BRISTOL PROMS 2015 at the Bristol Old Vic

Daniel-Hope_400x250

The talented young trumpet trio Arc Brass rasped out David Mitcham’s winning Fanfare for Bristol from the open windows of the Bristol Old Vic Theatre to herald the start of the third season of the popular Bristol Proms last night. A feast of virtuoso playing by top UK and international players was to follow. This was my first visit to the Bristol Proms, and it won me over totally. The quality of the performances was never in doubt, but what made this night special was the mix of inventiveness, risk-taking and wit.

JESUS CHRIST SUPERSTAR at the Bristol Hippodrome

Pamela Raith

Directors Bob Thompson and Bill Kenwright bring their vision of Jesus Christ Superstar to the Bristol Hippodrome this week. Accompanied by an impressively ornate set, Roman soldiers with riot shields and a finalist from the X Factor, the show is a bit of a mixed bag . . . Paul Farnsworth’s set is breath-taking, a hugely ornate construction which acts as a temple, a palace and a crypt, with a large willow crown eerily suspended above it.

MUCH ADO ABOUT NOTHING at the Bodleian Library, Oxford

MuchAdoAboutNothing9

This is a genuinely hilarious show. The dialogue flies, the performances across the board are engaging and full of energy and heart, and above all, it’s great fun . . . The multi-talented lot sing, play instruments – while dancing – much aided by some glorious acoustics, and generally seem to be having such a good time that you can’t help but be swept along with them . . . I defy you to leave the beautiful Bodleian quad without a massive smile on your face.

AVENUE Q at the Everyman Theatre, Cheltenham

The Cast of Avenue Q. Photo Credit Matt Martin Photography (3)

Avenue Q is a show like no other. It brings together elements with which we are all familiar and presents them in a hotch-potch of styles, ranging from children’s TV puppet shows to lavish musical with a lot of serious issues thrown in for good measure. If you haven’t seen it I recommend that you do. If you don’t fancy it, you don’t think it’s your kind of thing, think again. The show has so much feel-good factor that you’d have to be a real curmudgeon not to love it.

Launch of CIRCUS CITY 2015 in Bristol

CircusCity

The unveiling of the programme for the four week event took place at Bristol’s Circomedia on Monday and was accompanied by an impressive display of aerial-dance; a small taster of what’s to come this October. The festival includes an incredibly varied range of programming, from theatre pieces, dance and comedy to children’s shows, films and workshops. All under the extraordinarily broad and diverse umbrella of ‘circus.’

AN EVENING OF DECEPTION at the Playhouse, Cheltenham

Young magicians hands holding a lot of play cards. black backgro

There is something quite old fashioned, in a nice sort of way, about conjuring. It’s almost from another age, an age of music-hall and variety, of glitter and sequins, so it’s good to see the traditional illusionist is alive and well and that none of the magic has been lost.

ACCORDING TO ARTHUR at the Alma, Bristol

87259be7d04aeb42d19c353d8ff2754a_thumb

The story revolves around Arthur, an elderly man who does not leave his home and whose best and only companion is the moon. When the moon ‘disappears’ one night, Arthur begins a journey all across the globe from within the confines of his room, through memory and imagination. Vignettes transport us to France, New Zealand and Malawi, the latter of which is an affecting, simply told story using inventive puppetry.

HETTY FEATHER at the Bristol Old Vic

hetty-feather-700x455

There is a sense in which ‘children’s theatre’ is the most important kind there is. Waiting for the show to start and gazing at the circus big-top setting one can relax knowing that in Sally Cookson the responsibility could not be in better hands. Katie Sykes’ inviting set presages the usual Cookson 3-D extravaganza. There is no disappointment . . . If there are young ones in your family this will be one of the best chances you will have of getting them hooked on live theatre. Go See!