Seven Liverpool theatre picks for February
February brings a raft of new productions, from the first efforts of new Liverpool theatre companies to the Playhouse's new blockbuster. Opera glasses at the ready...
You can mark the passage of time by theatre productions. For example, the Everyman (or Playhouse’s) Christmas panto is as reliable as advent hymns in marking the countdown to Christmas. When it ends you can be sure that we’re in the cold, icy grip of winter.
Outdoor theatre marks the long days of Summer. The more ghoulish entries in the medium suggest that Autumn is well under way and November is around the corner. Spring seasons, summer seasons and winter seasons.
January and February are a good time for new seasons. A launching pad for a production company or a theatre to dazzle us with what’s coming up. Those boxes of flyers with news of what’s on over the coming months, destined for shop windows and the quiet end of bars in cafes.
We’ve done you a favour and picked out seven Liverpool theatre treats coming up in February from a cross section of Liverpool theatre. From opera to musical theatre to classics of the genre. From new companies to some of Liverpool’s best-known theatres. From the frivolous to the weighty. At famous and less-familiar locations.
There’s plenty more good stuff going on in the city, but we think at least one of this lot will take your fancy. And if not, well it’s only another 30 performances away from another load of theatrical goodies…
The second production in the Playhouse’s new season, A Streetcar Named Desire is another of the E&P’s takes on theatre classics.
You know the score by now – and if you don’t go out and buy the Elia Kazan version on DVD. Brando smouldering in a tight t-shirt; Vivien Leigh’s tragic southern belle; the sweaty, heady backdrop of New Orleans in summer…
Transferring that to a British production in Winter won’t be the easiest task, but with a strong cast and Gemma Bodinetz at the helm this promises to be another must-see Playhouse production.
A Streetcar Named Desire
17th February-10th March
You know the form by now. Fangs, heaving bosoms, coffins, ships, Transylvania, Whitby, heaving bosoms, bats and heaving, er, bosoms.
Hope University’s in-house theatre company Rock the Boat’s adaptation of lesser spotted John Godber and Jane Thornton’s Dracula stars the staff and students of Liverpool Hope at shows at the Capstone, one of our favourite venues in the city.
Productions whose source material is so familiar have an uphill battle putting a new spin on well-trodden yarns, so it should be interesting to see what Rock The Boat does differently to this venerable old story.
7.30pm, 9-12 February
Looking for ideas for a romantic date? What about watching a theatre production about a serial killer who murders women, set in a labyrinth of abandoned tunnels?
That’s what’s on offer in the Williamson Tunnels – an engaging and seemingly apt location – for Gathering Jack, A Liverpool Serial Killer, the first production of the Burjesta Theatre company.
The play is set in the modern day and sees a series of murders taking place in Liverpool setting such as the tunnels and St George’s Hall. Some performances will take place in the Williamson Tunnels – complete with a crime scene and police interviewing members of the audience.
If you fancy somewhere a bit more jolly for your serial killing try a Valentine’s Evening performance with a curry and band The Dots playing tunes at The Casa.
Gathering Jack, A Liverpool Serial Killer
Various dates and venues
What goes on tour stays on tour – unless it’s turned into a musical by InSTEP Theatre.
Exactly what that looks like can be seen in Departure Lounge, a new production of Dougal Irvine’s play about four lads stranded in a Malaga departure lounge, showing at the Unity Theatre in February.
InSTEP – a group of LIPA luminaries – have form with this genre, and at the Unity too, with last year’s well-received Songs For A New World. The group have managed to fund Departure Lounge with a series of musical theatre nights – we think that’s almost worthy of patronage in itself.
But, more to the point, we think Departure Lounge will be a great showcase for some of Liverpool’s (or Liverpool-based) best young talent.
Look, we don’t discriminate – we’re an equal-opportunities local culture website. We don’t do snobbery. OK, we do. Quite a lot. But we have to have a balance and it’s only fair to flag up some of the brilliant shows the Empire puts on.
Only this month we’ve had Nutcracker!, a dance performance that reduced Vicky Anderson to a blubbering wreck, and Spamalot – and later on in the month there’s South Pacific.
Coming to Liverpool – straight from the West End – is the seemingly inescapable Legally Blonde. How scouse. And how scouse that Liverpool legends Claire Sweeney, Ray Quinn and Les Dennis in starring roles (surely there’s space for Jimmy Corkhill?).
If you’re keen to get your hair-related legal profession theatre fix look no further.
Speaking of diverse, how about a spot of contemporary opera?
Anya17 (pic; main)purports to be the first ever opera to address sex trafficking – and we don’t doubt it. Bringing together a cast drawn from Manchester’s RNCM and the music played by The Royal Philharmonic Ensemble, Anya17 focuses on the lives of four young women sold into the sex industry.
Composer Adam Gorb and Librettist Ben Kaye have very strong form so a ticket to the world premiere (scheduled to be at the CUC; currently a new venue is to be confirmed) of Anya17 in Liverpool could be quite a coup.
Wednesday 7 March 2012
Time: 7.30pm – 9.30pm (approx.)
If a serial killers, vampires or hair-obsessed lawyers doesn’t take your fancy, how about a destructive gay relationship? We’re guessing that Bruise is the sort of play that might be described as ‘challenging’.
It promises an exploration of gay domestic violence between two young professional men through an intertwining of improvisation and poetic rhythm.
We suspect it won’t be for everyone – but a diverse cultural landscape can only be a good thing eh?