STARTING THIS WEEK
ANDY & MIKE’S TICK TOCK TIME MACHINE (Pyramid, Palmyra Square, Warrington, September 29)
FOLLOWING their smash-hit show Big Box of Bananas, the dynamic duo brings you another brilliant adventure, and this time they have a time machine! Andy Day, star of Andy’s Wild Adventures (CBeebies) and BAFTA nominated BBC presenter, stars alongside comedy partner, Mike James. Their trademark infectious energy and their irrepressible sense of fun, promise to make the show a treat for the whole family. While playing in the garden of their ‘fun pad’ – they discover a door that was locked many years ago by their great, great, great grandfather Wally Bum. Inside they find his workshop with many inventions and a mysterious Time Machine. The Time Machine sends them on a quest to collect the things they need from the past to help a very Old Andy in the future. Will they make it back to the here and now or be trapped in the mists of a time forever? One thing’s for sure; they haven’t a chance without your help! Andy and Mike hope you’ll think their show is so good, you will want to travel back in time as soon as you’ve seen it to and see it all over again. Suitable for anyone over three and their families. Call 01925 442345 or visit www.pyramidparrhall.com.
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.
CALL MR ROBESON (Forum Studio Theatre, Hamilton Place, Chester, September 26)
THIS rollercoaster journey through actor/singer Paul Robeson’s remarkable life highlights how his radical activism caused his downfall. It features some famous songs (including a dramatic rendition of Ol’ Man River), some of his speeches, and a defiant testimony to McCarthy’s Senate House Un-American Activities Committee. The play is written and performed by Liverpool-based playwright and singer Tayo Aluko. Call 01244 341296 or visit www.chestertheatre.co.uk.
FIFTY DAYS OF GREY (Lyceum Theatre, Heath Street, Crewe, September 27-28)
FRAN and San are best mates and rule the world of committees and societies in Batley. San is married and content – Fran is divorced and desperate. When they meet nineteen-year-old Mandy at a Zumba class and she introduces them to the world of mummy porn, they both suddenly realise there’s a whole world of naughtiness out there that neither of them have ever tried exploring. Via an hilarious Zumba class, a hopeless workout in the gym, a street party with soggy sausage rolls and sexual mishaps abounding, the friendship of our heroines endures. This warm-hearted farce will leave everyone feeling good and feeling sexy! The show is not vulgar, although it does have sexual references in it, but minimal use of strong language. Call 01270 368242 or visit www.crewelyceum.co.uk.
51 SHADES OF MAGGIE (Epstein Theatre, Liverpool, September 27-28)
SPOOF of EL James’s multi- million pound earning erotic romance novel, Fifty Shades of Grey. Former Emmerdale star Adele Silva takes the lead role of the loveable Maggie Muff who is looking for love. Initially written by Leesa Harker as a Facebook-based spoof blog of James’s bestseller, the blog was so well-received in its own right that it went viral, reaching tens of thousands of followers in a matter of days, and has been specifically adapted for the stage. A working-class girl, Maggie – like most women – has been let down by all the men in her life. As she attends an interview at the social security office, Maggie meets the handsome and hunky Mr Big, who could just be the man of her dreams. Audience members should note that, due to strong language and themes of an adult nature, the show is deemed unsuitable for anyone under the age of 16. Call 0844 888 4411 or visit www.epsteinliverpool.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.
THAT’LL BE THE DAY (Floral Pavilion, New Brighton, Wirral, September 29)
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 0151 666 0000 or visit www.floralpavilion.com.
TIN ROCKET (The Brindley, High Street, Runcorn, October 1)
LEAVE Earth far behind, to boldly go where no audience has gone before. Niki McCretton will blast you into an adventure of theatrical stand-up, space travel and scones. Niki delivers honest, ludicrous, touching, varied, unexpected, visual and very silly stand-up. If you have ever felt like the Matrix is more of a documentary than a work of fiction, then jump on board the Tin Rocket, where Niki will guide you on a journey through the past, present and future. So pack your bags. Take a seat. Niki will entertain you, serenade you on her guitar, let you hide in the dark, eat sweets and believe that you can create a new world somewhere out there in the universe. Niki McCretton has been performing and devising theatre for more than 20 years, to sell out shows across the globe including the USA and Canada where she has won both audience and critical acclaim for her work. Ring 0151 907 8360 or visit www.thebrindley.org.uk.
VIENNA FESTIVAL BALLET (Floral Pavilion, New Brighton, Wirral, September 27)
JOIN Vienna Festival Ballet on a magical journey with their brand new production of Snow White. World premiere choreography propels this timeless fairytale and answers the question, who is the fairest one of all. Based on the traditional Grimm’s Brothers story, this ballet incorporates all the important elements, an enchanted mirror, a beautiful girl, a shiny red apple and Prince Charming. This spellbinding ballet promises to entertain and dazzle the whole family. Call 0151 666 0000 or visit www.floralpavilion.com.
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.
THE BUTTERFLY LION (Venue Cymru, Llandudno, September 23-28)
AWARD-WINNING writer Michael Morpurgo’s inspiring tale of enduring friendship comes to the stage, starring one of Britain’s leading actresses, Gwen Taylor. The play transports audiences from the African veldt to the battlefields of First World War France, as they follow the adventures of Bertie and the White Lion as they strive to find sanctuary among devastating adversity. Call 01492 872000 or visit www.venue
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.
WEST SIDE STORY (Empire Theatre, Lime Street, Liverpool, September 24-28)
THE international touring version of a 1957 Broadway classic is set to storm the Liverpool Empire this week. Based on Shakespeare’s Romeo And Juliet, West Side Story transformed the original tale of the Montague and Capulets family feud into a teenage gang war in a slum district of 1950s New York. Packed with unforgettable songs including Maria, Tonight and Somewhere, the musical explores the rivalry between two street gangs of different ethnic backgrounds and follows the story of young protagonist, Tony, one of the Jets, who falls in love with Maria, the sister of the leader of the Sharks. The star-crossed lovers begin meeting in secret and planning to run away until the Sharks and the Jets plan a rumble under the highway, where the winners will gain control of the streets. Maria sends Tony to stop the violence, hoping it will put an end to the conflict, but it all goes terribly wrong as tragedy strikes and doesn’t stop until the climactic and heartbreaking ending. Visit www.liverpoolempire.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.
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.
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.
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.