Views from a Bum426 stories
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Views from a Bum 18 Jul 18
A Grand Day Out
LADIES’ DAY Grand Theatre, Wolverhampton, Tuesday 17 th July, 2018 Following an excellent Brassed Off last summer, the Grand has produced its second in-house show, Amanda Whittington’s comedy about four women from a fish-packing factory who …
Views from a Bum 6 Jul 18
MATILDA Birmingham Hippodrome, Thursday 5 th July, 2018 The Royal Shakespeare Company’s most successful production ever comes to Birmingham for the summer, making itself at home in the Hippodrome, just 20-odd miles from its point of origin in …
Views from a Bum 1 Jul 18
EQUUS Crescent Theatre, Birmingham, Saturday 30 th June, 2018 The Crescent’s Ron Barber Studio is home again to yet another outstanding production.
Views from a Bum 19 Jun 18
THE TEMPEST Belgrade Theatre, Coventry, Tuesday 19 th June, 2018 It’s not the first time The Tempest has been set in outer space.
Views from a Bum 14 Jun 18
SUMMER HOLIDAY New Alexandra Theatre, Birmingham, Wednesday 13 th June, 2018 The 1963 Cliff Richard film about a bunch of lads who travel across Europe in a London double-decker bus is now a vehicle, haha, for Ray Quinn and a ball of energy shaped…
Views from a Bum 13 Jun 18
Music à la King
BEAUTIFUL: The Carole King Musical Grand Theatre, Wolverhampton, Tuesday 12 th June, 2018 This biographical musical, telling of the rise to prominence of songwriter Carole King, feels different from other shows of its type.
Views from a Bum 9 Jun 18
A Nudge To Arms
TRYING IT ON Warwick Arts Centre, Coventry, Friday 8 th June, 2018 At the grand age of 70, playwright David Edgar turns performer for the first time in this self-penned piece that blends autobiographical material and interviews with fellow …
Views from a Bum 8 Jun 18
Fun with Heartbreak
MUCH ADO ABOUT NOTHING Jephson Gardens, Leamington, Thursday 7 th June, 2018 This version from the aptly named (for this play) Heartbreak Productions sets Shakespeare’s supreme rom-com at a village garden fete as the Great War draws to a close…
Views from a Bum 5 Jun 18
Breaking the Ice
TITANIC – The Musical Birmingham Hippodrome, Monday 4 th June, 2018 This story about belief in the infallibility of technology is delayed by a technical hitch, sort of foreshadowing what is to befall the ill-fated ‘unsinkable’ ship – …
Views from a Bum 1 Jun 18
Sweet and Sour
MOUNTAINS: The Dreams of Lily Kwok Belgrade Theatre, Coventry, Thursday 31 st May, 2018 When Helen leaves her native Manchester to work as a lawyer in Hong Kong, she feels out of place, a fraud, an English girl in a Chinese body.
Views from a Bum 31 May 18
Heart to Heart
84 CHARING CROSS ROAD Grand Theatre, Wolverhampton, Wednesday 30 th May, 2018 In the 1950s, Helene Hanff, a writer living in New York, contacts a bookshop at the eponymous address, in search of an out of print book.
Views from a Bum 27 May 18
Pees and Queues
URINETOWN Crescent Theatre, Birmingham, Sunday 27 th May, 2018 It’s no secret that Mark Hollmann and Greg Kotis’s Urinetown is my favourite musical of all time.
Views from a Bum 25 May 18
Pros and Cons
OUR COUNTRY’S GOOD The REP, Birmingham, Thursday 24 th May, 2018 This production comes to Birmingham from Nottingham Playhouse, working with Ramps On The Moon – casting deaf and disabled actors and tailoring the performance for hearing …
Views from a Bum 22 May 18
ART Birmingham Hippodrome, Monday 21 st May, 2018 When Serge splashes out 200 grand on a white painting, it becomes a bone of contention and causes a rift between him and his two best friends, Marc and Yvan.
Views from a Bum 17 May 18
WHISKY GALORE New Vic Theatre, Wednesday 16 th May, 2018 Based on true events, which were subsequently novelised by Compton Mackenzie, this adaptation by Philip Goulding arrives at the New Vic via Oldham Coliseum and Hull Truck Theatre.
Views from a Bum 16 May 18
Sex and Violins
THE STRING QUARTET’S GUIDE TO SEX AND ANXIETY The REP, Birmingham, Tuesday 15 th May, 2018 This new piece from director-creator Calixto Bieito is an exploration of mental illness and sexuality, taking its text from a range of writers, most …
Views from a Bum 13 May 18
Last of the Summer Vin
HEROES Crescent Theatre, Birmingham, Sunday 13 th May, 2018 Tom Stoppard’s translation of Gerald Sibleyras’s Le Vent des Peupliers fits into a niche of comedy we’re familiar with in the UK.
