Thursday, October 6

Yorkshire & Humber

Jersey Boys – Leeds Grand Theatre
Yorkshire & Humber

Jersey Boys – Leeds Grand Theatre

“If you’re from my neighbourhood, you’ve got three ways out – you could join the army, you could get mobbed up, or you could become a star.” So says streetwise minor hoodlum and guitarist Tommy DeVito opening the show as he creates the Four Seasons as a quartet of blue-collar Italian Americans who force their way out of New Jersey on the back of a string of hit singles   If you have the radio in the car tuned to any of the classic hits stations then you don’t have long to wait for a Four Seasons record to come on from an early smash like Sherry to Frankie Valli’s comeback hit Can’t Take My Eyes Off You. Frankie’s unique powerful falsetto might not be to everyone’s taste, but it proved to be their unique selling point. At their height they outsold the Beach Boys and the Beatl...
School of Rock – Sheffield Lyceum
Yorkshire & Humber

School of Rock – Sheffield Lyceum

Sheffield was raising the decibels into the stratosphere last night with the England Women’s Team winning the Semi Final against Sweden in the Euro22 competition at Sheffield Bramall Lane ground and the School of Rock opening at the Sheffield Lyceum, Sheffield really was the place to be! The city was euphoric – Sheffield Rocked! School of Rock is written by Julian Fellowes of Downton Abbey fame with Lyrics by Glenn Slater, the dialogue is both topical and sassy and extremely funny on numerous occasions. The music by Lord Andrew Lloyd Webber is as expected, catchy with some great songs such as Top of Mount Rock, Stick it to the Man and If Only you would listen. Anna Louizo’s sets are compact, yet well designed to move fluently and at speed between the Horace Green school rooms, Ned Schn...
Singin’ in the Rain – Sheffield Lyceum
Yorkshire & Humber

Singin’ in the Rain – Sheffield Lyceum

Last night, I spent a gloriously nostalgic evening at the theatre watching the spectacle that is Singing in The Rain, it felt like a childhood embrace from a favourite grandparent - warm, happy, secure and where I belonged! We all know of the 1952 MGM classic musical comedy film ‘Singin’ in the Rain’, as it has been named as one of the greatest musical movies of all time. Made famous by the cast of Gene Kelly, Donald O’Connor and Debbie Reynolds, it light heartedly charts the 1920’s depiction of performers caught up in the transition from silent films to the ground-breaking ‘talkies’. Centring on the silver screen romantic pairing of Don Lockwood and Lina Lamont - the darlings of MGM studios. Everyone has trouble adapting to the changes but none more than Lina Lamont, a beautiful scree...
The Play That Goes Wrong – Hull New Theatre
Yorkshire & Humber

The Play That Goes Wrong – Hull New Theatre

The last time I saw The Play That Goes Wrong, presented by the Cornley Drama Society, Winston the dog (an integral prop in the production) had done a runner then, too. It was the same on Monday evening at the Hull New Theatre, meaning Trevor, the society’s lighting and sound operator (Gabriel Paul), had to ask for our help in finding, or even replacing, the errant mutt. The stage setting for the society’s production of Murder At Haversham Manor was not quite ready at “curtain up”, so chaos ensued immediately, with a hapless audience member (or was he a stooge?) having to help out. The setting is a 1920s manor house, home to Charles Haversham (Steven Rostance), on the occasion of his engagement to Florence Colleymore (Aisha Numah). Unfortunately, Charles is discovered dead as a...
A Wilde Life – Workshop Theatre, Leeds
Yorkshire & Humber

A Wilde Life – Workshop Theatre, Leeds

Tonight, I was fortunate enough to see the opening preview of Chevron Theatre production of 'A Wilde Life' in Leeds, prior to dates in Cambridge and culminating at Edinburgh Fringe Festival in August. A musical based on the rise and fall of literary giant Oscar Wilde, upon initial viewing I am in little doubt that if the audience seek out this gem of a production in the plethora of offerings in Edinburgh, then this Leeds based company will have a hit on their hands. Running at just under an hour, the show opens in a seedy 'fin de siècle' Parisian café, populated with debauched alcoholics and prostitutes that form the ensemble during the scene setting opening (Oscar in Paris). Following his ostentatious entrance, Wilde (Jake Glantz) then proceeds to illustrate his rise and fall by trans...
The Wedding Singer – Montgomery Theatre
Yorkshire & Humber

