All stories by Chris Bartlett on BroadwayStars

Wednesday, August 14, 2019

Jerry Springer – The Opera review at Hope Mill, Manchester – ‘briskly entertaining revival’ by Chris Bartlett

It’s been almost three decades since The Jerry Springer Show first graced – or rather, disgraced – our TV screens and 16

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Tuesday, July 30, 2019

There Is a Light That Never Goes Out review at Royal Exchange Theatre, Manchester – ‘vividly realised’ by Chris Bartlett

What stands out about this arresting retelling of a turbulent period in Manchester’s industrial history is the restraint in its staging. The

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Tuesday, July 23, 2019

Tuesday review at Saint Augustine’s Church, Manchester – ‘a warm, witty rumination on love and loss’ by Chris Bartlett

This is the second time that Belgian site-specific specialist Studio ORKA has been invited to contribute to the Manchester International Festival. If

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Tuesday, July 16, 2019

Tao of Glass review at Royal Exchange Theatre, Manchester – ‘a love letter to a pioneering composer’ by Chris Bartlett

There’s a point during Tao of Glass, Phelim McDermott’s heartfelt collaboration with Philip Glass, when the Improbable co-founder explains the Japanese art

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Wednesday, May 1, 2019

The King and I review at Manchester Opera House – ‘pitch-perfect performances’ by Chris Bartlett

Rodgers and Hammerstein’s copper-bottomed audience pleaser, The King and I, stands as one of the best-loved but most problematic musicals of the

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Tuesday, April 23, 2019

Visitors review at Oldham Coliseum Theatre – ‘lovingly crafted’ by Chris Bartlett

First seen at London’s Arcola Theatre in 2014, Barney Norris’ play about a couple facing up to the fact that they can no

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Tuesday, April 9, 2019

West Side Story’s Jason Carr: ‘Bernstein’s music can bypass your brain and go straight to the gut’ by Chris Bartlett

Arranging West Side Story for Manchester Royal Exchange has been an emotional experience for Jason Carr, who learned piano playing Leonard Bernstein’s

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Wednesday, March 13, 2019

From Shore to Shore review at Yang Sing Restaurant, Manchester – ‘an engaging portrait of British-Chinese life’ by Chris Bartlett

Three stories shedding light on various aspects of the British-Chinese experience are cleverly interwoven in this production that combines dining with verbatim

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Wednesday, March 6, 2019

The Last Yankee review at Bolton Library – ‘meticulously staged revival’ by Chris Bartlett

On first impressions, this lesser-known Arthur Miller play from 1993 bears all the hallmarks of the dramatist’s greatest works. Centring on two

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Monday, February 18, 2019

Props maker Andy Bubble on the ice cream van he built Julie Hesmondhalgh for Mother Courage by Chris Bartlett

He started out creating fireballs, now he’s designed a moving ice-cream van for Mother Courage. Royal Exchange props expert Andy Bubble tells

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Wednesday, December 19, 2018

Cinderella review at Manchester Opera House – ‘comic shenanigans’ by Chris Bartlett

This year’s Opera House pantomime is every bit as sumptuous looking as you’d expect a Qdos production to be. But, as with

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Tuesday, December 18, 2018

The Wizard of Oz review at Winter Gardens, Blackpool – ‘totally magical’ by Chris Bartlett

In some ways using the Royal Shakespeare Company’s oft-revived 1987 version of The Wizard of Oz, which matches the MGM classic virtually

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Thursday, December 13, 2018

The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, Macron Stadium, Bolton – ‘engaging and cohesive’ by Chris Bartlett

The popularity of L Frank Baum’s fantasy world shows no sign of waning, with at least three Oz adaptations being staged in

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Thursday, December 6, 2018

The Producers review at Royal Exchange Theatre, Manchester – ’roundly enjoyable’ by Chris Bartlett

Mel Brooks’ musical version of his 1967 film debut was such a success because it got so many things right. Its standout

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Monday, November 26, 2018

Cinderella review at Theatre Royal Wakefield – ‘poignancy and laughter’ by Chris Bartlett

It’s hard to bring something fresh to Cinderella. But Rhiannon Hannon’s confidently mounted production adds some novel touches to a familiar tale

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Monday, October 29, 2018

Putting It Together review at Hope Mill Theatre, Manchester – ‘enjoyable Sondheim revue’ by Chris Bartlett

