Showing posts with label Show. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Show. Show all posts

Tuesday, 17 December 2019

Aladdin at St. Helens Theatre Royal - A Review

Regal Entertainments' pantomimes at St. Helens Theatre Royal are renowned for their fantastic productions and this years Christmas offering of Aladdin is certainly no exception. From start to finish the show is packed full of comedy, stunning vocals and plenty of dance moves that are strictly fabulous.

This pantomime tells the story of Aladdin, his quest for the magical lamp and his love for the beautiful Princess Jasmine. However, the evil Abanazar wants the lamp and its powers all to himself and sets up a cunning plan to become its owner. The Genie of the Lamp is on hand to grant three wishes to its bearer, whilst the Slave of the Ring is full of helpful wisdom and advice. Aladdins family Widow Twankey and Wishee Washee ensure that Aladdin gets all the help he needs and together this creates a fun re-telling of this age long story.

St. Helens is one of our favourite theatres and as we took our seats in the circle, we could feel the excitement throughout the building with a lovely atmosphere that continued throughout the show. There was plenty of audience participation and children (plus adults) loved joining in with the traditional 'It's Behind You' and 'Oh Yes He Did' scenes.

Image credit: David Munn Photography

Robin Windsor stars in the lead role of Aladdin and suits the role perfectly with his charm, wit and exceptional dancing ability. I thought his on stage partnership with Princess Jasmine (Olivia Sloyan) worked well and we really enjoyed her exceptional vocals, which really make her shine like the star she is, when performing on stage.

Resident Dame Si Foster plays the glamourous Widow Twankey and we loved his character and cheeky personality. His humour was complimented well by Scott Gallagher, who starred as Wishee Washee who delivered his scenes with perfect comical timing. We also thought that his interaction with the children in the second half of the show during the 'Floss Like a Boss' competition was brilliant. Friendly and hilarious, which was perfect!

One of our panto favourites Philip McGuinness gives an amusing portrayal of the wicked Abanazar. We have seen him in numerous pantomimes previously and he never disappoints. He is great at providing is own interpretation of a character which is very enjoyable to watch.

Image credit: David Munn Photography

Kai Jolley stars as the Genie of the Lamp and we thought that he was great, with a very clear and strong voice, along with the enthusiasm and warmth that you would expect from the genie. We really enjoyed his moments on stage, along with The Slave of the Ring played by Jenna O'Hara who suited the supporting role well. A special mention also has to go to both the senior and juvenile dancers who exhibited their wonderful skills superbly throughout the whole show.

The stand out character for us though, was the wonderful Timothy Lucas, starring as PC Noodle, who we found to be highly entertaining and we felt he was the perfect addition to a stellar cast. He delivers countless comical performances which provides families with plenty of laughter. His vocals are strong, which were evident during a particular scene with Abanazar, where a musical mash-up of well known songs is delivered flawlessly.

Image credit: David Munn Photography

The scenery was bright and eye-catching, whilst the costumes were glamorous and extravagant, ensuring that the cast most definitely looked the part. The clever and witty script was delivered with excellence and the comedy scenes were hilarious, especially a funny sketch that took place in the laundry, as well as the moment that the audience were soaked with water guns. We thought we may have been safe from this being seated upstairs, but the cast ensured that we didn't miss out on the fun, much to my children's delight.

The inclusion of a 3D scene was wonderful and the audience were taken on a magical carpet ride. I found the quality of this scene to be superb and despite knowing that it wasn't real, I will happily admit jumping a couple of times as creatures came flying towards me.

Overall we had an absolutely wonderful time watching Aladdin and feel that it truly offers something for the whole family to enjoy. With jokes for the kids, some cheeky innuendos for the adults, stunning vocals, creative choreography and plenty of fun for audiences of all ages. We would absolutely recommend this show to everyone, so don't miss your chance to see this fabulous pantomime and be sure to book your tickets very soon!

Listing Details

Show - Aladdin
Venue - St. Helens Theatre Royal, Corporation Street, St Helens, WA10 1LQ
Dates - Saturday 7th December 2019 to Sunday 12th January 2020
Times - Times vary so please visit the St. Helens Theatre Royal website here to obtain this information.
Tickets - Prices start from £13*

*All prices are inclusive of a £1 per seat transaction fee. On-line bookings are subject to an additional 50p per seat on-line processing fee.

Bookings - Book in person at the Theatre Royal Box Office, Corporation Street, St Helens, WA10 1LQ (Mon-Sat 10am to 5pm). Alternatively, call 01744 756000, or log on to www.sthelenstheatreroyal.com.

Image credit: David Munn Photography

*Disclaimer - We were provided with press tickets for the purpose of writing an honest review of the production. All opinions are my own unless stated otherwise. Details provided are believed to be correct at the time of writing, but are subject to change. I would therefore always recommend visiting the venues own website, in order to obtain the most up to date information.

Friday, 27 September 2019

Dates for your Diary - Mr Popper's Penguins comes to Greater Manchester this Christmas

For the past couple of years my family and I have enjoyed visiting Waterside in Sale over the festive period, to enjoy some fabulous Christmas productions. Our first experience back in 2017 was to see The Bear, which was an absolutely beautiful show, that was brought to the stage by Pins and Needles Productions.

Their return the following year in 2018 delivered a stunning adaptation of Father Christmas, which was based on the well known story book by Raymond Briggs. I can honestly say that this show was one of my favourite theatre experiences with my youngest son, as it felt so magical and special.

We were therefore really excited to hear that this years show is Mr Popper's Penguins which is a Kenny Wax and TC Beech production adapted for the stage by Pins and Needles Productions.

Puppets, penguins, packing crates and pure magic abound in this phenomenally popular and successful production of Mr Popper's Penguins, which returns to Manchester this Christmas. Running from Tuesday 26th November through to the 31st December, acclaimed children's theatre company Pins & Needles bring their award-winning and smash-hit show to Waterside in Sale for frost-filled, festive fun for all the family. Pppppop online as tickets are now on sale!

Painter and Decorator by day, Mr Popper spends his time dreaming of Antarctic Adventures. He is astounded when one day a packing crate arrives on his doorstep - and out of which waddles a penguin...

With original songs and performing penguin puppets to charm audiences of all ages, this delightful and action-packed musical adaptation of Richard and Florence Atwater's book (also made into a Hollywood film starring Jim Carrey as Mr Popper) is the perfect family treat to warm hearts and souls on a cold winter's day.

Darren Adams, Manager of Waterside says: "We are so thrilled to welcome back Pins & Needles to Waterside after two hugely successful and record breaking years which saw unprecedented sales and responses to their stunning and charming productions of Father Christmas and The Bear. This year, we are delighted that their internationally acclaimed Mr Popper's Penguins is making its way back to to the UK after a successful New York run on Broadway and right on to our stage for the first time to thrill and delight our audiences."

Mr Popper's Penguins opens to the public on Tuesday 26th November and runs until the 31st December. Schools performances are also available - for a full breakdown please visit watersidearts.org/popperspenguins

The show is recommended for children aged between 3 and 11.

Cookies and milk packs are also available to pre-order along with your tickets for just an extra £2.50 each for all shows.

Children (and adults too!) are invited to come in their PJs and bring a favourite bedtime teddy to the 6pm Slumber Shows to make their theatre experience a real bedtime treat!


