Saturday, September 18

Yorkshire & Humber

Heathers the Musical – Sheffield Lyceum
Yorkshire & Humber

Heathers the Musical – Sheffield Lyceum

Based on the 1989 Cult film of the same name written by Daniel Walters, Heathers the Musical with its shocking moments makes you question if the story in today’s society, isn’t as unfortunately, subversive or extreme as it once was. The musical being a camp, comedic tribute to the film it has also gained the same cult following, with numerous chequered school skirts in the audience as proof. Book, music and lyrics by Kevin Murphy and Laurence o’Keefe and directed by Andy Fickman, the plot races you through a ride of nonstop twists and turns and doesn’t give you time to catch your breath. The toxic Westerberg High School hierarchy where the Heathers (the ‘It’ girls) rule, dictate and manipulate, keep their own kind of order and the rest of the school live in awe and fear of them. The Heath...
Waitress – Leeds Grand
Yorkshire & Humber

Waitress – Leeds Grand

One of the glories of musical theatre is no subject will ever be too offbeat to become a hit. Who would have thought a show about an obscure American revolutionary who raps would be a worldwide sensation, and the same applies to Waitress which appears to be about making desserts in a diner. Of course, the fact that waitress Jenna is a whizz with sugar and whipped cream with their outlandish titles like ‘my eggs betrayed me’ is just a metaphor for her messed up life in an abusive marriage to Earl, and thwarted dreams of her own shop selling delicious pies. Luckily, she finds a new family and support network in her classic American diner with fellow waitresses Becky who is caring for her sick husband, and daffy Dawn who has never been on a date. Jenna falls pregnant bringing her in...
Peaceophobia – Oastler Market Car Park
Yorkshire & Humber

Peaceophobia – Oastler Market Car Park

When feminist Carol Hanisch observed that ‘the personal is political’ she could have looking into the distant future and seeing this powerful piece about the experiences of three British Pakistani men in a Britain increasingly at war with itself. One of the more depressing aspects of recent British theatre is its seeming reluctance to produce work that speaks truth to power, but that is not a charge that can be levelled at Bradford’s Common Wealth who were set up to do just that. Peaceophobia has its roots in local activism when Speakers Corner – who offer a safe space for local Asian women – ran a car meet with Bradford Modified Club to challenge Islamophobia after racist leaflets were shoved through doors. Tonight, we are huddled in a draughty soon to be demolished multi-story ...
School of Rock the Musical – Hull New Theatre
Yorkshire & Humber

School of Rock the Musical – Hull New Theatre

There are a dozen good reasons to go and see School of Rock the Musical - the 12 super-talented children, stars every one. Actually, make that a baker’s dozen - the 13th good reason is an adult, who was the most childish of them all. Hull’s New Theatre welcomed audiences back for the first time since Covid hit, and it was Andrew Lloyd Webber’s West End smash hit making its first UK and Ireland tour of the venue that had theatregoers rushing back in their droves. Based on the 2003 movie of the same name, the story centres around Dewey Finn (an energetic Jake Sharp, the man-child I mentioned above), who, desperate for rent money, takes his best friend’s identity to gain a teaching post at a prestigious prep school. Dewey - known at school as Ned Schneebly - causes havoc from the...
Groan Ups – Sheffield Lyceum
Yorkshire & Humber

Groan Ups – Sheffield Lyceum

After meeting at Drama school 13 years ago the in suppressible Mischief Theatre members have continued to have us rolling in the aisles with their next instalment Groan Ups. Following on from the successful West End located The Play that goes Wrong, and the Penn and Teller collaboration Magic Goes Wrong; the seasonal Peter Pan Goes Wrong and the standalone The Comedy about a Bank Robbery, the work ethic of Mischief is admirable. Groan Ups takes a slightly different persona to the former being more an observational comedy and does not rely on physical comedy as it’s lynch. It has real moments of nostalgic pathos as it follows the lives of five friends at three intervals in their lives from primary school to the obligatory school reunion. All taking place within a classroom the set reduc...
Looking Good Dead – Leeds Grand Theatre
Yorkshire & Humber

