Tag Archives: theatre

Review: Pride and Prejudice, Ordsall Hall Salford

Having lived in Manchester all my life, I felt I probably knew most of the hidden gems and worst kept secrets of my city. This week I discovered a Tudor secret, hidden in plain sight, surrounded by modern houses, apartment blocks and industrial buildings – Ordsall Hall is the most stunning Tudor building I’ve ever seen and it’s tucked away near Salford Quays. On Wednesday I took a good friend (an Austen fanatic) to see Pride and Prejudice at Ordsall Hall.

Review: Pride and Prejudice, Ordsall Hall Salford

This summer, Ordsall Hall is hosting a number of outdoor theatre productions and thankfully the weather seems to be behaving itself, so all you need is a folding chair and a cardigan for when the sun goes down. Ordsall Hall provides a wonderful backdrop to productions like Pride and Prejudice. It is incredibly beautiful and it’s worth turning up a little bit early so you can have a look around before the performance begins.

Review: Pride and Prejudice, Ordsall Hall Salford

We arrived a little late due to a confused satnav and a full car park, but we eventually settled down in our camping chairs a few minutes before the performance began. The five actors were mingling and chatting with the audience, which was a nice touch as somehow outdoor theatre seems a little bit more intimate and this made it more so. Heartbreak Productions are experts in outdoor theatre, spending their summer touring up and down the country.

Pride and Prejudice is the incredibly well known tale of the Bennet sisters, a host of charming young bachelors and of course the dashing Mr Darcy. All of the many roles were performed by a troop of just five actors who seamlessly managed to portray this large cast of characters with a simple change in posture or a different hat. It was marvellous, it really was.

Review: Pride and Prejudice, Ordsall Hall Salford

We were gripped by this story, told on a simple stage by very talented actors with the exceptionally lovely backdrop of Ordsall Hall. They had the audience stood up, learning to curtsy and bow, and we learned a simple dance. It was all great fun and I now feel well prepared to enter Georgian polite society.

Experiencing Pride and Prejudice at Ordsall Hall was a wonderful experience. It was a delightful evening of comedy, romance, and some will-they-won’t-they. But we all know they will, eventually.

Review: Pride and Prejudice, Ordsall Hall Salford

Although I’ve seen outdoor plays before, never in such delightful surroundings. There are a number of other plays being performed at Ordsall Hall this summer and they’re well worth taking a look at. There’s something for everyone at Ordsall Hall this summer!

Disclaimer: We were invited guests of Ordsall Hall and we were gifted tickets to see Pride and Prejudice in exchange for this review. All images and opinions are our own.

What’s On at the Open Air Theatre at Ordsall Hall this Summer

I love a bit of outdoor theatre. Before we became parents we were regular visitors to theatre productions in our local park. When the sun is shining, there’s nothing quite so special as watching some good theatre in the great outdoors; with a chilled glass of fizz and a nice picnic there’s nothing better. So far, this summer has been a corker and Ordsall Hall in Salford have a full programme of open air theatre productions to enjoy.

Last summers’ outdoor theatre events at Ordsall Hall, Salford’s stunning tudor manor house was a sell out. This summer there are seven more open-air theatre shows booked to perform at Ordsall Hall, including performances for families and theatre fans of all ages.

What’s On at the Open Air Theatre at Ordsall Hall this Summer

Pride and Prejudice – 18 July 2018
Performed by outdoor theatre specialists, Heartbreak Productions, join Heartbreak and a host of charming young bachelors (yes, Mr Darcy will be there!) for an evening of comedy, romance and more than one come-uppance plus pop-up gin bar.

Twelfth Night – Thursday 26 July 2018
The world’s first cycling theatre company, The Handlebards return to Ordsall Hall to perform Twelfth Night. The all-male company pedal from venue to venue with all the set, props and costume necessary to perform environmentally sustainable Shakespeare across the globe. In usual HandleBards style, expect riotous amounts of energy, a fair old whack of chaos, and a great deal of laughter.

What's On at the Open Air Theatre at Ordsall Hall this Summer

Romeo and Juliet – Wednesday 1 August 2018
On 1st August, HandleBards return with their all-female troupe in the beautiful gardens of Ordsall Hall for Romeo and Juliet as you’ve never seen it before! In usual HandleBards style, you can expect riotous amounts of energy, a fair old whack of chaos, and a great deal of laughter.