  

Listing Details


A Kenny Wax & TC Beech Production adapted for the stage by Pins & Needles Productions: Mr Popper's Penguins
Venue - Waterside Arts Centre, Sale,
Dates - Tuesday 26th November to 31st December
Times - Times vary so please see the Waterside website to obtain the most up to date information.
Tickets - £16.50 / £14.50 / £12.50
Schools - £10 (1 free teacher with every 9 students booked)
Duration - 60 minutes with no interval
In the Robert Bolt Theatre

*This post is written based on a press release provided by Waterside. Images do not feature the Manchester cast.

Thursday, 5 September 2019

Preview - The Snowman Tour 2019 comes to Chester Cathedral

As much as I love the summer holidays, I cannot help but get excited when it comes to the Autumn season and my thoughts quickly turn to the excitement of Christmas. My family and I love to attend various shows and events to get into the festive spirit and last year we experienced the beautiful Snowman Tour from Carrot Productions, which was really special.

My children and I always watch The Snowman on Christmas Eve every year and it has become one of our firm family traditions that we all really enjoy. However, watching the show accompanied by a live orchestra creates a whole new magical element to this Christmas classic and we were therefore delighted to hear that The Snowman Tour will be returning for 2019.

Tickets are sure to sell fast at venues across the country for Carrot Productions' presentation of the iconic film The Snowman accompanied by a live orchestra. Parents who are keen to treat their children to this magical show are advised to start thinking about it now to avoid disappointment

This is the seventh annual tour by Carrot Productions, the most prolific performers of The Snowman film with live orchestra in the world. The cathedrals of Salisbury, Coventry, Winchester, Chester, Lichfield, Liverpool and Ely are among the thirteen venues across the country welcoming the production, adding stunning surroundings to the whole experience.

© Tom Bangbala

We are very excited to be attending the Chester Cathedral venue this year, when it visits the beautiful city of Chester on the 20th and 21st December for six shows. We are also very happy to be part of the blogger team once again for this very special tour.

Chester Cathedral is located in the heart of the city and is therefore easily accessible by public transport. There are also numerous pay and display car parks within walking distance from the venue.

Visitors to the Chester performances will also be treated to the enchanting animation by Tom Scott to accompany that most Christmassy of seasonal pieces, The Nutcracker. My youngest son Riley was absolutely mesmerised by last years animation, in what was his first experience of a live orchestra, so I know that he will absolutely love watching this.

The Snowman Experience offers much more than a viewing of the beloved movie, itself made extra vivid by the presence of live musicians: a professional orchestra and a young soloist performing the famous Walking in the Air song.

Other key elements which make these Carrot Productions events so popular with parents include:
  • The orchestra drawn from some of the top musicians in the country, many of whom are members of such orchestras as The Halle and the BBC Philarmonic
  • Every performance features a young soloist local to the area, singing the haunting Walking in the Air solo which lies at the heart of the Snowman. Auditions are held in the Autumn, with local Music Hubs and Cathedral Choirmasters helping to find suitable soloists to take up this superb performance opportunity.
  • A rousing Christmas overture
  • A fun introduction to the orchestra
  • A visit from the organisation's very own snowman!
Tickets are expected to sell out fast, so for further information or tour details then please visit www.carrotproductions.com.

© Gareth Widdowson

If Chester Cathedral is a little too far for you to travel, then don't worry, as this magical experience is visiting 13 venues throughout the country in Derby, Chesterfield, Salisbury, Coventry, Buxton, Beverley Minster, Salford, Winchester, Bradford, Chester, Lichfield, Liverpool and Ely. A full list of all the tour dates and venues can be found here.

Each venue will feature a second animation, specially commissioned by Carrot Productions and audiences will be treated to one of three films: A Donkey's Tale a heart-warming story of Dillon the Donkey, an ordinary donkey with an extraordinary dream that takes him on a journey that will change his life which has been specially written and composed by Daniel Whibley; The Bear and the Piano, an exclusive animated film based on the award-winning book by David Litchfield with narration recorded by Joanna Lumley and music by Daniel Whibley which has become a family favourite for the next generation; or the most Christmassy of seasonal pieces, The Nutcracker, brought to life by Tom Scott's mesmerising animated film. The full tour listings here will advise which animation is being shown at your chosen venue.

If you would like to get a feeling for The Snowman Tour, then please watch the video below.


*Disclaimer: We are being given 4 complimentary tickets for the purpose of providing an honest review of the tour later this year. All opinions are my own. Details provided are believed to be correct at the time of writing, but are subject to change. I would therefore always recommend visiting the companies own website in order to obtain the most up to date information.

Wednesday, 4 September 2019

Saturday Night Fever at Storyhouse, Chester - Preview

The summer holidays are well and truly over and after enjoying 6 weeks with both my husband and children, I would be lying if I said I wasn't missing them today. However, every cloud has a silver lining and whilst I am a little sad about waving goodbye to the summer sunshine, I am incredibly excited about Autumn and some of the events that are lined up for the North West over the coming months.

You may have seen on previous blog posts that Storyhouse in Chester is one of my favourite theatres and I feel so fortunate to have this fantastic arts facility just minutes away from our home. The upcoming Autumn schedule is absolutely jam-packed full of some incredible shows and what better way to start the season than with Bill Kenwright's reimagined and revitalised stage version of cult film Saturday Night Fever.

Disco fever will be descending on the Storyhouse from Tuesday 10th September to Saturday 14th September when this smash hit show arrives in the city and tickets are on sale now.

Image credit: Pamela Raith Photography

Saturday Night Fever tells the story of Tony Manero and his reckless yet thrilling road to dancing success. It is directed and produced by Bill Kenwright, with choreography by Olivier Award winning Bill Deamer, designs by Gary McCann, lighting by Nick Richings, and sound by Dan Samson. The stage adaptation is by Robert Stigwood in collaboration with Bill Oakes.

West End star Richard Winsor reprises his role as Tony Manero, stepping into the iconic white suit for the Autumn 2019 tour. He has performed around the world, starring as the principle dancer with Matthew Bourne for 10 years. He then landed the lead role in the cult dance film StreetDance 3D and later went on to play Caleb Knight in the BBC flagship medical drama Casualty.

Richard Winsor will be joined by Olivia Fines (Stephanie), Brandon Gale (Double J), Owen Broughton (Gus), Ross Clifton (Joey), and Will Luckett (Bobbie C).

In this newly updated and reimagined musical revival, which launched in August 2018, the cast will also be joined on stage by Danny Knott, Jake Byrom and James Kenneth Haughan in the roles of the Bee Gees, singing the hit soundtrack of all the disco classics.

Completing the cast are Faizal Jay (DJ Monty), Grant Neal (Frank Senior), Melody Jones (Flo Manero), Natasha Firth (Annette), and Phil Mennell (Frank Junior).

The ensemble features Benjamin Harrold, Brett Shiels, Fletcher Dobinson, Grace Swaby, Helen Gulston, Jade Heusen, Robert Anthony, Sophie Sass, and Zoe Heighton.

Image credit: Pamela Raith Photography

The musical features the Bee Gees' greatest hits including Stayin' Alive, How Deep Is Your Love, Night Fever, Tragedy and More Than a Woman, as well as 1970's favourites Boogie Shoes, Disco Inferno and, for the first time, will feature a group playing the Bee Gees live.

Tickets for Saturday Night Fever are on sale now and range in price from £20.50 to £46.50. Each ticket is subject to a £1.50 booking fee. Group rates are also available Tuesday to Thursday. Please note that the show is not suitable for children and has an age guide of 14+.

