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Category: Reviews (page 1 of 7)

A smörgåsbord of dramatic delights from Düsseldorf

Fiona Talkington, Fiona Leonard, Nyani Quarmyne, Andrew Taylor and Arturo Castro Nigueras

Reading Fringe 2018 L to R: Fiona Talkington, Fiona Leonard, Nyani Quarmyne, Andrew Taylor and Arturo Castro Nigueras

In the sad absence of live theatre in these troubled times, the Blue Goat Theatre, Düsseldorf, led by the enterprising Fiona Leonard, has served us up a smorgasbord of dramatic delight with 12 short pre-recorded plays; this is a collaboration between nine countries, reaching across time zones, involving some 36 stellar artists, complete strangers, who have met online to write, create and record a play with the theme, The Thread.

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‘Who goes Bare?’ with the Shinfield Players Theatre

By Gillie Tunley and Brenda Sandilands.

'Who goes Bare?' at the Shinfield Players Theatre

‘Who goes Bare?’ at the Shinfield Players Theatre. Photo (c) Susie Williamson

Shinfield Players are staging Who Goes Bare this week, a fast and furious farce by Richard Harris and Leslie Darbon; it is directed with pace and panache by Philippe Duquenoy, assisted ably by Stage Manager Graham Vockins with ingenious set design by Tim Howling, involving numerous durable doors, which open and close with split second precision.

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‘The Haunting of Hill House’ at the Progress Theatre

By Gillie Tunley and Brenda Sandilands.

'The Haunting of Hill House' at the Progress Theatre

‘The Haunting of Hill House’ at the Progress Theatre. Photo © Richard Brown.

Progress Theatre are staging the suspenseful The Haunting of Hill House by F. Andrew Leslie, adapted from the novel by Shirley Jackson. It is directed with chilling panache by Matt Tully and polished production by Tony Wernham.

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Readiophonics fourth Birthday Bash



On this special celebration of their fourth birthday at South Street Arts Centre, Readiophonics, resplendent in cobalt blue and led by the sassy Sarah Sharp, Musical Director, welcomed us with a warmly soulful beep bop medley, Tonight… is going to be a good, good night.

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‘Wyrd Sisters’ at the Progress Theatre

‘Wyrd Sisters’ at the Progress Theatre. Photo courtesy of (c) Aidan Moran

We are greeted at the Progress Theatre by a smiley and welcoming Chris Moran, director of this production, Terry Pratchett’s Wyrd Sisters. Chris is a Progress veteran. The director’s notes in the programme are in tune with how she is in person: full of enthusiasm and love for theatre and up for a challenge. As we are talking I realise that I recognise her voice and my other half kindly points out that she played Joyce in Caryl Churchill’s Top Girls. Of course she did, and she was excellent in it.

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Review of 2019 at the Whitley Pump

The MERL’s new yarn bomb

Thank you to all our readers and regular and occasional contributors for making it a wonderful year on Katesgrove Hill. We hope that you continue to enjoy reading or contributing to the Whitley Pump in 2020.

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A joyful ‘Hansel and Gretel’ with RBL at South Street this December

By Gillie Tunley and Brenda Sandilands.

Hansel and Gretel with RBL at South Street

Hansel and Gretel with RBL at South Street. Photo courtesy of Pieter Lawman.

Reading Between the Lines (RBL) are staging Hansel and Gretel at South Street Arts Centre in a joyous adaptation by Anna Wheatley during December. This enchanting production is deftly directed by Hal Chambers and set to a sassy soundscape by Benjamin Hudson, with exuberant movement by Rebecca Randall.

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Dance Reading – Bodies in Space

A cat of Catsgrove in Moon Dust

RISC on London Street hosted a very different dining experience, and a very different dance performance, on the evening of Friday 22 November. Bodies in Space, part of Dance Reading 2019, was a space-inspired entertainment that engaged all the senses.

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‘Hangmen’ at the Progress Theatre

By Gillie Tunley & Brenda Sandilands.

'Hangmen' at the Progress Theatre

‘Hangmen’ at the Progress Theatre. Image (c) Aidan Moran

It’s 1965 and it’s the end of hanging. Or is it? The Progress Theatre are staging Martin McDonagh’s edgy and darkly comedic Hangmen this week, directed with passion and purpose by Steph Dewar.

