The King and I Review

York Theatre Royal – until 18 March.  Reviewed by Marcus Richardson

I went to see ‘The King And I’ at the York Theatre Royal by the amateur theatre group York Light Opera, which has a 10 day run until the 18th of March. The classic Roger and Hammerstein Musical set in Siam features a teacher who goes to Bangcok to teach the kings many children.

For me the show wasn’t my cup of tea as it took too long to finish and scene changes were on the longer side which is something a theatre goer I don’t really like.

The set and costume of the show was visually stunning and made great use of the stage at the theatre, with the ballet scene and how they used the river when telling the story of ‘The Small Hose Of Uncle Tom’, this scene of the play was rather funny for the first few parts however it just went on too long and I lost interest in what was happening. The costumes were all rather splendid as the chorus had multiple outfits that were colourful and suited the oriental style to a T.  Anna’s outfits were also very good with a big skirting on her dresses and this elegant ballgown for the party. The set also was rather impressive as it filled out stage nicely and no space was wasted and everything looked in place, just when the scenes were changing they took too long and the movement of props were clunky and loud.

One of the best parts about the play was the cast and that includes the chorus of many wives and children, I was rather surprised at how good the children were as my past experience of child actors have never been good ones, and with the amounts of them it made for great comical affect and the scenes where all the wives on stage were defiantly one of the highlights of the play.  My favourite scenes was when all the wives were seeing the locket and reacting to it. The leading lady Anna Leonowens played by Emma Dickinson had a delightful voice to listen and the memorably song of getting to know you lives up to the film version by Deborah Kerr. The King Played by John Hall was also good at giving a great performance of the character creating comical affect over anything else, his portrayal was both visually and vocally hilarious with his interaction with Dickinson.

Overall I felt that the show had many great aspects and strong features however in total I didn’t fall head over heels as it took too long for scenes to move along and there were too many song For Anna even though she had an amazing voice. Even though it wasn’t my cup of tea a lot of the audience members enjoyed the show and loved the singing, maybe this is an age thing as most of the audience were in the older age range. If you loved the King and I film in sure that you would love the show and if it was part of your childhood then I’m definite. I wouldn’t say I want my personal opinion to deter you from watching this performance as it was good overall just not my thing.

Escaped Alone Review

The Quays Theatre, Lowry, Manchester – Tuesday March 7th 2017.  Reviewed by Julie Noller

Upon collecting my tickets I was thrilled with my programme which appeared in book format with a full copy of the forthcoming play written by Caryl Churchill. The usher informed myself and everyone else entering that the play would be 50 minutes long without an interval and as such be prepared before entering to have any comfort breaks now and to please turn off all mobile phones as the theatre will need to be pitch black. Eeeekk what is going to happen?

Indeed the theatre was plunged into total darkness but around us was the sound of children laughing, birds singing – it must be summertime! The lights illuminated the stage, where the set was a plain old garden fence with an open gate it reminded me of looking towards a television set with the edges of the stage framing it. And there on stage stood a woman looking nervous, she spoke to us yet it wasn’t clear if she knew we were there or just generally thinking out loud. Her voice was unmistakable as Linda Bassett of Call The Midwife fame. We hear voices off stage appearing to drift through the open gate from the garden beyond. The lights dim to pitch black something we are going to have to get used to. Cue scene change to inside the garden where sits the aforementioned Mrs Jarrett and 3 others – this could be me in a mere 20 years time, sat with my friends in my garden enjoying a gossip and a cuppa. The play is somewhat surreal and indeed I understand why you are discouraged from leaving for you need to be aware at all times – simply blink and you may miss a minor detail that will lead to a misunderstanding.

My understanding of Escaped Alone was different to my friends and will probably be different to yours. I believe it is all down to the individual’s interpretation. Go with an open mind, prepare to be puzzled, go for a drink afterwards. Enjoy every detail of this 50 minute play and then allow 2 hours minimum to discuss! It’s very thought provoking, for that reason I thoroughly enjoyed it. Brilliantly acted from bizarre to scary to emotional. Why all those things? Well it appears to touch on the topic of today without actually saying it – mental health.

