There wasn't so much theatre shenanigans at the start of the year, but I did discover a new found interest in the cinema having treated myself to one of those ‘all you can eat’ type passes from my local cinema, The Light in Stockport.
I wasn’t a big lover of modern cinema, huge multiplexes full of noisy people on their phones had put me off in recent years. However, my first visit to The Light just after Christmas was a bit of a revelation. Smaller screens, comfy seats with loads of space, nice food and drink, and even an usher introducing each film. There’s subsidised parking if you are driving, and a bar if you aren’t ( helpfully it’s within walking distance of my house) and generally seems a much more pleasant experience. My ‘local’ has ten screens so lots of variety, and early showings so rainy Sunday mornings have been transformed by coffee, cake and a film. Since discovering this new obsession I have seen;
- Mary Poppins Return (twice) - I was worried this would lose all the charm of the original but it had it in spades. It made me laugh and cry, had plenty of references to P L Travers original stories and was ‘practically perfect’. In fact I’d happily see it a third time
- The Favourite - not for everyone, and not what some of the people in my showing were expecting, but I loved it. The central performances were outstanding and Olivia Colman deserves all the awards
- Bohemian Rhapsody - whilst I did love this film, I felt the storyline could have had a little more ‘bite’. There is no doubt though that the musical performances were amazing and the last section, which basically recreated the Live Aid set, was fantastic and so nostalgic
- On the Basis of Sex - a really interesting true story with loads of gorgeous period detail. Maybe a little slow to get to the meaty stuff, but a very satisfying and educating watch which made you think about how far we have come in terms of equal rights
There was one theatrical outing in February, to see an updated Mother Courage and Her Children at the Royal Exchange with a cast led by Julie Hesmondhalgh. This tale was brought forward in time to the near future and its themes were shown to be very relevant to a modern day audience. Whilst it was powerful with fabulous central performances, it didn’t leave me as satisfied as the other production I have seen of this play by the much missed Library Theatre Company many years ago . In particular, the sound balance on the musical numbers made the words unclear in places and certain production choices left me a bit perplexed. But despite that it was a thought provoking play.