top of page
  • Writer's pictureSTEVE COOKE AATA


 previews, reviews, interviews, and recommendations with Steve Cooke






Little shop of Horrors: Octagon Theatre, Bolton.

Review by Eileen Earnshaw

It’s always a joy to attend an event at the Octagon Theatre especially following the extensive re-furbishment and the Little Shop of Horrors fulfilled every expectation.

Written by Howard Ashman in 1986 when he was the creator of the Broadway’s renowned WPA Theatre. Little Shop of Horrors has maintained a popularity amongst theatre goers since this time. He was also an integral part of the renaissance of the Disney Empire with his work on The Little Mermaid and Beauty and the Beast. He passed away in 1991.

The music was written by Alan Menken who holds six Oscars and nineteen Oscar nominations.

The director of this particular production is Lotte Wakeham whose credits include the world premiere of The Book Thief which was nominated as the Best Musical Production in UK Theatre Awards. She has been resident director at the Octagon for the last several years.

The musical director is Livi Van Warmelo a graduate of the Royal Academy of Music with distinction levels M/A and currently working as free-lance MD/Supervisor/Arranger/composer across the U.K.

Choreography is by Sundeep Saini, puppet maker and puppet director is Micheal Fowler.

The principals were Laura Jane Mattewson as Audrey, the glamourous love interest and Oliver Mawdsley as Seymour who nourishes an unrequited love for her. Matthew Ganly plays her psychotic lover. Andrew Whitehead played Mr Mushnik, his daughters, Crystal, Chiffon and Ronnette were played by Janna May, Chardai Shaw and Zweyla Mitchell Dos Santos.

This is a remarkable production, the musicianship a pleasure to hear, especially that of the three daughters. Comic timing of all actors impeccable, the characterisations sharply defined. The Octagon Theatre can accept yet another accolade in the production of live theatre.

The story is, in a near bankrupt florists on skid row, there is discovery of a ‘mysterious and interesting plant’ which has the ability to grant success in love and wealth to the one who feeds it. The problem, being its fondness for human flesh. As it grows, the plant becomes more demanding until the lover, and Mr Mushnik with the help of Seymour are consumed, it grows until eventually it consumes the whole set as well as the cast. Cuttings are taken and its children are spread throughout the whole of America. The production is a highly entertaining, wonderfully musical, metaphor for the under-dog succeeding in spite of the odds.


On until Saturday 18 May

Octagon Theatre, Howell Croft South, Bolton, BL1 1SB

Box Office: 01204 520661 (option 2)

General enquiries:


Little Glastonboro 2024

Preview by Steve Cooke

Following last year’s very popular Little Glastonboro we are promised that 2024 is ‘going to be bigger than ever before!’

This much-anticipated local event combines headline artists, top bands, and local legends.

They are a local company who have built a strong reputation for supporting local business and the community while delivering top class events like this one.

Little Glastonboro will not only have special guests from the Dance Music scene but there also will be a kids offer in their new kids' zone plus a food village – a real festival for the whole family.

Headline acts to include:

Ultrabeat - electronic dance music group formed in 2002 and still going strong!

Boomin - not just a cover band these talented guys also write their own original music that has seen them supporting artists such as The Script, Scouting For Girls, McFly and Ndubs.

Stax of Soul - a reputation that needs no introduction, the UK's genuine original 9-piece band born and bred in Manchester back in 1983.

22 Jun 2024, 13:00 – 22:00

Littleborough Cricket Club, Denhurst Rd, Littleborough OL15 9LD, UK



Preview by Steve Cooke

This intimate, immersive and voyeuristic take on a folk horror classic Is based on the 1970s TV play Robin Redbreast. An original production at Aviva Studios from Maxine Peake, Sarah Frankcom, Imogen Knight, Daisy Johnson and Gazelle Twin blending folk horror with immersive storytelling and live music.

Norah is an outsider in the village. A TV script editor and city dweller seeking a slower pace of life after a breakup. But the village is not as it seems. Ancient rituals bubble below the surface and Norah finds herself trapped in an idyllic nightmare. With the villagers closing in, Norah must fight for control of her body, fertility and ultimately her story. Will she escape before the harvest?

Starring Maxine Peake as an increasingly paranoid Norah, Robin/Red/Breast is an intense live performance that blurs the boundaries between theatre, art and music. Take your seat, put on headphones and get inside Norah’s head. Who is watching her, and what do they want?

Robin/Red/Breast is a modern retelling of John Bowen’s cult TV play – often seen as a precursor to the iconic film The Wicker Man – that tackles complex issues around fertility, violence and power.

