Gadgets and giggles with Jason

Posted 7th November 2023

Morbid history, marvellous music and giggles galore. Pulse’s Sammy Jones takes a stroll through November’s on stage attractions…

We’ll start with a little reminder that Carabosse Theatre has continuing performances of Bram Stoker’s Dracula at Stantonbury Theatre until November 4.

It is being described as a ‘sensory feast’ and it’s one that has a cast of class, and a whole host of clever people adding further value – ‘Count’ them: MK Women’s Choir, Act Out/Act Up Drama Group, illusionist David Penn and MK College Art Students taking care of a ‘pop up’ Gallery Exhibition.

Later in the month, Stantonbury has a gruesome sing-song with Wolverton Gilbert & Sullivan Society taking you back to the dark alleyways of Victorian London, and the Old Time Music Hall of the East End, with all eyes on the working girls and fellas who lived there.
‘With a mix of rousing songs, comedy and pathos, the show gives a strident and powerful voice to Jack the Ripper’s victims,’ promise the creatives.

Given the subject matter, you shouldn’t be surprised to learn this isn’t a show for little people.
At The Stables, funny gal Rosie Jones rocks up with Triple Threat (Nov 2), which will see her ponder whether she is ‘a national treasure, a little prick, or somewhere in between!’

Unapologetic cheekiness, nonsensical fun and unadulterated JOY is to be expected.
Having delivered the goods in the West End performing in the musical My Fair Lady, Stephen K Amos is back with more funnies in Oxymoron (Nov 4). Hurry if you want to bag a seat. There weren’t too many left at the time of writing…

And be quick if you fancy spending the evening with Jason Byrne in The Ironic Bionic Man (Nov 16). If ever there was a fitting title…
“I’m full of fecking gadgets,” laughs the 51-year-old, explaining the name of his new show, “At this stage in my life, I have ironically become bionic. I have six stents in my heart, I’ve got a wonky eye, it used to turn in when I was a kid so they fixed it and my dad used to call it my bionic eye, and had cartilage taken out of my knee because I ripped it on the toilet.”

And, to coin a phrase made famous by another funny fella, there’s more…
“My left arm was dislocated fully in Australia. I’ve got staples on my lungs and my balls don’t work anymore because I got the snip as well.”
The Ironic Bionic Man is Jason’s most personal stand-up show to date – partly down to that material about his own health and mortality, but it’s also because he talks about his beloved father, Paddy, who died just before the pandemic.

Milton Keynes Theatre has programmed a couple of classics before we get near to the panto season, starting with Jesus Christ Superstar (Oct 30-Nov 4)

Set against the backdrop of an extraordinary series of events during the final weeks in the life of Jesus Christ, as seen through the eyes of Judas, this delivery reflects the rock roots that defined a generation, with songs including I Don’t Know How to Love Him
and Superstar.

Then comes the Rodgers and Hammerstein musical, The King and I (Nov 7-11). This reboot has won four Tony Awards, including for Best Musical and Best Revival, and the score is superb.

One of my earliest – and best – theatre memories was watching Yul Brynner in the role of The King on the London stage. You won’t get Yul, but you will still get a sublime show.

Welsh National Opera returns with Ainadamar (Nov 16) and La traviata (Nov 18) as part of their annual visit here.
Ainadamar, Arabic for ‘Fountain of Tears’, is the ancient well near Granada where the Spanish poet and playwright Federico García Lorca – labelled by the Falangist militia as a ‘homosexual socialist’ – was brutally executed in 1936 during the Spanish Civil War.

Golijov’s twice-Grammy-winning opera reimagines Lorca’s life through a flashback of memories by his muse and collaborator, the actress Margarita Xirgu.

Take your seat for an emotive and dazzling kaleidoscope of music, dance and theatre, where flamenco meets opera. Sung in Spanish, with English surtitles.

So that’s Ainadamar explained, and Verdi’s timeless classic La traviata is a heart-wrenching tale of thwarted love, scandal and self-sacrifice. And they say that Eastenders has it all going on!

Liza Goddard, Matthew Kelly and Simon Shepperd start in Noises Off (Nov 21-25), following the on and offstage antics of a touring theatre company as they stumble through the fictional farce, Nothing On.

At odds with that title, there most certainly is plenty going on in theatre-land this month!

Secure your seat:

The Stables:
Milton Keynes Theatre:
Stantonbury Theatre: