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Little Women at Hope Mill Theatre, Manchester – ‘compelling and empowering’

Little Women at Manchester's Hope Mill Theatre. Photo: Anthony Robling

Louisa May Alcott’s literary classic Little Women has been transformed into a fast-paced, exciting musical. It makes its European debut under the direction of Bronagh Lagan at Manchester’s charming Hope Mill Theatre.

The musical tells the story of the four March sisters: Amy wants her own things, Meg doubts her ability to fit in at the ball, Beth yearns to play Mr Laurence’s beautiful piano and Jo wishes to write books and travel – she longs to become a woman of the world.

Nik Corrall’s simple yet versatile design transports us between the March sisters’ home to the fictional land of Jo’s stories with ease. Her tales are brought to life by Iona Holland’s creative choreography, and illuminated by Ben Rogers’ enchanting use of coloured lights and shadow-play.

Amie Giselle-Ward gives a stellar and compelling performance as Jo. She brings a distinct energy to the stage that provokes laughter and tears. Her delivery of Mindi Dickstein’s lyrics, in numbers such as Astonishing and The Fire Within Me, push us to reflect on her pursuit of independence and how it may have been perceived. Her ‘going against the grain’ and choosing her passion before worrying about what others may think is an important reminder that we, as women, have the right to choose our own path.

In the current climate, with both the poor representation and treatment of women in theatre being questioned, this is a welcome and ever-poignant story: an empowering and entertaining musical.

Verdict
Compelling and empowering lyricism alongside energy-filled performances place Little Women as the ideal alternative seasonal show

Production Information

Production
Little Women
Venue
Hope Mill Theatre
City
Manchester
Starts
November 9, 2017
Ends
December 9, 2017
Press night
November 15, 2017
Book
Allan Knee
Music
Jason Howland
Lyrics
Mindi Dickstein
Director
Bronagh Lagan
Musical director
Rickey Long
Choreographer
Iona Holland
Set
Nik Corrall
Lighting
Ben M Rogers
Sound
Calum Robinson
Technical
Andy Collyer (orchestrator), Josh Evans (sound operator), Renny Krupinski (fight director)
Stage manager
Sarah Greenwood
Production manager
Chris Firth
Cast includes
Virge Gilchrist, Amie Giselle-Ward, Joel Harper-Jackson, Connor Hughes, Katie Marie-Carter, Johan Munir, Cathy Read, Tony Stansfield, Anna Stolli, Jemima Watling
Casting
Jane Deitch
Producer
Knockhardy Productions, Hope Mill Theatre, Aria Entertainment
Running time
2hrs 30mins