Lowry Competition!

Comp

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

Cover My Tracks

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Charlie Fink, formerly of Noah and the Whale brings his latest album Cover My Tracks to the Lowry: however the evening promises something a little different. It is billed as a piece of ‘gig theatre’ and Fink shares the stage with actress Rona Morison to tell the tale of a singer song writer, a lover, a masterpiece, heartbreak and loss.

Armed with a stool, acoustic guitar and a dimly lit spotlight, Fink arrives on stage followed by Morison and between Fink’s songs and Morison we learn about two unnamed lovers torn apart by the apparent suicide of one, leaving their partner to cope with the loss and a chance to unravel the mystery as to what really happened.

The story is filled with highs and lows as we see how the couple met, their life on the road, the moment they write a huge hit record and finally the breakdown in their relationship as one desperately wants to escape from the trappings of modern life and eventually make the ultimate sacrifice…or do they?

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This is a fascinating piece of work. Fink may be the star attraction on the poster, but his is a low-key, restrained performance and certainly the delivery of his songs was reminiscent of the late Leonard Cohen. This is in stark contrast to the ball of energy that is Morison, who is excellent as our narrator conveying the joy, misery and raw emotion of someone desperate for answers. Morison also gives Fink a run for his money in the vocal department, demonstrating a fine singing voice.

The story is told through some truly beautiful songs with standout tracks being Firecracker and I Was Born to Be A Cowboy. The plot is riddled with intrigue as we know very little about our protagonist including their names and their gender further enhancing our engagement with the drama.

The production isn’t without flaws, taking a rather romanticised view of grief and mental health issues in some parts but on the whole this an innovative and engaging piece, a unique and hugely enjoyable way to listen to an album with a context.

On at The Lowry until Saturday 16th September, for tickets head to http://www.thelowry.com/events/cover-my-tracks

 

The Addams Family

Credit: Matt Martin

The Addams Family, photo credit for images: Matt Martin

Halloween may be over a month away but The Lowry is already getting theatre-goers in a ghoulish mood with the latest production to make the Salford location its home, The Addams Family.

If you are old enough (and want to admit it) you might remember the cult black and white series back in the 60s focusing on the macabre but loveable family, or, if not, the more recent 90s movie of the same name starring the deliciously dark Angelica Houston and Raul Julia as Morticia and Gomez Addams.

As is the case now with most successful films they eventually get transformed for the stage and, having already been a hit on Broadway, the musical comedy version of The Addams Family is finally hitting UK and Irish audiences with its premiere tour.

The story here is simple; Wednesday Addams (Carrie Hope Fletcher) has fallen in love. Nothing wrong with that…apart from the fact it is with Lucas an all American boy with an all American family. When Wednesday decides to bring Lucas and his family home for tea, she realises meeting the Addams might have some kooky consequences on their relationship! And how will her mother Morticia (Samantha Womack) react when she finds out her daughter has fallen in love with somebody ‘normal’?

It’s a fans dream from start to finish with the overture including the familiar TV theme tune getting people clicking along in glee plus there’s a script sprinkled full of Addams gimmicks. The opening number When You’re An Addams certainly packs a punch, setting the show off on the right tone and proving from the get go that the production has a talented cast of singers and dancers. Peaking so early may be to its detriment as from then on in there’s long number after long number which makes the action drag, especially in the first half of the musical.

credit: Matt Martin

Full Disclosure

Andrew Lippa may have created an original soundtrack but there’s not many of the 20 plus songs which are memorable after you leave the theatre and most could be cut down to a shorter length to give them a snappier feel. Plus, there’s no disguising Lippa’s inspiration from the musical Chicago with Full Disclosure, which gives much more than just a nod to the Kander and Ebb classic, We Both Reached For the Gun.

Aside from that the cast perform an impressive job of bringing the songs to life and encapsulate the spirit of the cherished characters from yester year.

credit: Matt Martin

Cameron Blakley as Gomez and Samantha Womack as Morticia.

Former Eastenders star Samantha Womack is perfect casting for Morticia, maintaining the dark sombre air of the matriarch of the kooky clan. Womack is a pro with a back catalogue of stage credits which shows here as she slinks her way effortlessly through every scene.

credit: Matt Martin

Les Dennis as Uncle Fester

Les Dennis shines as bright as the lightbulb he puts in his mouth as Uncle Fester. The well-loved comedian turned actor is endearing as the quirky Uncle who just wants everybody to be happy. His facial expressions are on point as is his high pitched broken accent which encapsulates the Fester that fans are used to.

The strongest vocals come from Carrie Hope Fletcher as the Princess of Darkness, Wednesday. Her solo rendition of Pulled is truly superb and leaves the audience with goosebumps at her incredible talent.

credit: Matt Martin

Oliver Ormson as Lucas and Carrie Hope Fletcher as Wednesday.

