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Live Music/Gig

The Sixteen: Glory to the Christ Child – Symphony Hall, Birmingham

Conductor: Harry Christophers CBE Reviewer: John Kennedy The bleak mid-winter snow-blitz has taken its toll on audience attendance this evening. Nevertheless, evening-gowned, white dickie-bowed and tuxedoed, The Sixteen elegantly complement the grandeur of the Symphony Hall. Matching solemnity with panache and dash it’s evident they’re up for tugging and teasing at Harry Christopher’s guiding reins to celebrate a Hodie rodeo choral sleigh-ride across the ...

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The Lion, the Witch & the Wardrobe – West Yorkshire Playhouse, Leeds

Writer: C.S. Lewis Director: Sally Cookson Puppetry Director: Craig Leo Designer: Rae Smith Composer/MD: Benji Bower Reviewer: Holly Spanner The creative team at the West Yorkshire Playhouse are known for their spectacular Christmas productions (who can forget Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, a production so successful it went on to tour the UK), and Sally Cookson’s adaptation of The Lion, the ...

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Aladdin – City Varieties, Leeds

Writer: Peter Rowe Director: Matt Aston Musical Director: Greg Palmer Reviewer: Holly Spanner The City Varieties Rock n’ Roll Panto is one that should be in everyone’s calendar. This seemingly modest production which has graced the Victorian stage since reopening after the £9.9m refurbishment in 2011, has quickly worked its way into the hearts of Loiners and the general public ...

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Monteverdi Vespers (1610) – Town Hall, Birmingham

Composer: Claudio Monteverdi Conductor: Jeffrey Skidmore Reviewer: John Kennedy Hipsters take note - none of this refers to an artisan revival of that ersatz 60s waspy Vespa scooter no self-respecting Rocker would ever be seen dead on. Sources indicate that Monteverdi submitted his apotheosis of sacred music in a successful application for the post of maestro di cappella at St Marks, Venice in 1613. ...

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Friday Night Classics: Abba Symphonic Spectacular – Symphony Hall, Birmingham

Conductor: Stephen Bell Reviewer: Selwyn Knight The 1970s: the decade that taste forgot as we are reminded by Conductor Stephen Bell as he stands in front of the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra (CBSO) with many players resplendent in seventies gear. It’s also the decade that brought us Glam Rock, Punk, the first woman Prime Minister, and, of course, some ...

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Wishbone Ash: The Open Road -The Lowry Salford

Reviewer: Dave Cunningham Support Act Steve Hill enters from the wings already playing his guitar with what looks like a toffee apple stuck to the neck. The reason soon becomes apparent: Hill is that rarest of acts – a one-man heavy rock band. Working drums with a foot pedal and bashing the cymbals with the drumstick attached to his guitar ...

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Friday Night Classics: Star Wars – Symphony Hall, Birmingham

A star scape

Conductor: Michael Seal Reviewer: Selwyn Knight One can’t help wondering if John Williams realised how big the Star Wars behemoth was to be when approached by George Lucas to score the original 1977 film. We do know that Lucas was clear in his brief that, although the film was to be a space opera, fantastic in scope, he wanted traditional ...

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Songs For The End Of The World – Liverpool Everyman

Writers: Dom Coyote, Michael Vale and Tom Penn Director: Dom Coyote Reviewer: Daryl Holden Songs for the End of the World has an undoubtedly intriguing premise. A part gig, part show following a man who, when the world turns on itself, is left suspended in Earth’s orbit on his way to kick-start a new Eden on Mars.  Now, with nothing ...

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