We have 3 good friends sat together in the safety of a garden (we never find out who the garden belongs to, all of them? None of them? I even questioned if they are real)

Sally (Deborah Findlay), Lena (Kika Markham) and Vi (June Watson), it’s very obvious they have been friends a very long time. Just as expected they know each others flaws and fears which are tolerated. They each finish the others sentences both in knowledge and also a sense of protection.

As the play progresses the theatre is often plunged into total darkness, to have a spotlight illuminate Mrs Jarrett stood solitary at the edge of the stage with a bright orange coil of light lit up surrounding the frame of the stage edge she addresses us the audience. These breaks in the mundane life of the 4 woman sat drinking tea during summer filled me with confusion, had there been a nuclear holocaust? Some disaster? Was Caryl Churchill trying to bring our attention to some catastrophe (you can see early on I was already questioning everything and starting to look for clues). These breaks were sometimes amusing, other times I wondered should I feel amused? Should others be laughing? Should I feel emotional?

Back to the garden each time where life continues over general chit chat with glimpses into each of our ladies lives – Vi had been away for a period of 6 years, we later find out she had stabbed her husband in ‘self defence’, Sally an ex GP who appears to have missed a diagnosis of cancer in one of her patients, Lena who had been a highflyer in an office was now scared to go out alone.

We are treated to a glimpse into each ladies ‘head’ as the lights dim on all the others periodically allowing us to see what their friends do not. Making me sense that we don’t always show our true selves to those around us, everyday life is quite often an act.

Sally who has an intense fear of cats and checks everywhere they might be inside her house, Lena looks for rooms with nothing which is better than dealing with things, Vi who can’t love a kitchen and despairs at the lost relationship with her son.

The play ends with Mrs Jarrett who has her time alone within the garden spotlight, chanting 2 words ‘terrible rage’ each chant getting louder and quite frankly scaring me into what would happen.

What follows is a joke about chickens crossing the road and then Mrs Jarrett makes her leave thanking the ladies foe her tea and closing the gate she leaves and the play ends.

I feel anything I write should contain a spoiler alert clause don’t let my confusion or questioning put you off this play as I’ve said its only 50 minutes long, brilliantly acted and very thought provoking as to how and why the 4 women had ‘Escaped Alone’ .

York’s Pilot Theatre + Tamasha’s play set in India’s surrogacy industry: Made In India, 7+8 April

Tamasha and The Belgrade Theatre in association with Pilot Theatre present


written by Satinder Chohan, directed by Katie Posner

at York Theatre Royal on 7 + 8 April at 7.45pm / 01904 623568 / £14


Satinder Chohan explores the global and personal implications of India’s surrogacy industry in a thrilling new play about motherhood and blood ties between women and nations. The play brings together Tamasha and The Belgrade Theatre with York-based Pilot Theatre and is directed by Pilot’s associate director Katie Posner.

In a surrogacy clinic in Gujarat, three women meet. It’s Londoner Eva’s last chance for motherhood. For village girl Aditi, dairy worker and single mother, surrogacy is a lifeline out of poverty – a chance to giver her own daughters a better chance in life. For clinic owner and businesswoman Dr Gupta, it’s all just another transaction. But with the backdrop of profound global forces, can it possibly remain that simple?

India has been regarded as the world’s ‘surrogacy hub’, one of a handful of countries legally offering commercial surrogacy to parents internationally, although the industry was not fully regulated. The industry was estimated to be worth over £1.5million, with surrogates themselves stated as being able to earn up to £6000. During 2016, a change to the law was drafted so that surrogacy would become legal only to heterosexual Indian couples married for five years.

Satinder Chohan, playwright: ‘I felt compelled to write a play with surrogacy at its heart as it is such a controversial subject loaded with conflicting emotion, culture and politics. I felt connected to the subject as, with my Indian village roots, the Indian women acting as surrogates that I had read about in news stories could be any number of my female relatives or indeed myself if my parents had taken a different path in life. At the same time, I wanted to explore the wider global issue of which surrogacy is a part – the commodification of everything’ in a time when morals are easily sacrificed for financial markets and how we, as privileged Westerners and consumers rely on worker all over the world to provide the material stuff of our lives.’

