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Festive 16/17

The Snow Maiden – The Grand, Leeds

Music:  Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov               Director: John Fulljames Reviewer: Dawn Smallwood Opera North is staging for the first time Rimsky-Korsakov’s The Snow Maiden and is part of the company’s fairy tale season this winter.  The Russian opera premiered in 1882 and was revised in 1898, and is based on Snegurochka, a Russian folk tale.  It follows the story of the Snow Maiden ...

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The Snowman – The HOUSE, Birmingham REP

Writer: Raymond Briggs Music and Lyrics: Howard Blake Director: Bill Alexander Reviewer:  John Kennedy The challenge this annual touring production sets itself is to, yet again, equally capture the enchantment and balletic fluidity of Raymond Briggs’ original picture-book love letter/homage to childhood innocence and Christmas folklore. Rest assured that this 2017 version does just that in snow-shoveled heaps of magical ...

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The Nutcracker – Chichester Festival Theatre

Music: Pyotr IlyichTchaikovsky Director: Lyudmila Nerubaschenko Conductor: Igor Shavruk Choreography: Victor Smirnov-Golovanov Reviewer: Bill Avenell There is something magical about the phrase ‘going to the ballet’ and, by and large, the Moscow City  Ballet (MCB) does its bit to maintain that reputation in the 2017 tour that commences at Chichester Festival Theatre. Firmly in the classical Russian School, the MCB ...

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Orchestra of Opera North: Viennese Whirl – Huddersfield Town Hall

Conductor: Aleksandar Markovic Soloists: Ellie Laugharne (soprano) & Heather Lowe (mezzo soprano) Reviewer: Ron Simpson As with Opera North’s Christmas Concert at Dewsbury, the company’s Viennese Whirl took a popular form and tweaked it, giving the less familiar material an airing and slipping in the occasional more challenging piece before serving up helpings of Sachertorte as 9:30 pm approached. Vienna-style New ...

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What The Ladybird Heard – Town Hall, Birmingham

Writers: Julia Donaldson and Lydia Monks (original book) Director: Graham Hubbard Reviewer:  John Kennedy Shake off those tinsel and turkey cobwebs with fifty-five minutes of farmyard festive fun and frolics with this delightful stage adaptation of the award-winning eponymous picture book by Julia Donaldson &Lydia Monks. Participation is optional – hilarity jolly well near compulsory. Kenny Wax Family Entertainment in association with Matthew ...

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Ernie And The Sea Of Ice – Exeter Phoenix

Written by: Simon Hall and Katie Villa Director: Katie Villa Reviewer: Charlie Hackett Does the idea of sitting through another garish panto this season feel you with dread? Then Quirk Theatre’s Ernie And The Sea Of Ice may be just what you’re looking for. 100 years after Ernest Shackleton’s famous expedition to Antarctica, Ernie and his eccentric crew invite you ...

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Dick Whittington – Birmingham Hippodrome

Matt Slack & Andrew Ryan in Dick Whittington 2016

Writers: Michael Harrison and Alan McHugh Director: Michael Harrison Reviewer:  James Garrington It says something about the quality of a pantomime cast when a performer of the calibre of Danielle Hope, who won TV’s Over the Rainbow and starred in the Hippodrome’s Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, is pushed off the show poster by bigger names – and they’ve certainly pulled ...

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Peter Pan – The Alhambra, Bradford

Writer: Michael Harrison and Alan McHugh, adapted from Peter Pan by J.M. Barrie Musical Director: James McCullagh Choreographer: Stillie Dee Director: Ed Curtis Reviewer: Sue Collier A delightful children’s choir and a wonderful Santa gives a great welcome to the Alhambra. 3D glasses are clutched in excited anticipation in a theatre packed with children and adults, all eagerly awaiting the ...

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