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North East & Yorkshire Reviews

Ladysmith Black Mambazo – Howard Assembly Room, Leeds

Reviewer: Ron Simpson Ladysmith Black Mambazo seems to have solved the problem all successful groups have of renewing themselves over a period of time. The 2017 version manages to be full of youthful energy while remaining true to the dream Joseph Shabalala had well over 50 years ago when founding the group. Now Joseph no longer tours, but the tradition ...

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Back to the Future in Concert – Millennium Square, Leeds

Conductor: Jessica Cottis Reviewer: Mark Clegg Well done to Leeds City Council for organising their Summer Series: a programme of live events and film screenings held in the beautiful open air surroundings of Millennium Square. This summer-long programme kicked off with a weekend of Opera North in the City which itself climaxed on Sunday with the Orchestra of Opera North ...

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Ice Cream: The Opera – Centenary Square, Bradford

Writer: Ian McMillan Director: Tom Wright Composer: Russell Sarre Music Director: Ben Crick Designer: Ryan Dawson-Laight Reviewer: Ron Simpson  Ice Cream: The Opera proved to be as unusual a musical/dramatic event as you could see in a year of festivals, but at the same time surprisingly and effectively mainstream in many ways. It’s rather sad that no performances are planned ...

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A Night at the Opera – Millennium Square, Leeds

Orchestra: Orchestra of Opera North Conductors: Jessica Cottis/James Holmes Soloists: Jeni Bern (soprano)/Quirijn de Lang (baritone) Reviewer: Ron Simpson A Night at the Opera, the second event of the three-night Opera North in the City Festival, showed once again the canniness of the company’s programming. The evening was not perfect: the orchestral sound conjured up for the outdoor performance was ...

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Taking Steps – Stephen Joseph Theatre, Scarborough

Writer: Alan Ayckbourn Director: Alan Ayckbourn Designer: Kevin Jenkins Lighting: Jason Taylor Reviewer: Ron Simpson The Stephen Joseph Theatre makes this production something of a hostage to fortune by prominently displaying Robin Herford’s assessment of Taking Steps as the funniest play in the English language. Alan Ayckbourn’s new production of his 1979 farce doesn’t quite live up to that which ...

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Sounds of Palestine – Howard Assembly Room, Leeds

Performers: Mohamed Najem & Friends Performers: Nai Barghouti and band Reviewer: Ron Simpson The Howard Assembly Room continues to punch above its size in its programming, with this inspiring concert, billed rather less accurately as Palestine Jazz in the printed programme, the latest to impress. Sounds of Palestine proved inspiring for two reasons: the quality of the music, of course, ...

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Dirty Dancing – The Grand, Leeds

Writer:  Eleanor Bergstein           Director: Federico Bellone Music Supervisor: Conrad Helfrich Reviewer: Dawn Smallwood Everyone associates Dirty Dancing with the 1987 film starring Patrick Swayze and Jennifer Grey; many certainly consider it as ‘the classic story’, with the stage production making its debut in 2004.  Dirty Dancing is currently embarking on a new national 2016/17 Tour. It’s the summer of 1963, ...

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