George Egg, Anarchist Cook, Review

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The Lowry, Salford

George Egg is an anarchist, now I’m not saying he’s currently plotting to overthrow the Government (although what he does in his spare time is quite frankly none of our business) but when it comes to the rules and restraints of a hotel room, George Egg most certainly likes to bend, boil and slap them in between a Corby trouser press!

Having spent many years on the comedy circuit George has become more than familiar with both hotel rooms and the ridiculously overpriced room service that comes with them, I mean £10 for a cheese and pickle sandwich?! Really?!! So, he decided to take a stand and do something about it, thus his show was born. George sees past the traditional uses of your average hotel room’s equipment and with a little bit of thought, creativity and lashing of sachets of malt vinegar, somehow not only manages to create a three course meal (and an impressive one at that) but delivers a highly entertaining comedy show throughout.

Where we might see a small and a little bit useless travel kettle, George sees an opportunity to create his own tasty ricotta before gently poaching a fresh seabass to perfection, and don’t even get me started on his use for a Gideon Bible!

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George is a total foodie, his knowledge and creativity are exceptional, add to this the fact he can make you laugh too and you’ve got a pretty marvellous all-rounder. Multi-tasking his way through first, second and third courses, George entertains with jokes, comedy stories and fun foodie facts along the way, all while doing things with a hotel iron you never thought possible! The show is fast paced and highly entertaining, made even better when you realise you get to try the food at the end of the show! There was even a guest appearance from Great British Bake Off finalist and owner of The Hive Bakery, Luis Troyano. Innovative, creative and engaging, you’ll leave the show with a smile on your face and the burning ambition to stay at a Premier Inn!

http://www.georgeegg.com/

https://thehivebakery.com/

The Community Centre

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Engine House Theatre, International Anthony Burgess Foundation, Manchester

Written by Nicola Gardner (who also takes on two roles in this new production) Directed by John Klark and Produced by Darren Adams, The Community Centre gives us a hilarious account of a day in the life of a local Community Centre and all the madness that comes with it. With diverse characters and lots of laugh out loud moments, The Community Centre is a riot of the familiar ridiculousness of day to day life down at the local Community hub.

Receptionist and self-declared Manager Precious played by writer Nicola Gardner, rules the Centre like an old school mistress with threats to bar anyone misbehaving as she ‘Has the power, you know’ I absolutely adored Precious, such a brilliant character and so well acted by Nicola, she perfectly recreated that ‘power gone to their head’ type character we’ve all no doubt come into contact with at some point in our lives, the audience lapped up her ‘service with a (sinister) smile’ such a great character I’d love to see more of.

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The play is performed in the thrust formation, meaning that the audience sit on two opposing sides of the theatre with a runway style stage running through the centre, with action taking place both in the centre and at either end of the ‘runway’. At one end we have Bev and Anisha, played by Lynne Payne and Sayera Haque, employed by the Community Centre to look after the Community Farm animals, both however are much, much better at taking extended tea breaks and having a good old gossip about their love lives than they are at actually doing any work. Their conversations were brilliantly written, many a giggle of recognition rippled through the audience as they reflected on their disastrous love lives from speed dating to borderline stalking of clearly uninterested men who they hilariously assumed were just playing hard to get.

At the other end of the Community Centre we have Sister Johnson (Linda Hargreaves), Sister Richards (Nicola Gardner, Brother Leroy (Tony McPherson) and Brother Myers (Declan Wilson) four friends who while away their days making use of the centres gas and electric whilst sharing a tot of rum and the playful banter only true friends can have. All four actors excelled in their roles, witty, entertaining and totally loveable. Moving between the two groups, broom in hand is hopeless Caretaker Robbie, (Mike Coombes)  white as snow yet desperately trying to convince both himself and those around him that he’s black, frequently asking his spirit guide Bob (Marley) whom he has a shrine to, for guidance and clarity. Despite his ridiculous swagger and Bob Marley hat complete with dreadlocks, you can’t help but love the hapless Robbie and will him to succeed.

