End of the Pier Review

Park Theatre – until 11th August

Reviewed By Adam Craddock

6 Stars!!! (Yes, 6!)

In the week of Donald Trump’s visit to the UK and the looming Brexit negotiations, End of the Pier’s darkly comic take on modern Britain’s attitudes to immigration and race punches exactly at the deep lying sore points that we all have and need to be addressed. Following Bobby, a 1970’s music hall style comedian, and his son Michael, a modern comedian trying to get away from his father’s dark legacy, End of the Pier really gets in to the psychology of why some people are racist and just what lengths they will go to to feel this superiority over their peers.

Les Dennis, in the role of Bobby, was absolutely phenomenal. With impeccable comic timing throughout that had the audience rolling around in stitches at his one liners and physical gags, this was a Dennis performance that matched any of his best for comedy that I have seen. However, what I was not expecting was just how well he can handle the dark and gritty material too and have us all in shock when he finally snapped with his son. Tala Gouveia was fabulous as Jenna, delivering a real gut punch with her monologue to Bobby and showing just how much a simple “bit of banter” can affect someone’s life. Nitin Ganatra was hilarious as Mohammed, playing with racial stereotypes brilliantly and showing that just because of the colour of someone’s skin, or where they are from, that doesn’t mean they are any different than you, and who knows… they could be even better than you. However, my absolute highlight of the night was Blake Harrison as Michael. After seeing him in so many comedic roles before I thought this was just going to be another standard laugh along character, but how wrong I was. Showing a man at odds with himself and trying to supress his dark side, Harrison was absolutely phenomenal in showing a man’s life spiral apart right before his very eyes and, in one last cruel twist of fate, he delivered a desperate punt that not only wrecked his own life, but all the others around him. This performance was quite frankly one of the single best acting performances that I have ever seen.

Danny Robins’ new show is a once in a lifetime piece, a show that you simply can not pick fault with. From it’s superb directing, flawless cast and deeply psychological plot, this may be that famed anomaly… The perfect show. My only thing to say to you is this: Get to End of the Pier while you can because this will soon be the hottest ticket in town.






Curve has revealed a host of new productions coming soon to its stages in Leicester, including a Made at Curve drama.

The theatre, which this year celebrates its 10th birthday, will be joining forces with Jonathan Church Productions and Regent’s Park Theatre to bring Harper Lee’s Pulitzer prize-winning novel To Kill a Mockingbird to Curve from 7 – 16 Feb 2019.

Adapted for the stage by Christopher SergelTo Kill a Mockingbird received critical and audience acclaim at the Regent’s Park Theatre, where it played for two sell-out seasons from 2013 – 14 and subsequently enjoyed a month-long residency at the Barbican.


Curve has also announced the line-up so far for its 5th annual Inside Out Festival in October, which celebrates the diversity and talent of East Midlands artists.

Leading the festival will be a production of award-winning playwright Ché Walker’s The Frontline, twelve stories of heartbreak in a bustling city performed by the graduates of Curve’s new actor training programme New Theatre Talent, supported by the Andrew Lloyd Webber Foundation. First produced as a sell-out at Shakespeare’s Globe, this drama will be directed by Curve’s Associate Director Suba Das and will be performed 17 – 20 Oct 2018.

Commenting on the new season at Curve, Chief Executive Chris Stafford and Artistic Director Nikolai Foster said:

Curve is 10 years old and we’re thrilled to be entering our next decade with curiosity, adventure and ambition, bringing plays, musicals, dance and an eclectic mix of community projects to our stages.


“It’s a pleasure to be co-producing with our friends at Regent’s Park Theatre and Jonathan Church Productions to bring Harper Lee’s era-defining story of racial inequality and social injustice To Kill a Mockingbird to Leicester. It is a story which challenges, inspires and entertains, feeling as relevant today as when it was first published.

Our Inside Out Festival once again showcases some of the most exciting new work in a region rich with astonishing talent. Alongside an eclectic festival which challenges our turbulent times, we are proud to present our talented Andrew Lloyd Webber Foundation students in Ché Walker’s explosively entertaining play The Frontline.


“Alongside our upcoming Made at Curve productions of Fiddler on the RoofMemoirs of an Asian Football Casual, Irving Berlin’s White Christmas and Dr Seuss’s The Cat in the Hat, we couldn’t think of a better way to kick-off our next decade!”

