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Dec 9th

Anything Goes at the Crucible, Sheffield

By Paul Tyree

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Anything Goes

by Paul Tyree

The Crucible's now traditional Christmas musical this year is 'Anything Goes' by Cole Porter and once again Daniel Evans has directed an absolute classic of a show.

Unremittingly joyous and frequently hilarious the Crucible's production might just be the must see show of the Christmas period anywhere in the country.

Telling the story of how Billy Crocker falls for the socialite Hope Harcourt and stows away on board a cruise liner she's on with her wealthy fiance', wooing her away from him over the course of the journey. There are frequent farcical twists and turns in a story resplendant with humour but most importantly incredible songs.

What comes across most is perhaps the genius of Cole Porters words and music as the songs never feel contrived or out of place, but simply come straight from what is happening in the plot and therefore seem completely natural.

Daniel Evans directs with the assured touch that we have come to expect from him during his time at the Crucible. There are even sections that remind you of the dream sequences from the greatest of Gene Kelly musicals. The choreography is superb and perfectly compliments the action on stage, both funny, technically brilliant but never feeling intrusive or overstaying its welcome.

All of the performers give exemplary performances, none more so than Debbie Kurup as Reno Sweeney. She is assured, her voice is exceptional and she brings all the verve and vivacity that is needed to raise her performance to the highest level.

Comedy comes from four fantastic performances. Steven Matthews as Lord Evelyn Oakleigh is hilarious and quickly became my daughter's favourite. The mixture of upper class twit meeting real sexual desire for Reno Sweeney produces some of the shows most standout and laugh out loud moments. Hugh Sachs and Simon Rouse are also hilarious and play their parts with wonderful assurance. Alex Young as Erma a sexually adventurous young woman with a fondness for sailors is simply divine and makes the most of her part and is so good you were left with a real desire to see more of her character. These four, between them, make sure that this production not only impresses because of the music and dance but will also have you rolling in the aisles with laughter as well.

Zoe Rainey as Hope Harcourt is also one to watch as her performance seems reminiscent of all those young socialites we've come to expect from the pen of PG Woodhouse who wrote the original story. She sings and dances and acts wonderfully and makes it seem effortless.

All around this production perfectly captures the best of what The Crucible has become over the last few years. High production values, supreme professionalism, top class performances, marvellous wit and all the best of what theatre should bring to the people.

This is the perfect present for anyone you love at Christmas and if you can't get to Sheffield before that (that's always assuming there are any tickets left), then worry not as this show will be going on tour in the new year. It really is one that any theatre lover should really do their upmost not to miss.

