Dementia Friendly First

The Mikado

 

Ahead of Dementia Awareness Week (14-20 May 2017) The Lowry are delighted to announce that they will be hosting their first ever dementia friendly performance this coming July.

Regan De Wynter Williams Productions will present Sasha Regan’s all-male Gilbert and Sullivan classic, The Mikado on Tue 25th – Sat 29th July, with a specially adapted dementia friendly performance matinee on Wed 26 July, 2pm.

First pioneered by West Yorkshire Playhouse, The Lowry is proud to be the first theatre to offer a dementia friendly performance in the North West. Adaptations to make the production accessible may include changes to the pacing of the story as well as using repetition so audience members can follow the story more easily.

The Lowry itself will be looking at dementia friendly adaptations such as keeping the lights up in the auditorium so that theatregoers are not in complete darkness; having an open door policy so that theatregoers can see all exits and are free to exit and enter when they need to as well as having extra trained staff on hand to help out with individual’s needs. This is a wonderful step by the Lowry and further shows their commitment towards making theatre accessible to all. Further information regards the Lowry’s commitment to accessible theatre can be found here; http://www.thelowry.com/information/access-information

The Mikado

Dates: Tue 25 – Sat 29 July

Times: 7.30pm. Thu & Sat 2pm.

Dementia friendly performance: Wed 26 July, 2pm.

Tickets: £26.50 – £29.50. Conc £2 off.

Tickets available here www.thelowry.com/events/the-mikado2

The Toad Knew

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James Thierrée comes from an impressive artistic dynasty; most famously his grandfather was Charlie Chaplin, whilst great-grandfather was playwright Eugene O’Neill, creativity no doubt flows through his veins.

A child of the circus Thierrée brings his sixth production from his Compagnie du Hanneton The Toad Knew to the Lowry this week for 2 performances only.

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Six kidnapped siblings are trapped in a cobwebbed and dusty space, a skeletal staircase rises from the floor, a long forgotten tap drips somewhere in the distance. A wandering singer roams the stage, powerful and beguiling her vocals are jumbled and bluesy as they accompany the crackling soundtrack.

Thiérrée is the master of this show and acts out some brilliantly comedic sight gags which have the audience roaring with laughter, visually this piece is beautiful. Whilst his fellow performers wriggle and writhe the slapstick moments are those that shine brightest and thrill the audience.

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The full height of the Lowry’s lyric theatre is used to maximum effect as a collection of lights hover above our performers, influencing and affecting their behaviour. One performer weaves through the wires and cables that control the assent and descent of the lights with ease and real beauty, tangled amidst the power of the kaleidoscope.

Whilst the piece is visually beautiful it is at times a little frustrating, occasionally feeling that just as sections are gaining momentum they end rather than reaching their full potential and deliver the wow the audience is waiting for. Whilst a very entertaining piece the lack of punch means the production delivers more of a fizz rather than the bag that the talent on stage are clearly capable of. At 90 minutes straight through this is an interesting and charming piece with some moments of pure genius and impressive physical theatre, with just a few tweaks here and there it could be magnificent.

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On at the Lowry this evening 7.30pm https://www.thelowry.com/events/the-toad-knew

Extra matinee of The Play That Goes Wrong!

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Due to enormous demand an additional matinee performance of the West End and Broadway hit The Play That Goes Wrong has been added to the Lowry run on Friday 9th June at 2pm!

The multiple international award winning production will entertain north west audiences for a week long run from Monday 5th-Saturday 10th June, this highly physical comedy delivers the finest of slapstick humour and has audiences literally rolling in the aisles as the bonkersly brilliant cast act up a storm on stage.

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The play introduces The ‘Cornley Polytechnic Drama Society’ who are attempting albeit disastrously to put on a 1920s’ murder mystery, but as you would guess (and secretly hope), everything that can go wrong ultimately does, as the accident prone thespians battle on against all the odds to get to their final curtain call.

