The Maintenance Man

ALTHOUGH I spend a great deal of my time at the theatre, until tonight I had never seen this play, written by Richard Harris in 1986, nor visited this theatre, opened just last year and part of St Aldhelm’s Academy.

All My Sons

ALL My Sons is the 1947 play that launched the career of Arthur Miller, after the playwright had decided it would represent “the last throw of the dice” of his writing career following a number of poor commercial offerings previously. Anyone who is already familiar with the plot will know why it was successful – there are numerous complexities within it, and within each of the main characters, that highlight the price individuals are willing to pay to protect the people they love from facing up to the realities of their lives and their actions.

Stepping Out

THIS is one of those plays that pops up with some regularity, so I am pretty familiar with it. However, listening to comments around me it was clear that quite a few of the audience had seen only the film, and that had drawn them to this production. I’m sure that they won’t have been disappointed, because although Liza Minnelli, Julie Walters, Shelley Winters et al were conspicuous by their absence, this really was a very good show indeed, thanks to the production team of Barbara Evans (director) and Rosie Thomas (choreographer).


SWANAGE Musical Theatre Company are accomplished conjurors. The pool of talent in Swanage cannot be great and the facilities at the Mowlem are creaking a bit, yet every year the company produces, like a rabbit out of a hat, a show of a standard that compares well with any musical theatre company in the area. Nor do they play safe: they choose ambitious shows that are challenging to stage, but time after time they bring it off. After ‘Hello, Dolly’ two years ago and ‘Stepping Out’ last year, they achieve an enviable hat-trick with this production of ‘Annie’.

Jam Sponge

IT is rare for me to give up time in the middle of the day to review a very short production, but when graduating student Richard Alexander asked me to go along to the showcase that he and fellow student Kate Staunton would be performing this evening, I was gutted to have to refuse as I had a prior engagement. Luckily they had a lunchtime dress rehearsal, so…

Little Shop Of Horrors

PERHAPS I should begin by assuring a certain florist and local theatre director that I shall continue to support his business in the future, on the assumption that he will never try to sell me a plant that must be fed on blood. It’s not that I can’t think of a few potential victims whose blood might be appropriated for the cause, but …

Blood Money

THE cast of seven listed in the programme for this show is deceptive.  Apart from a brief appearance by Kim Burdon as the hostess at an awards ceremony and some voices on the telephone, it was a cast of four accomplished performers - Pete Griffiths as TV game show host Mike Mason, Linsey O'Neill as his wife (Liz), Carol Fry as the neighbour (Sue) and Nikki Cross as Liz's doctor (Julie) from the rehabilitation clinic.

The Servant Of Two Masters

THE strolling players who originated the Commedia dell’Arte knew what they were doing and Carlo Goldoni’s play, written in 1743, carries on their tradition of quick-witted, sophisticated comedy, merging at times into broad farce. But can a play written 250 years ago in a foreign language still entertain a modern audience, even with a little help from a 21st-century translator? This production proves that it can and provides a hugely enjoyable evening.


MENTION Lionel Bart’s name and most people will immediately think of Oliver!, which was still running when this musical about World War II opened in London in 1962. For some reason the public never really took it to their hearts, perhaps because it was a little too close to home for many of those who had lived through the dark days of war. However, it really is a charming show that celebrates the tenacity of Londoners making the best of things in the face of adversity, and Milton’s delightful production, directed with style by John Teather, really does highlight that fact, giving us a well-crafted snapshot of the time.

Macbeth 2070

GREAT art has at least a double life: that of the work itself and that of the works that it further engenders. Shakespeare’s ‘Macbeth’ has certainly given rise to numerous re-workings and, for want of a better description, spin-offs, embracing a range of genres and moods from Kurosawa’s 1957 film ‘Throne of Blood’ to James Thurber’s ‘The Macbeth Murder Mystery’. This latest version places the eponymous hero’s pursuit of power on board a military spaceship and on the planet Mars, the latter having been re-settled by the surviving population of a now-dead Earth. Its hero, renowned for his exploits during the Alien Wars, prone to hearing disembodied voices and cajoled by his emotionally fragile wife, here covets the position of armed forces supremo, currently held by Commander Paul Duncan.


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