Tue 9 Dec 7:15pm   £26.00* Book Tickets
Wed 10 Dec 2:00pm   £24.00* Book Tickets
Wed 10 Dec 7:15pm   £26.00* Book Tickets
Thu 11 Dec 7:15pm   £26.00* Book Tickets
Fri 12 Dec 7:15pm   £26.00* Book Tickets
Sat 13 Dec 2:00pm Captioned £24.00* Book Tickets
Sat 13 Dec 7:15pm   £32.00* Book Tickets
Mon 15 Dec 7:15pm   £26.00* Book Tickets
Tue 16 Dec 7:15pm   £26.00* Book Tickets
Wed 17 Dec 2:00pm   £24.00* Book Tickets
Wed 17 Dec 7:15pm   £26.00* Book Tickets
Thu 18 Dec 7:15pm Audio Described, Signed £26.00* Book Tickets
Fri 19 Dec 7:15pm   £32.00* Book Tickets
Sat 20 Dec 2:00pm   £24.00* Book Tickets
Sat 20 Dec 7:15pm   £32.00* Book Tickets
Mon 22 Dec 7:15pm   £32.00* Book Tickets
Tue 23 Dec 2:00pm   £32.00* Book Tickets
Tue 23 Dec 7:15pm   £32.00* Book Tickets
Wed 24 Dec 2:00pm   £32.00* Book Tickets
Sat 27 Dec 2:00pm   £32.00* Book Tickets
Sat 27 Dec 7:15pm   £32.00* Book Tickets
Mon 29 Dec 7:15pm   £32.00* Book Tickets
Tue 30 Dec 2:00pm   £32.00* Book Tickets
Tue 30 Dec 7:15pm   £32.00* Book Tickets
Wed 31 Dec 2:00pm   £24.00* Book Tickets
Fri 2 Jan 7:15pm   £32.00* Book Tickets
Sat 3 Jan 2:00pm   £24.00* Book Tickets
Sat 3 Jan 7:15pm   £32.00* Book Tickets
Mon 5 Jan 7:15pm   £26.00* Book Tickets
Tue 6 Jan 7:15pm   £26.00* Book Tickets
Wed 7 Jan 2:00pm   £24.00* Limited Availability
Wed 7 Jan 7:15pm   £26.00* Book Tickets
Thu 8 Jan 7:15pm Talkback £26.00* Book Tickets
Fri 9 Jan 7:15pm   £32.00* Book Tickets
Sat 10 Jan 2:00pm   £24.00* Limited Availability
Sat 10 Jan 7:15pm   £32.00* Book Tickets
Mon 12 Jan 7:15pm   £26.00* Book Tickets
Tue 13 Jan 7:15pm   £26.00* Book Tickets
Wed 14 Jan 2:00pm   £24.00* Limited Availability
Wed 14 Jan 7:15pm   £26.00* Book Tickets
Thu 15 Jan 7:15pm   £26.00* Book Tickets
Fri 16 Jan 7:15pm   £32.00* Book Tickets
Sat 17 Jan 2:00pm   £32.00* Book Tickets
Sat 17 Jan 7:15pm   £32.00* Book Tickets

Future touring performances to include:

The New Wimbledon Theatre, Mayflower, Southampton, Kings Theatre, Glasgow, Birmingham Hippodrome and Sunderland Empire.

 

 

 

 

 

Dec 4th

Lord of the Flies - Bradford Alhambra

By GRAHAM CLARK
Matthew Bourne has been credited with bringing ballet productions to a mass audience, making ballet more accessible for the casual fan. In the past he has done this with Swan Lake and now with his adaptation of William Golding's Lord of the Flies.

It is a dark story but Bourne brings out the best of it so that it  is not all doom and gloom and there are some entertaining scenes.  In the book a group of schoolboys find themselves stranded on a deserted island, tonight the island has been swapped for a deserted theatre.

On entering the theatre the audience is greeted with creeks and groans coming from the stage: it is an atmospheric touch that paves the way for the night ahead.

The 22 men on stage are excellent dancers with none of them missing a step. the dancing is very intricate and with so many on stage perfect timing was a must, especially in the square dance routine at the beginning - everone had to be spot on - and they were.

There is a nod to modern technology as the boys use their mobile phones to illuminate their surroundings. With many of the cast coming from Bradford it added a local flavour to the proceedings.

The music played an important part, too, bringing the dramtic scenes to life. Terry Davies has written a brilliant soundtrack.

A captivating, enthralling adaptation that rightly deserved the standing ovation received at the end of this energetic ballet.

Runs until Saturday 6 December. 

Tickets from: www.bradford-theatres.co.uk
Nov 26th

Barnum, The Alhambra Theatre, Bradford

By GRAHAM CLARK
The circus really did come to town with this new touring production of Barnum. Before the musical commences the audience were entertained in the stalls with Jugglers and a man walking on his hands! Of course these were actors who were to appear later on stage.

Barnum

It has to be said that you have to be a fan of Brian Conley who plays Barnum: he is in every scene and at times it felt like you were watching one of his stand up comic spots albeit with him having an American accent.

Conley has a deep bass voice which might have been suited to playing Jolson a few years ago but it did not suit some of the songs in the musical score; within  which there are no well known songs.  Apart from these considerations it is a colourful, dazzling and entertaining show.

