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Theatres - Starting This Week - May 10 onwards

STARTING THIS WEEK

BRUISED (Emlyn Williams Theatre, Clwyd Theatr Cymru, Mold, May 10-26)

WRITTEN by Welsh actor Matthew Lewis, this is a fierce, funny and beautiful play about family, courage and the legacy of violence. In Pontypool, South Wales, Shane has built a good life for himself, selling drugs from the flat, living with his pregnant girlfriend Stephanie and her mother. But then Stephanie’s brother Noah returns home for the first time in a decade and is appalled at what he finds. Call 0845 330 3565 or visit www.clwyd-theatr-cymru.co.uk.

CLOSE THE COALHOUSE DOOR (The Lowry, Salford Quays, May 15-19)

THIS lively and moving musical play by the late Alan Plater portrays all the highs and lows of British mining history, with heart-tugging songs inspired by the actual working men’s songs of each period. The show, based on stories by Sid Chaplin, is directed by renowned actor Samuel West. Call 0843 208 6000 or visit www.thelowry.com.

DANCING IN THE STREETS (Empire Theatre, Lime Street, Liverpool, May 14-19)

IVOR Novello Award winner Keith Strachan’s directs the hit show Dancing in the Streets - a spectacular celebration of classic music from the heart of the Motor City - Detroit. Call 0844 847 2525 or visit www.liverpoolempire.org.uk.

FUNNY PECULIAR (Forum Studio Theatre, Hamilton Place, Chester, May 10-19)

THE hilarious misadventures of Trevor Tinsley, a small town grocer whose desire to taste the forbidden fruits of free love leads him into conflict with his strait-laced community and into the welcoming arms of his neighbour’s wife. This finally provokes his narrow-minded wife Irene into a surprising reaction of her own. Tip Top Productions present Mike Stott’s classic comedy, directed by Peter Swingler. Contains some strong language, nudity and adult humour. Call 01244 341296 or visit www.chestertheatre.co.uk.

THE GAMES (Memorial Hall, Northwich, May 11/Barbour Institute, Tattenhall, May 12)

AN ‘UNDISCOVERED’ Aristophanes comedy - the story of three Greek nobodies caught up in a celestial bet between Zeus, Hera and Hercules. Our unwitting heroes - Stanzas (a terrible poet), darius (the runt of the litter) and Hermaphrodite (born a girl) travel to compete in the ancient Olympics and take on the heroes of the sporting world with epic results for mankind. The show incorporates clown, original music, song and shadow puppetry. Call 01606 814640 (Northwich), 01829 782895 (Tattenhall) or visit cheshireruraltouringarts.co.uk.

GISELLE (Floral Pavilion, New Brighton, Wirral, May 10/Venue Cymru, Llandudno, May 11)

INNOCENT love and betrayal, madness and the supernatural; Giselle is the ultimate Romantic ballet. In this traditional staging of the 1841 production by Vienna Festival Ballet we move from the bright, sunny optimism of the village to a ghostly world of mystery and menace. Here, in a mist-wreathed forest glade, the restless spirits of abandoned brides force men who cross their path to dance to their death. Will Giselle's love for Albrecht protect him from their vengeance and a tragic fate? Call 0151 666 0000 or visit www.floralpavilion.com/01492 872000 or visit www.venuecymru.co.uk..

HOW I HELPED END COMMUNISM (The Lowry, Salford Quays, May 17-19)

SET in 1989, this is the story of how a group of young people - including writer and director Justin MacGregor - went to teach free speech behind the Iron Curtain – and, in the process, accidentally helped bring it down. A comedy about falling in love while getting tear-gassed and bribing the KGB with ice cream. Call 0843 208 6000 or visit www.thelowry.com.

A LOVE LIKE SALT (Emlyn Williams Theatre, Clwyd Theatr Cymru, Mold, May 10)

THE Devil’s Violin Company presents the tales that inspired Chaucer and Shakespeare. Before the written word was the spoken word. Many of our greatest writers were inspired by traditional tales. This new piece will explore the tales behind King Lear and Canterbury Tales in passionate performances that blend music and the spoen word. Call 0845 330 3565 or visit www.clwyd-theatr-cymru.co.uk.

