Friday, December 3

Interviews

From Japan to Leeds Playhouse – Rupert Hands
Interviews

From Japan to Leeds Playhouse – Rupert Hands

The annual festive shows at Leeds Playhouse have become must see spectaculars for theatre lovers across West Yorkshire and this year they recruited a massive cast to rethink the legend of Peter Pan Wendy & Peter offers a new spin on the JM Barrie classic as writer Ella Hickson has decided to tell the story through Wendy Darling's eyes, but audiences can rest assured it’s still going to be a rollicking tale of a battle in Neverland with the dastardly Captain Hook full of flying, fighting and fun. This version of the beloved tale of the boy who won’t grow up started life at the Royal Shakespeare Company and has just returned from a critically acclaimed run in Tokyo. There the creative team added an epic score by Japanese composer Shuhei Kamimura and added some Anime video design. ...
From Japan to Leeds Playhouse – Jonathan Munby
Interviews

From Japan to Leeds Playhouse – Jonathan Munby

Peter Pan is one of our culture’s most enduring characters but a new festive production at Leeds Playhouse takes a fresh look at the boy who refuses to grow up. This time round in Wendy & Pan the endless child’s traditional sparring partner Wendy Darling takes centre stage in Ella Hickson’s adaption of JM Barrie’s classic, but you can still expect to see the dastardly Captain Hook, The Lost Boys, a pirate ship and a crocodile in the Playhouse’s festive spectacular. This production comes straight from a successful run in Tokyo during the Olympics, featuring input from Japanese creatives, and boasts a big cast who will fight and fly their way round the huge Quarry theatre. Jonathan Munby is co-directing Wendy and Peter, and in the first of a two part look at this show tells our...
Dianne Pilkington flies into Leeds Grand with Bedknobs and Broomsticks
Interviews

Dianne Pilkington flies into Leeds Grand with Bedknobs and Broomsticks

When families settle down for a festive film one of the perineal favourites is BedKnobs and Broomsticks starring musical legends Angela Lansbury and David Tomlinson. It’s a magical and often surreal tale of a trainee witch Eglantine Price who takes under her wing three orphans evacuated from the London blitz who fly an enchanted bed in a quest to find a spell helped by a dodgy professor of magic. The movie features some memorable songs from the pen of the Sherman Brothers and its cutting-edge animation combined with live action won the Disney team an Oscar for best Special Effects. Now it has been turned into a stage show with some new songs that comes to Leeds Grand from December 8th and plays into the new year. Dianne Pilkington plays the trainee witch on the show’s first UK to...
Nana-Kofi Kufour talks about his debut play My Voice Was Heard But It Was Ignored
Interviews

Nana-Kofi Kufour talks about his debut play My Voice Was Heard But It Was Ignored

Black people in this country are nine times more likely to be stopped and searched and that is what happens to Reece in Nana-Kofi Kurfour’s debut play. In My Voice Was Heard But It Was Ignored the teenager appeals to his black teacher Gillian for help but she refuses leading to a tense standoff in their classroom the next day. No one can accuse this new writer of picking an easy topic for this tense two hander, but it’s a subject that impacts on all of us in modern Britain one way or another. It’s no surprise it’s being produced by Leeds based radical theatre company Red Ladder, who have a long history of taking on subjects no-one else wants to touch. As My Voice Was Heard But It Was Ignored gets its World Premiere at Leeds Playhouse our Yorkshire editor Paul Clarke caught up Nan...
Spotlight on Matthew Jeans – White Christmas The Musical
Interviews

Spotlight on Matthew Jeans – White Christmas The Musical

Ahead of the White Christmas The Musical UK Tour, we caught up with Matthew Jeans who plays the role of Bob Wallace. If you would like to see something festive during this Winter season, that will truly put you in the mood for Christmas, then book tickets to see White Christmas at one of its four tour destinations.  To book tickets go to - https://www.whitechristmasthemusical.co.uk/uk-tour/ For those who have never seen the movie, what can audiences expect to see when watching ‘White Christmas’? I think people can expect to see a truly beautiful show, with a heart-warming story and stunning musical score.  The set and costumes are fantastic, and the dance numbers are unlike any I’ve seen in a good while.  I really think it has got something for everyone and is a...
Leeds Playhouse’s Rio Matchett talks about the return of their Furnace Festival after a two year break
Interviews