To find out more about the show, you can visit the following website and social media pages:

Website - www.kenwright.com
Twitter - @BKL_Productions
Instagram - @BKLProductions

Listing Details

Show - Saturday Night Fever
Venue - Storyhouse, Hunter Street, Chester, CH1 2AR
Dates - Tuesday 10th September 2019 to Saturday 14th September 2019

Tuesday 10th September 2019 at 7:30pm
Wednesday 11th September 2019 at 2:30pm
Wednesday 11th September 2019 at 7:30pm
Thursday 12th September 2019 at 2:30pm
Thursday 12th September 2019 at 7:30pm
Friday 13th September 2019 at 7:30pm
Saturday 14th September 2019 at 2:30pm
Saturday 14th September 2019 at 7:30pm

Please note that the show is suitable for ages 14+.

Ticket prices - Tickets are available from £20.50 to £46.50 and each ticket is subject to a £1.50 booking fee. Group rates are available Tuesday to Thursday.

Storyhouse has a dynamic pricing policy on the majority of shows, ensuring the earlier you book your tickets, guarantees the best seats at the lowest price.

How to Book

Online: www.storyhouse.com
By Phone: Call 01244 409113
In Person: Visit the Ticket Kiosks at Storyhouse, Hunter Street, Chester, CH1 2AR.

Further information on Storyhouse can be found on their website and social media pages on the following channels:

Website - www.storyhouse.com
Facebook - www.facebook.com/storyhouselive
Twitter - @StoryhouseLive

Image credit: Pamela Raith Photography

*Disclaimer - Details provided are believed to be correct at the time of writing, however are subject to change. I would therefore always recommend visiting the venue's own website in order to obtain the most up to date information. Post written using press release from BEA.

Monday, 18 February 2019

Gandey's Circus - The Greatest Show Tour - A Review

We were recently invited along to Gandey's Circus which is currently at Aintree in Liverpool until the 3rd of March as part of its current UK tour. I haven't visited the circus since I was a young child and was therefore excited and intrigued to experience the 'The Greatest Show' and find out exactly what it could offer for family entertainment.

From the moment we arrived my youngest son Riley was amazed by the giant circus tent and kept asking what would be inside. He was running around excitedly trying to take a peek through the entrance whilst I was waiting to collect our tickets from the box office. He soon stopped in his tracks though as the smartly dressed ringmaster walked past and gave him a smile and a wave.

Once we had collected our tickets, we made our way into the foyer area where there was a variety of food and drink stands, along with a stall that sold the popular flashing toys and wands. Riley immediately spotted a brightly coloured sword that had colour changing lights and was priced at £6. I felt that this was very reasonable compared to some event stalls that we have seen before, so I had no issue in purchasing one for him to wave around.


As we entered the show arena, we handed over our ticket and were directed where to take our seats. The seats aren't numbered so you can simply choose where you would like to sit, as long as it is in the area that you have paid for. We managed to get some great seats a few rows up from the front, which gave us a great view throughout the show. The time slot we attended was really popular so whilst waiting for all the guests to take their seats there was also the opportunity to have your face painted or have a mascot photograph in the circus ring for a small charge, which I thought was a great idea.

Once everyone was seated the show began to start and we were introduced to the full cast singing and performing. It was a superb beginning and really set the standard high. My children were in their element singing and clapping along and they sat captivated waiting to see what happened next.

The show advertising states "You've never seen anything like it!" and they are not wrong. Every single act which took to the ring was absolutely incredible and the talent of each person was outstanding. The acrobats spun and flew through the air as they attempted high flying flips and bounces on a thin bar supported only by the strength of two people. My whole family watched in amazement as the acts continued, always excited to see what was next.

The Garcia Brothers performed an act of amazing strength as they balanced on one hand whilst carrying out a superb gymnastic routine. They made everything look so easy, yet in reality it must take so many years of training to get to the high standard they are at. We really liked the fact that each act had a great soundtrack to it with popular well known songs that matched perfectly to the performance.


One of my favourite acts of the evening was a romantic aerial ballet performance that had me completely mesmerised. An extremely talented duo climbed high above the ring and supported themselves on the silk drapes whilst providing a breathtaking and beautiful display together involving acrobatics, spins, drops and dance. However, just when we thought it couldn't get anymore spectacular, we were presented with the giant space wheel and sat on the edge of our seats as two extremely talented acrobats attempted somersaults, runs and flips whilst the wheel spun round at speed. They even attempted it whilst blindfolded which was unbelievable!

In between all the acts the audience was kept entertained by loveable clown Chico Rico who provided plenty of belly laughs and fun. There were also numerous opportunities for audience participation along with jokes and comedy suitable for the whole family.

Before we knew it the first half was over and it was the interval. The show was so fast paced and entertaining that an hour had passed really quickly. The 15 minute break allowed plenty of time to purchase some snacks or pop to the toilet and there was a further opportunity again for face painting in the circus ring along with a raffle to win a cuddly toy.


The second half was just as incredible as the first and at one point the award winning circus stars Duo Garcia performed high flying acrobatics on a soaring rocket that spun at speed around the circus top. It definitely had an element of fear and at one point one of the performers was hanging by only one foot at a great height with NO safety nets. It was definitely a heart stopping moment!

The finale saw three motorbikes enter the 'globe of death' which saw them drive around at speed whilst narrowly avoiding one another. At some points it literally looked like they were only millimetres away from one another and that they could collide at any moment, but incredibly they completed the act with precision to a great round of applause.


Overall this circus show was everything we had hoped it would be and more. It was absolutely action packed from start to finish and my children have not stopped talking about it since. Everything from the dazzling costumes to the music was just perfect and it was quite incredible to see so many talented performers all in one show. Gandeys Circus The Greatest Show really does live up to it's name and I wouldn't hesitate to recommend this tour to families.

For further information and full tour dates you can visit the Gandeys Circus website or their social media pages which can be found on the following channels:

Website: www.gandeyscircus.com
Facebook: facebook.com/gandeyscircus/
Twitter: @gandeyscircus
Instagram: @gandeys_circus

*Disclaimer - We were provided with a complimentary family ticket for the purpose of writing an honest review of the show. Opinions are my own unless otherwise stated.

Thursday, 7 February 2019

Dates for your Diary - Regal Entertainments presents The Wizard of Oz at St Helens Theatre Royal starring Linda Lusardi as The Wicked Witch - 6th to 22nd April 2019

Click your heels together and join Dorothy and Toto as they journey along the Yellow Brick Road with new friends Scarecrow, Tin Man and Cowardly Lion, to meet the Wizard so he can make their dreams come true.

Regal Entertainments production of The Wizard of Oz will be returning to St Helen's Theatre Royal this Easter between Saturday 6th April and Monday 22nd April 2019 following sell out seasons in 2016, 2017 and 2018, as well as a hugely successful Merseyside tour in 2017.

The show, complete with a brand-new script and music for 2019, will feature dazzling costumes and sets, show-stopping choreography and unbelievable special effects, which audiences have come to know and love from all Regal Entertainments' productions.

It has also recently been announced that star of stage and screen, Linda Lusardi, will be playing the role of The Wicked Witch in this wonderful pantomime, in a production that is sure to entertain families of all ages.

Linda Lusardi's career has spanned nearly 30 years, after first rising to fame in the 80's. Her major TV roles have included playing Carrie Nichols in ITV's Emmerdale, Maggie Lyons in The Bill and Frankie in Brookside. She has also appeared on numerous reality TV shows such as ITV's Loose Women, Dancing on Ice 2008, Come Dine With Me and Celebrity Masterchef 2011.