Looking Good Dead – Leeds Grand Theatre

When crime authors like Ian Rankin and Val McDermid sell squillions of books it seems odd producers insist on sending out creaky old stage versions of novels written in the middle of the last century. So, thank God for Peter James who is another of those crime superstars - selling 21 million books of his Roy Grace novels worldwide - who has worked out there is an appetite for stage versions featuring the troubled south coast detective. This time Grace is investigating a couple of bizarre murders that seem to be linked to the suburban Bryce family.  It all starts when Father Tom brings home a memory stick he says he found on a train, which proves to contain something gruesome that puts his wife Kellie and teenage son Max in danger, and it’s up to Grace to solve it. James acts as p...
Dangerous Liaisons – Leeds Playhouse
Yorkshire & Humber

Dangerous Liaisons – Leeds Playhouse

Sexual power, cruelty and deceit. There surely can’t be a better mix for a ballet, and Northern Ballet’s artistic director David Nixon’s dynamic choreography makes the most of the antics of two French aristocratic sociopaths playing games with people’s minds and bodies because they can. This is Pierre Choderlos de Laclos’ timeless tale of upper class amorality as the cunning Marquise de Mertueil sets her sparring partner Vicomte de Valmont the task to seduce the godly Madame de Tiourvel just for sport. But Valmont’s head is turned by de Tourvel with deadly results. Unlike some of their sumptuous productions Northern have gone for a stark stage with minimal period furniture that allows the eye to focus on Nixon’s sensitive and emotional choreography which manfully resists going ov...
Tell Me on a Sunday – Sheffield Lyceum
Yorkshire & Humber

Tell Me on a Sunday – Sheffield Lyceum

After a long 18 months, I finally had the pleasure of returning to the beautiful Lyceum Theatre, Sheffield to watch a musical that I was familiar with but up until tonight had not had chance to see! Well, I finally put that right and wow! Am I glad I did! Tell Me on a Sunday was excellent! For those unfamiliar with the Andrew Lloyd Webber and Don Black’s classic, Tell Me on a Sunday is a one-woman show (or song cycle) that follows the journey of an English girl newly arrived in New York. Filled with hope and eager eyed, she sets out to seek success, friendship and, of course, love. But as she weaves her way through the maze of the city and her own insecurities, frustrations and heartaches she begins to realise that – in fact – she’s been looking for love in all the wrong places. ...
Magic Goes Wrong – Leeds Grand Theatre
Yorkshire & Humber

Magic Goes Wrong – Leeds Grand Theatre

Go on….admit it.  One reason we still love magic shows is while we are intrigued by how the illusionists fool us, we also secretly hope it will all go horribly wrong. So, it is really smart of Mischief to create another one of their ‘goes wrong’ series around a camp, OTT group of hopeless performers, and it works much better than their mega successful am dram version as that world is just too a bit too serious to really parody. The premise is that the inaccurately named Sophisticato - played just on the right edge of hysteria by Sam Hill - has put together a tacky fundraiser for magicians killed or injured in the line of conjuring duties, including his father crushed by his stage props. But as with all Mischief productions anything that can go wrong does as the body count stead...
Mamma Mia! – Harewood House
Yorkshire & Humber

Mamma Mia! – Harewood House

This was my daughter’s fourth time seeing this perennial blockbuster, but it was certainly the most unusual with the audience sitting in a windy field near Leeds. This was the very first time the team behind the Mamma Mia! juggernaut have opted for an open-air production and given how protective they are of the brand they threw everything at it – live band, massive lighting rig, pin sharp sound plus the full set and cast. And to make extra sure it would work for a near capacity crowd, including Olympic champion Jonny Brownlee, they packed the cast with Mamma Mia veterans who were clearly enjoying the challenge of this new format. It would be easy for performers who know this show backwards to coast through it, but they were really trying to project their performances to the people a...