The Accidental Adventures of Sherlock Holmes Review

White Bear Theatre, Kennington, London 24-28 July 2018

Reviewed by Lisa Harlow


This Tobacco Tea Theatre Company parody of Arthur Conan Doyle’s most beloved creation is touring in London for its first time after three years of sell-out runs at the Edinburgh Fringe and a sell-out show at Brighton Fringe 2017.

A Sherlock parody seemed an enticing reason to see it and I was very much looking forward to seeing how the two female actors would play the lead roles. Sell-out Fringe shows are always a rollicking ride. Three actors (Jasmine Atkins-Smart, Sophie Milnes and Joshua Phillips) multi-role throughout, and this in itself should have brought many comedic situations into the show.

It begins with Holmes (Atkins-Smart) and Watson (Milnes) having been left bored to tears by a lack of crime in the City, leading Holmes to experiment with a range of mind changing drugs. Mrs Hudson and the LCD episode was most perplexing.  Suddenly a new case appears with the appearance of Isabella Lime (Phillips), from whom Holmes begins to extract details of a crime, before she is quickly and accidentally slain …. by Holmes himself. And so begins outlandish plots, wrapped around Holmes’ ridiculous logic and detective work. This certainly seemed a ‘tip of the hat’ to the BBC show Sherlock with its implausible plot twists and grandiose, over-intellectualised story lines. It is largely this spoof reference which holds traction and made the show at least gently enjoyable.

The miniature orchestra pit that opened the performance with a variety of cutesy sound effects and reappears in interludes I’m afraid didn’t really provide the hoped for entertainment and was a rather shaky start. There were a couple of repeated sound gags that brought a smile, but most of it fell rather flatly with the audience.

I found Atkins-Smart performance rather charming of Holmes, even though it was really a straightforward one-dimensional pantomime depiction of the character. Watson (Milnes) acted as the narrator and led the audience through the unravelling absurdities, also providing an able jostling partner with both Holmes and Moriarty. Phillips and Milnes gave decent performances but I felt as if I was in a charming Victorian theatre show, edge and witty sharpness were lacking. The show itself was largely too long and repetitive, there were periods where I lost focus, particularly during the droning Moriarty section. At the most, it is a gentle and jolly parody of the Sherlock show with some humorous observations. But as a show which describes itself as having ‘almost unparalleled entertainment’, I yearned to be far more entertained. A good idea, but needs a large injection of good gags.


A new, darkly-witty, absurdist play presented by Calenta Theatre as part of Camden Fringe 2018.

Monday 13th – Wednesday 15th August
7:30pm (Running time 55 minutes)
Tickets £8.50
Available from

Hen & Chickens Theatre
109 St Paul’s Rd
N1 2NA

Set in a space devoid of time and place, a young artist, seeks to emotionally disengage with the masculine forces that surround her, challenging their being and questioning their hold over her.

Dark, witty and in places brutal, Calenta Theatre’s debut play explores elements of the self, gesture, control and reflection in this existential three-hander.

As Alex removes herself from subjectivity and attempts to focus on the objective nature of being, this excommunication of physiological liberty looks, in an abstract sense, at why we “can and cannot” and what a person is able to achieve without boundary or limitation binding them.

ALEXA, sees Alex, create her art through the destruction of the individuals around her which seemingly form part of her own psyche. With questions never truly posed or directly answered, ALEXA simply tries to combat the questions and doubts in our own minds, disrupting and removing moments from our past and present in a cathartic quest to gain control of our lives.

In a world where we have increasingly less control, ALEXA challenges us to deconstruct and question the forces seeking to govern, and empowers us to regain authority over ourselves.

Drawing inspiration from the surreal and absurd in delivery and construction of language, combined with the company’s passion and cultural flair, Calenta Theatre use subtext, pause, repetition and ambiguity as the key to exposing the harsh reality of the self and control in this new minimalist thriller.

“Art is beauty, control is power, decide if your life is owned.”

