Dracula Review

King’s Theatre Edinburgh – Until 3rd November.
Reviewed by James Knight
A darkened stage suddenly illuminates to show a motionless body. Another flash and suddenly four hellish figures are feasting on its blood. And so the Touring Consortium Theatre Company’s adaptation of the classic ‘Dracula’ begins.
Billed as a multi-sensory experience, this production aims to invigorate what is all too often a neglected genre in theatre – horror. Horror is particularly tricky to pull off in live theatre – do it well and you have The Woman in Black or Ghost Stories. ‘Dracula’ has the added disadvantage of being an adaptation of one of the most famous horror stories ever told, and so the real challenge is to surprise people with a story that they may not know well, but are more than familiar with the title character.
And so we are treated to the infamous Count literally stepping out of the darkness, a brutal disembowelling then staking of another vampire, a horrific birthing scene, and, in a truly impressive end to Act One, Dracula turning into a flock of bats.
All these are aided by the design – the set, designed by Sean Cavanagh, is made up of imposing Gothic pillars, and the music, by Paul Ewing, is suitably threatening. The lighting (Ben Cracknell) is also crucial to the atmosphere, cloaking the actors in darkness. Where the production struggles, however, is creating a genuine feeling of uneasiness and fear throughout.
Part of this is down to the script, which in some places cleaves perhaps too close to the original text (originally the book was written in the first person as a collection of letters and journal entries from the various characters), and some scenes lack the emotion necessary for the actors to connect with each other and the audience.
Another problem lies in the audience’s familiarity with the character of Dracula. Glen Fox masters the suave, charming and brutal aspects of the Count, commanding the stage whenever he appears impeccably suited to sink his fangs into whichever poor victim is next. However, in a dinner scene between Dracula and Jonathan Harker (Andrew Horton), it seemed more like the audience was in on a joke that Harker was not comprehending, rather than a creeping dread that his life was being toyed with by a master manipulator.
Purists might complain of the gender-swapping of the insect-and-rodent-devouring servant Renfield (Cheryl Campbell, clearly enjoying herself), but this does allow the production to explore how Dracula views his underlings, especially women, and how little they mean to him. Mina Harker (Olivia Swann) is also given more agency than she was in the original novel, and the three traditional ‘Brides’, or ‘Vixens’ in this case, have a male added to their ranks – proving Dracula’s sexual experience is not simply limited to that of the opposite sex.
In addition – ‘Dracula’ is to be the Touring Consortium Theatre Company’s last production due to a lack of funding. After seeing a lot of school and youth groups, this is a great shame that young people will be denied such an excellent introduction to theatre and what it can accomplish.
So while some of the scares may be gratuitous, and the ending seconds create a massive plot hole, by that time it won’t matter. You’ll likely be won over by the chilling effects and sexual energy laced throughout the tale of the world’s most famous vampire.

High Society Review

Richmond Theatre, London until Saturday 3 November 2018
Reviewed by Lisa Harlow
High Society is a musical based on the 1959 film of the same name which starred Grace Kelly, Bing Crosby and Frank Sinatra. The score by Cole Porter includes true classics such as True Love, Who Wants to be a Millionaire and Let’s Misbehave. BROS Theatre company are an amateur dramatic company and the only non-commercial organisation to perform at Richmond Theatre.
We join them hosting this riotous pre-wedding party for the wealthy Newport, Rhode Island, socialite Tracy Samantha Lord (Heather Stockwell) to George Kittredge (Jason Thomas), the up and coming but rather boring businessman. Throw in the return of C.K. Dexter Haven (Nick Moorhead), former husband who remains in love with her and a new suitor in the guise of faux reporter Mike Connor (Jacob Botha), and the entanglements bubble away nicely with the gratuitous servings of champagne.
We follow the high jinx as Tracy begins an elaborate charade for the made up newspaper Spy Magazine who are supposedly covering the wedding, but are in fact in possession of compromising information about her father. The cast find their voices and volume as the performance progresses: the vocals throughout are smooth and soaring with Tracy and Dexter’s standing out in particular. The choreography and movements are largely well executed and allow you to immerse into the classic steps of the time. There are frequent set changes which provide an interesting backdrop to the show, although presented a few near misses on stage.
Rebecca Nardin as the younger, wiser sister Dinah Lord is notable for her confident and composed performance throughout. Her scene with Tracy presenting themselves as eccentric, self centred and spoilt rich kids is very entertaining, and the humorous scenes are well done.  A live orchestra provide the high quality musical score, adding more old fashioned glamour to the hairstyles and extravagant partying. These elegant, tipsy “privileged classes” certainly seduce the audience alongside Mike Connor. This is an overall enjoyable embrace with a glass of gin in its hand telling the age old story of remembering where your true heart lies, no matter what where the money resides.