The Princess and The Giant – Thursday 9 August 2018
For families with children, Folksy Theatre returns to the gardens of Ordsall Hall to perform the children’s favourite The Princess and the Giant at two performances at 10.30am and 2.30pm. This family friendly performance will be filled with music, puppetry and wonderful characters. Bring a picnic and enjoy some wonderful family theatre in the sunshine.

The Railway Children – Thursday 16 August 2018
All aboard! Full steam ahead! Find your travel companions and take your seats for Heartbreak Productions’ outdoor adaptation of The Railway Children, the classic children’s tale by Edith Nesbit.

Living by the railway line, the children spend quite a bit of time watching the trains and making some unexpected friendships. Can Bobbie, Peter and Phyllis solve the mystery of what happened to their father?

Pirate Pearl and the Big Blue Monster! – Thursday 23 August 2018
For families with younger children; the Little Blue Monster Company will present their brand new family friendly production; Pirate Pearl and the Big Blue Monster! Pirate Pearl lives aboard the good ship Mirabel with her crusty old shipmate – Grandpa Bert! She’s not a real pirate – but Pearl loves to imagine she’s sailing the seven seas on a swashbuckling pirate adventure. Under 2s go free!

Love’s Labour’s Lost – Sunday 26 August 2018
Folksy Theatre returns to the gardens of Ordsall Hall to perform one of Shakespeare’s best loved comedies – Love’s Labour’s Lost. The King of Navarre and his lords swear off food, women and sleep in order to study for three years. No sooner have they made their oath when the Princess of France arrives on business, with her ladies-in-waiting. How will the King and his Lord’s resolve hold up? Whatever happens, expect live music, audience interaction and downright silliness.

For more information about what’s on at Ordsall Hall this summer, or to book tickets, visit their website.

Justin & Friends: Mr Tumble’s Circus!

There’s something magical about taking your child to the theatre, since he was small we’ve taken the boy to see lots of shows at local theatres (we live in Manchester so we are a bit spoilt). In his four years he’s been to the ballet, watched The Gruffalo, Charlie and Lola and In The Night Garden amongst many others; we’ve seen pantomimes and end of pier shows. He loves the theatre, he loves the lights, the music and the action.

Of course taking a small child to the theatre can require a bit of planning. We always talk about what is likely to happen, the lights will go out, there might be loud noises, there will be singing and dancing and lots of fun etc. When the lights do go out it can be very dark, so it’s good to reassure them, also I find that a snack offered when they start to fidget can be useful in helping them settle back and watch the performance.

Often children are just awed by the theatre itself, the size of it, the acoustics and the scenery. We like to arrive a little early to take them all in fully, as well as find where the toilets and baby changing rooms are just in case.

These days children, especially pre-schoolers are very well provided for in terms of theatre shows. There are lots of touring companies which cater for young theatre-goers, and a number of children’s TV stars also do regular tours. One of these TV heroes is Justin Fletcher aka Mr Tumble. Justin is a legend among pre-schoolers and their parents. I know the small boy would LOVE to go and see Mr Tumble live.

Justin & Friends: Mr Tumble’s Circus

Thankfully Justin & Friends: Mr Tumble’s Circus is coming to town, in fact lots of towns over Easter, the tour starts on April 1st in Cardiff and ends in Manchester on April 14th, visiting  London, Sheffield, Birmingham,Liverpool, Nottingham and Glasgow along the way.

Justin & Friends: Mr Tumble’s Circus stars the amazing and versatile Justin Fletcher and the show will also feature CBeebies presenter Cat Sandion and Swashbuckle star Gemma Hunt, as well as dino-mad Andy Day, Robert the Robot played by Steve Kynman and Little Monster. Mr Tumble will be inviting a few family members along too including Aunt Polly as well as some familiar faces from Gigglebiz including Keith Fitt. Justin & Friends: Mr Tumble’s Circus is a brand new production and it will be touring UK arenas during Easter 2015.

Check out this exclusive behind the scenes peek at Justin & Friends: Mr Tumble’s Circus, it looks really, really awesome!

