The Epstein Theatre is promising a packed programme of productions and performances to entertain Liverpool audiences this autumn.
Epstein Entertainments Ltd which runs the grade II listed venue has brought together a busy season of shows which promises something for everyone.
The autumn programme opens on Tuesday, 13 September with a return for Psychic Sally who will visit the theatre as part of her international “10 years and counting” tour which builds on her years of experience as the UK’s most popular touring medium. Expect to be left gobsmacked by her interactive, intriguing and uplifting live show.
Manchester music legends Joy Division are recalled in a new stage production coming to the Epstein on Wednesday, 14 September as part of an autumn tour. Brian Gorman’s New Dawn Fades: A Play About Joy Division & Manchester tells the story of four ordinary lads who, inspired by the punk revolution of 1970s Manchester, came together to form one of the most influential bands of all time. The play includes live performances of some of Joy Division’s best-known songs.
Meanwhile, Adult Panto Tour is back on Thursday, 15 September with Sinderella. Will Cinders make it to the ball with the help of her Fairy Drag Mother and the loveable Buttons, or will her wicked Step Mother Detox manage to stop her?
Comedy favourite and skinny ‘National Treasure’ Mark Watson arrives with his latest touring show This Can’t Be It on Friday, 16 September.
And get ready to immerse yourself in the music of the irrepressible Dolly Parton on Thursday, 22 September when West End star – and sensational impersonator – Kelly O’Brien brings The Dolly Show to the Hanover Street auditorium. Expect all those big hits from the Country legend including Jolene, 9 to 5, Islands in the Stream and I Will Always Love You.
Another music legend takes centre stage on Saturday, 24 September when singer-songwriter John Reilly and pianist and songwriter Lewis Nitikman join forces to present Your Song: A Celebration of the Music of Elton John. Both Sir Elton and lyricist Bernie Taupin have been a massive influence on the two men’s careers – and this is their thank you, which will include both those classic Elton John hit but also some lesser known numbers.
Meanwhile, Asa Murphy celebrates the life and music of another influential singer on Sunday, 25 September when he performs Mack the Knife: The Story of Bobby Darin. Murphy will be backed by the Copacabana Swing Band as he sings a host of Darin favourites including Beyond the Sea, Splish Splash and Dream Lover.
Post-war Labour leader Clement Attlee is the subject of a moving and entertaining play which comes to the Epstein Theatre on Monday 26 and Tuesday 27 September. The production’s visit also coincides with the Labour Party Conference which is being held in Liverpool.
Then it’s time to grab your wands, broomsticks and owls and plunge into the world of Harry Potter as you’ve never seen it before courtesy of the smash hit improvised wizarding play Spontaneous Potter: The Unofficial Improvised Parody. It arrives at the theatre on Thursday, 29 September.
The Bard gets a hilarious makeover in Fringe phenomenon Sh*tfaced Shakespeare on Saturday, 1 October – see Macbeth as you’ve never seen it before, performed in deadly earnest but with an entirely inebriated cast member.
And there’s more classical literature fun on Sunday, 2 October courtesy of those Regency japesters Austentatious. The improvised comedy play which conjures up a unique ‘lost’ Jane Austen classic based on audience suggestion is stuffed with swooning ladies, rakish dukes and romantic assignations.
Shakespeare’s ‘Scottish play’ returns from Tuesday, 4 to Sunday, 9 October courtesy of Daniel Taylor Productions. Four hundred years after it was written, Macbeth remains the playwright’s most brilliant and bloody tale.
The late, great Whitney Houston takes centre stage on Monday, 10 October in the fantastic tribute show The Greatest Love of All, starring Britain’s Got Talent showstopper Belinda Davids along with a live band, backing vocalists and dancers.
International microstar Sean McLoughlin recently supported Ricky Gervais. Now he’s back on the road and heading for the Epstein on Friday, 14 October with his own new tour So Be It.