Follies Review

Churchill Theatre Bromely – until 3 November 2018

Reviewed by Elizabeth Smith 


Stephen Sondheim’s Follies is the story of the last days of the Weisman Theatre, now a crumbling shell of its former self, it is hosting one last party where all the former performers reunite and reminisce about the glory days, while trailed by their ghostly memories of their younger selves. Against this backdrop is the decade old love quadrangle between Follies dancers Sally and Phylis and their respective husbands, Buddy and Ben, who were once the best of friends. The whole night brings memories of romance and regret and test the two marriages.

The curtains raise and we see the dishevelled remnants of the theatre and begin to meet the characters in all their emotional ups and downs.

Sally, Tracy Prizeman, has reached her middle age, still holding a torch for her long lover Ben. Tracey gives you all the emotions of a dissatisfied drunk who wastes her life wishing it had turned out differently. Her rendition of “I think I’m losing my mind” was filled with the angst of a broken hearted woman.

Phyllis, Jacqui Morris, a well healed socialite, carries herself with grace and charm. When asked if she could leave her husband Ben, she tells us what she does for him and Yes she could leave it all behind. Jacqui gives a strong performance with this number and you believe she may just of had
enough of her marriage to leave.

Buddy, Kevin Gauntlett, still madly in love with Sally after all these years but knows he plays second fiddle to Ben in his wive’s heart. “The right girl” leaves you in no doubt of his love for his wife and the frustration he feels at her wasting her life on a man who doesn’t care.

Ben, Gari Glaysher, a successful lawyer and politician, has issues as to how to really love someone, can he ever be that person?. “The road you didn’t Take” another song of regret performed with passion and conveys the turmoil he puts himself through even after all he has achieved.

All the characters were well acted with Hattie, Emma Back, standing out from the crowd with her performance. A small part but well executed.

The younger members had super voices and you could see the characteristics of their older selves. Ellen Gauntlet, draws you to her with her infectious smile and lovely voice. The ensemble filled the stage and created the atmosphere of “one last time” kind of a party.

The dancers performed timely and stylishly. With some amazing show costumes.
Some parts of the performance where a little flat but over all the singers sung and the performers performed, what is a difficult Sondheim musical.

Blood Brothers Review

New Wimbledon Theatre – until Saturday 3 November

Reviewed by Jason Rath


Willy Russell’s masterpiece Blood Brothers is an all time classic, there is no disputing that. Following its acclaimed 24 year run in the west end the show has been constantly touring up and down the UK, calling at theatres big and small and bringing theatre to the masses, whether they be young or old, rich or poor, there is something relatable for everyone in Russell’s script. And to me that is the beauty of blood brothers. Its not a show for snobs that just like “fine art” but neither is it a cheap show with no heart. To me, Willy Russell has written the true every man show and that is a beautiful thing.

Blood Brothers follows the lives of two twins separated at birth and the impact that superstition can have on someone’s life. The boys are played by adult actors throughout the piece and we physically see them grow from being small eight year old’s until their tragic conclusion as fully grown men.

I have seen many casts perform blood brothers over the years, it’s one of my favourite shows, but I have to say this cast is one of the best I have seen in a long time for delivering on the heart breaking moments of the script. Linzi Hately was strong as Mrs Johnstone, with a beautiful slow burn of a performance leading up to her truly soul shattering moment of despair at the end with “Tell me its not true”. She is one of the best to play this part that I have seen in years, although I do feel at the beginning maybe she was a bit too happy, I get that you need to show the light before the dark but I feel maybe this went too far the other way. Sean Jones was fabulous as Mickey. You can really tell that Jones has lived and breathed this part for many years and, while this obviously means his head is deep inside the material there is an enormous elephant in the room… maybe it’s time to let a younger lad have a crack at Mickey. My thoughts about Mark Hutchinson as Eddie are much the same, but I don’t want this to seem like a negative, more of a cue to pass on the reigns. Daniel Taylor was fabulous as Sammy, playing hilariously as the eight year old version of the character while subtly nodding to the awful man he would become. Danielle Corlass was strong as Linda, playing great opposite Jones. Sarah Jane Buckley was fair as Mrs Lyons, although from an audience perspective her performance felt very rehearsed to me. I felt that it lacked spontaneity and this then took the gravity away from some of her more crucial scenes. The absolute show stealer for me however was Robbie Scotcher as The Narrator.

With a brilliant sense of devilish charm and an unnerving air of cool to his performance this was one of the best portrayals of the narrator I have ever seen.

So all in all, I would highly recommend buying a ticket for Blood Brothers at New Wimbledon Theatre. It’s a show jam packed with emotions that is sure to get everyone thinking… do we really believe in superstition?