Fame the Musical Review

Manchester Palace Theatre – until 28 July 2018

Reviewed by Lottie Davis-Browne


As part of a 30-year anniversary tour (30 years since the first stage production – Miami 1988), Fame – the well-loved 1980’s movie come-TV series – has kicked off the 2018/19 tour starting at Manchester’s Palace Theatre. Being a 80’s kid myself, this has been something I have been wanting to see a sensational performance of on stage for decades. The closest I have got so far was at the Gordon Craig Theatre, Stevenage approximately six years ago – a performance which oozed energy and brought the classic 1980’s movie to life.

This only fuelled my excitement for Selladoor Productions touring company featuring soul singer Mica Paris, Hollyoaks actress and reality TV show (Dancing on Ice and I’m a Celebrity…Get Me Out of Here!) Jorgie Porter and BBC1’s Any Dream Will Do runner up Keith Jack, sensational line up. However my excitement turned out to be short lived…..

When you think “Fame” you think all things 1980s, the leg warmers, the drama of each students individual stories and of course the fabulous dancing and the iconic ending involving a New York taxi cab and students dancing on top of it. This touring production could easily be set in any decade, as we meet the potential students of New York Performing Arts High School. The hair, makeup and costume choices lacked a feel of the early 1980s in which the story is meant to be set – despite this they still started Freshman year in 1980 and graduated in 1984 – with little development or change in appearance to the characters over that time. Surely in the space of four years the students would alter their looks slightly?? Certainly not at the Performing Arts School!

There’s no clear main character and the changing scenes from one characters story to the next seemed somewhat disorientating. Whilst each character and cast member gave a splendid performance, there was so much going back and forth between the characters it was hard to warm to or get a feel of each individuals characters highs and lows over the four years of studying at the school. Whilst anybody who has seen the original movie will know that Carmen left school to pursue fame, desperate to see her name in lights, but was met with some seedy characters and eventually dying of a drugs overdose, but this production shows very little of that side of her story which seems such as waste of Stephanie Rojas’ talents as what little of her portrayal as the fame hungry dancer determined to make it big.

Jorgie Porters’ stage debut as the poor dance student Iris Kelly (whom fellow students originally assume comes from a privileged back ground when they see her dad dropping her off in a flash car – only to learn he is employed as a chauffeur) does not disappoint – whilst it’s clear she is an established actress, her background is in ballet, being an ex-pupil of Chester’s Hammond School. Whilst I was somewhat disappointed Porter did not perform en pointé in this production, the standard of the rest of her performance outshone the rest of the cast in terms of dancing. Also her character did not feature enough in this production which seemed a waste of Porters’ talent for dance and acting.

Vocally Mica Paris gave a knock-out performance as Miss Sherman, resulting in several standing ovations, – her solo performance of “These Are My Children” being a real highlight of the show, however I felt at times her acting was somewhat wooden and that she did not represent the character in the original movie well. It is hinted in the movie that Miss Sherman is perceived to be somewhat racist for “picking on” the under-performing Tyrone – whom – despite being a talented hip-hop dancer from an under-privileged family, struggles academically due to being an un-diagnosed dyslexic.

Albey Brookes as cocky sex-mad Joe provides the laughs and injects some life into what is otherwise a lack-lustre production which despite being produced to celebrate the thirty years since the first stage production fails to bring the original movie to life. Even the usual grand finale was watered down and was the final nail in the coffin for me personally.

One thing I was impressed by was the lighting design (Prema Mehta) – which featured 80s-esque headshots including the productions cast as their characters, which changed colours etc or blacked out photos to show one or two characters at a time, for example at Carmen’s funeral only her headshot was visible.

If you’re wanting nostalgia and to go back to the early 80s dance era – my advice is – approach with caution – I only hope the touring production of Flashdance will be less disappointing than this production.











As temperatures soar outside, things are also hotting up inside Manchester’s Hope Mill Theatre as audiences enjoy sizzling performances on stage courtesy of the sultry new 5 star production of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s classic Aspects of Love – one of the hottest tickets in town.

But the show, which tells the tale of the lives and loves of a group of family and friends in 1940’s France and features the classic ‘Love Changes Everything’, must close on Thursday 9 August!

