It’s been a while since I watched something that has been so brutal as Mother Courage and her Children at the Royal Exchange Theatre. These are words that I do not use lightly. The Exchange’s latest offering is a stark adaptation of German dramatist and poet Bertolt Brecht famous play of the same name. It is a bold reimagining by Anna Jordan, set in a dystopian future, one which allows its star turn, Julie Hesmondhalgh, to cement her reputation even further, but by the end you are left bereft and disconsolate.
Spark Plug sums up everything that is good about theatre in this part of the world. You have a Manchester based theatre company, Box of Tricks, that is a launchpad for the next generation of playwrights showcasing the region’s most exciting voices. In David Judge, you have a writer from Fallowfield whose autobiographical work has more than a nod to the places we have grown accustomed in this old town as well as to the faces we would no doubt recognise in our everyday lives. All of this being brought to you by HOME, which continues to provide a sanctuary for the region’s up and coming talent. What more could you ask for in a production?
Once in a while something comes along to just blow your minds. Something that is so seamlessly in tune with every facet of the production, harmoniously joyful, that it stops becoming theatrical and turns into something quite magical. The Animals and Children took to the Streets is such a production. A conjuring cornucopia of captivating concoctions that leaves the viewer completely spellbound.
Annie is one of those musicals that most fans of the genre just love. The classic award winning Broadway musical, based upon the popular Harold Gray comic strip, always has a special affection for fans, with stand out numbers such as “Tomorrow” and “It’s the Hard Knock Life”, any revival is sure to be the talk of the town. The smash-hit production of Annie, straight from the West End, is currently on at the Manchester Opera House for two weeks and our intrepid reporter went to find out what the fuss was all about.
So it’s goodbye to January, who departs with its usual lack of fanfare and it being the month that most people tend to go into some sort of self imposed hibernation, and hello to freezing February as we get set to batten down the hatches as the winter chill continues to rear its unwelcome ugly head. Never fear, dear readers, for we can warm ourselves by cosying up to the delights that wait in store for us in Manchester finest theatres and entertainment venues.