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
What Play should you see first in London’s West End? We have compiled this list to save you the trouble of working it out! It’s just our view – and everyone has one – based on our Reviewers’ thoughts. We will update the list regularly so new productions get on your radar and when original casts change that is factored in. Plays which have been running for more than three years are not included – this is a list for new or relatively new productions running in the West End. So go see them! We’d like to know your thoughts. To vote for your favourite West End play and musical CLICK HERE 1. Our Town – We know that technically the Almeida isn’t in the West End, but this is just too good to miss! ✭✭✭✭✭ 2. King Charles III ✭✭✭✭✭ 3. John ✭✭✭✭✭ 4. Electra ✭✭✭✭✭ 5. Shakespeare in … Read more
Set firmly in the present, this version lacks languid notions about the past, does not spend too much time on the intricacies of character and prefers shock and blatant slapstick to more gentle ways of making points. There is little sense of old versus new Russia, little sense of the changing of traditions and times and less complexity about everything. But it is radiantly bleak, full of brittle, awful people leading duplicitous and untruthful lives. In that way, it is a compelling re-imagining of Chekhov’s masterpiece.