Mark Ludmon examines the year ahead for regional theatre in 2018. Bolton girl Maxine Peake has made her mark on TV and the London stage but she returns to her roots with her second play, Queens of the Coal Age. Based on the true story of four women in Lancashire during the miners’ strike in the 1980s, it will be at the Royal Exchange in Manchester from 28 June to 21 July. Also at the Royal Exchange, Maxine Peake will star in Sarah Frankcom’s new production of Beckett’s Happy Days from 25 May to 23 June. Other highlights coming up at the Royal Exchange include Julie Hesmondhalgh in Kendall Feaver’s new play The Almighty Sometimes and April De Angelis’s new adaptation of Frankenstein. A new production of Chekhov’s The Cherry Orchard directed by Michael Boyd, the former artistic director of the Royal Shakespeare Company, will come to the Royal Exchange … Read more
Marc Elliott is the one cast member who seems to understand this and he completely subsumed himself in his dual roles of Thief and Reporter. Sinewy, handsome, bristling with electric sensuality in the first act, Elliott is superb. In some ways, his more complex turn as the lost Reporter, a vain, pretty and confused modern man is the superior performance. Both, though, are clever, thoughtful turns, and Elliott’s voice is equal to the demands of the score. He is proving to be a serious player in the field of musical theatre in London.