Satinder Chohan’s first production Zameen (2008, Kali Theatre + UK tour including Soho Theatre) told the story of a suicidal farmer and his family in India. Crossing The Line (Heat and Light, Hampstead Theatre) touched upon twenty-something Somali pirates in the Indian Ocean and KabaddiKabaddiKabbadi (2012, Kali Theatre + Pursued By A Bear + Mercury Theatre, Colchester) engaged with the lives of illegal immigrants in the UK.

Tamasha’s relationship with Satinder began in 2007 when she took part in Tamasha Developing Artists (TDA) New Writing Course. Lotus Beauty, her subsequent commission for the company was showcased at the Gate Theatre in 2010. Tamasha nominated her successfully for the 2013 Adopt-a-Playwright award, through which she developed Made In India.

Fin Kennedy, Artistic Director, Tamasha: ‘Tamasha is very proud to have been involved with Made in Indiasince its outset, supporting Satinder’s idea through the Adopt-a-Playwright scheme and working closely with her to develop the play as the situation she was writing about was continually changing. Her play is extremely moving as it is about human lives affected by different desperations, against a backdrop of profound global forces. As a company we are excited to be taking on tour a play for our times, which raises vital questions about the West’s ongoing relationship with the developing world.’

First Dates Announced for Jersey Boys UK and Ireland Tour






Due to overwhelming public demand, the producers of JERSEY BOYS are delighted to announce a second UK & Ireland Tour, to open at the New Alexandra Theatre, Birmingham on 16 December 2017.

JERSEY BOYS first opened in London at the Prince Edward Theatre on 18 March 2008 and moved to the Piccadilly Theatre in March 2014. The Olivier Award-winning West End production will close on Sunday 26 March 2017 following nine amazing years in London. The first UK & Ireland Tour of JERSEY BOYS was a record-breaking success and ran for 18 months, from 4 September 2014 to 5 March 2016.

JERSEY BOYS is the remarkable true story of Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons and their rise to stardom from the wrong side of the tracks.  These four boys from New Jersey became one of the most successful bands in pop history, were inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame and sold 175 million records worldwide, all before they turned 30.  The show is packed with their hits, including Beggin’SherryWalk Like A ManDecember, 1963 (Oh What a Night)Big Girls Don’t CryMy Eyes Adored YouLet’s Hang On (To What We’ve Got)Bye Bye BabyCan’t Take My Eyes Off YouWorking My Way Back to YouFallen AngelRag Doll and Who Loves You.

Winner of Broadway’s Tony, London’s Olivier and Australia’s Helpmann Awards for Best New Musical, JERSEY BOYS is the winner of 57 major awards worldwide and has been seen by over 24 million people worldwide.  JERSEY BOYS can currently be seen across the United States on its US National Tour.  The BROADWAY production closed on 15 January 2017 as the 12th longest running show in Broadway history.

JERSEY BOYS is written by Marshall Brickman and Rick Elice, with music by Bob Gaudio and lyrics by Bob Crewe.  The National / UK & Ireland Tour production is staged by the entire original Broadway creative team, led by director Des McAnuff and choreographer Sergio Trujillo, with scenic design by Klara Zieglerova, costume design by Jess Goldstein, lighting by Howell Binkley, sound by Steve Canyon Kennedy and projection design by Michael Clark.  The orchestrations are by Steve Orich and the music supervision and vocal arrangements by Ron Melrose.

The UK & Ireland Tour of JERSEY BOYS is produced by Dodger Theatricals and Ambassador Theatre Group, with Joseph J Grano, Pelican Group, Latitute Link and Rick Steiner.

For further details, please visit

Twitter: @JerseyBoysUK
Instagram: @JerseyBoysUK


16 Dec 2017 – 6 Jan 2018               Birmingham New Alexandra                                0844871 3011                                                                                                                                 On sale 10 March

9 – 20 January                                  Liverpool Empire                                                  0844 871 3017                                                                                                                                   On sale 23 March

23 January – 3 February                  Milton Keynes Theatre                                         0844 871 7652                                                                                                                             On sale 23 March

6 – 17 February                                Stoke Regent Theatre                                        0844 871 7649                                                                                                                                         On sale 23 March

20 February – 3 March                     Hull New Theatre                                                01482 3 306                                                                                                                                                On sale 24 March