Also announced are productions of playwright Katori Hall’s Olivier Award-winning play The Mountaintop (13 – 17 Nov), based on the final night of Martin Luther King’s life, Ghost the Musical (28 Jan – 2 Feb 2019) and Northern Ballet’s Victoria (2 – 6 Apr 2019).

The new season went on sale to Curve’s Friends and Supporters on Mon 16 Jul, to Members and Groups on Tue 17 Jul and general sale on Fri 20 Jul. Tickets can be purchased online at www.curveonline.co.uk, in person at Curve’s Ticket Office or over the phone on 0116 242 3595.

Young Vic: Casting Announced for Twelfth Night

Casting Announced for Twelfth Night

by William Shakespeare
Conceived by Kwame Kwei-Armah and Shaina Taub
Music & Lyrics by Shaina Taub
Direction by Kwame Kwei-Arma and Oskar Eustis

Tuesday 2 October – Saturday 17 November 2018

Today we announce casting for Kwame Kwei-Armah and Shaina Taub’s musical reworking of Twelfth Night. The Young Vic production is set in London’s Notting Hill.

Casting is as follows:


Melissa Allen (Feste) 
Gabrielle Brooks (Viola)
Gerard Carey (Malvolio)
Natalie Dew (Olivia)
Martyn Ellis (Sir Toby Belch) 
Gbemisola Ikumelo (Maria)
Jyuddah Jaymes (Sebastian)
Jonathan Livingstone (Antonio)
Silas Wyatt-Barke (Andrew Aguecheek) 
Rupert Young (Orsino)

The professional cast will perform alongside a community chorus of 60 members from Southwark and Lambeth. The chorus will be divided into two teams of 30.

Twelfth Night set design is by Rob Jones, costume design by Brigitte Reiffenstuel, lighting design by Tim Lutkin, sound design by Richard Brooker, choreography by Lizzi Gee and musical direction by Sean Green. Casting by Pippa Ailion, CDG.Twelfth Night was originally performed at The Public Theater in New York as part of their Public Works program in 2016, and revisited this summer as part of their free Shakespeare in the Park Delacorte season. Oskar Eustis, Artistic Director of The Public Theater, is co-directing with Kwame Kwei-Armah.

Twelfth Night
Tuesday 2 October – Saturday 17 November 2017
Main House, Young Vic, 66 The Cut, Waterloo, London, SE1 8LZ

Performances: Monday – Saturday at 7.30pm | Matinees on Wednesdays and Saturdays at 2.30pm
Access Performances:
Captioned Performance: Thursday 1 November at 7.30pm
Audio Described Performance: Wednesday 7 November at 2.30pm
Previews 2 – 6 October £10, £20, £25| 9 October – 17 November £10, £20, £30, £40
Concessions available.
Box Office: www.youngvic.org | 020 7922 2922

New season of talks and events at the National Theatre

National Theatre announces new season of talks and events

To accompany the new season of productions, a programme of talks and events will begin with a series relating to Antony and Cleopatra. Director Simon Godwin will reflect on the production, andRalph Fiennes and Sophie Okonedo will discuss the challenges and rewards of appearing in the production. Professor of Classics Edith Hall will give A Short History of the Roman Empire and author Lucy Hughes-Hallett will look at the many variations on Cleopatra’s legend at Cleopatra, Queen of Egypt. Actor Tim McMullan will also reflect on playing Enobarbus. A more in-depth session focussing on the making of this production will be offered at Exploring Antony & Cleopatraat the NT whilst Setting the Scene: Antony & Cleopatra will offer an introductory step-by-step guide to the story.

Events relating to Hadestown include an opportunity to hear Director Rachel Chavkin and Writer Anaïs Mitchell reflect on their production whilst Dr Lucy Jackson will explore how myths were made and remade in Ancient Greece, and how that tradition of retelling myths continues today, at Modern Myths: Orpheus, Eurydice and Us. At Histories of the American Musical, Professor of Musical Theatre Millie Taylor will host a relaxed evening telling stories about the development of American musical theatre illustrated with live musical demonstrations. Marina Warner will then explore myths and stories in which female protagonists face demons and confront death by journeying to the underworld at The Heroine’s Descent with Marina Warner.

