Motionhouse Brings Electrifying New Show To Storyhouse




The multi-media dance theatre work traces

the story of electricity in our lives

Following its premiere in Autumn 2017 and sell-out shows across the UK and in Italy, Motionhouse presents Charge, the company’s latest electrifying dance-circus production – which arrives at Storyhouse in Chester next month.

In Charge, art and science collide. Dance-circus, film and music take audiences on a journey deep into the human body, tracing the extraordinary story of electricity in our lives.

From the electrical charge that sparks human life, to the beating of our hearts and the memories we make, six exceptional dancers bring Charge to life with athletic dance, awe-inspiring acrobatics and daring feats on the 5m-high set.

Chester audiences will be wowed by Motionhouse: Charge at Storyhouse on Tuesday 6 February at 7.30pm.

This year, sees 2018 mark 30 incredible years since Executive Director Louise Richards and Artistic Director Kevin Finnan, MBE founded the company in 1988. In three decades, the company has presented more than 40 productions across the world, last year alone more than nearly 80,000 people saw the company perform or took part in one of its dynamic learning and participatory activities that continue to inspire the next generation of dancers and audiences.

Finnan worked with Professor Frances Ashcroft and her team at the University of Oxford to delve deeper into the science that influenced Charge. Ashcroft published ‘The Spark of Life’ about electricity in the human body and is recognised for her outstanding contributions to the public’s awareness of science.

Finnan’s Charge also explores the historical understanding of the role of electricity in the body, using Galvani’s experimentation with frogs to the popular interest in electricity that resulted in Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, this year celebrating its 200th anniversary.

The third element of Finnan’s ‘Earth Trilogy’, Charge builds on relevant environmental themes explored in Scattered (2009) and Broken (2013).

Artistic Director Kevin Finnan said: “Charge takes my interest in contemporary themes about the world we live in one step further. Scattered tackled our relationship with water, and Broken delved into our links with the Earth. For Charge, I was inspired by a specific area of scientific research – our relationship with energy and the role electricity plays in the human body. We’re looking forward to bringing the third part of this trilogy to our audiences as part of our 30th anniversary celebrations.”

Motionhouse has become the ‘go to’ company to create visionary large-scale events. Even beaches, stately homes, harbours and inner city wastelands have received the Motionhouse artistic and creative treatment.

Finnan, also known for his choreography and movement direction of the London 2012 Paralympic Games’ Opening Ceremony, worked closely with the dancers and creative team to bring his vision of Charge to life.

The imposing set is created by long-standing collaborator Simon Dormon, who has designed and built sets for the majority of Motionhouse productions. Original music is by Tim Dickinson and Sophy Smith with sound design by Tim Dickinson and Logela Multimedia. Lighting design is by award-winning Natasha Chivers.

Through innovative education resources to accompany the production, the aim is to interest young people in the science behind Charge, using dance as an entry point to spark their interest.

Motionhouse is supported using public funding by the National Lottery through Arts Council England. Charge is supported by Warwick Arts Centre, The Rothschild Foundation, the Ernest Cook Trust and TippingPoint Stories of Change. Official Energy Partner of Charge is First Utility.

Storyhouse has a dynamic pricing policy on the majority of shows, ensuring the earlier you book your tickets, guarantees the best seats at the lowest price. Tickets range from £16.50 to £25.50.




Tuesday 6 February 2018, 7.30pm

Performance approximately 90 minutes



Hunter Street, Chester, CH1 2AR

Tickets: £16.50 to £25.50 (each ticket is subject to a £1.50 booking fee)

Dynamic Pricing: Book early to guarantee cheapest and best seats



Online:            Visit

By Phone:       Call 01244 409 113

In person:       Visit the Ticket Kiosks at Storyhouse, Hunter Street, Chester, CH1 2AR

Visit Chester Visitor Information Centre

A Passage to India Review

Playhouse, Salisbury – until 27 January 2018.  Reviewed by Sharon MacDonald-Armitage



Adapting the iconic E.M Forster novel A Passage to India for stage is an ambitious task and one that is realised superbly on screen in David Lean’s Oscar winning epic film. The skill in any stage success is making the vastness and colour of India come to life in what in comparison is a small space.

