Coventry news and blogs Thursday 24 May 2018
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Views from a Bum

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Canvas Opinions 

22 May 18

ART Birmingham Hippodrome, Monday 21 st May, 2018   When Serge splashes out 200 grand on a white painting, it becomes a bone of contention and causes a rift between him and his two best friends, Marc and Yvan.


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Whisky Business 

17 May 18

WHISKY GALORE New Vic Theatre, Wednesday 16 th May, 2018   Based on true events, which were subsequently novelised by Compton Mackenzie, this adaptation by Philip Goulding arrives at the New Vic via Oldham Coliseum and Hull Truck Theatre.


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Sex and Violins 

16 May 18

THE STRING QUARTET’S GUIDE TO SEX AND ANXIETY The REP, Birmingham, Tuesday 15 th May, 2018   This new piece from director-creator Calixto Bieito is an exploration of mental illness and sexuality, taking its text from a range of writers, most …


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Last of the Summer Vin 

13 May 18

HEROES Crescent Theatre, Birmingham, Sunday 13 th May, 2018   Tom Stoppard’s translation of Gerald Sibleyras’s Le Vent des Peupliers fits into a niche of comedy we’re familiar with in the UK.


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Repeat Offender 

9 May 18

FLEABAG Warwick Arts Centre, Coventry, Wednesday 9 th May, 2018   It’s a real treat to be able to see Maddie Rice reprise the hit one-woman show, three years since I first enjoyed it in Birmingham.


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Some You Gershwin… 

9 May 18

CRAZY FOR YOU Grand Theatre, Wolverhampton, Tuesday 8 th May, 2018   The songs of George and Ira Gershwin provide the music in this musical comedy – and there are some timeless classics here: Someone To Watch Over Me , They Can’t Take That Away …


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Hired and Fired-Up 

5 May 18

THE HIRED MAN The Albany Theatre, Coventry, Friday 4 th May, 2018   If Thomas Hardy upped sticks and moved north to Cumbria (or Cumberland, as it was known then) the chances are he would have come up with something very like Melvyn Bragg’s family …


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Take This 

2 May 18

THE BAND Birmingham Hippodrome, Tuesday 1 st May, 2018   Regular readers will know of my aversion to jukebox musicals and so it is with some trepidation that I approach this production.


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Girls Just Wanna Kill Pigs 

27 Apr 18

LORD OF THE FLIES The Old Rep, Birmingham, Thursday 26 th April, 2018   It can be difficult, when your class of students is entirely female, to find suitable material for performance.


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Just My Cup of Chai 

25 Apr 18

THE GAME OF LOVE AND CHAI Belgrade Theatre, Coventry, Tuesday 24 th April, 2018   Marivaux’s 18 th Century French farce, The Game of Love and Chance , gets an update from Tara Arts and Nigel Planer of The Young Ones , no less.


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Labour in Vain 

18 Apr 18

THIS HOUSE The REP, Birmingham, Tuesday 17 th April, 2018   This hit production from the National Theatre/Chichester Festival Theatre/Headlong comes to this town and reminds this reviewer of its brilliance.


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Closing Down Sail 

17 Apr 18

THE LAST SHIP New Alexandra Theatre, Birmingham, Monday 16 th April, 2018   I am conscious throughout the performance that just three feet away from me, seated across the aisle, is the show’s lyricist and composer, namely Sting himself.


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Pinkie Blinder 

12 Apr 18

BRIGHTON ROCK The REP, Birmingham, Wednesday 11 th April, 2018   This new production from Pilot Theatre and York Theatre Royal rocks into town with an irresistible swagger.


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Nailed It 

11 Apr 18

TURN OF THE SCREW Grand Theatre, Wolverhampton, Tuesday 10 th April , 2018   Henry  James’s classic ghost story is often cited as an inspiration for Susan Hill’s The Woman In Black – and  in this masterful new stage adaptation by Tim …


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Copping It Sweet 

7 Apr 18

POLICE COPS IN SPACE Old Joint Stock, Birmingham, Friday 6 th April, 2018   Wondering whether the show will live up to the promise of its title, I settle into my seat.


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Twisted but not Bitter 

5 Apr 18

THE TWISTED TALE OF HANSEL AND GRETEL Birmingham Hippodrome, Wednesday 4 th April, 2018   In the first of a planned series of collaborations, Birmingham Hippodrome, Open Theatre Company and Metro-Boulot-Dodo stage this new production to bring …


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Extra Special 

1 Apr 18

STONES IN HIS POCKETS Crescent Theatre, Birmingham, Sunday 1 st April, 2018   Marie Jones’s comedy has, rightly, become a modern-day classic.


