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
Nuffield and Curve in association with the Lyric Hammersmith have announced a major UK Tour of Roald Dahl’s Fantastic Mr Fox commencing at the Nuffield Southampton this Christmas. This brand new family show is a playful re-telling of Roald Dahl’s much-loved book; a brilliantly witty tale of the clever Mr Fox outfoxing three greedy farmers, brought to life on stage with live music and songs. Luke Kelly, Managing Director of the Roald Dahl Literary Estate and Roald Dahl’s grandson says: “We’re excited to be working with such an accomplished partner as Nuffield Theatre to bring FANTASTIC MR FOX to the stage in this brand new musical version, and delighted that so many people across the UK will be able to see it during the 2017 tour.” The Fantastic Mr Fox is adapted by playwright Sam Holcroft, directed by Maria Aberg, designed by Tom Scutt, composed by Arthur Darvill, lyrics by … Read more
Director Maria Aberg certainly confronts the challenges Wildefire offers head on. There is some starkly realistic violence – the murder of Spence and it’s aftermath is especially powerful. Scenes of chaos, rioting and domestic violence are loud, confronting and seared with pain. Indeed, this is almost certainly a better production than the play deserves.