Tom Wells’ The Kitchen Sink opens at Oldham Coliseum this Friday
Written By Freya Lewis
The Kitchen Sink Runs at Oldham Coliseum from Friday 9th February –Saturday 24th February.
Tom Wells is one of the UK’s most innovative and intriguing young writers, and The Kitchen Sink is what struck him into status in the theatre world, leading to his Most Promising Playwright Award at the Critics’ Circle Awards and the George Divine Award for Most Promising Playwright, plus a nomination for Most Promising Playwright at the Evening Standard Theatre Awards.
Sponsored by the New Charter group, this follows, from the same team, Tom Wells’ Jumpers for Goalposts in 2016; Director Chris Lawson and Designer Anna Reid.
The play presents us with a wild look into an unusual family situation, along with an amazing northern cast. A hilarious, modern family drama that makes us think what family really means when one has huge dreams in a little town. Chris Lawson commented: “Tom Wells writes stories that matter; we relate to them because they reflect real life.”
Sue Devany, star of Dinnerladies, Casualty and Coronation Street maintains her Oldham roots as Kath. She said “When I knew my favourite local theatre, Oldham Coliseum, was doing The Kitchen Sink by Tom Wells I was over the moon… It’s a play full of hope, humour and love.”
The play also features This Is England’s Will Travis, Hollyoak’s David Judge, alongside the outstanding young talent of Sam Glen and Emily Stott.
Here we have a Japanese Christmas Dinner and a gangster gran, along with maybe a little too much of Dolly Parton. And, of course, the kitchen sink.
The Kitchen Sink follows Kath, working two jobs with an interesting cooking passion as she attempts to keep her family on track. Her husband, Martin’s milk float is falling apart along with his business. Billy’s lost confidence in his painting and Sophie’s dreams of becoming a Ju Jitsu teacher have crumbled after punching her sensei in the face.
This charming Oldham theatre is sure to impress, and this beautiful Northern tale of a regular, extraordinary family is unmissable.
Creative collective Manchester ADP premieres a new piece of writing with Finding Alice, directed by Charlie Mortimer.
The hour and a half piece explores the lives of Camille, Ida, and Audrey – three cellmates under interrogation by prison officer Himmel. They are accused of being a part of the spy network known as the “Alice Network” run by the infamous Alice Dubois. But the question everyone wants to know is, who’s Alice?
The play opens with Camille, a fiery proud woman played by Nuala Maguire being interrogated by her German prison officer Himmel (Oates). Her naïve fifteen-year-old cell mate Ida is played by Chloe Proctor who delivers a standout performance. Camille’s character fluctuates between unrivalled fury, ignorance, and then maternal instinct over Ida, whom she promised she’d look after.
It seems Camille had made quite a name for herself before she was imprisoned, as revealed by the arrival of Audrey played by Diana Atkins, a part-English part-Belgian officer of higher rank than Camille within the Network.
Maguire plays Camille with a thick Belgian accent which I feel was prone to variation throughout the performance. Audrey speaks with an eccentric RP, one only the Queen could rival, whilst Oates plays the German Officer Himmel with a thoroughly Northern English accent. I found this inconsistency could cause confusion with the audience.
In a production like this, I feel it would either make sense to either allow each actor to perform in their native accent or encourage all actors to adopt their character’s accents, variation between the two distracts from the narrative at hand and remains unexplained.
Furthermore, I feel Oates’ delivery failed to meet the mark. I often found his delivery didn’t match that of a supposedly threatening German soldier.
However, for an opening night performance, I sincerely hope the play’s actors gather proper grounding in their roles as the tour develops.
It’s important to note that this performance contains scenes of implied sexual violence.
Most fascinating of all, the story’s foundations are completely true. The play is dedicated to Louise de Bettignies, also known as ‘The Queen of Spies’, as well as to Edith Cavell and to all the women who were apart of the Alice Network but whose names do not grace history.
