Archive | Theatre

The Pinball Wizard Comes to The Playhouse

 

A spectacular new production of The Who’s celebrated cult classic Tommy arrives at West Yorkshire Playhouse from Thursday 4 – Saturday 13 May.

Kerry Michael directs this energetic production which sees traumatised young Tommy cease to communicate with the outside world, before finding his salvation and becoming a national sensation through playing pinball.

This bold reinterpretation includes two new songs written exclusively by Pete Townshend who composed The Who’s original 1969 concept album, and is presented by New Wolsey Theatre Ipswich and Ramps on the Moon, a consortium of seven major theatre companies including West Yorkshire Playhouse, committed to putting Deaf and disabled artists and audiences at the centre of their work.

Pete Townshend expressed excitement about the inclusive cast, saying “This is a totally new adventure, and really does refer back to my original story in which a young man, disabled by extreme trauma, finds his way to some kind of spiritual place because he can FEEL music.”

A blue plaque at Leeds University’s Refectory building commemorates the recording of The Who’s Live at Leeds in 1970, widely regarded as one of the greatest ever live albums, which originally contained 6 tracks released on LP, but also included a live recording of Tommy, later released on CD in 2001.

One of the new numbers is a new song for the Acid Queen, played by Peter Straker (Tommy, The Rocky Horror Show, Hair).

 

Tommy

Quarry Theatre

Thur 4 – Sat 13 May

Box office 0113 213 7700. Book online wyp.org.uk

 

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Interview with Andrew Lancel, Star of A Judgement in Stone

 

Ruth Rendell’s thrilling mystery A Judgement in Stone is at The Grand Theatre from Monday, 24th – Saturday 29th April. Actor Andrew Lancel took time out to talk about his role in the production.

 

Q: How did you get involved with the play and what attracted you to it?

A: Working with Roy Marsden and Bill Kenwright again. Also, it’s a whole new genre for me and the first time I have played a copper since The Bill.

Q: You’ve worked with Bill Kenwright before on a couple of shows, nice to be part of one of his productions again?

A: Very. It’s my fourth in 3 years. I love the company and they put on things people want to see.

Q: A Judgement in Stone is widely considered to be Ruth Rendell’s greatest work – why do you think that is?

A: It’s a real statement on our class system. A fascinating story, sad, shocking and real.

Had you read the book before you were cast in the show – what did you love about the story?

A: No. The horror at the centre of the crime in such a class divide.

Q: How different is it being on stage as opposed to in front of the cameras?

A: Huge difference, it’s chalk and cheese. The discipline is hugely different. I just want to get on with it, I know my lines now. So come on – let’s get the curtain up!

But I’m learning more and more that its a process which I’m growing to love and when you’ve got someone like Roy Marsden up front, it makes a huge difference. His experience is so vast, you have to listen and take it on board. You don’t always have to agree but having a captain like that at the helm makes it enjoyable. It’s all about the part for me. I’ve had a nice long run with really good, usually intense characters, none more so than Epstein and Juror 3 in Twelve Angry Men. I’m very fortunate, whether it’s stage or telly or radio or singing, or whatever it is, as long as it’s interesting.

Q: Did you know or have you worked with any of your cast mates before?

A: Roy Marsden and Bill Kenwright. Also Ben Nealon as I did Soldier Soldier in 1996.

Q: This production has been on the road since January – what are the nicest things about being on the road?

A: Keeping it fresh. Great venues and seeing the country.

Q: Are there any dates on this tour you’ve not played, any cities you’re looking forward to visiting?

A: I haven’t been to Tunbridge Wells and Weston-super-Mare. Looking forward to returning to Newcastle, Wolverhampton, Leeds, Malvern and Cheltenham.

Q: Finally, without giving too much away, why should audiences come and see A Judgement in Stone?

A: It’s a ‘Why Done It?’ and ‘Who Done It?’.

 

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Bubble Schmeisis: An Exploration of Jewish Identity

 

Nick Cassenbaum’s folk history of a once vibrant culture and insight into a fading community comes to Slung Low’s HUB in Leeds on 7 May and Huddersfield’s Laurence Batley Theatre on 8 May.

Bubbemeises is Yiddish for a grandmother’s story, a tall story, an old wives’ tale. A schvitz is a Jewish Steam Bath where old Jewish men go to wash, relax, complain and rejuvenate, to exchange jokes and gossip and to swap bubbemeisis.

