⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ A clever twist on the classic whodunnit
Note: This review is for the Catch Me If You Can UK Tour 2022. It’s useful to note that this play is not associated with the 2002 Steven Spielberg film of the same name.
Originally based on a French play by Robert Thomas, this American version was written by Jack Weinstock and Willie Gilbert that debuted on Broadway in 1965. The UK tour is produced by the renowned Bill Kenwright.
Inspector Levine (Gray O’Brien) is called to a house in the remote Catskill mountains to investigate the disappearance of newly married Elizabeth Corban. In a bizarre development a woman (Linda Purl) arrives at the house claiming to be the missing Elizabeth but, instead of celebrating the reunion, her husband Daniel (Dallas legend Patrick Duffy) claims that she is an imposter.
Direct from London, the acclaimed production of The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe is coming to the Alexandra Theatre stage in Birmingham this week and I had to opportunity to have a quick chat with cast member Samuel Buttery, who is playing the role of Mr Beaver. When we spoke they were on a train on the way to Birmingham.
It sounds like you’ve had a really busy time!
It’s be so busy! I think this month we’ve been to Edinburgh, Plymouth, Canterbury, Glasgow and now Birmingham. It’s a lot!
What can the Birmingham audience expect from The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe?
I think they can expect something heartfelt. It feels like a communal endeavour without being poncy and too insincere. I’m lucky in that everyone in the cast and company is really nice and we have formed really close bonds, and the play ends up being about community and togetherness and what happens when goodness can win.
Based on the classic Paramount Pictures Corporation motion picture, James Dearden’s intoxicating new stage play of Fatal Attraction, brings the definitive movie thriller to Birmingham’s Alexandra Theatre. I had the opportunity to have a chat with Oliver Farnworth – who plays the lead male role of Dan Gallagher – ahead of the show arriving in Birmingham this week.
Fatal Attraction is coming to the Alexandra Theatre. What can the Birmingham audience expect from Fatal Attraction?
I think the title ‘Fatal Attraction’ will be fairly familiar to a lot of the audience. The notion of the ‘bunny boiler’ was born from the iconic ‘80s film with Michael Douglas and Glenn Close playing the two protagonists. There will be a familiarity with the original story which is obviously very tense and twisted, a gripping psychological thriller. With any adaptation you wouldn’t necessarily want to go and see a film word for word put on stage, so there is very much a theatrical adaptation. James Dearden the writer has been on board and he’s updated the script – there’s a bit more of a twist in the ending. I’d say he’s brought it into more modern day as far as there are more questions around culpability and motives, blame and consequence, It’s very much a classic thriller but brought into an updated, modernised stage version using lots of theatrical licence, twists and tricks. But fans of the original won’t be disappointed – we’ve kept a lot of the original content. There’s a lot to enjoy.
Note: This review of The Cat and the Canary is for the 2021 UK tour.
“Twenty years after the death of Mr. West, his descendants gather to learn who will inherit his vast wealth and the hidden family jewels. Within moments, the heritage hunters turn into prey. Walls crack open, shadows loom, and dark secrets are revealed.”
On a suitably dark and rainy Monday evening, we sat down at the Alexandra Theatre to watch the latest show from The Classic Thriller Theatre Company with their production of 1920s murder mystery The Cat and the Canary.
The original play, written by John Willard, opened on Broadway almost a century ago and has since spawned three movie adaptations. The plot utilises that classic whodunnit setup and setting; assembling an ensemble cast in an ancestral mansion on a dark, stormy night, just in time for things to start going awry when a homicidal maniac escapes from a nearby asylum. Adapted for a modern audience by Carl Grose, and directed by Roy Marsden, the play offers up all the twists and turns you would expect from the genre, along with some tongue-in-cheek humour and, of course, plenty of scares!
“Look what happens when the trendy lefties move in!”
Adapted and translated by Jeremy Sams from Matthieu Delaporte and Alexandre de La Patellière’s hugely successful ‘Le Prénom,’ ‘What’s In a Name?’ made its UK debut in Birmingham in 2017 and has now embarked on a UK tour. Continue reading →
Last night The Bloke and I were invited to watch the hilarious Peter Pan Goes Wrong at the Alexandra Theatre.
Co-written by the wonderfully funny Mischief Theatre company members Henry Lewis, Jonathan Sayer and Henry Shields, Peter Pan Goes Wrong is described as ‘a highly physical comedy packed with finely-tuned farce and Buster Keaton inspired slapstick, delivered with split-second timing and ambitious daring.’ It has definitely been on my ‘to watch’ list. Continue reading →
Last night The Bloke and I were invited to see Ghost Stories at The Alexandra Theatre.
Created by Andy Nyman and Jeremy Dyson, Ghost Stories has arrived at The Alexandra Theatre for its first ever UK Tour following a sell-out West End and international stage performances and a smash hit film starring Martin Freeman.
Described as the ultimate twisted love-letter to horror, a supernatural edge-of-your-seat theatrical experience like no other, the show comes with an age restriction of 15, a warning that GhostStories contains moments of extreme shock and tension and advises that those of a nervous disposition should think very seriously before attending. In my naivety I took this with a pinch of salt. Surely it wouldn’t be that frightening?
Last night The Bloke and I were invited to watch a production of The House on Cold Hill at the Alexandra Theatre.
Adapted from the best-selling 2015 novel of multi-million selling author Peter James and based on his own experiences of a haunted house, the play is a ghostly thriller that tells the story of the Harcourt family – Ollie, Caro and daughter Jade – as they move from Brighton into their dream house in the country that has stood empty for the last forty years. As they begin to sense that they aren’t the only residents at Cold Hill, their new residence quickly turns into the stuff of nightmares… Continue reading →
From up-and-coming Midlands writer and director Thomas Moran and his company presentabsence Theatre comes “a new LGBTQ+ and deaf play.” NOISE follows the lives of five first-year university students in their shared flat, in particular Evan (Nicolas Ancelin) who is deaf. The play sees the development of Evan’s relationship with flatmate Harry (Dominic Holmes) and how they both deal with his impairment.
Despite their young ages and small number, the cast light up the stage of The Old REP, bringing energy and authenticity to their characters. The group work well as an ensemble, being totally believable as housemates and friends, but this is perhaps better shown through the several examples of physical theatre and montages in which all of the cast have co-ordinated their movements to fit with one another, avoiding any slip-ups (not an easy task on The Old REP’s small stage) whilst still managing to create dynamic sequences. Continue reading →