The story describes how P. Taylor Barnum goes from circus man to having his own Barnum Museum to becoming Lord Mayor and back again to the circus - inbetween there are "attractions" like a 160 year old woman, the world's largest elephant (straight out of pantomime) and Conley walking a tightrope and eating fire.

Kimberely Blake as Jenny Lind had a superb voice and went from Swedish songstress with little spoken English to having a perfect English accent. Linzi Hateley as Cherry Barnum provided light and shade in her role as Taylor Barnum's wife whilst the energetic and youthful dancers worked their socks off.

If you have never seen Brian Conley before you will probably warm to him playing Barnum but I could not help thinking that with his cheeky grin on his face he was going to crack one of his own jokes.  That being said he is still charming and entertaining as Barnum.

Funny, colourful and with subtle undertones of lost love this touring production is still worth seeing.

Runs until Saturday 29th November 2014.
Tickets available from:  www.bradford-theatres.co.uk
Nov 18th

DIRTY DANCING - LEEDS GRAND THEATRE

By Cameron Lowe
Dirty Dancing

Review by Graham Clark

Dirty Dancing is advertised as "the biggest live theatre sensation of all time": a bold statement but one which is not far from the truth.
 
This stage production of the 25 year old movie is a magical, energetic and colourful show. If you liked the movie then you will not be disappointed by this production. With the success of TV programmes like Strictly Come Dancing, the public's appetite for dance musicals seems to be in favour again.
 
At times it was like watching Strictly with the choreography being tight and in perfect timing. The story is light: set in 1963, Penny Johnson (played with flair and innocence by Claire Rogers) becomes pregnant so she can no longer dance with her dancing partner, Johnny Castle (Gareth Bailey); a suave and muscle chested heart-throb.  Her place is taken by Frances "Baby" Houseman (Roseanna Frascona) but there is a flaw … Houseman can't dance!  The newly formed duo blossom together as Castle teaches ‘Baby' the steps and, inevitably, they become a romantic couple as well as dancing partners.
 
The songs in are a mix of early 1960's hits mixed with elements of the original movie soundtrack which work well in the production as there are more songs than dialogue.
 
There is some humour, too, with corny lines such as" Are you going to take a bath?" with the answer, "I didn't know one was missing".
 
It is easy to make comparisons to the movie but Gareth Bailey portrays Johnny Castle well; his dancing and good looks seemed to be a hit with the female members of the audience who probably have fond memories of Patrick Swayze playing the role.
 
Colin Charles as singer Tito Suarez is one of the overlooked characters but he added to the 1960's feel of the night.
 
With a standing ovation, the feeling was that this is a musical which lifts the spirits and is as enjoyable as the movie. For fans of the movie this was an early Christmas present.
 
Runs until Saturday 6th December 2014.
 
Tickets from £15.00 available from:  www.leedsgrandtheatre.com 
Nov 5th

Thriller Live at Bradford Alhambra Theatre

By Cameron Lowe
Review by Graham Clark

Thriller Live celebrates the music of Michael Jackson. If you are a fan of his music then this is the show for you. Otherwise, the quality of the presentation ensures that this remains an entertaining and uplifting evening's entertainment. 

Thriller Live

This musical has been running in the West End in London for over 5 years now and has toured the UK previously. Every time it tours there are a few changes to the production.
 
The young Michael Jackson who used to start the show has now gone, though we do still get the Jackson 5; albeit without the afro wigs that they wore in previous incarnations of the production.
 
Following his career, the tracks are performed in chronological order starting off with I Want You Back when the Jackson 5 were the "the new Teen sensation", with Michael singing lead vocals.  We get the disco period from 1977 and their Number 1 hit, Show You the Way to Go before moving on to his golden period of the Off The Wall, Thriller and Bad albums of the 1980s.
 
There is a live band in the show: the guitarist's become an integral part of the performance later on.
The dancing is energetic and the dance crew work hard throughout, but it is the lead vocalists who make the difference with an outstanding performance by Wayne Robinson. 
 