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‘Macbeth’ with the RBL theatre company at Reading Minster

The brilliant Reading Between the Lines (RBL) theatre group are staging Macbeth in the atmospheric Reading Minster. Hal Chamber’s powerful and provocative production challenges convention with a female Macbeth in a post modernist setting.

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‘The Addams Family’ with the Shinfield Players Theatre

'The Addams Family' at the Shinfield Players Theatre

‘The Addams Family’ at the Shinfield Players Theatre. Photo courtesy of SPT

The Shinfield Players are staging the magnificently macabre Addams Family this week, directed with suitable graveyard humour by Simon Kingsnorth.

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‘The Children’ at the Progress Theatre

'The Children' at the Progress Theatre

‘The Children’ at the Progress Theatre. Photo (c) Richard Brown

This week, the Progress Theatre are staging Lucy Kirkwood’s perturbing post-apocalyptic play The Children. Insightfully directed by Ali Carroll, it raises profound questions about the poisoned legacy of the present.

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‘The Herd’ with the Woodley Players

‘The Herd’ at the Woodley Theatre. Photo courtesy of Aidan Moran

Last week, the Woodley Players staged Rory Kinnear’s The Herd, a funny and profoundly poignant play, dealing with domestic realism and fraught with family tensions. It was directed with pace and panache by Frank Kaye and Kathy Reid, with skilful multi-door staging by Stuart Gentle.

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‘Godspell’ with the Reading Operatic Society

Godspell, with the ROS at the Kenton Theatre, Henley

Godspell, with the ROS. Photo (c) Michael Gribble.

My musical alma mater, Reading Operatic Society (ROS), have been on an extraordinary theatrical voyage since they were first founded in 1950 by Mr Archibald Lusty. Back then and more recently, under the tender tutelage of John and Jill Lawes, they favoured rousing Gilbert & Sullivan and operetta style productions which I have had the pleasure of participating in, my first show being Salad Days at the same theatre back in 1974!

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A smorgasbord of theatrical gems at the Progress Theatre

By Gillie Tunley and Brenda Sandilands.

WriteFest 2019 at the Progress Theatre. Image (c) Richard Brown

The Progress Theatre are staging their fourteenth annual WriteFest this week, featuring seven scintillating new short plays of dramatically contrasting genres, written, directed and performed by its multi-talented members.

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Throwaway! at South Street

Throwaway! was a hilariously funny show; two actresses and a sound man from Det Andre Teatret in Oslo improvised on discarded and broken objects, some of which had been brought along by the audience.

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Conversations with Trees: Friday night at the Fringe

From L to R: Fiona Talkington, Thomas Strønen, Jackie Oates, Zsuzsi Lindsay, Hannah James, Helen Jukes

Friday night was a BIG NIGHT for the Reading Fringe. Conversations with Trees was a unique musical collaboration specially curated by Fiona Talkington with Thomas Strønen, Hannah James and Jackie Oates. The group had only been brought together a few days before and delivered a thoughtful, tense and emotional piece which was rapturously received by the audience in St Mary’s Minster.

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The Fringe team with Simon HARTMANN and Daniel Ernesto MUELLER (third and fourth from left)

As the hottest day of the year so far cooled into the evening, there could have been few better places to be than in the garden of the Museum of English Rural Life (MERL) on Redlands Road waiting for HARTMANNMUELLER‘s performance of In Danger [German title: in noT] to begin. Gradually, conversations in the audience halted as we realised that it had already started – what had we missed?

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Transhuman Art Critics at the Reading Fringe

Transhuman Art Critics, a collaboration between Emil Schult and Emma Nilsson, presented a cosmic multi-media extravaganza last night at St Mary’s Minster. The artists performed behind a screen onto which their silhouettes and graphics were projected.

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A spellbinding ‘King Lear’ at Reading Abbey

By Gillie Tunley and Brenda Sandilands.

King Lear at Reading Abbey (2019). Photo (c) Richard Brown.

The prodigiously talented Progress Theatre Company are staging Shakespeare’s King Lear in the atmospheric surrounds of Reading Abbey this month. This harrowing tale of human folly is directed with shimmering insight by Dan Clarke, assisted by Louisa Cowell and Matt Urwin and produced by the inspirational Carole Brown.

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