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REVIEW: The Commitments@ The Palace, Manchester

4. The Commitments, photo credit Johan Persson

Pic: Johan Persson

The combination of that beautiful Dublin twang, a gritty but unapologetically feel-good story and those timeless soul classics is what has made the Commitments a great film and now a hugely enjoyable stage show.

And there is little to disappoint fans of the show in this Manchester Palace production which sees Andrew Linnie in the role Jimmy Rabbitte, a young working class music fan, who shapes an unlikely bunch of amateur musicians into Dublin’s “hardest working band.”

Linnie gives a creditable performance as Roddy Doyle’s iconic creation and Brian Gilligan also does well as the uncouth but gifted singer, Deco.

Optimized-3. Jimmy's Da (Kevin Kennedy) in The Commitments photo credit Johan PerssonThe show also sees Corrie legend, Kevin Kennedy in the role Jimmy’s Da who maintains the laughter but whose slips into the Manc when he has to say more than a couple of sentences.

After a fairly sedate first half the show builds to a fabulous crescendo with appreciative audience rocking in the aisles by the end.

Coronation Street legend, Kevin Kennedy, is to star as Jimmy’s Da in the UK tour of the critically acclaimed musical The Commitments written by Roddy Doyle, which comes to the Palace Theatre, Manchester, from Monday 27 March to Saturday 8 April 2017.

The show has been adapted for the stage by Booker Prize-winning author Roddy Doyle, from his original novel. Directed by C Jay Ranger, The Commitments is packed with more than 20 classic soul songs performed live on stage including: Night Train, Try A Little Tenderness, River Deep, Mountain High, In The Midnight Hour, Papa Was A Rolling Stone, Save Me, Mustang Sally, I Heard It Through The Grapevine, Thin Line Between Love and Hate, Reach Out, Uptight, Knock On Wood, I Can’t Turn You Loose .

Runs till April 8

REVIEW: Bat Out Of Hell, The Musical@ The Opera House, Manchester

The cast of BAT OUT OF HELL - THE MUSICAL, credit Specular (3)

Photo: Phil Tragen

This much anticipated stage show based on the classic Jim Steinman album has been hyped for months prior to it’s opening at the Manchester Opera House. So what can we say about Bat Out Of Hell?…

Wow… Just Wow.

Does it live up to the hype? The hype doesn’t do it justice.  It doesn’t come close. Read More…

REVIEW: Grease @The Palace Theatre, Manchester

grease-manchesterVoted the “Number One Greatest Musical”, Grease begins a national tour at the Palace Theatre, Manchester.

It’s the original high-school musical featuring a host of favourite characters – Sandy, Danny, the groovy T Birds, the sassy Pink Ladies and the whole gang at Rydell High – and all the unforgettable songs from the hit movie including You’re The One That I Want, Grease Is The Word, Summer Nights, Hopelessly Devoted to You, Sandy, Greased Lightnin’.

But for the show is to completely live up to audience expectations, there is some definite room for improvement if it is to make the grade. Read More…

REVIEW: Funny Girl @ The Palace, Manchester

optimized-funny-girl-sheridan-smith-fanny-brice-photo-credit-johan-perssonIs there anything Sheridan Smith can’t do? Gritty drama, sit-com, and now a faultless performance in the hit Broadway musical, Funny Girl.

Smith excels as Fanny Brice, the role made famous by diva Barbara Streisand in the film which tells the true story of a gawky girl stumbling her way into the limelight rising to stardom as part of the hugely popular Ziegfeld Follies.

This bitter-sweet tale weaves together the glitz of Brice’s fabulous career and her rocky relationship with husband Nicky Arnstein. Smith delivers a masterclass in musical theatre, with outstanding performance of those classic tunes,  which include People and Don’t Rain On My Parade. Read More…

Roll up, roll up! Circus Funtasia are back in Wythenshawe

circusfuntasia-globe1After the success of last year’s show, Circus Funtasia have returned to Wythenshawe Park. But expect to see plenty of new faces entertaining the crowds, as well as some old favourites.

“Our talented acrobats Duo Stefaneli are back, with two dramatic gravity-defying performances,” explained Tracy Jones, founder and ring mistress. “And we welcome Duo Peris, all the way from Spain, who will be wowing audiences with their incredible roller-skating act and aerial feats.” Read More…

REVIEW: Aladdin @ The Opera House, Manchester

 

Ben Adams as Aladdin 1 Credit Phil Tragen.jpg

Pic: Phil Tragen

Panto season is well and truly upon us, and this year’s offering at Manchester Opera House – Aladdin – is a festive treat for all the family.

 

With fantastically lavish sets, fun-packed frolics, a smattering of stage magic and some songs to get the toes tapping and the hands clapping, this show is a hit with kids of all ages.

Right from the off, the show provides the near-perfect blend of lots of fun for the kids and a flurry of gags the adults can enjoy, although one or two were a little cringey – referring to male dancers as pansies. Maybe that should stay in the 1970s.

Bu there is plenty to enjoy from John Thomson’s nod to his Jazz Club character in the Fast Show to the sing song with some children from the audience near the end and a mention for groups across Manchester who were there on the night, including Newall Green Brownies.

Pop star Ben Adams from boy band A1 is excellent as the poor boy who makes it good after rubbing a magic lamp unleashing the all-powerful genie. And Cold Feet star John Thomson is the perfect villain, Abanazar, whose evil machinations get the kids booing.

 

eric-potts-as-widow-twankey-credit-phil-tragen

Pic: Phil Tragen

Sherrie Hewson also shines as the Genie of the Ring and magician Neil Henry wows the audience with his skills making a birds and rabbits appear while providing a comedically sound rendition of the hapless Wishee Washy.

 

But the undoubted mainstay of the show is Eric Pott’s Widow Twankey. Every comic line is perfectly timed and the show is a triumph for Potts who directs as well starring in the production.

It’s great fun so bring the family to the Opera House to complete your Christmas

Runs till January 8 2017

 

 

REVIEW: Billy Elliot @ The Palace, Manchester

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Pic: Alastair Muir

The Palace Theatre, Manchester sees the long awaited arrival of the hit musical Billy Elliot for the festive season and brings dance, drama, tears, laughter and politics in abundance.

 

Anyone who loved the film will not be disappointed by the stage adaptation of the story of a boy, with dreams of becoming a ballet dancer, from a Durham mining village gripped by the bitter 1984-85 miners’ strike.

The show is in many ways better than the film, amplifying each glorious element. The dancing is more integral to the experience and Elton John’s music is both poignant and wonderfully entertaining. Read More…

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