War is devastating. Sometimes it can define a whole generation to the extent that it becomes the only reference point. Sometimes we consign it to the past, leaving it there, hoping that it remains unearthed so that we do not question the impact such conflicts can have on us. In Lola Arias’ Minefield, The Falklands War is chillingly put on stage and the effects it had on its combatants laid bare.
If theatre is to shed its stifling old fashioned image of the stage and attract new audiences then Contact Theatre’s current programme of events this year is a shining example of challenging the conventional.
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!