War Horse related talks will begin with Animals in the Great War, which will study the experience of creatures great and small during World War One through the archival images held by Mary Evans Picture Library. Writer Michael Morpurgo will then reflect on his motivations and experiences of writing the novel and Inside the Horse: Exploring the War Horse Puppets will reveal the secrets of the extraordinary puppetry the show. There will also be a film screening of The Battle of the Ancre and the Advance of the Tanksthe official film of the British Army’s autumn campaign on the Somme.

In relation to I’m Not Running, Writer David Hare will give a talk on his new play and Actors Sian Brooke, Alex Hassell and Joshua McGuire reflect on the challenges and rewards of performing the roles of Pauline, Jack and Sandy. Exploring I’m Not Running will then look at the themes of the play and the practicalities of putting together the production, with insights from cast members and academics. Two MPs will also discuss their experiences of parliament at two talks; Nick de Bois: Confessions of a Recovering MP and Jess Phillips: One Woman’s Truth About Speaking the Truth.

Director and Writer Peter Brook will begin the series of events related to The Prisoner, as he reflects on the playco-written and co-directed by him and his long-time collaborator Marie-Hélène Estienne. His work will then be studied, with contributions from academics and theatre-makers, atExploring the Work of Peter Brook. Finally, Professor John Tasioulas will explore philosophical arguments around justice at Adding Suffering to Suffering: Justice, Punishment and Repentance.

Talks relating to Stories include The Unknown Parent, which will look at personal perspectives around the decision to use a sperm or egg donor and Race and Reproduction whilst will examine the different pressures and prejudices regarding infertility depending on the community you come from. Both these talks are programmed in association with Fertility Fest.

In relation to Tell-Tale Heart, journalist, broadcaster and theatre critic Aleks Sierz will explore the various incarnations of Murder on Stage and Professor of Literature and Culture Catherine Spooner will explore how gothic influences have permeated the stage, screen and visual arts at Exploring the Gothic in Culture. Director Anthony Neilson will also discuss his adaptation of the show and there will be a film screening of Tales of Terror.

To accompany the series of rehearsed readings as part of Courage Everywhere, Courage Everywhere Pop-Up will see a takeover day of arts activities, talks and screenings. Naomi Paxton will also explore her research and curation of the exhibition Courage Everywhere: Women, Theatre and Politics at Exhibition Insight with Curator Naomi Paxton and also talk about the stories she has discovered from the history of suffrage theatre and activism at Activism in the Archives: Finding Stories of Suffrage Theatre. A panel featuring young women up and coming in their professions will unpacking how women’s contribution and voices impact society at Hear Her Roar: Where Are Women’s Voices? and Allie Esiri and guest actors will take us on a journey through women’s poetry at Women Poets Through the Ages with Allie Esiri.

For more information, and to book tickets for these events, visit the NT website.


Director Simon Godwin on Antony & Cleopatra Mon 1 Oct, 5.30 – 6.15pm, Olivier, £7/£5

Ralph Fiennes and Sophie Okonedo on playing Antony and Cleopatra Fri 11 Jan, 3 – 4pm, Olivier, £7/£5

A Short History of the Roman Empire Fri 7 Dec, 5.30 – 6.30pm, Cottesloe Room, £7/£5

Cleopatra, Queen of Egypt Wed 16 Jan, 5.30 – 6.30pm, Cottesloe Room, £7/£5

Tim McMullan on Playing Enobarbus Thu 29 Nov, 6 – 7pm, Cottesloe Room, £7/£5

Exploring Antony & Cleopatra at the NT Mon 10 Dec, 10am – 3.30pm or 11.30am – 5pm, Clore Learning Centre, £55/£40/£15

Setting the Scene: Antony & Cleopatra Tue 16 Oct, Wed 5 Dec or Thu 10 Jan, 5.30 – 6.30pm, Cottesloe Room, £7/£5

Director Rachel Chavkin and Writer Anaïs Mitchell on Hadestown Mon 12 Nov, 6 – 6.45pm, Cottesloe Room, £7/£5

Modern Myths: Orpheus, Eurydice and Us Tue 22 Jan, 6 – 7pm, Cottesloe Room, £7/£5

Histories of the American Musical Fri 30 Nov, 7 – 9.15pm, Cottesloe Room, £15/£12/£7.50

The Heroine’s Descent with Marina Warner Fri 14 Dec, 6 – 6.45pm, Olivier, £7/£5

Animals in the Great War Fri 9 Nov, 6 – 7pm, Cottesloe Room, £7/£5

Writer Michael Morpurgo on War Horse Tue 20 Nov, 5.45 – 6.30pm, Lyttelton, £7/£5

Inside the Horse: Exploring the War Horse Puppets Thur 22 Nov, 5.45 – 6.30pm, Lyttelton, £7/£5