From Olivier Award nominees and West End regulars to young talent making their professional debuts – an exciting cast of 10 performers have brought the musical to life under the direction of Hope Mill Theatre favourite Jonathan O’Boyle.

The hotly-anticipated, intimate revival has lived up to hopes with critics and audiences alike declaring the show a 5 star ‘must see’ hit.

‘Ravishingly Good’ – 5*s

The Stage

It is the third of five in-house musicals in 2018 from the successful and ambitious collaboration between Joseph Houston and William Whelton, co-founders of Hope Mill Theatre and producer Katy Lipson, from Aria Entertainment, resident producer and co-Artistic director of Hope Mill theatreand follows the hit revival of Spring Awakening, which played to standing ovations earlier this year.

Katy Lipson said: “We can’t believe there are only a handful of performances left of our intimate revival of Aspects of Love. We have been overwhelmed with the critical responses, which all echo this is our most ambitious production to date. Come and join us in Manchester so you can say you saw it first!”


Magnificent’ – 5*s

What’s On Stage

Aspects of Love is based on the novel by David Garnett, with music by Andrew Lloyd Webber, lyrics by Don Black and Charles Hart and is directed by Jonathan O’Boyle (Hair, Pippin), and features the iconic song Love Changes Everything, which became a huge hit for Michael Ball, who starred in the original production in London and on Broadway. It tells the story of passion, love and loss across three generations of a family and their artistic companions, against a background of 1940’s France and Italy.


‘Truly mesmerising…an incredible production’ – 5*s

Manchester’s Finest


Aspects of Love was first produced at the Prince of Wales Theatre in London on 17th April 1989, where it ran for 1,325 performances before finally closing in June 1992. Since then it has toured the UK and recent productions include the Menier Chocolate Factory (2010 and more recently in Holland (2013).

‘Sensational…an absolute must-see’ – 5*s

Opening Night

It has never been professionally produced regionally in the North West making the premiere of this production a landmark theatrical event in the region, and beyond, this summer.

Making up the cast is Kimberly Blake (Half a Sixpence, Barnum) who plays Giulietta, Jason Kajdi (Our HouseAssassins), in the role of Hugo, Felix Mosse (The Rocky Horror Show) as Alex, Julia J Nagle (An American in Paris) as Elizabeth/ensemble, Minal Patel (The Secret Garden, Bend it Like Beckham) as Marcel, Jerome Pradon(Jesus Christ Superstar, Pacific Overtures – Olivier Award Nominee 2003) as George and Kelly Price (That Day We Sang, A Little Night Music – Olivier Award Nominee 2010) in the role of Rose. Making their professional debuts in the production are Rosie Cava-Beale, ensemble, Jack Churms, as Jerome/ensemble and Eleanor Walsh as Jenny/ensemble.

Director Jonathan O’Boyle’s recent credits include Pippin (Hope Mill Theatre/ Southwark Playhouse), London, Hair (Hope Mill Theatre/The Vaults, London) and Resident Director of An American in Paris (Dominion Theatre, London)

The production has musical direction by Gareth Bretherton, set and costume design by Jason Denvir, choreography by Sam Spencer-Lane, Lighting design by Aaron J Dootson, sound design by Calum Robinson and casting by Jane Deitch.

Aspects of Love is produced by Katy Lipson of Aria Entertainment, William Whelton and Joseph Houston of Hope Mill Theatre. And co-produced with Neil Eckersley and Jim Kierstead.

Following Aspects of Love at Hope Mill Theatre is The Return of the Soldier that runs from Thursday 6 to Saturday 29 September.



Aspects of Love

Until Thursday 9 August

Hope Mill Theatre

Hope Mill, Ancoats, 113 Pollard Street

Manchester, M4 7JA



FACEBOOK: Hope Mill Theatre

TWITTER: @Hopemilltheatr1 @AspectsOf_Love




and CASUALTY star is set to play ‘Tony’, in



Richard Winsor, highly acclaimed for his dance, stage and screen work, is set to play Tony Manero, the role which famously rocketed John Travolta to screen stardom, in a new stage production of Saturday Night Fever.


