The team at Get the Chance choose their own personal highlights of autumn 2017
Kate Rusby is the undisputed queen of English folk music. With her immense songwriting ability and beautiful voice to match, she is undeniably one of Yorkshire’s greatest treasures. This short 25th anniversary tour will see her delve into an extensive back catalogue of songs. She will also perform material from her latest album Life in a Paper Boat. She demonstrates, time and again, an unrivalled knack for producing new and inventive interpretations in the folk tradition whilst remaining faithful to its roots. She has such a down-to-earth and whimsical personality that is gently infectious. Instantly likeable, this comes across naturally in her oft-acoustic performances. If you are looking for the perfect soundtrack to a clear autumn night under the stars, look no further. Within the close and intimate setting of Chester’s brand-new theatre, this will be a magical evening with one of England’s brightest and best musicians.
Chapter Arts Centre, Cardiff.
Benny Hill was fun, Sunday evening viewing when I was growing up.
His programme was a silly, light-hearted view of the world through the eyes of some potty characters.
I don’t recall any sense of malice behind the scenes and I often refer in life as having the Benny Hill theme tune running behind it…
However, times have changed. It feels as if everything we grew up with in the 1970s has to be disregarded at best, vilified at worst. Sometimes with good reason.
I am curious. Who was the man behind the little round specs? Why do we judge the past, our past, so sternly?
Little Voice at Theatre Clwyd. I am a fan of musicals in general and enjoyed the movie version with Jean Horricks. My appetite has already been wetted with the theatre showing tweets of the large cast taking residence in the theatre.
Gemma Treharne Foose
My choices this Autumn are all family choices, I see a lot of shows by myself but for me the absolute best experience is seeing my daughter get completely absorbed in theatre and enjoy it as an art form. Her highlights so far over the last year have been Hairspray at the WMC, the Borrowers and the Hunting of the Snark at the Sherman. Slowly, I’m expanding the type of shows she sees to include poetry and dance – but I think musicals are our absolute favourite! I feel lucky to have so much amazing family theatre on our doorstep – and we feel it’s not really Christmas unless we’ve seen Frank Vickery dressed as a pantomime dame at the Park and Dare – that always tops off the year for me and puts a spring in my step! During the last panto at the Park and Dare, the two dames had my husband up on stage dancing and taking selfies with him, my daughter was delighted – I think it’ll be hard to top that one!
I love the concept of National Theatre Live; bringing top quality theatre to the masses without the cost of a trip to London and a full price ticket. Live broadcasts from our local cinemas immerse us in the theatre’s atmosphere and allow us to view productions that may previously have been off our radar.
Stephen Sondheim’s legendary musical follows the Follies girls (played in this production by Tracie Bennett, Janie Dee and Imelda Staunton) thirty years after their final performance at the Weisman Theatre in New York as they gather to share drinks, tell stories and sing a few songs (accompanied by a 21 piece orchestra!)
With a fabulous score and stellar cast I am excited to see this NT Live production this November.
Lauren Ellis Stretch
The Other Room, Cardiff.
The home of Cardiff’s first fringe theatre, The Other Room are continuously showcasing sharp, fearless, contemporary theatre. debbie tucker green’s ‘hang’ premiered at the Royal Court Theatre in 2015, the piece will be making its Welsh debut with a cast of exceptional, home-grown talent. It’s one not to be missed!
St Davids Hall, Cardiff.
I’ll be seeing Rip it Up in St Davids Hall on 9th October, it features Strictly stars Jay McGuinness, Louis Smith and Natalie Lowe – I’ve been a Strictly fan for ever and Jay and Louis were both my favourites of their respective years, and now they’re in Cardiff I can’t resist the chance to see them live.
Sherman Theatre, Cardiff.
The Cherry Orchard at the Sherman. I’ve chosen it in the first instance because (too many) years ago it was my set text in A-level Theatre Studies. I found it really challenging, and eventually rewarding when it ‘clicked’. The idea of Gary Owen adapting this play feels like an absolute minefield-which I am sure with Rachel O’Riordan’s direction will bring something to the stage which would make any student now picking up the text completely inspired.
Wyndham’s Theatre , Covent Garden
I’m excited to see this new play from Simon Stephens (which had it’s debut last year in New York) not only because a new play by Simon Stephens is always worth seeing, but because this is the first production from Harper-Elliot Productions. With director Marianne Elliot at the helm this new prodcution company sees Elliot (previously artistic associate at the National Theatre) promising to put women’s stories at the forefront. For this play in particular I’m excited to see this multi-layered play about the nature of relationships with the brilliantly talented Anne Marie Duff in the central role.
I am looking forward to seeing The Wind in the Willows this autumn at Sherman Theatre. This is for a number of reasons. Firstly, it is a classic that I love and would love to see performed on stage. Secondly, as a Cardiff student, Sherman Theatre is a very practical location for me as it is close by and therefore makes it easy for me to see something local. Thirdly, as it is a Christmas time production it falls perfectly for me amongst my other workloads and commitments; by Christmas time I will have the holidays to commit to my university work and so won’t have too many deadlines to stress me out!
New Theatre, Cardiff.
I’ve chosen this performance not only because it is a production with absolutely stunning music. This production really does show the vital importance of story and character in combination with the music. I love the story of twins who are born and died on the self-same day. However, my favorite character is the narrator as he represents an amazing opportunity to really dig deep into the symbolism of certain aspects of the story. This is also one of the first productions which I reviewed last time it came to Cardiff’s New Theatre. It was also Marti Pellow’s performance in this production which really showed me the symbolic potential of not just the narrator but of characters and theatre as a whole.
New Theatre, Cardiff.
Cilla the musical at the New Theatre in Cradiff. I am going to see this production as the reaction to the death of Cilla Black showed how valued she is in contemporary British culture.