Welcome to Stan's Cafe

Archive for the ‘Reviews’ Category

Sounding the River

Friday, October 4th, 2013

Last night, by elbowing aside wife and child, I was able to be the first member of the public to enter Sounding the River, the new environmental installation project led by Jony Easterby. mac has a proud history of commissioning such projects and this piece, which mostly follows the path of the river Rae upstream from the arts centre, marks the end of their Fiftieth Birthday Celebrations. As expected it’s a delight. Continue reading “Sounding the River” »

Legend of Mike Smith

Thursday, September 19th, 2013

I missed the press night for Soweto Kinch’s Legend of Mike Smith in The Studio at The REP / Library of Birmingham and I’m glad I did. That night must have been ‘an event’, celebrating both the birth of a show and a venue, I was pleased to be able to concentrate on the show, which I really enjoyed. Continue reading “Legend of Mike Smith” »

Dance & more Dance

Wednesday, May 15th, 2013

Having very much enjoyed Surtra – the Sidi Larbi/ Shaolin monk/Antony Gormley kung-fu/dance-fest at the Hippodrome last week I’m on the lookout for a bit more contemporary dance. With Pilot Night on Thursday night at our place and Friday nights domestically in demand I may struggle to get to Dan Canham’s Ours Was The Fen Country which is a shame as it sounds like an intriguing idea and worth checking out.

Movie Watch

Sunday, February 10th, 2013


The guy I sat next to on the first leg of the flight out spoke of flying as a limbo zone that makes people emotionally vulnerable. He was a nice chap but on this I’m not sure I agreed with him, anyway he recommended the film Searching For Sugarman which he had just watched and we parted. Dutifully I watched it on the return journey and – never mind limbo zone – it’s a really moving film. I’m sure being on a plane STOPPED me blubbingI A member of cabin crew was approaching to tidy away trays, one has to retain some measure of decorum. Continue reading “Movie Watch” »


Thursday, December 13th, 2012

I have been very much enjoying running a workshop for theatre makers here at the Setagaya Public Theatre, Tokyo. A significant pleasure, beyond the great bunch of people on the workshop, is working with a translator. I am learning miniscule pieces of Japanese but decided to start today with a very short English lesson.

Last night a conversation confirmed that the true richness of the word PLAY does not translate simply into Japanese. As the multiple readings of this word are key to Stan’s Cafe’s approach to theatre it seemed worth explaining how we stage a PLAY, how children PLAY (and adults can also be PLAYFUL) and how there can be a PLAY back and forth between two things. Continue reading “Translation” »


Tuesday, October 9th, 2012


Last night Fred, a brand new theatew company staged a preview of The Merchant of Venice @ A E Harris. There were strong performances and good, restrained use of three different playing spaces in the venue. My only other experience of the play was as a teenager, when I recall being shocked and dispirited that the play didn’t end when the whole – Shylock / Pound of Flesh – situation is resolved and that there was still another act to sit through. Here the action zips along and the comic elements of the play are to the fore, making it an enjoyable evening.

Fierce Saturday

Tuesday, April 3rd, 2012

The 2012 Fierce Festival program seems to have something for everyone this year. On Saturday we started off a classic site-specific orienteering adventure in which you’ve had a good time before you even find the art. A trail of yellow fierce balloons guided us in off the Lichfield onto a canal tow path, under cavernous bridges to Graeme Miller’s Track. Continue reading “Fierce Saturday” »


Tuesday, February 14th, 2012

As an earnest sixteen year old, a mentor of mine recommended a film “you’d like it James, it’s four hours long and nothing happens, it’s just people walking through the woods, no one says anything”. That turned out to be a factually inaccurate description of what turned out to be, not just a film I like, but perhaps a film I like more than any other: Stalker. Continue reading “Zona” »

Jobs Well Done

Saturday, January 21st, 2012

I was given the Steve Jobs Biography for Christmas. It is a quick and diverting read if you are interested in computers/technology/big business. There are some good anecdotes and some startling stories. Initially there seemed little that can be learned from the book and applied to Stan’s Cafe but my opinion is changing on that. Most valuable for me at the moment is some back up for my response to the questions that are starting to come in from undergraduates about our relationship with audiences. Continue reading “Jobs Well Done” »


Friday, May 27th, 2011


It was tempting to relax in the warm evening air with friends beside the lake drinking a long cool German beer or two, but when you have a show on in a festival it is often tough to get to see other people’s shows in that festival. Here was a chance, I took it and glad I was.

Daniel Abreu
is a Spanish Dancer/Choreographer, his solo dance piece Perro is riveting, witty, flirtatious, charged with life. His limbs appear to be those of different people, he transforms into a stag, gravity shifts, his limbs blur, he is a horse perhaps, he is a hundred different people for an instant. The piece is stripped down and minimal for passages until he presses the accelerator and whirls into overdrive. There is poise and flare and acting. The lighting is simple, bold and effective; the music distant and seductive and not always in charge.

I loved it.

Stan's Cafe Theatre: Company No. 3095751 | VAT No. 670 5071 49 | Reg Office: c/o Laytons, 22 St John St, Manchester M3 4EB
Cookie and Privacy Policies | Website design: www.f22design.com

Support Us