As a dancer Richard Winsor hardly needs introduction: principle dancer with Matthew Bourne for ten years, he has starred around the world, leading Bourne’s celebrated production of Swan Lake, as well as Dorian Gray, Edward Scissorhands, The Car Man and Play Without Words. He landed the lead role in cult dance movie StreetDance 3D and was snapped up by the BBC to play Caleb Knight in flagship medical drama Casualty, a role in which he gripped audiences for over three years until his dramatic exit last year, which shocked the star’s millions of fans as he lost his life in a knife fight.


This hotly anticipated new musical production, produced by Bill Kenwright by special arrangement with The Robert Stigwood Organisation, sees Richard Windsor take on his first leading role in a major musical, and, his first stage appearance since Casualty.


Ignite The Inferno. Feel The Fever. Like Never Before.


40 years since its famous UK cinema release, Saturday Night Fever is a reimagined and revitalised music and dance spectacular. Opening in London at the New Wimbledon Theatre on 30 August 2018, the nationwide tour includes Liverpool, Dublin, Birmingham, Bristol, Aylesbury, Glasgow, Edinburgh, Blackpool, Llandudno, Bradford and Cardiff.


Saturday Night Fever tells the story of Tony Manero, and his reckless, yet thrilling road to dancing success. The musical features the Bee Gees’ greatest hits including Stayin’ Alive, How Deep Is Your Love, Night Fever, Tragedy and More Than a Woman as well as 70’s favorites Boogie Shoes, Disco Inferno and for the first time will feature a group playing the Bee Gees live on stage.


The 70’s classic Paramount/RSO movie, with story by Nik Cohn, was an instant hit when it was released in cinemas. The album remains the best-selling movie soundtrack of all time.

Whilst paying homage to the movie, this new stage version promises more drama, more music and hot new choreography. It is directed and produced by Bill Kenwright, with choreography by Olivier Award winning Bill Deamer, designs by Gary McCaan, lighting by Nick Richings, and sound by Dan Samson. The stage adaptation is by Robert Stigwood in collaboration with Bill Oakes.





New Wimbledon Theatre

30 August – 8 September

0844 871 7646

Liverpool Empire Theatre

11 – 15 September

0844 871 3017

Dublin Bord Gáis Energy Theatre

18 – 22 September

+353 (1) 677 7999

Birmingham Alexandra Theatre

25 – 29 September

0844 871 3011

Bristol Hippodrome Theatre

2 – 6 October

0844 871 3012

Aylesbury Waterside Theatre

9 – 13 October

0844 871 7607

Glasgow Kings Theatre

16 – 20 October

0844 871 7648

Edinburgh Playhouse Theatre

23 – 27 October

0844 871 3014

Blackpool Opera House

30 October – 3 November

0844 856 1111

Llandudno Venue Cymru

13 – 17 November

01492 872000

Bradford Alhambra Theatre

20 – 24 November

01274 432 000

Cardiff Wales Millennium Centre

27 November – 1 December

029 20636464

The Royal Theatrical Support Trust and Royal & Derngate Northampton announce Nancy Medina as the winner and Josh Seymour as the runner-up of the RTST Sir Peter Hall Director Award 2018

The Royal Theatrical Support Trust and Royal & Derngate Northampton announce Nancy Medina as the winner and Josh Seymour as the runner-up of the RTST Sir Peter Hall Director Award 2018

The Royal Theatrical Support Trust (RTST) and Royal & Derngate Northampton have announcedNancy Medina as the winner of the 2018 RTST Sir Peter Hall Director Award and Josh Seymour as the runner-up. Now in its third year, and its second bearing the name of the RTST co-founder, Sir Peter Hall, the award is made to an up-and-coming director demonstrating exceptional directing skills in a rigorous competitive process.