The Play That Goes Wrong is an absolute riot of expertly choreographed mayhem and side-splitting silliness, a huge audience pleaser an absolute barrel of laughs.

Tickets available via the following link https://www.thelowry.com/events/the-play-that-goes-wrong

Running Time: 2 hours & 5 minutes including 1 interval Suitable for ages 8+.

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The Crucible

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Selladoor Productions and Queen’s Theatre Hornchurch, in association with Les Théâtres de la Ville de Luxembourg bring Arthur Miller’s classic play The Crucible to Manchester’s Opera House this week.

First performed in 1953 The Crucible used the Salem witch trials as a metaphor for the rife anti-communism which was gripping the United States, led by the House Un-American Activities Committee who saw any kind of leftist thinking as a challenge to American civilised society. Miller transports us to 17th century Salem, a farming town in Massachusetts which is rapidly gripped by witchcraft rumours, as the paranoia peaks amidst a colossal wave of accusation and fear, innocent woman are led to the gallows, confess to being a witch or hang, the choice is yours. We see neighbour turn on neighbour in a bid to save themselves as a frenzied hysteria takes hold, as lies snowball and cause unimaginable and catastrophic damage.

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Director Douglas Rintoul keeps this production clear and uncluttered allowing for the themes to speak loudly so there is no confusion about the absurdity and madness we are witnessing. Anouk Schit’s set is effective and wonderfully versatile, a large three sided steel with wooden panels which reconfigure and transform allowing for scenes to change smoothly whilst not distracting from the powerful message being delivered on stage. Chris Davy’s dramatic and bold lightening compliments the set beautifully.

Miller stated in his autobiography “I can almost tell what the political situation in a country is when the play is suddenly a hit there – it is either a warning of tyranny on the way or a reminder of tyranny just past” proving that The Crucible is just as relevant today as it was the very day it was created.

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The strong cast deliver some superb performances, Charlie Condou makes for an excellent Reverend Hale, calm and fair he brings serenity to the absurd situations he is witness too, aghast at the frenzy of hysteria whipping up the townsfolk. In contrast to Condou’s fair and forgiving Hale is the self-serving and spiteful Reverend Parris, arrogant and ghastly, Cornelius Clarke delivers the role convincingly.

As the horror of what we see unfolding is realised it is the relationship between John Proctor (Eoin Slattery) and his wife Elizabeth (Victoria Yeates) that grips our emotions, falsely accused and wholly innocent their arrests proving that this witch-hunt is past the point of no return. Both give very strong performances, their relationship although difficult is believable and honest, both do absolute justice to Millers script and add warmth and emotion.

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The Crucible is a powerful and poignant piece of theatre, it is often said that the civilisation of a society can be measured on how it treats its weakest members, wholly apt in Salem, 1950’s American and glaringly so across the Western world today. Hugely relevant, and immensely important, The Crucible delivers a message modern audiences must hear.

On at the Opera House until Saturday 13th May http://www.atgtickets.com/shows/the-crucible/opera-house-manchester/

Julie, Madly, Deeply

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Hit West End show Julie, Madly, Deeply will visit Manchester’s Hope Mill Theatre for two show only this coming Sunday. Written and performed by the insanely talented Sarah-Louise Young (most recently seen in Hope Mill’s critically acclaimed production of Yank!) and directed by Russell Lucas this charming and cheeky cabaret takes an entertaining look at fan and fandom.

A huge fan of Julie Andrews since childhood Sarah-Louise Young intertwines songs from Andrews much loved career including Mary Poppins and The Sound of Music with stories and anecdotes detailing the highest of highs and lowest of lows of Andrew’s life. A show guaranteed to have you grinning from ear to ear this witty and entertaining tribute is an absolute must-see!

Sunday 14th May 3pm and 7.30pm at Hope Mill Theatre

Tickets available here http://hopemilltheatre.co.uk/events/julie-madly-deeply/

 

Spamalot tour announced!

