Apr 4 2011 by Michael Green, Chester Chronicle
BLACK SNOW (Unity Theatre, Hope Place, Liverpool, May 26-28)
KEITH Dewhurst's adaptation of Bulgakov's satirical masterpiece is a darkly comic gem that was first staged to riotous acclaim by The National Theatre in 1991. Set amid the paranoia and oppression of 1920s Moscow, it tells of Maxodov (Bulgakov's thinly-veiled alter ego), a bewildered writer whose unsuccessful novel is in the process of being transformed into a stage play by the state theatre. This simple process becomes his own personal hell and takes on Kafka-esque complexity as he struggles to keep hold of his play, his integrity and finally his sanity. Black Snow is a whirling smorgasbord of a play full of fantasy, dark magic and a remarkable cat. Performed by second-year Acting students. Not suitable for children. Ring 0844 873 2888 or visit www.lipa.ac.uk.
CABARET (Sennheiser Studio Theatre, LIPA, Liverpool, May 19-21)
STEP back to 1929 Berlin to the seedy Kit Kat Klub where sex and politics entwine in an atmosphere of tobacco smoke and perfume. Follow the love story of Kit Kat cabaret singer Sally Bowles in this sultry cocktail of music and dance. Performed by second-year Dance and Music students. Not suitable for children. Ring 0844 873 2888 or visit www.lipa.ac.uk.
THE CAUCASIAN CHALK CIRCLE (Paul McCartney Auditorium, LIPA, Liverpool, June 10-11)
IN A land gripped by civil unrest, Grusha, a serving girl, risks her life to protect the abandoned child of an aristocrat. Pursued by Ironshirts, rejected by her family and forced into an arranged marriage, Grusha appears prepared to sacrifice anything to protect the child. Years later peace returns to the land, as does a mother seeking her child. Surely nothing is stronger than ties of blood or is possession truly nine tenths of the law? The stage is set for the trial by chalk circle. This fast-paced production combines percussion, multimedia and ensemble techniques to present a fresh take on this thought-provoking parable that is as relevant today as it was when written in 1944, while Brecht was in exile in America. Performed by first-year Community Drama students. Not suitable for under 14s. Ring 0844 873 2888 or visit www.lipa.ac.uk.
DESPERATE TO BE DORIS (Forum Studio Theatre, Hamilton Place, Chester, May 5-14)
OFFICE worker Dean longs to be Doris Day and finds his moment in the sun, courtesy of a hard-nosed boss, some daft colleagues and the unfortunately named Out of My Range Operatic & Dramatic Society as they perform a rickety version of Calamity Jane. Fortunately, Dean is on hand to step into the lead role at a moment’s notice when the leading actress falls ill. This camp, outrageous, silly and appealing show was original created by Lip Service duo Maggie Fox and Sue Ryding. Ring 01244 341296 or visit www.chestertheatre.co.uk.
EVITA (Opera House, Quay Street, Manchester, May 23-28)
TIM Rice and Andrew Lloyd Webber’s extraordinary musical features some of the biggest hit songs ever written, including Don’t Cry For Me Argentina, On This Night Of A Thousand Stars, Another Suitcase In Another Hall, Oh What A Circus, You Must Love Me and many more. Ring 0844 372 7272 or visit www.manchesterpalace.org.uk.
JOSEPH AND THE AMAZING TECHNICOLOR DREAMCOAT (Opera House, Quay Street, Manchester, August 16-21)
HAVING enjoyed sensational reviews, Bill Kenwright’s production of Tim Rice and Andrew Lloyd Webber’s sparkling family musical continues to enjoy huge success across the country with standing ovations at every performance. Retelling the Biblical story of Joseph, his 11 brothers and the coat of many colours, this magical musical is full of unforgettable songs including Any Dream Will Do, Close Ev’ry Door and One More Angel. Ring 0844 372 7272 or visit www.manchesterpalace.org.uk.
KISS OF THE SPIDER WOMAN (Sennheiser Studio Theatre, LIPA, Liverpool, May 12-14)
THIS is a powerful musical that explores the complex relationship between two very different men forced to share a prison cell in an unnamed Latin American country. Molina is a flamboyant homosexual jailed for allegedly corrupting a minor; Valentin is a Marxist revolutionary brought to prison as a suspected terrorist. Molina escapes the horrors of prison life by recalling his favourite movie sequences and the seductive voice of the screen goddess Aurora. There is one role that terrifies him – the Spider Woman, who stalks Molina’s psyche as the Angel of Death. Performed by second-year Acting students. Not suitable for children. Ring 0844 873 2888 or visit www.lipa.ac.uk.
