Saturday, September 18

FEATURES

Spotlight on Rhys Whitfield or ‘Raoul’, The Phantom of The Opera
Interviews

Spotlight on Rhys Whitfield or ‘Raoul’, The Phantom of The Opera

The Phantom of The Opera returns to Her Majesty’s Theatre which has been its home since October 1986 and has been seen by over 140 million viewers worldwide.  After an extended period of closure, the play has recently re-opened with new cast members and we caught up with new West End cast member Rhys Whitfield, who takes on the role of Raoul, after playing the same role for the UK tour. To book tickets for The Phantom of The Opera go to https://lwtheatres.co.uk/whats-on/the-phantom-of-the-opera/ You are stepping into the role of Raoul and following in the footsteps of many great performers over the last 35 years.  How have you individualised the role to suit your own style? I suppose by trying not to shy away from the chances to bring humour and levity to the role.&...
Spotlight on Kayi Ushe or ‘Simba’ in The Lion King
Interviews

Spotlight on Kayi Ushe or ‘Simba’ in The Lion King

The Lion King has returned in all its colourful splendour to The Lyceum Theatre.  As the existing cast welcome new members, we asked Kayi Ushe what it means to him to join the cast playing the role of Simba. To book tickets or find further information about The Lion King go to the website https://thelionking.co.uk/london/#booking-information Is Simba a role that you have always wanted to play? Being a part of the Lion King has always been a goal for me. There’s so much to explore in every aspect of the show. So, to get to play Simba, a character that has resonated with me and so many since childhood, is a blessing. As a new cast member to the team, how have your previous stage roles prepared you for this very energetic lead role? Simba is such a high energy rol...
Spotlight on George Asprey or ‘Scar’ from The Lion King
Interviews

Spotlight on George Asprey or ‘Scar’ from The Lion King

After a long period of closure, London gave ‘The Lion King’ a very warm welcome back to the stage.  Opening night was a ‘roaring’ success and all the smiles and standing ovations made the period of lockdown fade into the distant memory.  One of the characters making a triumphant return was Scar (George Asprey), whose lack of morals and slippery cunning, makes him the villain people love to hate. We asked George Asprey about his return to the role of Scar, his costume, playing a bad guy and Lego! To book tickets to see ‘The Lion King’ go to the website - https://thelionking.co.uk/london/#booking-information After such a long break from performing, how did you prepare for your return to the stage? I managed to keep myself physically fit during the lockdown perio...
Musical Theatre Returns to Cheshire
Interviews

Musical Theatre Returns to Cheshire

Mid Cheshire Musical Theatre Company are back! After a 2-year enforced absence from the stage due to Covid restrictions, Sunshine on Leith is set to become one of the first full scale musicals to be produced in Cheshire. North West End UK spoke to director Louise Colohan ahead of the show to discuss, amongst other things the challenges they have faced bringing theatre back to Cheshire. You directed the last Mid Cheshire production of Evita which was an unbelievable two years ago. Are you glad to be back at the helm for Sunshine on Leith? Mid Cheshire are a fantastic society and under the chairmanship of Sarah Sherwood are looking to putting on some really exciting productions. It is great to have some of the same creative team and crew return once again and we hope to be able to rep...
Leeds Playhouse’s Alexander Ferris talks about telling refugee stories in Freedom Project
Interviews

Leeds Playhouse’s Alexander Ferris talks about telling refugee stories in Freedom Project

The desperate scenes at Kabul Airport, or people paddling in inflatables across the English Channel, act as a stark reminder we live in a very unstable world and Leeds Playhouse’s Freedom Project aims to highlight the experiences of unaccompanied minors coming to this country. Leeds has a proud history of welcoming people fleeing oppression, and the Playhouse was the UK’s first Theatre of Sanctuary. The programme offers a range of creative spaces for refugees and people seeking asylum to express themselves and create networks of support as they find their feet in a new country. There are now at least 20 similar projects across the country, and this challenging production is performed by Theatre of Sanctuary alumni Hossein Ahmadi and Mohammadreza Bazarbashi, who themselves came here ...
Interview with Oliver Senton of ‘The School of Night’
Interviews