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The Community Centre succeeds in demonstrating to us all that despite our differences and quirks we are basically all the same; we are all seeking out comfort and happiness through our meaningful connections with others. A real fun piece of theatre, with many laugh out loud moments, the production will leave you feeling smiley and thoroughly entertained, as the late great Bob Marley would say, ‘Let’s get together and feel alright’

Tickets are £10/£8 for concessions and the show runs until Saturday 24th September.

Schools/BSL Interpreter: Friday 23 September 2016, 14:00

http://www.communitycentre.org.uk/

 

FUNNY GIRL by Styne,           , Music - Jule Styne, Lyrics - Bob Merril, Director - Michael Mayer, Choreographer - Lynne Page, Set Michael Pavelka, Costumes - Matthew Wright, Lighting - Mark Henderson, Savoy Theatre, London, 2016, Credit: Johan Persson/

Sheridan Smith brings Funny Girl to Manchester

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Sheridan Smith in Funny Girl. Credit: Johan Persson

Yes folks it is true! Opening Night can reveal that, following the critically acclaimed and record-breaking sold-out runs at the Menier Chocolate Factory and Savoy Theatre, Sheridan Smith will reprise the role of Fanny Brice for the UK tour of Funny Girl – opening at the Palace Theatre, Manchester, on February 18, 2017.

It’s great news that Sheridan will be taking the show on tour after winning rave reviews for her performance in the West End. The acclaimed actress and musical theatre star is set to perform in Manchester, Milton Keynes, Liverpool, Bristol, Edinburgh, Birmingham, Newcastle, Southampton, Bradford, Southend, Cardiff and Dublin.

Funny Girl brought global fame to Barbra Streisand 50 years ago and boasts some of the most iconic songs in film and theatre history. For those who haven’t seen the musical it tells the story of Fanny Brice, whose vocal talents and comedic ability see her rise from Brooklyn music hall singer to Broadway star.

Tickets are on sale from today and, with just a week’s stop at the Palace Theatre, the show is sure to sell out soon. Get your hands on them whilst you can as you don’t want anyone to ‘rain on your parade’ if you miss out…(sorry-we couldn’t resist!)

Manchester Palace Theatre

18 – 25 February

Box Office: 0844 871 3019

www.atgtickets.com/manchester

 

 

BRB, Shakespeare Dream Bill

Birmingham Royal Ballet, The Lowry, Salford

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Ahead of their full length interpretation of The Tempest this Autumn, Birmingham Royal Ballet bring their Shakespeare triple bill to the Lowry, opening with American choreographer Jessica Lang’s elegant and contemporary, Wink, which takes its name from the first line of sonnet 43, ‘When most I wink, then do mine eyes best see’. Inspired by Lang’s favourite sonnets, the five poems, read in reflective and brooding voiceover, compliment the expressive and emotive choreography.

The large expanse of the Lyric stage is perfect for Mimi Lien’s minimalist yet striking set, individual dancers stand behind chest height square panels, which swivel round and change from black to white, in effect winking at the audience. Peter Teigen’s lighting mirrors the changing colours and helps set the dramatic and intense mood creating together the perfect staging for Lang’s powerful piece. The dancers give faultless performances, Brandon Lawrence’s movement is seamless, Lang has worked closely with composer Jakub Ciupinski to ensure the themes and feelings of each piece echoes the mood of the sonnets. Whilst there are many elements of classical ballet, Wink delivers something fresh, exciting and delightfully contemporary.

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Next we have José Limón’s The Moor’s Pavane – Variations on the theme of Othelle created in 1949 it remains to this day a classic of American modern dance. Stripped back to just four principal characters; The Moor, Iago, Emelia and Desdemona, Othello’s tragedy is beautifully told in this 20 minute quartet. Limón through his delightful descriptive choreography tells the tale of the unfortunate Moor, his wrongfully suspected wife, and the Moor’s devious friend and wife.

