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North East & Yorkshire Reviews

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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The Last Seam – Grove Hall, South Kirkby

Writer: Garry Lyons Director: Daljinder Singh Set Designer: Kevin Jenkins Reviewer: Ron Simpson The Last Seam is a fine example of the community spirit which it celebrates. Commissioned by CAST in Doncaster and originally staged there, it is now making its way around the clubs and community halls of the former pit villages of Doncaster, Barnsley and Wakefield with the ...

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Where We Began – Square Chapel Centre for the Arts, Halifax

Writer: Rosie MacPherson Director: Hannah Butterfield Reviewer: Rich Jevons Stand and Be Counted (SBC), UK's first 'Theatre Company of Sanctuary', follow their 2016 production Tanja with a further examination of the flaws in the immigration system and the treatment of asylum seekers taken to its own inevitably nightmarish end. Shireen Farkhoy as The Transition Guide (Persian British Actor) is a ...

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Abigail’s Party – Hull Truck Theatre

Writer: Mike Leigh Director: Amanda Huxtable Designer: Emma Williams Reviewer: Ron Simpson Abigail’s Party was an iconic television/stage play of the late 1970s, but the passage of 40 years hasn’t made it any less current. The Hull Truck production is, in fact, the third by a major regional theatre in 2017/2018, though the first north of the Watford Gap. What ...

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