As the title, suggests the production's highlights are the songs from the Thriller album with the video of the title track being performed with the dancers dressed as the walking dead ghouls.
 
This is an easy on the ear show; sometimes gushing too much towards Jackson "he influenced everyone from Justin Timberlake to Beyonce to Usher to Maroon 5" the former names maybe true but I'm not too sure about Maroon 5. 
 
The audience were on their feet for the reprise of Thriller at the end of the show. Although a musical jukebox, this remains a high quality entertaining production. Thrilling indeed.
 
Thriller Live runs at Bradford Alhambra until Saturday 8 November 2014.
 
Tickets from£14.00 available from:  www.bradford-theatres.co.uk 
 
Image courtesy of Bradford Theatres.
Oct 16th

This is my Family - Sheffield Lyceum Theatre

By Paul Tyree

 

 

Review by Paul Tyree

 

This is my Family is one of those rarest of theatrical creatures in that it makes you feel comfortable and familiar but also hugely excited as well. It manages to convey the mundane in a way that lifts your spirits to such an extent that you begin to question your take on reality or at least how you see your own life.

 

This is my Family is the story of Nicky, a young girl living in a disfunctionally functional family of a mum and dad and older teenage brother. Their arguments are exactly the same as the ones you will have had in your own family. They reek of cliché and yet are no less important and meaningful and funny for that.

 

When their grandmother comes to stay the stresses on the family increase and when Nicky wins a family holiday she decides to take her mother and father back to the place where they met in order to rekindle their love.

 

This is my Family features some wonderful songs that really stick in your memory long after you’ve heard them and for a new musical that’s no mean feat. The writing is superb throughout and always wonderfully funny and true and the performances are top notch. It would be wrong to single out one of the actors as they truly are a fantastic company that all perform superbly.

 

There is a small caveat to my high praise as the success that this show has already had and the move to the Lyceum has understandably distanced the audience and therefore some of the intimacy that was created when performed at the Crucible studio is lost. However, all of the performers have become even more polished and the show has achieved a slickness and professionalism that more than makes up for the understandable distancing that success has created. This is a show that deserves a larger audience to enjoy it and in a newly refurbished Lyceum this show is the perfect opener for the Lyceum’s theatre’s re-launch.


Below is my previous review of this most marvellous of shows.


http://www.uktheatre.net/magazine/read/this-is-my-family---at-sheffields-crucible-studio_1938.html


Fri 17 Oct 7:45pm   £18.00 - £24.00* Book Tickets
Sat 18 Oct 3:00pm   £16.00 - £22.00* Book Tickets
Sat 18 Oct 7:45pm   £18.00 - £24.00*

UK Tour 2014

Royal & Derngate, Northampton
Tue 21 – Sat 25 October
royalandderngate.co.uk
Box Office 01604 624 811

Belgrade Theatre, Coventry
Tue 28 October – Sat 1 November
belgrade.co.uk
Box Office 024 7655 3055

Liverpool Playhouse
Tue 4 – Sat 8 November
everymanplayhouse.co.uk
Box Office 0151 709 4776

The New Wolsey, Ipswich
Tue 11 – Sat 15 November
wolseytheatre.co.uk
Box Office 01473 295 900

Oct 16th

Riverdance 20 Years Bradford Alhambra

By GRAHAM CLARK
Riverdance 20th Anniversary

It is 20 years now since Riverdance made its debut at the Eurovision Song Contest in Dublin. Set to Bill Whelan's haunting score the show is a celebration of Irish dance and with 30 dancers in the show there is never a dull moment.

The production is not all about dance, the four musicians on stage play a mixture of everything from traditional irish music to New York jazz. If you are a fan of traditional Irish music the show is worth going to see for this alone.

The first half of the production showcases the elements such as the sun, the wind, thunderstorms and fire with some nifty flamenco dancing ending in a spectacular version of Riverdance.

