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Wings – Huddersfield Town Hall

Film Director: William A. Wellman Composer: Carl Davis Orchestra: Orchestra of Opera North Conductor: Carl Davis Reviewer: Ron Simpson At the end of the showing of Wings at Huddersfield Town Hall, a sizable proportion of the audience rose in a standing ovation. Who or what were they applauding? William Wellman, dead these 40-odd years, for an inspired piece of film-making? ...

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Europe – Leeds Playhouse

Writer: David Greig Director: James Brining Reviewer: Jay Nuttall For the last couple of years, there hasn’t been a day gone by without Brexit being front page news. It is no surprise, therefore, that David Greig’s Europe is being staged by Leeds Playhouse as the UK’s departure from the European Union looms. A timely yet timeless play it has much ...

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The Band – Sheffield Lyceum

Writer: Tim Firth Music & Lyrics: Take That Director: Kim Gavin and Jack Ryder Reviewer: Sheila Stratford The Band tells the story of five teenage girlfriends bound together as dedicated fans of the boy band Take That. When they leave school, they go their separate ways only to be reunited 25 years later to attend a Take That concert in ...

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The Mingus Big Band – Howard Assembly Room, Leeds

Leader: Boris Koslov Reviewer: Ron Simpson Opera North has recently announced plans for a major new redevelopment of the Grand Theatre area. This has to be welcome, but already the company goes well beyond the remit of a conventional opera company in many ways, notably the Kirklees Concert Season and the expertly curated, and highly varied, programme in the Howard. ...

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They Don’t Pay? We Won’t Pay! – Theatre Royal, York

Writer: Dario Fo Adapter: Deborah McAndrew Based on a translation by: Jon Laskin and Michael Aquilante Director: Conrad Nelson Designer: Jessica Worrall Reviewer: Ron Simpson Farce, in more than one sense, is a funny business. The 19th and 20th Century English and French farce tradition depended most often on outwardly respectable, probably middle-class characters embroiled in a situation that became incrementally ...

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Fame The Musical – Lyceum Theatre, Sheffield

Director and choreographer: Nick Winston Conceived and developed by: David de Silva Music by: Steve Margoshes, Dean Pitchford and Michael Gore Reviewer: Beverley Haigh Fame, the hit TV series and iconic motion picture, synonymous with sweatbands and leg warmers and largely responsible for influencing 1980s fashion, celebrates its 30th anniversary with Selladoor Productions’ latest touring version. Three decades later, the ...

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Rock of Ages – Darlington Hippodrome

Book: Chris D’Arienzo Arrangements & Orchestrations: Ethan Popp Director & Choreographer: Nick Winston With the clarity of hindsight, anyone who lived through the 1980s will no doubt be able to now admit that it was a pretty silly decade. Big hair, big shoulder pads, embarrassing fashions: just plain silly. Rock of Ages, a musical celebrating the era and its music ...

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The Ragged Trousered Philanthropists – Marsden Mechanics, Huddersfield

Writer: Neil Gore Adapted from the novel by Robert Tressell Director: Louise Townsend Reviewer: Ron Simpson Townsend Productions’ first two-man tour was of Neil Gore’s cut-down version of Stephen Lowe’s adaptation of The Ragged Trousered Philanthropists. The success of that tour has led to five more tours of powerful, committed, imaginatively and entertainingly presented agit-prop pieces based on real events, ...

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