It has been 200 years since Mary Shelley published the gothic horror of Victor Frankenstein and his infamous monster. Since then the tale has captured the imagination of people, spawning numerous film and theatre adaptations as well sending philosophers into a frenzy about the consequences of man becoming its own creator.
When productions come into town that are written by rockstar playwrights like Annie Baker there is inevitably a buzz. A strong cast that includes an Olivier Award Winner, an up and coming director who has worked extensively at the National and the Young Vic and being staged at one of the city’s leading art venues, Home Manchester, you cannot help but be swept along by the frenzied anticipation of Baker’s Circle Mirror Transformation.
There are some things that only the medium of theatre can do justice to. The co-production of Winter Solstice from the Actors Touring Company and Orange Tree Theatre is one of those things. Currently playing out to enthralled audiences at Home Manchester, it is a beguiling, betwixting and brainstorming evening of dysfunctionality that the medium of television or film could not bring to life as much as you could by placing it on the stage. For it is that ethereal connection that you only get by being in the presence of something extraordinary!
Some things are just meant to be special! Take The Almighty Sometimes for example. It’s an award winning play from an award winning playwright in Kendall Feaver. It boasts a stellar cast that includes Julie Hesmondhalgh and Norah Lopez Holden. It’s produced by those folk at the Royal Exchange, who just cannot seem to put a foot wrong these days. So it’s no surprise then to find that The Almighty Sometimes was a stunning success.
It was inevitable that race would be put under the microscope in Eclipse Theatre Company and Royal Exchange Theatre co-production of Black Men Walking, which started its national tour at the Royal Exchange this week. Written by Testament, it’s a story of Thomas, Matthew and Richard, three black men, who walk the first Saturday of every month. They walk and they talk and inevitably the subject of their skin colour dominates their conversations. Yet, it is more than that, it’s a story of shining a light on Britain’s forgotten black history.