The second half of the show moves across the Atlantic as the Irish famine drives the Irish people to a new world in America. New York jazz meets Irish flamboyance with a spectacular stand off between Irish and American dancers.
 
With some Russian dancing too, the show encompasses the whole world of dance. Lead dancers Siobhan Manson and Jason O'Neil move so swiftly and energetically throughout the show.

The standing ovation the show received at the end was justified. This is a show that will run for another 20 years and beyond. A real treat for the eyes and ears.

Runs until Sunday 19th October.
Tickets available from: www.bradford-theatres.com
Sep 30th

Dreamboats and Miniskirts - The Alhambra, Bradford

By GRAHAM CLARK
Sixties musicals seem to be very successful at the moment with theatre audiences. This new musical set in the early 1960's continues on from Dreamboats and Petticoates and continues the story of two singers - Bobby (Alex Beaumont) and Laura (Elizabeth Carter).

It is the ear of Merseybeat and groups have taken over from solo singers.
Bobby is now looking to join a group called The Conquests whilst Laura is struggling to follow up her Number 1 hit single, Dreamcoats and Petticoats. To get into the new group Bobby offers them a new song he has written entitled Time Won't Stand Still - the song was actually co-written with Laura.

Hot record producer Tony Lister (Alan Howell) sees The Conquests but thinks that they need a new lead singer. The group find their old friend Norman (Ross William Child) who is newly wed with a baby on the way. He is persuaded to join the band. Whilst in the recording studio recording the song Laura co-wrote it transpires that Laura is recording in an adjacent studio and hears the band singing her song! Fireworks follow.

The songs from the era are cleverly introduced into the show and with tracks such as A Picture of You, Breaking Up Is Hard To Do, The Night Has a 1000 Eyes and Oh Pretty Woman the show is the soundtrack to the teenage years of many of tonight's audience. 

The talented cast sing, dance, act and play instruments throughout the show. Ross William Child plays a suave Norman, looking like a young Cliff Richard whilst Alan Howell plays a charming role as Tony Lister.

Elizabeth Carter plays Laura with innocence which summarises the period exactly. It is a light hearted musical with the songs being the real stars of the show.

A feel good show that is not too deep but will leave you with a smile on your face.

Runs until Saturday 4 October. Tickets available from: www.bradford-theatres.co.uk 
Sep 28th

Twelfth Night at the Sheffield Crucible

By Paul Tyree

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Twelfth Night

 

Twelfth Night opens at the Crucible theatre in a solid if not spectacular interpretation of Shakespeare’s comedy.

Telling the story of how Viola and her twin brother are shipwrecked and separated, their fortunes at an all time low, Viola decides to disguise herself as a boy in order to enter Orsino the Duke’s service. She is immediately attracted to the Duke but he is infatuated with Countess Olivia who has decided to swear off the company of men for the time being. She does however find herself attracted to the Duke’s new ‘boy’ and so begins another of Shakespeare’s famous cross-dressing comedies.

This production has much going for it. The direction is excellent as well too is the staging. As with all productions, however, it really does come down to the performances of the actors to really make it memorable, and it is here that the production does falter at times.

On the plus side Brian Protheroe as Feste stands head and shoulders above the other performers in bringing a real sense of wonder to the stage. His performance is not simply professional but he seems to exist in this world in a way that many other of the actors do not. There is a real authenticity to his performance which other actors would do well to learn from. Milo Twomey as Sir Andrew Aguecheek is also excellent and Rebecca Johnson as Olivia has a striking grace and quality to her work.

It is a shame then that performances such as these are undermined by others that do not match their dizzying heights. Rose Reynolds as Viola and Jake Fairbrother as Orsino are both very competent but at the side of others their lack of experience shows and suddenly we have two actors that can be seen to be ‘acting’ rather than ‘being’.

