on February 26, 2013
The Opera House in Manchester is a grand old theatre, located fairly centrally, with car-parks, bars and restaurants close by. Every year at Christmas, they put on a spectacular Christmas pantomime - this year it was Peter Pan, a great way to get into the festive spirit. Adults and children alike in our party thoroughly enjoyed the show.The Opera House, as well as staging some wonderful shows is also a beautiful building. It is Grade II listed and dates back to 1915 when it first opened as a theatre. Check out the facade - it is beautiful with lovely Ionic columns.It actually closed as a theatre after World War II. It then became a cinema for a while and even a bingo hall, before (thankfully) it became a theatre again in 1984. We first came here in the early 1990's to see the British preview of Andrew Lloyd Webber's "Phantom of the Opera". We were blown away by the theatre and the show and have been back many times since.The theatre underwent a refurbishment in 2003, but they have kept the wonderful lush and luxurious colour scheme in the auditorium where it feels extremely grand. There are some negatives - the seats do not provide heaps of legroom (typical for old theatres) and are quite narrow and straight, there are not many toilets (you always have to queue) and sometimes your view can be obstructed a little, depending on where you sit. That said though, the opulence, history and atmosphere of this theatre more than makes up for these points. The cheapest seats are in the Grand Tier - avoid these like the plague though if you don't like heights - they are steeper and higher than you would ever believe possible.We had seats in the stalls and did get a good view. The show starred David Hasselhoff as Captain Hook - perfect casting, he was flamboyant and camp and suited the role perfectly. The stage sets were spectacular, there was plenty of slapstick comedy, some audience participation, lots of jokes that went over the kids heads but it was great, festive, family fun. We loved it.Afterwards we went to Spinningfields which is very close to the theatre. This was a great post theatre thing to do. Every year, at Hardman Square, they transform the place into a bit of festive winter wonderland. There was an ice-rink, you don't need to pre-book. they also had an indoor area with lots of chalet type food stalls and a winter bar. It was the perfect activity after the theatre and a lovely thing to do.
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