Over the course of one hour we were given an insight into the little known country in eastern Africa of Ethiopia, and the country's last King, Haile Selassie; starting from his imperial all-knowing unquestioned authority to his overthrowing, imprisonment and suspicious death. This was presented in the form of anecdotes from the people of the court who worked with him and knew him. These people were brought to life by Kathryn Hunter, who despite her advancing years, showed incredible athleticism and flexibility as she contorted herself into the different people she portrayed. It also has to be said that I am not a fan of gender-blind castings, but had I not looked at the programme I would have been unaware that the performer was anything other than a man.

We all have our favourites; TV shows which come along and are hard to top. Only Fools and Horses is one such example of this, a fantastically successful sitcom which I have fond memories of sitting as a family to watch, an event in the TV listings and a programme you could have a laugh with your friends or your Grandad about, it was timeless; so when I got the opportunity to see one of the main characters discussing the show on stage, I jumped at the chance.

As soon as I heard that Akram Kahn’s World Premiere of Giselle was performing at the Palace Theatre I jumped at the opportunity to watch my first ever ballet performance. If you will patiently allow me to elaborate for one second I shall and explain that I actually found out that the English National Ballet were in town only six hours before I actually saw it. I hastily set about searching for a trained ballet dancer to accompany me and provide the knowledge of ballet which has so far in my life utterly escaped me. Alas my ballet dancer expert friend had inconveniently scarpered to Whitby for the week with her mother so I was forced to brave my first ballet alone.

Rarely does a play move me so much that it leaves me speechless and welling up both during and afterwards. Rarely does any production impress me so much that I simply cannot find anything negative to say. This play did both and it is one that will stay with me for a long time to come.

Stevie Helps from New Live Theatre Company presented his latest play, Mind’s a Labyrinth at Gullivers Ballroom.

 

New Live Theatre Company is an independent theatre production company based in Manchester founded in 2011. Writer and Director Stevie Helps described the process of his play somewhat like the life of a butterfly. “A baby caterpillar was dragged up, which cocooned into Borderline Electra. It has now undergone a final incarnation and Mind’s a Labyrinth has been born”.

Hope Mill Theatre continues to be a warm, friendly and inviting venue, which has to be one of my favourite theatres in the UK. On this evening, there was an added air of excitement with a show dedicated to Bette Midler. The audience, made up of a ‘Divine’ mix of the young & old, gay & straight and Jew and gentile mingled together on a beautiful autumnal night to celebrate the life and career of a true icon.

How can you possibly do a musical about cancer? That is what every audience member and critic in the country is screaming at this production. Musicals are all so happy and uplifting it just doesn’t make any sense. However with the talented writer and director that is Bryony Kimmings armed with a highly skilled cast this musical was pure perfection.

This is a new one act play, with a running time of just over 95 minutes, by Nicola Gardner. If you take the ideas behind Loose Women and The Dinner Ladies, put them together in multicultural heaven, and set the whole thing in a Manchester city centre community centre, you might get some flavour of what the essence of this play is.

It’s not very often that a play moves me to tears, but Tennesse Williams’ play; ‘A Streetcar Named Desire’ did just that. The simple, yet very effective set was one of the most powerful I have seen in theatre.

This play has been performed countless times across the world on stage and screen. However, the emotion displayed by the actors was so raw that it made me feel like it I was hearing the play for the first time.

Only a few months ago in January I was privileged to watch Play With Fire's inaugural production, and knew then that this company meant business. It was indeed a fine production, but left me wondering what play could follow this and how they intended to move on. So it was with great anticipation that I went to see their latest, and unbelievably only second, offering as a company, Sans Merci at Hope Mill Theatre this evening.

On July 2nd 1996 Lord of the Dance officially debuted at The Point Theatre, Dublin. Now almost 20 years on and the show is still going strong, albeit with a little more high tech involved.

Lord of the Dance - Dangerous Games is the latest in the series of Lord of the Dance shows by the highly talented Michael Flatley. Flately's son opens this show as he enters on a huge projection to the rear of the stage as the clock ticks round. Starting at 5 to12 Michael junior tries to push time on but is unable to reach. As he takes a seat to await 12 Michael senior enters and lifts his son who pushes time round to 12 and the show begins.