Alice Dubois lived and fought occupying forces in Europe during the First World War, during which women across Europe challenged the expectations their society shackled to them. Finding Alice was selected from over two hundred script submissions sent into Manchester ADP – I thoroughly look forward to seeing more original stories and the voices they share on the stage.
Finding Alice is an intricate tale of imprisonment, desperation, resilience, and most importantly, survival. However, for such a fantastic story I feel it was let down by its performance.
Finding Alice is being performed at Oldham Coliseum on 10th and 15th February 2018.
We’ve had premieres, modern adaptations and watched some shows receive West End transfers – the Manchester stages have been truly brilliant this year. Here is Upstaged Manchester’s round-up of theatrical highlights through 2017. Which shows would make your list?
The Suppliant Women at the Royal Exchange
The Suppliant Women was certainly one of the most extraordinary theatrical events that I have ever seen. Debating ideas of identity and asylum, the story strikes a shrill chord now – in our current migrant crisis – as it ever did over two thousand years ago. The most impressive aspect of this show was the chorus, made up of thirty-five girls aged between 16 and 26. Thrilling, shocking and painfully good. The Suppliant Women is just one jewel in what has been a bold and exciting season for the Royal Exchange.
The Father at Oldham Coliseum
It is rare that we experience dementia from the perspective of the person who is struggling with it, rather we experience it from the viewpoint of family members and carers. Oldham Coliseum triumphed in presenting The Father, a highly engaging but charming, heart-rending though witty, interpretation of Andre’s struggle with the disease. With a tremendous performance from Kenneth Alan Taylor, many people were left moved as the show came down. This was a flawless production that managed to get people talking, sharing and understanding dementia together.
The Band at The Opera House
The Band is a complete triumph – it’s not just a musical for Take That groupies, but a musical for anybody who grew up with a boyband. Tugging hard at your heartstrings and tickling your funny bone, with a sterling cast and Take That’s wonderful floor-fillers, I was thrilled to find out that the musical will tour for an extra year following the huge demand for tickets. Truly feel-good and fabulous.
Uncle Vanya at HOME
Director Walter Meierjohann brought this deeply layered and finely nuanced production to complete fruition. Fascinating and truly absorbing, every word managed to strike new meaning. Nick Holder’s Uncle Vanya straddled the tragicomic perfectly, giving the best Vanya that I have seen, and all of the ensemble gave top-notch performances. This interpretation of the Chekov favourite was completely consuming.
Reviewer – Elise Gallagher:
Yank! at Hope Mill Theatre
My first review for Upstaged and my introduction to a fantastic venue – Hope Mill Theatre. A fresh musical which I feel took everyone by surprise and has introduced a new chapter of theatre in Manchester. I was thrilled to hear that Yank! received a well-deserved West End transfer.
Jane Eyre at The Lowry
One of my favourite stories translated onto the stage – it broke my heart (but in a good way!) and did Charlotte Bronte justice. Adapting a novel for the stage is a challenging prospect, especially such a timeless classic like Jane Eyre.
Reviewer: Daniel Shipman
Cotton Panic (MIF) at Upper Campfield Market Hall
Manchester International Festival audiences who ventured away from Festival Square, down Deansgate to the atmospheric Upper Campfield Market Hall were rewarded with a powerhouse performance from Jane Horrocks in Cotton Panic. This linked Manchester’s industrial heritage to the US Civil War in a truly enlightening way, whilst also serving up an innovative, entertaining, genre-defying piece of theatre. For me, it was the highlight of the festival.
People, Places and Things at HOME
Following a 2015 debut at London’s National Theatre, the touring version of Headlong’s People, Places & Things opened at HOME in September 2017. A perfect example of how to bring quality theatre out of London, this production drew on seemingly limitless reserves of energy to propel the audience through a tale of addiction and recovery. Lisa Dwyer Hogg had big shoes to fill after Denise Gough won an Olivier in the central role, but the power and nuance of her performance blew me away.
How to Save the World Without Really Trying at HOME
This was my first experience of self-described ‘drag aliens’ Bourgeois & Maurice, and I am already a devoted fan. The chemistry between the two is as good as you will ever see on stage, and the songs are well-written and hilarious. Get along to one of their shows if you possibly can, and if not check out their albums on Spotify.
