Reviews

Fantastic Mr Fox

If you want a change from the magic carpet and transforming pumpkin of traditional Pantoland this Christmas, you could do a lot worse than this brand new adaptation of one of Roald Dahl’s best stories by Sam Holcroft, with music by Arthur Darvill. It opens traditionally enough, with four birds singing sweetly in close harmony. What happens next tells you that this is something a bit different, and then we are into the story of Mr Fox and his friends and their attempts to outwit the three farmers: irascible Bean, greedy Boggis and thick Bunce. The birds, by the way,
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Tree House

We knew, from the moment that we were allowed into the main hall in Wimborne’s Allendale Centre, that this was going to differ from the usual theatre experience because there was audience seating both on the stage and on the floor of the theatre and the chairs were facing, unconventionally, away from the stage and into the auditorium – as also was the lighting rig. In the centre of the hall stood a two-storey edifice of welded steel tube and mesh with a stepladder up the middle with a mostly two-dimensional extension of similar structure to the right; this whole
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Two

Jim Cartwright’s Two is a masterpiece of theatrical writing. It delves deeply into the study of the human condition, dealing with what could easily be seen as the real lives of real people at any time. It is set in a northern pub, and the Plaza Theatre has the perfect place to perform it: their ‘Green Room’ studio is a gift of a place to perform and to watch a piece like this, calling as it does for intimacy between performer and audience member. As the title suggests, it is a play for two performers, one of each sex. In
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The Ash Girl

The story of Cinderella has always been heavy with Freudian overtones: the sexual symbolism of the foot and the slipper – which in the Old French version is made of fur (vair), not glass (verre) – the predominance of female characters, the Oedipal nature of the relationship between Cinderella and her father. These themes are very evident in the Grimm Brothers’ version, Aschenputtel, and are given full expression in Timberlake Wertenbaker’s re-interpretation of the story, The Ash Girl; it is markedly different from what has become the modern, sanitised version with Cinders singing sweet, sad songs with her good friend,
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The Wind in the Willows

When I was asked to review this show, I instantly had a nostalgic flashback, as the first play or show I can remember going to see was Toad of Toad Hall at the Theatre Royal in Lincoln as a child. This production is Alan Bennett’s adaptation of the Kenneth Grahame original, and I was greatly looking forward to seeing how this group would deliver the material. As in the book, the play opens with Mole (Sarah Newman) discovering a new world outside his underground home. He is stumbled upon by Ratty (Alison Silver) who takes them both boating. After getting
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Annie

Annie is the story of a feisty young orphan who is living in poverty in a run-down orphanage under the dubious ‘care’ of the child-hating, autocratic, liquor-swigging Miss Hannigan. She is offered an unexpected way out of her dire situation when wealthy billionaire Oliver Warbucks decides to take in an orphan for Christmas. Annie finds that she is, for once, in the right place at the right time when Warbucks’s personal assistant, Grace Farrell, picks Annie as the lucky recipient of his invitation. The younger cast members have been divided into two teams, Team Yellow and Team Blue, to perform
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