Friday, December 3

Yorkshire & Humber

Beauty and the Beast – Leeds City Varieties
Yorkshire & Humber

Beauty and the Beast – Leeds City Varieties

I say it every year - oh yes, I do - that the success of any panto depends on how good their Dame is and the Rock ‘n’ Roll Panto has one of the best purveyors of that quintessentially British mix of laughs and seasonal smut in Simon Nock. This is his fourth year at this historic city centre home of light entertainment and his Dame Bessie Bigbreaths - see what they did there - is a glorious mix of spraying out corny laughs for the children and some very near the knuckle gags for the not so young kids. He gets away with it - oh yes, he does - because he has charm to burn and times a gag well, combined with a wonderfully expressive raise of the eyebrow when the Dame has gone too far. This is the tenth year of the Rock ‘n’ Roll franchise in Leeds who have become the masters of integrati...
Grease – Leeds Grand Theatre
Yorkshire & Humber

Grease – Leeds Grand Theatre

It’s great that this production carries on the classic movie’s proud tradition of having twentysomethings playing teenagers about to leave Rydell High School for the real world. It’s a bit odd the thick American accents the relatively inexperienced cast deploy seem to be from Brooklyn rather than the tough working-class area of Chicago the original theatre production was set in. The voice coach should have dialled it down a bit which would have helped with the sometimes wayward diction. It’s probably fair to say most of the audience were looking for a scene by scene recreation of the beloved movie, and to that extent they do get well staged versions of all songs they had grown up loving.  But the producers claim to have retained the darker elements of the rawer early 1970s scri...
The Railway Children – Hull Truck Theatre
Yorkshire & Humber

The Railway Children – Hull Truck Theatre

Once in a while, a theatre event comes along that, in the words of Mary Poppins, is “truly scrumptious”. Those two words perfectly sum up the festive concoction served up by the Hull Truck Theatre, with its production of The Railway Children. This magical experience tells the story of three quite posh children from London, who find themselves living in poverty in Yorkshire. The children - Roberta, aka Bobby (Gina Jamieson), Phyllis (Robyn McIntyre) and Peter (David Fallon) - included us in the audience from the off, as they were the storytellers describing their own young lives. This inclusive concept was a stroke of genius. I usually hate audience participation but, in this case, these crafty little monkeys reeled us in so cleverly, I found myself quite happily waving at an i...
Everybody’s Talking About Jamie – Hull New Theatre
Yorkshire & Humber

Everybody’s Talking About Jamie – Hull New Theatre

It’s not surprising everybody is talking about Jamie. I’ll be talking about him for a long time, to anyone who’ll listen. Well, not Jamie exactly, but the show Everybody’s Talking About Jamie, which came to the Hull New Theatre on Monday night. Based on a true story, it recounts the trials and tribulations of 16-year-old Sheffield schoolboy, Jamie New (Layton Williams), who has always liked to dress up in women’s clothes and who decides to wear a dress to his school’s prom. Disowned by his dad, who once caught him in his mum’s dress at the age of eight and ridiculing and bullying by some of his school pals, doesn’t deter the young teen from fulfilling his dream of becoming a drag queen when he leaves school. Luckily for Jamie, his mum, Margaret (Amy Ellen Richardson), embraces...
Tripartite – Slip Theatre Company Stage@Leeds
Yorkshire & Humber

Tripartite – Slip Theatre Company Stage@Leeds

It has been 125 years since Austrian neurologist Sigmund Freud developed the practice of psychoanalysis. In the ensuing century, his book 'The Interpretation of Dreams', became the touchstone for psychology and psychiatry worldwide, assisting millions of people towards better mental health. As we emerge from a pandemic which has taken its toll on the entire population, it is timely that Slip Theatre has devised an accessible and illuminating piece of theatre to explore Freud's theories and their place in the modern world. We are introduced to this abstruse and theoretical world through the vehicle of a Greek chorus (Liv Taylor-Goy, Eden Vaughan, Lucy Tait). Clad in white lab coats, they outline the basics of Freudian theory with clarity and humour, Taylor- Goy and Vaughan bickering whi...
The Addams Family – Sheffield Lyceum
Yorkshire & Humber