Then on Saturday, 15 October there’s a chance to catch the brilliant Caravan – considered by many to be the undisputed, unsung heroes of the British Prog Rock movement.
Meanwhile, The Best of Queen on Sunday, 16 October does exactly what it says on the tin. The UK’s biggest Queen tribute band, Majesty, presents its Break Free Tour offering audiences the chance to relive the highlights of Queen’s extraordinary career.
Half-term audiences are being invited to follow the Yellow Brick Road as Regal Entertainments presents The Wizard of Oz from Friday, 21 to Sunday, 30 October, packed with fantastic performances, fabulous costumes and lots of laughs.
November opens with a visit from Ru Paul’s Drag Race dark cabaret star Joe Black. Club Cataclysm on Wednesday, 2 November features an evening of ‘mire, mirth and dirge’ and vaudevillian villainy.
In The Haunting of Blaine Manor, coming to the stage on Friday, 4 November, renowned American parapsychologist Doctor Roy Earle is invited to attend a séance in what is said to be the most haunted building in England. What could possibly go wrong?
Then one of Liverpool’s best-loved stories, Twopence to Cross the Mersey, returns to the Epstein from Saturday, 5 to Saturday, 12 November closing a 15 venue UK tour. Helen Forrester’s classic tale of riches-to-rags is being presented in a new stage production and with a stellar local cast led by Mark Moraghan reprising his role as Helen’s dad plus Parry Glasspool, Daniel Taylor and Lynne Fitzgerald to name a few.
Cult comedian and illusions genius Jerry Sadowitz comes to Liverpool for one night only on Sunday, 13 November with his Not For Anyone live show. And, Brazilian comedian and YouTube star Rodrigo Marquez comes to the Epstein on Monday 14 November with his Portuguese speaking show.
And then on Wednesday, 16 November the comedy continues courtesy of Justin Moorhouse. Stretch & Think sees Moorhouse looking at the current world with uncertain eyes – and pondering what the future is for him in his role as a parent and ‘Northern Joker’.
Judy Garland and Liza Minelli return to the stage in Emma Dears musical production Judy & Liza on Saturday 19 November. This dazzling production tells the turbulent tale of Hollywoods biggest stars against the backdrop of their infamous 1964 London Palladium concert.
Laura Lees’ acclaimed play Masquerade comes to the stage in a brand-new incarnation from Tuesday, 22 to Saturday, 26 November. Directed by James Baker (Cherry Jezebel), the heart-warming (and heart-breaking) tale of love and friendship, transports audiences back to the 1980s and the secret Liverpool club of the same name in a spectacular production.
Enjoy the timeless music of Nat King Cole, Bing Crosby and Frank Sinatra in Christmas Crooners: Baby It’s Cold Outside on Sunday, 27 November.
Then on Monday, 28 November, Ballet Theatre UK presents an exquisite version of the enchanting tale of Beauty and the Beast to a classical score.
December brings a return for the Epstein Theatre’s popular festive panto, and this year young audiences are being transported to the big top with the brilliantly entertaining Goldilocks and the Three Bears.
An all-star cast including David Tag and Mama G will present ‘the greatest show on earth’ with the Regal Entertainment production running from Friday, 9 December to Sunday, 1 January.
The new management team at the helm of The Epstein Theatre is Epstein Entertainments Ltd, a joint venture between Liverpool producers Bill Elms, Artistic and Communications Director; Chantelle Nolan, Artistic and Operations Director; and Regal Entertainments Ltd Company Director Jane Joseph.
Epstein Theatre manager Anthony Proctor says, “I can’t wait to welcome audiences through the doors this autumn – I’m really proud of the programme of shows that we’ve drawn together to present to our theatregoers.
“Whether it’s laugh-out-loud comedy, thrilling – or chilling – drama, brilliant live music or traditional pantomime, I can guarantee a fantastic autumn’s entertainment.”
Image: Jenny Murphy as Helen Forrester – Twopence To Cross The Mersey