Her leading stage roles include; Funny Peculiar, Bedside Manners, Not Now Darling, No Sex Please We're British, and Rock with Laughter. She is also no stranger to panto and has played roles up and down the country since 1988. In her latest production she received five star reviews appearing as The Wicked Queen in Snow White at The Playhouse Weston Super Mare, which also broke box office records.

St Helen's Theatre Royal Manager, Chantelle Nolan said: "We are delighted to announce Linda Lusardi as our Wicked Witch - she has had such a prolific career and is a seasoned panto pro. I know audiences of St Helens will love her - when they're not booing her that is.

"The Wizard of Oz is a real favourite with our audiences, and I am certain they will love this brand-new version which includes a new script and lots of wonderful new songs to sing and dance to."

For further information on this wonderful Easter pantomime, please visit the St Helen's Theatre Royal website or their social media pages which can be found on the following channels:

Website - www.sthelenstheatreroyal.com
Facebook - www.facebook.com/St-Helens-Theatre-Royal
Twitter - @TheatreRoyalStH

Listing Details

Event - Regal Entertainments presents The Wizard of Oz
Dates - Saturday 6th April to Monday 22nd April 2019
Times - Monday to Friday 1pm / Saturday & Sunday 1pm & 5pm
Tickets - From £13*

All prices are inclusive of a £1 per seat transaction fee. On-line bookings are subject to an additional 50p per seat on-line processing fee.

Disclaimer: This post is written based on a press release provided by BEA. All details provided believed to be correct at the time of writing, but are subject to change. I would therefore always recommend visiting the venue's own website in order to obtain the most up to date information.

Wednesday, 9 January 2019

Story Pocket Theatre Present David Baddiel's AniMalcolm The Musical at The Epstein Theatre

Story Pocket Theatre are delighted to announce that AniMalcolm, based on the bestselling children's book by David Baddiel, will play at The Epstein Theatre on Thursday 28th February and Friday 1st March 2019 as part of a major UK tour and following a smash-hit premiere at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in 2018.

Malcolm doesn't like animals, which is a problem because his family are wild about them. In fact, their house is full of pets of all shapes and sizes. The only bright spot on the horizon is the Year Six school trip, until he is on the bus, heading to... a farm. But on a school trip like no other, Malcolm begins to understand animals more deeply than anyone. Will he end up the same as before? Because sometimes the hardest thing to become is yourself.

A vibrant, energetic and gloriously funny musical from the award-winning Story Pocket Theatre, AniMalcolm combines physical theatre, puppetry and the company's outstanding storytelling style to bring David Baddiel's magical and wonderfully comic story to the stage.

Photo Credit - Steve Porter
David Baddiel is an award-winning comedian, author, screenwriter, director, and television presenter known for his work with Newman and Baddiel, Fantasy Football, Baddiel and Skinner Unplanned and his platinum number one single Three Lions. David has written four children's books which have now sold over one million copies, as well as four critically-acclaimed adult novels and the hit film Infidel. David's latest stand-up show, My Family: Not the Sitcom, premiered at the Menier Chocolate Factory before going on to run for 15 weeks in the West End.

David Baddiel said: "It has been such a thrill to see AniMalcolm brought to life on stage, and as a musical! Story Pocket have done a wonderful job with this adaptation, and it will be a real treat to see Malcolm adventuring around the UK with his menagerie of animals in tow."

Story Pocket Theatre is a company devoted to bringing both classic and original children's stories to the stage in a magical, inventive and exciting way. Previous productions include Michael Morpugo's King Arthur (Edinburgh Fringe and UK Tour) and A Pocketful of Grimms (Edinburgh Fringe and International Tour).

AniMalcolm is directed by Julia Black and Adam Fletcher-Forde with musical direction by David Perkins, set and costume design by Jacqueline Trousdale, lighting design by Declan Randall and movement direction by Shona Morris.

AniMalcolm is supported using public funding by Arts Council England.

Recommended for ages 5+

Listing Details

Show - AniMalcolm
Venue - The Epstein Theatre, Liverpool, Merseyside
Dates - Thursday 28th February and Friday 1st March
Times - Thursday 4:30pm/Friday 1pm & 5pm
Tickets - Adults £16 / Children £14 / Family £54

To book tickets please call 0844 888 4411* or go online at www.epsteinliverpool.co.uk* or in person at The Epstein Theatre Box Office from 12pm to 6pm Monday to Saturday.

*Subject to booking fee. All prices include a £1 per ticket restoration levy.

For more details please check out www.epsteinliverpool.co.uk and join the mailing list. Alternatively you can visit their social media channels on Facebook www.facebook.com/EpsteinTheatre and twitter @EpsteinTheatre.

Photo Credit - Steve Porter
*Disclaimer - This is a press release provided by BEA. Details provided believed to be correct at time of publishing, but are subject to change. I would therefore always recommend visiting the venues own website in order to obtain the most up to date information.

Saturday, 22 December 2018

The Snowman Tour 2018 at Parr Hall, Warrington - A Review

Watching The Snowman on television every Christmas has been one of our favourite festive family traditions for as long as I can remember, so when we learnt about the wonderful Snowman Tour earlier this year, we were very excited.

The Snowman Tour from Carrot Productions visits a total of 16 different venues from all across the country this December, including seven cathedrals in Blackburn, Chester, Durham, Gloucester, Lichfield, Liverpool and Winchester. The show brings the magic of the animation alive, as the iconic film is accompanied by a live orchestra and a young soloist who performs the song Walking in the Air. We were invited along to Warrington's Parr Hall to review the show on Thursday evening and it really was a wonderful experience.

 Photo Credit: ©Tom Bangbala
Unfortunately for me, I was informed by the doctor on Thursday morning that I have somehow caught chickenpox, so despite looking forward to this since earlier this year, I was personally unable to attend. I did however have a very willing volunteer to take my place and so my mother in law attended with my family instead and as such the remainder of this review will be written by my husband Mr.F.

The venue of Parr Hall is approximately a 30 minute drive from our home, however it is a venue that we had not visited before. It was very easy to find and with a stroke of luck, we were able to find on street parking right outside the entrance. My youngest son Riley was very excited and began to sing Walking in the Air as we left our vehicle and made our way to the entrance.

To begin with we were treated to a festive overture by the orchestra which featured a variety of well known Christmas songs such as Jingle Bells, Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer and Santa Claus is Coming to Town. This lasted approximately ten minutes and it was a superb way to start our evening. I was pleased that they had chosen to play songs that the children would recognise and my youngest son loved listening to the music play and naming the tune.

We were then introduced to the different elements of the orchestra, which had been produced in an interesting, but comical way. The gentleman on the double bass began to tell a story as to how the orchestra had reached a venue after becoming stuck in the snow. An animation played on the screen as the narrator delivered an explanation of their adventure. The way it was told allowed children to identify with different instruments which I thought was particularly clever.

Following this was the heartwarming tale of The Bear and the Piano, based on the book by David Litchfield. This animation was narrated by Joanna Lumley, and being a story that I had not been familiar with before, it was very entertaining for my family and I.

It told the story of a bear cub who found a piano in the woods. Over time he grew bigger and gained fantastic musical talent that led him to the city to seek fame and fortune. Eventually he returned back to his home in the woods and was worried that his friends and family may have forgotten all about him, when in fact they couldn't have been more proud. The woodland had been covered with merchandise, surrounded by his friends and family, which led to him performing for the most important audience of all.

Photo Credit: ©Gareth Widdowson
There was an interval between The Bear and the Piano and The Snowman which lasted approximately 15 minutes. Given that the audience was predominantly families, I think that this interval was a good idea as it provided the opportunity for a toilet break or to purchase a drink. A character costume of The Snowman came out to the audience and waved to all the excited children as it made its way around the venue.