Views from a Bum 9 May 18
FLEABAG Warwick Arts Centre, Coventry, Wednesday 9 th May, 2018 It’s a real treat to be able to see Maddie Rice reprise the hit one-woman show, three years since I first enjoyed it in Birmingham.
Views from a Bum 9 May 18
Some You Gershwin…
CRAZY FOR YOU Grand Theatre, Wolverhampton, Tuesday 8 th May, 2018 The songs of George and Ira Gershwin provide the music in this musical comedy – and there are some timeless classics here: Someone To Watch Over Me , They Can’t Take That Away …
Views from a Bum 5 May 18
Hired and Fired-Up
THE HIRED MAN The Albany Theatre, Coventry, Friday 4 th May, 2018 If Thomas Hardy upped sticks and moved north to Cumbria (or Cumberland, as it was known then) the chances are he would have come up with something very like Melvyn Bragg’s family …
Views from a Bum 2 May 18
THE BAND Birmingham Hippodrome, Tuesday 1 st May, 2018 Regular readers will know of my aversion to jukebox musicals and so it is with some trepidation that I approach this production.
Views from a Bum 27 Apr 18
Girls Just Wanna Kill Pigs
LORD OF THE FLIES The Old Rep, Birmingham, Thursday 26 th April, 2018 It can be difficult, when your class of students is entirely female, to find suitable material for performance.
Views from a Bum 25 Apr 18
Just My Cup of Chai
THE GAME OF LOVE AND CHAI Belgrade Theatre, Coventry, Tuesday 24 th April, 2018 Marivaux’s 18 th Century French farce, The Game of Love and Chance , gets an update from Tara Arts and Nigel Planer of The Young Ones , no less.
Views from a Bum 18 Apr 18
Labour in Vain
THIS HOUSE The REP, Birmingham, Tuesday 17 th April, 2018 This hit production from the National Theatre/Chichester Festival Theatre/Headlong comes to this town and reminds this reviewer of its brilliance.
Views from a Bum 17 Apr 18
Closing Down Sail
THE LAST SHIP New Alexandra Theatre, Birmingham, Monday 16 th April, 2018 I am conscious throughout the performance that just three feet away from me, seated across the aisle, is the show’s lyricist and composer, namely Sting himself.
Views from a Bum 12 Apr 18
BRIGHTON ROCK The REP, Birmingham, Wednesday 11 th April, 2018 This new production from Pilot Theatre and York Theatre Royal rocks into town with an irresistible swagger.
Views from a Bum 11 Apr 18
TURN OF THE SCREW Grand Theatre, Wolverhampton, Tuesday 10 th April , 2018 Henry James’s classic ghost story is often cited as an inspiration for Susan Hill’s The Woman In Black – and in this masterful new stage adaptation by Tim …
Views from a Bum 7 Apr 18
Copping It Sweet
POLICE COPS IN SPACE Old Joint Stock, Birmingham, Friday 6 th April, 2018 Wondering whether the show will live up to the promise of its title, I settle into my seat.
Views from a Bum 5 Apr 18
Twisted but not Bitter
THE TWISTED TALE OF HANSEL AND GRETEL Birmingham Hippodrome, Wednesday 4 th April, 2018 In the first of a planned series of collaborations, Birmingham Hippodrome, Open Theatre Company and Metro-Boulot-Dodo stage this new production to bring …
Views from a Bum 1 Apr 18
STONES IN HIS POCKETS Crescent Theatre, Birmingham, Sunday 1 st April, 2018 Marie Jones’s comedy has, rightly, become a modern-day classic.
Views from a Bum 30 Mar 18
CROONERS The Albany Theatre, Coventry, Thursday 29 th March, 2018 As the curtain opens, a David Attenborough-type voiceover introduces us to that rare and endangered species, the crooner, inviting us to observe them in their natural habitat, …
Views from a Bum 24 Mar 18
The Bees’ Knees
HONEY The Albany Theatre, Coventry, Friday 23 rd March, 2018 When you behold a patchwork quilt, you see it at first as a whole.
Views from a Bum 14 Mar 18
SWEENEY TODD Grand Theatre, Wolverhampton, Tuesday 13 th March, 2018 Stephen Sondheim’s grisly melodrama is not an easy sing, with its discords and broken rhythms as well as its searing, melodic phrases.