The Battle of the Ancre and the Advance of the Tanks (film screening), 67 mins, PG Mon 19 Nov, 6 – 7.10pm, Cottesloe Room, £5/£3

Writer David Hare on I’m Not Running Mon 3 Dec, 6 – 6.45pm, Lyttelton, £7/£5

Actors Sian Brooke, Alex Hassell and Joshua McGuire on I’m Not Running Tue 15 Jan, 3 – 4pm, Lyttelton, £7/£5

Exploring I’m Not Running Thu 29 Nov, 2 – 5pm, Cottesloe Room, £30/£20/£7.50

Nick de Bois: Confessions of a Recovering MP Fri 11 Jan, 6 – 7pm, Cottesloe Room, £7/£5

Jess Phillips: One Woman’s Truth About Speaking the Truth Fri 11 Jan, 7.30 – 8.30pm, Cottesloe Room, £7/£5

Director and Writer Peter Brook on The Prisoner Fri 14 Sep, 9.30 – 10.30pm, Dorfman, £7/£5

Exploring the Work of Peter Brook Mon 24 Sep, 2 – 5pm, Cottesloe Room, £30/£20/£7.50

Adding Suffering to Suffering: Justice, Punishment and Repentance Mon 24 Sep, 6 – 7pm, Cottesloe Room, £7/£5

The Unknown Parent in association with Fertility Fest Wed 7 Nov, 6 – 7pm, Cottesloe Room, £7/£5

Race and Reproduction in association with Fertility Fest Wed 14 Nov, 6 – 7pm, Cottesloe

Murder on Stage Thu 13 Dec, 6 – 7pm, Cottesloe Room, £7/£5

Exploring the Gothic in CultureTue 9 Jan, 6 – 7pm, Cottesloe Room, £7/£5

Director Anthony Neilson on The Tell-Tale Heart Mon 7 Jan, 6 – 6.45pm, Dorfman, £7/£5

Tales of Terror (film screening) Director Roger Corman, 1962, 84 mins, 15 Mon 17 Dec, 5.30 – 7pm, Cottesloe Room, £5/£3

Courage Everywhere Pop-Up Sun 18 Nov, 12 noon – 7pm, Clore Learning Centre, £10

Exhibition Insight with Curator Naomi Paxton Sat 17 Nov, 11.30am – 12.30pm, Lyttelton Lounge, £3

Activism in the Archives: Finding Stories of Suffrage Theatre Thu 15 Nov, 6 – 7pm, Cottesloe Room, £7/£5

Hear Her Roar: Where Are Women’s Voices? Fri 23 Nov, 5.45 – 6.45pm, Dorfman, £7/£5

Women Poets Through the Ages with Allie Esiri Fri 16 Nov, 6 – 6.45pm, Dorfman, £7/£5

Adam Welsh makes his debut with There but for the grace of God (go I) at Soho Theatre

There but for the grace of God (go I)
Soho Theatre, 21 Dean Street, London W1D 3NE
Monday 6th – Wednesday 8th August 2018, 7pm

In 1983, Adam Walsh went missing from a Hollywood shopping mall and quickly became the most famous missing child in American history. In 2017, a man called Adam Welsh googled himself and found Adam Walsh. This incident prompted him to write an intriguing semi-autobiographical debut solo show There but for the grace of God (go I) which runs for a limited number of performances this August

This honest and humane production highlights the vulnerability of children and questions how any of us really survive childhood. Through conversation, live re-enactment, song, home videos, poetry and even Lego, Adam Welsh reflects on the care parents have for their children, but how they can’t always help them. It is a meditation on how tragedy can render the world meaningful, an investigation into not being dead, yet.

There but for the grace of God (go I) playfully shifts from initial light-hearted irritation to expose the investigation into Adam Walsh’s disappearance and the connections between this child and a young actor searching for meaning in obscurity, unexpectedly forced to examine his own life.

Adam Welsh comments, True Crime often tends to play into our need for certainty, for answers, and often when there are none. I very much felt this way about my own past. While I was lucky enough to survive childhood, big questions seemed to hang over those early years. I rather unashamedly used the show as an excuse to ask my parents these questions directly. I found that the show provided a useful context for me to have difficult conversations with them that I don’t think we
would have otherwise had. Everything in the show comes from something that has actually been said – sort of verbatim theatre – I wanted to make something that felt very real, that had verisimilitude, but also something that was theatrical and affecting. It’s a big responsibility using other people’s words and real-life stories.

