Manchester Hope Mill Theatre is a venue that I had never previously visited. The award winning venue teamed up with London-based theatre company Aria Entertainment to bring to War-time gay love story to life on a Manchester stage for the first time.
Having never been to Hope Mill Theatre before, its size from the outside had me sceptical about what it was going to be like. The show will be running until Saturday 8th April, so there’s still plenty of time to catch it.
The first thing I will say is how pleasantly surprised I was by this stunning venue. Its external size is truly deceiving, as the inside offers far more than what meets the eye. Not only that, but the decor and atmosphere mean the venue in itself is well worth a visit for a drink or a bite to eat. The venue offers a few nibbles & homemade pizza in their Engine Room Cafe & Bar, up to 2 hours before a performance. In comparison to many theatres, this is all really affordable & well worth making a night of any performance you’re planning to watch.
The performance really surprised me. Having never seen a production by Aria Entertainment, or Hope Mill Theatre, I wasn’t sure if it could reach the expectations set by bigger theatres. If anything, this performance was everything a big theatre has to offer and more.
Looking at it now I do believe that having a smaller theatre, smaller set & smaller audience only helped the performance. Being based in 1943, very little set & the cast of 12 being in such a small space only exaggerated what those times were like; the small spaces and the lack of luxuries.
Another benefit of the smaller set was that the audience were so close to the actors it felt as if you were in the scene.
The controversial storyline was spread across a number of dramatic, emotional and even sometimes hilarious scenes, not to mention a number of beautifully written & expertly choreographed musical numbers.
Whether you’re member of the LGBT community or not, this piece will tug on your heart strings & really puts into perspective not only how far society has come in the past decades, but how far we still have to come, with some stigmas & struggles still being relevant to present day.
We laughed, we cried, we danced! This really is a must-see this Spring.
For more info & tickets, click here.