Archive for July 2007
Sunday, July 29th, 2007
Pretend You Have Big Buildings – Royal Exchange Theatre – Review
Pretend You Have Big Buildings is the Bruntwood award winner and as a result, is currently playing to enthusiastic audiences at the Royal Exchange. The writer Ben Musgrave has crafted an interesting story which encompasses, racism, sexuality, thatcherism and multiculturalism. These topics are bought to life by an extremely talented cast.
Danny (Sacha Dhawan) does not fit in, he lives in Romford but is from India. Leon (Jonathan Bailey) is from Romford but struggles to live up the the ‘male Londoner’ that he father expects him to be. Meanwhile Danny’s mum (Shobna Gulati) misses India as she attempts to move on, following the death of her husband.
All of these plot developments are handled with real confidence by Musgrave, you know that this talented writer’s tale is coming from his heart. The stage set by Jamie Todd is simply stunning and as two characters literally fly onto the stage at the beginning, you are aware of how ‘big’ Musgrave’s story is.
Saturday, July 28th, 2007
Having got back from Greece, I decided to see the film Hairspray as it has had some really positive reviews. I am a big fan of the orginal John Waters film, so I half expected this musical version to be a bit blow dried and conditioned. But, if the stage version is as good as this film, the West End is in for a nice surprise. The performances by Nikki Blonsky, Michelle Pfeiffer, James Marsden and John Travolta are excellent. The only weak link is Amanda Brnes as best friend, Penny. This actress could not mime or sing and clearly had been cast for her teen appeal only.
Tuesday, July 10th, 2007
After a busy time at The Manchester International Festival, my bags are packed and I am for the off. To Edinburgh early? The West End, or even Broadway? No, I am off in search of the sun. As much as I love Manchester, the rain does get you down. So, I am off to Greece to relax which means no theatre, no gigs and no films. For the first couple of days, I feel like my life support has been cut off. But two paperbacks later and a day of swimming – I am fully relaxed.
In the meantime, if you are here in Manchester whilst I am away, what theatrical delights await you? Here’s some of my tips:
Sunday, July 8th, 2007
The Pianist (Manchester International Festival) @ The Museum of Science and Industry in Manchester- Review
One pianist and one narrator; the memoirs of Wladyslaw Szpilman, authentically delivered in a warehouse in the Science Museum. Dull and worthy? Think again.
This festival has included some really interesting ideas. As I was led up the stairs by MIF staff to listen to one man’s fascinating memoirs, recreating the horrors of the holocaust, I immediately felt that I was in Edinburgh, as this production is up there with the best, that this celebrated festival has to offer.
Friday, July 6th, 2007
This week, I have taken in what Manchester has to offer, via the international festival. I have to say, this festival is really well organised and if you haven’t seen anything on offer yet, it really is worth a visit. There are stacks of plays and events to choose from. I saw the opener – Monkey- Journey Into The West on Wednesday. It was packed out, which surprised me, for a matinee on a school day! I could not believe how busy it was. I spoke to people who had travelled up from London, which felt good, as it is usually the other way round. There is not much time to catch Monkey as it closes tomorrow. Into The Woods, not part of the festival, is also worth seeing. I saw this excellent musical on Wed night. I understand the run is sold out, but it is always worth ringing the Lowry, to check if there are any returns. But hurry, as, like Monkey, it closes tomorrow.