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North East & Yorkshire Reviews

Footloose: The Musical – Tyne Theatre & Opera House, Newcastle upon Tyne

Gareth Gates and company in Footloose

Director: Racky Plews Choreographer: Matthew Cole Musical Director: David Keech Reviewer: Mark Clegg Before becoming the UK’s leading mobile phone salesman, Kevin Bacon danced his way to stardom in the 1984 movie Footloose as Ren McCormack, a big-city kid who moves to a small town that has a ban on dancing. As the movie is fondly remembered, it inevitably got ...

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Just So Stories – Stephen Joseph Theatre, Scarborough

Writer: Rudyard Kipling Adaptor/Director: Vicky Ireland Designer: Lucy Weller Reviewer: Ron Simpson The target audience for Just So Stories is six+, so Vicky Ireland is careful not to strain the concentration of the younger audience members. Rudyard Kipling’s Just So Stories from 1902, fanciful tales of how animals developed the form they now have, are 12 in number, but this ...

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Becoming Hattie – East Riding Theatre, Beverley

Writer: Mhairi Grealis Director: Mary Swan Designer: Sam Pine Reviewer: Ron Simpson Becoming Hattie is rather more ambitious than most of the successful one-man/woman shows based on the lives and careers of actors/comedians. Rather than a no-interval one-hour show originating on a festival fringe, this is a full-length evening which attempts to link the lives of two people, one real, ...

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Contractions – The Crucible Theatre, Sheffield

Image Credit Marc Brenner

Director: Lisa Blair Writer: Mike Bartlett Designer: Fly Davis Composer: Giles Thomas Reviewer: Jim Gillespie While Mike Bartlett’s latest theatrical adventure, Wild, is causing a stir at London’s Hampstead Theatre, 160 miles north, Sheffield Theatres has revived one of his earlier plays, Contractions. Originally a radio play, it was adapted for the stage at the Royal Court in 2008. The ...

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The End of the Pier – Arts Centre, Washington

Writer &Director: Neil Armstrong Reviewer: Mark Clegg At a shabby end of the pier theatre, dark deeds are afoot, murder is on the bill and a dead body will soon appear centre stage. Lionel and Edith Boshe are The Lovebirds, a music hall double act whose marriage is as tired as their routines and whose 25-year relationship has soured to ...

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Educating Rita – Hull Truck Theatre

Writer: Willy Russell Director: Mark Babych Designer: James Turner Reviewer: Ron Simpson Watching Educating Rita on stage in 2016 is a slightly odd experience, enjoyable nonetheless. The play’s on-stage history, with many more productions in the last six or seven years than in the previous 20, suggests a current wish to get back to the original after years of domination ...

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Barnbow Canaries – West Yorkshire Playhouse, Leeds

Writer: Alice Nutter Music: Dyfan Jones Director: Kate Wasserberg Choreographer: Lucy Hind Reviewer: Janet Jepson Every town has a war memorial to its fallen soldiers, a constant reminder of men who made the ultimate sacrifice fighting for a better world. But sadly this is only half of the story, what of all those brave women who toiled behind the scenes ...

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Cats – The Grand, Leeds

Music: Andrew Lloyd Webber Lyrics: T S Eliot Director: Trevor Nunn Choreographer: Gillian Lynne Reviewer: Holly Spanner T S Eliot published Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats in 1939 and 38 years later Andrew Lloyd Webber began composing music for what he describes as being a childhood favourite. Four years later in 1981, Cats premiered at the New London Theatre ...

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