Your Toys

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Slot Machine Theatre have created a pure delight for families with their latest production, Your Toys. The 5 strong cast don overalls to resemble furniture removal workers and, surrounded by a set full of cardboard boxes and flatpacks, they bring make-believe to the stage awakening youngsters imaginations.

The show sees the audiences’ well-loved toys take to the spotlight as they go on a journey through sand, sky and even a jungle, animated by the clever puppeteering performers. There’s squeals and smiles from the mini-theatre goers during the fun filled 60 minutes as they witness their toys coming to life, from plastic dinosaurs to even a prized scarf!

The innocence and charm of childhood is used to the max in this production with audience participation creating sound effects, kids drawings projected onto the backdrop and a script with its own made up gobbledygook. To top it all off we got to see a Doc McStuffin’s toy busting some great dance moves alongside Bagpuss and a Panda…how many times can you say you will witness that? A real joy to watch and I imagine a unique show every time, depending on which toys come to play!

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Daisy, our mini-reviewer

 

Mini-reviewer Daisy, aged 7

“I loved the fact that the toys from the audience were put in the show. I recommend that you should bring your toys to this show. The ages that are welcome are 5 – 9 years. The puppeteers were amazing Matthew Coulton, Nadia Morgan, Isabel Sharman and Nicola Blackwell. We loved seeing our toys in the adventure. My favourite part was when they did dancing with the toys on the stage and when the toys sang  Don’t Eat The Berries which was very funny. The musician Nick Tigg was as good as the puppeteers, making outstanding sound effects and putting smiley faces on the crowd.”

Your Toys played The Lowry, Salford Sunday 29th October

The show is next played at The Lyric, Hammersmith, London 4th November

 

Behind the Scenes of Elf – The Musical, Part 2

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Ben Forster as Buddy in Elf – The Musical

In the first part of our behind the scenes we chatted to the lovely Liz McClarnon who stars as Jovie in Elf – The Musical, which comes to The Lowry from 24th November 2017 – 14th January 2018.

Opening Night also got the chance to grab the ‘Elf’ man himself, Ben Forster, who takes on the lead role of Buddy.

Now you might remember Ben from winning the ITV talent show Superstar back in 2012 when he beat off thousands of hopefuls to play the role of Jesus in a revamped version of Andrew Lloyd Webbers Jesus Christ Superstar. In this show however Ben casts off the Jesus robes and instead dons an elf costume. It’s a part he made his own playing Buddy in the West End and now is taking it on the road with a short stint in Plymouth before spending Christmas at the Lowry.

At the show’s launch Ben gave us a festive treat, singing a preview of one of the key numbers, ‘World’s Greatest Dad’ (you can still watch that back on our Facebook page if you missed it). We grabbed him afterwards for a lowdown on what it’s like to star in a show based on one of the most iconic Christmas movies of all time…

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Ben sings ‘World’s Greatest Dad’ from Elf – The Musical at the show’s press launch

ON (Opening Night): So Ben what did you think when you were first approached about Elf – The Musical?

Ben: “What I really first thought was it’s going to be an awful pantomime version and I’m gonna be standing there singing ‘Let It Go’ from Frozen in an elf costume. Then I was sent the script and the music and I realised it is an incredible show. The musical score is unbelievable, it’s really big band Broadway music complete with a 16-piece orchestra in the theatre.  It’s really classy and it’s also really beautiful. I think after that I was just like ‘Oh my god I’ve got to try and give a version of what everyone loves about Will Ferrell’! The pressure to make around two thousand people laugh and deliver all those one liners that are so famous everyone has already laughed at them 100 times is a difficult thing but as soon as we got in front of a crowd I was like ‘Ah this is gonna be fine, the audience is so welcoming.’ It’s such a brilliant show, people love it and the movie has been in their lives for so many years it’s like a firm Christmas classic.

ON: Have you been tempted to watch the movie a few times to remind yourself of what it’s like?

Ben: I’ve consciously not watched the film since getting the part, it’s really important for me not to do an impression of Will Ferrell because it wouldn’t be the right thing to do. If you were watching the show and thinking he’s doing a good ‘Will’ impression then it’s not as fun or heartwarming plus you don’t connect fully to the character. I look at it as a part I have to act and take the honesty out of it. Essentially Buddy is a man who would have grown up with elves, lives in the North Pole and thinks it’s Christmas every day. If anyone would have had that reality and then come into normal life it would be hysterical, so I just play it like that – open and honest.

ON: Can fans expect a carbon copy of the movie though?

Ben: There’s a few tiny differences, but the story is exactly the same as it is in the movie – the moral, the message – it’s all there. It will still make you laugh, and it will still make you cry at the end because you’ll feel the Christmas spirit plus it reminds you what Christmas is about. For most people Christmas is about being with your family, travelling wherever you might be just to have that one special night with people you love to give them a present. To feel the love, to give love – that is what the musical is all about.

ON: With you doing this tour over Christmas will you miss out on seeing your family?

