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  • Writer's pictureSTEVE COOKE AATA


previews, reviews, interviews, and recommendations with Steve Cooke

REVIEW by Hilary Dawes

Travel in Time at the Octagon Bolton

The Octagon presented a riotous re-telling of H. G. Wells’ epic novel “The Time Machine.” Written by Steven Canny and John Nicholson and directed by Orla O’Loughlin, this is an adaptation like no other, where one of the greatest pieces of 20th century fiction is blended with an entirely contemporary sub-plot. But H. G. Wells purists be warned – a faithful adaptation of the original text this is not, but rather a hilarious roller coaster ride of a show and a brilliant new take on a classic science-fiction novella, where extraordinary and unimaginable things can happen!

We join the play as a small acting company are supposed to be rehearsing “The Importance of being Earnest.” However, plans change, when lead character Dave discovers a chair, previously owned by his great-great-grandfather, H. G. Wells himself, which he believes could be a real time machine, and he is intent on re-enacting the novel and proving that the chair could indeed be the real thing. With ingenious props and lighting effects, the cast attempt to demonstrate some of the paradoxes surrounding time travel, and we see them assume various characters, including Kermit and Miss Piggy and even Harry and Meghan, to hilarious effect. Amy, who has been itching since the start to include a Cher song in the play, finally gets her way, demonstrating an incredible vocal ability!

As the play-within-a-play gathers pace, and further evidence of time travel becomes apparent to Dave, the first half ends on a cliff-hanger, leaving the audience wondering what on earth will happen next to redeem the fate of the hapless Michael.

The second half involves an intricate and lengthy plot, requiring the audience’s participation and trust in more ways than one, and that we remain interested and invested in the overall story is testament to the exceptional improvisation and comedic skills of all three cast members. Will the perilous time travel experiment have a happy outcome?

As lead character Dave, Dave Hearn gives a superlative performance, with his natural ability to engage the audience and his impeccable comic timing. Michael Dylan commands our sympathy as he perfectly portrays the nervy and put-upon Michael, and Amy Revelle is wonderful as the feisty Amy, trying to keep everything from careering out of control.

The amazing creative team of Fred Miller, Colin Grenfell and Gregory Clarke worked wonders with design, lighting, and sound, cleverly immersing us in the atmosphere of this time-travelling tale.


Thursday 27 April

National Theatre Live – GOOD

by C.P. Taylor, directed by Dominic Cooke

David Tennant (Doctor Who) makes a much-anticipated return to the West End in a blistering reimagining of one of Britain’s most powerful, political plays.

As the world faces its Second World War, John Halder, a good, intelligent German professor, finds himself pulled into a movement with unthinkable consequences.

Olivier Award-winner Dominic Cooke (Follies) directs C.P. Taylor’s timely tale, with a cast that also features Elliot Levey (Coriolanus) and Sharon Small (The Bay). Filmed live at the Harold Pinter Theatre in London.

*This production will not be broadcast live via satellite. It will be recorded in advance of the release, filmed in front of a live audience.

Certificate: 15

Tickets from £10

Phone: Middleton Arena 0300 303 8633 



Middleton Arena, LCpl Joel Halliwell VC Way, Middleton M24 1AG

Friday 28 April

Ace Lips Events: Comedy Show at the Old Court Room

Another fantastic line up sees some of the very best on the circuit here in Rochdale as previewed in this column.

Liam Pickford (MC)

Doors 7.45pm, start time 8.30pm

The Old Court Room, The Flying Horse, 37 Packer Street, Rochdale OL16 1NJ

Phone: Richard Attwood 07720 849866


Friday 28 April

The Active Living Social is back!

Come and join them for fun-filled music and dance afternoons taking you through the decades.

Have a drink, chat in a warm space, and meet new people and friends.

Bring your own hot drinks cup to help save the environment!

12 May, 2pm - 4pm at Rochdale Leisure Centre

28 April & 19 May, 2:30pm - 4pm at Heywood Sports Village

5 May & 26 May, 2pm - 4pm at Middleton Arena

Ages 18+

£3 per person

Booking is available in person at the centre you wish to attend, or by

emailing or ringing the number below.

Phone: 01706 926205


2.30pm - 4pm

Heywood Sports Village, West Starkey Street, Heywood OL10 4TW

Friday 28 April - Sunday 30 April

RW Dance presents Bad, Boujee & Bashment

Friday 28 April, 6.30pm

Saturday 28 April, 6.30pm

Sunday 30 April, 2pm

Bringing back some of them Old Skool bashment tracks with a sprinkle of badness and topped with some sassy Boujee moves.

As always RW Dance aim to put on an unbelievable dance show. So don’t forget your dancing shoes because this show will certainly get you on your feet!

Tickets from £9

Phone: Middleton Arena 0300 303 8633 


Middleton Arena, LCpl Joel Halliwell VC Way, Middleton M24 1AG

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