The real showstopper of the piece has to be Cameron Blakely as the vibrant and funny Latin lover Gomez. His comedic delivery as he wrestles between his loyalty for his wife and his daughter has the audience in stitches, along with his delivery of witty one liners such as, “Wednesday’s growing up, she’ll be Thursday before we know it”!

Full marks go to designer Diego Pitarch for an incredibly atmospheric set which craetes the spooky tone of the show. His lavish Addams mansion is impressive with its boarded up floor to ceiling windows and hanging paintings (which, if you look closely, have people moving in them).

All things considered The Addams Family will provide you with a fun night at the theatre. It may not be in the league of Wicked or Hamilton but it has bags of enthusiasm, plenty of laughs and enough to keep you entertained for the duration.

You won’t go out humming the original score but you will still be wanting to finger snap your way to the car park!

Runs at The Lowry until 9th September

https://www.thelowry.com/events/the-addams-family

 

Family Fun this Summer at The Lowry

Room on the Broom

credit: KW & NB Ltd

Throughout August The Lowry are running a ‘Non-stop Summer of activities’ and Opening Night thought we would head along with our mini-reviewer Daisy to spend the day experiencing all they had to offer.

First stop for us was Room on the Broom, a wonderful family show from Tall Stories theatre company. It is a musical adaptation of the worldwide bestselling children’s novel by Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler and its arrival at The Lowry follows on from the company’s successful run with their version of The Gruffalo last year.

Fans of the book will be familiar with the tale being told in rhyme and it works perfectly here, with a number of original songs added for extra entertainment. With the duration being just over an hour it also suits the age it caters for (which is 3 years up) keeping them enthralled from start to finish.

For those uninitiated with the tale it follows a jolly witch and her cat on their ‘broom’ adventures. Directed by Olivia Jacobs and designed by Morgan Large every box is ticked in bringing this novel from the page to the stage.

The Witch, played brilliantly by Amy Harris, and her cute cat (Emma Crowley Bennett) are travelling on their broomstick when they pick up some friends along the way – an excitable dog, a green bird and a crazy singing frog. But the broomstick is not meant for five, let alone one, and it snaps in two with hilarious consequences just as a fire breathing dragon appears!

David Garrud and David Bloom add the main comedy and energy to the show, as the extra puppet characters who sing and bound around the set at every opportunity, much to the hilarity of the young audience.

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‘Mini-reviewer’ Daisy has her pen and paper at the ready for Room on the Broom!

Mini-reviewer Daisy (7) was enthralled from start to finish and she loved singing and clapping along to the audience participation songs. The whole show is good family fun full of laughs and surprises as the energetic cast of four produce larger than life characters and perform with all the puppet characters seamlessly.

Following on from Room on a Broom we checked out the dining experience in The Lowry’s ultra-modern restaurant, Pier 8. Throughout the summer children eat free with a paying adult as long as there is a children’s show on at the theatre at the time. It’s the perfect place for a pre or post show meal and the staff were lovely, in particular Rob our waiter.

We ordered the 6oz burger with the added extra of garstang blue cheese and Daisy opted for fish and chips with an ice cream sundae to follow and us, a dreamy rhubarb creme brûlée. It was a great meal and ticked the boxes for choice for adults and children in the perfect setting.

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One very excited child at her free kids meal in Pier 8

If you want to make a full day of it, the fun doesn’t stop there, The Lowry has lots of activities running throughout August for families, from storytelling to drawing and dressing up. We walked off our lunch by visiting the art gallery upstairs and seeing some of the LS Lowry paintings along with getting involved with some of the free creative workshops on offer.

If you are looking for somewhere where the whole family can enjoy a day out then you can’t go wrong this summer with paying a visit to The Lowry.

www.thelowry.com

Room on the Broom runs until 27th August at The Lowry

 

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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Sasha Regan’s All Male The Mikado

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Set in the 1950s on a private school camping trip Sasha Regan’s All Male The Mikado presents us with a new twist on an old classic. The famous Gilbert & Sullivan musical is freshened up in this touring production which makes Salford’s Lowry Theatre its last stop, running until July 29.

 

As with her previous all-male Gilbert & Sullivan productions, such as HMS Pinafore and The Pirates of Penzance, Regan delights in ramping up the cheekiness and playful tone of the show with antics which wouldn’t be amiss in a Monty Python film. The show starts with a balletic overture to set the scene for what is to come with boys who wouldn’t look out of place in a Famous Five novel playing pranks on each other, perfectly choreographed by Holly Hughes.

