The Secret Seven, Storyhouse, Chester, until Sunday

Warrington Guardian:

THERE is still time to catch the world premiere of The Secret Seven – and it is right on our doorstep.

Enid Blyton’s characters from the late 1940s and early 50s are finally enjoying their stage debut at Storyhouse in Chester, the new £37million arts centre.

Written for the stage by by Glyn Maxwell and directed by Alex Clifton, The Secret Seven is brought to you by the team behind Alice in Wonderland, Wind in the Willows and Stig of the Dump.

The young cast includes Harry Jardine, Harriet Slater, Kaffe Keating, Molly Logan, Aryana Ramkhalawon, George Caple and Anton Cross.

And the Cherrydale gang’s first adventure for the stage will see them on the trail of strange clues which lead them through the village and to a mystery. 

Why is there a strange fire burning in a cottage and who’s the little girl who can walk in the air?

Storyhouse brought a permanent theatre back to Chester for the first time in a decade when a 1930s Odeon building was transformed into a 800-seat auditorium, a 200-seat studio theatre, a restaurant two bars and a 100-seat boutique cinema.

And a number of big productions have already come to the venue from Willy Russell’s Blood Brothers to Monty Python’s Spamalot.

Secret Seven finishes its run at Storyhouse in Chester on Sunday. Visit


Andy Zaltzman, The Lowry, Salford Quays, Sunday

Warrington Guardian:

ANDY Zaltzman is a comic, broadcaster and author who has stood out from the crowd thanks to his unique brand of political satire.

So the 43-year-old, who regularly works with The Daily Show’s John Oliver, will have plenty to talk about following the chaos of Brexit and the Trump presidency.

Andy is best known as the presenter of The Bugle, a satirical podcast which launched 10 years ago and now averages one million downloads a month.

  • Visit


Baskerville – A Sherlock Holmes Mystery, Everyman Playhouse, Liverpool, until Saturday

Warrington Guardian:

READY to solve the mystery?

Just five actors will be bringing 42 characters to life for this adaptation of Arthur Conan Doyle’s classic, The Hound of The Baskervilles.

Blending drama, mystery and tongue-in-cheek humour, Baskerville received rave reviews when it howled onto stage in December.

Sir Charles Baskerville is dead. A look of horror on his face and, near to his body, the foot prints of a gigantic hound. 

Has the curse of the Baskervilles struck again? At once, Sherlock Holmes and trusty Watson are on the trail, hotfooting it to Devonshire in a race to save the next heir to Baskerville Hall.

Jay Taylor and Patrick Robinson star as Sherlock Holmes and Doctor Watson respectively in a show written by Ken Ludwig and directed by Loveday Ingram.

  • Baskerville is at Everyman Playhouse until Saturday. Visit


Able’s Army, Old Town House, Buttermarket Street, Warrington, Saturday, from 8pm, free

Warrington Guardian:

WHEN many venues have barely woken up after Christmas and New Year parties it is good to know that independent music bar Old Town House is already championing the live circuit.

Able’s Army – for fans of The Cribs, Arctic Monkeys and Franz Ferdinand – are an indie rock trio from Huddersfield. 

Mike Foy, James Livesey and George Corless met while working together at a cinema and formed the band after bonding over a shared love of Bowie, Britpop and The Beatles.

They will be supported by indie/grunge band SlipperFace.


Jersey Boys, Liverpool Empire, until January 20

Warrington Guardian:

THE global stage sensation and winner of 57 awards comes to Liverpool.

Jersey Boys tells the true story of the rise and fall of the 1960s rock and roll group The Four Seasons. 

Based on the book by Marshall Brickman and Rick Elice, the production shows how four boys from the wrong side of the tracks invented their own sound and sold 100 million records worldwide.

Original Four Seasons member Bob Gaudio came up with the idea of a musical to tell the band’s story in the early 2000s.

It was a huge success running in Broadway from 2005 to 2017.

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Cosgrove Hall Films Exhibition, Waterside Arts Centre, Sale, until February 17

Warrington Guardian:

DID you grow up with Danger Mouse and Count Duckula?

Then you should head to the Waterside in Sale where Cosgrove Hall’s adored creations have taken up residency.

Waterside is the new home of the internationally acclaimed Cosgrove Hall Films Archive and to celebrate the arts venue is running the Cosgrove Hall Films exhibition until February 17, supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund.

It aims to shed a spotlight on the animation studio’s creative processes from paper to puppets.

The Chorlton-cum-Hardy based studio was founded by Brian Cosgrove and Mark Hall in 1976.

It quickly became the UK’s largest animation house bringing together some of the best puppet-makers, actors and animators who worked on the likes of Roald Dahl’s The BFG, Kenneth Graham’s The Wind in the Willows and Terry Pratchett’s Truckers.

The studio closed in 2009 and until now the archive had been hidden away in a storage in a former pie factory in MediaCity.


Elf The Musical, The Lowry, Salford Quays, until Sunday

Warrington Guardian:

CHRISTMAS is not quite over yet. Not while Elf is still on stage.

If you are trying to keep the festive magic going just a few more days then look no further.

The West End’s Ben Forster plays Buddy who is accidentally transported to the North Pole as a toddler and is raised among Santa’s elves.

Based on the hit movie starring Will Ferrell, the story sees Buddy return to New York to find his real father.

There he spreads his own Christmas cheer and finds love in the unlikely form of Atomic Kitten Liz McClarnon’s Jovie, a sarcastic, disillusioned shop worker.

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