Merry Christmas to each and every one of you – thank you for all of your support this year.
The team at Oldham Coliseum always deliver a Christmas cracker with their traditional, cheeky pantomime fun and this year is no exception. The talented team of familiar faces are back to showcase all of the traditional elements of pantomime. With plenty of audience engagement, hilariously messy slapstick, innuendo for the grown-ups and sweeties for the little ones – there is plenty for the whole family to enjoy this festive season at Oldham Coliseum.
Penned by director Kevin Shaw and Fine Time Fontayne, Dick Whittington (Nina Shadi) follows a simple narrative about a young man from Oldham who travels South to seek his fortune. Driven by the belief that the streets of London are paved with gold – he soon finds out that they are overrun with rats but tries to make the best of it when he meets Alice (Shorelle Hepkin), the daughter of bumbling Sir Ivo Fitzwarren (Ralph Birtwell).
It’s great to see Fine Time Fontayne back as the pantomime dame, following his injury last year – he is truly entertaining and strikes a real chord with the audience. With an array of fabulous food-themed costumes and vibrant Doc Martens, designer Celia Perkins has really excelled herself this year. In fact, the whole show looks as though it has been peeled from the pages of a children’s picture-book, providing a pleasing backdrop for the pantomime mayhem and magic to play out.
Alongside Fine Time Fontayne there is a host of fabulous Oldham Coliseum panto favourites – Richard J Fletcher is a comical success as Silly Billy Suet and is always a hit with the young crowd; Liz Carney takes on three larger-than-life roles – showcasing her ability to slip between costumes and accents, she is a triumph as Fairy Godmother Nell, Captain Bonny and the Sultana of Morocco. Simeon Truby gets the crowd going as evil baddie King Rat – his Rat Out Of Hell Meatloaf cover is definitely a highlight of the night and gets a pleasing cheer from the audience before they remember to boo and hiss. Miley Rose impresses as somersaulting Tom the Cat.
Oldham Coliseum’s Dick Whittington is everything that a pantomime should be. With plenty of laugh-out-loud moments, David Bintley’s lively musical score and the opportunity to interact with the performance – all taking place in an ideal sized theatre, where everyone feels part of the action. Dick Whittington is packed with festive magic, mischief and good old-fashioned fun – the perfect production to share with all of the family this Christmas.
It is rare that we experience dementia from the perspective of the person who is struggling with it, rather we experience it from the viewpoint of family members and carers. This idea is obviously even more difficult to dramatise in a theatre. In The Father, written by Florian Zeller and translated by Christopher Hampton, Oldham Coliseum triumph in presenting a highly engaging but charming, heart-rending though witty, interpretation of Andre’s struggle with the disease.
Patrick Connellan’s raised set design is intelligently reminiscent of a Polaroid picture. The stage is framed almost like a photograph – perfectly suggestive of Andre’s struggle with memory. A deconstructed piano lies at the fore, hinting at Andre’s love of music and his attempt to make sense of the confusing world that envelopes him. A stunning piano soundtrack by Lorna Munden accompanies the cast as they adjust the stage around Andre. Confused and his senses heightened, he can hear the clank of cutlery and plates clashing and we feel his pain and confusion. Kevin Shaw has catered for every detail in this accomplished production. Stunning and painstakingly beautiful.
Kenneth Alan Taylor’s performance as Andre is nothing short of tremendous, charting one man and his family as they struggle with the grip of dementia. Giving a beautifully nuanced performance – managing to hint at the insight he still has into his condition, while giving depth to the rich and lively life he has had, he fleshes out the resilient fiery character that continues to push up against the disease. Kerry Peers gives a strong and emotive performance as Andre’s daughter Anne, always striving to do the right thing for her father despite the pressure she faces from her husband Pierre, played solidly by John Elkington.
