The world of theatre continues to present you with a whole host of popular musicals and brilliant shows for you to choose from.
Charlotte Brontte's well-known Jane Eyre will be under way at The Octagon Theatre on Thursday, 8th February at 7:30. Penniless and alone, Jane emerges from a bleak childhood to make her way in life as a governess. At Thornfield Hall she falls in love with her mysterious employer Mr Rochester, however he is hiding a terrible secret that could ruin everything. Jane's indomitable spirit, sharp wit and great courage drive her to fight for her independence and to follow her heart whatever the obstacles. This new stage adaption is a passionate and dramatic retelling of Charlotte Bronte's masterpiece.
Three terrific musicals take place on Saturday, 10th February, with all the audio described performances at 2:30. The internationally acclaimed stage sensation, Jersey Boys, is on at The Stoke Regent Theatre. This smash hit musical has won 57 major awards worldwide, including the Olivier Award for Best New Musical. Jersey Boys tells the true life story of four boys from the wrong side of the tracks who wrote their own songs, invented their own unique sound, and sold 100 million records worldwide. Featuring hit after legendary hit including Beggin', December 1963 (Oh What A Night), Can't Take My Eyes Off You, Walk Like A Man, Bye Bye Baby, Big Girls Don't Cry and many more. Jersey Boys is a story full of heart, humour and 'sheer musical razzmatazz you simply will never forget.
Meanwhile, The Wolverhampton Grand showcases the ultimate feel-good party that is Mamma Mia!, the world's sunniest and most exhilarating smash-hit musical! Set on a Greek island paradise, a story of love, friendship and identity is cleverly told through the timeless songs of ABBA. Sophie's quest to discover the father she's never known brings her mother face to face with three men from her distant romantic past on the eve of a wedding they'll never forget. This irresistibly funny show has been thrilling audiences all around the world and now the party comes to Wolverhampton for the first time, so there's never been a better time to experience this unforgettable musical at The Grand Theatre. Whatever age you are, you can't help but have the time of your life at Mamma Mia!
At the same time, Andrew Lloyd Webber's Tony Award'-winning masterpiece Sunset Boulevard plays at The Alhambra Theatre Bradford. It stars Ria Jones, who received standing ovations every night when performing the role at the London Coliseum, as Norma Desmond and Strictly Come Dancing's Danny Mac as Joe Gillis. One of the all-time great musicals, Sunset Boulevard is a compelling story of romance and obsession, based on Billy Wilder's legendary film, with Don Black and Christopher Hampton's wonderful book and lyrics. In her mansion on Sunset Boulevard, faded silent-screen goddess, Norma Desmond, lives in a fantasy world. Impoverished screen writer, Joe Gillis, on the run from debt collectors, stumbles into her reclusive world. Persuaded to work on Norma's 'masterpiece', a film script that she believes will put her back in front of the cameras, he is seduced by her and her luxurious life-style. Joe becomes entrapped in a claustrophobic world until his love for another woman leads him to try and break free, with dramatic consequences.
With its much-loved score (including Sunset Boulevard. With One Look, As If We Never Said Goodbye, The Greatest Star Of All and The Perfect Year) performed with full orchestra, this majestic, mesmerising and teasingly seductive production promises to be a spectacular event.
Flashdance will be audio described at The Palace Theatre Manchester on Wednesday, 14th February at 7:30. Starring Strictly Come Dancing champion Joanne Clifton and A1's Ben Adams, Flashdance the Musical, is the inspiring and unforgettable story of Alex, a determined welder who dreams of becoming a professional dancer. When a romance complicates her ambitions, she harnesses it to drive her dream of attending Shipley Dance Academy. Why not prepare to be blown away with your Valentine, by an astonishing musical spectacle with phenomenal choreography to this iconic score including the smash hits Maniac, Gloria, I Love Rock & Roll and of course the sensational title track Flashdance... What a Feeling. Sparks will fly and you'll dance with your loved one like you've never danced before!