The Addams Family – Sheffield Lyceum

The Second UK tour of the neighbours from hell The Addams Family moves into the Sheffield Lyceum this week – and what an entrance! Originally conceived by Charles Addams in 1938 in the New Yorker. With the book by Marshall Brickman and Rick Elice and Music and Lyrics by Andrew Lippa, this spine chillingly spectacular tour is directed by Matthew White and designed by Diego Pitarch. The choreography by Alistair David from the initial finger clicks through the Addams Family letter box to the full ensemble splendour is the beating heart of the stage show. Elaborate, abundant and exquisitely amusing, the ethereal ensemble takes this new production to a higher level than its predecessor. The set is yet another star of the show with slick movement and sumptuous detail its huge size never detract...
The Rocky Horror Show – Hull New Theatre
Yorkshire & Humber

The Rocky Horror Show – Hull New Theatre

“Mucky mouths” were much in evidence on Monday night, as the infamous Rocky Horror Show hit the Hull New Theatre stage, running. Suspenders, stockings, glitter and general naughtiness were much in evidence. But that’s enough about the audience … This legendary show - born in 1973 - comes to the city as part of a worldwide tour. It tells the story of two innocent college students, Brad (Ore Oduba) and fiancée Janet (Haley Flaherty), whose car breaks down outside a creepy mansion - a mansion they enter to try to find a telephone on which to ring for help. The creepy mansion is home to the even creepier Dr Frank N Furter (Stephen Webb). Furter, strutting around in stockings and suspenders, has total control over his staff - two of whom turn out to be instrumental in his eventu...
Elf The Musical – Sheffield Lyceum
Yorkshire & Humber

Elf The Musical – Sheffield Lyceum

What a wonderful way to start the festive season, with more cheese than you would see on any Cheeseboard at Christmas! Elf - The Musical is based on the original film Elf written by David Berenbaum, staring Will Ferrell as Buddy the Elf. The musical version does include a few changes from the film script, but its essence and Christmas spirit is very much alive. However, I did miss the snowball fight in the park though! (One of my favourite scenes). If anyone is unfamiliar with the storyline, we follow the story of Buddy, who is brought up in Christmastown by Santa and his elves. After crawling into Santa’s sack as a baby, Buddy is mistakenly transported to the North Pole. We join the story as it becomes evident that Buddy has a few ‘special’ qualities that set him aside from the rest o...
Me, Myself and Micha – Leeds Playhouse
Yorkshire & Humber

Me, Myself and Micha – Leeds Playhouse

When Brazilian dancer and choreographer Ana Silverio realised she was pregnant she began to make detailed notes to make a piece out of her nine month journey. Silverio who had worked across Europe initially thought this was going to be performed by three dancers after presenting an initial 10 minute work in progress during a scratch session as part of the Playhouse’s Furnace Festival she realised it was a solo show. Furnace is the engine room that supports new and more established artists like Silverio with space to create new work, as well allowing them to tap into the Playhouse’s vast reservoir of creative and technical expertise. Usually for Furnace which was cancelled last year due to the virus this is staged as a fully realised forty-minute piece that begins with a beaut...
Parade – Sheffield Theatre Deli
Yorkshire & Humber

Parade – Sheffield Theatre Deli

Parade by Jason Robert Brown is probably one of the most underrated musicals ever written. It is totally captivating from beginning to end with a powerful score and gripping storyline, the only down side is that it is not performed very often in this country. The musical is a dramatization of the 1913 trial, imprisonment and subsequent lynching, of Jewish American Leo Frank in Georgia. Tonight, Cutting Edge Productions brought this story to Theatre Deli in Sheffield where it continues until Saturday (13th November). https://www.cuttingedgetheatreco.com/ The lead role of Leo Frank requires an accomplished actor to play him, and tonight Dylan Lambert shone. His attention to detail in the role was impressive, he portrayed an introverted character with an inner determination to get pers...