Following its success in London and Basingstoke, Proteus Theatre take their Macbeth on a UK tour

Proteus Theatre present
UK Tour: October – November 2019

Embarking on a UK tour following its successful run in London and Basingstoke, award-winning Proteus’ adaptation of Macbeth takes Shakespeare’s macabre tragedy to the tumult of the trading room floor. Directed by Mary Swan, the artistic director, this Macbeth is a gripping corporate thriller set in London during the stock market crash of 1987.

A Great Storm, a Black Monday, a market crash that reverberates across the world – Proteus’ Macbeth is suffused with decadence and aggression as a tormented soul finds the noose of bravado begin to tighten. With an electrifying soundtrack of eighties classics, Proteus have worked closely with Ad Infinitum’s George Mann to create a highly physical interpretation of a classic.

The production joins the ‘greed is good’ corporate landscape where success is all and ruthless ambition is rewarded. The only problem is, how do you control it before it consumes you and your family? Exploring the pressures of race, class and identity, sudden betrayal and even more sudden violence shake a society to its core.

Leading the production, Hassan Maarfi (The Left Behind, BBC; Playing with Shakespeare, Theatre Royal Shakespeare) will appear as Macbeth joined by Kudzanayi Chiwawa (The Importance of Being Earnest, Tara Theatre; One Hundred Trillion, Southwark Playhouse) as Lady Macbeth. Also joining the cast are Adrian Decosta (Nation, National Theatre; The Taming of the Shrew, RSC), Jessica Andrade (Around the World in 80 Days, UK tour; The Brownie Club, Jacksons Lane) and Adam Buksh (Scot Squad, BBC; How to Make a Killing in Bollywood, UK tour).

Director Mary Swan comments, It’s really exciting to be able to bring our interpretation of Macbeth to a brand new audience on this tour; with an almost completely new, young cast of incredibly talented actors of colour. Shakespeare’s tragedy of a man corrupted by a lust for power, leading him to believe he can act above the law, has never been so timely. The show is even more fast–paced and physical than before, and with the 80s revival in full swing, this will be a truly unique take on the play.

Set to the backdrop of London in 1987, this rendition of Shakespeare’s writing does not shy away from the struggles and violent plot of the original text, rather it brings a new perspective on the tale (Basingstoke Gazette).

Performance Dates
15th – 16th October Luton Library Theatre,
Luton Central Library, St George’s Square, Luton, LU1 2NG

17th October Norden Farm Centre for the Arts,
Altwood Road, Maidenhead, SL6 4PF

19th October Trinity Arts Centre,
Trinity Road, Bristol, BS2 0NW

21st October Brewhouse,
Coal Orchard, Taunton, Somerset, TA1 1JL

23rd October Hanger Farm Arts Centre,
Aikman Lane, Totton, Southampton, SO40 8FT

24th October Farnham Maltings,
Farnham, Surrey, GU9 7QR

28th – 29th October Theatre Royal,
Westgate Street, Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk, IP33 1QR

6th November The Auden Theatre,
Gresham’s School, Cromer Road, Holt, Norfolk, NR25 6EA

8th – 9th November Connaught Theatre,
Union Place, Worthing, BN11 1LG

New digital streaming service National Theatre Collection launches worldwide today

New digital streaming service National Theatre Collection launches worldwide today with 19 titles available to the education sector in partnership with Bloomsbury and ProQuest

The National Theatre Collection goes live today with 19 titles available worldwide in partnership withBloomsbury Publishing and ProQuest.

This new streaming service draws on ten years of NT Live broadcasts, alongside high quality archive recordings never previously seen outside of the NT’s Archive. The National Theatre Collection will make the best of British theatre available to libraries, schools, universities and the education sector around the world.

The National Theatre Collection is available through Bloomsbury’s award-winning digital library Drama Online and as a stand-alone resource from renowned EdTech leader ProQuest. ProQuest will also integrate the collection in its popular Theatre and Drama Premium. It will transform the current landscape of theatre studies and digital learning by connecting students, researchers and teachers across the globe to world-class productions, archive materials and learning resources. The National Theatre Collection is available via two models: a one-time payment for the full collection, or via an annual subscription. 