In India to visit her son, local magistrate, Ronny (Edward Killingback), Mrs Moore (Liz Crowther) and Ronny’s future wife, Adela (Phoebe Pryce) are excited by the prospect of seeing the ‘real’ India. Having met the young Indian doctor Aziz (Asif Khan), whose ebullient personality captures Mrs Moore, they all go on a trip to the Marabar caves. Aziz believes the colonial English and the Indians can be friends. However, when Adela accuses him of assaulting her we see how the British colonial system reacts and closes ranks.

With Fielding (Richard Goulding) being by far the most the successful character at developing and sustaining relationships with the local Indians and having formed a friendship with Aziz, he is the only British person supporting him during the accusations and trial. It is this friendship that is warming to the heart and seems devastating when it falters.

The caricaturing of Britishness runs rife throughout the piece and as such offers little opportunity to really understand the characters and motivation for their behaviour. There is a certain discomfort seeing this bullying colonial behaviour take place and perhaps this is where the play falls short. There is so little time in which to develop both plot and characters that the richness of the original book is lost. In the current political climate where colonialism is frowned upon to the point of needing to be apologetic this play highlights Britain’s colonial past.

The darkness of the piece is reflected in the minimal set design (Dora Schweitzer) but at the same time the richness of India appears somewhat lost.

Prema Mehta’s lighting design works well in context of the piece and the spots of colour that pepper it make for light relief. Perhaps, more should have been made of the music in order to evoke the ‘real’ India Mrs Moore and Adela are so clearly attracted to.

This production is one that clearly suffers from lack of time, to try and compress and contain such a vast story within two and a half hours is a real challenge and one I’m not sure has been achieved fully here.


Electra | The Bunker | Tuesday 27th February – Saturday 24th March 2018

Presented by DumbWise Productions
The Bunker, 53A Southwark Street London SE1 1RU
Tuesday 27th February – Saturday 24th March 2018

A Mother clings to power whilst her Daughter screams murder. An estranged Son is coming home. A bloody family saga sprawling decades is about to reach its conclusion. Everything is about to change. DumbWise reinvent the murderous Greek myth of power and prophecy as a lyrical modern epic with a live punk-rock score.

Electra, played by Lydia Larson (Skin A Cat, Bunker Theatre & Vault Festival; Doctors, BBC; Kidnapped, Virgin), is set against a backdrop of a revolution, drawing inspiration from modern, international conflicts and uprisings. The revolution is sparked by issues familiar to a modern audience – austerity, unemployment and political corruption. This new adaptation blends the contemporary and ancient, creating a recognisable world that is also one step

Inspired by the desire to reinvent Greek dramaturgy, the show puts all the action onstage, championing dynamic dialogue over long exposition, using many locations in an almost cinematic retelling and adding a revolutionary context to surround and influence the domestic narrative.

Artistic Director, John Ward comments: Electra is the original, anti-establishment, punk-rock legend, and a story rampant for reimagining in a modern age. Setting the play within a seething revolution electrifies the plot, finding new meanings for a modern audience, as the contradictions of today’s politics collide with the shocking violence and energy of this classic revenge tragedy.

The Bunker’s Spring Season sees the venue truly celebrate its place as a playground for ambitious and adventurous audiences, just over a year after it first opened its doors. The exciting season highlights the venue’s commitment to work with brilliant playwrights, both established and emerging.

Hairspray Review

Mayflower, Southampton – until 27 January 2018.  Reviewed by Karen Millington Burnet


Wow, a five star performance from an energetic and athletic troupe. There was barely a moment of stillness from beginning until the standing ovation at the end. The only minute of relative calm turned into high comedy as the pantomime dame and leading man played out the eternal comedy of the romantic kiss between husband and wife-in-drag. But enough of what came later; first, the high energy.