Soldier On Review

The Other Palace – until 24 November


This was a difficult ask to review a play about the Armed Forces, the  sacrifices they make and the effect these sacrifices have on themselves, their families and their friends.  I was an Army Wife for 18 years and now the wife of a Veteran for 8 years. So whilst some of the play struck a massive chord – others parts didn’t ring true.

The premise is that Harry (David Soloman), an actor who was fired for stage fright now turned Director, wants to put on a community play about the lives of the military in the community.  We meet the aspiring actors at the auditions. Maggie (Rekha John-Cheriyan) and Beth (Lizzie Mounter) are part of a WAGS choir. Beth is married to a Soldier, she is happy for him to do anything he needs to to decompress after exercises and tours – whether this is drink, drugs or prostitutes as long as she doesn’t know.  Maggie has been married and divorced twice from the military and is now the mother of a serving soldier. Tanya (Sarah Jane Davis) is a widow, her husband was killed in battle. Sophie (Ellie Nunn) is married to a soldier with severe PTSD, she sings with her friend Sal (Zoe Zak) a reservist Doctor whose girlfriend is also a reservist.  Trees (Hayley Thompson) is the daughter of a Falklands Veteran.

Under the leadership of widowed ex Sergeant Major, Len (Jonathan Lewis stepping in for Thomas Craig) the males in the company are all ex forces struggling with their inner demons.  Jacko (Nicholas Clarke) is homeless after being thrown out of a veterans hostel, Rickshaw (Mark Griffin) is separated from his family due to his violent tendencies, TC (Max Hamilton-MacKenzie) is a similar story.  Woody (Cassidy Little) is an amputee, Tom (Robert Portal) suffered a stroke and cancer whilst away on tour but his stiff upper lip prevented him from seeking help as other people were more important. James/Jenny (Mike Prior) is going through gender reassignment to become a woman.  Hoarse (Steve Morgan) and Flaps (Shaun Johnson) have similar PTSD problems.

Through the staging of the community play we see in to the lives of the aspiring actors and try to understand their lives, what they go through daily and how hard it can be.  A stand out piece for me was when Sophie was acting out the scene of refereeing her three children over breakfast and her husband rang. He had no other time in which he could ring back, she needed to talk to him, to discuss important things like their child needing an operation, the children are all fighting, the phone line is crackly and Sophie can only be strong for so long before falling to pieces and that phone call is the proverbial breaking straw.  And I’ve been stood in that kitchen, with three children and a crackly phone line and I know how easy it is to break.

Made up of a mixture of professional actors and members of the Soldiers Arts Academy – a platform for the arts for serving and ex-service personnel soldierartsacademy.com – Jonathan Lewis has written and directed an interesting idea.  But is it a play or is it a cause? It’s hard to decide.

If it’s a metaphor for the way the the armed forces, ex- services and veterans are treated then the scene in which a stage hand sweeps away a stage full of battle boots, as if they were rubbish, speaks volumes.

This is a thought provoking piece, with laughs, gallows humour and raw emotion.  On at the Other Palace until 24 November.

Calendar Girls the Musical Review

The Lowry, Salford – until Saturday 10th November 2018

Reviewed by Julie Noller


Calendar Girls, there can’t be many people who don’t know the heartbreaking tale of how a fight against cancer led the sunflowers of Knapely Women’s Institute to seek an alternative way to fund raise enough for a settee in memory of a much loved husband to be placed in the family room of Skipton Hospital. Quite possibly it would be thanks to the 2003 mega blockbusting film. But now the story is back having had a good old spit and polish by Tim Firth and Gary Barlow (who is indeed another great British institution). The music is catchy with a hint I suspect of a few Take Thatisms, the words are witty, moving and delivered with joy and sadness. For this story has been cut open like a scone and placed out for judging with a great big dollop of plum jam and cream on top. I would say it is fair to say that there was more than a few members of various Women’s Institutes in the audience tonight and they loved it. I felt like a member of the Women’s Institute tonight, such is the small village feeling and warmth of the actors onstage, they feel like old friends we are instantly drawn to. Of course there were chuckles around me as little quips and jokes were recognised, I suspect there may have been an odd couple of blown bulbs in projectors before a presentation on the history of broccoli. Calendar Girls isn’t about that Pirelli influenced calendar it’s about how that calendar affected all their lives. It’s about life.

