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Category: Reviews (page 1 of 6)

‘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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HARTMANNMUELLER at Reading Fringe

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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‘When They Go Low’ at the Progress Theatre

The Progress Youth Theatre is performing Natalie Mitchell’s punchy feminist polemic When They Go Low this week, until Saturday 6 July.

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The Reading Guild of Artists’ sumptuous summer show

‘After the Rain’ by Calina Lefter

The fabulously creative Reading Guild of Artists (RGA), headed by the inspirational Carole Stephens, have collaborated with Reading University’s final year BA primary education with art specialism (QTS) students in an energised exhibition of extraordinary elan and artistic diversity.

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‘The Art of Trees’ at the Turbine House

The Turbine house at Blake’s Lock, part of Reading museum and next door to Bel and the Dragon, is worth a visit on its own; it’s a lovely spot and I could easily gaze out the windows at the waters of the Kennet flowing over the Borough weir.

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Trinity Concert Band sizzling summer concert at Leighton Park

Trinity Concert Band. Image (c) TCB

Last Saturday, on a glorious summer’s evening, the fabulous Trinity Concert Band raised the roof of the Michael Malnick Centre at Leighton Park with an evening of dazzling musical entertainment. The concert, under the supremely skilled baton of Paul Speed, celebrated the best of British, honouring the Queen’s birthday, with memorable musical highlights from every decade of her reign.

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After Dark night club licence reviewed in advance of the ‘Reading Riot!’ event on 22 June

This week, Reading Borough Council (RBC) will again review the premises licence for the After Dark night club on London Street. At the last review in April, there had been complaints by local residents of loud music beyond licensed hours, alleged breaches of noise abatement notices, and concern from Thames Valley Police (TVP) about drug use and violence on the premises.

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‘Error 404’ at the Whiteknights campus

‘Machine Gaze’ by Rachel Wyatt. Image courtesy of the University of Reading School of Art.

The Reading University School of Art has opened its degree show to the public this week. The ‘Error 404’ show is an eclectic vision of the sparkling imaginations of the University’s young artists; this year’s show was more upbeat and personable than the introspective emotional torment that seemed de rigueur in previous years.

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‘Top Girls’ at the Progress Theatre

By Gillie Tunley and Brenda Sandilands.

‘Top Girls’ at the Progress Theatre. Photo (c) Aidan Moran

Progress Theatre are staging the exuberant Top Girls by acclaimed author Caryl Churchill this week. It is directed with passionate verve by Rebecca Moir and explores the timeless theme of female empowerment.

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Rumpo Kidz Curry Klub II. A tribute to Matthew Farrall

Ah, c’est Nigel des Livres, le poète.

A fabulously riotous evening was held at the the warmly welcoming Namaste Kitchen (formerly the Hook and Tackle pub) on Saturday 18 May to remember our much missed and totally brilliant friend and colleague, Matthew Farrall.

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‘Harvey’ with the Shinfield Players

By Gillie Tunley and Brenda Sandilands.

Gordon Bird as Elwood P Dowd in ‘Harvey’ at the Shinfield Players Theatre. Photo: Eilish Phillips

The Shinfield Players are staging the charming Harvey, written by Mary Coyle Chase and deftly directed by Maggie Smith. Members of the audience may remember the original version, a huge Broadway success, and the 1950 film version starring James Stewart as the amiable Elwood P Dowd.

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‘(Un)Commoning Voices and (Non)Communal Bodies’ at Brock Keep

Tali Keren, The Great Seal (2017). Image courtesy of Reading International

In September 1981, thirty-six women chained themselves to the perimeter fence of Greenham Common, protesting against the placement of nuclear weapons at the Berkshire RAF base. The act precipitated the Women’s Peace Camps that surrounded the compound for nearly twenty years. This month, OpenHand OpenSpace Artists’ Studio (OHOS) on the Oxford Road hosts an exhibition inspired by the creativity and dynamism of these women-led protests, inviting artists to interrogate the relationship between artistic practices and protest movements.

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