Northern Soul

Monthly Archives: July 2017

A Midsummer Night's Dream

Review: A Midsummer’s Night’s Dream, Heaton Park and Hall

July 22, 2017 No Comments
 
The passion, heart and indomitable spirit of adventure in all of Feelgood‘s work has made them a vital part of Manchester’s independent theatre scene since their very first show more than 20 years ago. Since then, their promenade shows in Heaton Park have proved to be one of the most loved aspects of their work.
 
So it was exciting news that they were returning to the park this Summer with their first outdoor show there since Macbeth in 2009 (as last year’s Whispers Of Heaton was actually performed within Heaton Park Hall). What’s more, they are now official ‘theatre partners’ with Manchester City Council for the park and the hall, a status that allows them – and us – to dream of a new permanent theatre and rep company in the park, much as London enjoys with Regent’s Park.
 
A Midsummer Night's DreamTheirs is a ‘site-sympathetic’ (as opposed to site-specific) version of The Bard’s mischievous A Midsummer Night’s Dream, which Feelgood founder Caroline Clegg had earlier promised would “bring all the history and the culture and the great stories of Heaton Park into the play as well. We’re aiming to juxtapose the history of the hall with this sense that Heaton is a real people’s park.”
 
The rather ingenious way this was worked into the already dream-like structure of the play was by means of a prologue in front of the hall, wherein the audience were alerted that several members of the cast hadn’t yet returned from a day out. Promptly from out of the hall emerged several ghosts of the Egerton family with some of their famous musical and theatrical friends, offering to take part in the evening’s entertainment in a less chaotic echo of the way the mechanicals were shortly to talk about their contribution.
 
Then audience and players wandered through the remarkable park, with actors emerging from the woods at different junctures to continue the action. Passers-by – mainly late evening joggers and dog-walkers – may have been a little taken aback by coming across the magical confusion but it was all rather delightful, albeit exhausting to watch the players running all over the place in between their scenes, before finishing back in the hall itself for the climactic wedding scene and the Mechanicals’ show-stopping performance.
 
The music played throughout made witty but not intrusive references to the hall and park’s history, including dashes of Gilbert & Sullivan, Britten, Mendelssohn and even Oasis, while the players, many of them Feelgood regulars, threw themselves into the action (rather literally for Toby Hadoke’s Bottom at one point) with gusto, notably Ebony Feare as Puck, a part far removed from her Mende in Slave – A Question Of Freedom
 
Even the weather played along for once. So something of a triumphant return for Feelgood and a tantalising promise of great things to come in the park.
 
 
golden-star golden-star golden-star golden-star
 
 
A Midsummer Night’s Dream runs in Heaton Park and Hall until August 6, 2017 (no performances on July 23, 24 or 31). It’s suitable for ages eight and above, although all children must be accompanied by an adult. Venue is wheelchair accessible, although some of the grassy locations will need a strong push. The wheelchair pusher goes free. This is a walkabout show and rain will not stop play, so no refunds and please wear sensible clothing and footwear. Feel free to bring a cushion, blanket or light fold-up chair.  
 
To read Kevin’s interview with Feelgood founder Caroline Clegg, click here.
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Review: Grafene, King Street, Manchester

July 22, 2017 No Comments

I don’t often dine on King Street.

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DD PoS poster LARGE, (c) B7 Media. 

Dan Dare is back: we chat to the brains behind the revival of the sci-fi classic

July 19, 2017 No Comments

The North of England may not exactly have been the epicentre of the 1950s space race, but it did have its moments.

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Caroline Clegg from Feelgood Theatre talks about A Midsummer Night’s Dream

July 19, 2017 No Comments

Caroline Clegg, the founder and driving force behind the award-winning Feelgood Theatre, would be the last to deny that the company has had its ups and down over the years since the first show in 1994.

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Construction by the Rochdale Canal, Steven Bewsher

Painting the North: Construction by the Rochdale Canal, Steven Bewsher

July 19, 2017 No Comments

In the third instalment of a new series entitled Painting the North, Ant Cosgrove, the man behind The Northern Art Page on Facebook, will be sharing striking works of art, sketches and drawings from around The North of England.

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Ribblehead and Limestone

Photo Gallery: Life in the Yorkshire Dales

July 19, 2017 No Comments

Northern Soul’s North Yorkshire Photographer, Paul Hunter, shares a gallery of striking images of the Yorkshire Dales, full of colour and character.

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Narcissist in the Mirror, Greater Manchester Fringe

Review: Narcissist in The Mirror, The Kings Arms, Salford

July 19, 2017 No Comments

Rosie Fleeshman could so nearly be the Adele of performance poetry.

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Ceremony (photo credit: Manchester International Festival)

Review: Ceremony, Manchester International Festival

July 19, 2017 No Comments

“In harrowing times for so many, it’s more important than ever to remember Engels’ legacy – and the spirit of solidarity and dignity which beats at its core,” observed Turner Prize-nominated artist Phil Collins.

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Win tickets to Micron’s We Stand Together Fundraiser at Versions, Manchester

July 19, 2017 No Comments

Legendary Manchester club night, Micron, returns to their hometown for the first time since their tenth birthday celebrations back in November last year. And, if that wasn’t enough, they’re heading back to where it all began – Joshua Brooks (renamed Versions) – the venue where they held their monthly parties for the first six years.

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Review: Bluedot festival, Jodrell Bank

July 14, 2017 No Comments

It’s been 60 years since the mighty Lovell Telescope at Jodrell Bank first started looking up towards the stars.

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