As I looked around the Oldham Coliseum at the end of the show, it was clear to see that so many people had been moved by The Father. Two ladies sat in front of me wiped the tears from their eyes as others appeared to be sharing stories, clearly deeply touched by this phenomenal production. This is a flawless production that gets us talking, sharing and understanding dementia together.
The team at Oldham Coliseum always succeed in delighting their dedicated Northern audience during pantomime season and this year they’re back, and true to form, with Sleeping Beauty.
With Kevin Shaw at the helm, Oldham Coliseum triumph once again – following their tried and tested recipe of pantomime goodness. With no glitter spared, every performer has that magical twinkle in their eye and, commanding the stage, they deliver the perfect Christmas show. Perhaps what makes Sleeping Beauty so delightful is that every child (and adult) feel involved – the auditorium is just the right size for the audience to be able to interact, which is a real bonus for the younger theatre-goers.
With an unexpected reshuffling of the cast following Fine Time Fontayne’s injury in rehearsal, Simeon Truby jumps into dame Nanny Nutty’s large and vibrant Doc Marten’s and delivers a superb performance. Celia Perkins’ costume design is a real treat – bright, larger than life and guaranteed to put a smile on even the most hardened of faces. Accompanied by Dave Bintley’s toe-tappingly brilliant musical soundtrack, Fine Time and Shaw’s script is tight and littered with references to popular culture. With a range of gags for the adults and the usual panto slapstick for children, Sleeping Beauty is a real winner with the diverse crowd.
Radiant Demi Goodman steps daintily into the role of Briar Rose, oblivious to the curse that has been thrust upon her by the bitter Carabosse, played by Liz Carney. Comedy capers are plentiful from Oldham Coliseum regulars Richard J Fletcher and Justine Elizabeth Bailey as The Nutty’s with Demi Goodman doubling up to play Nicky Nutty. Sara Sadeghi is full of energy playing both the good fairy, Spinning Jenny and the ‘super shiny’ Queen Hermione; David Westbrook completes the super line-up as King Cuthbert – there is no weak link here. The chorus dancers are full of energy, unbelievably light on their feet and springier than bouncy balls.
Simply put – Oldham Coliseum’s Sleeping Beauty is everything that a pantomime should be. There are plenty of laugh out loud moments, a lively musical score and the opportunity to interact with the performance – and all in an ideal sized performance space, where everyone can feel part of the action. Packed to the brim with magic, mischief and good old fashioned fun, Sleeping Beauty is certain to get all of the family ready for Christmas.
With performances running until 7th January 2017, Sleeping Beauty is the perfect treat for families this Christmas. To book your tickets click here.
During the last few months we have been bombarded with referendum discourse and despite it being three years since the Iron Lady’s death, her name still manages to find itself firmly woven into the Brexit headlines. Considering the current political climate, it feels quite apt to watch Mike Francis Carvalho’s intriguing one-man show which is based on conversations with real people about Margaret Thatcher.
It must be difficult to write and perform a piece about one of the most discussed and loathed (or loved) politicians of all time but Mike Francis Carvalho manages to create an extraordinarily refreshing piece of theatre. Thoughtful and commanding, Meet The Real Maggie Thatcher refuses to bow down to any of the well-worn cliches that have gone before.
Meet The Real Maggie Thatcher puts a range of different opinions and truths forward through a collection of different characters. The through-line seems to take an anti-Thatcher stance but all of the characters are measured, fully realised and perceptive. Mike Francis Carvalho gives a finely nuanced, highly compelling and passionate performance – he presents the characters and their opinions to his audience and leaves them to find their own conclusions.
A series of voices create a richly layered landscape depicting the turbulent years under Margaret Thatcher’s leadership. There’s a softly spoken policeman, a striking miner, a Chelsea football fan and a teacher who struggles to find sense in the sinister and ridiculous Section 28, which thankfully was never enforced. Francis Carvalho plays the roles with a range of different accents and physicality, fully showcasing his versatility and conviction as a performer.
There’s a cracking opener from Francis Carvalho, which I have promised to keep shtum about and there is also a thoughtful and emotive soundtrack which links fluidly through from one monologue to the next.