Ben: No not at all, just the opposite as I’m from the North East and my Mum and Dad now live in the North West. As soon as I finish the show at Christmas I’m gonna do exactly what Buddy did and trawl across the country and be back with my family. I want to be with my nephews and see them all opening their presents because that is the magic of Christmas time.

 

Well after that sneak preview and chat we can’t wait for Ben and the cast to arrive in the city for Elf – The Musical at The Lowry…is it too early for mulled wine and mince pies?? 

Grab yourself a ticket whilst you can as this show is guaranteed to make even Ebenezer Scrooge feel in the Christmas spirit!

https://www.thelowry.com/events/elf-the-musical

 

 

 

BRB – Aladdin

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Birmingham Royal Ballet returns to the Lowry’s Lyric theatre this week with their magical, family-friendly production of Aladdin. Taken from the stories of the Arabian Nights, David Bintley’s splendid version of this classic tale, with music by the BAFTA award-winning Carl Davis chose Salford to begin their Autumn/Winter ’17 season.

This enchanting production perfectly balances humour with beautiful chorography, and explores aspects of the tale that audiences may not have been aware of. The story begins with a young, cheeky Aladdin (Mathias Dingman) escaping the clutches of the palace guards with the help of the mysterious Magician, the Mahgrib (Iain Mackay), who subsequently tricks Aladdin into entering the dark cave on his behalf to retrieve the lamp.

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Each Act has its own crescendo which does not fail to dazzle the audience. The Cave of Riches at the end of Act I, is one of exquisite beauty, in which mischievous Aladdin is surrounded by an array of dancing gems who demonstrate a wide range of styles and techniques much to the delight of the audience. The gems lead Aladdin to the old lamp which places him on a road to riches and leads him to his true love, princess, Badr al-Budur (Momoko Hirata).

The sets and costumes become more vibrant and luxurious as the story unfolds, and as Aladdin himself becomes more accustomed to his life of luxury under the brilliantly blue Djinn of the lamp (played by Tzu-Chao Chou). The performance would not be the same without the dazzling orchestra conducted by Paul Murphy and led by Robert Gibbs, which adds to the atmosphere immensely, allowing the performance to swap and change between suspense and humour seamlessly.

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This production is bound to astonish audiences of all ages, with its delightful and superbly delivered chorography, technicoloured sets, sumptuous costumes and enchanting score. Birmingham Royal Ballet once again prove why they are one of the most loved and celebrated companies around, visually stunning, highly entertaining and not to be missed!

On at The Lowry until Saturday 23rd of Sepember tickets available here http://www.thelowry.com/events/aladdin

Reviewed by Emily Cotter

Lowry Competition!

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We are thrilled to be able to offer a family ticket to see the fabulous Fauna on either Thursday 21st or Fri 22nd September at the Lowry.

Winner of the Total Theatre and Jackson’s Lane Award for Circus at Edinburgh Festival 2017, Fauna is a unique mixture of acrobatics, dance and movement with a brilliant live musical score – a mesmerising evening of extraordinary strength and sublime skill!

To enter all you need to do is follow our page and share this post, good luck!

Further information can be found at http://www.thelowry.com/events/fauna

Cheshire Fest is back!

 

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Cheshire Fest is back later this month for a weekend filled with music, food and drink, a guaranteed end of summer celebration in the heart of the Cheshire countryside!

The two-day festival returns on Saturday 23rd and Sunday 24th September at its new location, Manchester Rugby Club in Cheadle Hulme.

Launched in 2016 the weekend is a celebration of music, food and drink and returns bigger and better than ever for 2017, with a whole host of food and drink offerings alongside a fantastic entertainment programme which includes some of Cheshire’s finest talent.

Organisers have revealed a full programme for the weekend detailing the wide range of activities that revellers can expect from the family friendly festival which boasts free entry for children under the age of 15 with adult tickets starting at £10 (plus booking fee) which includes a free drink.

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The weekend festivities kick off from 11am on both days with a full main stage programme of live entertainment throughout the day.

On Saturday, the #RememberWhen Main Stage plays host to Cheshire’s finest tribute acts including Want You Back (Take That tribute), Dan East is Ed Sheeran, Be-Beyonce, MJ Mimms (Michael Jackson) and Elvis. Joining the line-up are some of Cheshire’s finest local artists Leon Meya and The Sound as well as Britain’s Got Talent finalists’ MD Productions.

Sunday’s musical programme is sure to get the crowds rocking as the #FestivalAnthems Main Stage delivers rock anthems. Line-up includes Antarctic Monkeys, Oashish, The Absolute Stone Roses and Yellow (Coldplay tribute). Local artists Nolan and Leon Meya complete Sunday’s Main Stage Line-up.

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Elsewhere across the festival site attendees can head to the Street Food Village to enjoy an array of gourmet street food and international cuisine. Beer lovers can sample the delights of the Mini Beer Fest with over 30 varieties of beers, cask ales and ciders from across the UK.

