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Review: Spotlights:Expressing Yourself

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Outstanding, vibrant, and spectacular; ‘Expressing Yourself’ is not a show to be missed! 

Following their third consecutive sell-out summer at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, Exeter University’s musical theatre show choir, Spotlights, is back with their exceptional show ‘Expressing Yourself’. This talented group of musical theatre lovers took to the stage to perform a brand-new set list, with high-energy choreography seamlessly blended with rich harmonies. With musical hits ranging all ages and genres, from Broadway classics, such as Wicked, to new fan favourites Hamilton and Kinky Boots, and even including Disney tunes from Tangled. Whether you are a theatre fanatic or just partial to occasionally belting in the shower, there is certainly a number to suit every audience member’s tastes. This joyous show is a true celebration of inclusivity, diversity, and being the version of yourself that you want to be. The production was received with consistent cheers and applause – it truly is not one to be missed!   Continue reading Review: Spotlights:Expressing Yourself

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Review: The Lady Vanishes @ Exeter Northcott

Producing giant Bill Kenwright, through the aptly named Thriller Theatre Company, brings us a tour of the stage version of this 1938 classic film by Hitchcock. Roy Marsden directs this cast of big names (lots of people from telly, apparently) who navigate a grey and textured stage designed by Morgan Large.

The story concerns the socialite Iris, a sweet and wide-eyed woman travelling back to England to get married, who befriends Ms Froy, a former governess and music teacher. Ms Froy is the lady who vanishes during the journey and the other passengers all seem to be conspiring against Iris, claiming that the woman was never there. All but Max, a charmer who chooses to believe Iris and helps her uncover the mystery. There is the touch of the international and the historical: Charters and Caldicott discuss the cricket in a quintessentially British manner, Sinor Doppo is an Italian magician, and Nazi soldiers patrol the train. With promises of thriller, espionage, coded messages through song, and a train filled with characters and mystery, I was excited to be taken on this journey. Unfortunately, almost everything fell flat. Continue reading Review: The Lady Vanishes @ Exeter Northcott

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Review: Clare Hollingworth and the Scoop of The Century @Exeter Phoenix

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Important, funny and playful entertainment for the whole family.

To mark 80 years since the start of WW2, PaddleBoat Theatre Company, an Exeter-based group of devising performers working with children in schools, are touring a production focusing on the often forgotten Clare Hollingworth. She was the first person to report from Poland that the German tanks were at the border, ready to invade. Her ‘scoop’, uncredited mind you, became front page news all over the UK. In this hour-long, interactive and high-energy show, the company displays great understanding of the forms they present. Continue reading Review: Clare Hollingworth and the Scoop of The Century @Exeter Phoenix

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Is the Face of Theatre Truly Changing?

Sustainability means eco-friendly, right? Lately, it seems that those words have become interchangeable. So, when thinking about sustainability in the theatre world we know that if theatre bars stop using plastic cups and advertisers make recyclable programmes, the industry is sustainable enough to stay afloat. In reality, sustainability in theatre is not limited to greenifying its spaces. It needs to achieve what the Theatre Trust calls ‘the triple bottom line’, meaning environmental, social, and economic sustainability. However, recently the theatre spotlight has illuminated a significant problem; that this art form no longer has a sustainable audience. Continue reading Is the Face of Theatre Truly Changing?

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Review: Dr Dracula @ Knightshayes, Tiverton

Blood is life. Yet, with it flowing unseen beneath our skin we often tend to forget its importance. Four of Swords’ Dr Dracula, written by co-artistic director Philip Kingslan-John, forcefully reminds us of its magnitude in a piece of promenade theatre which intersects the history of blood diseases with cultural myths of the vampire. Drawing on the research of Dr Luke Pilling (Exeter University Medical School) and Professor Nick Groom (Exeter University English Department), Dr Dracula exemplifies how the arts can engage with science to produce incredibly compelling and thought-provoking theatre. Continue reading Review: Dr Dracula @ Knightshayes, Tiverton

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Review: A Midsummer Night’s Dream @ National Theatre Live

“I have had a most rare vision.” This line, spoken by Bottom at the beginning of Act 4 of Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream, goes a long way in describing the experience of viewing the Bridge Theatre’s production of the famous play. Rare because I’ve never before seen Puck crowd-surf; a vision because the whole theatre seemed to transform into a forest in which fairies dangled from the trees, imbuing the space with the feeling of real magic occurring.
Continue reading Review: A Midsummer Night’s Dream @ National Theatre Live

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Romeo A Juliet @ Exeter Northcott

Ballet Cymru, led by artistic director Darius James (OBE), claims to do things a bit differently. If we are to judge by this revival tour of their 2013 ballet Romeo a Juliet, choreographed by him and assistant artistic director Amy Doughty, that statement is indeed true. I applaud the moves towards inclusivity, which feel genuine and never tokenistic. To have a female dancer portraying Benvolio and Friar Lawrence, as well as a wheelchair-using dancer (Joe Powell-Main) in ballet are mention-worthy. It would have been wonderful to see Powell-Main featured even more prominently, but this inclusion is definitely the move in the right direction for ballet and dance in general. Continue reading Romeo A Juliet @ Exeter Northcott