Soon enough it was time for the main event and the atmosphere was absolutely wonderful. My son was captivated by the animation on the screen, however I did try to take the time to also observe the orchestra, who were all extremely talented and quite fascinating to watch too.

A young soloist performed the solo of Walking in the Air and their voice was exceptional. Having watched the animation numerous times over the years, seeing this song being performed live was wonderful and is certainly something that my family will definitely remember.

Overall our family had a wonderful time at The Snowman Tour and it was a truly magical experience. It was the perfect opportunity for my youngest son to be introduced to an orchestra and learn more about the instruments and musicians involved. I felt that the way the show had been presented was really well thought out and the inclusion of the Christmas overture and The Bear and the Piano certainly added further enjoyment. It is the ideal show to get you in the festive spirit and we would like to thank Carrot Productions for creating such a beautiful presentation of this heartwarming animation.

If you would like further information on The Snowman Tour 2018 or to check remaining availability, then you can visit the Carrot Productions website here.

Photo Credit: ©Gareth Widdowson
*Disclaimer: We were provided with 4 tickets for the purpose of writing an honest review of our experience. All thoughts and opinions are my own unless otherwise stated. Review written by Mr.F. Images are from previous tour and do not feature the Warrington Parr Hall venue.


Sunday, 16 December 2018

The Wizard of Oz at Storyhouse, Chester - Review

On Thursday evening we were invited along to the press night of The Wizard of Oz at Storyhouse in Chester. This is one of our favourite venues in the area and we are very lucky to live less than ten minutes away from such a fantastic arts centre. We have been to a few performances here and have always been very impressed by the quality of the shows on offer. The Wizard of Oz was no exception and we followed Dorothy and her friends along the yellow brick road, in a wonderful and well thought out production.

Image kindly provided by Storyhouse
The show was very similar to the film with only a few variations arising from some modern interpretations. We really enjoyed the staging from the beginning and it was great for my daughter to see how the story began and relate it to the characters that Dorothy would meet once in Oz. I did however feel that the introduction was perhaps slightly too lengthy, though that being said I can understand why they have chosen not to rush this part, so that the audience can fully appreciate the relationships between Dorothy, her friends and family.

Consuela Rolle has been cast in the lead role of Dorothy and her portrayal was magnificent throughout. Her energy and enthusiasm ensured that guests remained entertained as the story was performed on stage. I felt that she connected with the audience well and there was a believable vulnerability from the character. When her journey began along the yellow brick road, she was able to exhibit her fear of the unknown, whilst also ensuring that she had a vibrant and positive personality to help lead her new found friends to the merry old land of Oz.

Our favourite scene from the show was actually very early in the production, when Dorothy first met the Munchkins (performed by children from House of Dance). The talented skills of the children involved are highly commendable and their performance of Ding Dong! The Witch Is Dead was absolutely superb. We loved that the choreography had a modern twist, featuring dance moves that the children in the audience could relate to.

Image kindly provided by Storyhouse
The first friend that Dorothy makes on her journey, is that of the scarecrow, played by Natalie Woods. We all agreed that her acting was wonderful and it was great to see her interaction with Dorothy, which created a convincing friendship.

Ben Oliver's interpretation of the Tin Man brought happiness and laughter to the audience, especially during his explanation as to how he came to be created of Tin. Watching the friendships develop was exciting to see and although we were familiar with the story, there was still an element of intrigue as to what might happen next.

The cowardly lion (Richard Colvin) introduced an element of comedy, which I did feel was needed at times and this could have potentially been pushed further, with the inclusion of a few more witticisms. He played the role really well and soon established himself as a very loveable character. He was in fact our favourite performer of the show and we enjoyed the humour that he delivered.

Kenny Thompson appears as both Uncle Henry and The Emerald City Guard and admittedly we much preferred him in the latter role. We loved the powerful performance he presented in Oz, that made me want to sing and dance along. This was complemented by Natasha Bain who starred as Aunt Em and Glinda the Good Witch, who created a loving but authoritive figure in both roles.

Fergus Rattigan delighted as the intriguing and powerful Wizard of Oz as well as Professor Marvel and I really enjoyed both of his characters. The clever use of technology featured throughout the show, but I particularly liked how this was used to deliver his booming voice over video projection.

Of course the Wizard of Oz wouldn't be complete without The Wicked Witch of the West. This was played by Zara Ramm who had a very commanding stage presence. Her performance was strong, but at no point did I feel that it would be too scary for younger audience members, which helps to make it more family friendly.

I felt that all of the musical performances throughout the show were really entertaining and consisted of perfectly timed choreography, beautiful vocals and plenty of enthusiasm and gusto. Particular highlights included Somewhere Over the Rainbow, Follow the Yellow Brick Road and also the inclusion of Jitterbug.

Overall we thoroughly enjoyed the Wizard of Oz, but with a running time of 2 hours and 30 minutes it is perhaps a little too lengthy for younger audience guests. I think if we had brought my five year old along then he would have definitely got restless at some point. For older children and adults though, then this is a commendable production with magnificent staging, lighting and sound. It was great to see a show of this quality in the local area and it also offers something a little different for a Christmas production. Ultimately it is a well written musical, with a credible cast that offer a talented interpretation of an iconic story.

The Wizard of Oz is appearing at Storyhouse, Chester on various dates until Sunday 6th January 2019, with ticket prices starting from £15. For the most up to date information or to book tickets, you can visit the Storyhouse website here: Storyhouse Chester

Image kindly provided by Storyhouse
Disclaimer: We were invited as guests to the press night performance of The Wizard of Oz for the purpose of writing an honest review of our experience. All opinions and thoughts are my own unless stated otherwise. Images kindly provided by Storyhouse.

Thursday, 8 November 2018

Raymond Briggs' Father Christmas Comes to Waterside, Sale

Christmas fever is truly kicking in at Waterside in Sale, Trafford as it gears up to welcome Raymond Briggs' Father Christmas in just 4 weeks time! This heart-warming and much loved family tale is brought to you by the creative team behind last year's sell out, acclaimed and sensational show, The Bear.

Children of all ages will delight in Briggs' grumpy but loveable Father Christmas as he gets ready for his busiest day of the year: Christmas Eve. Watch as he prepares his Christmas deliveries, feeds his reindeer and finally takes flight into the snowy night.

Bursting with live music, songs, puppetry and enough theatre magic to win over and melt the hearts of any non-believers - this critically acclaimed adaptation of Raymond Briggs' cherished book is a delightful festive treat for all the family.

Photo Credit: Tom Gladstone
Darren Adams, Manager of Waterside says: "After a record breaking year and unprecedented audience response to The Bear (which has recently been shortlisted for Theatre Production of the Year in the Northern Soul Awards 2018), we are thrilled to be working with the same team to bring another Raymond Briggs' favourite, Father Christmas, to Waterside this Winter. Joining forces with Pins and Needles Productions are the highly prestigious Lyric Hammersmith, who have staged the production in London and around the UK, receiving critical acclaim from both audiences and critics alike. We are proud of our commitment to creating enchanting experiences for our young audiences, presenting work of the highest calibre and we cannot wait for Christmas to begin on 04 December."

Raymond Briggs' Father Christmas opens to the public on Wednesday 5th December and runs until Monday 31st December. School performances are also available and for a full breakdown please visit www.watersidearts.org/fatherchristmas.