The National Theatre Collection launches with 19 titles and will grow to 30 titles by March 2020. It features a wide range of works regularly studied at secondary/high school and degree level. Unique in its scope, the collection encompasses:

  • Greek classics such as Medea by Euripides, in a contemporary adaptation by Ben Power, directed by Carrie Cracknell with Helen McCrory in the title role
  • Vibrant modern stagings of Shakespeare, such as Twelfth Night, directed by Simon Godwin, with Tamsin Greig in the role of ‘Malvolia’ and Coriolanus directed by Josie Rourke with Tom Hiddleston in the title role
  • 20th century classics such as Lorraine Hansberry’s Les Blancs and the Young Vic’s production of Lorca’s Yerma, adapted and directed by Simon Stone with Billie Piper in the title role
  • Literary adaptations, such as Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein adapted by Nick Dear and directed by Danny Boyle, with Benedict Cumberbatch and Jonny Lee Miller
  • Comedies such as She Stoops to Conquer by Oliver Goldsmith, directed by Jamie Lloyd with a cast including Cush Jumbo and Katherine Kelly and One Man, Two Guvnors by Richard Bean, directed by Nicholas Hytner, and featuring James Corden‘s Tony Award-winning performance

UK schools will also be able to access a greater range of productions through the National Theatre Schools Collection on Drama Online. Launching in January 2020, the productions available as part of the Schools Collection will complement the curriculum and be free for UK state-funded schools to access, together with learning resources, ensuring access to the arts as part of a rich and broad education for young people.  

Rufus Norris, Director of the National Theatre said, “We are delighted to announce that National Theatre Collection goes live today in partnerships with Bloomsbury and ProQuest. This collection of iconic plays reflects the rich and diverse spectrum of British theatre over the past decades and will now be accessible to students and teachers worldwide for the first time ever. We hope that this new platform will open up the National Theatre to students, teachers and theatre-makers across the globe, whilst also ensuring that drama remains an integral part of a broad education. We would like to extend our thanks to the rightsholders of these materials who have made this service possible”.

Jenny Ridout, Global Head of Academic Publishing, Bloomsbury Publishing PLC said,

“It is exciting to be taking our longstanding publishing relationship with the National Theatre forward in this landmark digital collaboration. The National Theatre Collection on our educational platform Drama Online gives students and scholars the world over the opportunity to study and enjoy a wealth of plays alongside the playtexts and works of scholarship in one expertly curated digital space. Drama Online exemplifies Bloomsbury’s investment in creating dynamic and authoritative digital resources for universities and schools around the world. The National Theatre Collection will ensure that world-class theatre has a lasting impact, inspiring the theatre makers and performers of the future.”

Katie Birch, Director of Product Management at ProQuest said, “Students and faculty increasingly rely on multimedia content to enrich learning and classroom experiences. ProQuest’s collaboration with National Theatre makes it easy to stream spectacular, dramatic performances on-demand alongside unique archival content to study the performing arts from every angle both in front of and behind the curtain”.

The National Theatre Collection is supported by the Stavros Niarchos Foundation (SNF), Fondation Hoffmann, the Sidney E. Frank Foundation and The Attwood Education Foundation.



Our friends at Newcastle’s Tyne Theatre have offered us tickets for a family of 4 to see Aladdin at a performance of your choice*

To win just like and share this post on Facebook and Twitter, and like and follow fairypowered and answer this simple question

Who was the voice of Genie in the Disney classic cartoon film of Aladdin?

Competition closed Monday 7 October at 12pm – winners announced that afternoon

*all tickets subject to availability and won’t be available for Christmas Eve

Tickets can also be booked here

Be More Chill – Tony Nominated Broadway Phenomenon to make UK Premiere at The Other Palace


Cast album recordings are an international sensation,

with songs streamed more than 300 million times online

Tony Award-nominated score includes

the hugely popular Michael in the Bathroom

Based on the groundbreaking novel by the acclaimed writer Ned Vizzini

The Other Palace | 12 February – 3 May 2020

Be More Chill, the mind-bendingly fun, smash hit Broadway musical, is to transfer to London to make its UK premiere at The Other Palace on Wednesday 12 February 2020. Be More Chill is based on the groundbreaking novel of the same name by Ned Vizzini.