As the winner of the 2018 award, Nancy Medina will now get the opportunity to direct a full-scale, fully funded production to open in 2019 on the Royal Stage, as part of Made In Northampton, in a co-production between Royal & Derngate and English Touring Theatre (ETT), and then tour to theatres across the UK. The RTST will make a grant of £50,000 to Royal & Derngate to be applied towards the costs of the production.

Nancy Medina and Josh Seymour were selected from 70 longlisted candidates by a panel comprising of: chair James Dacre (Artistic Director of Royal & Derngate), and judges Kwame Kwei-Armah OBE(Artistic Director of the Young Vic); multi-Tony and Olivier Award-winning director Sir Trevor Nunn CBE; Olivier Award-nominees Tanya Moodie and Samantha Bond; four-time Olivier Award-winnerPaule Constable (Associate, National Theatre); and Richard Twyman (Artistic Director of English Touring Theatre).

The Award Scheme promotes the RTST’s charitable objects in two main ways: it supports emerging talent in the theatre and it supports British regional theatres. The Award Scheme is intended to appeal to a diverse range of candidates and to play a part in promoting diversity in the theatre, onstage and offstage, and among audiences.

Chairman of the RTST, Sir Geoffrey Cass, said: “The 2018 RTST Sir Peter Hall Director Award had 8 finalists of the very highest quality, selected from a strong field of 70 candidates.  Directing workshops – held over two full days, in which the finalists had to direct actors, observed by our immensely experienced panel of judges, and then be interviewed by the panel – constituted a thorough and exacting test of their directing skills. The winner’s prize is the unique opportunity to direct a production that will premiere on the stage of the Royal in Northampton and go on a main-stage national tour with English Touring Theatre. The RTST’s collaboration with Royal & Derngate and English Touring Theatre is admirably fulfilling the RTST’s twin primary charitable objectives of encouraging emerging theatre professionals and promoting British regional theatre”.

Deputy Chairman, Mark Hawes, said: “As a result of our RTST Sir Peter Hall Director Award, we are happy and proud both to have created a gateway for Nancy’s entry into the mid-scale regional theatre scene and to be providing meaningful financial and promotional support to the hotspot of regional theatre-producing excellence that is Royal & Derngate.

Royal & Derngate Artistic Director, James Dacre, and English Touring Theatre Artistic Director,Richard Twyman, said: “It has been inspiring to watch how Nancy and Josh showcased their industrious and sophisticated approach to conceiving and rehearsing a production and their magnetic ability to bring those around them in a rehearsal room closer to the material, throughout this competitive process. The panel were deeply impressed by both candidates’ innate understanding of narrative and the demands of producing on the mid-scale. We’d like to thank all the shortlisted candidates who took so much pleasure and pride in their work during a demanding weekend of workshops and interviews and we are thrilled to have met so many exceptional artists. We look forward to collaborating with Nancy to enable her work to be seen on the mid-scale and on tour for the first time.”

Winner, Nancy Medina said: “I feel privileged and ecstatic to have been named the RTST’s Sir Peter Hall Director Award Winner for 2018.  To get to the next step in my career, through the generous help of RTST, Royal & Derngate, and English Touring Theatre, is truly a dream come true. I cannot thank the RTST panel enough for making the process feel supportive and nurturing.”


The RTST ran the inaugural RTST Director Award Scheme in 2016 with Sheffield Theatres, with the winner Kate Hewitt directing the British regional premiere of Tribes by Nina Raine. The 2016 runner up was Rebecca Frecknall. The RTST ran the re-named 2017 RTST Sir Peter Hall Director Award Scheme with Nuffield Southampton Theatres resulting in the winner Chelsea Walker directing a bold contemporary version of Tennessee Williams’, A Streetcar Named Desire, in a co-production between NST, Theatre Clwyd and English Touring Theatre, which opened at NST City in Southampton in March 2018 and went on tour to seven other theatres. The 2017 runner up was Tinuke Craig.

Madagascar: The Musical Review

New Wimbledon Theatre – until 28 July 2018

Reviewed by Sabrina Fancy


Transferring the success of a successful animated film to the live stage has not always been a successful feat, so I was curious how the much-loved Dream Works’s film Madagascar would work on stage.

