17 Days Remaining

Saturday 13th
posted by Morning Star in Arts

Star critics cherry-pick some of the best on offer in the weeks to come

The Barber of Seville
Millennium Centre
Bute Place
February 13-April 8

Upbeat and optimistic, Rossini’s great comic opera gets its first Welsh National Opera production for 30 years in a new translation by Kelley Rourke. Its fantastic slapstick energy, driven by crazy disguises, twists and turns in the plot and are unlikely interventions preceded by one of opera’s best-loved overtures, full of wit and playfulness. The cast includes outstanding comic performers including Andrew Shore as the greedy Doctor Bartolo, directions by Sam Brown and the set designs by the great Ralph Koltai. What’s not to like? Probably nothing at all.

Protect and Survive
The Vaults Theatre
Leake Street, SE1
March 2-6
Taking its title from the British government’s public disinformation booklet about what to do in the event of a nuclear attack, Protect and Survive is set in the early 1980s. With the cold war casting a shadow across the country, the play tells the story of Jack, who lives with the knowledge of a secret government facility hidden deep beneath his family’s farm and his experiences as he explores it with three companions. It is, so the blurb tells us, “a dangerous journey that uncovers entombed guilt, grief and sexual desires. Buried deep underground, not everyone survives.” Hmm. May be worth a punt.

Any Means Necessary
Nottingham Playhouse
Wellington Circus
Until February 20

Inspired by real-life events, this play focuses on the human story at the heart of a national scandal. It’s based on the exposure in 2011 of the activities of an undercover police officer who had been living amongst an activist community in Nottingham, which lifted the lid on a whole series of covert policing operations dating back decades. Revelations of women coerced into relationships with these officers has resulted in a public apology from the Met police and an admission that their behaviour was an abuse of the women’s human rights. This drama by Kefi Chadwick, directed by Giles Croft, explores love, betrayal, secrets and lies and exposes the emotional brutality of a police policy that used any means necessary to undermine political protest.

The Age of Abstraction: Women Artists
Graves Gallery
Surrey St
Until June 25

Abstraction was one of the most significant developments in Western art of the 20th century, with artists eschewing direct representation to create a new visual language that questioned the limits of visual representation. It is believed that it was a female artist, Hilma Af Kilnt, who first pioneered abstraction and this exhibition looks at the women who followed in her footsteps during the 1960s and 1970s.