With original music and lyrics by Joe Iconis and a book by Joe TraczBe More Chill is an international sensation – when the 2015 Original Cast Recording was released, millions of people streamed the album and formed a passionate community of Be More Chill fans, ultimately leading the musical to receive a Broadway production.

When the 2019 Broadway Cast Recording was subsequently released, it debuted at #2 on the Top Cast Albums Chart. Songs from the musical have accumulatively garnered over 318 million streams, with the breakout trackMichael In The Bathroom amassing over 31 million streams and 8 million YouTube views alone. Tumblr has ranked Be More Chill as the #2 most talked-about musical on their platform, behind only Hamilton.

This new production of Be More Chill will run at The Other Palace through until Sunday 3 May 2020. Tickets go on priority booking from Thursday 3 October 2019 and on general sale from Tuesday 8 October 2019.

Be More Chill tells the atypical love story of a boy, a girl….and the supercomputer inside the boy’s head guiding him every step of the way. The boy is desperately trying to fit in. The girl’s longing to be noticed. And the supercomputer just wants to take over the world.

The Tony Award-nominated score bursts with addictively catchy songs including More than Survive, Be More Chill and the hugely popular Michael in the Bathroom.

The success of Be More Chill in the US has been led by a groundswell of unprecedented online support. The show was commissioned by and premiered at Two River Theater in Red Bank, New Jersey in 2015, had a limited run, and released an original cast recording.  In 2017, the number of online listeners to the recording started growing, with fans creating animated YouTube videos, art fiction, blogs and vlogs.

In 2018, the show’s creators thought it was time to bring it back – resulting in an ‘off-Broadway production’ and this year’s Broadway run at the Lyceum Theatre.  Its runaway success continues with its London premiere at The Other Palace and a film adaptation which is currently underway.

Joining Joe Iconis and Joe Tracz on the creative team are director Stephen Brackett, choreographer Chase Brock, set designer Beowulf Boritt, costume designer Bobby Frederick Tilley, lighting designer Tyler Micoleau,sound designer Ryan Rumery and projection designer Alex Basco Koch.  Musical supervision and orchestrations are by Charlie Rosen, music vocal arrangements by Emily Marshall andUK casting is by Will Burton.

Casting for the UK production will be announced at a later date.

Jerry Goehring and Lisa Dozier King are Executive Producers for the UK Production of Be More Chill.


The Menier Chocolate Factory presents


Book, Music and Lyrics by Sandy Wilson

Director: Matthew White; Choreographer & Associate Director: Bill Deamer

Designer: Paul Farnsworth; Lighting Designer: Paul Anderson; Sound Designer: Gregory Clarke

Hair & Wig Designer: Richard Mawbey; Musical Supervisor & Director: Simon Beck

Orchestrator: David Cullen

22 November 2019 – 7 March 2020

With The Watsons currently running at the Menier and Fiddler on the Roof at the Playhouse Theatre, the Menier Chocolate Factory today announces initial casting for their major revival of Sandy Wilson’s The Boy Friend running at the theatre over Christmas. Matthew White directs a cast including Jack Butterworth (Bobby van Husen), Janie Dee (Mme Dubonnet), Adrian Edmondson (Lord Brockhurst), Tiffany Graves (Hortense),Dylan Mason (Tony), Amara Okereke (Polly) and Issy van Randwyck (Lady Brockhurst). The production opens on 3 December, with previews from 22 November, and runs until 7 March 2020. Full casting will be announced shortly.

We plead to have/We need to have/In fact our poor hearts bleed to have/

That certain thing called ‘The Boy Friend’

Sandy Wilson’s all-singing all-dancing love letter to 1920s musical comedies returns for the first major London revival in over 10 years.  Set in Madame Dubonnet’s finishing school in the south of France, these perfect young ladies burst into song at the least provocation, and forbidden boy friends are forever popping through the French windows to sing and dance with them. Since its premiere in 1953, this light-hearted soufflé of a show has delighted audiences worldwide and has become one of the most well-loved British musicals of all time. 