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Selladoor Productions and Mercury Theatre Colchester today announced a new autumn tour of the delightfully daft and hugely hilarious Spamalot!  Opening in Blackpool on 11th September before embarking on a UK tour which will take in take in two further North West stops, Chester Storyhouse 30th Oct – 04th Nov before heading to Manchester’s Palace theatre 6th -11th November.

This brilliantly bonkers show written by Python legend Eric Idle tells the tale of King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table in their quest to find the Holy Grail. There are corpses who refuse to die, a Black Knight who is determined to fight to the end despite losing pretty much every limb he has and the ridiculously funny Knights who say Ni for whom only the gift of shrubbery will suffice!

Selladoor Productions present Monty Pythons Spamalot

Featuring comic tunes including Brave Sir Robin, We’re Knights of the Round Table and perennial favourite Always Look on the Bright Side of Life, Spamalot is  an absolute riot of a show!

Tickets available now!

Chester https://www.storyhouse.com/event/spamalot

Manchester http://www.atgtickets.com/shows/spamalot/palace-theatre-manchester/

 

Panto cast announced!

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Casting for this year’s festive panto, Dick Whittington has been announced!

John Barrowman and The Krankies will lead the cast in the Opera House’s magical production which will run from Saturday 9 December to Sunday 7 January 2018 with tickets on sale now….oh no they’re not…..oh yes they are!

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John Barrowman will swap the West End for Manchester as he takes on the lead role of Dick and will be joined for some comedy capers by legendary duo and family favourites The Krankies!

Produced by Qdos Entertainment, the world’s biggest pantomime producer, the show will also include a spectacular 3D sequence, which will see audiences travel on a very special adventure alongside Dick Whittington and his trusty cat!

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Michael Harrison, Managing Director of Qdos Entertainment’s pantomimes said “We’re absolutely delighted that the ultimate showman, John Barrowman, will be leading the cast of this year’s Manchester Opera House pantomime. John is always a favourite with panto audiences, which is no surprise given his immense talent. We’re also thrilled that panto-legends The Krankies will be spending another season with John, their timeless comedy is loved by audiences of all ages.”

Panto fans can see the show at Manchester’s Opera House between Saturday 9 December 2017 to Sunday 7 January 2018

Tickets: From £12 available here http://www.atgtickets.com/shows/dick-whittington/opera-house-manchester/

 

Flare 2017 launch

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Flare International Festival of new theatre which is taking place across the city between 4th -8th July announced an inspiring and innovative full programme line up this afternoon.

Acting as a platform for some of the most talented national and international theatre makers and featuring around 60 of the best new international artists Flare 17 promises to be a unique and exciting celebration of new theatre. The full programme includes performances, workshops, feedback sessions as well as parties for both performers and audiences alike.

Artistic Director Neil Mackenzie explained the importance of programming international work, “It is our aim as an international festival and as advocates of emerging experimental theatre to bring together the international community of radical theatre artists to inform and enrich theatre practice in this country”

Flare 17 will take place at various venues across the city including HOME, Royal Exchange Theatre, The Lowry, Contact, Martin Harris Centre and 70 Oxford St and will present an ambitious programme of work from across Europe. Highlights announced today include:

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Party by Spanish/Brazillian artists Beaches – An immersive dance and audio show for 10 spectators at the time. Alluding to elements of our collective memory and popular culture, the piece creates a utopian simulation of a night out, one that functions as a detonator for hacking the senses of the spectator, blurring the limits between reality and representation.

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Blind Cinema by Britt Hatzius – In the darkness of a cinema space, the audience sits blindfolded. Behind each row of audience members is a row of children who, in hushed voices, describe a film only they can see. Accompanied by the soundtrack (which has no dialogue), the whispered descriptions are a fragile, fragmentary and courageous attempt by the children to make sense of what they see projected on the screen. In focusing on that which lies beyond the sense of sight, the attention switches between the world of the film, guided by the whispering voice, and the shared physical space of the cinema. For these performances the children will come from St Brigid’s RC Primary in Beswick, and Beaver Road Primary in Didsbury.

