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Bury St. Edmunds
Westgate Street, Bury St Edmunds, IP33 1QR
Phone: 01284 769505
Built in 1819, this Grade 1 listed playhouse is the only surviving example of a Regency theatre in this country. It is the only theatre open to the public in the National Trust's portfolio of properties. Now fully restored its extraordinarily intimate auditorium and exquisite decorative scheme will provide visitors with an unforgettable and unique theatrical experience. The Theatre presents a vibrant, year-round programme of drama, music, dance and light entertainment, featuring many of this country's leading companies and performers. We also offer a wide-ranging educational and community-based programme of activities.
I went to see Joe Orton's Entertaining Mr Sloane last night, it was an enthralling production. The four characters had very different characteristics which interacted perfectly with each other. The stage was a house in a rubbish dump, decked out with huge pieces of old furniture. My favourite actor was Jonathan Ashley, who played Ed.
I went to see the OperaUpClose production of La Boheme last night, IT WAS SUPERB! The modern interpretation of this opera was brilliant, talk of local places 'lower Baxter Street 'and 'The Parkway'!, as well as Brazil, and primark! The cast were all superb, especially Emily-Jane Thomas who played Musetta. The second half turned into a pub and the cast members moved into the audience, 'Mimi was sitting less than a couple of metres from me, her voice was outstanding! The interaction with the audience made you feel you were actually in the pub. The performance touched all emotions, laughter and sadness. Well done OperaUpClose it was amazing!
WE REVIEW- A TASTE OF HONEY AT THE THEATRE ROYAL IN BURY ST EDMUNDS
Shelagh Delaney's ground breaking play explores questions around mixed race relationships, teenage pregnancy and homosexuality. In 1958 these subjects were controversial in the extreme – homosexual acts between adult men (over 21) were only legalised in 1967. But Mark Babych ‘s production feels relevant today, probing the themes themes of relationships, poverty and love. The cast is superb, particularly Julie Riley as Jo's vulgar, man-eating mother, and Christopher Hancock as Jo's gay friend Geoff.
The play leaves many questions unanswered: Jo's mother returns to support her single parent daughter, but leaves abruptly when she discovers that the baby's father was black. How does Jo support her baby? What happens to Geoff in a society openly hostile to gay men?
Every character is flawed, but drawn sympathetically. We can laugh with and at them, feel their pain and loss. 1959 Salford feels real in every way, with tenements, slaughter house, and the desperation of living in cold, damp, rented accommodation. The skiffle band pre-show demonstrates the attention to detail. A treat. A real treat.
We attended 'Jaleo Flamenco' on Friday 23rd May at the Theatre Royal as part of the Bury Festival held yearly in the town. The show 'A Compas' (In Rhythm)describes a musical journey through the diverse Flamenco regions of Andalusia; the intrinsic rhythms power and join together the musicians and dancers allowing for both improvisation and interpretation of the classical stories and messages contained within.
From the first few chords right to the end the audience were entranced although the unfamiliarity of the musical structure meant it was hard to know when to applaud and when the music had merely paused. Western ears are more familiar with 4/4 and 3/4 musical rhythms whereas several fundamental Flamenco forms use a structure of 12 beats typically with accents on the 3rd, 6th, 8th, 10th and 12th beats. Becoming accustomed to this is described as being akin to learning a foreign language- one needs to understand the Spanish soul, the culture and become immersed in the language to truly develop an instinctual feel for the music and where it emanates from. A good example of this is 'The Martinete'- a slow and unaccompanied song that first originated in a Blacksmiths forge. The use of Palmas- a kind of walking stick which produces hand clapping sound creates a driving beat echoing the industrial and steady beat of hammer on anvil- a reliable structure around which intricate and precise dance steps can be constructed. One can imagine the dancers, dresses swirling around the Blacksmiths forge, whisking skirt layers up and away from the open fire, stepping neatly between anvil and water trough, the careful placing of feet as they weave their way around the room and present themselves to audience and musicians.
The emotions that make us human and make us feel most alive, whether these come from great joy, pain, despair or hope underpin and overlay the songs and dances. The Siguiriya is one of the oldest forms of Flamenco; based upon a 12 beat rhythm but accentuated differently; the heartfelt and joyous cries echoed around the theatre, striking us with their intensity and universality. You would have to be dead to not be affected by this, the vocal expression of the darker, deeper aspects of human experience. Alien to our British (uptight!) sensibilities in many ways yet also seductive too- Who hasn't yearned to express their feelings in such an unfettered way?
