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Sunday, 11 September 2022

REVIEW: Antigone at Regent's Park Open Air Theatre

It seems lately the go-to option, is to reimagine a classic entirely, making it as current and topical as possible. While some have faltered in the past, some have given a new lease of life to the original. Antigone, the Greek tragedy has done exactly that. Bringing the original tale to life in remarkable fashion. 

Set both in 2018 and 2022 the story centres around our protagonist Antigone (Zainab Hasan), sister Ismene - Lydia Bakelmun and their struggle to educate brother Polyneices (Nadeem Islam) on the difficulties of the world. After a massive argument, Polyneices leaves (2018) and goes missing for years until a major incident (2022) brings him back into their lives. 

Sunday, 26 December 2021

REVIEW: Cinderella at the Regent Theatre, Stoke-on-Trent

My last visit to the Regent Stoke on Trent was in 2006 to see Jonathan Wilkes in pantomime so it was with pleasure and anticipation that we returned to see him in Cinderella this December. In the intervening fifteen years, he has developed a strong comedy partnership with Christian Patterson (who also directs this show) and a powerful connection with the Stoke on Trent audience even though he appears to be a Port Vale FC fan. That rapport is visible from his first appearance from a spurious spacecraft cut out and together they pack plenty of jokes and a lot of adult innuendo into the first thirty minutes. It is a bit of a whirlwind with the rest of the cast very much in subsidiary roles. 

Alan McHugh’s 2021 scripts which underpin most of the Crossroads shows set up some standard pantomime business with a music lip-sync routine, twelve days of Christmas pandemonium and the Suzie Shaw tongue twister. For the first time audience member, these routines generate lots of laughs although they have little to do with the narrative and are barely adapted to each title. Patterson has clearly added to the script some of the best lines that land with the audience and each is delightfully pointed and reacted to by Wilkes and Patterson as Buttons and the Dame (this year). They perform the Balloon ballet at the Ball, but you will see better versions elsewhere like in Reading’s Cinderella with Justin Fletcher and Paul Morse. The DVD storytelling routine is executed well with plenty of innuendoes! They pack plenty of effort into a sing-off routine to replace the traditional song sheet and get a strong response from the audience.
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