This show was originally commissioned and supported by Camden People’s Theatre, ARC, Stockton and Arts Council England.

Thriller Live Review

Lyceum Theatre, Sheffield –  until 21st July 2018.

Reviewed by Sophie Dodworth


Michael Jackson is often referred to as the King of Pop and was one of the worlds greatest entertainers. His genius spanned four decades of hit songs, videos, albums and concerts which saw him sell over 750 million records, with the Thriller album still being the best selling recording of all time. Thriller Live continues its West End run and world tour as a tribute to his memory and a celebration of his work. This show includes over two hours of non-stop hit songs from his incredible career.

This production is suitable for all age groups as the songs take you through a time line of Jacksons hits, from the earlier Motown days though to his later hits, such as Earth Song. Throughout the show, the lead performers narrate his story to deliver the information needed about the crucial albums and hits.

This show explodes electric energy in to the audience right from the start in the form of lights, costumes and dance. This energy is not evident in all the performers though. One of the lead performers comes across as not all that committed which is a real shame considering the gust and efforts of the majority.

The four lead performers (Ina Seidou, Britt Quentin, Shaquille Hemmans and Rory Taylor) have outstanding voices. Listening to Rory Taylor during ‘She’s Out Of My Life’ makes the hairs on the back of your neck stand up; Rory has a real wide range to his sweet tones. Ina Seidou really steals the show as the unforgettable performance, with her charismatic qualities, superb voice, energy and soul from beginning to end.

Frustratingly, however, Eddy Lima who acts as a fifth lead vocalist and styled to imitate Jackson exactly, appeared to be miming. He only had a minimal amount of songs but they were some of the most famous, including ‘Bad’. His dance moves and mannerisms were so alike Jacksons that during ‘Smooth Criminal’ you could have been led to believe that it was actually him. A little bit of a shame considering that most of the audience were coming to see someone imitating Jackson but all they got was dancing from this headliner.

The backing dancers and singers were full of energy and life, pumping colour and talent in to this tour…choreography by Gary Lloyd was knock out quality, replicating the original dance moves of Jackson during his stage performances and videos. However, not all the dancers were together 100% of the time which was a shame as visually, that is what this show is about.

Maybe the show needs a bit of a revamp if it is to carry on and move forward, it certainly needs a tighten up. However, this show is certainly a must-see for any dedicated Michael Jackson fan. It is a great night out and will have you on your feet or tapping your toes.

Autumn winter 2018 season York Theatre Royal

Come inside. See it live.

Autumn/Winter at York Theatre Royal

Two plays by Alan Bennett, Northern Broadsides in a political satire set in Brexit Britain, and Phoenix Dance Theatre’s new work marking the 70th anniversary of Caribbean migrants arriving in the UK feature in York Theatre Royal’s autumn/winter line-up.

Award-winning actor Matthew Kelly returns as does international hit An Inspector Calls which began life at the Theatre Royal nearly 30 years ago. Jeeves & Wooster, Morecambe & Wise and music hall star Marie Lloyd are among the characters audiences will encounter during the season.

Matthew Kelly and David Yelland star in Alan Bennett’s The Habit of Art (30 Aug – 8 Sept), the first revival since the play was first seen at London’s National Theatre. It focuses on a meeting between the poet W H Auden and the composer Benjamin Britten. Philip Franks directs this York Theatre Royal and Original Theatre Company co-production.

Stephen Daldry’s multi award-winning production of the J B Priestley classic An Inspector Calls (14 – 22 Sept), has been hailed as ‘the theatrical event of its generation’ and has won more awards than any other play in history. This fresh take on the classic play was first directed by Daldry at York Theatre Royal several years before he directed the play at London’s National Theatre. A new tour opens in York before touring the UK and the US.

After co-producing When We Are Married, York Theatre Royal and Northern Broadsides join forces for They Don’t Pay? We Won’t Pay! (5 – 13 Oct). Deborah McAndrew’s new adaptation transposes Dario Fo’s political satire of civil disobedience Can’t Pay? Won’t Pay! to Brexit Britain. Conrad Nelson, Broadsides new artistic director and joint CEO, directs. “Our new adaptation gives us the opportunity to bring a fresh and vibrant voice to the work while remaining faithful to the play and the original intentions of the author,” he says.

