It’s panto season! (Oh no it isn’t, etc…) Full disclosure: I haven’t seen a panto since I was a kid, and went in to the Opera House’s Peter Pan frankly a little bit cynical. I’d assumed it was just for parents wanting to introduce their kids to theatre – a great aim, but one with not much to offer someone like me. How wrong I was.
Mates blogger: Kristy Stott
Kristy Stott is one of over 45 theatre bloggers who are part of the MyTheatreMates collective. This page features Kristy's posts on MyTheatreMates. Take a look at our full list of theatre bloggers and our aggregated feed of all our Mates' posts. We’re always looking for new theatre bloggers. Could that be you? Learn about how to join us.
The latest from Kristy on MyTheatreMates
‘I left having cried tears of both joy & empathy’: BETTY! A SORT OF MUSICAL – Manchester ★★★★★
Reviewer: Daniel Shipman Upstaged Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ The Royal Exchange has a solid reputation for outstanding, non-pantomime Christmas shows, and Betty (written by and starring Maxine Peake) is no exception. Described as ‘a sort of musical’, Betty follows the misadventures of…
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‘Inventive & dreamlike’: MATTHEW BOURNE’S SLEEPING BEAUTY – Touring ★★★★★
New Adventures and Matthew Bourne return to The Lowry with their Gothic take on the classic fairytale Sleeping Beauty. A firm favourite in the company’s repertoire and celebrating 10 years since it was first performed, this stylish and supernatural production reawakens for 2022.
‘Razor-sharp &captivating’: FRANTIC ASSEMBLY: OTHELLO – Touring ★★★★★
Lean, mean and totally uncompromising, Frantic Assembly bring a newly updated and gritty version of Shakespeare’s Othello to The Lowry as part of their UK tour. Razor-sharp and captivating, Frantic Assembly’s pulsating and athletic physical style adds new depth to Shakespeare’s text.
‘Bloody unmissable’: LET THE RIGHT ONE IN – Manchester ★★★★★
Since the Royal Exchange announced their new season back at the end of 2021, I’ve been eagerly awaiting this production. Adapted for the stage by Jack Thorne, Let The Right One In is everything I envisioned it could be and much more. Suitably timed for Halloween, the performance delivers – it’s brutal, jumpy and at times, quite bloody – but it’s also threaded with innocence, sweet humour and heart.
‘Emotional, thought-provoking & honest’: THE MOUNTAINTOP – Manchester ★★★
Katori Hall’s The Mountaintop, revived at Manchester’s Royal Exchange Theatre by Roy Alexander Weise, is what happens when we examine our heroes at their most vulnerable.
‘Wholly engaging’: PETRICHOR – ThickSkin (Online review) ★★★★
At a time when human connection feels more vital than ever, Petrichor offers an immersive, accessible and unique way to experience theatre.
‘An absolute triumph’: GYPSY – Manchester ★★★★★
The Royal Exchange has built a reputation for consistently delivering knockout versions of classic musicals as an alternative to the traditional pantomime. I’m pleased to be able to say that the standard remains just as high this year – Gypsy is an absolute triumph.
‘Moving & beautifully crafted performance’: LIGHT FALLS – Manchester ★★★★★
Light Falls is Sarah Frankcom’s swan song as artistic director at the Royal Exchange. And what a moving and beautifully crafted performance to leave on. Light Falls is one of the best performances I have ever seen at the Royal Exchange and the most perfect work to bow out on.
‘Adeptly traverses the conflicting genres of the original problem play’: MEASURE FOR MEASURE – Touring ★★★★
Intertwining ribald comedy with a morality tale is no easy feat, yet an outstanding cast and creative team reinforce this thought-provoking and immersive experience of Measure for Measure for all to enjoy.
‘A creepy joy to experience’: MACBETH – Manchester ★★★★
This production of Macbeth receives stunning direction from Christopher Haydon and, crucially, Lucy Ellinson is magnificent as Macbeth.
‘The whole spectacle is a joy to watch’: THE NICO PROJECT – Manchester ★★★★★
As part of MIF (Manchester International Festival), that aims to bring artists from different art forms to create forward thinking innovative work, Maxine Peake stars in the world premiere of The Nico Project as 60s icon of the same name.
‘Lively & refreshing’: THE HIRED MAN – Oldham ★★★★
The Hired Man is a lively and refreshing Northern musical which offers us an insight into the life of rural communities at the beginning of the 20th century.
‘Digs convincingly into the psychology of the characters’: MISS JULIE – Manchester ★★★
This production of Miss Julie, by the Durham-based Elysium Theatre Company, keeps things simple and focused on the complex subtext of Strindberg’s work (here in a proficient translation by Michael Meyer).
‘A beautiful reinterpretation of the Shakespearean classic’: MATTHEW BOURNE’S ROMEO & JULIET – Touring ★★★★★
A beautiful reinterpretation of the Shakespearean classic, Matthew Bourne’s Romeo & Juliet at The Lowry modernises the tale of doomed love for a new audience.
‘Broadens the thematic reach of the play’: HOBSON’S CHOICE – Manchester ★★★
The Royal Exchange’s latest offering is an adaptation of Harold Brighouse’s 1916 play Hobson’s Choice, with the action updated from Victorian-era Salford to Ancoats in the 1980s.
‘Hauntingly hypnotic’: SILENT LINES – Touring ★★★★
Whether you’re a contemporary-dance-curious newcomer or a die-hard fan of Maliphant’s exquisite vision and choreography, Silent Lines is a beautifully serene though sharply executed performance.
‘Plants the play firmly in a different era’: MUCH ADO ABOUT NOTHING – Touring ★★★★
It may be Shakespeare but thanks to the ensemble cast and their excellent interpretation this production of Much Ado About Nothing could not be described as stuffy, taking the audience from high comedy to moments of dramatic tension in minutes.
‘Authentic & invigorating production’: HAMLET – Manchester ★★★★
This production of Hamlet asserts itself as the authentic, entertaining and thrilling rendition that it consciously aims to be.
‘Nothing short of a complete triumph’: WEST SIDE STORY – Manchester ★★★★★
West Side Story is Sarah Frankcom’s first major musical production at the Royal Exchange, Manchester and it is nothing short of a complete triumph.
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