Twelfth Night is one of those plays where a single character can shape the audiences response to it and in this that character is always Malvolio. Get a good Malvolio and audiences will be happy, get a bad one and no matter how others perform it will remain disappointing. Here, Hugh Ross as Malvolio is competent but does not seem to bring anything to the part. We feel nothing for him and therefore feel little for the play itself. It is, as he is, competent, but nothing more.

Playing until Sat 18th Oct

Paul Tyree

Tue 30 Sep7:30pm£23.00*Book TicketsWed 1 Oct2:00pm£18.00*Book TicketsWed 1 Oct7:30pm£23.00*Book TicketsThu 2 Oct7:30pm£23.00*Book TicketsFri 3 Oct7:30pm£25.00*Book TicketsSat 4 Oct2:00pm£18.00*Book TicketsSat 4 Oct7:30pm£25.00*Book TicketsTue 7 Oct7:30pm£23.00*Book TicketsWed 8 Oct2:00pm£18.00*Book TicketsWed 8 Oct7:30pm£23.00*Book TicketsThu 9 Oct7:30pmTalkback£23.00*Book TicketsFri 10 Oct7:30pm£25.00*Book TicketsSat 11 Oct2:00pmCaptioned£18.00*Book TicketsSat 11 Oct7:30pm£25.00*Book TicketsTue 14 Oct7:30pm£23.00*Book TicketsWed 15 Oct2:00pm£18.00*Book TicketsWed 15 Oct7:30pm£23.00*Book TicketsThu 16 Oct7:30pmAudio Described, Signed£23.00*Book TicketsFri 17 Oct7:30pm£25.00*Book TicketsSat 18 Oct2:00pm£18.00*Book TicketsSat 18 Oct7:30pm£25.00*Book Tickets

 

 

Contact Us

Telephone Numbers
Box Office: 0114 249 6000

Crucible/ Lyceum Theatre Switchboard: 0114 249 5999

E-mail
info@sheffieldtheatres.co.uk

Address
Sheffield Theatres Trust
55 Norfolk Street
Sheffield
S1 1DA

 

 

 

Sep 4th

Singin' In The Rain - Bradford Alhambra

By GRAHAM CLARK
I was not quite sure what to expect from this big budget production of the stage show of this popular film. I need not have been worried though because the show is an all singing, dancing, lavish and very funny musical.

Singing in the Rain

It is like being back in the golden age of cinema, when movie stars were some of the biggest names around. Set in Hollywood in 1927 the story of the stage show sticks closely to the film version.

With Monumental Pictures loosing out to Warner Brothers new "talking" movies, Monumental has to move with the times and its new film hence The Duelling Cavalier becomes The Dancing Cavalier with a musical score. Of course there is a twist in the tale.

On screen lovers Don Lockwood (played with style and panache by James Leece) and Lina Lamont (Vicky Binns) move swiftly over to the "talking" movies, however, there is just one problem in that Lamont cannot sing! Lockwood's off screen lover Kathy Seldon (Amy Ellen Richardson) has the voice and she becomes the on screen singing voice of Lamont much to her dislike.

One of the stars of the show who has some brilliant one liners is Cosmo Brown (Stephane Anelli). Anelli has perfect comic timing and his slapstick comedy is one of the main draws of the show.

Credit too must go to Paul Grunert who plays a brilliant part as Director Roscoe Dexter. Studio owner R F Simpson is played with authority by Maxwell Caufield.

The songs are well known though Make 'em Laugh is memorable, there is even a dancing gorilla!

Some of the front row have come armed with umbrella's, they need them too as just before the end of the first half of the show Singin' In The Rain is performed as  some of the 12,000 litres of water used in the show, starts to rain all over the stage!

There is no escaping as the song is performed again - with more rain, at the end of the show.
 
The show has everything you want from a musical and more, I enjoyed every minute of it. My tip though is do not sit near the front unless you enjoy getting wet. It does not deter though from what is one of the best musicals currently touring the UK.
 
Runs until Saturday 13 September 2014,  tickets from £19.50 available from: www.bradford-theatres.co.uk.  Telephone 01274 432000