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.
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.
West Yorkshire Playhouse opens a new season with its first in-house Shakespeare production for some time. Richard III is arguably one of Shakespeare's most brutal tragedies; a tale of jealousy and arch manipulation escalating in monstrous acts of violence, the play centres on a malcontent who will stop at nothing to gain access to the throne.
Tom Mothersdale dangles his bare feet in a moat of dark water as the audience take their seats. Behind him is a peeling stucco wall. "I have things up my sleeve,” he boasts. “But I am the opposite of a stage magician. He gives you illusion that has the appearance of truth. I give you truth in the pleasant disguise of illusion..." So begins the memory play which launched the career of Tennessee Williams, which is at West Yorkshire Playhouse this month.
Sixties rock 'n roll musical Dreamboats and Miniskirts arrives at Leeds Grand Theatre this week. Continuing the story from Dreamboats and Petticoats, the show follows Laura and Bobby after their brief success on the hit parade. As The Beatles cause a sensation throughout Liverpool, Bobby and The Conquests attempt to cut a record and become part of the touring action; but a bad decision sends Bobby and Laura spinning in different directions with a hit single which may break them apart entirely.
Bill Kenwright brings Jesus Christ Superstar, the musical based on the progressive rock album by Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice, to Leeds Grand Theatre this week. A production which has ignited passion and fury in equal measure, the show arrives with a guarantee of provocation.
The musical follows the final days of Jesus Christ, who is betrayed by disciple Judas Iscariot and subsequently crucified under the Roman Empire. Loosely inspired by biblical texts and developed from a sensational album, the show offers an audacious interpretation of an ancient story told through progressive symphonic rock.
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.
Musings, arguments, reviews and projects within performing arts. Archived reviews from Entertainment-Focus.com. © Samuel Payne 2016