York Theatre Royal and tutti frutti present Snow Queen (27 Sept – 13 Oct). Ivan Stott returns to tutti frutti to create memorable music and songs in an adaptation of Hans Christian Andersen’s story by Mike Kenny and directed by Wendy Harris.

Gecko presents Missing (17 – 20 Oct), with Amit Lahav’s production inviting the audience to experience a series of extraordinary images, jaw-dropping choreography and a tantalizing multilingual vocal landscape.

York Opera stages one of the world’s most famous operas Carmen (23 – 27 Oct), sung in English and supported by a full orchestra.

Sharon Watson’s new dance work for Phoenix Dance Theatre Windrush: Movement of the People (1 – 2 Nov) celebrates the 70th anniversary of the arrival of the SS Windrush bringing the first large numbers of Caribbean migrants to the UK. Maybe Yes, Maybe No and a revival of Shadows by Christopher Bruce complete the programme.

The Lakes Season brings to York five productions from Theatre by the Lake in Keswick. York Theatre Royal Associate Director Juliet Forster directs Sense & Sensibility (6 – 10 Nov) adapted from Jane Austen’s novel by Jessica Swale, who is also responsible for adapting the Theatre Royal’s summer show The Secret Garden. Jeeves & Wooster In Perfect Nonsense (16-17 Nov) by the Goodale Brothers is taken from the works of P. G. Wodehouse with three actors playing a multitude of characters. The final Main House Lakes production is Alan Bennett’s Olivier Award-winning comedy Single Spies (13-14 Nov) which explores the world of spies Guy Burgess and Anthony Blunt with a little help from the Queen.

Two more shows in The Lakes Season feature in the Studio – Rails (16-17 Nov), Simon Longman’s funny, poignant and emotionally arresting new play that was shortlisted for the 2015 Bruntwood Prize for Playwriting, and Bold Girls (13-14 Nov), set in 1991 West Belfast where the revelations of a mysterious young woman upsets the lives of three friends.

London Classic Theatre present Charlotte Keatley’s My Mother Said I Never Should (20 – 24 Nov), the most commonly performed work by a female playwright worldwide. The play earned Keatley the George Devine Award, as well as the Manchester Evening News Award for Best New Play. She examines the lives of four women through the immense social changes of the 20th century, focussing on four generations of one family as they confront the most significant moments of their lives.

Ballet Black Double Bill (27 Nov) features The Suit, choreographed and directed by Cathy Marston and inspired by Can Themba’s South African fable The Suit. The bill also features A Dream Within A Midsummer Nights Dream, choreographed and directed by Arthur Pita which mixes the classical and contemporary to distil the essence of Shakespeare’s comedy. The eclectic soundtrack includes Eartha Kitt, Barbra Streisand and Yma Sumac.

Elizabeth Mansfield, seen as Edith Piaf in the most recent Theatre Royal season, returns as ‘the greatest music hall artist of all time’ in Marie: The Story of Marie Lloyd (28 Nov). Proceeds from the fundraising performance will contribute to the theatre’s on-going work with people in the community.

Morecambe and Wise’s Christmas TV shows are the stuff of legend and An Evening of Eric & Ernie at Christmas (1 Dec) promises a brilliant homage filled with their famous comedy sketches to evoke memories of the comic pair’s Christmas specials.

The Theatre Royal’s first Studio Christmas show for younger audiences Book of Dragons last year is followed by The Elves and the Shoemakers (11 Dec – 5 Jan), a version of the Grimm fairy tale by Mike Kenny and directed by Juliet Forster. And of course Christmas and the New Year at York Theatre Royal wouldn’t be Christmas without pantomime and Berwick Kaler who celebrates 40 years as York’s Dame with The Grand Old Dame of York (13 Dec – 2 Feb).

The programme in the Studio features a wide range of visiting companies including New Nigerians (17-20 Oct), Oladipo Agbouuaje’s sparkling satire that has enjoyed a sold out run at London’s Arcola Theatre. The Studio season also presents Studio Discoveries (20 – 24 Nov) a week of exciting, new theatre curated by Visionari, the group of disparate theatre-lovers from all over York, with the brief to reflect and engage the diverse community. Expect a showcase of new, nationally touring shows with something for everyone.