In addition to the Mini Beer Fest, festival goers can enjoy a relaxing G&T in the tranquillity of The Gin Garden, grab a cocktail at the Cocktail Bar, enjoy a glass of fizz in the Champagne and Prosecco Bar or savour the taste of summer at the Pimm’s Bus.

 

A silent disco will also be on site where you can dance to hearts content with music as loud as you please with passers by continuing to enjoy the festival. Comic Con and Sci-Fi fans are also being catered for with Star Wars characters parading around the site which is well worth a selfie!

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The Kids Tent will keep the younger festival goers entertained throughout the weekend with a whole host of workshops, games and live entertainment. Stars of the TV show The Voice Kids UK will entertain throughout the day. Frozen meets Beauty & the Beast offers children the chance to meet and greet some of their favourite characters with stage performances throughout the day. There will also be a huge range of giant inflatable castles in Bouncy World, a Family Fun Fair and Little Explorers Activities.

Festival Director Philip Osbourne said, “After launching our first festival in 2016, we’ve taken huge steps to bring on board a cracking team of organisers this year to reinvent the festival. We’re all about big days out with family and friends and we think this new format, location and programme will offer just that! It has been an absolute pleasure to put together the programme for Cheshire Fest, we hope the people of Cheshire enjoy what is sure to be a great weekend.”

Tickets to this unmissable event start at just £10 plus booking fees, which includes a free drink for every ticket buyer! Book now for the perfect end to summer. For tickets head to http://www.cheshirefest.co.uk

 

 

The Tiger Who Came to Tea

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Judith Kerr’s children’s book The Tiger Who Came to Tea has been delighting youngsters since it was first published in 1968 and now the story has been brought to life on stage. Following a successful West End season the Olivier Award nominated production is on a UK tour providing a summer holiday treat for families up and down the country.

The three strong cast, who look like they have just popped out of the storybook itself, ignite the excitement of the mini theatre goers from the start by walking down the aisles past them waving and saying ‘hello’ before taking their places on stage. Children in the audience from age 3 upwards were totally mesmerised by Mummy (Ashley Tucker), Daddy (Harry Howle) and their little girl Sophie (Abby Norman) as they re-enacted the tale of The Tiger Who Came to Tea complete with a number of jolly sing-along songs.

Adapted and directed by David Wood this production doesn’t disappoint the small fans of the book, who have either read it with parents or at school, and at 55 minutes long (without interval) it’s just enough time to keep them all engaged.

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The energy levels are at a maximum from the cast and they are rewarded with squeals of glee from the youngsters for their performances. The show stealer of course has to be the Tiger (also played by Harry Howle) and the excitement definitely goes up a number of levels when he sets his paws on stage. The Tiger is naughty, funny, cuddly AND he wiggles his bum when he dances – who could not love him!

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Great fun for all the family this tale of teatime mayhem is a sure fire hit with kids and adults alike. I defy you not to come out of there smiling!

Runs at The Lowry until 30TH July.

https://www.thelowry.com/events/the-tiger-who-came-to-tea

 

Mini Reviewer’s Verdict – Daisy aged (just) 7

Daisy Reviewer

My favourite bit was when the Tiger ate all the food and my favourite song was the ‘sausage, chips and ice cream’! I would recommend the show as it was very good and so funny, all the other children loved it too. I think people aged 5 to 8 years old should watch it as it is so enjoyable to shout out and join in the action. At the end of the show I was sad because it was over but then the Tiger came back out and made me laugh again.

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Matthew Bourne’s The Red Shoes

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Due to popular demand and for the 1st time in New Advenutres history, Matthew Bourne’s Olivier award winning production, The Red Shoes returns to the Lowry next week for the second time during its current season, offering audiences one final chance to catch the visually stunning and technically sublime production which has captivated audiences since its World Premiere at the Theatre Royal Plymouth in November.

Based on the academy award winning film by Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger and of course the much loved Hans Christian Andersen fairytale, The Red Shoes tells the story of “Victoria Page”, the girl who yearns to become the greatest dancer in the world.

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New Adventures favourite, Ashley Shaw, most recently seen across the UK and internationally as “Aurora” in Matthew Bourne’s critically acclaimed Sleeping Beauty, takes on the role of Victoria and has enchanted audiences with her exquisite and breath-taking talent. The Red Shoes is an utterly captivating and timeless piece, a tale of heartbreak, passion and love as Victoria becomes Principal dancer in the new ballet ‘The Red Shoes’ but finds herself torn between two men, resulting in the most beautifully intense and incredibly emotive performances.

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Lifting this already superb production to an even higher level is the stunning new score arranged by New Adventures Associate Artist, Terry Davies using the magnificent music of golden-age Hollywood composer, Bernard Herrmann. The combination of this exquisite theatrical score and breath-taking performances from the New Adventures Company make this a show not to be missed.

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After it’s sell-out visit to the Lowry last December The Red Shoes returns for one week only from Tuesday 11th until Saturday 15th July tickets available here www.thelowry.com/events/matthew-bournes-production-of-the-red-shoes