Fantastic Mr Fox preview

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The brand new adaptation of Roald Dahl’s much loved classic Fantastic Mr Fox arrives at the Lowry next week and promises to be a gloriumptious treat for the whole family!

Although Mr Fox is smart, clever and of course completely fantastic, does he underestimate how determined the farmers are to get their revenge? Can he hatch a cunning plan to save his friends and family? And can rabbit keep quiet for long enough not to give the game away? You’ll simply have to watch to find out!

We sat down with composer Arthur Darvill (familiar to many as Rev. Paul Coates in Broadchurch) to hear more about the show and find out what audiences can expect from this dahlicious family theatrical feast!

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Arthur felt it was a real privilege to write music for this new production. “It is a pinch yourself moment. When re reading the book I thought I love this book but I don’t know if I can do this, which I think is a good reaction to have. Throughout the writing process, it has been about honouring what Dahl wrote and making sure the music tells the story in the best way we can tell it.”

A massive Roald Dahl fan, Arthur remembers reading Fantastic Mr Fox in his cabin bed when he was a child growing up back in Birmingham. “I read it in one go, in one night and just absolutely loved it. It had a drastic impact on the way my world was shaped. Dahl made the most disgusting things in life seem like the most joyous. He also had a great sense of justice, which can only be a good thing.”

Arthur expanded on what he wanted to capture about the story and its characters via the music; “There are a definite group of characters in Fantastic Mr Fox; humans and animals. I wanted to give them both a very different sound to start with and as the story develops, these sounds slightly cross over depending on what is happening. The farmers have a dirty earthly English sound and the animals are freer. Mr Fox is arrogant at times and Mouse sings about cheese, which is very sweet.”

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We asked Arthur what he hoped audiences would take away from the show? “I hope audiences take away melodies that they can sing on their way home. This show is so much fun and the right people get their comeuppance. It is not black and white. You will go home discussing the moral content of the story whilst laughing at the jokes. It’s a perfect family show for all ages”.

You can catch Fantastic Mr Fox which is adapted by Sam Holcroft and directed by Maria Aberg, from Wednesday 5th July until Sun 9th July at the Lowry theatre, Salford. Tickets available via the following link; https://www.thelowry.com/events/fantastic-mr-fox

 

 

The Hound of the Baskervilles

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If you’re looking for a riotous romp through the mysterious Devonshire moors without having to leave the comforts of the city, then get yourselves down to Manchester’s newest pop-up theatre, The Reading Room where you’ll find Northern Rep putting their hilarious stamp on Arthur Conan Doyle’s much loved classic, The Hound of the Baskervilles.

This fun-filled murder-mystery spoof follows legendary super sleuths Sherlock Holmes and Dr Jane Watson as they attempt to solve the curious case of the death of Mr Charles Baskerville as the threat of the curse of a bloodthirsty hound looms large over Baskerville’s heir Henry. Unbeknown to our crime solving duo the secret to cracking the case may well be being kept from them by Charles’ very own family, despite this our detecting duo press on determined to return to Baker Street triumphant!

Incredibly all parts in this innovative production are played by just two actors who rotate performances, the highly versatile and hugely talented Christopher Brown and Angela Hazeldine perform this evening with Thea Beyleveld and Michael Justice also performing during the run. They differentiate characters by giving them superbly exaggerated accents from as far as Texas to Taunton and many, many places in between as well as props befitting each character. The duo blister through the piece with hilarious consequences, both are engaging, superbly silly and hugely entertaining, with the action becoming increasingly outrageous as we meet more and more characters from the moors.

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The emphasis here is on comedy and boy do the two cast members deliver; they play off each other beautifully as the sharp script gifts our duo with some real genuine moments of laugh out loud humour. Of course no spoof would be complete without occasional trips and line-fluffs which only adds to the controlled chaos of this delightful production, there are cheeky innuendos a plenty as canes are caressed and overgrown bushes penetrated, ooh err!

Director Thomas Moore has used the intimate space of the reading room to great effect. The beautifully crafted 30 seater venue within Manchester’s Great Northern Warehouse is the perfect setting for bringing the melodrama and magic of the piece to life. You don’t have to be a Sherlock Holmes fan to get enormous pleasure out of this farcical whodunit, the show’s spontaneous feel makes it accessible to all as the cast charmingly address the audience apologising for apparent mistakes. The Hound of the Baskervilles is an absolute riot, cheeky, chaotic and jolly good fun, with the fabulous Mrs Hudson on hand to wet your whistle it’s an absolute must-see!

On at The Reading Room, Great Northern until Saturday 16th September https://www.northernrep.co.uk/thebaskervilles

 

MOAT

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Manchester Open Air Theatre returns this summer with something for everyone in the form of five classic tales; Macbeth, The Jungle Book, The Importance of Being Earnest, Peter Pan and Hamlet.