Looking forward to 2019 … Emma Rice’s new company Wise Children brings Angela Carter’s novel Wise Children (5 – 16 March) to York from London’s Old Vic. This big, bawdy tangle of theatrical joy and heartbreak is a celebration of showbusiness, family, forgiveness and hope. Expect showgirls and Shakespeare, sex and scandal, music, mischief and mistaken identity – and butterflies by the thousand.

Before that the penguins are coming to York in Madagascar: A Musical Adventure (26 Feb to 2 March), featuring all the favourites from the Dreamworks animated movie including Alex, Marty, Melman and Gloria.

Box office yorktheatreroyal.co.uk / 01904 623568

The Play That Goes Wrong Review

Birmingham Hippodrome – until 21 July 2018

Reviewed by Lucy Hitchcock


The play that goes….very right! This brilliantly funny piece of theatre is brought to light by Chris Bean (played by Jake Curran),  from the wonderful mind of Mischief Theatre. There are not enough words to describe the excellence of excellence of Mischief, to bring this hilariously perfect script to the stage.

The auditorium is adorned with an extortionately ornate set accompanied with a jaunty soundtrack to get you in the mood. The stage manager, Annie Twilloil, accompanied by lighting operator Trevor Watson burst onto the stage as the audience are coming in and start shouting across the auditorium in hopes of finding their lost cast member, Winston the bulldog. Right away, the action starts with the set falling apart and this really sets the tone for what will ensue for the rest of the night.

Jake Curran, whilst playing Chris Bean, who plays Inspector Carter as well as being Director, designer, prop maker and so many other credits is superb. He has exceptional comedic timing and kept the production going as best he could! We saw a very raw, unscripted moment during the production, where an audience member shouted out and he stayed completely in character whilst addressing the audience and the particular member. It showed his prowess and conveyed his astonishing ad-lib skills. He truly makes a perfect production.

Each member of the cast was outstanding and it is so difficult to pinpoint one actor for expertise as the cast worked amazingly together. It really was a treat to be able to see the chemistry and friendship on stage that is clear to be a strong bond offstage also.

The set is a work of art in this production. Whatever is on stage is a hazard and as described by the stagehand Trevor Watson (Gabriel Paul) ‘This set is a bloody death trap!’

It is flimsy and wobbly and falls at any given moment. Paintings fall from the walls, buckets set on fire, mantle pieces come apart and most impressively, the study floor slants forward multiple times and nearly throws members of the cast off of it! It was a throat in stomachs moment, as I  feared for the wellbeing of Robert Grove (Kazeem Tosin Amore), who plays Thomas Colleymore.

The Murder at Haversham Manor is a play that definitely goes wrong, whilst going very right! My cheeks were hurting from smiling so much and the laughter throughout the auditorium was infectious. I commend each member of the cast, who all managed to keep a straight face throughout the hilarity and chaos and gave us a preposterously peculiar performance.

If you are in Bristol, this is one to catch – You will not be disappointed

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time schools tour to visit 60 secondary schools across the UK

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time schools tour to visit 60 secondary schools across the UK

A specially staged production of the National Theatre’s award-winning play, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time will begin a 12-week tour to 60 schools across the UK in September 2018.

The production will visit five selected secondary schools each week across London and the UK, touring to the National Theatre’s six Theatre Nation partner areas: Outer East London in partnership with the Queen’s Theatre Hornchurch; Wakefield, in partnership with the Theatre Royal; Doncaster, in partnership with Cast; Sunderland in partnership with Sunderland Empire and Sunderland Culture; Wolverhampton, in partnership with the Grand Theatre; and the Greater Manchester area in partnership with The Lowry, Salford.

The schools tour is a 90-minute version of the play performed in the round and will be followed by a Q&A session for students with the company. The tour is accompanied by a learning programme which includes professional development for teachers led by the NT and Curious Incident movement directors Frantic Assembly, as well as curriculum-based resources and workshops.

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time brings Mark Haddon’s best-selling novel to life on stage, adapted by two-time Olivier Award-winning playwright Simon Stephens and directed by Olivier and Tony Award®‑winning director Marianne Elliott. The novel has won more than 17 literary awards and is widely studied in schools. Simon Stephens’ adaptation is a set text for GCSE English Literature.

