REVIEW: Willie Russell’s Blood Brothers

Willie Russell’s Blood Brothers
Wolverhampton Grand Theatre, Wolverhampton
10th-22nd May

The iconic Blood Brothers returns to Wolverhampton in this sublime interpretation guaranteed to have you laughing hysterically one minute and in floods of tears minutes the next. Surrounding the exploits of the Johnstone twins Mickey and Edward who, when separated at birth, grow up on opposite sides of the tracks in tough Liverpool. Despite Edward enjoying all the advantages of wealth while Mickey has struggled in depression hit Liverpool, the two strike up an unlikely friendship, forging a blood pact. As the poison of the secret increases the ‘mother’ of Edward descends into madness fearing the truth will be revealed. Ultimately the friendship of the two brothers proves disastrous. Sufficed to say this is not one for those who enjoy a happy ending! Continue reading

Two World Premieres from Stan’s Cafe

Internationally acclaimed theatre company Stan’s Cafe return  to the Midlands Arts Centre (mac) tonight to present their new show Tuning Out with Radio Z.

The show follows the fortunes of two presenters as they broadcast an extraordinary late-night radio show. That radio show will be webcast live from the mac to audience members at home and played through the venue’s public address system. Following two hours of radio-only performance the theatre doors will open and the show intensifies to become a powerful piece of improvised theatre running for a further four hours.

For the show’s duration audience members both live and online are invited to help write the show as it is performed, by submitting text via SMS, email or True Night Owls should visit on Friday when the theatre doors open at 9pm and the show runs through until 1am on Saturday.

If that isn’t enough for Stan’s Cafe fans then their second World Premiere at mac is May is I See With My Eyes Closed, a collaboration with Birmingham Contemporary Music Group (BCMG) and composer Michael Wolters. The piece is cloaked in secrecy but will be somewhere between a theatre show and a concert.

James Yarker, Artistic Director of Stan’s Cafe said:

“We’ve always had a close relationship with mac so it’s great to have the venue back. That they’ve been prepared to take these two quite radical shows from us suggests that the audience should be in for an exciting ride.”

Tuning Out With Radio Z – 13 – 15 May 2010
Thursday 13 and Saturday 15 May –  17.00 – 23.00 – (17.00 – 19.00 Webcast Only)
Friday 14 May – 21.00 – 01.00 – (19.00 – 21.00 Webcast Only)
Tickets £12 Full Price, £9 Concessions

I See With My Eyes Closed – Monday 24 May 2010, 7.30pm
Tickets £14 Full Price, £8 Concessions
This performance will be preceded by Families@4 from 4pm, a bite-sized interactive concert by Michael Wolters for young people aged 7 and above and their families. Tickets for Families@4 are free for under 16s and just £4 for adults.

More information and tickets for both performances can be obtained from
mac, Cannon Hill Park, Birmingham, B12 9QH
Sales and Information: 0121 446 3232

Two heads are better than one

CSI: The Exhibition
Old Borders Store, Bullring

As CSI: The Experience heads into the final period of its tenure in the Bullring, it is offering budding sleuths their last chance to catch this exciting exhibition. With their 2-4-1 offer, you and a friend can have a go at cracking a case.

It means doubling your chances of catching a crook, finding a killer and bringing the bad guy to justice. Chalk full of cutting edge technology used in the field by real CSI’s, the installation has enjoyed immense success and is scheduled to move to mainland Europe at the end of the month.

So whether you’re a fan of the show or a potential CSI yourself, head down to the exhibit this month and test your skills. Who knows you may even be the next Gill Grissom!

Tickets: £9.75 (£7 for up to the age of 17)

Put Your Foot Down

If you haven’t managed to catch any of the International Dance Festival Birmingham (IDFB) then Saturday 15 May is your last chance as the festival comes to an end with the Put Your Foot Down event.

The large-scale hip hop dance in St Martin’s Square, Bullring will see hundreds of people take part. The whole afternoon will see  free performances, demonstrations and classes starting at midday and continuing throughout the afternoon until the mass dance at 6pm.  Acclaimed French hip hop star Salah has choreographed a routine that has been taught to hundreds of people across the region over the last four weeks, and they will all come together to dance in the grand finale.

In the evening the closing performance of the Festival will take place, with Companhia de Dança Deborah Colker performing Cruel at Birmingham Hippodrome.  This outstanding piece sees Colker’s athletic yet graceful dancers perform around an enormous revolving table, throw knives and get entangled in giant revolving mirrors, exploring the different forms that cruelty can take in a relationship.

Calling all would-be Superstars!

The Grand Theatre,
Sunday 16th May

Capitalising on the recent spurt of Andrew Lloyd Webber television shows, focussed on finding stars for forthcoming productions, the West Bromwich Operatic Society have begun their own recruitment process. More akin to the X-Factor, the search is to fill the roles of Jesus and Judas in their upcoming production of Jesus Christ Superstar.

Auditions will take place on Sunday the 16th May and the successful applicants will be thrust into rehearsals of the show which will feature at the Wolverhampton Grand Theatre from the 26th to 30th October,  moving on to the Alexander Theatre from the 2nd to 6th November. The play itself, created by Tim Rice and Lloyd Webber, explores the interpersonal struggles of Judas Iscariot and Jesus of Nazareth focussing on the seven days leading to the crucifixion of Jesus.

Vicky Price of The Grand Theatre said of the recruitment program:

‘The roles of Jesus and Judas are extremely vocally demanding. We encourage singers of all persuasions to audition including Rock singers, whose strength of voice would be a welcome addition to this exciting production.’

For more details contact the WBOS to register interest

hobbypopMUSEUM at Eastside Projects

86 Heath Mill Lane, Birmingham, B9 4AR, 0121-771-1778
Free Entry
Thursday 12-6.30pm, Friday to Saturday 12-5pm
8 May – 13 June 2010

Eastside Projects present a new solo exhibition by Düsseldorf and London-based artist group hobbypopMUSEUM.
Believing that in artistic collaboration lies something other than compromise, something uniquely valuable, the group’s potent site-specific installations fuse painting with sound, performance and film to provoke ‘romantic optimism and painterly faux-naivety’. Continue reading

Superfreakonomics Live

Superfreakonomics Live
With Stephen J Dubner
7.30pm, £15
Sunday 20 June 2010

When Freakonomics was launched five years ago the book took dry economic theory and applied it to a diverse spectrum of subjects making it hugely entertaining and accessible. The worldwide sensation sold over 4 million copies and sat happily of the bestseller list for almost two years.