From the moment the unlikely heroine, Rebecca Mendoza’s Tracy Turnblad, came on stage I struggled to understand how she expected to maintain her rather portly frame for the run; she barely paused for breath as she romped from one spectacular number to the next and from one high octane routine to the next, culminating in the explosive finale.  However, this is a cast of talent and Brenda Edwards’ Motormouth, together with Gina Murray’s Velma made up a powerful musical experience. Huge strawberries to Annalise Liard-Bailey whose Penny was a revelation; only just graduated and delivering a consummate performance, singing voice and routine – definitely one to watch for the future. Amongst such a talented cast, it becomes invidious to select too many for special mention from such an able team – the athleticism, the dancing, the singing, the faultless timing…amazing – but of course Matt Rixon’s Edna and Norman Pace’s Wilbur will be forever unforgettable, ably assisted by a great script and huge comic timing.  Nevertheless, in my opinion, Rebecca Mendoza walks away with the “Man of the Match” accolade this time.

Inevitably, so much of the success of the evening lies in the hands of the back stage crew and I was blown away by the great lighting and choreography; the Mayflower delivers every time with it’s back stage teams and this ensembles’ team have really proven their worth.  Inevitably in a musical, much rests in the hands of the band and this occasion was no exception; truly as energetic as the performers – and as polished. The set and costumes completed the visual feast and made for a dazzling evening.

A wonderful evening and a great way to brighten a very damp January. A thoroughly good evening and a genuine recommendation; a must see.









“A glorious colourful evening which had the audience on its feet and dancing in the aisles” Evening Star


“Definitely West End worthy” – What’s On Stage


“A visual, aural and multimedia feast!” – The Stage


The hit musical inspired by the life of rock legend Marc Bolan, 20th Century Boy, returns to the stage on a UK-wide tour to mark the 40th anniversary of the iconic star’s untimely death. Opening on 8March at G-Live in Guildford, the production will enjoy a 20-week tour, visiting 27 theatres through to Saturday 30 June.


Following critical acclaim for his portrayal of Marc Bolan in the show’s highly successful runs at the New Wolsey Theatre, Ipswich in 2011 and the Belgrade Theatre, Coventry in 2012, Olivier Award winning West End star George Maguire (Sunny Afternoon) returns to lead the cast of 20th Century Boy.


The producers said: “We are delighted to welcome George Maguire back to the role of Marc. George has been involved with the show from the early workshop stages and has an incredibly close connection with the material.”

Featuring a new script by Nicky Graham and Colin Giffinthe production is directed by John Maher, and features more than 20 classic Bolan hits. 20th Century Boy is produced by Great Brit Productions.

20th Century Boy tells the life story of the legendary Bolan and his band T.Rex, exposing some of the myths and taking the audience on a tearful yet feel-good journey through Marc’s fascinating life which was cut short by a cruel twist of fate.


At his peak, Bolan was arguably the biggest rock star the UK had ever seen. Rocker, poet, electric warrior, king of glam and godfather of punk – Marc Bolan became a superstar and the press dubbed him “Bigger than the Beatles”. Before his tragic death in 1977, a few days short of his 30th birthday, Bolan lived life at breakneck speed, creating a series of iconic images, a string of number one hits and an army of obsessive fans. 20th Century Boy is a glorious celebration of glam rock at its colourful best!


Showcasing some of the greatest rock songs ever written, 20th Century Boy features many of Marc Bolan and T.Rex’s best-known iconic hits, including Get It On, Ride a White SwanMetal GuruI Love to Boogie20th Century Boy and many more of their 70s classics.








8 MARCH – 30 JUNE 2018




On Facebook, Twitter and Instagram search ’20th Century Boy, The Musical’.