The quartet move fluidly in a close circle, Othello’s precious handkerchief being passed from hand to hand, the niceties and decorum of the stately court dance soon exposed to be merely a façade for the passion and jealously bubbling away underneath. There is no set, just our four dancers as the focal point on a darkened stage; they succeed beautifully in drawing our attention as the glide effortlessly with purpose and heartfelt meaning, expressive, passionate and exquisite.

The Dream_ Birmingham Royal Ballet; Oberon; Joseph Caley, Titania ; Nao Sakuma, Changeling Indian Boy; George Ring,  Puck; Mathias Dingman,  Bottom ; Jonathan Caguioa, Rustics; Alexander Bird, Feargus Campbell, Max Maslen, Valentin Olovyannikov, Lewis Tur

The final piece of this Shakespeare celebration is Frederick Ashton’s flirty and fun, The Dream. A 1964 one-act ballet telling the story of A Midsummer Night’s Dream all set to a delightful Mendelssohn score. In stark contrast to Wink and The Moor’s Pavane, The Dream has a full and detailed set, we are transported to Peter Farmer’s magical forest and ushered into Oberon and Titania’s enchanted Kingdom, gently and beautifully lit by John B. Read.

The pace of the story telling is perfect as the ensemble cast usher us through the story charmingly, Mathias Dingman’s Puck is perfection, impish, playful and full of fun. Kit Holder makes for a delightful Bottom, comedic and as oafish as you could wish for. Special mention must also go to both César Morales and Momoko Hirata whose Oberon and Titania are quite simply enchanting.

The company excel in the utterly delightful and totally entertaining piece, fun, witty and classically beautiful. Birmingham Royal Ballet once again prove just what an exciting and dynamic company they truly are.

The Dream_ Birmingham Royal Ballet; Oberon; Joseph Caley, Titania ; Nao Sakuma, Changeling Indian Boy; George Ring,  Puck; Mathias Dingman,  Bottom ; Jonathan Caguioa, Rustics; Alexander Bird, Feargus Campbell, Max Maslen, Valentin Olovyannikov, Lewis Tur

https://www.brb.org.uk/

The Girls, The Lowry, Jan 2016

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Based on the story of the Rylstone & District branch of the Women’s Institute and their innovative way to raise funds, writer Tim Firth and long-time pal Gary Barlow have worked their magic and created a musical about those much loved WI ground breakers simply titled ‘The Girls’.

Most will be familiar with the story having seen either the smash hit film or much loved stage play, (both written by Firth). Yorkshire lass Annie, played by the fantastic Joanna Riding, loses her beloved husband John (James Gaddas) to cancer and is determined with the help of her WI family to do something special in his memory, the decision is made to raise funds to purchase a new couch for the relatives room in the hospital where John was treated and soon the seed for the ‘alternative’ calendar is planted.

Girls is an absolute joy from start to finish, tender moments where tears threaten are immediately followed by laugh out loud scenes that remind us in life we can’t have the highs without the lows.

As the idea of the nude calendar edges closer to a reality we see each of our ladies wrestle with their own issues and struggles in life, offering up even more opportunity to empathise with these wonderful women as we soon realise we all face similar battles in life.

Firth and Barlow’s pairing is a perfect one, the script is witty and warm with accompanying songs that flow seamlessly as an extension of the script. The melodies are wonderful and the lyrics clever and catchy, toe tapping amongst the audience is almost immediate.

Designer Robert Jones’ set is striking, green cupboards and cabinets and stacked on top of each other to create various levels, the centre of which is a hill that beautifully represents the rolling hills of Yorkshire.

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The cast as a whole are fantastic, each and every character is portrayed with a deep affection, Girls works so well due to the love the cast clearly have for the story, each person on stage gives their absolute all. Special mention goes to Joanna Riding playing Annie and Claire Moore who takes on the role of Annie’s best mate Chris. Their chemistry is wonderful and their relationship as best friends through thick and thin is truly heart-warming. The icing on the cake of this delightful production is of course the photoshoot scene; it is absolutely hilarious and has the audience crying with laughter.