Writer and street performer Nick Cassenbaum has been trying to make sense of his Jewish identity ever since he was a young boy. He tried everything – going to Spurs, summer camps, religion even. All to no avail.

It wasn’t until his blind grandfather took him to the Schvitz in Canning Town, East London that he found what he was looking for. Here they enact the ancient washing ritual of schmeissing, and, as he lay naked being schmeissed by his grandfather, he knew he had found what he was looking for, but above all, he knew he had to make a show about it.

In Bubble Schmeisis Nick and his klezmer musicians invite you to join them in the enveloping warmth of this last remaining authentic bath house in East London. Amongst the steam and ritual Nick will take you with him as he embarks on a journey schlepping through summer camps, barbershops and Spurs games to find the place where he belongs. It’s about Nick finding his identity and wanting to keep the spirit of the steam baths alive.

A hit with critics and audiences at the 2016 Edinburgh Festival, Bubble Schmeisis is full of intimate and personal true stories about identity, home and getting washed by old men. Although set within a Jewish ritual the show will strike a chord with anyone who has investigated their past to understand their present.

‘It’s just a place that’s all about sitting together,” said Nick of the schvitz. ‘It’s a place where men talk freely and frankly. I tell stories about trying to forge my identity’ he continued. ‘This is the only place where I really felt some kind of identity – it felt like home. Now I’m really excited to be taking it out to new audiences. I invite them onto the stage with me and interact so the show changes depending on how those people respond, leaving no two performances the same.’

Watch the trailer:  http://www.nickcassenbaum.com/bubble-schmeisis

7 May, 7pm

Leeds Slung Low’s HUB, Holbeck Underground Ballroom 67-71 Bath Rd Holbeck LS11 9UA 

£pay what you can www.slunglow.org

 

8 May, 7.45pm

Huddersfield Lawrence Batley Theatre, Queen’s Square, Queen Street, HD1 2SP

£pay what you can 01484 430528 www.thelbt.org

 

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An Original Presentation of Northanger Abbey by Box Tale Soup

Northanger Abbey is Jane Austen’s gothic tale of a young girl and her over-active imagination. Seventeen year old Catherine Morland starts her adventure in Bath where she meets two new families, the Thorpes and the Tilneys. It is the ins and outs of these relationships coupled with an overactive imagination, fed by her love of gothic romances, that takes Catherine from Bath to Northanger Abbey and ensuing drama.

At The Carriageworks for just one performance on Thursday 27th April at 7.45pm, this remarkably faithful adaptation by Box Tale Soup conjures up a period drama with just two performers, a vintage trunk and a troupe of puppets.

An original version written by the company, it features handmade puppets, props and costume, and offers a fresh and inventive take on Austen’s classic story of gothic romance and misadventure.

Performers Noel Byrne and Antonia Christophers have appeared in shows like Doctor Who, Game of Thrones, BBC’s The Hour and CBBC’s Mission 2110.

 

Tickets (£10.50/ £8.50) are available from 0113 376 0318, online at carriageworkstheatre.org.uk or in person at the City Centre Box Office, Leeds Town Hall, The Headrow, LS1 3AD.

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A Double Bill from Leeds Arts Centre at The Carriageworks

Leeds Arts Centre presents a double bill of plays  at the Carriageworks Theatre from Wednesday April 26th to Saturday 29th April.

Both plays share a theme in that they both concern people in the shadow of death, and how they respond to their looming fate. The drama arises from the reactions of the characters to the challenges that they face, and their efforts to survive.

After Midnight – Before Dawn by David Campton

In the early 17th Century, six women are confined in a prison cell. They are awaiting the dawn, when they are to be hanged for witchcraft. They all bemoan their fate, and the injustice of what has happened to them. Some pray, some recall what happened to bring them here, some recall the tortures they have undergone. They all fear the dawn and the hangman’s noose. All except one. She is calm and composed, and when they question her she assures them that she will not share their fate. She is a real witch, and has the promise of the Devil that he will look after his own. They desperately ask her how they can be protected too. After much persuasion, she agrees to help them. They must give up their souls to the devil if they want to be his disciples. The result is not one that they expect.

 

The Rose & Crown by J.B. Priestley.