The story remains the same as the film. Set in a New York zoo, the story follows four zoo animals – Alex the Lion, Marty the Zebra, Melman the Giraffe and Gloria the Hippo who escape and by accident find themselves on the African island of Madagascar. Surrounded by a horde of wild animals, Alex the Lion finds his more primitive instincts return.

Matt Terry who was the winner of X Factor 2016, made his acting debut as the lead role of Alex the Lion. He was energetic and showcased exactly why he won the coveted X Factor title.

Timmika Ramsay also delivers a solid performance as Gloria, while Antoine Murray-Straughan’s rapping, reminded me so much of Chris Rock’s character of Marty from the film and had great comedic timing.

We particularly enjoyed Jo Parsons’ who played the hilarious lemur King Julien with his brilliant performance of ‘I like to move it move it,’ which was made more contemporary by the use of flossing which the audience went wild for.

The costumes were absolutely brilliant and the set design, bright and enchanting. The use of puppetry for the penguins, monkey and lemurs contributed to the comic mood and magic of the evening.

The cast must be commended for such an energetic performance with aplomb, considering the costumes they were in and the fact that it was the hottest evening of the year.

My biggest critique of the show was that it lasted only 100 minutes including a 20 – minute interval, which left my children and I wanting more!

I give Madagascar the Musical 4 stars and highly recommend it, because of its appeal for children and adults. It’s a perfect evening out during the summer break.

Madagascar The Musical is at the New Wimbledon Theatre until 28th July, then touring.

Reading Gaol Review

Theatre N16 @ The Styx – until 2 August

Reviewed by Claire Roderick


The Ballad of Reading Gaol isn’t Oscar Wilde’s most cheerful work, and Proforca’s new production explores the darkness and inhumanity of prison life with a stark and stylish flair.

The audience are led into the theatre and stand for a mock role call as the 5 prisoners are called forward and then sit around the bleak concrete stage in near darkness. As the play develops, the sense of being in the prison yard or cells is created by expertly designed lighting effects, with the cast using torches to evoke prison bars, chinks of light and campfires. The slamming of doors and random disturbing sounds also add to the claustrophobic atmosphere.

Director David Brady keeps the cast of five moving as they recite Wilde’s poem, portraying the monotonous exercise and labour of Victorian prisons to the simple balladeer rhythm, but the words are most affecting when they sit amongst the audience and recite – those moments of stillness allowing the despair and beauty of Wilde’s words to soar through the darkness as he contemplates the dehumanisation and brutality of prison. The additional material written by Catrin Keeler, Simon Marshall, James Lewis and Erin Read break up the tale of the Wilde’s soldier waiting for execution with monologues from prisoners. Monster (James Vincent), Guardian (Malcolm Jeffries), Human (Nic James), Innocent (Miles Parker) and Hero (Nick Cope) all explore themes from Wilde’s poem with a 21st century sensibility. The cast all impress, but the writing is variable, with standout moments from Malcolm Jeffries’ disjointed and desperate pleading for human company as he collects the names of fellow prisoners on his body, and Miles Parker’s devastating portrayal of a simple country lad imprisoned for a crime he didn’t commit. Nic Cope’s monologue is a final howl into the darkness full of defiance and hope for a future free from oppression that Wilde would applaud.

There is a lot to admire in this atmospheric production, with some great performances and exciting new writing. Reading Gaol is powerful and thought-provoking, and well worth a look.

Drama on your doorstep – Edinburgh Binge Festival!




  • Trained actors will perform “Ham-let: To Eat or Not To Eat”
  • Customers simply need to add #edinburghbinge to their order notes
  • Activity will be raising money for Bedlam Theatre Company

Edinburgh – July 2018: During this year’s Edinburgh Festival Fringe, diners’ doorsteps will be transformed into stages for the very first time.

Deliveroo orders will be manned in the Scottish capital by actors who will perform a Shakespearean inspired monologue – written by Scotland-based actor Adam Butler – HAM-let’s To Eat or Not to Eat.