Cookies and Milk Packs are also available to pre-order along with your tickets for just an extra £2 each for all shows.

Children (and adults too!) are invited to come in their PJ's and bring a favourite bedtime teddy to the 6pm Slumber Shows to make their theatre experience a real bedtime treat.

The show is recommended for children aged between 3 & 11.

Listing Details

Event: Raymond Briggs' Father Christmas
Venue: Waterside, 1 Waterside Plaza, Sale, Trafford, M33 7ZF
Dates: Tuesday 4th December to Monday 31st December
Times: Times vary, so please visit the Waterside website for the most up to date information.
Tickets: Ticket prices vary £16.50/£14.50/£12.50.
School tickets available for £10 and 1 teacher free with every 9 students booked.

Photo Credit: Tom Gladstone
Disclaimer: Details provided are believed to be correct at the time of publishing but are of course subject to change. I would therefore always recommend visiting the venues own website in order to obtain the most up to date information. This post does not contain affiliate links. Images are not of the 2018 Waterside cast.

Monday, 15 October 2018

Dates for your Diary - The Gruffalo's Child Comes to Storyhouse this Autumn on the 30th-31st October

Smash-hit West End show The Gruffalo's Child Live comes to Storyhouse in Chester later this month as part of a nationwide tour.

No Gruffalo should ever set foot in the deep dark wood...so join The Gruffalo's Child on her adventurous mission in Tall Stories' magical, musical adaptation of the much-loved picture book by Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler.

The Gruffalo's Child Live comes to Storyhouse in Chester for three performances only. The show can be seen at 2pm on Tuesday 30th October, and on Wednesday 31st October at 11am and 2pm. Tickets are on sale now.

One wild and windy night, The Gruffalo's Child ignores her father's warnings about the Big Bad Mouse and tiptoes out into the deep dark wood. She follows snowy tracks and encounters hungry woodland creatures - but the Big Bad Mouse doesn't really exist...does he?

This musical adaptation of the popular children's book guarantees entertainment for all ages. Songs, laughs and scary fun for children aged 3 upwards and their grown-ups, in the hugely popular show that's toured Britain and the world.

The cast features Althea Burey as The Gruffalo's Child; Georgia Wall as Mouse; Jack Kelly as The Gruffalo and Predators; and Christopher Smart (understudy / assistant stage manager).

Image Credit: ©Lesley Cook Headshots
Internationally acclaimed theatre company Tall Stories brings The Gruffalo's Child Live to Storyhouse  as part of a major UK and international tour, which forms part of Tall Stories' 21st anniversary season and will showcase the production's new set and costumes.

Tall Stories' hit musical adaptation of the award-winning sequel to The Gruffalo (published by Macmillan Children's Books) is "everything good children's theatre should be" (The List). Tall Stories brings great stories to life for audiences of all ages.

The Gruffalo's Child Live is produced by award-winning theatre company Tall Stories  - a creative force whose productions include The Gruffalo, the Olivier Award Nominated Room on the Broom, The Snail and the Whale and The Snow Dragon. The creative team includes Director Olivia Jacobs, Creative Producer Toby Mitchell, Designer Isla Shaw, Composers John Fiber and Andy Shaw of JollyGoodTunes, and Lighting Designer James Whiteside.

The company is a registered charity which tours the UK and the world with its exciting blend of storytelling theatre. Tall Stories was founded in 1997 by co-directors Olivia Jacobs and Toby Mitchell. Tall Stories shows have played in the West End, on Broadway, in the Sydney Opera House as well as all sorts of venues and countries in between.

Tickets are on sale priced at £14 (each ticket is subject to a £1.50 booking fee).

Further information can be obtained from the following website or social media channels:

Websites - www.tallstories.org.uk or www.gruffaloschildlive.com
Facebook - @tallstoriestheatre or gruffchildlive
Twitter - @tallstoriesnews or @gruffchildlive

Listing Details

Show - The Gruffalo's Child Live
Venue - Storyhouse, Hunter Street, Chester, CH1 2AR.
Dates - Tuesday 30th October and Wednesday 31st October
Times - Tues 2pm / Wed 11am and 2pm
Tickets - £14 (each ticket is subject to a £1.50 booking fee)

Suitable for youngsters aged 3 upwards.
Duration approximately 55 minutes with no interval

Tickets can be booked by visiting the Storyhouse website at www.storyhouse.com, by calling 01244 409133 or in person at the Ticket Kiosks at Storyhouse, Hunter Street, Chester, CH1 2AR.

Website - www.storyhouselive.com
Facebook - www.facebook.com/storyhouselive
Twitter - @storyhouselive

Image Credit: ©Lesley Cook Headshots
Disclosure: This is a press release from Storyhouse. All details are believed to be correct at time of publishing, however I would always recommend visiting the venue's own website in order to obtain the most up to date information. 

Thursday, 10 May 2018

Paw Patrol Live! "The Great Pirate Adventure" Announces UK Tour Dates

My son Riley is a HUGE Paw Patrol fan and last year we had the opportunity to take him to see Paw Patrol Live! "Race to the Rescue" in Manchester. We all had a fantastic time at the show and the whole family found it really entertaining. Everything from the costumes to the music was brilliant and we all agreed that it was a wonderful production.

We were therefore really excited to learn that Paw Patrol Live! will be embarking on another UK tour called "The Great Pirate Adventure". I know that Riley will absolutely love watching the pups again live on stage in their superb costumes, along with their vehicles and packs in this new pup-tastic adventure.


In Paw Patrol Live! "The Great Pirate Adventure", Mayor Goodway is getting everything shipshape for a big Pirate Day celebration in Adventure Bay. However, when Cap'n Turbot falls into a dark and mysterious cavern, it's Paw Patrol to the rescue!

Audiences will join Chase, Marshall, Rubble, Skye, Rocky and Zuma as they save Cap'n Turbot and discover a secret pirate treasure map that will lead them on an epic adventure. The pups will need all paws on deck for this pirate adventure, including help from the newest pup who's all ears.....Tracker! Faced with challenges along the way, the pups will need to use their heroic rescue skills and work together as a team as the pups set sail to save the day. No job is too big, no pirate pup is too small!

Tickets are on sale now and are available to purchase from www.pawpatrollive.co.uk

The current tour dates are as follows:
  • Saturday 28th July - The Playhouse, Edinburgh
  • Thursday 2nd August - Metro Radio Arena, Newcastle
  • Saturday 4th and Sunday 5th August - SECC, Glasgow
  • Wednesday 8th August - Echo Arena, Liverpool
  • Saturday 11th and Sunday 12th August - Manchester Arena, Manchester
  • Wednesday 15th August - Fly DSA Arena, Sheffield
  • Saturday 18th August - Arena Birmingham
  • Wednesday 22nd August - Motor Point Arena, Cardiff
  • Saturday 25th and Sunday 26th August - The SSE Arena, Wembley, London
  • Wednesday 29th August - First Direct Arena, Leeds
  • Saturday 1st and Sunday 2nd September - Windsor Hall, Bournemouth International Centre
  • Saturday 8th and Sunday 9th September - Brighton Centre, Brighton

Disclaimer: Details provided are believed to be correct at time of writing, but may be subject to change. I would therefore always recommend visiting the companies own website in order to obtain the most up to date information.

Wednesday, 28 February 2018

Dates for your Diary - Contact Young Company Bangs the Drums to Celebrate Anniversary Year - 8th to 11th March

This March, the award-winning Contact Young Company celebrates the 100 year anniversary of the Representation of the People Act (1918) with She Bangs the Drums. This much anticipated show is based on research at the People's History Museum and will take place at the Museum of Science and Industry's characteristic 1830 Warehouse as part of the city's Wonder Women 2018 radical feminist festival.

