Suspense-filled thriller you can get your teeth into

Suspense-filled thriller you can get your teeth into

FOLLOWING their critically acclaimed UK tour and West End run of Anthony Horowitz’s Mindgame, Angela Browne Ltd return to Coventry with another compulsive psychological thriller.

Angie Smith and Mark Huckett as Mark and Sally Driscoll.

Dangerous Obsession, which was adapted into a film called Darkness Falls in 1999, is widely accepted to be writer N J Crisp’s finest psycho-thriller.

It certainly is an intense journey.

The whole story is told in the conservatory of a wealthy couple’s luxurious home where Sally Driscoll receives a gentleman caller – a previous acquaintance on a drunken night out she can barely recall.

The unassuming and courteous John Barrett slowly peels away the layers of Sally and husband Mark’s apparently perfect lives, to expose some ugly secrets.

But what exactly happened in Torquay, what is in the suitcase and what is Mark’s true role in all of this?

This new staging of the play, directed by Karen Henson, consists of a cast of just three, Mark Huckett and Angie Smith as Mark and Sally Driscoll and Michael Sherwin as John Barrett. They work brilliantly to create an intimate and highly charged atmosphere in the theatre as the answers to all those questions – and more – emerge.

Dangerous Obsession, Beklgrade Theatre, Coventry
Michael Sherwin as John Barrett.

There is suspense by the bucketful as we are, metaphorically, drawn nearer and nearer to the edge of our seats.

The acting is strong all round but Sherwin’s portrayal of the villain of the piece (or is he?) is just the right amount of sinister – a convincing and compelling watch and one I’d definitely recommend. But you’ll have to move fast as it closes tomorrow night. (Saturday)

Tickets are available to book now by calling the box office on 024 7655 3055 or visiting www.belgrade.co.uk where prices are cheaper. Book for two or more participating shows together to claim 20% off tickets.

Monster hit arrives at The Belgrade

Monster hit arrives at The Belgrade

THE talented team behind a bold new staging of Mary Shelley’s seminal 1818 gothic horror novel Frankenstein have definitely created a monster!

A monster hit that is.

This inventive co-production between Coventry’s Belgrade Theatre, Selladoor Productions and Matthew Townshend Productions has been adapted by award-winning writer Rona Munro (The James Plays, National Theatre and National Theatre of Scotland; Little Eagles, RSC), to offer a fresh take on Shelley’s groundbreaking story.

Frankenstein, Belgrade Theatre
Eilidh Loan and Ben Castle-Gibb as Victor Frankenstein. Photo: Colin Hattersley Photography.

Monro cleverly places the writer herself amongst the action, as she wrestles with her creation and the stark realities facing revolutionary young women, both in her own time and today.

An eighteen year-old girl, Mary Shelley, dreams up a monster whose tragic story will capture the imaginations of generations to come.

A young scientist by the name of Frankenstein breathes life into a gruesome body. Banished into an indifferent world, Frankenstein’s creature desperately seeks out his true identity, but the agony of rejection and a broken promise push him into darkness. Dangerous and vengeful, the creature threatens to obliterate Frankenstein and everyone he loves, in a ferocious and bloodthirsty hunt for his maker.

Frankenstein, Belgrade Theatre, Coventry
Natali McCleary as-Elizabeth. Photo: Tommy-Ga-Ken-Wan.

Eilidh Loan is a powerful stage presence throughout as Shelley, the author unpacking her own horrific tale. She heads up a small, but strong ensemble including Ben Castle-Gibb as the crazed genius Victor Frankenstein, tortured by his own dark ambition for a scientific breakthrough – and at the ultimate cost of the death of everyone he loves.

Michael Moreland delivers a solid but measured performance as Frankenstein’s Monster, who is driven to murderous rage by his creator’s failure to love and accept him. It would have been all too easy to overplay this role and turn it into something that more resembled a spoof.

The sterling performances are played out around a fittingly simple but striking static stage backdrop with eerie sound and visual effects adding to the tension.