We reveled in the dramatic and soulful singing and dancing accompanied by guitar work so masterful that one of our reviewers kept craning his neck to see if there was a hidden guitarist in the wings. This reviewer himself is no mean guitarist so his stunned amazement at the skill demonstrated was all the more evidence that the theatre audience was in the presence of musical maestros.
Imagine sitting on an upturned crate by a fire in a dark Spanish town, beer in hand and cries of 'Andale' echoing down dark alleys and through windows opened to catch a stray breeze in the torpid summer heat. This is where we imagined ourselves and where we felt the show would be best experienced. Maybe one year we will be able to see the Theatre present this in an open air venue (Abbey Gardens?) under torchlight and lit beacons and with the Abbey ruins standing darkly in the shadows.....
We sent two reviewers to see 'Formby' this week.
Ewan Wardrop's one man show about the life of George Formby hits all the right notes. He plays Formby as a man initially baffled by his success, indebted to his controlling wife Beryl for spotting his talent and pushing him to greater and greater heights.
The show is genuinely funny as Wardrup plays classic Formby hits with lyrics considered risque in the Thirties and Forties:
"He's got a naughty eye that flickers
You ought to see it wobble when he's ironing ladies .. blouses"
Wardrop plays all the roles and switches effortlessly between George and a tap dancing Beryl, in several hilarious scenes. But he also touches on the more difficult moments in Formby's life - his failure as a jockey and his increasingly fractious relationship with his wife.
Although he struggled late in his career, 'Formby' is both uplifting and entertaining.
We attended the Ballet Central Graduate Show this week.
An incredibly accomplished and confident performance by final year students showcasing their skills in classical ballet, modern dance and ballroom dancing. The first half of the show saw the 'Corn Pas de Deux and Friends' from Coppelia Act 1 which was infused with comic moments as Franz's gift of an ear of corn was rejected by the coquettish Swanilda, the latter being especially vivid in her facial expressions. 'Five Lullabies' with its Pierre et Gilles style matelot and tennis dress costumes was beautifully danced and lit superbly in cold blues and palest of yellows. Aspects of growing up from childhood through to adulthood were danced with nostalgia, whimsy and youthful longing.
In the second half we were treated to an exuberant 'Toots Goes to Charleston' with sumptuous costumes by Richard Gellar which perfectly accessorized and enhanced the movement of the dancers with swirling feathery, beaded silks and satins. A Charleston needs to be danced with loucheness and languidity whilst retaining clarity of step and attitude, something most of the dancers accomplished.
My personal favourite was the modern ensemble piece 'Going South For the Winter' in which the stage was bisected, filled and swirled with dancers simulating the pre migration chatter of the Swallows, Africa bound. Fluttering fingers, strong beating arms and legs and flowing ribbons of dancers gave us a dizzying and dazzling avian spectacle that reminded me of some of the work of the Richard Alston Dance Company.
Again, the lighting and costumes were stunning.
We were sad to hear that a male dancer had been injured and this explained the very abrupt end to the show with only one curtain call. A shame the company was unable to feel the full audience appreciation for a very lovely and technically demanding show.
I went to see Dinosaur Zoo with my 5 year old daughter, it was a brilliant show, really funny and the dinosaurs very realistic. The front of the box we were in had plenty of room for bags and the family toilets make life much easier for mums or dads on their own with the kids
Mumsnet Suffolk sent a reviewer and her 3 3/4 year old daughter to review Old Macdonald Had A Farm' and this is what they had to say-
From the opening minute to the final bow the two actors injected energy into this fast paced and fun production for the children.
A few grown up but inoffensive jokes were thrown in for the adults enjoyment.
Singalong songs,participation,animation and endearing puppets made this show very watchable.
My little girl was transfixed,even from way up in the gallery-only turning to me ever so often with a big cheesy grin.
I wondered at first if the plot was a little confusing but my daughter was following the story well and is only three years and ten months old(the show is advertised 4+)
A farmer who's lost his animals,a mad scientist and a malfunctioning machine all make this an exciting afternoon.
The running time states 75 minutes but the show ran nearer 55 minutes and felt just right.
A very enjoyable show with much enthusiasm from the performers(something I often see lacking in a children's show).
I went to see a performance of Twelfth Night The venue is clean, fresh with polite staff and full of character. The toilets are accessible especially for family's with the larger toilet with room for mum/dad and child. The performance was a very exciting interpretation of a classic William Shakespeare play, including mobile phones, radios and more modern jokes. The comedy was so good my friend and I were often in hysterics.
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