LORD ARTHUR SAVILE’S CRIME (Little Theatre, Gloucester Street, Newtown, Chester, July 4-9)
CHESTER Theatre Club presents Constance Cox’s play based on Oscar Wilde’s short story. Lord Arthur Savile is deliriously happy and on the verge of marrying the lovely Sybil when an encounter with a clairvoyant reveals Arthur will commit a murder. Ring 01244 322674 or visit www.chestertheatreclub.co.uk.
MAMMA MIA! (Palace Theatre, Oxford Street, Manchester, April 26-June 11)
THE hit stage musical inspired by the songs of Abba - which has already been turned into one of the most successful movies of recent years - returns to the North West stage. On the eve of her wedding, a daughter’s quest to discover the identity of her father brings three men from her mother’s past back to the Greek island they last visited 21 years ago.ŠRing 0844 372 7272 or visit www.manchesterpalace.org.uk.
THE MAN (Emlyn Williams Theatre, Clwyd Theatr Cymru, Mold, May 3-4)
A BLACKLY comic and uniquely interactive performance from award-winning playwright James Graham, this story unfolds in a different order, selected at random every night. Tax is really taxing for Ben Edwards. Self-employed and afraid, he must face his dreaded self-assessment form with every receipt evoking the good times and the bad. With each receipt drawn out at random, he begins to stitch together the patchwork quilt that was his tax year. Visit www.clwyd-theatr-cymru.co.uk or ring 0845 330 3565.
SEPARATE TABLES (Little Theatre, Gloucester Street, Newtown, Chester, May 9-14)
CHESTER Theatre Club presents Terence Rattigan’s classic play, first performed in 1954. The Beauregard Hotel in eastbourne shelters the lonely, the old and the genteel poor. Always discreet but also lonely, the manageress Miss Cooper involves herself in the lives of the “flotsam and jetsam” who find themselves washed up there. Ring 01244 322674 or visit www.chestertheatreclub.co.uk.
SISTER ACT (Opera House, Quay Street, Manchester, September 29-October 15)
FROM producers Whoopi Goldberg and Stage Entertainment (Hairspray, High School Musical) the smash hit musical comedy based on the classic film comes to the Opera House direct from its record breaking run at the London Palladium. Ring 0844 372 7272 or visit www.manchesterpalace.org.uk.
THAT DAY WE SANG (Opera House, Quay Street, Manchester, July 6-16)
VICTORIA Wood creates a new theatre piece for Manchester International Festival. This is the story of some of the children who sang on the famous recording of Nymphs and Shepherds by the Manchester Children’s Choir. The piece takes as its starting point a television documentary being made 45 years after the event, triggering memories of the day itself and the years inbetween. It’s about the joy of singing, the power of music to evoke emotion, and being middle aged. Ring 0844 372 7272 or visit www.manchesterpalace.org.uk.
THOMAS AND FRIENDS (Opera House, Quay Street, Manchester, June 25-26)
THIS all new 90-minute musical adventure is packed with audience sing-a-longs, high energy dancing and thrilling adventures. When Thomas the Tank Engine makes a big mistake, all the engines on the Island of Sodor must work together to prepare for the exciting event under the Big Top and Thomas must prove he’s a really useful engine once again. In this fun filled family show, Percy, James, Gordon and of course Thomas join The Fat Controller and the townspeople from the Island of Sodor to welcome a colourful cast of circus performers in an engaging story that demonstrates the importance of friendship and cooperation. Ring 0844 372 7272 or visit www.manchesterpalace.org.uk.
TINY VOLCANOES (Everyman Theatre, Hope Street, Liverpool, April 20-21)
THE Great British Bulldog has been usurped by snarling hybrids. The bowler hat has morphed into the hoodie. The culture of polite society is now a culture of blame and hatred as our land of hope and glory is torn into extremes. Strap yourself in for a full throttle rollercoaster ride through the dilapidated attractions of broken Britain, exposing the millions of tiny volcanoes bubbling up through our green and pleasant land. Two actors play a host of characters in a fast-paced, hilarious inquisition into noble old Blighty that fuses theatre, comedy and tub-thumping tunes. Visit www.everymanplayhouse.com or ring 0151 709 4776.
A VIEW FROM THE BRIDGE (Royal Exchange Theatre, St Ann’s Square, Manchester, May 18-June 25)
EDDIE Carbone, a longshoreman, lives with his wife Beatrice and young orphaned niece Catherine in Red Hook, Brooklyn, New York. Two cousins from Sicily, relatives of Beatrice, come as illegal immigrants to stay in the Carbone’s home and find work on the docks. When Catherine is attracted to Rodolpho, Eddie’s life is thrown into turmoil. One of Arthur Miller’s masterpieces, this is a powerful, passionate and gripping drama that uncovers the tensions in a tight knit community with its strict codes of behaviour. Ring 0161 833 9833 or visit www.royalexchange.co.uk.