In the snug of a London pub, in 1946, a group of locals are moaning about the misery of their lives. The war has been over for a year, but shortages and rationing continue to bite. While they are discussing their miserable existence, a stranger enters and watches and listens to what is happening. The stranger interrupts them to announce that he is an assistant to the Angel of Death, and he is one short of his daily quota. He would like them to choose one of their number to go with him to make it up. If they don’t choose, he will select somebody. They find that the snug is closed off from the rest of the world, and they must make a choice, or be chosen.

The Carriageworks Theatre

7.30pm.

Tickets: £12/£9 concessions.

http://www.leeds.gov.uk/carriageworks/Pages/Event.aspx?s=5895

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Thriller Moonwalks into Leeds

 

 

Moonwalking direct from the West End – where it is now in its record-breaking eighth year –  Thriller Live, the spectacular concert that celebrates the career of Michael Jackson, hits Leeds Grand Theatre from Tuesday 11th – Saturday 15th April.

Created as a tribute to the career of possibly the world’s greatest entertainer, Thriller Live has been seen by over four million people in over 30 countries, taking audiences on a visual, audio and electrifying journey through the magic of Michael’s 45 year musical history.

Over two hours of non-stop hits from pop to rock, soul to disco and a highly talented cast pay homage to Jackson’s legendary live performances and innovative dance moves with flair, precision and passion.

The show includes hits I Want You Back, ABC, Can You Feel It, Off The Wall, The Way You Make Me Feel, Smooth Criminal, Beat It, Billie Jean, Dirty Diana, Bad, Rock With You, They Don’t Care About Us, Dangerous and Thriller and many more.

Tickets (£19.50 to £35) are available from Box Office on 0844 848 2700 or online at leedsgrandtheatre.com

 

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Jodie Prenger is Fabulous as Shirley Valentine

 

 

Willy Russell’s heart-warming comedy Shirley Valentine premiered in 1986 and took the world by storm. In celebration of its 30th Anniversary, the first major revival of this national treasure is currently at Leeds Grand Theatre and continues until Saturday 8th April.

A fan of the film, I didn’t realise that the play had been written as a one-woman show and I kept this little bit of knowledge to myself, only revealing it to my companion on arrival at the theatre. Well, I thought it might put them off. If this thought entered your head, get rid of it right now! Jodie Prenger is absolutely fabulous. She is astoundingly good. She had the audience eating out of hand – and wanting to eat those eggs and chips that she so deftly cooked on stage while never missing a beat.

 

 

Shirley is a Liverpool housewife. Her kids have left home and she talks to the wall a lot. Where has her life gone? Out of the blue, her best friend asks her to join her on a two week holiday in Greece and she secretly packs her bags, heads for the sun, and starts to see the world and herself very differently – all the time keeping up a hilarious running commentary on her life past and present.

Writer Willie Russell said: “When producer Adam Spiegel introduced me to Jodie Prenger I knew in an instant that here was a formidable actress, one who possessed the grit and the warmth, the drive and the vulnerability, the energy and the heart to make Shirley Valentine really live again.”

He was not wrong. The play, and Jodie Prenger, is a delight. She captured the audience from the moment she walked out on stage and didn’t lose that hold – not even for a second.

Book online at leedsgrandtheatre.com or call Box Office on 0844 848 2700

 

 

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New Adaptation of La Strada at The Playhouse is Wonderful

 

A brand new stage adaptation of Federico Fellini’s 1957 Oscar-winning film, La Strada, is at West Yorkshire Playhouse until Saturday 29th April and it is wonderful! It is touching, quirky, ethereal, sad, clever, funny, and Gelsomina’s voice at the end had me in tears!

Directed by Olivier Award nominee Sally Cookson, with music by Benji Bower, this is the soul-searching story  of Gelsomina who is sold by her impoverished mother to strongman Zampano, a travelling sideshow performer. Their journey through the Italian countryside leads them to a ragtag touring circus where they meet Il Matto, the free-spirited tightrope walker, who tries to rekindle Gelsomina’s broken spirit.

“Fellini’s iconic film has always fascinated me and the thought of using it as a starting point to make a piece of theatre was one I couldn’t resist”, said Sally. “A folktale-like odyssey – this story sees three lost souls travelling ‘the road’ and searching in different ways to find meaning in their lives. Using physical storytelling, music and movement, we will be attempting to find a theatricality to re-imagine this story of human suffering, longing and redemption.”

