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
Sean Foley’s production of The Dresser is simply extraordinary. Ken Stott and Reece Shearsmith are outstanding as ‘Sir’ and Norman, whilst the supporting cast, and Harriet Thorpe’s ‘Her Ladyship’ in particular, are truly excellent. It is a thought-provoking, funny and poignant piece, which not only does full justice to Sir Ronald Harwood’s wonderful script, but the acclaimed productions that preceded it.