Frankenstein, Belgrade Theatre, Coventry
Michael Moreland, Ben-Castle-Gibb and Eilidh Loan. Photo: Tommy-Ga-Ken-Wan.

This is a gripping and innovative retelling of the novel that is credited with launching the science fiction genre, fully grasping the enduring power of the well known story.

It’s one of the surprise theatrical highlights of my year so far – and most definitely comes highly recommended. See it if you possibly can.

Frankenstein shows at the Belgrade Theatre from 2-12 October as part of the B2 Season of Love and Belonging. Tickets are available to book now by calling the box office on 024 7655 3055, or visiting www.belgrade.co.uk where prices are cheaper. Book together for two or more shows in the season to claim 20% off your tickets.

You Should Be Dancing. . .

You Should Be Dancing. . .

THERE’S a highly infectious fever sweeping Coventry this week – and it’s leaving us all somewhat hot under the collar, to say the least.

One of the most iconic movie soundtracks of all time, Saturday Night Fever helped to popularise disco music around the globe. And, whatever your generation, it’s accepted that The Bee Gees defined that beat.

Saturday Night Fever, Belgrade Theatre, Coventry
Pamela Raith Photography.

It is packed with their greatest hits, including Stayin’ Alive, How Deep is Your Love?, Night Fever, Tragedy, More than a Woman, Boogie Shoes, If I Can’t Have You and You Should Be Dancing. – And you will be!

I defy anyone to stay seated during the rousing closing numbers. Indeed, it was a case of Tuesday Night Fever at the Belgrade’s opening show when the disco vibe left us dancing in the aisles – and then all the way home.

It truly is an unforgettable soundtrack which has lost nothing in its reimagining for the stage, combined with even more music (17 tracks in total), more drama and ‘hot’ new choreography.

Leading man Richard Winsor always had big dance shoes to fill as Tony Manero, a role that, of course, catapulted John Travolta to international stardom. But fill them he does and, akin to witnessing any master of his craft, you’ll be simply mesmerized watching him strut his stuff throughout.

Saturday Night Fever, Belgrade Theatre, Coventry

Saturday Night Fever conjures high expectations and Olivier Award-winning choreographer Bill Deamer delivers on all levels.

For those less familiar with the storyline (where have you been?), it follows the journey of Tony Manero as he escapes the harsh realities of working class life in Brooklyn and embarks on a reckless, yet thrilling, road to dance success. This is no flouncy musical as the show explores what it is like to be young broke and trapped in 1970s Brooklyn. And it isn’t always pretty – with misogyny, gang violence, abortion, depression, racism and hints of domestic abuse.

The themes of love, friendship and family are explored with sometimes tragic consequences.

Yet, understandably, it’s still the dancing that most of us remember the movie for. And the same might be said of this stage adaptation, produced by Bill Kenwright.

Saturday Night Fever, Belgrade Theatre, Coventry

Early signs seem to suggest that Saturday Night Fever is set to become a hot favourite in Coventry and Warwickshire so grab your glitter ball and make a date. But you need to act fast if you want to strut your stuff on one of the most famous dance floors in the world before it continues on its tour of the country. It plays at The Belgrade Theatre until Saturday and tickets are available to book now by calling the box office on 02476 553055, or by visiting: www.belgrade.co.uk

First phase of new £37m waterpark set to open

First phase of new £37m waterpark set to open

THE new Lifestyles Health & Fitness facilities at The Wave in Coventry will open on 24th June, it has today been announced.

The Wave will offer fitness facilities and equipment of the highest quality. It will have a friendly, approachable atmosphere, but also the latest and most effective training equipment available.

 

With TechnoGym technology on hand, you can keep track of your progress using the MyWellness app. There will be a broad range of free weights, including dumbbells of up to 50kg, as well as plate-loaded resistance machines. And more than 70 fitness classes will include sessions from the world-renowned Les Mills.