It’s packed with names of stage and silver screen who we all know and love, those clever castings help the audience bond. The other great observation is that the cast simply look like they’re having a blast on stage that left me wanting to leave my seat and join the party on stage. Of course this is a professional cast but you wonder if each night they play to individual audiences and last nights audience had a hint of naughtiness that was reflected on stage to everyone’s delight. How could anyone tire of such a wonderful musical? I cried how could you not feel raw emotion when Annie (Anna-Jane Casey) is singing her heart out firstly with optimism and then living through the grief. Annie and her John (Phil Corbitt) who is the strong silent Yorkshire man, he reassures Annie it will be okay, jokes with her and friends but then he leaves the dale via the village gate and you hear yourself inhale. I clapped along to who wants a Silent Night? Remembering my own school days and many miss sung Christmas Carols. Cora (Karen Dunbar) the single mother daughter of a vicar, that is an incredible amount of baggage to carry around and speaking of baggage, or rather enhanced baggage we have Celia (Denise Welch) the ex air hostess, trying to reign herself in for the Golf Club, but finally admitting to have had a little work done. There has to be a best friend and it’s Chris (Rebecca Storm) often acting before thinking (who hasn’t?), a heart of gold , bright and bubbly we see her reflected in the youth that’s intertwined into the story, but have their own subplot.

Danny (Danny Howker) his Mum is proud of him, pushing him into Head Boy, for Chris was far from a model pupil. Tommo (Tyler Dobbs) pushing a few boundaries, trying to be cool but ultimately is a mummy’s boy and raises a big awww from the audience when he announces Cora is the best Dad he could have. Then there’s emotionally scared and mixed up Jenny. Not engaging with her Mother; Marie (Fern Britton) who disproves of anything the ladies of Knapley may suggest especially a nude calendar, both are fighting their own demons and ultimately it is Jenny who sees the light and how, simply talking and mixing can help find purpose. Early on you see how life imitates life, it doesn’t change, the ladies inside the institute laughing at how they joined to impress their future Mothers in Law, cut to the youngsters outside looking through the windows and seeing their future Mothers in Law. My heroine of the night has to be Jessie (Ruth Madoc) ex school teacher, she hates the fact age is what defines us, through What Age Expects shes such an inspiration, act as you feel, don’t let it hold you back. There’s plenty of very typically British one liners that will delight and leave you howling. Ruth (Sara Crowe) simply could be any of us, meekly seeking acceptance, wanting to be the best, be it wife or baker even cup of tea maker. She seeks solace with her Russian friend, overcomes her fears, faces them head on and emerges through the other side. Typically wearing her very fluffy granny slippers. Showing the world her inner strength. You will leave the theatre wondering which Yorkshire lioness you might be, but ultimately you will realise you may just be a little bit of each. Life as a story could never grow old and as long as Calendar Girls continues to draw the audiences and fill the auditoriums; having a lot of fun along the way, then it will continue to receive rave reviews and be enjoyed time and time again, bravo.

A Very Very Very Dark Matter Review

Bridge Theatre – until 6 January

Reviewed by Claire Roderick


Martin McDonagh dives deep into the darkness of the genesis of stories and takes the audience on a mindbogglingly absurd journey into a disturbing world where literary greats have skeletons in their attics. Literally.

In McDonagh’s world, Hans Christian Anderson wasn’t the author of hauntingly dark fairy stories; that was the pygmy woman from the Congo that he kept in a wooden box in his attic. Turns out Charles Dickens had one too, the sister of Anderson’s captive, but she died before finishing The Mystery of Edwin Drood! This bizarre concept allows McDonagh and director Matthew Dunster to let rip with a freewheeling rage-filled mickey-take about the mythology of the great white male author, the atrocities of colonisation and the whitewashing of history.

Jim Broadbent is perfect casting as Anderson – a casually racist, dim misanthrope who’s only interested in people if they are lauding him. We first see Anderson at a public reading of The Little Mermaid – unable to read the trickier words and slightly surprised at the downbeat ending he has written. This version of Anderson is an egotist with no discernible talents; Broadbent keeps him buffoonish making his thoughtless cruelty even more horrifying as it’s all done with a goofy smile. He calls his captive Marjory, because her real name is too difficult, and he can’t be bothered to try – until she has a weapon. Marjory (Johnetta Eula’Mae Ackles in a searing professional debut) is most definitely the brains of the outfit, so her acceptance of her captivity is puzzling until the Red Men turn up. The Red Men are Belgians travelling back in time to kill Marjory, who killed them in the Congo, and she is waiting for her future to turn up as she has a mission of vengeance. The time travelling aspect of the play is a real curveball, which makes no sense at all – but that may be the point – as Anderson himself says about the massacre of 10 million people in the Belgian Congo “It hasn’t happened yet has it? I get so confused…” Whether Tom Waites’ narration is meant to clarify or confuse is up for debate, just enjoy those croaky growling tones.

Anderson’s torturous 5 week stay with Charles Dickens (Phil Daniels) is the comic highlight of the play. Alongside the running joke of Anderson calling Dickens Darwin, the men’s linguistic difficulties are turned into a sweary pantomime. Broadbent morphs into the Spanish interpreter from Blackadder’s idiot Danish cousin, while Daniels is an explosion of frustration and bile.

Anna Fleischle’s set is a masterpiece – Anderson’s attic is a gothic nightmare with puppets hanging from the rafters – and Philip Gladwell’s lighting design creating a spooky thrill reminiscent of the chills experienced hearing dark fables as a child.