Girls is as charming as it is moving, as fun as it is touching and truly deserving of the standing ovation it received. I’ve no doubt Mr Firth and Mr Barlow have an absolute smash hit on their hands which will delight audiences for many years to come.

War Horse Returns!

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Some very, very exciting news has reached us here at Opening Night, Rufus Norris, director of the National Theatre, exclusively announced last night that the incredible War Horse will return to The Lowry in 2018. Speaking at a special ‘In Conversation’ event with The Lowry’s chief executive, Julia Fawcett OBE, Norris confirmed the acclaimed production will return to the Lowry on Tue 13th June 2018 and run until Fri 30 June. The dates will coincide with the national centenary commemorations of the end of the First World War.

The new dates follow two previous hugely successful runs at The Lowry – the first of which, back in 2013, was the most popular run of any show in The Lowry’s history, evidence of what a truly remarkable show this is.  Michael Morpurgo’s emotional story of courage, loyalty and friendship, about a young boy called Albert and his horse Joey, set against the backdrop of the First World War is the most successful play in the National Theatre’s history.  Featuring ground-breaking puppetry work by South Africa’s Handspring Puppet Company, which brings breathing, galloping horses to life on stage.

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Directed by Marianne Elliott and Tom Morris, adapted by Nick Stafford, War Horse received its world premiere on 9 October 2007 at the National Theatre, running for two seasons before transferring to the New London Theatre from March 2009 until March 2016.  War Horse, has been seen by over seven million people worldwide in 97 cities and 10 countries.  There have been productions in New York, Toronto and Berlin, and tours of the UK and Ireland, South Africa, North America, the Netherlands and Belgium, and most recently China.  It has received 25 awards including the Tony Award for Best Play.

It is the kind of production that really leaves it’s mark, emotional, captivating and utterly mesmerising. An absolute must see!

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Tickets will go on sale in the New Year, Opening Night would recommend booking tickets asap as they will no doubt be in very high demand. They will be available direct from the Lowry Box Office and through their online booking system http://www.thelowry.com

First Look: Things I Know To Be True

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Imogen Stubbs copyright: Manuel Harlan

Things I Know To Be True is an exciting international co-production between Frantic Assembly and State Theatre Company of South Australia.

Opening Night has a sneaky peek at a few of the production photos ahead of its opening night tomorrow, Friday 16th September, at the Lyric Hammersmith and prior to its tour visiting Oxford, Warwick, Liverpool, Salford and Chichester.

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Frantic Assembly Cast copyright: Manuel Harlan

A brand new commission by leading Australian writer Andrew Bovell, Things I Know To Be True is co-directed by Frantic Assembly’s Tony and Olivier Award nominated artistic director Scott Graham and State Theatre Company’s artistic director Geordie Brookman. Following its world premiere at Adelaide Festival Centre in May 2016, it has been recreated for the UK, with a UK cast, as part of State Theatre Company’s first ever international co-production.

Featuring Frantic Assembly’s celebrated physicality, the production stars Matthew Barker (Mark Price), Natalie Casey (Pip Price), Richard Mylan (Ben Price), Kirsty Oswald (Rosie Price), Ewan Stewart (Bob Price) and Imogen Stubbs (Fran Price).

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Ewan Stewart and Natalie Casey copyright: Manuel Harlan

A complex and intense study of the mechanics of a family that is both poetic and brutally frank, Things I Know To Be True tells the story of a family and marriage through the eyes of four grown siblings struggling to define themselves beyond their parents’ love and expectations.

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Kirsty Oswald copyright: Manuel Harlan

Parents Bob and Fran have worked their fingers to the bone and with their four children grown and ready to fly the nest it might be time to relax and smell the roses. But the changing seasons bring home some shattering truths.

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Ewan Stewart copyright: Manuel Harlan

 

North West dates:

 

2 – 5 November, Liverpool Everyman & Playhouse (Playhouse Theatre)
www.everymanplayhouse.com

8 – 12 November, The Lowry (Quays Theatre)
www.thelowry.com