Danny and the Deep Blue Sea

Reviewed by Nikki Cotter

Opening Night verdict ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Written in 1984 by John Patrick Stanley, Danny and the Deep Blue Sea is a intensely compelling study of two lonely lives, both trapped in desperate and destructive spirals of self-loathing who come together in search of both companionship and redemption.

Volatile Danny (Danny Solomon) speaks with his fists, lashing out at anyone and everyone in a bid to protect his fractured self. He is unpredictable and alarming yet somehow Roberta (Hannah Ellis Ryan) is not afraid. Burdened by her own trauma she is riddled with self-hatred and a warped sense of a need for punishment for her abusive past.

A simple set of scattered bar furniture and an old mattress complete with crumpled bedclothes make to the set. A glimmer of moonlight seeps in from above while a porcelain doll dressed in white offers a hint of Roberta’s past.

As the barbed bickering deepens into aggressive exchanges a sharing of secrets begins allowing both characters to develop unpredictably. Danny’s vulnerability begins to show as his defences slip while their fleeting post-coital redemption shows their shared desperation for elusive love and happiness. They are messed up, bad, burdened and bruised yet touchingly real and heart-achingly raw.

Both Danny Solomon and Hannah Ellis Ryan convince entirely in their roles. As an audience member you are in that bar in the Bronx with them, you feel every moment of heartache in the bedroom and share in their despair and awkward humour. Director Daniel Bradford ensures the emotional charge of both performances slaps you in the face keeping you guessing throughout, never knowing where these tormented souls will take you next. Drowning in despair one moment while gleefully flinging arms around each other the next. Powerful and affecting theatre once again from Play With Fire Productions.

Catch Danny and the Deep Blue Sea until Thursday 12th September at Hope Mill Theatre tickets available here.

Off Cut Festival | Manchester

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If you want to see the finest in new short plays where you as an audience member can influence which winners will be offered the opportunity to develop their piece into a fully-staged production with Manchester Actors’ Platform then get yourself down to 53two this week.

For five years, the Off Cut Festival has been one of the UK’s most successful platforms for undiscovered writing, acting and directing talent, the festival now has a new northern home and takes place between 22nd and 25th January.

Over the past few weeks, 15 brand new short plays from writers around the country have been rehearsed and reworked by Manchester’s finest up-and-coming directors and actors, ready to be performed to audiences over three nights. They will be shown over three nights with five plays performed each night, the audience will be asked to vote for their favourite plays each night. The top two from each group will then go through to be performed again on the last day of the festival, Saturday 25th January. The audience will then vote on the plays again alongside a panel of industry professionals who will also be selecting their favourites to decide the winner.

Producer Simon Naylor from Manchester Actors’ Platform and FOUNDation/53two said “OFFCUT fills a hole that has long been empty. It embraces all of the qualities we strive for in independent and fringe theatre and provides the perfect platform to showcase and launch careers alongside celebrating the brilliant spirit and bond that this city has.”

The performances have been broken down into the following groups

22nd Jan – 7:30pm

Home Fires Burning by Kevin Cuffe

Summerland by Brian Coyle

The Fish and the Sea by Jeff Nolan

Born on the Right Side by Maddie Wakeling

Grow by Gemma Langford

 

23rd Jan – 7:30pm

Home by Alexandra Keelan

Best Friends by Lewis Charlesworth

FOMO by Curtis Cole

Here We Are by Anne Price

There’s a Fly in My Room by Rachel McMurray

 

24th Jan – 7:30pm

Tortoise by Naomi Westerman

Tremble by Rob Johnston

To Sleep by Stephanie Lacey

Granola by Gemma Whiteley

Click by Chantelle Dusette

 

GRAND FINAL

25th Jan – 7:30pm

The six plays, chosen by the audience over the previous three nights, are performed again. From them, the winner of the Audience Award for Favourite Play will be developed and fully-staged at 53two.

Tickets are £8 per show

£24 for OFFCUT PASS to all 4 nights

Available here.

Unwaged tickets at £2 available every

The Salford Belles

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Jack Land Nobel’s darkly comedic soap opera The Salford Belles is headed to Hope Mill Theatre from tomorrow as part of The Greater Manchester Fringe this month.

First staged as The Barnsley Belles by the Yorkshireman Company back in July 2013 and now given a Salfordian twist by LS Theatre Productions, The Salford Belles promises to be a little like an episode of Coronation Street screened way, way after the watershead!

We meet Queenie, Mary and Martha who are all are at their wits end after a lifetime of cooking, cleaning, caring and conspiring. They are all desperate for change – but at what cost? Join The Salford Belles in this hilarious dark comedy and discover what goes on behind closed doors when the washing’s brought in from the rain and the curtains are drawn.

Catch the show from Monday 17th July until Saturday 22nd at Hope Mill Theatre, tickets available via the link below;

http://www.greatermanchesterfringe.co.uk/index.php#startlisting

 

 

The Marriage of Kim K


A combination of a musical about the failed marriage of Kim Kardashian and Mozart’s ‘The Marriage of Figaro’ really shouldn’t work but somehow Northern music/theatre duo Leoe & Hyde have created a little piece of magic here, ensuring a monster hit for fringe production, The Marriage of Kim K.

At the centre of the story we have Amelia, (played superbly by Amelia Gabriel) and Stephen (portrayed wonderfully by director and composer of the piece Stephen Hyde), a couple who are poles apart in their ideas on what makes for a relaxing night in front of the TV, something which ultimately affects the harmony of their whole relationship. Amelia will happily watch, and watch, and watch reality TV Queen Kim Kardashain while Stephen’s idea of heaven is immersing himself in the works of Mozart, regardless of whether he understands what is being said or not.


As our couple sit centre stage fighting for control of the TV remote a look into the life of Kim K begins to take place stage left whilst The Marriage of Figaro emerges to our right. The staging of this piece is wonderfully creative, with witty lyrics and outstanding orchestration, sharp observations are played out to great effect.

As Kim (played brilliantly by Yasemin Mireille), becomes increasingly bored of life with Kris (portrayed superbly by the hilarious James Edge) we see perhaps that reality TV isn’t too different from real life as Amelia and Stephen become increasingly frustrated and fed up with each other. Cut to the Marriage of Figaro and life isn’t too rosy here either as Count Almaviva (played by the charismatic and comedic Nathan Bellis) is increasingly testing his Countess (portrayed beautifully by Emily Burnett) with his dalliances and downright bad behaviour. We soon begin to realise that life is pretty similar for us all, whether you’re from revolutionary France, glamorous LA or sat on your sofa scrapping over the TV remote here in the UK.


The whole cast deliver outstanding performances, Leoe Mercer has gifted each character with witty and well observed lyrics which offer many laugh out loud moments as we realise just how absurd life can be whether that be as a grand Countess or a struggling composer, and how deep down we’re not so different after all, allowing the three very different stories to perfectly intertwine. The addition of a live orchestra really makes this a stand out piece, Stephen Hyde’s score adapted from Mozart’s The Marriage of Figaro is beautiful and sets perfectly the pace and flow of the on stage action.

Together Leoe & Hyde have created an absolute gem of a show, witty, beautifully crafted and superbly delivered. Book your tickets here www.marriageofkimk.com/tickets.html