Improbable bring Opening Skinner's Box to West Yorkshire Playhouse this month. Adapted from the 2005 book by Lauren Slater, the play recalls the bold and bizarre history of some of the most extraordinary psychological experiments of the 20th Century.
From the makers of Britain’s Got Bhangra comes a new musical based on the 7th century romantic tale of Laila. Set against a Persian landscape with contemporary song and dance, it is a show which charts the tragic story of star-crossed lovers, 700 years before Romeo and Juliet.
Celebrating its 21st anniversary, Riverdance hits Leeds Grand Theatre this month as part of a national tour.
The Irish line-dancing phenomena began as a performance piece in Dublin, supporting 1994's Eurovision Song Contest. This year the expanded dance show celebrates a landmark anniversary with a tour showcasing a cast of dancers born in the year of Riverdance's creation.
This Spring sees one of the longest-touring musicals return to the Leeds Grand Theatre. The first major collaboration between Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat is one of the most celebrated musicals of recent years. Boasting stars such as Jason Donovan and Donny Osmond in the leading role, it has also proved to be a perennial favourite with families and particularly children.
West Yorkshire Playhouse presents Great Expectations in the Quarry Theatre, in a new adaptation by Michael Eaton. A tale of fortune, favour, identity and destiny, the play follows the story of a blacksmith’s apprentice as he is funded by a mysterious donor to become a wealthy gentleman.
Charles Dickens' celebrated novel has been adapted for stage and screen numerous times with variable success. Michael Eaton's new imagining for West Yorkshire Playhouse attempts to capture the gothic intensity of the novel and is directed with an equally dark intent by Lucy Bailey. One of the draws of Dickens is the detail in his writing, be it character or place, and Bailey's production embraces a love of stage business and detailed dressing to bring that world to life.
Frazer Hines has been performing for sixty years on stage and screen. His work has taken him from Doctor Who and Emmerdale Farm to movies with Charlie Chaplin.
I spoke to him in the run up to his performance in Agatha Christie's And Then There Were None at Leeds Grand Theatre. As one of Yorkshire's sons returns to Leeds, I learn about his role in the show, reflecting on the past and looking to the future.
In September 2015 I spoke to godfather of magic, Paul Daniels, whilst on tour with his Intimate Magic Show.
He reflected at length on a career which has encompassed comedy, drama, music, cult game shows and of course, illusion. A straight-talker with a cheeky warmth and Yorkshire charm, the world-famous magician radiated an infectious sense of humour in this candid interview.
Flying into West Yorkshire Playhouse for the festive season is Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, the musical adaptation from Ian Fleming's famous children's novel about an old racing car which takes on an adventurous life of its own.
Featuring a host of famous musical numbers from the 1968 film and the latter West End hit, the Playhouse present perhaps their biggest and boldest Christmas show yet. In a prudent move by Artistic Director James Brining, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang is staged in the heart of the Winter season and offers a daring alternative to the usual festive fare. Presenting an iconic story that promises spectacle, stunts and nostalgic anthems, it is event-theatre which delivers in abundance.
The Leeds City Varieties’ Rock 'n' Roll Panto is back for the festive season at West Yorkshire's beloved Music Hall. This year'’s jukebox pantomime is a bombastic mashup of a tale between Robin Hood and the Babes in the Wood, bridged by over a dozen chart-topping musical numbers.
The Rock 'n' Roll pantomime has become a welcome tradition at the intimate City Varieties theatre, capitalising on the Music Hall's cosy compactness and magical Victorian surroundings. Robin Hood and Babes in the Wood follows the same tradition of charm and punch as previous years, offering a dizzy romp with outrageously silly characters whilst underscored by superb Rock ‘n' Roll hits. Added value in this show comes from the fact that the entirety of the cast provide all of the music, exchanging instruments throughout scenes and providing a big-band sound within a pantomime landscape.
RashDash present We Want You To Watch at West Yorkshire Playhouse this month. Commissioned by The National Theatre, the script is penned by Alice Birch and examines the consequences of pornography in a digital world with the subsequent fallout from it being censored by a nation who appear addicted, desensitized and depraved.
Musings, arguments, reviews and projects within performing arts. Archived reviews from Entertainment-Focus.com. © Samuel Payne 2016