A Very Very Very Dark Matter is very definitely theatrical Marmite. I loved it – a funny and ferocious fable that will set your head spinning.

Miss Saigon Review

REVIEW: Miss Saigon (Sunderland Empire) ★★★★

October 30, 2018 

For: West End Wilma 


The heat is on as Miss Saigon lands at the Sunderland Empire for just under a month.

Produced by Cameron Mackintosh, directed by Laurence Connor and with music and lyrics by Claude-Michel Schönberg and Alain Boublil, Miss Saigon – a reworking of Puccini’s Madame Butterfly – started life at the Theatre Royal Drury Lane in 1989. Running for 10 years, it then had a reworking at the Prince Edward theatre in 2014. It is has been on a UK tour ending in Sunderland.

Set against the backdrop of the Vietnamese War of the 1970’s; innocent country girl Kim (Sooha Kim) escapes to Saigon from her village and planned arranged marriage to Thuy (Gerald Stantos). Found by The Engineer (Leo Tavarro Valdez) he takes her to his seedy bar Dreamland which is populated by the American GI’s who use the girls who work at the bar. Sensing he can use her innocence and sell her virginity to the highest bidder, The Engineer does the mock “Miss Saigon” contest to show off her purity against the other working girls. Gigi (Aicelle Santos) wins the contest but not before a bidding war as started on Kim. GI John (Ryan O’Gorman) is the winning bidder and gives Kim to his friend Chris (Ashley Gilmour) as a present to cheer him up. She willingly gives up her virginity and Kim and Chris fall in love.

Fortune however deals them a series of cruel blows and when Saigon falls to enemy forces, in the musical’s iconic moment Chris is airlifted to safety in a helicopter and the pregnant Kim must fend for herself. Three years pass, Saigon is now Ho Chi Minh. Thuy is now a Commissar and sends the very down at heel Engineer to find Kim. Thuy wants his arranged marriage. The Engineer finds Kim surviving on the streets with her son Tam (Ava Lui, Bethany Ng, Evie- Rose Mak Foster, Francesca Rose Jangonase and Lavinia Tran sharing the role). Whilst The Engineer sees a mixed race child as his passport to America, Thuy see’s as a betrayal and means to kill the child until Kim kills him, shooting him with Chris’s gun. Kim, Tam and The Engineer escape to Bangkok.

Back in the USA, Chris is married to Ellen (Elana Martin). The Vietnamese war and losing Kim broke him and he fell into a depression. Ellen helped pick up the pieces but he still suffers with nightmares and was still trying to find word of Kim. John, now working for a charity that helps with war orphans, gets word of Kim and her son Tam and tells Chris. John, Chris and Ellen go to Bangkok to find Kim and his son.

Sooha Kim exudes vulnerability and has an effortlessly beautiful singing voice, clear and sweet, Ashley Gilmour is a suitably simplistic Chris. Ellen is sensitively played by Elana Martin, helping to understand how conflicted a woman she is. Gerald Santos as Thuy, Kim’s intended husband, has a rich, powerful voice and brings an intense dignity to his efforts to win her back. But the star is Leo Tavarro Valdez who plays The Engineer. He is charming and yet conniving, seedy, funny, savage, ruthless and sleazy and commands even an empty stage; everything The Engineer should be.

Miss Saigon, at almost 3 hours long, is packed full of songs. Based on an opera, it is nearly all sung through with very little dialogue. Big songs like The Movie in my Mind, Why God Why, Sun and Moon and the Last Night of the World are sung in very quick succession. American Dream casts an ironic commentary on the dreams and ambitions of the ‘fixer’ character of the Engineer. Bui Doi, normally never fails to have me in tears but I remained dry eyed at press night.

The moment everyone waits for – the life size helicopter descending on to the stage, was partly done with a projection but is still quite impressive. Miss Saigon will always be a massive spectacle – a wave of raw emotion, gritty, violent and sexy. Suffocating but sincere the show reflects much more of the reality of war.