 

For those unfamiliar with The Mikado it follows the story of travelling musician Nanki-Poo (Richard Munday)who is searching for the love of his life Yum-Yum (Alan Richardson) who is betrothed and about to marry her cousin Ko-Ko (David McKechnie). Ko-Ko however has just been saved from a beheading for flirting and in a crazy turn of events has appointed Lord High Executioner. When Nanki-Poo arrives in the town of Titipu to claim Yum-Yum he has not only has Ko-Ko to face but also has a secret to reveal.

 

Admittedly this Gilbert and Sullivan has a number of twists and turns which make it hard to keep up but with Regan’s additional changes to boot it proves a tricky first watch for newcomers to G & S. Regan’s switch from the standard Japan setting and kimono wearing cast to a quintessentially English woods with a group of ‘jolly hockey sticks’ boys in vests and shorts takes a while to get used to but by Act Two you are able to just sit back and enjoy the thoroughly entertaining action. Yes, Regan’s move is brave but it works. It’s camp, clever and extremely witty.

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There’s some simple devices used to full effect- those in the cast playing female roles rolling up their shorts to turn them into girls and ramping up their feminine mannerisms. Playing on the ‘twee’ English theme there’s also the use of cricket bats to symbolise an axe and straw hats loaded on top of each other to display a persons’ rank. It may tick lots of school boy boxes but by no means does it have the feel of a school production, this version of The Mikado is polished and well thought out. The frequent use of innuendo has the audience tittering away with the hanging of signs outside the boys’ tents saying phrases like ‘no ball games’ and the ‘nod-nod wink-wink’ timing of the bicycle pumping from Alex Weatherhill’s Katisha.

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The cast are made up of a variety of voices from baritones, to sopranoes, working in unison to produce a lovely sound. Alan Richardson has a glass shattering falsetto which beggars belief that it comes out of a male body. His facial expressions as Yum-Yum are hilarious and Richardson makes the most of every line adding an extra bit of comedy on to each one.

 

David McKechnie is also brilliant as the scheming Ko Ko, his cockney wise guy act has a real feel of Fagin about it which makes you think he might burst into You’ve Got to Pick a Pocket or Two at any minute. McKechnie commands the stage and makes it hard for you not to adore the loveable rogue by the end.

 

Elsewhere Richard Russell Edwards as Peep-Bo and Jamie Jukes as Pitti-Sing raise the camp levels with their fabulous portrayals of Yum-Yum’s friends and a special mention must go to Musical Director Richard Baker who does a sterling job playing the solo piano throughout, tinkling the ivories through a massive 26 Gilbert & Sullivan songs whilst also conducting the cast.

 

A rapturous applause at the jovial finale showed the seal of approval from the audience, made up of what looked to be a number of G & S devotees, proving Sasha Regan’s latest offering is yet another success to add to her list.

If you want a Gilbert and Sullivan for 2017 then you should definitely give Sasha Regan’s All Male The Mikado a try.

 

Runs at The Lowry until 29th July

http://www.thelowry.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Railway Children

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Exeter Northcott Theatre’s charming production of E. Nesbit’s much loved classic The Railway Children arrives at the Lowry Theatre this week.

Directed by Paul Jepson, the play brings together a well-adapted screenplay, outstanding acting and technical wizardry to create a highly atmospheric and snappily-paced adaptation of the children’s novel.

The production is mostly true to the original story of a mother and three children forced to abandon their comfortable London home for a small cottage in the country following the wrongful conviction of their father. The twists and turns in the plot are cleverly adapted from the original to suit the stage with Perks (the excellent Stewart Wright) as the omnipotent observer who fills in the gaps of the lengthy novel without ever losing an opportunity to show off his excellent comic timing.

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The quality of the directing is clear in the naturalness of the dialogue, particularly between the three children Phyllis (Katherine Carlton), Roberta (an outstanding Millie Turner) and Peter (Vinay Lad). Callum Goulden as young John Perks is an excellent comic foil to his more earnest peers; it was a shame not to see a bit more of a highly amiable Andrea Davy as Mrs. Perks. Joy Brook as Mother gives an emotional performance, and the excellent portrayal of family drama is lightened and enlivened by the visits of an increasingly frayed Andrew Josh as the family doctor.

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The stage is often transformed into a sepia-toned 19th century by the beautiful semi-transparent backdrops and there are also very effective video projections which give the big moments a cinematic immediacy. There was some evidence of first-night nerves (a banner went up at the wrong time, and the show started somewhat late) but these could not distract a rapt audience. This excellent production runs until Sunday, July 30th and is not to be missed.

Tickets can be found at http://www.thelowry.com/events/the-railway-children

 

Reviewed by Deirdre Warr