Views from a Bum 12 Mar 18
UP ‘N’ UNDER The REP, Birmingham, Monday 12 th March, 2018 John Godber’s 1984 comedy is doing the rounds in this new revival by Fingersmiths, a company that incorporates deaf actors and British Sign Language into plays.
Views from a Bum 9 Mar 18
LES MISERABLES – School Edition Artshouse, Stratford upon Avon, Thursday 8 th March, 2018 Stratford Musical Theatre Company’s young division tackle the ‘schools version’ of the renowned Boubil Schonberg musical adaptation of the Victor …
Views from a Bum 8 Mar 18
Juan to Watch
DON GIOVANNI Hippodrome, Birmingham, Wednesday 7 th March, 2018 Welsh National Opera is back in town and this time they’ve brought my favourite opera, Mozart’s masterly take on the Don Juan legend.
Views from a Bum 7 Mar 18
THRILLER Live Belgrade Theatre, Coventry, Tuesday 6 th March, 2018 This electrifying tribute show is doing the rounds and this week it’s Coventry’s turn to become reacquainted with the back catalogue of the ‘King of Pop’, Michael Jackson.
Views from a Bum 28 Feb 18
SPAMALOT Belgrade Theatre, Coventry, Tuesday 27 th February, 2018 We all know them, the bores who can spout reams and reams of Monty Python scripts and manage to suck all the humour of it, as if just saying the lines is enough, when what matters, …
Views from a Bum 24 Feb 18
HAMLET Blue Orange Theatre, Birmingham, Friday 23 rd February, 2018 Director Oliver Hume’s production strips Shakespeare’s four-hours-plus great work right down to two fifty-minute chunks.
Views from a Bum 23 Feb 18
Play to Win
THE WINSLOW BOY The REP, Birmingham, Thursday 22 nd January, 2018 Terence Rattigan’s masterpiece loses none of its powers in this new production directed by Rachel Kavanaugh.
Views from a Bum 21 Feb 18
HOOT OWL – Master of Disguise Artshouse, Stratford upon Avon, Wednesday 21 st February, 2018 It is not uncommon for successful children’s picture books to make the transition to the stage.
Views from a Bum 20 Feb 18
See The Elephant
ELEPHANT The Door, the REP, Birmingham, Tuesday 20 th February, 2018 Gurpreet Kaur Bhatti’s brand-new play is a gripping domestic drama, concerning a British-Asian family and a dark secret.
Views from a Bum 16 Feb 18
Louder Than Words
#JESUIS Patrick Centre, Birmingham Hippodrome, Thursday 15 th February, 2018 Everything has a hashtag these days, doesn’t it? We all remember the #JeSuisCharlie one used as a show of solidarity after the shootings at the Charlie Hebdo magazine…
Views from a Bum 11 Feb 18
Something out of Nothing
NOTHING Crescent Theatre, Birmingham, Sunday 11 th February, 2018 Lulu Raczka’s play from 2014 is all talk and no action.
Views from a Bum 8 Feb 18
Who’s The Daddy?
MAMMA MIA! Grand Theatre, Wolverhampton, Wednesday 7 th February, 2018 The mother (the Mamma) of all jukebox musicals arrives in Wolverhampton as part of its bid for world domination.
Views from a Bum 7 Feb 18
Close Encounters of the Brief Kind
BRIEF ENCOUNTER The REP, Birmingham, Tuesday 6 th February, 2018 Emma Rice’s adaptation of the Noel Coward script makes a triumphant return to the REPa decade since its first incarnation.
Views from a Bum 1 Feb 18
TRANSLUNAR PARADISE Patrick Centre, Birmingham Hippodrome, Wednesday 31 st January, 2018 Theatre Ad Infinitum are reviving their hit show from seven years ago and it’s a good fit for the Hippodrome’s studio space.
Views from a Bum 31 Jan 18
Something’s Got To Give
THE LATE MARILYN MONROE Blue Orange Theatre, Birmingham, Tuesday 31 st January, 2018 We’ll never know what happened during the last moments of the life of Marilyn Monroe.
Views from a Bum 30 Jan 18
Going off the Rails
STRANGERS ON A TRAIN New Alexandra Theatre, Birmingham, Monday 29 th January, 2018 Based on the 1950 novel by Patricia Highsmith, this adaptation by Craig Warner plunges us into an amoral world, where man’s actions are not punished by the rule …
Views from a Bum 28 Jan 18
LET THE RIGHT ONE IN Crescent Theatre, Birmingham, Sunday 28 th January, 2018 John Ajvide Lindqvist’s novel is the most Stephen King-like book I’ve read that isn’t by Stephen King.