Receiving theatres

The Palace Theatre and Opera House brought back a number of productions that we have seen there before, including Spamalot, Blood Brothers and Dirty Rotten Scoundrels.

East is East paired up the playwright Ayub Khan Din with Jane Horrocks for a good revival of this Salford-set play. Theatre Royal Stratford East revived Joan Littlewood's 50-year-old Oh What a Lovely War, which can never recreate the impact it had originally but was certainly a worthwhile revival.

Mel Brooks's musical version of his classic comedy film The Producers had a very funny revival. Jodie Prenger gave a strong performance in an otherwise not particularly notable Calamity Jane, but the revival of Jesus Christ Superstar with Glenn Carter recreating his performance in the title role was very good. That couldn't be said of the revival of Bob Carlton's Return to the Forbidden Planet—I was a big fan of the original touring production—which was lacklustre and rather dull.

Michael Ball returned to Manchester as Mack Sennett in Mack and Mabel, a musical with a reputation for having a great score and a terrible book, but this Chichester Festival Theatre production made it work extremely well and had a great central performance from Ball.

Guys and Dolls is one of my favourite musicals and this revival, again from Chichester, was a good one, especially notable for Sophie Thompson's portrayal of Hot Box performer Adelaide. This year's Opera House panto was Cinderella, which starred Torvill and Dean, who did a great version of their famous "Bolero" routine at the end, but they were outshone by a superb comic performance from Samuel Holmes as Dandini.

At The Lowry, DV8 brought it's powerful and original John, combining the seemingly-incompatible genres of verbatim and physical theatre but somehow making it work. Twelve Angry Men showed that courtroom drama can still work well on stage in a gripping production.

Kneehigh brought its adaptation of Daphne du Maurier's Rebecca to Salford, which didn't seem to go down well with fans of the film but I thought it worked perfectly well. Another literary adaptation, The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas, did a decent job of recreating the power of the original and the heartbreakingly frustrating ending.

Local new writing company Monkeywood Theatre took a step out of the studio into one of The Lowry's main theatres for By Far The Greatest Team, an evening of four short plays about football fandom by different writers, two of which made the evening worthwhile.