20 – 31 March                                  Sunderland Empire                                              0844 871 3022                                                                                                                                On sale 23 March

3 – 14 April                                       Glasgow King’s Theatre                                      0844 871 7648                                                                                                               On sale 23 March


Rosie Kay Dance Company at York Theatre Royal


Wednesday 5 April, 7.30 pm

·        New work from the choreographer of Sunshine on Leith

·        MK ULTRA reunites award-winning 5 SOLDIERS creative team
·        Lady Gaga designer Gary Card creates his first costume designs for contemporary dance
A new dance work inspired by the bizarre realm of pop culture, mind control conspiracies and Illuminati imagery.
Rosie Kay Dance Company, headed by artistic director and choreographer Rosie Kay and winner of Best Independent Company at the Critics’ Circle National Dance Awards in 2015, will tour to York Theatre Royal with its new work MK ULTRA on 5 April for one performance only.
Rosie Kay is one of the UK’s leading female choreographers and is renowned for her athletic movement, rigorous research and intelligent theatricality. Kay, a research associate to the University of Oxford School of Anthropology and Museum Ethnography, choreographed the hit feature film Sunshine on Leith and is best known for the five star and award-winning 5 SOLDIERS. 
Following several years exploring the weird world of conspiracy theories, inspired by the bizarre realm of pop culture, mind control and Illuminati imagery, MK ULTRA will bring a hypnotic, high energy, supercharged mash-up of dance, music and imagery to the stage.
Renowned for tackling important, pertinent and challenging subject matters, RKDC looks at a weird world of symbolism, hidden messages and occult signs and deconstructs it for an aware and an unaware audience.
MK ULTRA is a CIA code word for a real LSD fuelled brainwashing technique developed by the US military. Popular conspiracy theory believes that MK ULTRA is still active and programmes high profile public figures and celebrities such as pop stars Britney Spears, Miley Cyrus, Justin Bieber and Rhianna – puppets of the ‘Illuminati’, a shadowy elite intent on creating a New World Order of authoritarian world government.
In MK ULTRA, Kay, with a typically fearless eye, delves deeply into this world and conjures up something entirely new, subverting the subversive. If you didn’t know about the Illuminati, you soon will and if you did, expect MK ULTRA to shatter the Illuminati’s illusory control.
For MK ULTRA, Kay is reunited with the award winning 5 SOLDIERS creative team- composer Annie Mahtani (Asylum, Supernova and 5 SOLDIERS); set and video designer Louis Price (designs include: The Emperor, Young Vic/Théâtre de la Ville de Luxembourg; The Rotters Club, Birmingham Rep; Stravinsky: Tales, Philarmonia/RFH Southbank; The Etienne Sisters, Theatre Royal Stratford; The Funfair, HOME, Manchester and 5 SOLDIERS); lighting designer Mike Gunning (designs include: The Emperor, Inkheart, Romeo and Juliet, HOME, Manchester; Crime and Punishment, Moscow Musical Theater; The Drowned Man, Punch Drunk; Dangerous Lady, Theatre Royal Stratford East; The Second Mrs Tanqueray, The Rose Theatre Kingston; The Resistible Rise of Arturo Ui, The Alchemist, Everyman, Liverpool; and 5 SOLDIERS); and dramaturg Tessa Walker.
Marking his first design for contemporary dance is MK ULTRA’s costume designer Gary Card. A set designer, illustrator and one of London’s most talked about talents, Card has worked with pop stars such as Lady Gaga, designing props and headdresses for her Monster Ball tour. His clients have included Comme Des Garçons, Topshop, House of Holland, Nike, Adidas, Stella McCartney and Penguin.
Rosie Kay, artistic director of Rosie Kay Dance Company, said:MK Ultra is the result of three years intense research, which have taken me through the world of surveillance, state police, torture and brainwashing, through to pop culture, mainstream media and celebrity breakdowns, all the way back to politics and a comment on the post-culturism state we are in now.
Spending time exploring the deep rabbit hole of conspiracy theory took me into strange realms of CIA brainwashing, celebrity training and Illuminati symbolism hidden in pop culture.  At a time when everything is fake, or at least we don’t trust what’s real any more, MK Ultra looks at what this world really feels like and what affect it is having on us, whether we know it or not.
I’m working with the most exciting team, which includes costume designer Gary Card who has worked with everyone from Stella McCartney to Lady Gaga. Long-time collaborators return with Louis Price doing set and video design, Annie Mahtani composing and adapting high produced pop, and Mike Gunning designing the lighting. Tessa Walker joins as dramaturg from Birmingham REP.
Be prepared for high-energy, high-octane dance, a mash up of dance styles, subliminal and secret messages, incredible video, light and costume visuals, music that wraps around your senses and a deeper, darker political edge. Be prepared, there is twerking.
MK ULTRA will feature seven outstanding dancers- Shanelle Clemenson, Harriet Ellis, Shelley Eva Haden, Lizzie Klotz, Joao Maio, Ryan Munroe and Oliver Russell.
MK ULTRA is supported using public funding by Arts Council England and is commissioned by DanceXchange, Warwick Arts Centre & Birmingham Repertory Theatre.