Featuring live music and original songs, La Strada brings together a multi-skilled cast of performers and musicians. Audrey Brisson plays Gelsomina and Stuart Goodwin Zampano. Bart Soroczynski is Il Matto and the ensemble includes: Matt Costain, Fabrizio Matteini, Sofie Lybäck, Niv Petel, Niccolo Curradi, Tatiana Santini, Teowa Vuong, Tim Dalling, Niccolo Curradi, Luke Potter and Tee Jay Holmes.

Director Sally Cookson is an associate artist of Bristol Old Vic. Together with longtime creative collaborator, composer and musical director Benji Bower, their many productions include: Jane Eyre (Bristol Old Vic and National Theatre), the Olivier Award nominated Hetty Feather (West End, National Tour & Florida USA), Peter Pan (National Theatre), Treasure Island (Bristol Old Vic), and the Olivier Award nominated Cinderella: A Fairytale (Tobacco Factory Theatre), Varmints (Sadler’s Wells).

Photos: Robert Day

 

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Kay Mellor’s ‘A Passionate Woman’ Comes to The Playhouse

Everyman Theatre production of Kay Mellor's The Passionate Woman starring Liza Goddard, Anthony Eden and Russell Dixon - 16.2.17 **Free single use in conjunction with Everyman Theatre press release**The byline www.thousandwordmedia.com must by used with all images used** Picture by Antony Thompson - Thousand Word Media, NO SALES, NO SYNDICATION. Contact for more information mob: 07775556610 web: www.thousandwordmedia.com email: antony@thousandwordmedia.com The photographic copyright (© 2017) is exclusively retained by the works creator at all times and sales, syndication or offering the work for future publication to a third party without the photographer's knowledge or agreement is in breach of the Copyright Designs and Patents Act 1988, (Part 1, Section 4, 2b). Please contact the photographer should you have any questions with regard to the use of the attached work and any rights involved.

Everyman Theatre production of Kay Mellor’s The Passionate Woman starring Liza Goddard, Anthony Eden and Russell Dixon – 16.2.17 **Free single use in conjunction with Everyman Theatre press release**The byline www.thousandwordmedia.com must by used with all images used**
Picture by Antony Thompson – Thousand Word Media, NO SALES, NO SYNDICATION. Contact for more information mob: 07775556610 web: www.thousandwordmedia.com email: antony@thousandwordmedia.com
The photographic copyright (© 2017) is exclusively retained by the works creator at all times and sales, syndication or offering the work for future publication to a third party without the photographer’s knowledge or agreement is in breach of the Copyright Designs and Patents Act 1988, (Part 1, Section 4, 2b). Please contact the photographer should you have any questions with regard to the use of the attached work and any rights involved.

Kay Mellor’s romantic comedy, ‘A Passionate Woman’ comes to West Yorkshire Playhouse from Tuesday 4th – Saturday 8th April. An Everyman Theatre Production, it stars Liza Goddard as Betty, a passionate, doting Mum who finds it hard to accept that her son is leaving home to get married.

“A Passionate Woman is a real feel-good play”, said Paul Milton, Everyman’s Creative Director. “It has a Shirley Valentine flavour to it. Set in the present, but with flashbacks to the 1960s, it has lots of romance, comedy and charm.”

The play is starts on the morning of the wedding. Betty retreats to her attic where she relives her long-lost youth and the love affair she had in the 1960s. Surrounded by her memories and ghosts from her past, she finds herself torn between a husband she never loved, a son about to leave, and the man she shared a passionate affair with.

Everyman Theatre production of Kay Mellor's The Passionate Woman starring Liza Goddard, Anthony Eden and Russell Dixon - 16.2.17 **Free single use in conjunction with Everyman Theatre press release**The byline www.thousandwordmedia.com must by used with all images used** Picture by Antony Thompson - Thousand Word Media, NO SALES, NO SYNDICATION. Contact for more information mob: 07775556610 web: www.thousandwordmedia.com email: antony@thousandwordmedia.com The photographic copyright (© 2017) is exclusively retained by the works creator at all times and sales, syndication or offering the work for future publication to a third party without the photographer's knowledge or agreement is in breach of the Copyright Designs and Patents Act 1988, (Part 1, Section 4, 2b). Please contact the photographer should you have any questions with regard to the use of the attached work and any rights involved.

