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North East & Yorkshire Reviews

La Traviata – CAST, Doncaster

Composer: Giuseppe Verdi Orchestration: Harry Blake Director/English version: Robin Norton-Hale Musical Director: Elspeth Wilkes Set Designer: Katie Bellman Reviewer: Ron Simpson The question is, “Can you watch OperaUpClose from Row J?” CAST’s first venture into full-length opera was an undoubted success in audience attendance and enthusiasm, but OperaUpClose’s company style, originally formed in the 35-seat Cock Tavern Theatre, had problems ...

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The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time – The Grand, Leeds

Writer:  Simon Stephens, based on the novel by Mark Haddon Director: Marianne Elliott Reviewer: Stephen Brennan The floor and walls of the stage at The Grand in Leeds are covered in gridlines straight from a maths textbook. The effect is to create a claustrophobic and oppressive cage filled with, among other things, a number of white crates, seemingly miscellaneous items ...

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Cyrano – West Yorkshire Playhouse, Leeds

Writer​: Edmond Rostand Adapter​: Deborah McAndrew Director and Composer​: Conrad Nelson Reviewer​: Ron Simpson In an interview on the Northern Broadsides website Deborah McAndrew makes the point that, though Cyrano de Bergerac, to give it its original full title, is set in 1640, it is very much a product of the late 19th Century. That could hardly be truer. In ...

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Narvik – Theatre Royal, York

Writer Lizzie Nunnery Director: Hannah Tyrrell-Pinder Composers: Vidar Norheim and Martin Heslop Reviewer: Ron Simpson It is significant that playwright Lizzie Nunnery is described as “a singer-songwriter”, Narvik is billed as “a new play with songs” and Box of Tricks, the company that commissioned it and is touring it, call themselves “the new play makers”. The play and production are very much ...

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Spillikin – CAST, Doncaster

Writer and Director: Jon Welch Reviewer: Janet Jepson Spillikin is there, his back to the audience, waiting to take up his role … he draws the eye as seats are taken and everyone wonders just how well he can act. In any case this inanimate character will surely not be able to add any emotional depth to this latest production by ...

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Murder, Margaret and Me – York Theatre Royal

Writer​: Philip Meeks Director: ​Damian Cruden Reviewer​: Ron Simpson Given the potentially fascinating story-line and the writing, directing and acting talent involved, Murder, Margaret and Me should be a truly memorable evening in the theatre. Disappointingly it isn’t, but it is a polished entertainment, cleverly written and beautifully acted. Initially a rather shorter one-person play staged at the 2012 Edinburgh ...

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Sister Act – The Alhambra, Bradford

Alexandra Burke and Jon Robyns in Sister Act 2016 UK tour

Music: Alan Menken Lyrics: Glenn Slater Book: Cheri &Bill Steinkellner Director: Craig Revel Horwood Reviewer: Sue Collier An enthusiastic full house greets the opening night of Sister Act at Bradford cAlhambra. It has a strong start with great scenery which is creatively adapted to portray the church, a night club and the police station cells. There are few well-known songs in ...

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Cinderella (La Cenerentola) – The Grand, Leeds

Music: Gioachino Rossini Director: Aletta Collins Reviewer: Dawn Smallwood  Opera North’s new production Cinderella (La Cenerentola) opened on its first night at the Leeds Grand Theatre and is part of the company’s fairy tale season this winter.  Premiering in 1817, Rossini’s version is based on the libretto by Giacomo (Jacopo) Ferretti after Charles Perrault’s Cendrillon. There is no wicked stepmother, ...

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