The Producers at the Bristol Hippodrome

The Producers UK Tour 2015 - photo credit Manuel Harlan (7)

“. . . This production is peppered with some titanic performances, notably Cory English’s full-on portrayal of the deeply amoral producer Max Bialystock and David Bedella’s splendidly vain Roger de Bris. Phill Jupitus’s very solid pigeon-fancying old ‘Jerry’ Franz Liebkind got some belly laughs as did Louie Spence’s ultimately camp Carmen Ghia, while the very leggy Tiffany Graves’ Ulla impressed with high kicks and splits . . . The show swings, but it is starting to show its age.”

THE PIRATES OF PENZANCE at Theatre Royal Bath

Pirates

” . . . Only the most hidebound traditionalists would mourn the absence of females in the cast, so convincing is this version. I found it quite revelatory . . . this is undoubtedly a hugely enjoyable show, for having an all-male cast has created new opportunities for comedy that are exploited to the full. This production is as much comic ballet as comic operetta, and Lizzi Gee’s highly inventive choreography is often hysterically funny. Not for purists perhaps, but this is a wonderfully fresh take on The Pirates of Penzance. Highly recommended. ”

To Kill a Mockingbird at the Everyman, Cheltenham

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“. . . This production thought it had something new and original to bring to the proceedings. They wanted us to know that To Kill a Mockingbird was from a book. In fact, the whole company, with the exception of the three children and Atticus, had a copy about their persons at all times which they were at pains to demonstrate as they all took turns reading from it . . . I liked Zackary Momah as poor Tom Robinson, a black plantation worker accused of raping a white girl. His courtroom scene with Atticus was good, powerful stuff and, for me, the high spot of the evening . . . ”

CASTING THE RUNES at the Tobacco Factory, Bristol

Runes

It is late one evening in 1904. You are in your club; an oak panelled affair in whose fading light you can still manage to pick out details on the book lined walls. The third brandy and your comfortable wing chair conspire – with the last remnants of a once cheerful fire – to do their work. The porter comes in to tell you that because of the January fog your Hackney carriage will be some time yet. Resigned to a tedious wait you sink further into your chair at which juncture one of the longer standing members slips into the room . . .

SO IT GOES at the North Wall, Oxford

So It Goes

Hannah Moss came up with So It Goes in response to her father’s death in 2007. It took her a number of years to begin to come to terms with his death, and talking about it was difficult, so the notion of expressing her feelings without words was a welcome one. With her friend David Ralfe (together they are the theatre company On The Run), she began to explore the idea of wordless communication to tell her story, and to share her experience of grief and loss with her audience.

THE GEORGE GERSHWIN SONGBOOK Everyman Studio, Cheltenham

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The Everyman’s creative director, Paul Milton, is still tapping in to his rich seam of material based on the great pre-war American songwriters. After Cole Porter and Irving Berlin, The George Gershwin Songbook is another little gem. In the previous two shows Paul managed to create a story line using just the lyrics . . . but The George Gershwin Songbook is a straight tribute with biographical details punctuating the songs.

CHASING THE DREAM IN THE LEAST HARMFUL WAY at the Alma, Bristol

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Dominic Lindesay has created a fascinating and morally complex character. Guy is often crass, yet he is capable of considerable sensitivity. At times he is a blundering, selfish oaf, but he can also be forensically self-aware. We see his increasingly inebriated and excruciatingly inept attempt to chat up an attractive colleague at an office party, but we also see him thoughtfully reflecting on the masks that people wear when playing life’s various roles.

DEAR LUPIN at Bath Theatre Royal

James Fox (plays Roger Mortimer) and Jack Fox (plays Charlie Mortimer) in Dear Lupin - Photo credit Simon Turtle - (2)

“Fox Junior (Jack), acting with his pa, was able to use the curious blood chemistry of father and son to bring a genuine warmth to the role, which takes him through writer, Charlie Mortimer’s life with dad’s letters as signposts . . . As a touching portrait of a particular take on humanity through the description of a father-son relationship it will undoubtedly find an audience to entertain. ”