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Articles relating to: The Lowry

How The Grinch Stole Christmas at The Lowry Image Manuel Harlan

Festive Theatre Review: Dr Seuss’ How The Grinch Stole Christmas! The Musical, The Lowry, Salford

December 14, 2019 No Comments

I’ve been feeling a lack of Christmas cheer.

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Review: Matthew Bourne’s The Red Shoes, The Lowry, Salford

November 27, 2019 Comments Off on Review: Matthew Bourne’s The Red Shoes, The Lowry, Salford

For the past couple of decades Sir Matthew Bourne has been enthusiastically following his own enthusiasms and loves – often films – and transforming them into heart-on-sleeve, crowd-pleasing dance magic.

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The Greek Passion

Review: The Greek Passion by Bohuslav Martinü, Opera North, The Lowry, Salford

November 23, 2019 Comments Off on Review: The Greek Passion by Bohuslav Martinü, Opera North, The Lowry, Salford

Saturday night was going to be big.

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Preview: OperaWatch, Autumn 2019

October 30, 2019 Comments Off on Preview: OperaWatch, Autumn 2019

As the month of November approaches, we are well and truly into Autumn which can mean only one thing: the return of a new opera season.

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Theatre Review: Hedda Tesman, The Lowry, Salford

October 11, 2019 Comments Off on Theatre Review: Hedda Tesman, The Lowry, Salford

In her introduction to the text for her play Hedda Tesman, Cordelia Lynn says that “The idea was to create a piece of new writing held within Ibsen’s original play….As a way of addressing developments in socio-political conditions for women since 1891, the ages and relationships of some of the characters have been changed.”  The original play is Hedda Gabler, and she has certainly succeeded with the former, but I’m not convinced about the latter.

Let’s get the formalities out of the way. It’s beautifully acted as well as being nicely directed by Holly Race Roughan, and the design by Anna Fleischle (a big old house on The Lowry’s Quays stage which has been lowered and turned into a rather intimidating thrust) works well. It reminded me of the set for another reworking of Ibsen – Ghosts at Manchester’s HOME last year.

The cast, led by Haydn Gwynne as Hedda, is uniformly excellent, and it would be invidious to single anyone out, but I’m going to anyway. Irfan Shamji as Elijah gave the most convincing performance of an unrecovered alcoholic the morning-after that I have ever seen. And Gwynne led me to thinking that most unprofessional of thoughts, how does she remember all those lines? Perhaps it was being so close or perhaps I’m just old.

If you don’t know Hedda Gabler, it doesn’t matter. This play works entirely on its own. But if you do, the resonances are startling and revealing. However you come at it, the central problem with this version, for me at least, is that Hedda is a monster. It’s difficult to write about this without spoilers, but it’s clear from fairly early on that she doesn’t love her husband of some 20 years, and probably never has done. Her daughter talks about how her mother abused her, and then the actions Hedda takes in the play – for which she always has a good excuse – are precisely the behaviour of a sociopath. She clearly likes hurting people, and sets them up to see what they will do, like putting butterflies in a killing jar.

Lynn has done a good job of keeping Ibsen’s plot, but changing the roles of some characters so the original Thea, Hedda’s friend, has become Thea her daughter; and Ejlert Lovborg, Geroge Tesman’s academic rival, has become Elijah, his pupil. But otherwise all the relationships and major actions remain the same, albeit now and not in 1891. But, whereas the idea that the denouement – no spoilers here – in the original was a consequence of the newly-married, 20-something Hedda’s social oppression as a woman, in this version the two decades-married Hedda is an entirely different persona. The main question I asked was, how have the others, particularly her husband, put up with her for so long?

For example, much play is made in the original of the fact that Hedda refuses to use the familiar form ‘du’ to address her new husband’s Aunt Julie, and when she does accidentally use it, it is a matter of celebration. But if she’d been treating Aunt Julie like that for 20 years – and Aunt Julie, by the way, is a little ray of sunshine which is probably why Hedda can’t stand her, there’s nothing for her to get her claws into –  then I doubt that Aunt Julie would treat her the way she does in this play, or be delighted when Hedda finally calls her “Auntie”, Lynn’s way of translating the familiar, which works very well.

Nevertheless this is an extremely good production, and a great chance to see some excellent acting close up. But, and I return to a well worn theme here, ultimately I have to ask, why is this being done at all? We are living through the most disruptive, significant, troubling period in our history since the Second World War. Where are the plays?

By Chris Wallis, Theatre Editor

Images by Johan Persson

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Hedda Tesman is at The Lowry until October 19, 2019. For more information, click here

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Regenerative Reliquary_Amy Karle

Photo Gallery: The State of Us, The Lowry, Salford

September 30, 2019 Comments Off on Photo Gallery: The State of Us, The Lowry, Salford

A new group exhibition exploring the complexities of extreme body modification, deliberately altering of the human anatomy or human physical appearance, is coming to The Lowry in Salford.

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Theatre Review: A Taste of Honey, The Lowry, Salford

September 23, 2019 Comments Off on Theatre Review: A Taste of Honey, The Lowry, Salford

Down the decades, Salford has had a tempestuous relationship with its playwright progeny Shelagh Delaney.

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Mrs Lowry & Son, The Lowry, Salford

Film Review: The Gala Premiere of Mrs Lowry & Son, The Lowry, Salford

August 31, 2019 Comments Off on Film Review: The Gala Premiere of Mrs Lowry & Son, The Lowry, Salford

L.S. Lowry was in his early fifties by the time his artwork started to find widespread acclaim, before which he’d painted privately at home, only for his elderly mother to be dismissive of his talents.

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Early Doors at The Lowry image credit: Nathan Cox

Theatre Review: Early Doors: One More Chance, The Lowry, Salford

July 29, 2019 Comments Off on Theatre Review: Early Doors: One More Chance, The Lowry, Salford

First things first: the original two-series TV version of Early Doors was an utter gem.

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Pier Eight's Waterside Terrace. Photo: Nathan Chandler

Food Review: Waterside Terrace, Pier Eight Restaurant, The Lowry, Salford

July 20, 2019 Comments Off on Food Review: Waterside Terrace, Pier Eight Restaurant, The Lowry, Salford

Is there a better way to spend a sunny northern summer’s afternoon than at The Lowry listening to singer Rob King while sipping Sipmith’s orange and cacao gin and enjoying a selection of small plates from Pier Eight?

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