Meet The Real Maggie Thatcher is a powerful piece of theatre which manages to evoke strong emotion while also leaving space for the audience to reflect. A pleasing piece of theatre for those who remember and were affected by Margaret Thatcher’s rule, but also highly compelling and educational for those who weren’t.
Meet The Real Maggie Thatcher stops in next at The Quarry Theatre, Bedford on the 22nd July 2016 and you can get your tickets here.
Written by Graham Linehan, well-known for penning Father ted and The IT Crowd, The Ladykillers is a dark comedy inspired by the classic Ealing film of the same name.
Widely regarded as being one of the staples of British comedy, The Ladykillers is perfectly adapted for the stage with all of the action taking place within the shaky four walls of the innocent widow, Mrs Wilberforce’s home. With slick Professor Marcus at the helm of a ruthless gang of criminals masquerading as musicians, they use the rickety old house as the base for their illegal operations.
Foxton’s pleasingly skewed set design of the lop-sided house beside the busy train line is delightful and harbours many comic moments throughout the show. Graham Linehan’s script is packed with slapstick humour and one-liners and Kevin Shaw’s direction blesses the energetic cast with some cracking visual gags and tricks. There is a superb sequence, for example, when the gang, posing as a classically trained quintet, are revealed squeezed like sardines in a tiny cupboard. A further highlight comes when the felons find themselves being forced to play for Mrs Wilberforce (Roberta Kerr) and her gaggle of old ladies, with smooth Professor Marcus (Chris Hannon) passing the din off as being an experimental musical composition.
However, for the main the show feels like it never quite reaches second gear and there is a sense that the full potential of hilarity in the script is never quite achieved. Nonetheless, the cast all give energetic performances throughout with Chris Hannon as the pompously manic gang leader Professor Marcus. Howard Gray gives a comical performance as likeable baddie One Round, more endearingly known as Mr Lawson and Matthew Ganley gives a strong performance as moody Romanian gangster who does not like old ladies. Henry Devas shows infectious energy on stage as cleaning obsessed crook Harry and Christopher Wright intrigues as a Major with a penchant for ladies clothes. Simeon Truby puts in a witty performance as Constable MacDonald and gives a sterling turn as one of Mrs Wilberforce’s pals. Headed up by Roberta Kerr’s righteous but dotty Mrs Wilberforce, there is no doubt that the cast give this production their all.
With a running time of 2 hours and 30 minutes, The Ladykillers has plenty of comic moments but failed to make my ribs ache as much as I had hoped.
Are you looking for the best theatre and creative activities taking place in Greater Manchester during Easter? Look no further.
We’ve compiled a list of the best theatre shows and creative activities for all of the family.
The Easter holidays run through from Monday 4th April until Friday 15th April 2016 – for most schools. This list covers all family fun happening from March through to mid-April.
Into The Hoods: Remixed is the new updated hip-hop version of the Sondheim classic. Set in the ‘Ruff Endz Estate’, the story follows two lost school children who have been tasked to find an iPhone as white as milk, trainers as pure as gold, a hoodie as red as blood and some weave as yellow as corn. Along the way, they meet DJ Spinderella, wannabe singer Lil Red, vivacious rapper Rap On Zel, budding music producer Jaxx and embark upon a storybook adventure into the heart of a pulsating community!
How The Koala Learnt to Hugcomes to Oldham Coliseum on Wednesday 30th March 2016. Recommended for ages 3 and over, it’s a charming production based on the book by Steven Lee. With puppet characters, great stories, sing-along songs, superb games and first class hugging all you’ll need are your ears…and your arms!
The Edge Theatre and Arts Centre, Chorlton
Back by popular demand…The Boy Who Bit Picasso returns to The Edge in Chorlton on ‘Easter’ Saturday.
The story is inspired by Antony Penrose’s book which follows the story of Tony who becomes friends with Pablo Picasso.
This show promises a lot of interaction as the audience are invited to take part in a variety of art and craft activities. Suitable for everyone aged 4 and up, there will be plenty of storytelling and music as the children are introduced to one of the twentieth century’s most influential artists, Pablo Picasso.