Park Theatre’s Artistic Director Jez Bond will direct Miriam Margolyes, Frances Barber and Jonathan Forbes in the world premiere of Madame Rubinstein, a brand new comedy by John Misto, playing at Park Theatre from 26 April – 27 May, with a press night on 3 May.

Set against the glamorous skylines of 1950s Manhattan, world-leading cosmetics entrepreneur Helen Rubinstein is locked in a power struggle with rivals Elizabeth Arden and Revlon. From humble beginnings as a Polish-Jewish immigrant, this is the story behind one of the best-known faces in the world of beauty. But as her professional and family conflicts reach fever pitch, will the ghosts of a turbulent past topple one of the world’s richest business women. Madame Rubinstein is a bright new comedy where the nails are painted and the gloves are off. Yet when the lipstick bleeds and the makeup fades, what is there left to hide behind?


BAFTA award-winning Miriam Margolyes (Harry Potter, Romeo & Juliet, The Age of Innocence) will star as ‘Helena Rubinstein’, Frances Barber (Doctor Who, Silk, Julius Caesar) will star as ‘Elizabeth Arden’, and Jonathan Forbes (‘Fergal’ in Channel 4’s hit show Catastrophe) will star as ’Irish’.

Jez Bond said, “I’m thrilled to have assembled such a stellar cast for our next in-house production, which I’m pleased to say is already the fastest selling show in Park Theatre’s history. Both in terms of the current, continuing debate on feminism and identity, and in terms of their incredible struggle in a male dominated world, the true story of these 20th Century pioneers – one of whom was an Eastern European migrant – continues to resonate in 2017. I’m delighted to be directing this world premiere that I’m sure will delight and amuse as well as inform and challenge audiences.


MADAME RUBINSTEIN is presented by Park Theatre and Oliver Mackwood in association with TBO Productions, with lighting by Mark Howland, design by Al Turner, sound design by David Gregory, composition by Dimitri Scarlato, and casting by Ellie Collyer-Bristow.


Park Theatre is fast becoming recognised as a powerhouse of theatre; in just under four years, it has enjoyed two West End transfers (including Daytona starring Maureen Lipman and The Boys in the Band starring Mark Gatiss), two National Theatre transfers, three national tours, an Olivier Award nomination and a Theatre of the Year award from The Stage.


Jez Bond is the Founder and Artistic Director of Park Theatre. He graduated Hull University with a BA Honours in Drama and was later awarded the Channel Four Theatre Director Bursary. Directing credits include; I Have Been Here Before (Watford Palace Theatre), The Fame Game (Tour of Austria), Sleeping Beauty (Salisbury Playhouse), The Twits (Tour of Switzerland), Misconceptions (Hong Kong Arts Centre), Big Boys (Croydon Warehouse), Shot of Genius (Leicester Square), Canaries Sometimes Sing (Kings Head & France) and A Season in South Africa (Old Vic). For Park Theatre; Madame Rubinstein, Hurling Rubble at the Sun, Adult Supervision plus Rapunzel, Sleeping Beauty,Jack and the Beanstalk, which he also co-wrote and composed. As a dramaturge he began working with writers at Soho Theatre, Royal Court and Young Vic before championing new work at Park Theatre, where he has developed a number of new plays many of which have gone on to production. Having led the £2.6m conversion of Park Theatre, Jez has been a guest speaker at the Theatres Trust Conference: Converting Spaces, the RIBA Conference: 150 years of Engineering, Bruford on the Southbank: New Build / ReBuild and The International Theatre Conference in Colombia. He has also consulted on a number of new theatre buildings internationally.