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Crooning Glory 

30 Mar 18

CROONERS The Albany Theatre, Coventry, Thursday 29 th March, 2018   As the curtain opens, a David Attenborough-type voiceover introduces us to that rare and endangered species, the crooner, inviting us to observe them in their natural habitat, …


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The Bees’ Knees 

24 Mar 18

HONEY The Albany Theatre, Coventry, Friday 23 rd March, 2018   When you behold a patchwork quilt, you see it at first as a whole.


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Bloodless 

14 Mar 18

SWEENEY TODD Grand Theatre, Wolverhampton, Tuesday 13 th March, 2018   Stephen Sondheim’s grisly melodrama is not an easy sing, with its discords and broken rhythms as well as its searing, melodic phrases.


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Nice Try 

12 Mar 18

UP ‘N’ UNDER The REP, Birmingham, Monday 12 th March, 2018   John Godber’s 1984 comedy is doing the rounds in this new revival by Fingersmiths, a company that incorporates deaf actors and British Sign Language into plays.


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Hugo Faster 

9 Mar 18

LES MISERABLES – School Edition Artshouse, Stratford upon Avon, Thursday 8 th March, 2018   Stratford Musical Theatre Company’s young division tackle the ‘schools version’ of the renowned Boubil Schonberg musical adaptation of the Victor …


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Juan to Watch 

8 Mar 18

DON GIOVANNI Hippodrome, Birmingham, Wednesday 7 th March, 2018   Welsh National Opera is back in town and this time they’ve brought my favourite opera, Mozart’s masterly take on the Don Juan legend.


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Thrilling 

7 Mar 18

THRILLER Live Belgrade Theatre, Coventry, Tuesday 6 th March, 2018   This electrifying tribute show is doing the rounds and this week it’s Coventry’s turn to become reacquainted with the back catalogue of the ‘King of Pop’, Michael Jackson.


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LOL-alot 

28 Feb 18

SPAMALOT Belgrade Theatre, Coventry, Tuesday 27 th February, 2018   We all know them, the bores who can spout reams and reams of Monty Python scripts and manage to suck all the humour of it, as if just saying the lines is enough, when what matters, …


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Drama Therapy 

24 Feb 18

HAMLET Blue Orange Theatre, Birmingham, Friday 23 rd February, 2018   Director Oliver Hume’s production strips Shakespeare’s four-hours-plus great work right down to two fifty-minute chunks.


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Play to Win 

23 Feb 18

THE WINSLOW BOY The REP, Birmingham, Thursday 22 nd January, 2018   Terence Rattigan’s masterpiece loses none of its powers in this new production directed by Rachel Kavanaugh.


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Nice Hooters 

21 Feb 18

HOOT OWL – Master of Disguise Artshouse, Stratford upon Avon, Wednesday 21 st February, 2018   It is not uncommon for successful children’s picture books to make the transition to the stage.


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See The Elephant 

20 Feb 18

ELEPHANT The Door, the REP, Birmingham, Tuesday 20 th February, 2018   Gurpreet Kaur Bhatti’s brand-new play is a gripping domestic drama, concerning a British-Asian family and a dark secret.


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Louder Than Words 

16 Feb 18

#JESUIS Patrick Centre, Birmingham Hippodrome, Thursday 15 th February, 2018   Everything has a hashtag these days, doesn’t it?  We all remember the #JeSuisCharlie one used as a show of solidarity after the shootings at the Charlie Hebdo magazine…


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Something out of Nothing 

11 Feb 18

NOTHING Crescent Theatre, Birmingham, Sunday 11 th February, 2018   Lulu Raczka’s play from 2014 is all talk and no action.


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Who’s The Daddy? 

8 Feb 18

MAMMA MIA! Grand Theatre, Wolverhampton, Wednesday 7 th February, 2018   The mother (the Mamma) of all jukebox musicals arrives in Wolverhampton as part of its bid for world domination.


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Close Encounters of the Brief Kind 

7 Feb 18

BRIEF ENCOUNTER The REP, Birmingham, Tuesday 6 th February, 2018   Emma Rice’s adaptation of the Noel Coward script makes a triumphant return to the REPa decade since its first incarnation.


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Moving Moves 

1 Feb 18

TRANSLUNAR PARADISE Patrick Centre, Birmingham Hippodrome, Wednesday 31 st January, 2018   Theatre Ad Infinitum are reviving their hit show from seven years ago and it’s a good fit for the Hippodrome’s studio space.