Presented by Northern Rep, Manchester Open Air Theatre (MOAT) will bring each production to life in a pop-up 500 seater outdoor theatre in Manchester’s beautiful Chorlton Park between Monday 31st July and Saturday 2nd September.

Incredibly the 5 very different productions will be presented over the 5 weeks by the same core company of actors, stage managers, designers and director, an exciting challenge no doubt for the hugely talented Northern Rep Company, (who are currently performing The Hound of the Baskervilles at The Reading Room, Great Northern, tickets available here www.northernrep.co.uk/thebaskervilles )

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Thomas Moore, artistic director said “Following last year’s hit summer season; Plays in the Park, we can’t wait to bring Manchester Open Air Theatre to Chorlton Park this summer. This season has something for everyone. The Jungle Book and Peter Pan are going to be a treat for both little and big kids. We have two of the greatest dramas of all time; Macbeth & Hamlet. And to top it off we have the hilariously outrageous The Importance of Being Earnest. Don’t miss what is going to be a brilliant summer.” Listings are as follows;

Macbeth – Mon 31 Jul – Sat 5 Aug. Recommended for ages 13+

The Jungle Book – Mon 7 – Sat 12 Aug. Recommended for ages 3+

The Importance of Being Earnest – Mon 14 – Sat 19 Aug. Recommended for ages 13+

Peter Pan – Mon 21 – Sat 26 Aug. Recommended for ages 5+

Hamlet – Mon 28 Aug – Sat 2 Sep. Recommended for ages 13+

Tickets for all productions are £20

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In addition to the great theatre on offer, the MOAT season will run alongside the inaugural Manchester Wine Festival, which Northern Rep is thrilled to be bringing to Chorlton Park . Offering the opportunity to try around 80 wines from old favourites to new kids on the block Manchester Wine Festival 17 is the perfect event for both newbies and experts. With Chorlton Park easily accessible via the Metrolink (St Weburgh’s Road and Barlow Moor Road stations are a 3 minute walk away) MOAT is a great opportunity to enjoy some quality theatre accompanied by quality wine in the beautiful and unique setting of Chorlton Park.

For more information and to book tickets head to www.manchesteropenairtheatre.com

Shirley Valentine

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It’s an incredible 30 years since playwright Willy Russel introduced the world to Shirley Valentine and what better way to celebrate than to bring her out of the kitchen for an anniversary tour.

The play which has travelled the world winning a string of awards as well as being made into a film starring Pauline Collins which earned both BAFTAs and Academy Award nominations is as iconic as the Liver Birds. 40 something Shirley is trapped, drowning in a life which has lost all its spark, where the most important job she has is getting her husband’s tea on the table and her best conversations are with the kitchen wall. Downtrodden and deflated Shirley is tired with what life has become until one day out of the blue she’s offered the opportunity to inject some adventure, in the form of 2 weeks in Greece with her single pal Jane.

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Taking on the role of Shirley in this one woman piece, is Jodie Prenger, she finds the warmth and humour within as she delivers a heart-warming and gratifying performance. Possessing all the grit, determination, humour and vulnerability of the Shirley we all know and love as well as ramping up the humour with her skilful and entertaining depiction of the various characters which inhibit Shirley’s world. She glides with ease from one character to the next, breathing fresh life into the pages of Russel’s much loved work. Prenger is a force to be reckoned with, commanding the full attention of a packed out Lowry theatre, she delivers a wholly believable and deeply touching performance, audience laughter is closely followed by thoughtful reflection as Prenger finds the true heart of Shirley as her desperation for more becomes painfully clear.

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Russel’s familiar themes of loneliness and inequality are just as relevant today as they were when he originally penned Shirley. His writing is sharp and poignant, offering humour, depth and a fine understanding of the way many women see the world. Director Glen Walford makes great use of the material allowing Prenger to take this piece and really make it shine. Designer Amy Yardley’s kitchen set in Act I is impressive, allowing Shirley to cook up her chips and egg without missing a beat of the mighty monologue she delivers.

This is a fun, feel-good and thought-provoking production which like Shirley really gains momentum when our heroine chases her dream and starts to really live. A wonderful revival, which will make audiences fall in love with Shirley all over again.

On at The Lowry until Saturday tickets available here https://www.thelowry.com/events/shirley-valentine

Teletubbies Live!

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Time for Teletubbies! Time for Teletubbies!

The World Premiere of the first EVER Teletubbies stage show will take place in Manchester this November!

Everyone’s favourite colourful characters, Tinky Winky, Dipsy, Laa-Laa and Po will take to the stage at the Palace Theatre in celebration of their 20th anniversary and we have all the details you need in order to join them!

Teletubbies Live promises to be a show filled with love, laughter and Teletubbies favourites including the Tubby Phone, Noo-ooo and Sun baby. Young audiences will be invited to join in the fun as they enjoy regular much loved features of the TV show as well as brand new songs by from BAFTA award-winning composer Mani Svavarsson.

