Pins and Needles Productions, in league with Bristol’s Tobacco Factory Theatre makes a reliably bold move by taking something familiar and confounding expectations every step of the way.
Taking aim at capitalism, The Wardrobe Ensemble’s Winners rushes through the history of man, big ideas and systems designed to make the ‘special ones’ rich at the expense of all others and the good of the world at large.
‘Theatre is everywhere. It is regional. It is rural. It is poor. Now it is in your front room, it can be from anywhere.’
David Mercatali’s production of Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf though long finds layer after layer in the lashings of marital discord.
In tackling Homer’s The Odyssey, Bristol favourites Living Spit, known for their anarchic, slapstick takes on history’s great and infamous figures, ascend to the next level of ambition.
Shakespeare at the Tobacco Factory’s Much Ado About Nothing hits a higher level of excellence again, producing a work that will appeals to both Bard newbies and connoisseurs.
It’s only when the location moves to the battlefield and the production is allowed to breathe and the poetry to sing that this production of Cyrano finally begins to come into its own.
It may not be a piece that shakes you, but in bringing the words of Keith Douglas to its audience, Sheers has proved a willing literary executor.
It may not be the company hitting their absolute heights, but it knows what its audience wants having been versed over the past few years and plays all the hits. Like your favourite festival and a week by the pool, I’d expect it to become a summer institution.
Theatre is tackling a constant diversity issue, a key component being how to attract an audience that rarely feels the theatre is open to them. Barber Shop Chronicles is the kind of work that should open some doors.
Many of us will be all too aware of the 9-to-5 drudge that office life can encompass. Yet in Gecko’s Institute, the office becomes a place of both dream and nightmare.
Intronauts, the new co-production from Green Ginger and the Nordland Visual Theatre is a work badly in need of a writer.
Truly great acting is rare to see on stages these days, the type that elevates good work into a higher form of art. Yet right now at Bristol Old Vic, Tom Mothersdale’s Tricky Dicky, Richard III, is music, verse and sculpture of the highest order.
There is plenty to like in Tobacco Factory Theatre’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream, a brisk, crisp and fully accessible take on the play that should provide perfect introductions to a Shakespeare novice.
If nothing else Wils Wilson has produced a rollicking evening of entertainment in Twelfth Night at Bristol Old Vic, even if it is only a surface level take on this most beguiling of masterpieces.
Marking 100 years since women were first granted the vote, it’s a celebration of the women who dared to be different, and a call to arms to finally eradicate gender inequality for good.
If Shakespeare promised his audience in the prologue of Romeo and Juliet two hours’ traffic of our stage’, Insane Root does one better and knocks out, probably the world’s most famous play, in 100 minutes.
It has been a heady time for Bristol’s The Wardrobe Ensemble, their last two Edinburgh shows have won public acclaim and Fringe Firsts and the company is now taking up residency this August at the National Theatre with the rather charming family show The Star Seekers.
Thebes is an epic undertaking that starts slowly but eventually finds its drive. Thousands of years later the Greeks have lost none of their capacity to thrill and surprise.
Patrick Ness’ novel slips perfectly into Sally Cookson’s fertile theatrical imagination. Its split-focused tale of cancer wards and midnight hour fairy tales suits Cookson’s gifts, for genuine human emotion and beautifully intricate theatrical imagery.