Quarter Life Crisis by Yolanda Mercy | Ovalhouse | April 2017

Quarter Life Crisis by Yolanda Mercy

Ovalhouse, 52-54 Kennington Oval, London SE11 5SW

Thursday 13th – Saturday 15th April 2017

Press Night: Friday 14th April, 7.45pm

All things British… All things me… And when I say me, I mean all things fabulous

Following the success of her debut solo show On The Edge of Me, Ovalhouse’s Associate Artist Yolanda Mercy returns with a coming of age comedy about growing up and being totally unprepared for the inevitability of entering adulthood.

Featuring live music, audience participation and a special guest from the local community, this is a relatable, funny and moving exploration of what it means to grow up in 21st Century Britain.

Quarter Life Crisis presents an upbeat take on the millennial phenomenon of big dreams, no cash, going viral, YouTube tutorials, having numerous zero-hour contracts, surrendering the 16–25 railcard and trying desperately to cheat adulthood.

Join Alicia who is living in soon-to-be post-Brexit London. She is realising that even though she is second-generation Nigerian, her routes and stories from the past can help her navigate through everchanging London. Help Alicia find a new way for her to live.

Yolanda Mercy comments, I am interested in making work which reacts to the world we inhabit. I love creating work that doesn’t just have an impact for the hour that we are in the theatre, but resonates beyond that. I place this world on stage with live music, words and an audience who I hope feel comfortable enough to want to interact with the piece… then talk about it after the show…and even a week, month, or year later.

In addition to the run at Ovalhouse, Yolanda Mercy will perform a double bill of Quarter Life Crisis and On The Edge of Me at Vault Festival from 11th February 2017; On The Edge of Me at Vault Festival on 12th February 2017; and Quarter Life Crisis at Arc Stockton on 12th April 2017.

Quarter Life Crisis is funded by Arts Council England and supported by Ovalhouse Theatre and Arc Stockton. Mentored by Third Angel.

Sasha Regan returns with the world premiere of her all-male The Mikado

Regan De Wynter Williams Productions present

Sasha Regan’s all-male

The Mikado or The Town of Titipu

UK Tour: April – July 2017

Following the highly successful all-male tours of H.M.S. Pinafore and The Pirates of Penzance, Sasha Regan returns with the world premiere of the irresistible The Mikado – one of Gilbert and Sullivan’s most famous operettas.

In true topsy –turvy fashion, Gilbert and Sullivan’s inherent humour and timeless tunefulness are married with Regan’s wicked sense of fun. This vibrant production successfully pokes playful fun at British politics and institutions. The crazy storyline takes us to 1950s England where a school camping trip is visiting the far away land of Titipu – a place where flirting is banned on pain of death and where tailors can become Lord High Executioners but cannot cut off another’s head, until they have cut off their own!

Regan’s idea to transform these much-loved classics into all-male productions stems from her own experiences performing Gilbert and Sullivan at a single-sex school. Her shows are now renowned for playing on the humour that can emerge from these gender changes.

Regan comments, Nothing gives me greater pleasure than seeing our work playing in some of the most beautiful theatres our country has to offer. 2017 is going to be a great year for us as we bring a brand new staging to our audiences – it’s beyond exciting.

Rollickingly silly, beautifully sung and imaginatively reframed (Libby Purves – H.M.S. Pinafore 2016).

Sasha was recently awarded the Special Achievement Award at the Off West End Awards 2017 for her contribution to musical theatre.

Hundreds of £10 tickets released for those aged 16 – 25

Hundreds of discounted tickets released for those under 26 to
The Woman in Black 

At The Lowry
Monday 20 & Tuesday 21 March 2017

Hundreds of tickets have been priced at £10 for The Woman in Black at The Lowry on Mon 20 and Tue 21 March 2017. These tickets are part of The Lowry’s Under 26 Scheme and are available to anyone between 16 and 25 years of age.