Produced by leading children’s theatre team Fiery Light, in partnership with licensor DHX Brands and specially adapted and created by Richard Lewis, who has also created and directed the super popular Peppa Pig Live shows, Teletubbies Live is the perfect way to introduce little ones to the magic of the heatre as this colourful and mesmerising show plays out before them.

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Tickets go on sale on Wednesday 28th June and the Palace theatre will be marking the event with a FREE family friendly launch party from 10am-12 noon where you can meet Tinky Winky, Dipsy, Laa-Laa and Po! There will be giveaways, face-painting, photo opportunities, cupcakes and babycinos as well as EXCLUSIVE ticket offers!

Anyone who buys tickets at the event for Teletubbies Live will be entered into a free prize draw to win some fabulous Teletubbies merchandise! So don’t delay head down to the Palace Theatre, Oxford St, Manchester at 10am on Wednesday June 28 to join in the fun and be the first in line to get your tickets! For more information head to; www.Teletubbieslive.com

 

 

The Lady Boys of Bangkok

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Yes, the Lady Boys are back in town with their lavish new production –  WHO RUNS THE WORLD! Performed by 16 of Thailand’s most alluring Lady Boys at the specially created Thai Pavilion, the show has pitched up in Manchester, Chester Road until 24th June.

© Dean Martin Photography 2015 - www.deanmartinphotography.com

credit: Dean Martin photography

It’s the perfect way to forget what is going on in the real world for a couple of hours and enjoy pure cheeky fun with an abundance of sequins and campness! The Lady Boys of Bangkok is of course, (as you get from the title), performed by gorgeous showgirls like no other showgirls – they are all male Thai nationals. Each one is absolutely stunning with never ending legs, chiselled cheekbones and made up to perfection. I defy any woman not to feel envious and any man to not question his sanity that these ‘women’ are actually men!

WHO RUNS THE WORLD sees the ensemble strut their stuff through a number of risqué routines, lip-syncing their life out of pop classics from divas like Beyonce, Arianna Grande and Rhianna. They also play homage to the theatre with cleverly crafted sections from The Lion King, Grease and Chicago.

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No expense is spared when it comes to the costumes, there’s rhinestones a plenty and flamboyancy is obviously the theme with huge feather head dresses and cage-like dresses that have your jaw dropping at the splendour.

And then there’s Trevor…the Lancashire addition to the group, known to audiences up and down the country as ‘the little guy’. Trevor is hilarious with his ‘Benny Hill’ style solos playing up his ‘northern roots’ and the fact he is so far removed from the other 16 performers onstage.

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It’s all huge fun and the audience love it as they holler, sing along to the cheesy tunes and get up on their feet to dance along. If you want something that will put a smile on your face you can’t go wrong with The Lady Boys of Bangkok and after a years’ absence from our great city Manchester is glad to have them back.

Top Tip: Look out for special discounts on their website and 241 nights. Plus, if you want to make a night of it there’s Thai cuisine available in the Pavilion and two bars on site to put you in the party mood.

The Lady Boys of Bangkok 2017

 Who Runs the World! Tour

The Sabai Pavilion, Chester Road Car Park, 2 mins from Deansgate Station, M15 4NP

Fri 9th June – Sat 24th June 2017

http://www.ladyboysofbangkok.co.uk

 

 

 

The Hound of the Baskervilles

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Northern Rep bring Arthur Conan Doyle’s much loved classic, The Hound of the Baskervilles, to Great Northern Warehouse’s new space, The Reading Room, this week.

Northern Rep invite audiences to join Sherlock Holmes and his trusted sidekick Dr Watson as they travel from the streets of London to the Devonshire Moors in an attempt to solve the mystery of, The Hound of the Baskervilles. The intimate city centre setting allows Northern Rep to deliver an evening of fast-paced action as two hugely talented actors take on every role in this riotous romp. Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson have never been so funny as they poke fun at the mystery and melodrama of the Moor!

Thomas Moore, Artistic Director of Northern Rep, said: “I’m thrilled to be bringing one of Sherlock Holmes’ and Dr Watson’s most famous adventures to Manchester in its own purpose built theatre: The Reading Room. We’ve been working hard over the past few months converting a secret corner of The Great Northern Warehouse into an intimate 30 seat theatre that will host The Hound of the Baskervilles. Expect riotous performances from Mr Holmes and Dr Watson as Mrs Hudson takes care of all of your refreshment needs from your seat!”

Presented by Northern Rep, adapted and directed by Thomas Moore, and performed in pairs by four cast members – Thea Beyleveld, Christopher Brown, Angela Hazeldine and Michael Justice – who rotate performances. The Hound of the Baskervilles opens on Friday 16th June. Ticket information can be found here; www.northernrep.co.uk/thebaskervilles

Tickets £12 (Previews from Friday 16 – Monday 19 June tickets £6)

120mins including interval.