Simply by writing #EdinburghBinge within the notes of their order, diners are in with a chance of receiving a personal performance of the specially commissioned play – at no extra cost.

The production will be performed by the Bedlam Theatre Company – a unique, entirely student run theatre in the centre of Edinburgh. Any tips given to the actors will go towards supporting the group in putting on over 40 shows a year.

An excerpt from To Eat or Not to Eat:* “It’s just too much to bear, /  To grunt and sweat under a hungry mouth, /But then the dread I fear with bated breath, / The undiscovered offer, 2 for 1 /No extra topping charge, puzzles the will / And makes us rather bear those bills we have / Than fly to others that we know not of?”


Joe Groves at Deliveroo said: “Edinburgh is known for its sell out shows across the city during Fringe and we don’t want anyone to miss out. Immersive dining is so popular, we thought why can’t we deliver drama as well as mouth-watering meals to enhance the dining experience for our customers.”

New plays by Roddy Doyle, Paul Sirett, Ishy Din and Alex Oates announced as in Live Theatre’s season until March 2019

Live Theatre’s season until March 2019 announced and on sale


New plays by writers including Roddy Doyle, Paul Sirett, Ishy Din and Alex Oates


Live Theatre has announced its new season through to March 2019. Highlights include the British Premiere of Two Pints, a hilarious and provocative play by Irish writer Roddy Doyle. Having started as a conversation on Facebook that gained a large following, Roddy Doyle brought the two characters to life in a play, in which two men meet in a pub for a pint, chew the fat, and set the world to rights.

Roddy Doyle said

“When I wrote Two PintsI didn’t envisage it being performed in a pub, but it is part of the adventure. This new play is being put on in a context that is unfamiliar to me – that excites me.”

Joe Douglas, Artistic Director, Live Theatre, said:

“We are delighted to host the British debut of Roddy Doyle’s comedy Two Pints, that has been a sell-out success across Ireland. We look forward to bringing it to audiences in Newcastle and Sunderland, in partnership with Sunderland Culture and as part of the Culture Ireland GB programme. The show is usually performed in pubs, so at Live Theatre, the bar is returning into the main theatre space. Audiences can get a pint, pull up a chair and listen in to the conversation at the bar. In Sunderland, we are delighted to have the perfect pub-setting ready-made in the beautifully restored Peacock pub on Keel Square. Wherever you see Two Pints expect big laughs and good craic.”


Following its second tour performing in pubs across Ireland, this Abbey Theatre Production comes to Live Theatre (Wednesday 12 to Sunday 23 September), and The Peacock Pub, Sunderland (Tuesday 25 to Friday 28 September).

This autumn see the World Premiere of Clear White Light, a modern gothic story, and the first play at Live Theatre to be directed by it’s new Artistic Director, Joe Douglas. Written by Olivier Award nominated writer Paul Sirett, Clear White Light is a modern retelling of Edgar Allan Poe’s The Fall of the House of Usher and set against the backdrop of cuts to the 70-year-old NHS, with the songs of Lindisfarne. Inspired by Alan Hull’s time working at psychiatric nurse at St Nicholas’ hospital in Gosforth, the play features many of the hit songs he wrote at that time, including Winter SongLady Eleanor and Clear White Light played by a live band. The show’s musical directors are Billy Mitchell and Ray Laidlaw, also of the band Lindisfarne.

Ray Laidlaw said:

‘’We’ve been working with the wonderfully creative team at Live Theatre for a long time, searching for the perfect vehicle for Alan’s great songs which doesn’t rely on cliché. Clear White Light is just that – it’s fresh and inventive, and I’m sure it’ll introduce Alan’s music to a whole new audience.”

Billy Mitchell added:

“Alan was profoundly touched by his time at St. Nick’s, caring for people with mental health issues. The music he wrote around then – often while on duty – has stood the test of time. Unfortunately the NHS hasn’t fared so well, something Clear White Light addresses head-on.”

The play was originally commissioned by Max Roberts, Live Theatre’s Emeritus Artistic Director, and Max and Joe will work closely together to bring the show to life. Clear White Light premieres at Live Theatre from Saturday 18 October to Saturday 10 November.

