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North East & Yorkshire Reviews

Educating Rita – Darlington Hippodrome

Writer: Willy Russell Director: Max Roberts Set and Costume Design: Patrick Connellan  Lighting Design: Drummond Orr Reviewer: Mark Clegg Willy Russell’s 1980 reversed twist on Pygmalion is probably best remembered for its 1983 film version starring Julie Walters and Michael Caine. However seeing it in its original form on stage: with a two-person cast in a single setting, allows the ...

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The Pirates of Penzance – Royal Hall, Harrogate

Libretto: William Schwenk Gilbert Composer: Arthur Sullivan Director: Richard Gauntlett Musical Director: Andrew Nicklin Choreographer: Jackie O’Brien Reviewer: Ron Simpson The International Gilbert & Sullivan Festival follows up six days at Buxton Opera House with nearly two weeks at Harrogate’s Royal Hall, with a comprehensive fringe programme in Harrogate International Centre, one of the halls converted into a social centre ...

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The Yeomen of the Guard – Royal Hall, Harrogate

Libretto: William Schwenk Gilbert Composer: Arthur Sullivan Director: Andrew Nicklin Musical Director: Timothy Burke Reviewer: Ron Simpson The Yeomen of the Guard is an oddity in the Gilbert and Sullivan canon and, partly because of that, has enjoyed a fluctuating reputation, at times over-rated (perhaps by Sullivan himself), at others unreasonably neglected. Often thought of a G&S take on grand ...

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Swallows and Amazons – York Theatre Royal

Writer: Arthur Ransome Adapted by: Helen Edmundson Composer: Neil Hannon Co-Directors: Damian Cruden, John R. Wilkinson Designer: Katie Sykes Musical Director: Kieran Buckeridge Reviewer: Ron Simpson Arthur Ransome’s classic children’s novel, published in 1930, presents three major problems in stage adaptation and performance. Much of the action involves careering about in small boats; the main characters are all children, the youngest ...

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Dirty Dancing – Leeds Grand

Writer: Eleanor Bergstein Director: Frederico Bellone Supervising Musical Director: Richard John Choreographer: Gillian Bruce Reviewer: Janet Jepson It starts with a beat, and you know you’re in for a treat. The classic story Dirty Dancing is touring stages throughout the UK, and crowds are flocking. There’s just something so special about this heart-warming story that brings audiences to their feet ...

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Season’s Greetings – Stephen Joseph Theatre, Scarborough

Writer/Director: Alan Ayckbourn Designer: Kevin Jenkins Reviewer: Ron Simpson Season’s Greetings is a bit of an oddity in the Ayckbourn canon. Initially performed at the Theatre in the Round in 1980, it was successful enough to be revived the following year, then disappeared from the Scarborough programme for nearly 40 years, despite popularity elsewhere. So the current production, astonishingly, is ...

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Billy Shakes – Wonderboy! – Shakespeare’s Rose Theatre, York

Writer/Director: Elvi Piper Designer: Antony Jones Musical Director: Rosie Fox Reviewer: Ron Simpson This year the Shakespeare’s Rose season in the shadow of Clifford’s Tower is mounting a commendably full-on Shakespearean assault on the people of York. Four plays rotate on a basis of two performances a day, during term-time some of the day-time performances were aimed specifically at schools, ...

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Avenue Q – Sheffield Lyceum

Director/Choreographer: Cressida Carré Designer: Richard Evans Musical Director: Dean McDermott Puppet Designer: Paul Jomain Reviewer: Janet Jepson It’s furry, funny, fuzzy, it’s naughty and it’s definitely one to see - welcome to Avenue Q. This is a musical unlike any other seen on stage. A group of extremely talented human performers tread the boards, but hardly anyone notices most of ...

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