Friday, May 27

Yorkshire & Humber

Teechers Leavers ’22 – Hull Truck Theatre
Yorkshire & Humber

Teechers Leavers ’22 – Hull Truck Theatre

Zoom, Netflix, Wordle, Covid 19, sanitising, face masks, Til Tok were all clues that playwright John Godber’s production Teechers, first performed in 1987, had been brought up to date with his re-imagined version - Teechers Leavers ’22. The Hull Truck Theatre was very well attended on Tuesday evening, as theatregoers not only looked forward to watching this rewrite, but also to the fact that Godber had been honoured with having the theatre’s Studio space renamed the Godber Studio. I arrived early on the night so I could be privy to the, admittedly short and sweet, speeches by the production’s director, Mark Babych, and Godber, in what is this popular theatre’s 50th anniversary year. Then it was showtime. As the lights dimmed, the deliberately unfussy stage setting came into view,...
Cluedo – Sheffield Lyceum
Yorkshire & Humber

Cluedo – Sheffield Lyceum

The maid, in the hall, with the champagne! That is how Wadsworth the butler greets us, and the six guests who each received a mysterious invitation, as we enter Boddy Manor. Most, if not all of us, will be familiar with Miss Scarlett, Professor Plum, Mrs Peacock, Reverend Green, Mrs. White and Colonel Mustard, the protagonists of the now 70-year-old board game, Cluedo, on which this play is based; and now we get to meet them in the flesh. They arrive in time for dinner, but the staff are acting strangely, and the evening soon comes to an unforeseen halt, as a body is discovered in the study. But… who was it that brought the evening to its arresting conclusion? The script by Sandy Rustin, based on Jonathan Lynn’s original screenplay, is full of clever nods to the board game, snapp...
The Rise and Fall of Little Voice –Theatre Royal Wakefield
Yorkshire & Humber

The Rise and Fall of Little Voice –Theatre Royal Wakefield

Looking forward to an evening of Comedy- Drama, one of Britain’s greatest modern plays whilst initially appearing superficial is anything but, with its dark and subversive message underpinning the blatant humour. Jim Cartwright’s Golden Globe winning 1998 film of Little Voice (written to showcase the vocal talents of Jane Horrocks) was originally proceeded by the 1992 Olivier award winning stage release. This is the story of trying to find your own voice in a world of desperate noise. Sara Perk’s imposing set is impressive, replicating a two-storey dilapidated terrace house, where we see both upstairs and down concurrently (it took 12 hours to erect the stage manager told me, a tall order on a touring production). The 80’s touches of furniture and décor and are just right, and the conc...
Jersey Boys – Hull New Theatre
Yorkshire & Humber

Jersey Boys – Hull New Theatre

So engrossed was I in the storyline during my third viewing of Jersey Boys (I’ve seen it once before as a reviewer and once as a civilian) at the Hull New Theatre on Wednesday evening, that I almost forgot to do my reviewer-ly duty, and check out the scenery, lighting, musicians, costumes etc etc. The story of the rise, fall and rise again of four young American boys from New Jersey, who became the worldwide rock stars Frankie Valli and The Four Seasons, was told with humour, passion, anger and regret to name just a few of the emotions expressed by a super-talented cast of individuals. And when they were lost for words, their singing took over - and what singing! Michael Pickering’s portrayal of Frankie Valli was spot on - close your eyes and it could have been the legend himself...
Maggie May – Leeds Playhouse
Yorkshire & Humber

Maggie May – Leeds Playhouse

There’s nearly a million people and their families in this country living with one of the 200 variants of dementia who have been mostly ignored by theatre makers. There would an outcry if a similarly sized group of people were being marginalised in that way, but Frances Poet’s bittersweet work tracing one woman’s dementia journey goes someway to addressing that in an unflinching, yet hopeful, new work that never sugar-coats what is happening to Maggie, but not for one second loses sight of her as a person. Maggie has been married to Gordon for over forty years and they have always retained their love of cheesy singalongs to their favourite hit songs that have been curtailed by his recent stroke, but as this feisty woman nurses him back to health, she is trying to hide something big ...
Made in Dagenham – Sheffield City Hall
Yorkshire & Humber