Inside, there is a 25-metre pool dedicated for lane swimming, 120-station gym, group exercise studio, indoor group cycling studio and squash courts. There will be cardiovascular gear and athletics-focused machines; resistance training facilities and exercise classes for all levels.

On top of the state-of-the-art facilities, Lifestyles members will also get exclusive benefits of: free ‘Lite’ breakfast, free parking, Express check-in and access to all the Lifestyles Centres.

Also within The Wave’s building is the Mana Spa and ‘Maori’-inspired culture. A secret paradise, complete with Spa Pool, Aromatic Room, Herbal Steam Room and Sauna as well as three treatment rooms and a luxurious Foot Spa. Find out more at www.manaspa.co.uk.

Lifestyles members will have the opportunity to bolt on an exclusive Mana Spa package, which includes unlimited use of the spa facilities and one complimentary 30- minute treatment per month.

Visit www.cvlifestyles.co.uk to become a member. The Wave

More information on the open date of the waterpark at The Wave will be made next month. The Wave has been advertising for slide testers since January 2019 and members of the public can sign up to be the amongst the first to ride the slides but there is only one week left to sign up! Applications for testers close on Friday, 31st May 2019. Sign up now at www.thewavecoventry.com. 

The use of the squash courts will not be included with the Lifestyles membership, but will be bookable on a pay-as-you-go rate.

Step back to the 80s in style!

Step back to the 80s in style!

Club Tropicana, drinks are free. Fun and sunshine, there’s enough for everyone!

Club Tropicana The Musical

Never enough I say! This flamboyant homage to the electric Eighties is unashamedly celebratory of the era – from the brick mobile phones to the back combs and shoulder pads, for those of us who came of age in this decade, it’s, among other things, an unadulterated nostalgia fest.

Club Tropicana is the latest success story of the popular jukebox musical genre – a storyline weaved between the hits of the decade. If you’re a fan of this music what’s not to love?

Following an abrupt change of heart on the morning of her wedding, bride Lorraine, played by Karina Hind, and her friends decide to get away from it all by going on the (non-refundable) honeymoon together. Whilst separately Olly, actor Cellen Chugg Jones, and his laddish mates have similar intentions and the inevitable happens.

Club Tropicana The Musical

Meanwhile, amidst the ordered chaos of running a business, there’s another sort of trouble in paradise, with interfering inspectors threatening the hotel with closure. Will the budding bride and groom get back together? And will the resort survive another summer?

Plus the undercurrent of a relationship between the hotel managers is adding to a lack of focus just when it’s needed.

Running around with the proverbial sticking plaster trying to hold everything together is the irresistibly camp entertainments manager Gary – played superbly by X-Factor’s Joe McElderry.

This romantic comedy is an effervescent and delightfully uplifting production that revels in visual slapstick. And it’s carried off with absolute aplomb, particularly by my personal star of the show Kate Robbins whose hysterical portrayal of Consuela the Spanish cleaning lady, is like nothing you’ll have seen before – although there were echoes of Acorn Antiques’ Mrs Overall at times.

It had the audience rolling, as much as dancing, in the aisles.

Club Tropicana The Musical
Amelle Berrabah, Neil McDermott and ensemble

Of course the real star of the show is the ever-present soundtrack. And what a soundtrack! From Fantastic Day, Addicted To Love, She Drives Me Crazy and Take On Me to Jump, Relax, Girls Just Wanna Have Fun, The Lion Sleeps Tonight and Just Can’t Get Enough – and we couldn’t. Just as well there are more than 25 hits packed into the show – including a couple of TV themes from the era you might recognise!

Whether or not you lived through the Eighties, these are all iconic tunes that everyone will be familiar with – and want to dance to.

Club Tropicana The Musical is as outrageous as the leotards and leggings of the day –  and that’s exactly why it works. Catch it if you can. 

It plays at the Belgrade Theatre Coventry until Saturday. Tickets are available to book now by calling the box office on 024 7655 3055 or visiting www.belgrade.co.uk where prices are even cheaper.