The play tells the story of Christopher John Francis Boone, who is fifteen years old.  He stands besides Mrs Shears’ dead dog, Wellington, who has been speared with a garden fork, it is seven minutes after midnight and Christopher is under suspicion. He records each fact in a book he is writing to solve the mystery of who killed Wellington.  He has an extraordinary brain, and is exceptional at maths while ill-equipped to interpret everyday life.  He has never ventured alone beyond the end of his road, he detests being touched and distrusts strangers. But his detective work, forbidden by his father, takes him on a frightening journey that upturns his world.

Speaking about the schools tour Simon Stephens said: “It means the world to me that Curious Incident will be touring schools around the country. I worked as a schoolteacher teaching kids in Dagenham in Essex 20 years ago. I loved it. I still think of myself as a teacher. I have seen firsthand how inspiring drama is to young people in schools. I believe the arts to be fundamental to our society. We can’t afford to lose them from our education system. I am delighted that our play will play its part in introducing young people to the theatre. I always hoped that Curious Incident was a play that could be performed anywhere, by anyone. The play is designed to provoke and inspire imagination and interpretation in its staging and inspiration in its audience. The tour will, I hope, provide the same kind of imagination and inspiration throughout the country.”

Alice King-Farlow, Director of Learning at the National Theatre said, “At the National Theatre we believe that all young people should have the opportunity to experience and participate in drama no matter where they are in the UK. We’re delighted to be touring this award-winning play to schools, and via our Theatre Nation Partnerships, we hope that bringing Simon Stephen’s brilliant Curious Incident to young audiences across the country will help to spark imaginations and encourage participation in theatre”.

The production is designed by Olivier and Tony Award-winner Bunny Christie and Tony Award-winning lighting designer Paule Constable. Movement is by Scott Graham and Olivier Award-winning Steven Hoggett for Frantic Assembly, music by Adrian Sutton (who also composed music for War Horse) and sound by Ian Dickinson for Autograph.  The Associate Director is Anna Marsland. Casting to be announced.

The National Theatre’s Partner for Learning is Bank of America Merrill Lynch.

Schools Touring is supported by: The Mohn Westlake Foundation, The Garfield Weston Foundation, The Ingram Trust, Archie Sherman Charitable Trust, Behrens Foundation, Cleopatra Trust, Jill and David Leuw, Mulberry Trust and The Royal Victoria Hall Foundation.

Alkaline Review

Park Theatre – until 4th August

Review by Heather Chalkley

12th July


The dips are on the table, Nick (Alan Mahon) is already drinking and Sophie (EJ Martin) is freaking out. She is desperate to get things back on track with her old friend Sarah (Claire Cartwright), concerned Sarah is being ‘groomed’ by the new boyfriend Ali (Nitin Kundra) to become a Muslim extremist. What more could you add to a perfect evening at home entertaining friends? Throw in a few amphetamines, plenty of alcohol, some frank talking, the appearance of Ali’s ex-wife (Reena Lalbihari) and a sick child and you have Alkaline!

From the outset the Director Sarah Meadows cleverly set the play to feel like you were listening through the living room window, to one of those everyday conversations you never see. It makes you question yourself. Is it just my family who has these discussions? Do we hide our ignorance with arrogance and pretend to be knowledgeable and cosmopolitan? By expressing our derogatory views about the plight of the victims of austerity/racism/sexism, how many of us are showing our arrogance and need to check our privilege?

The questions for me continue. Which character was actually being honest? Martin expressed Sophie’s fears with a naivety, laying bare the ignorance fed her through an all white middle class upbringing. She showed her as a vulnerable, lost and confused character not knowing what to do about any of it. Cartwright gave Sarah calmness and strength, a sense of sadness that others cannot be pleased for the happiness her new faith has given her. She was honest about the difficulty others have accepting her and her relationship and fearful about telling her family.

Mahon portrayed the ‘jack the lad’ veneer of Nick, bringing humour in to lighten difficult moments. The scene with him sat on the ‘naughty step’ made us all laugh out loud. Kundra captured well the uncomfortableness and contained anger felt by Ali, particularly when talking about his children.

To pack everything in to the 90 minutes, the writer Stephanie Martin, ensured not a superfluous word was spoken. The intensity drew you in and engaged the audience throughout. The acrid dialogue, which I suspect reflects what happens in so many homes across Britain, accentuated the fight that Sarah had. To prove that she had found her ‘Alkaline’ through Islam, the place within where she could be content, safe and happy.

Alkaline is an all round thought provoking, relevant and intense piece.