PETER PAN GOES WRONG at the Birmingham Rep

Peter Pan Goes Wrong. Dress Rehearsal

“. . . The show tells the story of Cornley Polytechnic Dramatic Society as they put on their annual Christmas production of Peter Pan. Everything that could go wrong in amateur theatre does so in this production, and to comedic effect . . . The finale to the show is perfectly riotous; again to say too much about it would be unforgivable, but it has the audience in stitches until their sides ache. The frantic pace continues from start to end. Hysterically funny: I can’t remember the last time I laughed as much . . . ”

MOSCOW CITY BALLET at the Theatre Royal Bath

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The erotic significance of swans in art goes back to the Greek myth of Leda and the swan. Leda was a bit of a beauty (indeed the mother of Helen) who caught the eye of that rascal Zeus who seduced her in the guise of a swan. In this syllabub confection sex is a distant cousin, but there nonetheless. (One can only imagine the sensation of the first use of the classical tutu – sans bloomers) Restraint is all save in the Pas de Deux where sensual extension of male and female bodies is celebrated whilst being elevated beyond the mere corporeal.

AND THEN THERE WERE NONE at the Everyman, Cheltenham

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“. . . It’s strange that we still like Agatha Christie. Compared to today’s murder mysteries and cop shows the word tame wouldn’t even start to describe her. There is virtually no action – the plays usually involve a dozen or so toffs and their servants standing around a stately home waiting to be murdered. Our tastes and expectations today are so much more sophisticated and demanding. How can an audience that is happy to sit through twelve hours of Danish or French subtitles on a Saturday night sit through this simplistic fare? . . . “

AN EVENING OF DEMENTIA at the Ustinov, Bath

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“. . . Smith uses the play to make wider points. “There is a lot of dementia about,” he says, “We are forgetting to care for one another in an everyday common sense sort of way.” Delivered by the man who no longer recognises his own family, this makes for powerful health politicking. . . Smith’s convincing narrative makes us weep, sometimes ironically laugh at this uncomfortable yet for many inevitable seventh stage in the life of man. By putting the condition centre stage we are all helped to look at it in the teeth.”

WHO IS DORY PREVIN? at the Tobacco Factory, Bristol

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“If you look Dory Previn up on YouTube you’ll see that her clips have been viewed on average about 20,000 times each. By comparison Kate Bush’s views on the video-sharing website number in the many millions. Both women were working in the 1970s, both were writing highly original and personal material with sometimes quirky lyrics . . . Kate Dimbleby’s celebratory exploration of Previn’s experiences and songbook breathed life back into this deeply personal work that has always existed outside music’s mainstream.”

FLEABAG at Brewery Theatre, Bristol

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“. . . In your face, up your bottom, Fleabag is about sex – shedloads of it during a steamy, hilarious and sometimes disturbing hour. Bright-eyed, rouge-lipped Maddie Rice delivers Phoebe Waller-Bridge’s pulsating, award-winning monologue with disarming easy confidence . . . Waller-Bridge is a voice to be reckoned with. Take note, this woman knows no fear. At a time when post modernist feminism is battering at The Sun to remove its topless page 3, along comes Fleabag to post us a vagina selfie. You work it out! Brilliant.”

BOUNCERS at the Everyman, Cheltenham

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“John Godber’s 1977 play tells the story of a typical Friday night in a typical city, somewhere up north. The cast of four, dressed in black ties and dinner jackets but still managing to look scruffy, play the bouncers in question, as well as a group of lads hell bent on a few jars and a grope, four lasses hell bent on a few Babychams and getting groped, plus a few other odd characters who present themselves at the door the bouncers are minding. . . This is well observed stuff and very funny. It is in your face humour.”

ORCA at the Alma Theatre, Bristol

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Three cheers for the Alma – another thought-provoking play performed with great intensity to an appreciative audience, who despite prolonged applause couldn’t entice actors Lucy Ross-Elliott (Esme) and Angus Harrison (Willard) back out for a second bow at tonight’s performance of Orca. . . Orca is much more than an ocean-going mammal on wheels – it’s well worth experiencing this well-acted black comedy drama, tankside at the Alma.