Spring Season 2019 Blooms At Storyhouse




Brian Blessed, Brendan Cole, Jason Manford, Avenue Q,

The Noise Next Door, Nick Sharratt, and English Touring Opera

now confirmed to join programme for 2019

Storyhouse in Chester continues to blossom as more fantastic shows are confirmed for its spring season 2019.
Headline musicals, comedy, dance, drama and opera are set to wow audiences in the new year.
Actor Brian Blessed, dancer Brendan Cole, comedian Jason Manford, Avenue Q, comedy improv group The Noise Next Door, writer and illustrator Nick Sharratt, and English Touring Opera have all been announced today (Thursday 25 October) for the spring season.
The announcement sees the new shows join an already strong programme including Annie, Ghost – The Musical, Wise Children, Collabro, Dara O’Briain, Comedy About A Bank Robbery, Moscow City Ballet, Julian Clary, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolour Dream Coat, BalletBoyz, and Zog.
The season gets off to a fun start with The Comedy About a Bank Robbery from Tuesday 29 January to Saturday 2 February. Following the phenomenal sell-out success of their multi award-winning The Play That Goes Wrong, Mischief Theatre return to Storyhouse with their latest West End smash hit, The Comedy About A Bank Robbery. Audiences can look forward toOcean’s Eleven meets the Marx Brothers in this dynamite new comedy.
Fans of musicals will be spoilt for choice this spring with four headline shows not to be missed – Avenue Q, Ghost – The Musical, Annie, and Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat.
Avenue Q comes to town between Monday 25 February and Saturday 2 March. This Tony Award-winning musical tells the charming tale of the loveable characters on a downtown New York street, trying to make sense of life’s burning issues with mischief, bad behaviour and political incorrectness. Hilarious and cheeky, with a cast of 11 hugely talented performers and puppets, Avenue Q is a musical like no other.
Ghost – The Musical is based on the blockbuster 1990 film starring Patrick Swayze, Demi Moore and Whoopi Goldberg. This moving stage production will pull on the heartstrings during its run from Tuesday 5 March to Saturday 9 March. As well as classic songs featured in the movie including The Righteous Brothers’ iconic Unchained Melody, the musical includes songs co-written by Eurythmics’ Dave Stewart.
With memorable songs and heartwarming message, Annie runs from Monday 25 March to Saturday 30 March. The West End smash hit stars actress Anita Dobson (EastEnders, Wicked, Chicago) in the role of Miss Hannigan, and includes unforgettable songs Hard-Knock Life, Easy Street, and Tomorrow.
Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat retells the Biblical story of Joseph, his 11 brothers, and the coat of many colours – as well as iconic songs Any Dream Will Do and Close Every Door To Me. The show runs from Tuesday 16 April to Saturday 20 April.
Direct from the West End, visionary director Emma Rice presents the new theatrical production of novelist Angela Carter’s Wise Children at Storyhouse from Tuesday 19 March to Saturday 23 March. The carnivalesque tale of the tangled fortunes of two theatrical families is packed with pairs of twins, mistaken identities, scandal, music and mischief – and is inspired by Shakespeare’s greatest comedies.
Storyhouse continues to attract comedy giants, who will have you laughing your way through the new season.
An Evening with Brian Blessed is on Wednesday 6 February, when the actor brings his larger than life show to the stage for one night only. Jason Manford returns to Storyhouse for two nights with his Muddle Class show on Wednesday 13 February and Thursday 14 February.
Risqué comedian Julian Clary brings his hilarious new show, Born To Mince, to Storyhouse on Sunday 31 March – not to be missed. Dara O’Briain is the Voice of Reason for three nights from Monday 1 April to Wednesday 3 April.
There is a double bill for The Noise Next Door, the UK’s premier improv comedy troupe who have taken the comedy world by storm. They come to Storyhouse on Wednesday 20 February with two performances; new family show The Noise Next Door At Sea at 2pm, featuring mermaids, magic, sea-shanties and swords in a show audiences will treasure.
The Noise Next Door return later that day at 8pm with a brand new full-length adult show called Remix. Edinburgh Fringe Festival veterans, they are one of the country’s most sought after comedy club headliners with their quick wit and distinctive brand of off-the-cuff comedy. Taking audience suggestions, the cheeky and charming quartet, transform them into fantastically funny scenes and songs in the blink of an eye with a perfect blend of ludicrous characters, witty one-liners, epic stories, and explosive physicality.
Highlights for dance enthusiasts include return visits to Storyhouse for Strictly Come Dancing’s Brendan Cole and BalletBoyz.
Moscow City Ballet perform at Storyhouse for the very first time this spring, presenting two shows over three dates. The company perform The Nutcracker on Thursday 21 February and Friday 22 February, followed by Sleeping Beauty on Saturday 23 February.