OLIVER! (Floral Pavilion, New Brighton, Wirral, May 15-19)

BARELY needing any introduction, and featuring some of the most famous songs in West End history - including Food, Glorious Food, Where is Love? and Oom-Pah-Pah, Oliver! has become one of Britain’s favourite family musicals. Having won Best Musical of the Year twice in the last three years, BOST bring this much-loved musical to life with a large cast and orchestra. Call 0151 666 0000 or visit www.floralpavilion.com.

OUR LADY OF THE GOLDFINCHES (The Lowry, Salford Quays, May 10-12)

SET on an anonymous beach, this radical new play examines sacrifice, martyrdom and the redemptive quality of love. This is the story of Jean McConville's murder by the IRA and of her daughter Helen's attempt to make sense of her death and, after 30 years of searching, find her mother’s grave. This haunting physical production incorporates a bold multi-media score to animate the ‘fog of war’. Call 0843 208 6000 or visit www.thelowry.com.

THE PIRATE PROJECT (Royal Exchange Theatre, St Ann’s Square, Manchester, May 10-12)

FANCIFUL stagings of the escapades of Anne Bonny, Mary Read, and Ching Shih - swashbuckling female pirates of the past - combine with intimate stories of personal piracy in the performers’ own lives. See these bloodthirsty damsels out-sail, out-think and out-fight every man on the high seas. In The Pirate Project three women set sail in search of their inner pirate. Expect sword fights, theatrical storms and cross-dressing aplenty. Ring 0161 833 9833 or visit www.royalexchange.co.uk.

RENT (Lyceum Theatre, Heath Street, Crewe, May 16-19)

CURTAIN Call Productions present this pro/amateur production of a rock opera that tells the story of one year in the life of a group of bohemians. The story centres on roommates Mark and Roger. While a former tragedy has made Roger numb to life, Mark tries to capture it through his attempts to make a film. In the year that follows, the group deals with love, loss, AIDS and modern day life. Call 01270 686777 or visit www.lyceumtheatre.net.

SPRING AWAKENING (Paul McCartney Auditorium, Liverpool Institute for Performing Arts, May 10-12)

TONY Award winning musical telling the tale of a group of teenagers embarking on the thrilling but turbulent transition from youth to adulthood through a fusion of morality, rebellion and rock ‘n’ roll. With power ballads and grunge anthems, it has the energy of a rock concert with the power of drama. Performed by second year acting students. Call 0844 873 2888 or visit www.lipa.ac.uk.

TREASURE ISLAND (The Lowry, Salford Quays, May 13)

OUTSMARTING the one-legged Long John Silver in search of Captain Flint’s buried treasure, honest Jim Hawkins finds himself on a remote desert island. Join Jim as he sets sail on an interactive high seas adventure with barrels of laughter for the whole family. Call 0843 208 6000 or visit www.thelowry.com.

WHO’S AFRAID OF RACHEL ROBERTS? (Clwyd Room, Clwyd Theatr Cymru, Mold, May 14-16)

FROM shy Welsh minister’s daughter to Oscar nominated, booze-soaked, foul-mouthed fading Hollywood star. With a chapel upbringing, RADA training and award-winning roles in Saturday Night and Sunday Morning and This Sporting Life, Rachel Roberts was known for her fervour and passion. Then marriage to superstar Rex Harrison allowed her to live the Hollywood dream. But her increasingly drunk and foul-mouthed behaviour became more legendary than her immense talents. This fascinating story is brought to life by award-winning actress Helen Griffin. Call 0845 330 3565 or visit www.clwyd-theatr-cymru.co.uk.

WILD FLOWERS (Unity Theatre, Hope Place, Liverpool, May 17-18)

SET during the Liverpool Docker’s Strike in 1995, two brothers find themselves on different paths; James, a docker, and Peter, a parish priest. But when James’ life spirals out of control will his family turn their backs?

Will anyone save his soul? A gritty Liverpool drama by Franny Conlin with an original folk rock score by Geoff Hill, this Mersey drama is directed by Chris Doherty and contains strong language. Call 0844 873 2888 or visit www.unitytheatreliverpool.co.uk.

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