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North East & Yorkshire

Beryl – Hull Truck Theatre

Writer: Maxine Peake Director: Rebecca Gatward Designer: Naomi Dawson Reviewer: Ron Simpson Maxine Peake’s play, Beryl, about the Morley-based cyclist Beryl Burton who dominated women’s cycling for more than two decades, was commissioned by West Yorkshire Playhouse to coincide with last year’s Tour de France. Such was its impact that it returned to the Playhouse with a different cast this ...

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Orchestra of Opera North: Wagner & Strauss – Town Hall, Huddersfield

Conductor: Aleksandar Markovic Soloist: Emma Bell (soprano) Reviewer: Ron Simpson In recent years, through the Leeds Town Hall semi-stagings under Music Director Richard Farnes, the Orchestra of Opera North has gained a reputation as a top-class Wagner orchestra. However, in the opening concert of the Kirklees season, despite two Wagner pieces on the programme, the focus was very much on ...

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The Glass Menagerie – West Yorkshire Playhouse, Leeds

Writer: Tennessee Williams Director: Ellen McDougall Designer: Fly Davis Reviewer: Ron Simpson The Glass Menagerie is one of Tennessee Williams’ most autobiographical plays and was his first real success. It is narrated by Tom (Williams’ real name) and presents a bleakly compassionate view of his mother and sister and the home he had to leave. In the play, Amanda Wingfield ...

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Avenue Q – Grand Opera House, York

Avenue Q cast 2016 tour

Writer: Jeff Whitty Music and Lyrics: Robert Lopez and Jeff Marx Director/Choreographer: Cressida Carre Reviewer: Janet Jepson It’s furry, funny, fuzzy, naughty and definitely one to see, welcome to Avenue Q! This is a musical unlike any other. Eleven extremely talented human performers tread the boards, but hardly anyone notices them. The limelight is well and truly stolen by their ...

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The Mikado – The Civic, Darlington

Lyrics: W S Gilbert Music:Sir Arthur Sullivan Director: John Savournin Conductor: James Hendry Choreographer: Phillip Aiden Reviewer: Rob Atkinson The Mikado is regarded by many as the jewel in the Gilbert &Sullivan crown; the best and most original of the Savoy Operas. That much is up for debate - G&S aficionados will argue long into any given night for their ...

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Poles Apart – Theatre Royal, Wakefield

Writer: John Godber Director: John Godber Designer: Graham Kirk Reviewer: Ron Simpson   The title of John Godber’s new play contains multiple puns. The main characters are scaffolders, working with poles, and one of them, a Pole, is inclined to show off his fitness and physique by a sort of pole dancing. However, the primary meaning provides a rather poignant ...

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Bob Dylan & The History of Rock ’n’ Roll – The Civic, Barnsley

Writer: Michael Gray Reviewer: Ray Taylor Michael Gray is a renowned world authority on Bob Dylan, having studied him over a lifetime and produced two monumental books on Dylan's life and work. He attempts to distill all his knowledge and appreciation of Dylan in this one-man performance that is partly lecture, but also includes rare footage and soundtrack recordings. Gray ...

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Hero’s Welcome – Stephen Joseph Theatre, Scarborough

Writer Alan Ayckbourn Director Alan Ayckbourn Designer Michael Holt Reviewer Ron Simpson Now into his sixth decade of writing plays, Alan Ayckbourn has learned the art of being unpredictable. At one time, audiences and critics felt they had isolated the Ayckbourn comic gene, but that hope is long gone. In Hero’s Welcome, the comedy begins in what we like to ...

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