She Bangs the Drums will explore both familiar and unheard voices and stories from Manchester's rich and radical past as a center of protest, from the Suffragettes to the Chartists. The 1918 Act saw the vote extended to all men over the age of 21 and women over 30, but with certain restrictions.

Although not the end of the fight, this huge step was largely influenced by working class men and women from Manchester and the North West. Their passionate protest and sometimes militant behaviour brought a fight for a fairer society to the forefront of politics, affecting the social climate of the United Kingdom forever.

She Bangs the Drums has been devised by Contact Young Company following extensive research into the People's History Museum's archive, galleries and collection with assistance from the experts at the museum. The show has personal significance for one of the members of the company, who can count a leading figure in the Irish Suffragette movement as an ancestor.

Image Credit: Benji Reid

Contact Young Company actor Ruby O'Casey said "My great great aunt Hanna Sheehy Skeffington was a feminist and an incredibly important figure in the Irish suffragette movement and her story is deeply significant to me and to my whole family. She has been a huge inspiration to me all of my life and I couldn't be prouder to be related to her. She was one of the founder members of The Irish Citizen newspaper, which finally gave women and the suffragette movement a voice. We get so much freedom to explore ideas and create character in the Contact Young Company process; I can't wait to bring her world to life."

She Bangs the Drums takes a fresh look at past Mancunian pride and radical thinking and explores how these events can change our perception of the future. Contact Young Company will take the audience on a journey through the historic spaces of the Museum of Science and Industry whilst exploring Manchester's ongoing relationship with political protest.

Assistant director Hebe Reilly added "She Bangs the Drums has been fantastic to work on. I have seen the group delve into the PHM's archive, collection and galleries, and fool around at clowning workshops to create some brilliant characters. It's an exciting challenge to try and capture the revolutionary spirit of women and men who broke convention, windows and the law for our right to vote. Looking beyond the well-known figures of the period, our young actors have been seeking out people like Princess Sophia Duleep Singh, Annie Kenney and Lady Constance Lytton - who represent some of the diverse, radical and intersectional figures of the era. Contact has given its young actors space to explore not just the women's suffrage movement but also to reflect on how far we have come towards achieving equality for women in 2018".

She Bangs the Drums takes place at the Museum of Science and Industry from Thursday 8th March to Sunday 11th March, at 11:30, 2pm and 7pm (Thursday and Friday) and 2pm and 7pm (Saturday and Sunday). Tickets are on sale now priced £13/£7 concessions. Book securely online at www.contactmcr.com or by phone on 0161 274 600. Please note that the show is for over 14's. 

Listing Details

Show - She Bangs the Drums
Venue - Museum of Science and Industry, Liverpool Road, Manchester, M3 4FP
Dates - Thursday 8th March to Sunday 11th March
Times - Performance times vary, so please visit the website for the most up to date information.
Tickets - £13/£7 concessions
Box Office - 0161 274 600
Website - www.contactmcr.com
Twitter - @contactmcr
Facebook - facebook.com/contactmcr

Wednesday, 15 November 2017

Dates for your Diary - Kidz to Adultz North at EventCity, Manchester on 16th November

Earlier today, I was made aware of a major exhibition taking place tomorrow at Manchester's EventCity on the 16th November, called Kidz to Adultz North. The exhibition offers inspiration on independent living for young people with disabilities and is organised by Disabled Living, which is one of the regions oldest charities - celebrating its 120th year!

Kidz to Adultz North is a unique, inspiring and FREE event, that is a celebration of independent living and offers a one-stop shop for the most up to date advice, support and information for youngsters with disabilities, up to the age of 25 and their carers.

Last year, the Manchester show welcomed nearly 5000 guests and the charity is hoping that many young visitors with disabilities and additional needs, will come along to the exhibition tomorrow and enjoy the range of hands on activities on offer. Hundreds of experts will also be on hand throughout the event to offer valuable support and advice on all areas of disability; from mobility, funding, seating, beds, communication, sensory, transition, education, housing, employment to accessible vehicles, transport, sports, leisure, independent living and much, much more.

This years Kidz to Adultz North event, will be looking both forwards and backwards, by paying homage to the charities early beginnings as well as highlighting the contributions Disabled Living have made to enhance independent living over the years. The exhibition will also be looking forward to the future and will feature it's very own innovation hub, where young people and their carers will be encouraged to share and draw their own ideas of innovative and life enhancing equipment. Staff and engineers will be ready to assist to help discuss and design these thoughts on equipment and products for the future. There is every chance that at least one of these imagined ideas could very well be realised by Disabled Living in the future!

There will also be an exciting competition taking place to 'Design a Christmas Card', where the winner's design will be turned into the very one that Disabled Living will send out in 2017. The charity's archives show that the tradition of sending out Christmas cards to it's young users dates back as far as its launch, back in 1897.

Debra Evans, Disabled Living's Chief Executive says: "We are delighted to be bringing out annual Kidz to Adultz North event back to Manchester this November in a very special year for us. The past 120 years has seen us transform from a small and unique outfit teaching about kindness into an acclaimed organisation that has transformed thousands of lives across the region. And so this year's event will very much celebrate all that we have achieved to date, with a special emphasis on heritage and celebrating history whilst very much looking to the future to show that we are always looking for new and pioneering ways to help makes lives better and more independent".

For more information on this fabulous event, then please visit www.kidzexhibitions.co.uk

Listing Details:

Event - Kidz to Adultz North
Date - Thursday 16th November 2017
Time - 9:30am til 4:30pm
Venue - EventCity, Barton Dock Road, Manchester, M17 8AS
Ticket price - FREE, but please go to www.kidzexhibitions.co.uk to register.

Thursday, 9 November 2017

The Snowman at Manchester Opera House - Review

My children and I attended this show last night, a little unsure of what to expect. We watch the film every year and it has always been part of our Christmas tradition to watch it on Christmas Eve, but I was slightly sceptical beforehand as to how it would work as a stage production. I had read the preview, so I was aware that just like the film, there was no dialogue, but that the show would be full of music, mime and dance. As someone who studied both music and dance in college, this really appealed to me, but it did leave me questioning as to how the children would take to it. Would they enjoy it & understand it, or would they become bored?

I certainly shouldn't have worried however, as our evening at the Manchester Opera House left us feeling magical. The performance took us on an amazing journey through a wintry world of fun and adventure, which had my children captivated from the very beginning. The Birmingham Repertory Theatre production of The Snowman was not only fascinating to watch, but also left a feeling of enchantment amongst the audience, who were all observing the mesmerising choreography that really brought the characters to life.

The show begins in the young boys home and we watched as he woke from his sleep, to find heavy snowfall outside. His expression of excitement reminded my son of the last time we had snow and how happy he had been to play outside. We observed as the boy had fun outdoors, just waiting for the moment that he decided to build The Snowman! The opening scenes also contained humour, that created some laugh out loud moments. My son particularly enjoyed the part where the boys mother was trying to get him to go to bed, but he had other ideas and was misbehaving instead. This is certainly a familiar routine in our home, which I think was why my son found it so funny.

Once The Snowman had been built, the magic really began and we watched with excitement as The Snowman came to life. He entered The Boy's home and we enjoyed scenes in different rooms of the house as they both explored together mischievously. Each scene brought something special into the production and this ranged from dancing fruit attempting the limbo in the kitchen, to toys coming to life in The Boy's bedroom. I thought that Tomoyo Tanimoto Jaquier's representation of the music box ballerina, was absolutely beautiful and we were also treated to another breathtaking performance by the enchanting dancer, when she returned as the Ice Queen later in the show.