The Boy Friend opened in London in 1953, before a West End run in 1954, and ran for more than 5 years. The subsequent Broadway run in 1954 made a star of the then-unknown Julie Andrews. Ken Russell adapted it into a 1971 film with Twiggy who won two Golden Globes for her performance.

Jack Butterworth plays Bobby van Husen. His theatre work includes Billy Elliot (UK tour), Cats (Blackpool Opera House and London Palladium), and Hamilton (Victoria Palace Theatre).

Janie Dee plays Mme Dubonnet. Her extensive stage work includes Follies (National Theatre), Pinter 4 – Moonlight/Night School (Pinter at the Pinter), Linda (Talent Works NY), Hand to God (Vaudeville Theatre), The Seagull (Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre), Ah Wilderness (Young Vic), Blithe Spirit (Gielgud Theatre), Putting It Together (St James Theatre), Hello Dolly! (Curve, Leicester), NSFW (Royal Court Theatre), All’s Well That Ends Well (Shakespeare’s Globe), A Month in the County (Chichester Festival Theatre), Calendar Girls (Noel Coward Theatre), Woman in Mind (Stephen Joseph Theatre), Shadowlands (Wyndham’s Theatre), Mack and Mabel(Watermill Theatre national tour and West End), Donkey’s Years (Comedy Theatre), Divas at the Donmar – one woman show, Comic Potential (Lyric Theatre and Broadway – Olivier, Critics’ Circle and Evening Standard Award for Best Actress), Paradise Moscow (Opera North) and Carousel (National Theatre – Olivier Award for Best Supporting Actress in a Musical). For Theatre Royal Bath, her many credits include Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike, The Apple Cart, Old Times (also national tour), Much Ado About Nothing, Betrayal (also West End) and Design for Living. For television, her work includes Chimerica, Crashing, Doctor Who, Harold Pinter: A Celebration, The Murder Room, Death in Holy Orders, House of Cards, The Live Show, Heartbeat, Little White Lies, Spy Watch, and Love Hurts; and for film, Official Secrets, Me and Orson Welles, Celebration and Virtuoso.

Adrian Edmondson plays Lord Brockhurst. His theatre credits include Twelfth Night (RSC), Vulcan 7 (Theatre Royal Bath), Bits of Me are Falling Apart (Soho Theatre) and Neville’s Island (Duke of York’s Theatre and Chichester Festival Theatre). For television, his work includes Retribution, The Bleak Old Shop of Stuff, EastEnders – as series regular Daniel Cook, Summer of Rockets, Cheat, Urban Myths, Upstart Crow, Save Me, Bancroft, Genius, One of Us, War and Peace, Prey, Miss Austen Regrets, Chernobyl, Holby City – as Percival “Abra” Durant, Jonathan Creek, Bottom, Blackadder and The Young Ones; and for film, Star Wars: The Last Jedi, Eat The Rich, The Rizen, Interlude in Prague, Blood, Guest House Paradiso and The Pope Must Die.

Tiffany Graves returns to the Menier Chocolate Factory to play Hortense – she previously appeared in Sweet Charity (also Theatre Royal Haymarket). Her other theatre credits include The Astonishing Return of The Protagonists, The Wild Party, Miss Madelaine True (The Other Palace), Love On The Link (Salisbury Playhouse), Meow Meow: Apocalypse Meow (Shakespeare’s Globe), Mack & Mabel in Concert (Hackney Empire), Kiss Me Kate (Opera North), The Producers, We Will Rock You (UK tours), Dick Whittington and His Cat (Lyric Hammersmith), The Witches of Eastwick (The Watermill Theatre), Piaf (Curve, Leicester), Wonderful Town(Royal Exchange Manchester) and Chicago (Cambridge Theatre).

Dylan Mason plays Tony. His theatre work includes The Mikvah Project (Orange Tree Theatre), Harry Potter and the Cursed Child (Palace Theatre), 42nd Street (Theatre Royal Drury Lane), The Trackers of Oxyrhynchus(Finborough Theatre), The Wind in the Willows (UK tour), (Théâtre du Châtelet, National Theatre),Seven Brides for Seven Brothers (Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre) and Anything Goes (Sheffield Theatres and UK tour).

