Reviews

The Railway Children

The Railway Children

One of my earliest memories is watching the classic Lionel Jeffries’ film version of The Railway Children with my dad, re-reading E Nesbit’s book or listening to the LP recording over and over. As a child, I was entranced by the adventures, despite sniffling away each time at the emotional connection between father and daughter, which my mother would remind me about for years afterwards! So the opportunity to revisit a childhood favourite was too good to resist. I confess there was an element of trepidation – would the play live up to my recollections or would my fond memories
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Life of Riley

Life of Riley

I’ll hold my hands up. A lot of Ayckbourn’s later plays often feel that they have been rushed. Life of Riley, from 2010, doesn’t have a relevant world view (even for then) keeping itself preoccupied with characters that are slightly augmented versions of middle-class tropes that wouldn’t be out of place in the decades preceding it. As Directors say, “All very accessible” and enduringly popular. For me, however, the idea that an unseen dying George has a messianic pull on three women all locked into marriages / relationships with unprepossessing men may make for good comic atmosphere, but my 2021
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Do You Wanna Dance?

Do You Wanna Dance?

Do You Wanna Dance? is the story of a 1950s fictious dancehall, desperately holding on to a post-WW2 big band dancing era that is fast going out of fashion. As bingo becomes increasingly more popular, the dancehall is threatened with closure so developers can change it into a bingo hall. When the staff and their friends realise their jobs and future are at stake, they decide to bring more modern music into their hall with an impromptu talent show of jive, lindy-hop, skiffle and early rock & roll. After an enforced 18-month hiatus due to lockdown and closed theatres, Milton
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Oliver!

Oliver!

What a pleasure to sit in one of the nicest theatre venues in the area, soaking up the atmosphere that precedes the start of Spot On’s latest production, Oliver!. The venue couldn’t suit the show better as the semi-visible set can be tantalising glimpsed behind the gauze curtain onto which is thrown the show’s logo, and the 16-piece orchestra (yes, 16!) led by Martin Bennets tune up in readiness in the orchestra pit below it. It’s taken a while for this production to emerge from rehearsals: like many a production it had to be delayed from May 2020 not once,
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Elf the Musical

Elf the Musical

I know what you are all thinking, it’s November. Why are we talking about Elves? I also know that there will be some Scrooges out there who would not entertain the idea of going to see a show as packed with Christmas cheer as Elf the Musical. Well, if that is the case, you’ve really missed out because the combined talents of Poole & Parkstone Productions creative team, their performers and their musicians have created a truly wonderful show that both kids and adults can enjoy. For those of you who are not familiar with Elf, the story focuses on
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Dracula

Dracula

After an extended hiatus due to Covid, it’s a pleasure to return to Chesil Theatre for their latest production, Liz Lochhead’s version of the classic Dracula story. There may have been an enforced gap between first rehearsals and finally getting back onto the stage, but the quality of Chesil’s productions is largely undiminished, despite the challenges of the past 20 months. As the audience enters, the musical playlist combines with atmospheric subdued lighting and gentle haze to perfectly set up the gothic tone of the play. The pace is generally excellent throughout with smooth transitions between scenes and locations, even
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