BALLET RAMBERT at Bath Theatre Royal

Rambert - Stephen Wright and Estela Merlos in Rooster -- Photo by Tristram Kenton

” . . . The Theatre Royal audience rose as one to acclaim the ensemble after a triumphant, exhilarating and sensitive performance to some of the Rolling Stones’ finest early works. In a last moment of silence, Cuban dancer Miguel Altunaga jutted his chin out in a gesture of male bravado and brought the house down . . . This was fabulous stuff, devoured by the audience who at once became animated, to some extent released from the more demanding abstractions that had preceded it . . . Sassy, sexy and strongly recommended.

ERIC AND LITTLE ERN at the Tobacco Factory, Bristol

ERIC AND LITTLE ERN

“. . . The timing is perfect, the idiosyncratic twitches and mannerisms, the playing with the glasses the tilt of the body, the thrust of a one-liner are all as you remember . . . You’ll find the Grieg’s Piano Concerto sketch and the paper bag gag done with as much freshness as at their first outing. Ashpitel and Stephens have worked hard to retrieve the original feeling of the routines and it has clearly been a labour of love. If you share the affection or if you ever wondered what your parents were groaning on about this show is for you.”

DICK GAUGHAN at the Everyman Theatre, Cheltenham

Dick_Gaughan_1

“My father and a long line of grandfathers were all fiddle players.” he told me. “I tried to learn but could never get the hang of it. My mother sang and there was always traditional Scottish or Irish music in the house that I grew up in.” Although his songs are overtly political, covering everything from the miners’ strike of 1984 to Flanders of the First World War, his music always sounds Scottish. He plays his guitar with a flat pick in open tuning which gives the sound a traditional, droning Celtic feel.

THE PILLOWMAN at the Oxford Playhouse

pillowman_s

The stories which create a framework for the play are horrible and brilliant at the same time. Reminiscent of the writings of T. C. Boyle, there are very few happy endings in Katurian’s stories, but they raise the fascinating questions of how the creative mind works, and what factors can bring out the dark heart of literature, and of humanity. Martin McDonagh is a superb writer, and has created stories to hold together the narrative arc of the play which captivate the audience from the beginning.

ETO’s LIFE ON THE MOON at Bath Theatre Royal

LIFEonMOON 2

“From the first moment, when a smiling Ronan Busfield (Cecco) regales us from the front of the stage to explain the synopsis, to “those of you who haven’t been generous enough to buy the programme,” and confides with us that “Soprano Jane Harrington is still in her dressing room worrying about the size of her hips”, we are under no illusion that we are witness to ‘something slightly different’. . . It was always director Cal McCrystal’s intention to tease out belly laughs from this preposterous tale of misogyny, delusion, love and come-uppance.”

The Hypochondriac at the Everyman Cheltenham

The Hypochondriac - Tony Robinson as Argan and Imogen Stubbs as Beline - Photo credit Simon Annand - (ref193)

“Tony Robinson was very watchable and entertaining but was not given his head and allowed to run with the performance in a way in which I am sure he would have been capable. David Collings, as the cutely named Diafoirehoea, was also good in a restrained way but it was only Imogen Stubbs as the pushy, money-grabbing wife Beline, who showed what could have been done. Her performance had elements of farce which were sadly missing from the rest of the production.”