The Boy Who Bit Picasso comes to The Edge Theatre and Arts Centre in Chorlton on Saturday 26th March 2016 with 2 showings at 11 am and 2 pm.
TOP TIP: Be sure to wear play clothes because it could get messy
Lullaby Lane is a unique theatrical experience for children aged from 3-6 which fuses the energy and vibe of a music gig with the intimacy of theatre. It’s a charming little tale exploring childhood memories of forgotten friends, cherished toys and music-making. Featuring vibrant characters and Fran Wyburn’s original musical score, Lullaby Lane provides a great introduction for children to experience an array of string instruments, including banjo, harp, ukulele and guitar. Lovely running time of 45 minutes – perfect for little people.
Mum’s The Word Comedy Club is the comedy gig designed for parents of babies aged 18 months and under. Hosted by comedian and new Mum, Katie Mulgrew, it’s a relaxed affair – feel free to feed, change and nurse your baby. However, the acts do perform their usual adult material so if you have an exceptionally bright 18-month-old or a mimicker, I’d probably avoid. There is a strict policy and only babies under 18 months will be permitted.
Presented by Katie Mulgrew, Mum’s The Word Comedy Club is at The Edge in Chorlton on Friday 1st April 2016 with little ones going free.
The Lowry, Salford
Calling all Michael Morpurgo fans! Where My Wellies Take Me comes to The Lowry, Salford this March. Interweaving poems and songs, we follow 9-year-old Pippa on a May Day ramble through the beautiful English countryside. Based on Clare and Michael Morpurgo’s book, Where My Wellies Take Me is a lively show celebrating the beauty of nature.
SPECIAL ANNOUNCEMENT: Michael Morpurgo will be available to meet and greet members of the audience after the performance!
We’re super excited about Roald Dahl’s The Witches flying into The Lowry at the end of March. Adapted by David Wood and directed by the fabulous Nikolai Foster, Dahl’s scariest book is brought to life.
Featuring a talented bunch of actor-musicians, an original score and mind boggling illusions, The Witches promises to be a terrifying treat for all the family. Watch the trailer…if you dare…
The Witches is at The Lowry, Salford from 21st March to 26th March 2016.
And for younger ones… Peppa Pig, George and the rest of the crew are back in Salford for their brand new live stage show, Peppa Pig’s Surprise.
Enjoy fun, games and surprises in this charming, colourful show with new songs and new life-size puppets. Running at 1 hour and 20 minutes, Peppa Pig’s Surprise promises to be the perfect theatre show for all pre-schoolers.
Join Unlimited Theatre forPlay Dough at The Lowry on 2nd April 2016 at 4 pm. Recommended for ages 7 and up, Play Dough is a playfully interactive show for young people 7+ and their families about the value of money. Hosts Queenie and TooMuch will lead your team through a series of high-energy games while telling you their story, and everything they know about how money really works.
Horrible Histories needs no introduction. It’s a fabulous show and this edition focuses on the Groovy Greeks and the Incredible Invaders. We’ll be there – who wants to join us?
“The sun did not shine. It was too wet to play. So we sat in the house. All that cold, cold, wet day.”
From the moment his tall, red and white-striped hat appears around the door, Sally and her brother know that The Cat in the Hat is the most mischievous cat you will ever meet. With the trickiest of tricks and craziest of ideas, he turns Sally and her brothers rainy afternoon into an amazing adventure. But what will mum say when she gets home?
The Cat In The Hat is the perfect first theatre experience for children aged 3 and up and it is at The Lowry, Salford from the 11th to 13th April 2016.
Stick your 50ps to the bottom of your shoes and gather round to hear the Moon’s magical story about a tap dancer who creeps out of her house every night to dance to the sounds of the sea. Marina Skippett has been forbidden to dance at home by her tractor-sized Aunty. Follow her exciting adventure with stunning puppetry, live music and tap dancing.
