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.
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.
Paul Daniels has been performing internationally with The Intimate Magic Tour, offering a close-up illusion experience which promises: “you’ll never get closer”.
Calamity Jane, a classic Western musical, rides into Leeds Grand Theatre this month. Featuring a stampede of iconic show tunes, rugged characters and unexpected romance, Calamity Jane is a new production of a much-loved classic.
It’s the Summer of 1876 in Deadwood City, Dakota. When Calamity Jane, a tomboyish cowgirl, brags that she can deliver hot Chicagoan performer Adelaid Adams to the local stage of Deadwood, she sets out to the big Windy City to persuade the sultry starlet, only to pick up her maid for a live performance which will shake up the local community and create a love triangle of gunslinging proportions.
Cast: Cory English, Jason Manford, Ross Noble, David Bedella, Tiffany Graves, Stephane Anelli
Director: Matthew White
Writer: Mel Brooks & Thomas Meehan
Theatre: Leeds Grand Theatre
Duration: 150 minutes
Start Date: June 8, 2015
In 2001 Mel Brooks adapted his hit comedy film The Producers into a hit Broadway musical. This week the Tony award-winning show arrives at Leeds Grand Theatre.
The Producers is the story of Max Bialystock (Cory English), a theatre producer with a string of Broadway stinkers to his name. When accountant Leo Bloom (Jason Manford) reveals that more money can be made from a failure than a success, Bialystock sources a hideous script to be realised by an incapable director, in the hope of creating a guaranteed flop. With plans to escape with the show's investments to Brazil, the duo's hopes are dashed when Springtime For Hitler becomes an unexpected hit.
Cast: Robert Webb, Jason Thorpe, Chris Ryan Director: Sean Foley
Writer: The Goodale Brothers
Theatre: Leeds Grand Theatre
Duration: 125 minutes
Start Date: June 1, 2015
P.G. Wodehouse's celebrated creations Jeeves and Wooster show up at Leeds Grand Theatre this week in Perfect Nonsense, a West End transfer from the pens of The Goodale Brothers.
Perfect Nonsense establishes the façade of an amateur one-man show, fronted by Bertie Wooster as he attempts to re-enact the events of a purloined creamer (in the shape of a cow) whilst being seduced by his friend's soppy fiancé. Struggling to play all of the diverse roles alone, Bertie ropes in his ever faithful butler Jeeves and the long-suffering Steppings, a doddery manservant.
Cast: Lucy Ellinson
Director: Christopher Haydon
Writer: George Brant
Theatre: West Yorkshire Playhouse
Duration: 65 minutes
Start Date: October 23, 2014
End Date: October 25, 2014
Gate Theatre’s production of Grounded by George Brant touches down at West Yorkshire Playhouse this month. It is a soliloquy in the life of a hot shot F-16 pilot who becomes a lover and mother during a war of nerves. Grounded is an unconventional tale of a bird whose wings are clipped, whose expectations fall down to earth and whose social freedoms become restrained. In all, the title of the show encompasses every literal meaning of the word.
With original writing, directors will often tell you that the final draft of a new play is just the starting point for a show - not the final word. It is merely the beginnings before a larger collaborative process which will bring the production to stage. A line was distinctly drawn in 2004 which shook the performing arts industry to its very foundations. Author Marie Jones won sole copyright ownership of the play Stones in His Pockets after a court ruled that the show's original director, who contributed measurable additions to the script, had no claim as co-author.
Musings, arguments, reviews and projects within performing arts. Archived reviews from Entertainment-Focus.com. © Samuel Payne 2016