Following a record-breaking UK and Ireland Tour, the smash hit blockbuster Shrek is back – and larger than life! It will be audio described at The New Alexandra Theatre, Birmingham, on Saturday, 17 February at 2:30. Based on the story and characters from the Oscar'-winning DreamWorks Animation film, this hilarious and spectacular production turns the world of fairy-tales upside down, in an all-singing, all-dancing, must-see musical comedy. Sit back and enjoy the irresistible mix of adventure, laughter and romance, guaranteed to delight audiences of all ages!
Moving into the following week, Wicked will be audio described at The Bristol Hippodrome on Wednesday, 21 February at 7:30. 'This gravity-defying Wizard of Oz prequel is the recipient of over 100 major international awards, including 10 theatregoer-voted WhatsOnStage Awards (winning 'Best West End Show' on three occasions) and two Olivier Audience Awards in the UK. A huge, bright, colourful production that's full of wonder and joy, this unforgettable musical transports audiences to a stunningly re-imagined world of Oz, providing marvels beyond your imagination!
There are two audio described performances taking place on Thursday, 22 February, both at 7:30. You can catch Beautiful - The Carole King Musical at Milton Keynes Theatre, which tells the inspiring true story of King's remarkable rise to stardom, from being part of a hit song-writing team with her husband Gerry Goffin, to her relationship with fellow writers and best friends Cynthia Weil and Barry Mann, to becoming one of the most successful solo acts in popular music history.
Or you can watch Kitchen Sink at The Oldham Coliseum, which is set in Withernsea, East Yorkshire. One family. One year. Martin is a milkman whose milk float is falling apart as fast as he's losing customers. His son, Billy, is relying on a revealing painting of Dolly Parton to get him into Art College in London and daughter, Sophie, is fighting for a career in Ju-Jitsu while being pursued by a plumber in a pink van. Working two jobs and experimenting in the kitchen keeps mum, Kath, busy - but serving sushi for Christmas dinner is never going to end well. And there's something wrong with the kitchen sink' An irresistibly funny and touching play, The Kitchen Sink is a modern family story about big dreams, small towns and looking after each other.
Brief Encounter is audio described at The Lowry on Friday, 23 February at 7:30. 'I'm a happily married woman. Or rather I was until a few weeks ago. This is my whole world and it's enough, or rather it was until a few weeks ago.' Your heart dances. The world seems strange and new. You want to laugh and skip and fall forever'. You are in love. You are in love with the wrong person. 'That's how it all began. Just by me getting a little piece of grit in my eye.' Noel Coward's 'Brief Encounter' is remembered as one of the most haunting love stories ever. The award winning Kneehigh Theatre is one of the most loved and admired theatre companies in the country. Emma Rice - presides over the marriage of these two as director and adaptor. With the characteristic, wit and musicality of Kneehigh, the joy and heartache of this timeless story will be brought to the stage - the company that has put the soul back into storytelling in the theatre.
To finish off audio described theatre for this month, three shows are taking place on Saturday, 24 February, all at 2:30. Bursting with growing grannies, feathery farm animals and bags of frothbuggling family fun, Roald Dahl's George's Marvellous Medicine is on at The Lowry, whilst at The Liverpool Empire you can catch Sunset Boulevard if you missed it before.
Over at The Royal Exchange Theatre, you can catch The Almighty Sometimes, which was a winner of a Judges Award at the 2015 Bruntwood Prize for Playwriting. 'i've got a gym membership now. I'm reading the backs of cereal boxes. and then I started thinking how strange it was to know the calorie intake of a bowl of cereal, but not the contents of my own medication.' Anna is coming of age. Possibilities are unfurling in front of her and she's ready to take control. But her mother's been standing guard all these years, taking care, editing the choices. When Anna makes a decision that could affect the rest of her life, can Renee stand by and watch? From writer Kendall Feaver comes a family story full of heart and humour, of a young woman trying to take control and a mother compelled to protect her.
Our colleagues at London's Young Vic have asked us to mention that they have several forthcoming productions with audio description. In particular the play WINTER, which has audio description at every performance. This runs from 14 – 24 Feburary. An ordinary businessman meets a volatile stranger in a park. So begins a fugue of splintered desires and mistaken meanings. An everyday encounter unspools with enduring consequences. Genesis Award winner John R. Wilkinson directs this riveting and hypnotic play. For more information please contact: 020 79222922
We look forward to welcoming you to a production soon!