Brendan Cole is back with new stage production Show Man on Sunday 24 February. The very first winner of BBC’s Strictly Come Dancing is joined by an amazing team of professional dancers, singers and a live band. The show promises an evening of beautiful ballroom magic and high energy Latin passion, all brought together by the charismatic Brendan Cole himself.
BalletBoyz are back with two brand new works, Them & Us, both set to original scores by world-class composers. A first for BalletBoyz, Them is the choreographic debut of the company dancers, under the direction of Artistic Directors Michael Nunn and William Trevitt, and set to a score by emerging composer Charlotte Harding.Us, from Tony Award-winner Christopher Wheeldon, takes its inspiration from his achingly beautiful and critically acclaimed duet which featured in the company’s last show, Fourteen Days. BalletBoyzperform on Thursday 4 April.
Music comes in the genres of classical and opera. Collabro have gone to become the world’s most successful musical theatre group after wowing Britain’s Got Talent judges and audiences. The group’s Road To The Royal Albert Hall Tour comes to Storyhouse on Monday 11 February.
English Touring Opera return to present a season of Kings and Queens in the battle for love, loyalty and power. The double bill of Verdi’s Macbeth on Friday 15 March and Mozart’s Idomeneo on Saturday 16 March both feature a large chorus and live orchestra.
Macbeth will be King. But Royalty comes at a price. The cost of power is betrayal, murder and revenge. Idomeneo remains one of Mozart’s greatest ‘opera seria’ (serious operas). It explores Royalty, high ideals and deep emotions.
Highlights for youngsters include acclaimed children’s writer and illustrator Nick Sharrattbrings his Right Royal Drawalong show to Storyhouse on Saturday 16 February. Nick will be showing audiences how to sketch their favourite characters and top tips to create creatures including dragons and unicorns. Nick has illustrated close to 260 books including Tracy Beaker, and this is a chance to see a master at work.
This is followed by the story of young dragon Zog, who flies into Storyhouse from Friday 5 April to Sunday 7 April, as part of its world premiere stage adaptation, based on the book by Julia Donaldson with illustrations by Axel Scheffler. Large in size and keen in nature, Zog is so eager to win a golden star at Madam Dragon’s school, where dragons learn all the things that dragons need to know – with plenty of adventures along the way. Zog promises to be roaring fun for all ages.
Storyhouse Artistic Director Alex Clifton said: “We’re only just half-way through our fantastic autumn season 2018 – and we’re already excited about the calibre and diverse programme we have to look forward to next Spring. The season is bursting with music, dance and comedy – it promises to be a colourful season, exactly what spring is all about.”
Tickets for all spring season shows at Storyhouse are now on sale. 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.
Website:         www.storyhouse.com
Facebook:       www.facebook.com/storyhouselive/
Twitter:           @StoryhouseLive
Dates: Tuesday 29 January – Saturday 2 February 2019
Times: Tuesday – Saturday 7.30pm / Wednesday & Saturday matinees at 2.30pm
Date: Wednesday 6 February 2019
Time: 7.30pm
Date: Monday 11 February 2019
Time: 7.30pm
Dates: Wednesday 13 February – Thursday 14 February 2019
Time: 7.30pm
Date: Saturday 16 February 2019
Time: 2pm
Date: Wednesday 20 February 2019
Time: 2pm
Date: Wednesday 20 February 2019
Time: 8pm
Dates: Thursday 21 February – Friday 22 February 2019
Time: 7.30pm
Date: Saturday 23 February 2019
Times: 3pm & 7.30pm
Date: Sunday 24 February 2019
Times: 2.30pm & 7.30pm
Dates: Monday 25 February – Saturday 2 March 2019
Times: Monday – Saturday 7.30pm / Wednesday & Saturday matinees at 2.30pm
Dates: Tuesday 5 March – Saturday 9 March 2019
Times: Tuesday – Saturday 7.30pm / Wednesday, Thursday & Saturday matinees at 2.30pm
Dates: Friday 15 March 2019 – Macbeth / Saturday 16 March 2019 – Idomeneo
Time: 7.30pm
Dates: Tuesday 19 March – Saturday 23 March 2019
Times: Tuesday – Saturday 7.30pm / Wednesday & Saturday matinees at 2.30pm
Dates: Monday 25 March – Saturday 30 March 2019
Times: Monday – Saturday 7.30pm / Wednesday & Saturday matinees at 2.30pm
Date: Sunday 31 March 2019
Time: 7.30pm
Dates: Monday 1 April – Wednesday 3 April 2019
Time: 8pm
Date: Thursday 4 April 2019
Time: 7.30pm
Dates: Friday 5 April – Sunday 7 April 2019
Times: Friday 4.30pm / Saturday 11am, 2pm & 4pm / Sunday 11am & 2pm
Dates: Tuesday 16 April – Saturday 20 April 2019
Times: Tuesday – Thursday 7.30pm / Wednesday & Thursday 2.30pm / Friday 5pm / Saturday 2pm & 5pm / Friday & Saturday 8pm
Hunter Street, Chester, CH1 2AR
Online:            Visit www.storyhouse.com
By Phone:       Call 01244 409 113
In person:       Visit the Ticket Kiosks at Storyhouse, Hunter Street, Chester, CH1 2AR

