Martin Bonger as FAT MAN at the North Wall, Oxford

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“. . . Orpheus is washed-up. He eats too many doughnuts, he’s drunk, and he’s doing stand-up comedy for the gods . . . As Orpheus’s heart breaks in front of us he reveals so much about the fundamental point of stories, and of the art telling of them . . . This is a story so mesmerizingly told that it’s easy to forget that it’s happening within the constructs of the theatre. Martin Bonger is Orpheus. His story is captivating, and devastating, and real. Even the trees and rocks would stop to listen. “

THE KING’S SPEECH at Birmingham Rep

KING'S SPEECH by Hugo Glendinning

” . . . Roxana Silbert’s direction is sharp and crystal clear, allowing for a very smooth feel to the production. She captures the essence of the period, as well as the pressure upon Bertie’s shoulders, magnificently. From the start the scene is well set, with Bertie being dressed by two footmen, whilst a maid provides tea and toast. The two hours in the auditorium seems to fly by before you are routing for the new king at the finale. Not a sound is heard in the audience, such is the suspension of disbelief, and the piece comes to a satisfying climax. . . “

THE BRONTË SEASON at the Everyman Theatre Studio, Cheltenham

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“. . . Alison Campbell made a sympathetic, likeable and believable Jane Eyre and managed the difficult and demanding task of portraying Mr Rochester and the other characters convincingly enough. It is no mean feat to hold a stage single-handedly for seventy minutes with no props and no extra bits of costume to help you take on the numerous other guises . . . confident and accomplished and deserves praise and congratulations for her part in an enjoyable evening.”

ROMEO AND JULIET at the Tobacco Factory, Bristol

Paapa Essiedu as Romeo and Daisy Whalley as Juliet © Craig Fuller

” . . . In Daisy Whalley we have that much longed-for combination of an actress who really does look thirteen-going-on-fourteen at the same time as having the technical ability to do the role justice. She manages the almost impossible trick of growing up in the space of a few days, as if marriage and consummation have released some inner strength . . . Kudos to Andrew Hilton for handing the company over to fresh talent in what is a new venture combining the equally successful Tobacco Factory with his own. The production sings with originality and leaves us in patient expectation to see what comes next from all concerned.”

ROUNDELAY at the Everyman, Cheltenham

Roundelay - Russell Dixon (Tom) and Brooke Kinsella (Lindy) - Photo credit Tony Bartholomew - (R100)

“. . . One of the plays, THE JUDGE, I really enjoyed, two of them, THE AGENT and THE STAR, were perfectly entertaining and one, THE POLITICIAN, was a bit of a daft comedy of errors. THE NOVELIST we didn’t get to see. On the whole, the acting was good but the outstanding performance, despite a silly wig, came from Russell Dixon as Tom, the retired judge. His mischievously lecherous old man who had hired a call-girl to impersonate his long-dead wife was great fun and a delight to watch . . . If you are a loyal Ayckbourn fan then Roundelay will not disappoint . . . ”

MACBETH at the Playhouse, Oxford

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Filter is a theatre company that has built its name on the inventive use of sound, and in this aspect they do not disappoint in their new adaptation of Macbeth . . . The nimble creativity of the production is captured from the off; after a nice “double, double, toil and trouble” joke that sets the scene for a self-proclaimed ‘playful’ Macbeth, we meet the witches, operating a strange collection of electronic musical apparatus. . . Sound and fury? Absolutely. But when it came to what it all signified? Well, I’ll have to leave you to finish that line. . .”

WICKED at the Bristol Hippodrome

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“. . . The two female leads circle and play off each other throughout, unknowingly becoming crucial influences on each other while an unlikely friendship brews between them. . . The staging of the action was wonderfully realised with a mesmerising set that morphed from twirling cog wheels to portcullis bars; time pieces gave way to an extraordinary mechanised Wizard; changing skyscapes dissolved to the green green shininess of Oz. Even the safety curtain was a thing of beauty – a map of the Land of Oz with the Emerald City glinting in the centre. Every detail of this show has been lovingly put together.”

THE HONEY MAN at the Door, Birmingham Rep

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“. . . Tyrone Huggins is a joy to watch, his command of stage and audience is of the highest quality. He has a bubbling energy, rhythm and openness to his performance that makes him incredibly watchable: his “bee dance” is particularly amusing. He is also the writer of the play and you can see he has a personal connection with the work as he gets underneath the text to make his message clear. . . Learning “isn’t the same as knowing” says the Honey Man wisely, and this play packs a moral punch: or should that be “sting”. Charming in places, a reflective piece – sweet, just like honey.”