Peake, Frankcom and Knight – co-founders of Music, Art, Activism and Theatre (MAAT) – join forces with Booker Prize-nominated writer and Punchdrunk collaborator Daisy Johnson, and musician Gazelle Twin, who’s known for fusing live music with performance art. Robin/Red/Breast is Peake, Frankcom and Knight’s latest collaboration for Factory International following They (MIF23), The Nico Project (MIF19), The Skriker (MIF15) and The Masque of Anarchy (MIF13).

‘A tale of bodily autonomy, power and rebirth, Robin/Red/Breast is a striking and subversive adaptation for our times.’

15 - 26 May 2024

Aviva Studios, Water Street, Manchester M3 4JQ

14+ Strong language and violent themes.

Accessibility features available for this event: BSL Interpreting Wheelchair Access

For ticketing and box office related enquiries, please contact or call 0333 322 8679 (phone lines are open Monday to Saturday, 10am to 6pm).




Thursday 09 May 2024

Littleborough Historical & Archaeological Society

GM Archaeological Update by Ian Miller.

Light refreshments are served on arrival and non-members are very welcome to attend.

There is a small charge of £3.50 for non-members and £2.50 for members.

Meetings are held on the 2nd Thursday of each month at 8.00pm (doors open at 7.30pm) in the fully accessible (via the station ramp) History Centre on Platform 2 of Littleborough Train Station.

Free parking is available locally within the town centre and nearby streets.

Members £2.50 and Non-members £3.50

Phone: 01706 377685

Doors open 7.30pm, 8pm start

History Centre, Platform 2, Littleborough Railway Station, Railway Street, Littleborough OL15 8AF


Friday 10 May 2024

Rat Pack – Swingin’ at the Sands

Take three great singers, add a dash of comedy and rousing camaraderie with a pinch of the greatest songs ever written and what do you get? A perfect night’s entertainment with The Rat Pack – Swingin’ at the Sands!

This fully choreographed homage to the greatest performers in known history features stars of the hit West End show The Rat Pack, Live From Las Vegas and features such favourites as I’ve Got You Under My Skin and Mr Bojangles, not to mention the numbers you can’t help singing and dancing along to, such as New York New York, That’s Life and, of course, My Way.

Alongside faithfully recreating the style, panache and wonderful vocals of these all-time greats, Rat Pack – Swingin’ at the Sands also brings its own brand of comedy, making sure every party goes with a bang and leaving you wistfully wishing for the bygone days of the ‘Kings of Cool’.

Tickets from £24

Phone: Middleton Arena 0300 303 8633 


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


Thursday 09 May 2024 - Saturday 11 May 2024

Visit Fireground Museum

Join us at Fireground this week to discover Greater Manchester's firefighting story.

Fire museum attractions are on show inside the museum including our collection of historic firefighting artefacts from the 18th century to present day, plus home-made refreshments in the new Fireground Café, and souvenirs from our fantastic new gift shop! We have a wide choice ranging from toddler to collector.

Fireground is open to visitors on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays, 10am - 4pm.

Under 4s are free, Children (aged 4-15) and Concessions £5, Adults £7 and Family (4 people) £20.

Phone: Fireground 01706 341219

Open Thursday, Friday & Saturday from 10am - 4pm

Fireground, Maclure Road, Rochdale OL11 1DN


Saturday 11 May 2024

Riverside Artisan Market

Running on the second Saturday of every month, the successful Riverside Artisan Market returns again to Rochdale Riverside this weekend.

A big thankyou to all our customers for helping us to grow this market every month.

A warm welcome is waiting from over 30 small independent businesses who grow, rear, make or bake what you see. All different, all quality and made by the people you speak to.

From artisan meats to hand made fudge and glass creations.

From room sprays, wax melts, handmade soaps and quirky gift ideas

From preserves, chutneys, oils and vinegars to delicious savoury pies, sweet treats and fresh fruit and veg and so much more.

Come say hi, let us know what you think and while you’re here check out the great Rochdale Riverside and the other lovely places Rochdale Town Centre has to offer.


10am - 4pm

Riverside Retail & Leisure Complex, Riverside Walk, Rochdale OL16 1TR


Saturday 11 May 2024

An Evening of Sea Shanty Music featuring Lytham St Annes Sea Shanty Crew, including Pie and Peas Supper

Organised by Rotary Rochdale in support of the President's Charity to celebrate 200 years of the RNLI and raise funds for the Lytham St Annes Lifeboat Stations.

Full details and ticket information is available on the Rotary Rochdale website.

Booking is essential


Phone: Linda M Mainwaring 07773 714 907


Hollingworth Lake Rowing Club, Lake Bank, Littleborough OL15 0D

  celebrating creative arts and artists - an oasis of positivity supporting individual and community wellbeing.


3 views0 comments


bottom of page