There is no greater, nor more ominous, setting for Shakespeare’s youthful tragedy than at the atmospheric St Martin’s Church in Colchester, where the Mercury Theatre Young Company perform Romeo and Juliet until Sunday 28th August. We’re transported to fair Verona as we step inside the old, redundant church, unknowingly choosing a side: Capulet or Montague, in this standing-only performance. From the timber-vaulted ceiling hangs pages from the Bard’s most popular play, whilst a series of small stages adorn the Gothic nave, with a balcony at one end. The set is simple, but rightly so as the cobweb-laden stained glass windows, huge, high ceilings and clever lighting provide a felicitous backdrop that needs little else.
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Clybourne Park is both brilliant funny and thought-provoking as it explores racial tensions in Chicago lead by a firecracker cast.
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Thunderous applause welcomes the mere sight of Glenn Close as she sashays on stage with her fiery red hair and glittering kimono, every inch dripping with diamonds. With one look Close has the audience captivated as she delivers the timeless line ‘I am still big, it’s the pictures that got small!’ with a wild-eyed conviction that gives this classic musical a new lease of life early on.
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Shadowlands tells the heart-breaking story of author CS Lewis’s late-flowering love with American poet Joy Gresham – a play loosely based on true events written by William Nicholson which started life as a BBC drama in 1985 before being adapted for the stage, later transferring to the silver screen starring Anthony Hopkins and Debra Winger.
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There’s a moment when watching End of the Rainbow that it becomes hard to believe Judy Garland is really gone, as Lisa Maxwell’s stellar performance as the Wizard of Oz star so closely resembles her every mannerism.
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