Engine House, the company behind critically acclaimed productions of Red Riding Hood and Flat Stanley join forces with “Britain’s favourite literary lunatics” LipService (Maggie Fox and Sue Ryding) to create a brand new show for children and their families, adapted for the stage by Olivier Award-winning writer Mike Kenny. Suitable for children over the age 4, Snow White is a magical and comic re-telling of the much-loved fairytale.
Snow White comes to Z-Arts, Hulme on the 19th March 2016.
You can also join in at the FREE Brother’s Grimm Fun Day at Z-Arts – craft, drama and storytelling – on 19th March from 12noon-4pm and it is suitable for all ages. Hurrah!
We’re Stuck!is a theatre show recommended for ages 8-11. Join Dr Volcano and the robots on a special adventure into the heart of a top-secret research institute, where cutting edge scientists need your help tackling some extremely tricky problems. Running at 70 minutes, this interactive show promises to stretch your brain in unexpected directions.
This show is recommended for ages 8-11 due to the content and some of the problem-solving tasks, it is not advisable to buy tickets for anyone below this age range.
In addition to the performance, our friends at Z-arts have teamed up with China Plate and Manchester Science Festival to bring you a series of fun events and activities across the Easter holidays to tackle some extremely tricky maths, science and art conundrums! Why not work on your comedy skills with the We’re Stuck comedy week?
For families with children 8+ and children under 8, there will be free activities on Friday the 15th April! No need to book in advance, turn up on the day to get involved! Click here for info.
Waterside Arts Centre, Sale
Gorilla by Anthony Browne comes to Waterside Arts Centre, Sale from the 2nd April to 4th April 2016. Running at just 50 minutes and recommended for the ‘nearly fours’ and up, Gorilla has a really impressive creative team behind it. The story is based on an award-winning picture book by former Children’s Laureate Anthony Browne and it is brought to you by the team who produced Charlie and Lola’s Best Bestest Play and James and The Giant Peach. Take a look at the trailer…
If you missed Snow White at Z-Arts – you get another chance to catch the Olivier Award-winning writer Mike Kenny’s magical and comic adaptation of the classic fairytale.
Snow White comes to Waterside Arts, Sale on the 12th and 13th April 2016.
Lullaby Lane comes to Waterside Arts, Sale on the 10th April 2016.
There’s another chance to experience the charming Lullaby Lane at if you missed it the first time round at The Edge in Chorlton.
The Royal Exchange
The Royal Exchange is home to Flying Saucers every Sunday. The events, activities and workshops for under 11s include storytelling sessions, craft workshops, Hard Hat Sundays and entertainment for all the family. Some workshops are age-restricted and ticketed, so it’s a good idea to book in advance as they can be very popular. Around The World in 60 Minutes is taking place on Sunday 20th March 2016 and is suitable for ages 5-8, costs £3.00 a child and adults are free. Booking is strongly recommended.
Find out more by clicking here or give the Royal Exchange box office a call on 0161 833 9833 – they’re a friendly bunch.
Trafford Music Service
The service is offering an Easter music schoolsuitable for primary school children (from reception to year 6), running for 3 days from 4th April to 6th April 2016. During the course children will be given the opportunity to sing as well as play a selection of instruments including the violin, ukulele, guitar, recorder, fife and percussion.
The course costs £35 per day and runs from 9:00 am until 3:00 pm. All instruments are provided, all you need to do is provide a packed lunch.
Join everyone for an afternoon of storytelling at the Octagon Theatre. During Storyplay: Beauty and The Beast, your little ones will be transported on a literary journey of fun and adventure – meeting all of their favourite characters, brought to life by actors from the Octagon Company.
Meet in the relaxed play area in the Octagon Bar at 4:30pm on Friday 15th April 2016. Recommended for families of all ages and costs £4 per child with a free adult place per child.
The Macbeth Curse engulfs the Octagon in Bolton from 19th April to 23rd April 2016.Written by Terry Deary, author of Horrible Histories The Macbeth curse promises to be a perfect introduction to the magic and madness of Shakespeare. Recommended for ages 7 and up and with a running time of 60 minutes. Each showing also includes a 20 minute Q&A session after each performance.
