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George Benson – Symphony Hall, Birmingham

Reviewer: RL Bartholomew Such is the stature of jazz great George Benson that - should he ever choose – he could walk on stage, mumble the titles of his monumental back catalogue and would, no doubt,  receive an ecstatic standing ovation. There is not, indeed, any such grandstanding at Birmingham’s Symphony Hall where the charismatic guitarist plays a two-hour set that effortlessly ...

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Berlin to Broadway with Kurt Weill – City Varieties, Leeds

Devised by: Gene Lerner Director: Giles Havergal Musical Director: Martin Pickard Reviewer: Ron Simpson Leeds is not short of quality theatre and it’s good to see the level of co-operation between three of the city’s finest. Berlin to Broadway with Kurt Weill is a co-production by Opera North and West Yorkshire Playhouse, staged in the City Varieties, a perfect venue ...

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Three Sisters – Tobacco Factory Theatre, Bristol

Words, music and performance by RashDash (after Chekhov) Reviewer: Julia Beasley It’s Chekhov, but not as you know it. Actually, it’s not Chekhov at all. Or perhaps it’s Chekhov torn into bits, mashed up, smeared thinly over a feminist diatribe against patriarchy, and then set to live music and dance. RashDash imagines the original three Russian sisters Olga, Masha and ...

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Jeremiah James: Choose Love  – Live at Zedel, London

Musical Director: Andrew Hopkins Reviewer: Maryam Philpott In less than three weeks’ time, Jeremiah James’ new musical It Happened in Key West premieres in London, celebrating the strength and joy of true love. As a warm-up, James presents his own romantic ‘retrospective’ Choose LoveLive at Zedel, showcasing his vocal talents by uniting some of his favourite love songs as well as ...

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The Orchestra of Opera North – CAST, Doncaster

Conductor: Howard Shelley Soloists:      Andrew Long (violin)                     Kevin Gowland (flute)                     Richard Hewitt (oboe) Reviewer:   Ron Simpson The first appearance of the Orchestra of Opera North at CAST in Doncaster was supposed to be an occasion, but initially, it ...

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PREVIEW: Swinging back in time for the Swinging 60s Experience media launch

They say that, if you remember the Swinging 60s, you weren’t really there. However, perhaps the more pertinent question is whether the era itself, as it has been mythologised, was ever really there. Now, 37 years after Liverpool introduced its highly successful Magical Mystery Tour, London has its own bus tour, Swinging 60s Experience, setting out to find some answers, ...

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Leeds Piano Festival: Sunwook Kim – Howard Assembly Room, Leeds

Soloist: Sunwook Kim (piano) Reviewer: Ron Simpson The first Leeds Piano Festival runs from May 14th to 23rd, celebrating the famous Leeds International Piano Competition with concerts at the Wigmore Hall, London, and the Howard Assembly Room, Leeds. Sunwook Kim, who won the “Leeds” in 2006 at the age of 18, presented a varied programme at the Howard, technically spectacular ...

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Friday Night Classics: First Ladies of Swing – Symphony Hall, Birmingham

Conductor: Guy Barker Reviewer: Selwyn Knight With a wry smile, Clare Teal explains that this concert, First Ladies of Swing, has been two years in the planning.  Since its genesis, there was the Swing Jazz Prom in 2017 that featured tonight’s guest vocalists – all of whom are male. Later, conductor Guy Barker leads a tribute that he arranged to ‘that ...

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