Interview with Oliver Senton of ‘The School of Night’

After a long time away from the stage, the Fraters are set to return with their first shows being held at a rather unique location; the ‘Willow Globe’ in Wales.  Following their inaugural gig many years ago at ‘Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre’, it seems only fitting now that they return to a replica of ‘The Globe’, that was grown organically by planting willow in the shape of Shakespeare’s magnificent theatre.  The School of Night’s unusual and eccentric type of improvising stimulates the literary appetite, whilst catching you off guard with their humorous sleight of hand.  This event at the ‘Willow Globe’ is to be held on the 11th of September at 3pm and 7pm. To book tickets for this event go to https://www.shakespearelink.org.uk/productions/2021/9/11/the-school-of-night ...
Lucy May Barker stars in a unique staging of Mamma Mia at Harewood House
Interviews

Lucy May Barker stars in a unique staging of Mamma Mia at Harewood House

Lucy May Barker has travelled the globe playing Sophie Sheridan searching for her long-lost dad in smash hit musical Mamma Mia and she rejoins the show for its first ever open-air production at Harwood House near Leeds. This show has been seen by over 65 million people in 50 productions in 16 different languages, plus two blockbusting movies. Lucy played Sophie in the West End and joins a cast full of Mamma Mia veterans for this run until 30th August. The pandemic forced Lucy off the stage so she took a job with the NHS HR Peoples Services Team organising the redeployment of emergency staff, but she is now raring to get back onstage under the stars. Our Yorkshire Editor Paul Clarke caught up with Lucy as she finished a demanding week of technical rehearsals for a version of Mamma...
Jekyll and Hyde seen from a very different angle at Pitlochry Festival Theatre
Interviews

Jekyll and Hyde seen from a very different angle at Pitlochry Festival Theatre

There have been numerous versions of Robert Louis Stevenson’s Jekyll and Hyde over the years and Pitlochry Festival Theatre is the latest company to rethink this classic tale of science and madness. Hannah Lavery’s adaptation spins the story right around to bring the peripheral female characters front and centre offering their versions of the chaos unleashed when Dr Jekyll goes in search of his darker second nature. Just to make it even more challenging, Lavery has written it as a monologue to be performed by Pitlochry regular Alicia McKenzie. Our Features Editor Paul Clarke spoke to Alicia about taking on a classic text in a new way and getting ready to step onto the stage on her own. Before you took the job were you familiar with this classic tale of what happens when you meddl...
An onstage garden paradise is promised at Leeds Playhouse
Interviews

An onstage garden paradise is promised at Leeds Playhouse

During the pandemic precious time spent in the great outdoors has kept many people safe as they strolled round parks or tended their allotments and gardens. In response a team of older performers have decided to create a new botanical paradise on the vast Quarry space at Leeds Playhouse where they will share their personal stories, visions and dreams of times past, present and future creating a garden out of nothing The Promise of a Garden is a show that will blend performance, dance, music, film and photography to create blossoming moments of joy and reflection. Our Yorkshire Editor Paul Clarke asked Alan Lyddiard who is directing The Promise of a Garden to find out what audiences might expect The Promise of a Garden is billed as an unusual hybrid production so what audiences...
Spotlight on Nigel Planer – writer of All Above Board
Interviews

Spotlight on Nigel Planer – writer of All Above Board

As we look forward to Nigel Planer’s new play ‘All Above Board’ coming to the stage in partnership with The Northern Comedy Theatre, we asked Nigel about playwriting, his views on comedy and where did the idea for his character Neil from ‘The Young Ones’, come from? For further details of ‘All Above Aboard’ including tour dates and booking information, follow this link to The Northern Comedy Theatre’s website - https://northerncomedytheatre.com/ Your new play ‘All Above Board’ is due to premiere in New Brighton on the 23rd August.  Without giving away too much, can you give us a brief summary of the plot of the play? Well, it’s a farce, so the plot is a bit intricate, but I’ll have a go. Timothy Upton-Fell has quit the world of banking and now - for all the wrong r...