Made in Dagenham – Sheffield City Hall

Based on the 2010 film and centring around the Ford factory strike of 1968, 'Made in Dagenham' is the story based on the real life events that led up to the Equality Pay Act of 1970. As the female machinists in the factory were downgraded to 'unskilled' workers, the fight escalated into a full on war against the government and Trade Unions to secure equal pay for all workers regardless of gender. 'It's not about money it's about equality!' This small group of women, like all ground breakers, found that the battle had to be won in their home lives as well as the factory floor. As the principal character encapsulates with her poignant line in response to her young daughter's career choice, 'I laughed at her when she wanted to be a Doctor and bought her a nurse’s outfit instead', but this wa...
The Cher Show – Sheffield Lyceum
Yorkshire & Humber

The Cher Show – Sheffield Lyceum

From Disney princess childhood dreams to fierce warrior princess on stage: that’s the journey of Cher as told in this new musical that originally premiered in 2018 prior to a Broadway run, which won two Tony Awards. Now with an updated book by Rick Elice, the production uses Cher’s extensive catalogue of music to chronicle the highs and lows of the more than sixty years that she has spent as an entertainer. Such is the diverse and prolific nature of Cher’s work, that it takes three women to play her. They are on stage almost constantly, sharing the narration of the story and each enjoying their time in the spotlight. Millie O’Connell as Babe takes the audience through the early years, embodying the nervous and shy younger Cher as she tries to fit in with her peers and find an anchor in...
Chicago – Leeds Grand Theatre
Yorkshire & Humber

Chicago – Leeds Grand Theatre

I’ve seen umpteen versions of this show, including one on Broadway that made a star of Ruthie Henshall, but the visceral energy and precise steps of All That Jazz may still be for me the greatest opening number of them all. And if ever there was a show ahead of its time, then it’s this one about two morally bankrupt murderesses Velma Kelly and Roxie Hart - aided by dodgy attorney Billy Flynn - who merrily manipulate the media in prohibition murder capital Chicago creating their own web of (mis)truths to escape the noose. It seems that Kander and Ebb were not only a pair of geniuses, they were also soothsayers predicting in this wry and often arch show the age of fake news, and people famous for being nothing other than being morons on vacuous channels like Tik Tok or Instagram. I...
Lord of the Dance – Hull New Theatre
Yorkshire & Humber

Lord of the Dance – Hull New Theatre

Irish dance phenomenon Michael Flatley can add yet another standing ovation to his tally, after his creation, Lord of the Dance, astounded and mesmerised, yet puzzled, the Hull New Theatre audience, on Tuesday evening. I say “puzzled” because I, for one, have no idea how human feet can move that fast. And to the same beat, at the same time. Billed as “25 years of standing ovations”, it was in 1996 that Lord of the Dance tap-danced its way onto a Dublin stage and has now been seen by more than 60 million people. The Hull show opened with a huge video screen as a backdrop, showing Flatley’s performances throughout his career and, though not dancing live on the night, one later screening was so amazing, it could have been him on the Hull New Theatre stage. The video screen played...
Bat Out Of Hell – Sheffield Lyceum
Yorkshire & Humber

Bat Out Of Hell – Sheffield Lyceum

Set in a dystopian future, this post-apocalyptic rock and roll musical has the audience fully invested as the characters live and relive the spine-tingling drunkenness of youth and love.  With the greatest storytelling hits of the legendary Jim Steinman and Meatloaf forefront and taking centre stage, this UK tour is setting the theatres in its path alight, and Sheffield was no exception. With its unusual live video capture on stage, which is projected onto both a screen and the windows of Falco Towers, the audience are subject to aesthetic ensemble spectacle and heart wrenching close up intimacy – a peep into a hybrid between theatre and film. The story is set in Obsidian (Manhattan as we know it) which has floated out to sea and is tyrannically ruled by Falco played by the role’s orig...