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Grand Applause by Guillem Mont de Palol & Jorge Dutor – An extraordinary on-stage exhibition of performance and visual art, presented in the form of the opera – Carmen. In the opera, Don José falls in love with Carmen who becomes infatuated with the bullfighter Escamillo. Don José’s love quickly turns to violent jealousy. He tracks Carmen down and kills her.

On a stage that is wired for sound, Grand Applause offers a stirring soundtrack, a live chorus and a choreography of artworks, by three artists: Norberto Llopis in the role of Carmen, Luis Urculo in the role of Don José and Bernhard Willhelm as the toreador Escamillo. After their huge hit #losmicrófonos at FLARE15, irrepressible theatrical mavericks Guillem Mont de Palol and Jorge Dutor are back, but on a much bigger scale…

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Molar by Quim Bigas Bassart – A much acclaimed and highly energetic interactive solo performance about happiness, and the way we move and are moved. A favourite at festivals across Spain, this is a performance that reflects on the commercialisation of human emotion, and is presented for free in the Great Hall of the Royal Exchange in Manchester.

Tickets and full listings are available now via www.flarefestival.com

 

Casanova

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Set against the backdrop of 18th Century Venice and Paris, we meet passionate, adventure seeker, Casanova, a man consumed by his desire to experience life at its fullest and most satisfying without question.

Hugely respected for their narrative based work, critically acclaimed Northern Ballet breathe life and skilful artistry into this new production created by award-winning choreographer Kenneth Tindall. Together with Ian Kelly, Tindall devised the original scenario for this fresh and enthralling piece from sections of Casanova’s memoirs, revealing more of the man than just the legendary lover we are all so familiar with. We meet Casanova on a more human level and see how his priest training is thwarted due to the constant distractions of both his mind as well as his body.

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Tindall’s stunning and innovative choreography captivates from start to finish, sensual and thrilling the powerful scenes featuring the corps de ballet move from contemporary to classical with ease, the two marry beautifully together. Tindall’s choreography is electrifying, the traditional pas de deux are there and are entirely fizzing with emotion and sensuality, as Casanova (Giuliano Contadini) is seduced by M.M (aristocratic nun and mistress to Cardinal de Bernis) in a staged seduction the passion between them is intense, they move as one and thrill with their skill and precision. In contrast to this as Casanova dances with his true love Henriette (Hannah Bateman) we see a new tenderness and real depth of heartfelt desire, stark contrast to the frenzied passion we have witnessed before. Giuliano Contadini is sublime as Casanova, dashingly handsome and physically perfect with just the right amount of cheeky swagger.

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The striking set and costumes designed by Christopher Oram are partnered perfectly by Alastair West’s stunning lighting design, atmospheric and dramatic it is truly spectacular, we see shafts of light streaming through church windows breathing fresh hope of liberty, more than the strict life of the church to a young and curious Casanova. The original score by modern classical, film and television composer Kerry Muzzey, is delivered superbly Northern Ballet Sinfonia.

Special mention must go to the brilliance of the staging during the prison of the Inquisition scene; a corner of a giant gilt frame is lowered towards Father Balbi (Jeremy Curnier) as he is tortured by the Inquisition in order to force a confession naming Casanova, enormously powerful and visually absolutely magnificent.

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Northern Ballet once again prove just how exciting and dynamic as a company they truly are. Casanova is utterly mesmerising, the piece literally smoulders as bodies slip and slide together flawlessly. Tindall has created a perfect work, creating a ballet that pushes the boundaries and delivers dance in a wholly stunning and accessible form. As the piece draws to a close and Casanova’s life flashes before him we are able to reflect on this truly remarkable production, an absolute must see.

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On at the Lowry until Saturday, tickets available here http://www.thelowry.com/events/casanova