2019 Tour of Torben Betts’s CAROLINE’S KITCHEN






Torben Betts’s biting comedy, CAROLINE’S KITCHEN, was staged earlier this year on tour and at Park Theatre, London, under the titleMonogamy, starring Janie Dee.  Betts and his producers, Original Theatre Company, under the Artistic Direction of Alastair Whatley, have reworked the play and, with a new cast led by Caroline Langrishe, Aden Gillett, James Sutton and Elizabeth Boag (further casting to be announced), will begin a new national tour on 24 January 2019 at Derby Theatre, running through to 13 April 2019 at the Mercury Theatre, Colchester.  This will be followed by an off-Broadway season in New York Spring 2019.

Caroline Mortimer, the nation’s favourite TV cook, has it all: a sparkling career, a big house in fashionable North London, a (golf) loving husband, smart kids and the best kitchen money can buy. But beneath the immaculate furnishings and studio lighting and away from the glare of the ever-present cameras, Caroline must face the looming collision of living a private life in the public eye. What happens when the cameras turn off and the truth comes out?

Betts’s dark domestic comedy examines how people in the public eye battle with the responsibility and demands of real life and, in true Betts style, it explores the dynamics of age, class, politics and marriage.

Caroline Langrishe is best known for her television roles as Charlotte Cavendish in Lovejoy, Georgina  Channing in Judge John Deed, Marilyn Fox in Casualty and Judith Leicester in Doctors.  Caroline’s recent theatre credits include the UK tour of How the Other Half Loves, the Mercury Theatre Colchester production of Feydeau’s Bang Bang adapted by John Cleese, and Countess Lovel/Rose Trollope in Lady Anna: All at Seaat Park Theatre, London.  Aden Gillett can be seen playing Scrooge in Rachel Kavanaugh’s new production of A Christmas Carol adapted by David Edgar for the Royal Shakespeare Company this Christmas.  His other recent theatre credits include Arthur Winslow in Rachel Kavanaugh’s production of The Winslow Boy (UK Tour), Theseus/Oberon in Dominic Dromgoole’s production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Shakespeare’s Globe) and Sir Colenso Ridgeon in Nadia Fall’s production of The Doctor’s Dilemma (National Theatre).  He is probably best known for his television roles as Jack Maddox in The House of Eliott and Edward Campbell in Holby City.  He will be appearing in series three of The Crown.  James Sutton is best known for playing John Paul McQueen in Hollyoaks from 2006 to 2017, and Ryan Lamb in Emmerdale from 2009 to 2011.

Torben Betts was born in Lincolnshire and studied at Liverpool University.  He became the resident dramatist at Scarborough’s Stephen Joseph Theatre in 1999.  Poet and dramatist Liz Lochhead said Betts “is just about the most original and extraordinary writer of drama we have.”  His play The Unconquered won Best New Play 2006/07 at the Critics’ Awards for Theatre in Scotland.  2015 saw a revival of his acclaimed 2012 play Muswell Hill at London’s Park Theatre, What Falls Apart opened at Newcastle’s Live Theatre, and his version of Chekhov’s The Seagullwas staged at Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre.  In February 2016, Betts adapted Get Carter for Northern Stage in Newcastle, running in tandem with The Original Theatre Company’s UK tour of his critically acclaimed Invincible, which had a month-long run at the 13th annual Brits Off Broadway festival in New York City.

CAROLINE’S KITCHEN is directed by Alastair Whatley, with design by James Perkins and lighting by Chris Withers.  The national tour is produced by Tom Hackney for The Original Theatre Company, Ghost Light Theatre Productions and Eilene Davidson. 


Website: www.originaltheatre.com

Facebook: OriginalTheatre #CarolinesKitchen 

Twitter: @OriginalTheatre #CarolinesKitchen

Age Guidance: 12+ 




24 – 26 January                        Derby Theatre                                                     general on-sale soon
www.derbytheatre.co.uk                                      01332 593939

29 January – 2 February          Cambridge Arts Theatre                                      general on-sale soon
www.cambridgeartstheatre.com                           01223 503333
5 – 9 February                          Assembly Hall Theatre, Tunbridge Wells             general on-sale soon
www.assemblyhalltheatre.co.uk                           01892 530613
11 – 16 February                      Royal & Derngate, Northampton                          on sale
                                                www.royalandderngate.co.uk                               01604 624811
19 – 23 February                     Everyman Theatre, Liverpool                               general on-sale late November
www.everymanplayhouse.com                             0151 709 4776

25 February – 3 March           Everyman Theatre, Cheltenham                            on sale 
www.everymantheatre.org.uk                                 01242 572573

12 – 16 March                        Devonshire Park Theatre, Eastbourne                   general on-sale soon
www.eastbournetheatres.co.uk                              01323 412 000

25 – 30 March                        Theatre Royal Bath                                                general on-sale 3 December
www.theatreroyal.org.uk                                        01225 448844

3 – 6 April                               Connaught Theatre, Worthing                                 on sale
www.worthingtheatres.co.uk                                   01903 206206

9 – 13 April                             Mercury Theatre, Colchester                                  general on-sale 21 November
www.mercurytheatre.co.uk                                      01206 573948