The Lowry launched their Under 26 Scheme in July 2016. The scheme aims to encourage young people to experience as much live performance as possible.

To qualify for the discount theatregoers need to register either via The Lowry’s website or call or visit the box office. Tickets are limited to two per person. The Under 26 Scheme also offers its members discounts on food and drink in The Lowry’s bar and restaurant Pier Eight prior to the show.

Stephen Mallatratt’s adaptation of Susan Hill’s best-selling novel has terrified over 64,400 theatregoers across its previous seven visits to The Lowry. The show will make its eighth visit from Mon 20 – Sat 25 March 2017.  

Robin Herford’s gripping production is a brilliantly successful study in atmosphere, illusion and controlled horror.

Stephen Mallatratt’s adaptation of Susan Hill’s novel tells the story of a lawyer obsessed with a curse that he believes has been cast over him and his family by the spectre of a ‘Woman in Black’. He engages a young actor to help him tell his story and exorcise the fear that grips his soul. It begins innocently enough, but as they delve further into his darkest memories, they find themselves caught up in a world of eerie marshes and moaning winds. The borders between make believe and reality begin to blur and the flesh begins to creep.

David Acton will play the role of Mr Kipps and The Actor will be playedMatthew Spencer.

The production’s huge popularity has reached a global level, having toured to the United States, South America, Tokyo and Singapore. In 2012, Susan Hill’s novel The Woman in Black was released as a major motion picture, starring Daniel Radcliffe, which became the highest grossing British horror film in 20 years. The sequel to that film, The Woman in Black 2: Angel Of Death, came out in 2014.

The West End show and tour are produced by PW Productions – the company behind the New Arts Theatre at Leicester Square.

Peter Wilson comments, “Everyone at PWP Is proud to continue presenting this perfect piece of theatre. The 2016/17 tour of The Woman in Black is dedicated to the Herford family who have done so much to support, love and create this landmark production.”

The production is directed by Robin Herford, with designs by Michael Holt, lighting by Kevin Sleep and sound by Gareth Owen.

The UK tour runs concurrently with the West End production.

Listings Info
The Woman in Black
Mon 20 – Sat 25 March 2017
Times: 7.30pm, Wed, Thu & Sat 2pm
Tickets: £21.50-£30.50 (inc booking fee)
Box office: 0843 208 6000

Not Dead Enough Review

Mayflower, Southampton – until Sat 11 March 2017.  Reviewed by Sharon MacDonald-Armitage

With a story based on the writing of acclaimed author Peter James and set in a police station and mortuary in Brighton you’d expect Not Dead Enough to have the makings of a strong murder mystery. Perhaps the translation to stage is where the thrill of the thriller is lost, as this production fell rather flat for a number of reasons.

When Katie Bishop (Charlotte Sutherland) is murdered her husband and prime suspect Brian (Stephen Billington) claims he was miles away in bed. However, Detective Superintendent Roy Grace (Shane Richie), haunted by the disappearance of his own wife many years earlier, becomes affected more than usual over this case. Intertwined with Grace’s own demons and his personal relationships it becomes clear there is more to this case than originally thought.

Despite a well-known cast lead by Richie, who gives a believable and solid performance portraying Grace as a troubled and obsessed man, it is a step too far for him to carry the whole production. Laura Whitmore as mortuary technician Cleo Morey tries hard to make her character believable and there are glimpses of solid acting when she does, but mostly she appears rather out of her depth and her performance suffers because of this. Billington is rather caricaturist in his portrayal of the suspect leaving very little for the audience to engage with.

The production seems rather amateurish and Michael Holt’s split set looks messy and highlights what can go wrong when it is badly thought through. Of course this is a touring production that needs to be adaptable, but there is nothing remotely interesting or innovative in this one.

There were clear issues with the sound coming through the actor’s mics. Michael Quartey’s (Gless Branson) mic sounded a lot louder than the other cast members and when characters got into very close contact with each other mics seemed to drop in and out.

On the whole the production was rather stilted and there was little to engage or engross the audience, even the writing was laboured and pedestrian making it very difficult to have any feelings about the characters.