For all the latest news from Justin & Friends: Mr Tumble’s Circus visit www.facebook.com/cbeebieslive, or to book tickets go to www.cbeebieslive.com Tickets for the Justin & Friends: Mr Tumble’s Circus tour are priced from £13.50 for children, with family tickets from £54 (for four people and subject to booking fee).

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Charlie & Lola’s Extremely New Play – Review

clI’ve seen more than my fair share of kids telly in the last three years. Some programmes really get my back up, some I tolerate and a rare few I actually love and look forward to.

One of these is Charlie & Lola. Maybe it’s the jaunty theme tune; maybe it’s the deliberately naive animation; maybe it’s the brilliant story lines or maybe it’s because big brother Charlie somehow manages to be wiser and more tolerant of his little sister Lola than any other parent ever.

Whatever the reason, when I heard that Charlie & Lola’s Extremely New Play was coming to the Waterside Arts Centre in Sale over the Christmas period, I jumped at the chance to get tickets. I did not regret it.

We’ve never been to the Waterside Arts Centre before. It’s a great family venue which really feels like it’s a big part of the community. The facilities are good, it’s easy to find and for once the refreshments are refreshingly cheap. We had drinks and snacks for three for just over £5, anywhere else would’ve easily charged double.

The play takes Charlie, Lola and friends on a magical journey through the changing of the seasons; where they discover that everything is different and not the same. A brilliant team of puppeteers bring puppet Charlie, puppet Lola and their puppet friends to life.

As the seasons change, Charlie and Lola together with their friends discover that they can’t fight change. The changing of the seasons is inevitable and there is always something wonderful or beautiful coming up next. The crisp brown leaves of autumn, the fluffy snow to build a snowman with and the glorious warm sunshine (remember that?).

During the performance, the audience were showered from above by tissue paper autumn leaves, foamy snowflakes, flying fish puppets and springtime bubbles. The children whirled and twirled trying to catch them and the lighting effects drew gasps of wonder from the audience.

It was brilliant. The boy was fascinated from start to finish and even we grown-ups enjoyed it. Sometimes “family” productions can be less engaging for parents, but this we loved. It’s telling that 24 hours after seeing the play and after meeting Father Christmas on a steam train, he is still talking about Charlie & Lola!

It runs until January 4th and it was so good we’re seriously thinking about going to see it again.

Read my other review for Mums & Dads Magazine here.

Disclaimer: I was sent free tickets for this production so I could review it for my blog and for Mums & Dads Magazine. 

Charlie and Lola’s Extremely New Play – Preview

Charlie and Lola’s Extremely New PlayWhen I picked up a leaflet advertising Charlie and Lola’s Extremely New Play I just knew we’d have to get tickets. Splodge loves Charlie and Lola (or LolaCharlie as he calls them), and he loves going to the theatre; throw in a ride on the tram to get there and you’ve got yourself the makings of a successful toddler outing.

We’ve thought about taking him to see a pantomime, but at just 3 I think he’s a bit too young to fully appreciate a panto; plus panto tickets are usually extortionate, but at £10-£15 a ticket a trip to Charlie and Lola is financially more do-able. The theatre is slap bang in the middle of Sale, surrounded by great family friendly restaurants, so we’ll be going for a family bite to eat too.

From 12 December 2013 to 4 January 2014 Charlie and Lola’s Extremely New Play based on Lauren Child’s books will be at the Waterside Arts Centre, Sale. Charlie and Lola’s Extremely New Play uses specially made puppets. Charlie and Lola appear as cut-out cartoon characters in the same magical world they inhabit in the books and TV series. From pink milk to party rings, everything you expect from the books and to series are there.

During the show we’ll go on a magical journey through the seasons, as Charlie and Lola discover that everything is different and not the same. What happens when Lola and her best friend Lotta say they will honestly and promisedly look after Sizzles? And what happens when they follow Charlie and his best friend Marv on a Pirate Squidbones adventure? Playful, funny and full of surprises, reviews for the show have been excellent and I can’t wait to see his face when he sees LolaCharlie!

Charlie & Lola are at the Waterside Arts Centre, Waterside Plaza, Sale, M33 7ZF, Tel: 0161 912 5616
Dates: 12 December 2013 to 4 January 2014 showings at 10.30am & 1pm term time, 11am & 1.30pm Xmas holidays Tickets are £10 – £15