8 – 10 March


The Grand Theatre – BLACKPOOL

13 – 17 March


Buxton Opera House – BUXTON

19 – 21 March


Churchill Theatre – BROMLEY

22 – 24 March



27-29 March


The Lighthouse – POOLE

30 March


Octagon Theatre – YEOVIL

31 March


Forum Theatre – BILLINGHAM

3 – 7 April


Forum Theatre – MALVERN

10 – 12 April


Winding Wheel – CHESTERFIELD

13 – 15 April


Opera House – MANCHESTER

17 – 21 April


Kings Theatre – PORTSMOUTH

23 – 25 April


The Hexagon – READING

26 – 28 April


Alhambra Theatre – BRADFORD

1 – 5 May


Rose Theatre – KINGSTON

9 – 12 May


The Hawth – CRAWLEY

14 – 16 May


The Alban Arena – ST ALBANS

17 – 20 May


Theatre Royal – NOTTINGHAM

22 – 26 May


Charter Theatre – PRESTON

28 – 30 May


New Theatre Royal – LINCOLN

31 May – 2 June


King’s Theatre – GLASGOW

4 – 6 June


Sands Theatre – CARLISLE

7 – 9 June


Orchard Theatre – DARTFORD

11 – 13 June


Venue Cymru – LLANDUDNO

14 – 16 June


Wycombe Swan – HIGH WYCOMBE

21 – 23 June


York Barbican – YORK

26 – 27 June


Civic Theatre – CHELMSFORD

28 – 30 June

New casting for The Simon & Garfunkel Story




The tale of the duo’s incredible journey throughout the 1960s

Now playing: 22nd Jan, 26th Feb, 26th Mar, 30th April, 4th June, 25th June, 23rd July


Philip Murray Warson (Million Dollar Quartet, One Man Two Guvnors) is to join The Simon & Garfunkel Story as it extends its acclaimed West End run. Starring as Paul Simon alongside previously announced Charles Blyth as Art GarfunkelThe Simon & Garfunkel Story continues to take audiences through the incredible highs and lows of Simon & Garfunkel’s incredible career.


Having formed in 1957 as Tom & Jerry, Simon & Garfunkel went on to become the world’s most iconic folk rock group. Revealing the incredible journey shared by Paul Simon and Art Garfunkel, The Simon & Garfunkel Story takes audience through their meteoric rise. From their humble beginnings, right through their worldwide successes and bitter break-up, culminating with a stunning recreation of their 1981 Central Park reformation concert, audiences can re-live the moments that justified their ten Grammy Awards and Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction.


The Simon & Garfunkel Story not only tells the tale of the legendary musicians, but relives their journey within a time capsule of contemporary newsreels, adverts and film footage from the 1960s and beyond.


Philip Murray Warson takes a starring role as Paul Simon, having previously been Musical Director for Million Dollar Quartet (Royal Festival Hall/UK & International Tour), One Man Two Guvnors (West End/Tour). His performance credits include Piaf (Charing Cross Theatre), Manon/Sandra (National Theatre Studio), Romeo & Juliet and Mr. Vertigo (Northwall Theatre).


Led by Philip Murray Warson and Charles Blyth, a full live band and brass ensemble will rekindle all the duo’s classic hits including: Mrs Robinson, Cecilia, Bridge Over Troubled Water, Homeward Bound, The Sound of Silence and many more.


Returning to London for the first time since 2015 (Leicester Square Theatre), The Simon & Garfunkel Story continues to enjoy international success from Sydney to Seattle.


Tickets for the newly added performances from 30th April will be available from 10am on Friday 26th January.



The Simon & Garfunkel Story

Venue: Lyric Theatre, 29 Shaftesbury Avenue, London, W1D 7ES 

Dates: 22nd Jan, 26th Feb, 26th Mar, 30th April, 4th June, 25th June, 23rd July 2018, 7.30pm

Prices: £15.00,  £19.50, £29.50, £39.50, £49.50 & £60.00 (premium)


Box office: 0330 333 4812

Darlington Hippodrome – Anywhere


Anywhere – an exciting, immersive, specially commissioned theatrical event to celebrate the colourful history of Darlington Hippodrome is taking shape for performances in February.

Anywhere is a new, immersive piece of theatre exploring the newly renovated Darlington Hippodrome, full of amazing people, told by the very characters that have walked the boards throughout the history of Darlington’s impressive and beautiful theatre.

