All stories by Chris Bartlett on BroadwayStars

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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Wednesday, April 11, 2018

All I See Is You review at Octagon Theatre, Bolton – ‘persuasive performances’ by Chris Bartlett

Kathrine Smith’s two-hander. All I See Is You – one of the recent winners of the Octagon’s annual prize for new writing –

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Wednesday, April 4, 2018

Spring Awakening review at Hope Mill Theatre, Manchester – ‘a vital revival’ by Chris Bartlett

When it first sprang up on Broadway 12 years ago, Duncan Sheik and Steven Sater’s angst-ridden, hormone-drenched rock musical about repressed 19th

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Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Mountains: The Dreams of Lily Kwok review at Royal Exchange, Manchester – ‘vividly realised’ by Chris Bartlett

Based on Helen Tse’s family memoir recounting the inspiration behind her Sweet Mandarin Chinese restaurant in Manchester and the three generations of

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Friday, March 23, 2018

East Is East review at Octagon Theatre, Bolton – ‘a high-spirited revival’ by Chris Bartlett

Ayub Khan Din’s much-loved East Is East, first performed at Birmingham Rep in 1996 and adapted successfully for the screen in 1999,

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Monday, March 19, 2018

Whisky Galore review at Coliseum Theatre, Oldham – ‘enjoyably bright and breezy’ by Chris Bartlett

In some ways you can’t really go wrong with Whisky Galore, Compton Mackenzie’s cheery wartime tale of wily Outer Hebrides islanders banding

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Tuesday, March 6, 2018

Sherbet review at Octagon Theatre, Bolton – ‘an unflinching depiction of life in care’ by Chris Bartlett

This pithy two-hander was one of the winners of the Octagon’s annual prize for new writing, which last year asked for submissions

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Friday, March 2, 2018

Vincent River review at Hope Mill Theatre, Manchester – ‘a fantastic cast’ by Chris Bartlett

Philip Ridley’s play – first staged at Hampstead Theatre in 2000 – offers a searing look at the lives of two people

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Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Frost/Nixon review at Crucible Theatre, Sheffield – ‘vital and timely’ by Chris Bartlett

Though set in 1977 and concerning a dereliction of duty that happened more than 45 years ago, Peter Morgan’s gladiatorial depiction of

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Monday, February 26, 2018

Jonathan Hyde: ‘I tend to be attracted to flawed characters like Nixon’ by Chris Bartlett

Having played the lead role in Sheffield Crucible’s Julius Caesar last year, Jonathan Hyde is returning to the venue to play the

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Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Hard Times review at Viaduct Theatre, Halifax – ‘visually arresting’ by Chris Bartlett

Hard Times has always been a bit of a hard sell. Its dour tone and uncharacteristically disjointed narrative makes it one of

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Thursday, February 15, 2018

Still Alice review at West Yorkshire Playhouse, Leeds – ‘quietly devastating’ by Chris Bartlett

This adaptation of neuroscientist Lisa Genova’s novel, Still Alice, about a Harvard professor with early-onset Alzheimer’s disease has one obvious challenge –

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Monday, February 12, 2018

The Kitchen Sink review at Coliseum Theatre, Oldham – ‘vividly written and very funny’ by Chris Bartlett

The family at the heart of Tom Wells’ semi-autobiographical slice of northern life – first performed at London’s Bush Theatre in 2011

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Thursday, January 25, 2018

The ToyBoy Diaries review at Hope Mill Theatre, Manchester – ‘frivolous escapism’ by Chris Bartlett

A new musical based on the real adventures of a 50-something woman in dating much younger men has – in the present

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