Review of The Hired Man at Oldham Coliseum

There’s something unavoidably artificial about musicals. Picture this: First world war soldiers struggle across no man’s land, seeking the safety of the trenches. Gunfire flashes illuminate their wearied faces. It’s all very reminiscent of the poignant final scene in Blackadder Goes Forth. Suddenly, the soldiers pop up, rifles in hand, and burst into song. If…

To make sense of the present, sometimes we have to look to the past – Review of Handbagged at Oldham Coliseum

The events depicted in Handbagged took place 30 to 40 years ago, but it’s hardly surprising that Moira Buffini’s play has been revived in the current political climate. Co-produced by Oldham Coliseum, Wiltshire Creative and York Theatre Royal, Handbagged presents the imagined conversations between the Queen and “that bloody woman” Margaret Thatcher. It is evident…

Compelling storytelling – Review of West Side Story at Royal Exchange, Manchester

At their worst, musicals can seem horribly artificial. The sudden dance routines and bursting into song can feel false and forced. In the Royal Exchange’s production of West Side Story, however, all aspects of the production are successfully tailored to fit the narrative. The different theatrical elements – singing, acting, choreography, orchestration and design –…