Those unable to get a ticket for Marianne Elliot’s well-received, gender-swapped reimagining of Company can console themselves with this enjoyable – if

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Thursday, October 25, 2018

And Did Those Feet review at University of Bolton Stadium – ‘warm and witty’ by Chris Bartlett

First seen in 2007 and revived in 2010, this play written by Bolton Wanderers fans about the club’s near mythical FA Cup

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Tuesday, October 23, 2018

Northern Broadsides’ Conrad Nelson: ‘I don’t mind responsibility – I’ve always seen things from above’ by Chris Bartlett

For 25 years, Barrie Rutter was the face of Northern Broadsides, so when he stepped down there were some pretty big shoes

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Thursday, October 4, 2018

Future Bodies review at Home, Manchester – ‘abstract and repetitive’ by Chris Bartlett

This collection of musings on what it means to be human in an increasingly technologically assisted age is certainly impressive on the

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Thursday, September 27, 2018

The Effect review at Coliseum Theatre, Oldham – ‘strong performances’ by Chris Bartlett

With its main house takeover the Coliseum is offering smaller theatre companies, who normally occupy studio spaces, a shot at performing on

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Thursday, September 20, 2018

Queen Margaret review at Royal Exchange, Manchester – ‘full-blooded but hard-going’ by Chris Bartlett

Shakespeare’s Margaret is the closest the playwright gets to a full-on warrior queen. The actual Margaret of Anjou was a French royal

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Thursday, September 13, 2018

The Return of the Soldier review at Hope Mill Theatre, Manchester – ‘well-acted and brilliantly sung’ by Chris Bartlett

Published 100 years ago, Rebecca West’s The Return of the Soldier paints a picture of the after-effects of battle from a unique

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Thursday, August 23, 2018

Gulliver’s Travels review at Queen’s Park, Bolton – ‘impressive moments’ by Chris Bartlett

One of the biggest challenges for companies mounting al fresco site-specific productions – aside from the possible inclement weather – is finding

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Monday, July 30, 2018

Romeo and Juliet review at Heaton Park, Manchester – ‘magical and impassioned’ by Chris Bartlett

The proliferation of open-air, promenade-style productions continues as Feelgood Theatre returns to Manchester’s Heaton Park for the second summer running. Romeo and

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Tuesday, July 24, 2018

The Three Musketeers review at Williamson Park, Lancaster – ‘slick and inclusive open-air theatre’ by Chris Bartlett

The landscaped splendour of Lancaster’s Williamson Park provides such a striking backdrop for open-air theatre that it’s no surprise that the Dukes

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Thursday, July 12, 2018

Aspects of Love review at Hope Mill Theatre, Manchester – ‘ravishingly good’ by Chris Bartlett

A middle-sized Andrew Lloyd Webber success when it first appeared in 1989, Aspects of Love is now chiefly remembered as the show

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Wednesday, July 4, 2018

Queens of the Coal Age review at Royal Exchange Theatre, Manchester – ‘entertaining and persuasive’ by Chris Bartlett

It feels like Maxine Peake is on home turf with her third play for the stage. Like Beryl and The Last Testament

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Tuesday, June 5, 2018

Summer Holiday review at Octagon Theatre, Bolton – ‘unapologetically fun’ by Chris Bartlett

In many ways this revival keeps things joyfully simple. It’s ostensibly a remounting of Michael Gyngell and Mark Haddigan’s 1990s stage adaptation

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Wednesday, May 2, 2018

Get Well Soon review at Birch Community Centre, Manchester – ‘engaging and informative’ by Chris Bartlett

The micro-budgeted but innovative Mikron theatre company’s stock in trade is an ability to pop up in any sort of small venue

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Friday, April 27, 2018

The Tiger Lillies: Corrido De La Sangre review at Home, Manchester – ‘a feast for the eyes’ by Chris Bartlett

Punk troubadours the Tiger Lillies – ostensibly singer-songwriter Martyn Jaques and a rotating line-up of band-mates – have been peddling their persuasively

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Monday, April 23, 2018

Relatively Speaking review at Oldham Coliseum – ‘precision engineered’ by Chris Bartlett

This deliciously concocted dissection of middle class mores was Alan Ayckbourn’s first major theatrical hit, setting him on the path to future

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