Photo Credit: Alistair Muir
The woodland scene that followed featured some beautiful animal costumes and my daughter commented that she thought the squirrel one in particular was fantastic. We were treated to more humorous elements as the animals tried to avoid The Snowman as he excitedly steered a motorbike with his enthusiastic passenger across the stage.

As the interval approached, the moment came that we had all been waiting for, as The Snowman and The Boy took to the sky for the iconic song 'Walking in the Air'. There were gasps amongst the audience as the duo flew across the stage, whilst I remained mesmerised by the music which is always magnificent, no matter how many times you have heard the song before. The song bridged the interval so we were given the chance to enjoy this moment again at the start of the second half.

As the show continued, we were introduced to more Snowmen, as well as the delightful Father Christmas himself, with each character being individually charismatic. My children absolutely loved it when they all danced together and the music made me want to get up on stage and dance with them.

Photo Credit: Tristram Kenton

The introduction of Jack Frost brings another element to the show, but nothing that was too scary to frighten younger audience members. The Scottish Snowman ensures in comedic fashion that Jack Frost causes no further problems and both The Snowman and The Boy return safely home.

The whole production is inspirational and features the perfect blend of accomplished performances, choreography, humour & emotion. I had chosen to only bring my two older children aged 9 & 11 to The Snowman thinking that it would not have been suitable for Riley who is 4, however I genuinely believe that this show is perfect for all ages and would capture the hearts of all generations. The young girl in front of me who was the same age as Riley sat beautifully throughout the show and I also noticed children who looked younger than Riley enjoying it too, which makes me very tempted to take him.

Emma and Ben talked non stop on the train journey home about their favourite parts and it was interesting to hear how they had each noticed different things and that the show had appealed to them in unique ways. One thing we all agreed on, was that the show had truly got us in the Christmas spirit and more excited than ever for the coming weeks ahead. The Snowman production is a beautiful story told on stage and we would highly recommend it to others.

Listing Details

The Birmingham Repertory Theatre Production of The SnowmanTM  

Venue: Opera House Manchester, 3 Quay Street, Manchester, M3 3HP

Thursday 9th November 2017 - 10:30am and 2:30pm
Friday 10th November 2017 - 7pm
Saturday 11th November 2017 - 1:30pm and 5pm
Sunday 12th November 2017 - 11am and 3pm

Tickets: From £15*

To book please contact the box office on 0844 871 3018 or visit the website ATG Tickets

*Booking transaction fee applies.


Photo Credit: Herbie Knott
* Disclaimer: We were provided with complimentary tickets to the show for the purpose of providing our honest opinion of the production. All opinions are my own unless stated otherwise. This post contains an affiliate link.

Friday, 29 September 2017

The Wizard of Oz at The Epstein Theatre Liverpool - Competition

Get ready to go on a magical adventure over the rainbow with Regal Entertainments and their enchanting pantomime production of the Wizard of Oz. Due to the success and popularity of the show, The Wizard of Oz pantomime is back on the yellow brick road and will be embarking on a mini tour this October with dates in Southport, Liverpool and Rhyl.

The critically acclaimed panto production from Regal Entertainments visits The Epstein Theatre from Friday 27th October to Sunday 29th October, making it the perfect half-term treat for all little munchkins!

To celebrate, we have a family ticket to give away to the Liverpool show at The Epstein Theatre on Friday 27th October at 6pm. Read on for more information and for details on how to enter.

Eastenders actress Cheryl Fergison will continue to lead the cast as the Wicked Witch of the West, whilst BBC Pitch Battle star and singing sensation Maddie Hope Coelho steps into the role of Dorothy. Cheryl and Maddie will be joined by X Factor star David Heath as the Scarecrow, the charismatic Philip McGuiness playing the Tinman and the hilarious Richard Hazlewood as the cowardly lion.


The Wizard of Oz is a firm family favourite which tells the story of young Dorothy Gale and her dog Toto, as they embark on a wondrous adventure over the rainbow and in the magical land of Oz. Regal Entertainments' panto version of this classic family show includes an hilariously funny script, dazzling costumes and sets, plus a wealth of brilliant songs and show-stopping choreography.

In true pantomime fashion, the show is filled with an entertaining cast who provide a wide array of songs, jokes and slapstick comedy that is suitable for the whole family. We were fortunate to attend the show during its popular Stockport Plaza run in the summer holidays, and it had us giggling from beginning to end. You can read our review here: Wizard of Oz Review

Tickets are now on sale. Book early to avoid disappointment.

*The cast is subject to change.

To learn more about Regal Entertainments Ltd, you can visit their social media pages here:

Facebook: RegalEntertainmentsLtd
Twitter: @RegalEntsLtd

Full Tour Listing Details

Southport Theatre, The Promenade, Southport, PR9 0DZ
Tuesday 24th to Thursday 26th October
1pm and 5pm
Tickets: From £11 / Groups (20+): All Seats £13 + 1 in 20 go free / Schools: £9 - 1 teacher in 10 goes free.
To book call 0844 871 3021 or visit ATG Tickets

The Epstein Theatre, Hanover House, 85 Hanover Street, Liverpool, L1 3DZ
Friday 27th to Sunday 29th October
Fri: 6pm | Sat: 10:30am, 1pm, 6pm | Sun: 12pm, 4pm.
Tickets: Adult £18/ Concession £16/ Family (2 Adults, 2 Children) £60
Groups (20+): All Seats £13 + 1 in 20 go free
To book call 0844 888 4411 or visit www.epsteinliverpool.co.uk

Rhyl Pavilion, E Parade, Rhyl, LL18 3AQ
Monday 30th to Tuesday 31st October
Monday 6pm, Tuesday 10:30am, 1pm, 5:30pm
Tickets: From £14 / Groups (20+): All Seats £12 + 1 in 20 go free
To book call 01745 330000 or visit www.rhylpavilion.co.uk

Competition

We have a fabulous competition for our readers, to give you the chance to win a family ticket for the 6pm performance on Friday 27th October at The Epstein Theatre Liverpool. Please check the terms and conditions and if you would like to enter, then please do so, using the Gleam form below. Good Luck!

Win a Family Ticket to see The Wizard of Oz at The Epstein Theatre, Liverpool

Terms and Conditions
  • There is 1 (one) prize of a family ticket to the 6pm performance on Friday 27th October 2017 at The Epstein Theatre, Hanover House, 85 Hanover Street, Liverpool, L1 3DZ.
  • A Family ticket is for 2 adults and 2 children, or alternatively 1 adult and 3 children.
  • The winner shall be required to collect their family ticket from the box office, prior to the show.
  • Tickets are non-transferable and there is no cash alternative.
  • There will be no contribution towards travel.
  • Tickets are valid for the date/time/venue specified only and cannot be used on an alternative date or time, or at a different venue.
  • Entry is open to UK residents aged 18 years or older.
  • Competition closes on 20th October 2017 at 12 noon. Winner shall be drawn at random on the same day and contacted via email.
  • Due to the time restrictive nature of the prize, the winner shall have 48 hours to reply to the email to confirm their acceptance of the prize, before another winner from the remaining eligible entrants is drawn.
  • No bulk or third party entries.
  • The winners details shall be shared with the promoter, for the purpose of prize fulfilment.
Disclaimer: This post contains an affiliate link.