Review

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Hamlet

Knowsley Hall

★★★★★

Named after the company that William Shakespeare worked for as an actor and playwright, the all-male theatre company The Lord Chamberlain’s Men has performed Shakespeare’s plays as close to the original presentation as possible for the last 20 years. Touring throughout Europe, the company performs in the open air wearing Elizabethan costumes and features music and song within the performances. As an all-male group, any female roles are played by the men, as would have been the case in Shakespearean England.

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Tell Me How It Ends

Liverpool Everyman Theatre

★★★★★

The 1980s, a time of big hair and even bigger shoulder pads, the emergence of MTV, and when an epidemic brought with it prejudice, fear, and new attitudes around being queer. In hospital rooms across the country, and indeed the world, groups of lesbians were ensuring that gay men diagnosed with HIV/AIDS were not forgotten or left to suffer alone. Many families turned their backs on their loved ones out of fear, but the lesbian community stepped up to support a part of society that many had marginalized.

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Frankie Goes to Bollywood

HOME MCR

★★★★★

Bollywood, the billion pound Indian film industry, is synonymous with high-energy, perfectly choreographed, song-and-dance numbers, elaborate costuming, and melodramatic storylines that convey a deeper moral lesson to the audience. Rifco Theatre Company have now taken these key Bollywood elements and combined them with the experiences of British women within the Bollywood film industry bubble to produce a brand new musical entitled Frankie Goes to Bollywood.

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The Legend of Ned Ludd

Liverpool Everyman Theatre

★★★★★

The concept of machines taking over the world has a long tradition within popular culture. From Terminator’s thumbs up as he descends to a fiery death, to Westworld, I Robot and 2001: A Space Odyssey, technology is often portrayed as going rouge to create a form of dystopian future. With the rise of Artificial Intelligence, Deep Fakes, and outsourcing of work to automation the apocalyptic wasteland can feel as though it’s within touching distance.

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Frankenstein

Liverpool Playhouse

★★★☆☆

Imitating The Dog are known for combining innovative digital media with traditional theatre to create exceptional works. Their production of Macbeth last year was one of our favourite stage productions of the year (you can read our review here), so when we saw that they were continuing their Gothic production theme with an interpretation of Frankenstein we knew that we had to go. The production combines the classic Marry Shelley Frankenstein with that of a story of a nameless couple who are navigating an unplanned pregnancy.

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Cluedo 2

The Lowry

★☆☆☆☆

Iconic murder mystery boardgame Cluedo has already been adapted into a film (a cult classic with Tim Curry no less!), multiple television shows, musicals and in 2022 a play directed by Mark Bell who is best known for directing The Play That Goes Wrong. Now, Cluedo 2 is following the success of the 2022 play with a semi-sequel written by Laurence Marks and Maurice Gran, with Mark Bell returning as the director.

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Richard III (ish)

Shakespeare North Playhouse

★★★★★

Covering the second longest Shakespearean play in a family friendly way, in under an hour, and with just one person performing all the parts is bordering on absurd. But only bordering, because Cream-Faced Loons proved that not only can this be done, it can be done brilliantly. The premise of the show is that the Cream-Faced Loons are due to perform an extravagant version of Richard III (even acrobats were mentioned at one point!

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My Beautiful Laundrette

Liverpool Playhouse

★★★★☆

Adapted from the 1985 film of the same name, My Beautiful Laundrette is a sophisticated, heartfelt and painful reminder that the world is still full of inequality. The show is set around Omar (Lucca Chadwick-Patel), a young British Pakistani who is struggling to find work during the height of Thatcher’s Britain. In a bid to give Omar more than just a life on “The Dole”, his Papa (Gordon Warnecke) decides Omar will work for his Uncle, and then go to college.

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Richard, My Richard

Shakespeare North Playhouse

★★★★★

Richard III is one of the most infamous Kings of England. Known as a tyrant, a usurper, and portrayed by Shakespeare as a hunchback, Richard III is often synonymous with the murder of his nephews, The Princes in the Tower. But what if everything that you think you know about Richard III isn’t actually true? With history written by the victors, what if Richard was actually a loyal brother, a loving husband and a victim of the historical record being incorrect?