Amara Okereke plays Polly. She graduated from Arts Educational Schools in 2018. Her theatre credits includeOklahoma! (Chichester Festival Theatre), Les Miserables (Queen’s Theatre – The Stage Debut Award for Best Actress in a Musical), and 13 The Musical (Apollo Theatre).

Issy van Randwyck plays Lady Brockhurst. Her theatre work include Rough Crossing (UK tour), Anything That Flies, Closer Than Ever (Jermyn Street Theatre), The Go Between (Apollo Theatre), A Further Education, Raving(Hampstead Theatre), The American Clock (Finborough Theatre), Dirty Dancing (Aldwych Theatre), Once in a Lifetime (National Theatre), Calico (Duke of York’s Theatre), Two Gentlemen of Verona, A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre). She received Olivier nominations for her roles in Fascinating Aida and Kiss Me Kate. For television, her work includes Action Team, Partners in Crime, Downton Abbey, Christopher and His Kind, Spooks, Kingdom and Trial and Retribution; and for film, The Hippopotamus, The Danish Girl, Splinterand First Impressions.

Matthew White returns to the Menier – he previously directed She Loves Me, Candide, Sweet Charity (also Haymarket Theatre), Little Shop of Horrors (also Duke of York’s Theatre), and The Last Five Years for the company. His other theatre work includes The Addams Family (Festival Theatre, Edinburgh and UK tour), Kiss Me Kate, West Side Story (Kilworth House), The Producers (UK tour), Top Hat (also adapted for the stage, UK tour and Aldwych Theatre – Olivier Award for Best New Musical), Maria Friedman – By Special Arrangement(Donmar Warehouse), Closer than Ever (Jermyn Street Theatre), and Mr Stink (also adapted, Curve and UK tour).

Listings Information                                                                                                                   The Boy Friend

Menier Chocolate Factory

53 Southwark Street, London, SE1 1RU

Dates:                                 22 November 2019 – 7 March 2020

For the performance schedule, please see the website

Box Office:                         020 7378 1713 (£2.50 transaction fee per booking)

Website:    (£1.50 transaction fee per booking)

Tickets:                               Prices vary, as below from discounted preview tickets to premier seats. With the emphasis on ‘the sooner you book, the better the price’:

A meal deal ticket includes a 2-course meal from the pre-theatre menu in the Menier Restaurant as well as the theatre ticket.

Twitter: @MenChocFactory

The Thunder Girls Review

Quays Theatre, The Lowry, Manchester – 28 September 2019

Reviewed by Ian K Johnson


Written by Salfords own Melanie Blake and starring Beverley Callard (Roxanne), Sandra Marvin (Carley), Coleen Nolan (Anita), Carol Harrison (Chrissie) and Gary Webster as Rick.

The stage is set in Chrissie’s luxurious house ready for the reunion of a top rock band of feisty woman who were big stars back in the day.

Once top of their game, all friends and going to be the band we would all remember. But due to various ups and downs, fights amongst each other the band is no longer.

Now we are in the present day, 30 years forward and a big meeting/reunion could be on the cards. The room is part of the big house Chrissie owns, a beautiful chase lounge and red sofa in the shape of lips dominate the room. Various tables with bottles of champagne are there free for all to drink. This could be a night to remember.

Carley enters the room looking for Chrissie, no sign of her or anyone else so she ventures in and on seeing photos on the wall of a young Chrissie, alongside gold discs of hers and one gold disc belonging to the Thunder Girls Carley sings of the past and what could have been.

Other band members (Roxanne and Chrissie) eventually join Carley in the room and start going over old memories both good and not so good. We find out that Chrissie took the main role when sorting out royalties and recognition for the songs that Thunder Girls sang, yet it was Carley who wrote them lock stock and barrel. Roxanne had been dating the bands manager (Rick) but somehow he dumped her for Chrissie. The evening has been planned as Rick wants the band to reform for a tour that some promoter is hoping to get on the road. The money they will get from the promoter would give some financial stability to all concerned. Even if it means splitting the money and not including the missing band member Anita, who apparently cant be located and rumoured to be living in Spain. She moved to Spain after a very embarrassing time representing England in the Eurovision Song Contest, embarrassing in the fact due to having a spiked drink she was sick on stage in front of the world watching Eurovision.