Created in partnership with contemporary theatre company ODDMANOUT, and performed by the amazing community company who were behind last year’s production of A Tale of Two Cities, Anywhere will take you through the many doors and corridors to discover the secrets the building has to offer. You will meet the characters that shaped the history and future of the Hippodrome, including Signor Pepi and a platoon of perilous performers who will be your guides, your friends, your entertainers.

Take part in this new adventure and see what goes on in front of and behind the red curtain and celebrate all that Darlington Hippodrome has to offer.

Anywhere is a 50 minute promenade theatre experience. The audience will be required to move around the building and stand for periods of time throughout the performance. The building is fully accessible and audiences of all ages will be able to enjoy this unique production.

Anywhere is at Darlington Hippodrome from Friday 2 to Sunday 4 February with 10 performances each day. Tickets are priced at adults £10, U16 £5. To book contact the Box Office on 01325 405405 or visit

Swan Lake Review

Richmond Theatre, London – until January 21st. Reviewed by Sabrina Fancy


As a ballet novice, it was with some excitement that I went to see Swan Lake, a production by the prestigious Moscow City ballet company, one of Russia’s most successful and popular touring ballet companies.

The time barely registered and I was utterly engrossed and moved by this tragic tale of Prince Siegfriend and his love for Odette, the beautiful Swan Queen, who would rather die together then live apart. The ballet also had the further allure of a live orchestra in the first few rows of the Richmond Theatre. They brought a magical quality to the production and helped to execute feelings of passion and sadness, through the haunting beautiful score by Tchaikovsky.

The set pieces were simple, but striking, consisting of painted backdrops and lighting. The costumes were classically beautiful. In the four main scenes, Swan Lake delights as a poetic dance drama, combining exquisite artistry, technique, and live music, thus providing a delightful experience. Swan Lake is well known for its very technical and demanding dancing and I was amazed at the grace of the dances, despite the limited stage space.

Principal Ballerina Liliya Oryekhova who plays Odette was hypnotic, and created a great distinction between the different characters she played. Her dancing was sublime and she was the star of the show.

There was great chemistry between Oryekhova and Talgat Kozhabaev who played Prince Siegfriend and was utterly captivating as the elegant and mighty prince. His lightness of foot in the leaps are a delight to watch.

One of my favourite scenes was the dances with the swans and Odette which was so delicate and elegant with gorgeous costumes.

The ballet’s soaring conclusion sees the power of true love conquering all in a tragic way. I was enamoured with the whole spectacle – the love story, the music and the beautiful dances, and can honestly say that I was not expecting to enjoy it as much as I did.

So, am I now a ballet convert? Absolutely! have to say I couldn’t have picked a better production. Everything was beautiful, the dancers and choreography superb and the live orchestra, incredible. For this reason, I give this production 4 stars and am eagerly anticipating the Moscow City Ballets return to the Richmond theatre.

The Richmond theatre prices are significantly lower than productions in the west end of similar calibre. The Richmond theatre is stunning and very spacious, conveniently located less than a 5- minute walk from the Richmond Overground/Underground station with plenty to do in the area.

Fear and Misery of the Third Reich Review

Jack Studio Theatre – until 3 February.  Reviewed by Claire Roderick


Aequitas’s adaptation of Brecht’s anti-Nazi play begins with the cast welcoming the audience into the shelter and cheerfully checking if anyone has bought food for us all to survive on.

A siren sounds, and the action begins. Director Rachael Bellis presents a selection of the playlets from Brecht’s original that echo ominously within the present political climate. The playlets are bookended by radio broadcasts about Trump and Brexit, and modern dress and props are used. The Daily Mail becomes the Nazi state newspaper, while educated liberals read The Guardian; SA troopers wear MAGA baseball caps, and Mein Kampf is on top of a pile hiding Hillary Clinton’s book. This unsubtle signposting of modern parallels is a little forced, as the fear and paranoia the characters demonstrate is universal in any fascist regime.