Two FREE events are happening at Manchester Museum as part of the Greater Manchester On Film Festival (GMOFF) . While you’re paying Stan the T-Rex a visit, why not catch a FREE screening of Jurassic Park (suitable for ages 9+) or Jurassic World (suitable for 12+)?
Jurassic Park screens at 11 am on 2oth March and Jurassic World screens at 2 pm. Hit the links to book your FREE tickets through Eventbrite. There is also junk modelling from 1 pm so why not have a go at making your own junk model dinosaur to take home?
Another fantastic FREE event as part of the GMOFF at The Whitworth on Saturday 26th March 2016.
Enjoy a screening of the stop-motion animation Fantastic Mr Fox (PG) in The Whitworth’s Grand Hall. After the film, there is also the opportunity to take part in a family art activity led by The Whitworth. You will be able to have a go at making 3D art inspired by Mr Fox and co. and the wildlife in Whitworth Park. Recommended for ages 7+ and all under 16’s must be accompanied by an adult.
Finally, for budding footballers – courtesy of the GMOFF, there is a FREE screening of Carlitos and the Chance of a Lifetime at the National Football Museum on Sunday 27th March 2016. The screening starts at 11 and is recommended for ages 9 and over – however, it is a Spanish film with English subtitles which many younger children will struggle to follow. Under 16’s must be accompanied by an adult and any adults must be accompanied by a child. You can book through Eventbrite here.
Upstaged Manchester would like to wish you all a happy Easter and it would be super to hear your views on any of the shows or activities.
Please tweet your mini reviews to @UpstagedMCR #upstagedfamily
Oldham Coliseum are certainly bound to excite their friendly Northern crowd with a brand-new stage production celebrating the life and talent of Dame Gracie Fields. Hailing from Rochdale, Gracie labelled herself as Britain’s most popular female entertainer of all time. It’s a big label and she’s a big character and there is no better place to stage the premiere of Philip Goulding’s new musical than ‘up’ at Oldham Coliseum.
Born just a short distance away from Oldham Coliseum above her grandmother’s chippy, Dame Gracie Fields first performed in the theatres of Oldham and Rochdale. The story of the local mill girl who became an international star continues to inspire many performers today.
Our Gracie is written in the style of the old music hall and incorporates live music and toe-tapping song along with movement and feel-good banter. Philip Goulding’s clever script documents Gracie Fields’ vibrant and inspirational life using her own words and infectious personality. The production transports us back to the Oldham Repertory Theatre Club of the 1960’s where we are ready to welcome Gracie Fields to the stage.
Sue Devaney takes on the title role and gives a phenomenal performance as Dame Gracie Fields; her beaming smile and rich Northern tone perfectly capture the down-to-earth personality and charming stage persona of the Rochdale-to-Hollywood star. What makes Devaney’s performance so special is her ability to connect with her audience, which arguably was also Gracie Fields’ greatest talent. Many of the audience sing and clap along enthusiastically as she belts out Sing As We Go, The Biggest Aspidistra In The World, Walter, Walter and her most famous signature tune Sally.
Six of Oldham Rep’s finest support Devaney in presenting the fascinating life of Dame Gracie Fields – playing a variety of roles between them, they present the intriguing characters that influenced Gracie during her vibrant life. As well as providing a wonderful live soundtrack, the talented company introduce us to George Formby, Laurence Olivier and Liberace. Often breaking the fourth wall to speak directly to the audience – it’s refreshing and engaging and there is a powerful harmony between the audience and the performers. Liz Carney has a wonderfully sweet tone and gives a dedicated and wonderfully comic performance; Ben Stock generates genuine laughter from the spirited crowd as dedicated pianist Harry and flamboyant showman Liberace.
The music hall style is possibly not for everyone, packed with silly gags and an exaggerated acting style, but the Oldham crowd seemed to enjoy it on the night I attended. Regardless of this, Our Gracie is a wonderful trip down memory lane, filled with nostalgia and warm sentiment.