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NEWS: Barney Norris’ latest play Echo’s End premieres at Salisbury Playhouse

In Inspiring people, Native, Press Releases, Quotes, Regional theatre, Touring by Press ReleasesLeave a Comment

Salisbury Playhouse’s spring/summer 2017 season has been announced and includes a brand new commission from award-winning playwright – and Salisbury native – Barney Norris. Norris’ new play, Echo’s End (29 March to 15 April 2017), is set on the edge of Salisbury Plain in 1915 as a young couple finds itself caught up in the turmoil of World War I

THE HOUSE OF MIRRORS AND HEARTS – Arcola Theatre

In London theatre, Musicals, Reviews by Jonathan BazLeave a Comment

‘Pain can blind us, twist us, change us – sometimes for better, sometimes for worse’; writes Eamonn O’Dwyer in the programme notes of his new musical playing at the Arcola Theatre. House of Mirrors and Hearts is an ambitious piece, looking to investigate the oppressive nature of grief associated with loss and its destructive impact on a family unit. It is a chamber musical of intense intimacy, but often shuts the audience out more than it draws us in. It’s a shame, as the space feels perfect for the subject matter and yet it is somewhat undermined by some unsympathetic characters and predictable narrative clichés.

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Saturday Night Fever – Review

In by Jonathan BazLeave a Comment

Richmond Theatre, London
***
Music and lyrics by The Bee GeesBook adapted by Robert Stigwood and Bill OakesDirected by Ryan McBryde
The Company
When ‘Saturday Night Fever’ hit the screen in the UK in 1978 it had the country eating out of the palm of its hand. John Travolta’s Tony Manero, powered by the Bee Gee’s inimitable disco pulse had girls wanting him and guys wanting to be him. Robert Stigwood’s dance fuelled vision dripped with the illusory seduction of the 2001 Odyssey nightclub’s neon that offered a weekly escape from urban mundanity to Manero and his buddies. On the Richmond Theatre’s stage however, Ryan McBryde’s version of the show is perhaps a touch too dark and raw for a story that craves light and glamour.

In his programme notes McBryde describes Saturday Night Fever as “gritty, complex and uncompromising”. With a plot that includes heartbreak, financial struggle and suicide all set to such a popular and uplifting score, its inevitable that a credible staging will prove challenging. That said, McBryde has assembled a strong company of actor-musician performers. The economy of the actor-muso format serves the show well, offering a strong sense of energy and vibrancy in the more up tempo numbers, while equally giving the darker songs a real raw and honest edge, notably in Tragedy sung by Alex Lodge as Bobby C.  
Saturday Night Fever demands a fine leading man and Danny Bayne’s Manero provides the show’s driving energy. Bayne’s performance as the arrogant yet sensitive Manero, complete with flawless dancing is worth the ticket price alone and he handles his solo numbers with flair. Elsewhere, Bethany Linsdell as the love struck Annette whose early rendition of If I Can’t Have You offers just a glimpse of the singer’s talent as she makes fine work of the Yvonne Elliman classic. 
Throughout, Andrew Wright’s well engineered choreography excites, suggesting both the glitzy pizzazz and the emotional turmoil of growing up in New York city in the last century.
Above all the show makes for an entertaining night out. Many of us remember the movie (it was my first ever sneaked-into “x certificate”) when the Bee Gees’ sound defined an era. The middle aged will love the nostalgia – whilst a younger audience can absorb the sounds of a generation, performed magnificently by their peers.

Runs until 28th March 2015, then plays in Cardiff