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Something’s Got To Give 

31 Jan 18

THE LATE MARILYN MONROE Blue Orange Theatre, Birmingham, Tuesday 31 st January, 2018   We’ll never know what happened during the last moments of the life of Marilyn Monroe.


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Going off the Rails 

30 Jan 18

STRANGERS ON A TRAIN New Alexandra Theatre, Birmingham, Monday 29 th January, 2018   Based on the 1950 novel by Patricia Highsmith, this adaptation by Craig Warner plunges us into an amoral world, where man’s actions are not punished by the rule …


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Love Bites 

28 Jan 18

LET THE RIGHT ONE IN Crescent Theatre, Birmingham, Sunday 28 th January, 2018   John Ajvide Lindqvist’s novel is the most Stephen King-like book I’ve read that isn’t by Stephen King.


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Taking a Hedda 

24 Jan 18

HEDDA GABLER Grand Theatre, Wolverhampton, Tuesday 23 rd January, 2018   The National Theatre’s celebrated production is doing the rounds, and it’s a real treat to have such prestigious work on one’s doorstep.


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Looking Back in Anger 

16 Jan 18

BONES Old Joint Stock, Birmingham, Tuesday 16 th January, 2018   Mark is a 19-year-old with a temper – to put it mildly – in this production by Gritty Theatre of Jane Upton’s one-hander.


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Strictly the Best 

4 Jan 18

CINDERELLA Birmingham Hippodrome, Wednesday 3 rd January, 2018   It’s my final panto of the season and I’ve saved the biggest until last.


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Marley and E 

19 Dec 17

A CHRISTMAS CAROL Royal Shakespeare Theatre, Stratford upon Avon, Monday 18 th December, 2017   Do we need yet another version of Charles Dickens’s perennial classic?  The RSC and playwright David Edgar think we do, but what can they bring to …


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Nearly Perfect 

15 Dec 17

CLOSER Crescent Theatre, Birmingham, Thursday 14 th November, 2017   Patrick Marber’s award-winning play from 1997 is brought to fresh life in this production from final year students at the Birmingham School of Acting (which, I believe, is now …


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You Couldn’t Make It Up 

13 Dec 17

THE KNEEJERKS The Victoria, Birmingham, Wednesday 13 th December 2017   As a reviewer I get invited to all sorts of things, so when a man I’d never heard of asked me to come to a room above a pub, I jumped at the chance.


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Beanz Meanz Lolz 

12 Dec 17

JACK AND THE BEANSTALK Grand Theatre, Wolverhampton, Tuesday 12 th December, 2017   Apart from a couple of changes, the main cast from last year’s rollicking Aladdin returns to Wolverhampton for this generous bean feast of fun, and they seem to …


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The Original Walk-in Wardrobe 

9 Dec 17

THE LION, THE WITCH AND THE WARDROBE Crescent Theatre, Birmingham, Saturday 9 th December, 2017   Mention C S Lewis’s classic book for children and people get a bit misty-eyed with nostalgia, and indeed, the idea of finding a mythical land at the …


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All Puns Blazing 

9 Dec 17

THE GOOD, THE BAD AND THE UGLY SISTERS B2, Belgrade Theatre, Coventry, Friday 8 th December, 2017   One Christmas tradition that doesn’t get me bah-humbugging all the way home, is the Belgrade Theatre’s annual alternative production to the (…


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Spot On 

6 Dec 17

THE HUNDRED AND ONE DALMATIANS The REP, Birmingham, Tuesday 5 th December, 2017   Debbie Isitt’s adaptation of Dodie Smith’s 1956 popular classic provides a perfect package of festive fun as the REP’s Christmas show for this year.


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Afternoon Delight 

3 Dec 17

AN EVENING OF SEX A E Harris Building, Birmingham, Sunday 3 rd December, 2017   A small but discerning audience gathers on a chilly afternoon in a converted factory building in Birmingham’s Jewellery Quarter.


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Magic and Mess make for success 

2 Dec 17

CINDERELLA Belgrade Theatre, Coventry, Friday 1 st December, 2017   Writer, director and jovial genius Iain Lauchlan is back at the Belgrade for another triumphant year with a winning pantomime that blends traditional with new elements.


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Pleasure Voyage 

26 Nov 17

TREASURE ISLAND New Vic Theatre, Newcastle under Lyme, Saturday 25 th November, 2017   With this new adaptation of the Robert Louis Stevenson classic adventure, Theresa Heskins plots a course for another big Christmas hit.