Live Theatre’s collaboration with Open Clasp continues with the World Premiere of don’t forget the birds, the follow up to the award-winning Key Change, telling the true story of a mother and daughter after release from prison. The mother was one of the original collaborators on Key Change, now released, and this first-hand account written by Catrina McHugh MBE and directed by Laura Lindow, picks up on their story and tells how prison took a mother from a daughter and their heart lifting journey to find each other again. Featuring both women as themselves, don’t forget the birds is at Live Theatre from Tuesday 20 to Saturday 24 November before touring nationally.

Christmas Crackers is Live Theatre’s alternative Christmas offering, of four new plays in one evening celebrating this special time of year, with a wry twist. Written up by and coming writers Tamsin Daisy-Rees, Olivia Hannah, Henry Lawrence and Jamie Morren who have been selected as Live Theatre’s Associate Artists this year. Catch Christmas Crackers from Thursday 13 to Saturday 22 December.

Graeme Thompson, Creative Producer, Live Theatre said

“Tamsin, Olivia, Henry and Jamie will all give their individual take on a Christmas play. Don’t expect a traditional nativity or a panto, but be prepared for laughter, turkey, tears and sarcasm. They will follow in the footsteps of Nina Berry who wrote her hit play The Terminal Velocity of Snowflakes when she was a Live Theatre Associate Artist, which debuted in its original form as a short play in Live Theatre’s alternative Christmas show in 2015.”

Set in the North of England in the aftermath of Margaret Thatcher’s death, two old friends go into the taxi business together in Approaching Empty written by Stockton based writer, and former cab driver, Ishy Din. This brand new co-production between Live Theatre, Tamasha and Kiln Theatre is at Live Theatre from Wednesday 6 to Saturday 23 February 2019.

Five performers from across the globe challenge notions of ‘home’ in Where We Began on Thursday 20 and Friday 21 September.

Bismillah! (an Isis Tragicomedy) which follows Dean who joins the Army and Danny who joins the Islamic State, comes to Live Theatre for two performances on Saturday 29 September following critically acclaimed sell-out runs in Edinburgh and London.

Inspired by real music fan confessions, Fans (Wednesday 3 to Saturday 6 October) written by Nina Berry, is part gig and part theatre crammed full of classic hits and original tunes. Also from company The Six Twenty there are two Mixtape shows, which mix sketch show with music quiz, Mixtape Timehop (Thursday 30 August to Saturday 1 September) and Mixtape Xmas (Wednesday 5 to Saturday 8 December).

It’s Different For Girls, a brand new musical inspired by Mandy & The Girlfriends, Hull’s own 1960s girl band, comes to Live Theatre from Tuesday 13 to Thursday 15 November.

Alex Oates’s hit play Silk Road (How To Buy Drugs Online) returns to Live Theatre from Tuesday 27 November to Saturday 1 December following its sell out run earlier this year, and a West End transfer.

Theo Ancient (Albus Potter in Harry Potter and the Cursed Child) stars in The Shy Manifesto, a bittersweet comedy drama about a boy who is fed up of being told to come out of his shell, on Tuesday 28 and Wednesday 30 January 2019.

Mark Thomas takes a comedic look at the NHS at 70 based on a series of interviews with leading experts in Check Up: Our NHS@70 from Tuesday 5 to Thursday 7 March 2019.

Sparkplug, written by David Judge, is an exploration of family, race, identity and love performed between Thursday 14 to Saturday 16 March.

There’s another great line-up of live music presented by Jumpin’ Hot Club plus the chance to get involved with new creative opportunities, including the Introduction to Playwriting Course and Write Here, Write Now writing course for young people of colour aged 16-25 both led by Live Theatre’s new writer in residence Chinonyerem Odinba, and for young people aged 11 to 25 to join Live Theatre’s award-winning Live Youth Theatre as its prepares for its 21st birthday year in 2019.

For more information and tickets call Live Theatre’s Box Office on (0191) 232 1232 or