The Wedding Singer – Montgomery Theatre

After three long years and three cancelled shows Woodseats Musical Theatre Company finally and joyously make it back to the stage with their production of The Musical Comedy, The Wedding Singer. . so get ready to party like it’s 1985! With the Book by Chad Beguelin and Tim Harlihy, Music by Matthew Sklar and Lyrics by Chad Beguelin, this production is directed by Ian Walker, and I particularly liked the breaking of the 4th wall as the performers used the space on the steps and in the audience – nice touch. The Choreography is by Amber Parry and Lilly Abram and the Musical direction by Dominic Ridler.  The 8 strong band sounded great, and the balance of their sound was good. I must note that Ridler is unusually an MD who plays drums, his performance in the pits in itself is very flamb...
The Play That Goes Wrong – Sheffield Lyceum
Yorkshire & Humber

The Play That Goes Wrong – Sheffield Lyceum

The Cornley Polytechnic Drama Society cordially invites you to enjoy its production of ‘The Murder at Haversham Manor’, a witty, dramatic retelling of a classic murder mystery… until it all goes a bit wrong. Disasters with the set, actors who can’t remember their lines, accidents incapacitating members of the company… Nothing goes right for this daring troop of amateur actors. But we all know that that’s not the real synopsis of this brilliant play. Mischief Theatre created the Cornley Polytechnic Drama Society as a vehicle for their particular brand of comedy, with every actor essentially playing two roles: their Cornley persona and then the character played by that persona in the production of the day. In today’s theatre landscape of nuanced drama and technological wizardry, th...
Chicago – Sheffield Lyceum
Yorkshire & Humber

Chicago – Sheffield Lyceum

At its best, Chicago is a biting, hilarious and glamorous satire. This production demonstrates a great balance of all the razzle-dazzle you would expect with this show whilst possessing a very welcome comedic humility. The cast of performers are fit for their respective roles. The ensemble was worked astutely and intelligently and lent themselves tremendously to many of the set pieces of the show, and all were at the level set by their main roster counterparts. Faye Brookes’ portrayal of Roxie Hart is brilliantly devious and glamorous, yet refreshingly is a portrayal possessing fantastic comedic sensibilities. Jamie Baughan’s Amos Hart almost steals the show, a performance rich in pathos. Michelle Andrews stepped into the role of Mama Morton with an equally admirable poise. One of t...
A Midsummer Night’s Dream – Hull Truck Theatre
Yorkshire & Humber

A Midsummer Night’s Dream – Hull Truck Theatre

The only puck I have ever had dealings with was the one that landed in my lap during my days as an avid follower of the Humberside Seahawks ice hockey team, in Hull. In other words, I’m no fan of anything William Shakespeare wrote. So, reviewing A Midsummer Night’s Dream by the Bard was never going to be on my bucket list. But, not one to shirk my theatre duty, I went along to the Hull Truck Theatre on Monday evening. Well, bloomin’ ‘eck, as Shakespeare wouldn’t say, I really enjoyed watching a talented group from the community bring that very play to life. The opening stage setting was very sparse, consisting of just a metal park bench. However, the most dazzling costumes soon emerged and from then on it was colour all the way. As well as the psychedelic costumes, fairy li...
Dreamgirls – Leeds Grand Theatre
Yorkshire & Humber

Dreamgirls – Leeds Grand Theatre

The tough world of showbiz has always been fertile ground for musical theatre and Dreamgirls puts the spotlight on the ruthless music industry. It’s a story as long as recorded music has been around when three young black women form a vocal harmony group performing in 1960s Detroit, and thanks to a ruthless manager find success before their friendship implodes as the money rolls in.  If that sounds familiar it might be based on a certain girl group who reigned supreme in the 60s as the sound of young America. Effie White has the biggest voice and attitude in The Dreams, but shy bandmate Deena has the right image that hard charging former mechanic turned manager Curtis Taylor Jr sees has the biggest potential to cross over from soul to pop. He forces the vulnerable Effie out as ...