Everyman Theatre production of Kay Mellor’s The Passionate Woman starring Liza Goddard, Anthony Eden and Russell Dixon – 16.2.17 **Free single use in conjunction with Everyman Theatre press release**The byline www.thousandwordmedia.com must by used with all images used**
Picture by Antony Thompson – Thousand Word Media, NO SALES, NO SYNDICATION. Contact for more information mob: 07775556610 web: www.thousandwordmedia.com email: antony@thousandwordmedia.com
The photographic copyright (© 2017) is exclusively retained by the works creator at all times and sales, syndication or offering the work for future publication to a third party without the photographer’s knowledge or agreement is in breach of the Copyright Designs and Patents Act 1988, (Part 1, Section 4, 2b). Please contact the photographer should you have any questions with regard to the use of the attached work and any rights involved.

We caught up recently with Liza Goddard, who has been really enjoying touring with this play. “This is a fantastic part for an older woman”, she told us. “It is both physically and mentally demanding but so rewarding too. The first part is comedy and the second is farce. We set up the gags in the first part.”

Liza, who has had a wonderful career, starting with ‘Skippy the Kangaroo’ over 50 years ago, particularly enjoys comedy. “You are on a knife edge”, she said. “It has the intensity of tragedy but with added timing. This is the first time I have done a Kay Mellor play and the writing is superb. She knew how women felt. Many people will find it so relevant to their lives. The characterisation and relationships are fantastic.”

Everyman Theatre production of Kay Mellor's The Passionate Woman starring Liza Goddard, Anthony Eden and Russell Dixon - 16.2.17 **Free single use in conjunction with Everyman Theatre press release**The byline www.thousandwordmedia.com must by used with all images used** Picture by Antony Thompson - Thousand Word Media, NO SALES, NO SYNDICATION. Contact for more information mob: 07775556610 web: www.thousandwordmedia.com email: antony@thousandwordmedia.com The photographic copyright (© 2017) is exclusively retained by the works creator at all times and sales, syndication or offering the work for future publication to a third party without the photographer's knowledge or agreement is in breach of the Copyright Designs and Patents Act 1988, (Part 1, Section 4, 2b). Please contact the photographer should you have any questions with regard to the use of the attached work and any rights involved.

Tickets are available at 0113 213 7700 or online at www.wyp.org.uk

Photography: Antony Thompson

 

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La Cage aux Folles at Leeds Grand Theatre is an Absolute Triumph!

John Partridge & Adrian Zmed production image for La Cage Aux Folles at Leeds Grand Theatre (1)_LR

If you hadn’t planned on going to see ‘La Cage Aux Folles’ at Leeds Grand Theatre this week you might want to change that – what a show!

The entire audience was immediately on its feet at the end of the show. It was both hilariously funny and desperately sad and the performances were simply stunning. John Partridge as Albin was a revelation (what a belter!) and Adrian Zmed (who played Romano in TJ Hooker with William Shatner) as his partner Georges was perfect in that role. Marti Webb had a lovely cameo part as Jacquelline; Dougie Carter played Georges’ son; and as for Jacob, the butler/maid, played by Samson Ajewole….well hello!

The dancers – Richard Leavey, Matthew Ives, Louie-George Daniels, Jordan Livesey, Micah Holmes, Liam Paul Jennings and Luke Byrne – all made amazingly good women as well as being wicked dancers all with their own distinct personalities.

If you’re not familiar with the story, Georges is the manager of a Saint Tropez nightclub, his partner Albin is a drag artiste and the club’s star attraction. They live an idyllic existence in the south of France until Georges’ son Jean-Michel announces his engagement to the daughter of a notorious politician who is determined to shut down the local colourful night-life. And, they want to meet their daughter’s future parents in law! What could go wrong?

La Cage Aux Folles is on until Saturday 25th March – with matinees on Thursday 23rd and Saturday 25th March.

Production image for La Cage aux Folles at Leeds Grand Theatre (7)_LRGrab tickets (£22.50 – £41.50) now via 0844 848 2700 or online at www.leedsgrandtheatre.com – you won’t regret it!

 

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