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North East & Yorkshire Reviews

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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Educating Rita – Lyceum Theatre, Sheffield

Writer: Willy Russell Director: Max Roberts Set and Costumes: Patrick Connellan Lighting Design: Drummond Orr Sound Design: David Flynn Reviewer: Janet Jepson Willy Russell is rightly famous for his strong female characters, usually arising from his tough working-class upbringing in Liverpool in the fifties. Born to a father who worked in a factory and a mother who went from nursing ...

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Educating Rita – Theatre Royal, Wakefield

Writer: Willy Russell Director: Max Roberts Designer: Patrick Connellan Reviewer: Ron Simpson Educating Rita, now nearly 40 years old, is one of those plays that carries its production in its DNA. The director has few decisions about style, setting and characterization to make, only the difficult problem of how to convey warmly, convincingly and often humorously a changing relationship in ...

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Little Miss Sunshine – A Road Musical at the Lyceum Theatre, Sheffield

Writer: James Lapine Music/Lyrics: William Finn Director: Mehmet Ergen Designer: David Woodhead Musical Director: Arlene McNaught Reviewer: Ron Simpson Little Miss Sunshine is a sort of jollier Grapes of Wrath for the 21 st century. The hint is there in the family name “Hoover” – the Joads in Steinbeck’s classic spend time in squalid Hoovervilles, named for President Hoover. The ...

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Twelfth Night – Shakespeare’s Rose Theatre, York

Writer: William Shakespeare Director: Joyce Branagh Costume Designer: Sara Perks Set Designer: Max Dorey  Composer: Eamonn O’Dwyer Reviewer: Ron Simpson “More matter for a May morning…” – or, better yet, for a Summer afternoon or evening! It’s difficult to imagine a more joyous three hours of Shakespeare for an open-air production in what is bound to be a glorious summer ...

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Henry V – Shakespeare’s Rose Theatre, York

Writer: William Shakespeare Director: Gemma Fairlie Costume Designer: Adrian Linford  Set Design: Max Dorey Composer: Eamonn O’Dwyer Reviewer: Ron Simpson Henry V was the third of four plays at Shakespeare’s Rose to hold its Press performance, not, as it happened, a Press Night, but a matinee which illustrated one of the charms of Shakespeare at the Rose – and also ...

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Stepping Out – Stephen Joseph Theatre, Scarborough

Writer: Richard Harris Director: Paul Robinson Designer: Helen Coyston Music/Sound: Simon Slater Choreographer: Erin Carter Reviewer: Ron Simpson 35 years on from its first performance and with productions popping up all over the world on a weekly basis, Stepping Out has, Paul Robinson believes, never been staged in the round before. That engenders an immediacy of communication with the audience ...

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