Coventry news and blogs Sunday 17 December 2017
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Views from a Bum

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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.

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Inexplicable Elephant 

21 Nov 17

A CHRISTMAS CAROL Grand Theatre, Wolverhampton, Tuesday 21 st November, 2017   First version of the classic seasonal tale I’m seeing this year, this version’s staged by Bilston Operatic Company.

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Christmas Turkey 

16 Nov 17

MIRACLE ON 34 th STREET New Alexandra Theatre, Birmingham, Wednesday 15 th November, 2017   For their Christmas production this year, BMOS have chosen to mount this musical adaptation of a creaky old film, a perennial favourite – in the USA more …

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Boulevard of Broken Dreams 

14 Nov 17

SUNSET BOULEVARD Birmingham Hippodrome, Tuesday 14 th November, 2017   Andrew Lloyd Webber has written loads of musicals.

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Boots and All 

12 Nov 17

HOBSON’S CHOICE Crescent Theatre, Birmingham, Sunday 12 th November, 2017   Harold Brighouse’s classic comedy first appeared in 1916 when the tide of women’s suffrage was running high.

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Blonde Ambition 

11 Nov 17

LEGALLY BLONDE Grand Theatre, Wolverhampton, Friday 10 th November, 2017   I have seen this show before, years ago, but if you put a gun to my head I would be able to tell you very little about it.

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Sorry State 

10 Nov 17

(sorry) The REP, Birmingham, Thursday 9 th November, 2017   Millennials are terrible, aren’t they?  Spoiled, impatient, thinking they’re special…  This new piece from writer Susie Sillett shows us three sides of the coin (if that’s …

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Thrilled to Death 

8 Nov 17

DEATHTRAP New Alexandra Theatre, Birmingham, Tuesday 7 th November, 2017   Ira Levin’s classic thriller is doing the rounds in this effective new production, featuring two escapees from Albert Square, namely Paul Bradley and Jessie Wallace as …

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A Fool Aloof 

4 Nov 17

EUGENE ONEGIN Birmingham Hippodrome, Friday 3 rd November, 2017   Welsh National Opera’s autumn season is all about the Russians.

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Mum’s the word 

3 Nov 17

BABY DADDY The Door, Birmingham REP, Thursday 2 nd November, 2017   Single mothers get a bad press.

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Full of the Devil 

1 Nov 17

LIVING WITH THE LIGHTS ON Warwick Arts Centre, Coventry, Wednesday 1 st November, 2017   I am welcomed into the temporary, pop-up theatre by writer-performer Mark Lockyer.

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Spell Trouble 

1 Nov 17

MACBETH Crescent Theatre, Birmingham, Tuesday 31 st October, 2017   Karen Leadbetter’s strong production takes us to feudal Japan rather than medieval Scotland.

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Christmas Comes Early 

26 Oct 17

NATIVITY! The Musical The REP, Birmingham, Wednesday 25 th October, 2017   It’s too early to think about Christmas, I mutter as I take my seat, along with other curmudgeonly thoughts.

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Firm Favourite 

10 Oct 17

HAIRSPRAY Birmingham Hippodrome, Monday 9 th October, 2017   I don’t know how many times I have seen this show but I am always glad of the chance to see it again.

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Dodgy Lodger 

5 Oct 17

ENTERTAINING MR SLOANE Blue Orange Theatre, Thursday 5 th October, 2017   Joe Orton’s version of the ‘well-made play’ still has the power to amuse fifty or so years since its original production.

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3 Oct 17

I KNEW YOU The Door, Birmingham REP, Tuesday 3 rd October, 2017   This new piece from Birmingham writer Steven Camden aka Polarbear runs for less than an hour but it’s fifty minutes of cracking theatre.

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One Man Woman 

27 Sep 17

MAN TO MAN The Studio, Birmingham REP, Wednesday 27 th September, 2017   This production from the Wales Millennium Centre is a new translation of Manfred Karge’s 1982 piece – although it could have been written much earlier in the last century.

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Bowing Out 

27 Sep 17

DUET FOR ONE The REP, Birmingham, Tuesday 26 th September, 2017   Tom Kempinski’s famous play for two actors comes to Birmingham in this new production featuring reliable old hands, Oliver Cotton and Belinda Lang.

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For the Record 

14 Sep 17

SON OF A PREACHER MAN New Alexandra Theatre, Birmingham, Wednesday 13 th September, 2017   The words ‘jukebox musical’ are enough to send a shiver down this reviewer’s spine.

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Train of Thought 

11 Sep 17

THE RAILWAY CHILDREN Belgrade Theatre, Coventry, Monday 11 th September, 2017   With delicious irony, the fates delay the curtain up on this play centring around trains.

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Lashing Out 

6 Sep 17

THE WHIP HAND The Door, Birmingham REP, Wednesday 6 th September, 2017   Dougie (Jonathan Watson) is gathering family members to celebrate his 50 th birthday – he has an agenda, a presentation to make.

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A Dog Without Purpose 

5 Sep 17

FAITHFUL RUSLAN Belgrade Theatre, Coventry, Tuesday 5 th September, 2017   If George Orwell had written Lassie Come Home it might have turned out something like this: heavy with political allegory and mired in the harshness of life.

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A Breath of Fresh Eyre 

5 Sep 17

JANE EYRE The REP, Birmingham, Monday 4 th September, 2017   The REP’s new season gets off to a flying start with this highly-acclaimed production from the National Theatre and Bristol Old Vic.

