Friday, 22 December 2006

Review: Acorn Antiques The Musical, The Lowry

Having seen and loved Acorn Antiques The Musical when it played in London, despite a few misgivings about the first half, I was keen to ensure that we saw the touring version when it was announced and it fit in well with my Christmas plans to go and see it at the Lowry in Salford. Victoria Wood had obviously taken the (somewhat harsh) reviews to heart though as she has performed some major surgery on the show and the whole conceit of the first half has been removed: we open straight into Manchesterford and the goings-on at the antique shop.

Some of the songs from that original first half have been shoehorned into the story, the tap number is great fun though a bit of a stretch having the am-dram society rehearsing in the shop and other ones shifted around a bit. It still made me laugh, but I must admit to not finding it quite as funny as I did the first time round. And I suppose this is largely to do with the fact that this is a new cast that has been put together for this tour, which features none of the main principles.

Wednesday, 20 December 2006

Review: The Seafarer, National Theatre

Directed and written by Irish playwright Conor McPherson making his National Theatre debut here, The Seafarer is not normally the type of play I would go and see, but the offer of a spare ticket and a few gin and tonics won me over to making a wee trip to the Cottesloe at the National Theatre before heading home for Christmas.

Aptly, the play is set on Christmas Eve in an anodyne suburb somewhere north of Dublin and focusing on the return of Sharkey, an alcoholic recently returned to live with (and look after) Richard, his suffering older brother who went blind after a drunken incident with a skip. Two of Richard’s hard-drinking buddies drop by for a game of poker, bringing with them the temptation of drinking and unhappy memories as one of them is now shacked up with Sharkey’s wife. They also bring the mysterious Mr Lockhart with them whose presence poses an altogether different challenge.