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Reviewed for North West End; shorter version appears on their website:

March 6-10


The Musical

Chester Storeyhouse

On tour until November


A production based on a National Treaure could alas, end up bland, perhaps boring. After all, nobody ever had a bad word to say about the

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The Great Gatsby

February 22 – March 25

The Great Gatsby

Theatr Clwyd and Guild of Misrule co-production

The Dolphin Hotel, Mold


Well, this is great fun – as long as you check the small print on your life assurance: up and down rickety stairs; in and out of a dilapidated pub’s crumbling rooms. Then hugging the walls during the fight, chase and dancing scenes.

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March 13-17

On tour until April 21

The Little Matchgirl and Other Happier Tales

Liverpool PLayhouse


Not too bold a claim, saying that many Knee High productions are pure magic. And not too great a step to their coming up with something based on

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Reviewed for North West End

February 20 -24

Sunset Boulevard

Liverpool Empire

On tour until April


Some shows, you automatically assume you know everything about them, and so does everybody else; here, the lines about the movies getting smaller and being ready for a cose-up. It’s a surprise then to find neither musical numbers, nor story for that matter, seem familiar. Correction: the plot

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Orbis 182, Winter 2017

Fancy a closer look?

Introductory offer: 2 back issues for just £7, down from £5 each,
and that includes p+p: £1.60 (saving £3) –
because reading magazines helps judge the best match with your work
in order to maximize publication opportunities.

Overseas, 2 back issues: £16 (€18/$22),
down from £10 each, saving £4

NB, ‘back issues’ does what it says on the can,
ie here, it doesn’t mean current and previous issue
because they’re still on sale,
although most issues sell out pretty swiftly:
#170 – #173, and #175- #178.


Information is posted virtually every day,
regardless of what the date counter says, unless –

I’ve been thinking: isn’t that National Trust ad about the ammonite
just brilliant – so realistic.


Subs: £18/4 pa. Single issue: £5, all including p+p

Overseas:  £38/€50/$60. Single issue: £10/€14/$16


NB, cheques payable to me, not to ORBIS.

Paypal: please use Contact Form or post request for email address 

Also, via LinkedIn or Facebook:

And the Poetry Library:



Orbis 182, Winter

£5 (Overseas: £10/€14/$16); Subs: £18/4 pa (Overseas: £38/€50/$60)

Front cover artwork: ‘Venice Costume Drama‘ by John Penney
back cover, detail from image:


Have those long, dark nights had you observing, along with Jo Peters,
It’s not that I don’t believe in ghosts? Well, as we head into the light, finally,
we can echo
Laura Ciraolo and Go lightly through life, especially if January
involved a bit of a
Dry Patch (Mat Riches) – or were you as determined as
Jenny Johnson
, declaring I Am Swift Purpose? Although, as Brian Daldorph
explains, there is an art in knowing  when it’s
Time to go, while Oz Hardwick
will tell you the
Rudiments of Practical Philosophy, something about which
the Ancients knew a thing or two. But rather than making
Bronze Offerings
In The Water
, along with Tim Miller, maybe we should pour A Libation,
thanks to
Ginny Sullivan. And to everybody who enjoys poetry –
Orbis is filled with some excellent samples.

Featured Poet
, Ben Bransfield: Surfaces; Penance; Cellar; The Weight; The Chord

Poems from
Andrew Button (Johnny Marr’s Fingers); Wendy Everett; (The silence of);
Jean O’Brien; (Paper-Chain-Dolls): Harry Owen (Unhinged at Chintsa);
Theresa Sowerby (A Charm of Gates);
Anne Tannam (The Poet Transformed Into Anger)

Prose from Alexa Recio de Fitch (Fabrication); Grahame Lloyd (Seeing the Light):
Sam Smith (Ideas not derived from experience but with observable outcomes)

Translation From the Early Irish: Terence Brick (Líadain)

Past Master: Becca Menon on Isolde Kurz

Reviews by
Angelina d’Roza, Philip Dunkerley, David Harmer, Clairr O’Connor,
D. A. Prince, Lynne Taylor, David Troman and Noel Williams


Orbis 182 Contributors also include

Sheila Aldous; Jean Atkin; Veronica Beedham; Martin Bennett;
C M Buckland; Ann Flynn; A. P. Fraser; Adrian Green; Jenny Hamlett;
Simon Leonard; Kathleen McPhilemy; Frances Nagle; Carsten Smith-Hall;
Laura Solomon; Jonathan Totman; Richard Williams; Jim C. Wilson

The Play That Goes Wrong

January 29-February 3



Certainly does what it says on the can – when this production goes wrong, it really does go wrong. It is also extremely odd to review something about which you know nothing; the programme maintains the fiction, or maybe delusion, about a play called ‘Murder at Haversham Manor’, performed by an

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A Pacifist's Guide to the War on Cancer, l-r Eva Alexander, Elexi Walker, Lara Veitch, Bryony Kimmings, Lottie Vallis, Gemma Storr. Photo by Mark Douet

A Pacifist’s Guide to the War on Cancer

January 26 – February 3

On tour until March 29

Liverpool PLayhouse


I particularly wanted to see this show because it’s Bryony Kimmings with Complicite – a killer combination. You think that’s bad? You ain’t seen, or heard, anything yet. The production is of

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The Little Mermaid

November 25- January 20



Interesting to visit a show later on the run rather than on the Press Night, which always has its own shall we say peculiar atmosphere, heady with anticipation, and all the more so with looking forward to Xmas. The danger is the possibility of running out of steam and energy (and puff, if it’s

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December 1 – January 14

The Secret Seven

Storeyhouse, Chester


Can there be a child anywhere in this country who hasn’t read something by Enid Blyton – maybe simply because adults may tend to frown on such popular writers. Well, the past isn’t just another country but invariably politically incorrect and a nightmare for upholders of Health

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December 16 – January 7


Liverpool Empire

Reviewed for North West End:


Well now, what could be charming than a selfie with Duncan of Blue? A riveting production of oh not, not Cinderella again? Unfortunately, that goes

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