centre, MMU Cheshire, Crewe Green Road, Crewe, October 10)
THREE women separated by 100 years start a conversation across time. Their parallel experiences reveal shared imaginings of identity and escape, as menacing undercurrents steal into their solitary and reflective lives. Their letters, diaries, drawings and photographs expose a series of threatening episodes and unsettling occurrences. As the landacape presses in on them, they draw upon the threads that connect them to survive. This is a compelling new solo work by Melanie Wilson, a bold hybrid of performance, film and sound art that creates a highly contemporary and minutely observed piece of new theatre. Call 0161 247 5302 or visit www.axisartscentre.org.uk.
PICNIC PLAYS (Clwyd Room, Clwyd Theatr Cymru, Mold, October 4)
PLAYS in a Bag are an intriguing mix of three short plays by brand new Welsh voices to be enjoyed in bitesize portions at lunchtime at 12.30pm. Why not try drama that's new and different? Plays in a Bag are a surprise drama package, presented in partnership with one of Wales' most exciting new writing companies. Dirty Protest, from Cardiff, are experts at creating lo-fi, high-drama shows. Fresh from the Royal Court, Almeida Theatre and Latitude Festival, these 20 minute plays by up-and-coming Welsh playwrights Matt Bulgo, Sandra Bendelow and Brad Birch are directed by Mared Swain (Associate Director, Sherman Cymru) and Kate Wasserberg (Associate Director, Clwyd Theatr Cymru). They are performed by members of the Clwyd Theatr Cymru company - Sara Harris-Davies, Sion Pritchard and Christian Patterson - professional actors who are well known to local audiences from current and recent productions in Mold. Bring your sandwiches (or treat yourself to one a picnic basket from the venue) and enjoy new Welsh plays - raw and unpolished - read for the very first time. Call 0845 330 3565 or visit www.clwyd-theatr-cymru.co.uk.
THE PRODUCERS (Floral Pavilion, New Brighton, Wirral, October 10-12)
AN OUTRAGEOUSLY funny musical adapted by Mel Brooks and Thomas Meehan and presented here by Wallasey Operatic Society. Winner of 12 Tony Awards. Down on his luck Producer Max Bialystock teams up with accountant Leo Bloom in a get-rich-quick scheme to put on the world’s worst show Springtime for Hitler. Hilarity ensues. Call 0151 666 0000 or visit www.floralpavilion.com.
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 SOCIABLE PLOVER (Forum Studio Theatre, Hamilton Place, Chester, October 10-12)
WRITTEN by Tim Withnall and directed for Tip Top by Marian Newman, The Sociable Plover tells the story of fussy, fanatical birdwatcher Roy Tunt who, while secreted in a bird hide on the Suffolk coast in a bid to spot an elusive visitor from the Asian Steppe, the rare and beautiful Sociable Plover, is shaken by the arrival of a tall dark and handsome stranger battling his way towards him across the flooded marsh. As the mystery man reveals more about himself, is it possible that Roy has got plans other than just birdwatching? Visit www.chestertheatre.co.uk or call 01244 341296.
THAT’LL BE THE DAY (Lyceum Theatre, Heath Street, Crewe, October 9-10)
PREPARE yourself for a party as the legendary That’ll Be The Day, the nation’s favourite rock ‘n’ roll variety show returns by popular demand. This hugely entertaining rock ‘n’ roll spectacular features a fantastic line up of knock-out hits from the 1950s, 60s and 70s, mixed with loads of new zany comedy routines to produce a show with a real feel good party atmosphere. Now in its 28th year of touring continuously in the UK and Europe, That’ll Be The Day is living proof that rock ‘n’ roll will never die! Call 01270 368242 or visit www.crewelyceum.co.uk.
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.
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.
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.
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 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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.