Sunday, October 2

Tag: Leeds Grand Theatre

Bugsy Malone: The Musical – Leeds Grand Theatre
Yorkshire & Humber

Bugsy Malone: The Musical – Leeds Grand Theatre

It’s hard to believe Hollywood legend Jodie Foster’s movie career was launched in Alan Parker’s innovative gangster spoof where all the roles were played by a cast with an average of 12. For this stage production of the battle between gang bosses Fat Sam and Dandy Dan for control of the soda pop racket in 1920s New York, as hustler Bugsy Malone vies for the affections of nightclub singer Blousey, the producers have decided to cast some very young performers as the leads. This left some of the diction a little indistinct up in the gods and some of the big numbers a touch underpowered. Many of these committed young performers will no doubt go onto successful professional careers as more experienced performers have often struggled to fill this big space. Some of those issues are amplif...
Derren Brown: Showman – Leeds Grand Theatre
Yorkshire & Humber

Derren Brown: Showman – Leeds Grand Theatre

At the end of this hugely entertaining and mystifying show Derren Brown asked reviewers not to give the game away about any of the set ups. That is a lot easier than the master mesmeriser thinks as no decent reviewer ever gives the plot away unless it's the forthcoming Titanic musical where we all know what happens. Hint…the voyage doesn’t end well. This is Brown’s first new show for five years, but his popularity hasn’t waned as it was a full house to witness his trademark mix of mind control, uncanny people reading and nifty misdirection.  People come to these shows to see if they can work it out, and here’s some good news for his fans - it is still impossible. That’s all part of the fun, and there’s one part of this show where I am still utterly baffled how he pulled it off....
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...
Dalton Wood talks about being a Jersey Boy as the hit musical comes to Leeds Grand Theatre
Interviews

Dalton Wood talks about being a Jersey Boy as the hit musical comes to Leeds Grand Theatre

If you love pop music then you will have a favourite Four Seasons songs and Jersey Boys is the musical based on their troubled journey from rags to riches. The quartet famed for their close harmonies fought their way out of humble blue collar roots in Newark to record a set of beautifully arranged smash hits like Sherry, Rag Doll, Big Girls Don’t Cry, Walk Like A Man and December ’63 (Oh What a Night). For a musical it’s a natural tale of triumphing against the odds with the added bonus of lead singer Frankie Valli’s utterly distinctive falsetto vocal style. So, it’s no wonder Jersey Boys was a big hit on Broadway, and is still running in the West End, as fans new and old appreciate the great songs penned by Valli and musical prodigy Bob Gaudio. It’s also become a regular on the ...
Joseph star Jac Yarrow talks about the enduring power of the biblical epic as the tour comes to Leeds Grand Theatre
Interviews

Joseph star Jac Yarrow talks about the enduring power of the biblical epic as the tour comes to Leeds Grand Theatre

It’s fifty years since Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice basically invented the rock opera with their biblical epic Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat. Since then, this enduring family friendly show has been almost constantly on the road entertaining generations of fans who love Joseph’s journey back to his family and redemption. It’s a show full of classic Lloyd Webber/Rice tunes like Any Dream Will Do and Close Every Door, and over the years Joseph has been played by Philip Schofield, Donny Osmond, Andy Gibb, Stephen Gately, Darren Day and famously Jason Donovan, who is taking on the role of Pharoah in the latest touring production. The latest UK tour comes straight from the London Palladium where the show was revived and reinvented to critical acclaim. That London ...
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 ...
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...
School of Rock – Leeds Grand Theatre
Yorkshire & Humber

School of Rock – Leeds Grand Theatre

There can always be the danger when a classic movie turns into a stage show that you just can’t get the original star out of your mind. Well, don’t worry as there wasn’t a moment you thought of Jack Black as gifted physical comic Jake Sharp’s big voice and easy charm was perfect for broke wannabe rock god Dewey Finn who pretends to be a substitute teacher in a posh elementary school. In the absence of any teaching ability - or qualification – he focuses on his undying belief in the redemptive powers of rock and roll to form a group to take part in an adult battle of the bands. The gag is that the band is his class of privileged kids who are having their very souls sucked out of them. Step forward the kids in the band who proved to be quite the most talented group of young perform...
Bedknobs and Broomsticks – Leeds Grand Theatre
Yorkshire & Humber

Bedknobs and Broomsticks – Leeds Grand Theatre

Every year people gather round their TVs after stuffing their faces to watch the festive classics, and eternally popular among them is Disney’s Bedknobs and Broomsticks offering a quirky mix of live action and animation starring theatre legend Angela Lansbury as yuletide fun for all the family. It’s the story of the grieving Rawlins orphans - Charlie, Paul and Carrie - who are evacuated from bombed out London to a village where they are taken under the wing of local eccentric and trainee witch Eglantine Price. They join Eglantine and dodgy magician Emelius Browne on a series of magical adventures before taking on a dark threat to the village. It is such a familiar fixture on our idiot boxes that it seems natural that the catchy Sherman Brothers tunes would eventually make its way to...
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...