Old wounds go very deep for all concerned. We also find out through the evening that Roxanne has a son which seems to be Ricks. Although no one knew this secret. Act one ends with Chrissie and Roxanne having a full on cat fight, hair pulling and dress disasters just as Anita appears at the back of the room.

Act two sees some kind of peace and harmony in the room, all band members are aware of the proposed reunion for Thunder Girls, some are in others are out. We are left to find out that Chrissie is also in need of the reunion and financial benefit as her young ‘toy boy’ husband has fleeced her out of everything and she may even be losing the house that she loves so much. Chrissie lets Carley know that she will speak to the promoter and say to let others know any publicity is to include Carley’s name as writer of the bands songs.

In turn all four band members decide they will reform for their own benefit, that is until Rick turns up and lets them know the promoter is going ahead and doing the show but no longer needs Thunder Girls input.

Opera North’s Giulio Cesare Review

Leeds Grand Theatre – Saturday 28th September 2019. On tour until 13th November 2019

Reviewed By Dawn Smallwood


Opera North brings Handel’s Giulio Cesare, its second opera to be featured this season. Tim Albery’s production first premiered in 2012 and returns to the stage seven years later. This Italian Baroque opera was composed by Handel at the beginning of the 18th Century and firstly premiered in London. Based on the story of Giulio Cesare in Egitto (Julius Caesar in Egypt), it isn’t a historic account of Julius Caesar but a fictional one of the relationship between him and Cleopatra during the Roman Civil War (47 BC).

Cesare (Maria Sanner) is in Egypt to pursue his enemy following the murder of Pompeo (Jem Dobbs) and more so the circumstances around it. At the same time both Cleopatra (Lucie Chartin) and Tolomeo (James Laing) are fighting the right to rule Egypt and they belittle one another in pursuit of this. Amid the political, power and personal struggles, Cleopatra seeks support from Cesare for the throne and she disguises as ‘Lydia’ serving Cleopatra. Tolomeo is hunted throughout the story because of being responsible for the murder of Pompeo and also for his abuse of power towards women particularly Cornelia (Catherine Hopper) and Cleopatra. The themes of ambition, power, passion, seduction and vengeance are strongly explored as expressed emotively in song from beginning to end.

The music is set to Nicola Francesco Haym and also Giacomo Francesco Bussani’s librettos and fits perfectly for its expressive emotive arias and duets. Handel is well reputed for this ingenious Baroque style classical compositions and the music is delivered successfully by the baton of Christian Curnyn, a Baroque music specialist.

The stunning staging, designed by Leslie Travers, is mainly inside a gold glittery pyramid with its mirror like and palatial feel to its main meeting spaces and adjoining passages. This Egyptian themed staging and modern costumes link well to the story and individual characters’ personalities and plights.

The company dynamically and dramatically give the production full justice in performing Giulio Cesare. In order to accommodate the vocal demands for Handel’s musical composition, Sanner (contralto) and Charkin (soprano), lead the cast as Cesare and Cleopatra respectively. They wonderfully portray the characters with expressive and melodramatic arias and duets particularly the moving duet in the finale, Caro! Bella! Più amabile beltà when they declare their love and the desired outcome is achieved following a turbulent turn of events.

Giulio Cesare seemingly ends well though the predicament is still uncertain from a political perspective which one can see parallel to world events today. The opera is fairly lengthy, approximately three hours; however it is packed with musical content and an opportunity to appreciate Handel’s musical ingenuity and a story which can be relatable in all modern day circumstances. The opera is sung in Italian however there are English subtitles which the story can be followed with.

Under Three Moons Review

The Lowry Theatre, Salford – until Saturday 28 September 2019 

Reviewed by Sarah Cockerill


Spanning the course of 20 years, Under Three Moons is a play which explores the friendship between two blokes, and the complexities that come with it. 