Leeds Playhouse’s Rio Matchett talks about the return of their Furnace Festival after a two year break

There is always a joy in watching fully formed work, but there is equal satisfaction being able to watch artists develop new pieces, which is where a safe space like the Furnace Festival at Leeds Playhouse comes in. Artists often talk about learning as much from failing as what works so Furnace offers them a year-round development programme which the Playhouse says is their development engine offering a place to play and learn as pieces come to life. The Playhouse use their Furnace brand to describe all of the work they do to generate and create new performance work that supports the local creative community Usually that work is showcased in an annual live programme where artists present their work in all sorts of stages of development but last year was cancelled for obvious reas...
Spotlight on Jenna Russell
Interviews

Spotlight on Jenna Russell

Olivier Award winner Jenna Russell is due to take to the stage at Cadogan Hall in her first large scale solo show in a few days’ time. We were interested to hear how Jenna is preparing for her new adventure. Follow this link to book tickets to the show at Cadogan Hall on the 7th November 2021 at 6.30pm - https://cadoganhall.com/whats-on/jenna-russell-live-in-concert-2021/ With such a large repertoire to choose from, how have you selected the songs for the show? I absolutely wanted to have some songs from shows that I have been in and love singing, and songs that have shaped my career, but I also wanted to bring in some comedy because I always think that a really good evening consists of you laughing and hopefully having a little emotional moment at the same time. I’ve really trie...
Peter Andre talks about being Teen Angel at Leeds Grand Theatre
Interviews

Peter Andre talks about being Teen Angel at Leeds Grand Theatre

Once upon a time amiable Aussie Peter Andre was best known for his rippling six pack and being married to a controversial model. Since then, high profile appearances on I’m A Celebrity…Get Me Out Of Here! And Strictly Come Dancing showed Peter to be a genuinely nice guy winning him many new fans. Peter is now turning his hand to musical theatre and is back on the road in Grease, which is back at Leeds Grand Theatre from Monday 29th November. You played Teen Angel on the 2019 Grease tour and now you’re also doing double duty as Vince Fontaine. What are the logistics of playing dual roles? I may even be doing a third role, namely a police officer, depending on whether or not I can get changed on time. The more characters the better for me. Each one of them has a different accent, s...
Casualty legend Tony Marshall talks about a revival of Jitney at Leeds Playhouse
Interviews

Casualty legend Tony Marshall talks about a revival of Jitney at Leeds Playhouse

August Wilson is now seen as one of the great voices of 20th century drama, but his poetic works reflecting on the experiences of black Americans aren’t performed that often in this country. Now Jitney about the trials and tribulations of eight drivers offering low-cost rides in their jitney cabs to a poor community in 1970s Pittsburgh gets a welcome revival as a part of Leeds Playhouse’s new season. Tinuke Craig directs a strong cast including Casualty legend Tony Marshall who spoke to our Yorkshire Editor Paul Clarke. So, what’s Jitney about? It’s based in Pittsburgh in 1977 and the word jitney derives from the cabs being five cents a ride. It’s for the local community instead of using the other cabs, so it’s people taking other local people shopping and so on. It’s just ano...
Layton Williams comes back north in Everybody’s Talking About Jamie at Leeds Grand
Interviews

Layton Williams comes back north in Everybody’s Talking About Jamie at Leeds Grand

Bury lad Layton Williams kicked off his stage career travelling down the M62 to join the Billy Elliott training academy in Leeds before graduating aged 12 to take on the lead role in the West End. He went onto play young Michael Jackson in Thriller – Live and as an adult won critical acclaim playing Angel in the 20th anniversary tour of Rent. Now he’s back up north at Leeds Grand Theatre playing Jamie New in uplifting musical Everyone’s Talking About Jamie which has just been made into an Amazon Prime movie. For people who are new to Everybody’s Talking About Jamie, how would you sum up the storyline? Jamie is based on a real character who was the subject of a documentary on BBC Three. I remember watching it years ago and it was about him wanting to be a drag queen and wanting...