When We Built A Rocket Ship

Opening Night verdict ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Reviewed by Matt Forrest

The Oldham Theatre Workshop is celebrating it’s 50th anniversary, and what better way to celebrate than by going on an adventure, When We Built A Rocket Ship is exactly that, a celebration of adventure and just how far your imagination can take you.

Opening in 1968, we are introduced to a group of childhood friends who meet up in a secluded woodland setting: they have a den, they each have each other, and they have a place to let their imagination run free: there are battles with pirates, encounters with mermaids and sea monsters, and later even an appearance from Charlie’s Angels. Accompanying the gang on the journey is a troop of forest friendly sprites who are always there to lend a hand.

With imagination knowing no limits, the gang decide to embark on an adventure into out-of-space: an adventure that will span 50 years and see them go through personal heart ache and tragedy, with the only constants being their friendship and the group’s haven.

As we go from decade to decade with the group and whilst struggling with the cruel blows that life can send their way from time to time: however, with every one of them knowing that they have each other’s back and no matter what happens they will face each problem together.

This is an ambitious, smart piece of musical theatre that is heavy on the feel-good factor, and has something for everyone: catchy tunes, an engaging story we can all relate to and a heavy dose of nostalgia.

With a cast boasting over 40 actors they all work their socks off throughout, especially during the exceptionally well-choreographed dance routines. The costumes are outstanding, especially on the forest elves: there is more than a wink to the lost boys from Peter Pan, the forest setting looks fabulous and has everything you would want for a secret hideaway.

The production is not without its flaws: Act 1 and 2 are slick and engaging whereas the final act felt a little laboured. There is a huge dramatic event that has is front and centre to the narrative and when this is first broken to the audience it isn’t done with the magnitude it fully deserves.

In addition, there were a few notable mis-queues and mis-steps which were quite distracting, although these may be down to opening night nerves.

Overall this is an entertaining and rewarding piece of theatre and the perfect birthday celebration for the OTW: with such a young talented cast, the OTW can go from strength to strength and we can all look forward to 50 more years of success.

When We Built A Rocket Ship is on till July 28th tickets are available here.

 

 

Oldham Coliseum Announces its Spring-Summer 2017 Season

spring-and-port-wine

Oldham Coliseum Theatre has announced its Spring-Summer 2017 season and it looks like there’s lots to look forward to! From new takes on old classics to side-splitting comedies, and a glittering Bollywood musical to top it all off.

The season kicks off in March with a brand new look into Oldham’s past from writers Cathy Crabb and Lindsay Williams and composer Carol Donaldson. Meat Pie, Sausage Roll is a heart-warming new musical about family and loyalty set against the backdrop of Oldham Athletics’ memorable 1990/1991 season. For Mick, nothing matters more than Latics’ promotion to the top flight, but when his daughter’s wedding falls on the last day of the season, it all starts to go wrong.

 From Thursday 13 – Saturday 29 April the Coliseum presents Bill Naughton’s Lancastrian comedy Spring and Port Wine. Rafe Crompton is a strict father who struggles to control his rebellious children as they swing into the sixties. His wife, Daisy, uses all her wiles to keep the family together but secrets are coming out of the woodwork fast and furious.

hard-times

It’s Charles Dickens as you’ve never seen him before from Friday 19 May – Saturday 3 June, with Stephen Jeffreys’ fast-moving adaptation of Hard Times.  Set in a northern mill town, Hard Times follows fact-obsessed schoolmaster Thomas Gradgrind, greedy mill owner Josiah Bounderby and their families, friends and employees.

the-father

Actor, director and two-time former Coliseum Artistic Director, Kenneth Alan Taylor, returns to the Coliseum stage from Friday 16 June – Saturday 1 July to star in The Father. Written by Florian Zeller and translated by Christopher Hampton, the play portrays the devastating impact of dementia on one man and the people in his life. Andre once had a wonderful career as a tap dancer and now lives in Paris with his daughter and her husband. Or was he an engineer whose daughter now lives in London? The trouble is, he can’t quite remember.

Elsewhere in the season London Classic Theatre return with their tour of Hysteria, a farce in which Sigmund Freud meets Salvador Dali, from Tuesday 2 – Saturday 6 May, and the Coliseum welcomes contemporary company, Phyzzical, with their romantic comedy Bring on The Bollywood from Tuesday 18 – Saturday 22 July.  From Wednesday 10 – Saturday 13 May the Coliseum will also once again be joining forces with London’s Southbank Centre, Black Country Touring and Cast in Doncaster to present the second tour of Alchemy, a festival which celebrates South Asian arts, music and performance from international artists alongside local and regional British Asian talents.

The Coliseum will also host a fantastic array of special one night events including: local folk heroes The Houghton Weavers (Friday 24 February); comedians Justin Moorhouse (25 February) and Dave Spikey (7 April); contemporary dance from Phoenix Dance Theatre (4 April) and the return of award-winning singer and BBC Radio 2 presenter Clare Teal with a jazz infused evening celebrating the First Ladies of Swing: Ella Fitzgerald, Peggy Lee, Doris Day and many more (8 April).

For more information got to www.coliseum.org.uk