The audience meet Michael (Kyle Rowe) and Paul (Darren Kuppan) on a sixth form school trip, who are both going through their own battles that go further than teenage acne and awkward conversations with girls.

Though an unlikely friendship, it was a believable one and as a 90s child it felt relatable. The themes throughout felt familiar and the show had us hooked from start to finish. 

As each scene would begin, the audience were given clues to work out at which point in the characters’ lives we were watching. This only added to the compelling nature of the show, and kept the audience engaged, scene by scene.

The slick performance from both Rowe and Kuppan really showcased their talent, not just with their delivery of the lines, but with each micro expression and perfect comedic timing. The movement between scenes, or decades, was perfectly executed. Movement Director, Luke Rigg, did a great job of choreography.

Under Three Moons really highlighted the cyclical nature of life and how people can transition from misfortune to success and likewise how quickly things can crumble. But the underlying theme of mental health awareness, particularly amongst men, where things remain unsaid, made this production all the more provoking.

Following its opening week in Salford, Under Three Moons continues to tour the UK until November 2019. 

Murder, Margaret and Me Review

Churchill Theatre, Bromley – until 28 September 2019

Review by Elizabeth J Smith


Murder, Margaret and Me is the story of an unlikely friendship between famed actress Margaret Rutherford and world-renowned Queen of Crime Agatha Christie. In the early sixties, these two national treasures were the creative force behind one of British cinema’s most successful franchises. But the Miss Marple movies were almost never made….

When the opening music starts I was transported back to a rainy Sunday afternoon in the 70”s watching the black and white film reruns of Miss Marple. Margaret Rutherford from hence forward was my Miss Marple. So I was fascinated to learn she wasn’t Mrs Christies first choice, or choice at all.

This is a play about unlikely friendship and secrets. It explores the characters of two formidable women and their own inner struggles with their pasts and how that affects the present.

Lin Blakley, Agatha Christie, portrays the character with grace and charm. We see the character’s no nonsense side when dealing with the film director, the inquisitive side when trying to find out Margaret’s secret and the softer side when she realises she has upset her friend.

Sarah Parks, Margaret Rutherford, captures the stars idiosyncrasy. From the voice to how she moves. From her walk to how she throws her cape about. It wasn’t a caricature performance but a real tribute to the great lady herself.

Gilly Tompkins, the spinster, narrates the tale. Appearing, as I believe, as the Miss Marple Agatha had in her minds eye. She falls easily into the make up artist’s personality advising Margaret from a fans point of view. Separating the two characters by voice and movement only.

The play moves along effortlessly with flowing scene changes and a set that conjures up the feel of the time. Thanks to the design of Dawn Allsopp.

Written by Philip Meeks and directed by Damian Cruden who both portray these ladies so you feel it has been a privilege to spend the evening with them.

A well written, well executed play. With humour and sadness. A treat to see woman over a certain age hold the stage with great acting. A must see.

Carole King Songbook Review

Town Hall, Yeadon – 27 September 2019

Reviewed by Katie Goldsbrough


The Carole King Songbook showcases a lot of well-known songs, both hits for Carole King herself and written by her for others. We were also given bits of information about Carole’s life, relationships and the people she wrote songs for.

The singing was average with one of the four singers (Eve) standing out from the others having a much better voice. Drowned out a lot by the loud band in the background it was often difficult to hear what was being sung. Only Eve had a strong enough voice to be heard throughout.

It had the feel of a cheesy 80’s disco, so if that’s something you wold like then this is for you. Many people were on their feet at the end singing and dancing along.

The lights were often blinding so you had to turn away from the stage and consisted of coloured disco lights and a disco ball, all quite basic.

The drummer was sat behind a clear screen it was unclear as to why this was as the rest of the band had none of this. The choreography was very basic, consisted of only a few dance moves anyone could do and they were often out of time with each other.

Some performances were good quality, particularly You’ve Got a Friend which was performed sat on stools so the performers could focus on their voice. Although this too was accompanied by cheesy dance moves.

Other well-known songs featured included: Where You Lead the theme song for the hit show The Gilmore Girls, Take Good Care of my Baby and the finale The Loco-motion.

It had the feel of being at a working men’s club, if you like cheesy disco singers this is for you.