The cast do well with the playlets chosen, Clark Alexander dominates one scene as the bullying SA man demonstrating the sly and terrifyingly simple method he uses to inform on dissenters. The paranoia of parents who live in fear of their son revealing their unguarded comments is portrayed convincingly by Hugo Trebels and Faye Maughan. William Ross-Fawcett and LaTanya Peterkin make the most of their smaller but pivotal roles in various playlets. The standout performance of the night comes from Rhiannon Sommers as a Jewish wife who speaks eloquently and emotionally about why she is leaving her husband as she packs, alone, in the most engaging section of the production.

This is a well-intentioned production, with committed performances from the energetic cast, but the political and moral warnings ultimately fall flat in this hodgepodge of scenes. Perhaps some of the rejected playlets would have added a little more colour to this adaptation – making it inspiring rather than merely interesting.

Edward II Review

Greenwich Theatre – until 27 January.  Reviewed by Claire Roderick


Lazarus Theatre Company’s residency at Greenwich Theatre opens in style with a transfer of their insanely intense Edward II.

Edward I is dead, and as Edward II takes the throne, he calls his lover Gaveston back from the exile imposed by the dead king. Showering Gaveston with titles and riches usually reserved for those of nobler blood, Edward antagonises his court and shuns his wife, and the plotting against him begins. Sexual prejudices and political shenanigans – a thoroughly modern play written over 400 years ago. Christopher Marlowe’s glorious text is adapted skilfully by director Ricky Dukes into a tight 90 minutes of unrelenting tension.

Lazarus’ usual use of music and ensemble movement is muted here. The cast don’t leave the stage, but instead of lounging around the edges, they stand stock still, staring blankly at the action, showing the constant surveillance and judgement of Edward and Gaveston’s relationship, and producing an increasingly intimidating atmosphere.

Oseloka Obi’s Gaveston breaks the initial silence with his crowing reading of Edward’s letter calling him back to England, setting up the character as a mercenary, streetwise chancer, but his demeanour changes to coquettish joy at his reunion with Edward (Timothy Blore). As his titles accumulates, Gaveston’s encouragement of Edward’s impetuous and petulant behaviour and public flaunting of their relationship appear arrogant powerplays thanks to Obi’s swaggering performance, but there is still room for some tender moments as the two men hold eye content across the stage as the nobility plot their downfall. Timothy Blore gives Edward, in his ill-fitting crown (both physically and metaphorically), a brilliantly frustrating teenage stroppiness that explodes into regal fury as the court turns against him. This Edward is objectionable and pitiful in equal measure, but Blore keeps the audience’s sympathy throughout with his man-child take on the king.

Alicia Charles as the wronged and vengeful Isabella is full of fire and fury, while Jamie O’Neill’s brings a rabid intensity to the ambitious and self-serving Mortimer. Alex Zur, Stephen Smith, John Slade, Stephen Emery and David Clayton give strong performances as the nobles surrounding Edward.

Transferring to a larger theatre means that the claustrophobia of last year’s production is lost, and director Ricky Dukes has wisely injected more humour in this more open space. O’Neil’s weary and sarcastic glances are more obvious as Mortimer despairs of the fools around him, and the scene where Isabella confronts Edward and Gaveston has shades of the Benny Hill Show as she follows them doggedly around the table.

The stark design and modern dress emphasises the nobles view of the kingdom as a business, with land and titles being their bonuses and profits. Unfortunately, the lighting design didn’t hit the mark for me – the strip lighting was effective, but when the cast moved closer to the audience, they were not well lit. This may well be intentional, but I’d have liked to see the talented cast clearly.

The final scenes, with the cast, in those masks, stripped to their underwear, with plastic aprons and plastic sheeting being laid down in anticipation of the bloodbath to come may not please Marlowe purists, but they are horribly effective and satisfying, taking the play full circle to its opening scene, with dire consequences for the plotters.

Lazarus’ Edward II is stylish and shocking, full of dynamic performances and visual flair. Get down to Greenwich and grab a ticket while you can.