The Welsh National Opera version of Puccini’s Madame Butterfly, established in the 70s by director Joachim Herz, on the basis of meticulous research, and now directed by Sarah Crisp, delivers pure emotion with devastating directness.
Even in times when rehash is more common than originality, the risk with a revival of Burt Bacharach’s late 1960s musical Promises, Promises, in turn based on Billy Wilder’s 1960 film The Apartment, is that it feels doubly derivative.
For the non-initiate, The Beastie Boys were a group of white New Yorkers who made the leap from punk rock to hip hop. The result was the number 1 hit Licensed to Ill and an opening up to the white suburbs of a previously black musical phenomenon.
This is an ambitious reinterpretation of Swan Lake from a modern Irish perspective. Embedded in this ‘ballet’ is an acute critique of the Irish clergy.
After the trauma of Kristallnacht in November 1938, British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain was persuaded to agree that thousands of Jewish children come to Britain through a rescue effort that became known as the Kindertransport.
Thomas Ovans gets to grips with an intriguing novel by John Lucas which deals with a small-town jazz musician’s rather complicated love life.
Leoš Janácek’s absurdist opera, first performed in Brno on 6 November 1924, is a marvellous expression of Modernism. We get Freud, Darwin, Magritte and Jarry as oblique cultural references but most of all we get a Czech, or rather Moravian, sensibility which is both cartoonish and psychologically astute.
In our modern, toxic world, the perfect embodiment of the endless struggle between good and evil could be the green warrior versus the polluter.
Ultimately, that’s the premise of The Toxic Avenger, the rock musical, which director Benji Sperring happened to see during one free afternoon off-Broadway in New York in 2009.
Some lies are so pleasant that we cheerfully believe them. It’s the premise that underlies the illusory appeal of theatre and especially musical theatre. And it makes the 19th-century scandal of a beautiful young woman who lied her way from rags to riches by pretending to be a shipwrecked princess perfect subject-matter for Phil Willmott, one of the nation’s most adept musical theatre professionals.
Michael Bartholomew-Biggs draws together his impressions of a novel multi-media show that combines poetry music and film.
Northern Ireland’s permanent representation in Brussels periodically brings to the capital of Europe a sample of Northern Irish culture in a spirit of cross-cultural exchange that risks being disrupted in the event of a Brexit.
This biopic comes with well deserved accolades from the 2015 Edinburgh Festival. It is a wonderful musical journey around Joplin’s short life.