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Working the Crowd 

26 Aug 17

WEST SIDE STORY New Alexandra Theatre, Birmingham, Friday 25 th August, 2017   It is a firm fixture of the summer programme: the annual production by Stage Experience involving dozens (and dozens) of kids from the region – and every year I marvel …

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Muck and Brass 

24 Aug 17

BRASSED OFF Grand Theatre, Wolverhampton, Thursday 24 th August, 2017   It’s been forty years since Wolverhampton’s Grand Theatre produced a show of its own but now comes this new production of a time-honoured crowd-pleaser, Mark Herman’s …

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Absolutely Batty 

16 Aug 17

DRACULA: THE BLOODY TRUTH Birmingham Hippodrome, Tuesday 15 th August, 2017   Exeter-based troupe, Le Navet Bête (The Stupid Turnip) bring their zany antics to the Hippodrome’s Patrick Centre for a couple of sell-out performances of this new …

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Blooming Great 

5 Aug 17

THE SECRET GARDEN Blue Orange Theatre, Birmingham, Saturday 5 th August, 2017   Frances Hodgson Burnett’s celebrated children’s novel first appeared in 1911.

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Here Comes A Chopper 

2 Aug 17

MISS SAIGON Birmingham Hippodrome, Tuesday 1 st August, 2017   Schonberg Boubil’s ‘other’ musical comes to Brum for a lengthy stay – I can’t see its popularity diminishing over the summer.

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Ecce Homo 

28 Jul 17

ABOUT A GOTH Crescent Theatre, Birmingham, Thursday 27 th July, 2017   Gritty Theatre bring their production of Tom Wells’s 2009 piece to Birmingham’s Crescent Theatre en route to the Edinburgh Festival Fringe.

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The Brice is Right 

25 Jul 17

FUNNY GIRL Grand Theatre, Wolverhampton, Monday 24 th July, 2017   Barbra Streisand indelibly stamped herself on this role fifty years ago so it’s a tough job for anyone to follow in her Oscar-winning footsteps.

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Man-Made Monsters – a double bill 

22 Jul 17

FRANKENSTEIN: MAN OR MONSTER Blue Orange Theatre, Birmingham, Friday 21 st July, 2017   This new piece from Mad Tom Theatre is written and performed by Augustus Stephens.

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War Stories 

18 Jul 17

A JOURNEY THROUGH WAR Blue Orange Theatre, Birmingham, Tuesday 18 th July, 2017   In this new piece from On The Floor Theatre, a versatile cast of four lead us through a whistle-stop series of sketches that track the entire span of the First World …

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Comedy/Tragedy Tonight! 

14 Jul 17

ROMEO JULIET/TWELFTH NIGHT Grand Theatre, Wolverhampton, Wednesday 12 th and Thursday 13 th July, 2017   The Watermill Theatre’s tour of a Shakespeare double bill arrives in Wolverhampton and gets off to a stirring start with a contemporary …

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6 Jul 17

BE FESTIVAL The REP, Birmingham, Wednesday 5 th July, 2017   The second night of the REP’s annual festival of European theatre and the enthusiasm for this rich array of work from across the continent shows no sign of waning.

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Curiosity kills the Dog 

5 Jul 17

THE CURIOUS INCIDENT OF THE DOG IN THE NIGHTTIME Birmingham Hippodrome, Tuesday 4 th July, 2017   It’s my third time seeing this marvellous production and I can reveal the piece loses none of its power to charm or to move even if you know what’s…

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Mods and Mockers 

20 Jun 17

ROMEO AND JULIET Belgrade Theatre, Coventry, Tuesday 20 th June, 2017   The consistently excellent Oddsocks Productions revisits Shakespeare’s tragedy of star-cross’d lovers, this time giving it a mods and rockers setting.

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Knocking it out of the Park 

20 Jun 17

CHRISTOPHER PARK in recital Town Hall, Birmingham, Monday 19 th June, 2017   The longest piece on the programme opens the show, Variations Fugue on a theme by Handel by Brahms.

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Come Die With Me 

18 Jun 17

DINNER Bear Pit Theatre, Stratford upon Avon, Saturday 17 th June, 2017   One of the many commendable things about the Bear Pit Theatre Company is they are not shy of staging productions of works that provide challenges for cast and audience members…

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Back out in the Outback 

14 Jun 17

PRISCILLA, QUEEN OF THE DESERT Warwick Arts Centre, Coventry, Tuesday 13 th June, 2017   Three Spires and Guildhall take a bold stab at the colourful musical, based on the joyous Australian comedy film starring Terence Stamp and Guy Pearce.

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Apollo Mission Accomplished 

11 Jun 17

APOLLO ET HYACINTHUS Town Hall, Birmingham, Saturday 10 th June, 2017   A marvellous evening of Mozart kicks off with the Symphony in G major (K45a), the ‘Lambach’, a chocolate box of a piece, sweet and soft-centred with the occasional note of …

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Conservation Piece 

8 Jun 17

RUNNING WILD Grand Theatre, Wolverhampton, Thursday 8 th June, 2017   Michael Morpurgo’s animal stories (think War Horse , think Butterfly Lion ) have become prime fodder for theatre aimed at children, but don’t let that mislead you.

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Finger-Clickin’ Good 

7 Jun 17

THE ADDAMS FAMILY Birmingham Hippodrome, Tuesday 6 th June, 2017   Charles Addams’s characters first appeared in single-panel cartoons in the New Yorker – delicious gems offering snapshots of a dark psyche at work.