07/06/19 - The Book of Mormon at the Palace Theatre

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Queuing on a rainy Manchester morning may not sound like a very appealing prospect, but when there are discounted preview tickets for The Book of Mormon on offer, you’ll find people are quite happy to get a bit wet.  Although I wasn’t as eager as the first who arrived at 5am, I joined the already lengthy queue outside the Palace Theatre an hour before the box office opened.  The weather did nothing to dampen the spirits of those in line, many taking the opportunity to make friends with their neighbours and to chat with the excited cast members who had come down to mingle with the fans. 

The same palpable energy was felt again a week later when we took our seats for the show.  The packed theatre was buzzing with people eager to see the Broadway and West End smash for the first time in their own city.  The Mormons had finally arrived in Manchester.

07/04/18 - Spring Awakening at Hope Mill Theatre

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There are some pieces of art – a book, a song, a film – that come to you at exactly the right time.  They speak directly to you and it feels, to quote Alan Bennett, “as if a hand has come out and taken yours”.  Even as you change and grow away from the person you were when you had that initial reaction, these works stay with you.  They shape who you become, your development intrinsically linked to having had that experience just when you did.  Looking for Alaska by John Green was a big one for me.  As was the early music of Taylor Swift.  And Spring Awakening.

30/10/17 - Short Story: Dead End

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     The emergency light for Room 18 has been blinking red on the reception desk for the last eleven rows of my knitting.  A guest has got trapped in their bed again.  It happens all the time, particularly to Yanks.  They got distracted halfway through my welcome speech, insisting on snapping photos of each other posing in front of the foyer’s picture window with its impressive view of the ruins.  A loud couple, her with a lurid bum-bag and him with a camera lens so big he must be compensating for something.  I had to stand there, their key outstretched and my voice trailing off as it became apparent that they were no longer paying any attention.  Eventually they remembered they were only halfway through the checking-in process and I was able to give them the customary health and safety tips.  Even when they deigned to listen to me, it was clear that they felt I was wasting their time.  They just wanted to get up to their room and see what all the fuss is about.  I finally gave them their key and he wheeled their supersize suitcase towards our rickety lift, while she paused and rummaged in the bag at her waist for a moment, pulling out a crumpled five pound note.  Immediately my mood lightened.  Maybe she’s not so bad.  They’re just tourists after all, they don’t know any better.  She eyed me carefully and then slowly and deliberately changed her mind.
     “Oh, sorry, I forgot that y’all don’t really do that here.  Silly of me.”  The tip slid back into the hot pink pouch and I had to force a gracious smile to stop myself from leaping over the reception desk and ripping her stupid tanned throat out.  

05/09/17 - Pippin at Hope Mill Theatre

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While I am far from an expert, it's rare for me to head to the theatre to see a musical that I have absolutely no preconceptions of - I tend to be familiar with at least a couple of the songs if nothing else!  For this reason, I was very excited to head over to Hope Mill Theatre for the first preview of their latest in-house production, Pippin, without knowing much about it at all.