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Arts - theatre, art, classical, opera and dance in Leeds


Liz Coggins reviews THOROUGHLY MODERN MUSICALS at the Spa Theatre Scarborough

The Spa Theatre boasts the longest running summer show in the UK and its not hard to understand why.


Its over ten years since Tony Peers rebranded the archetypal end-of-the-pier seaside variety show. Once the domain of red nosed comics, simpering sopranos and past their sell by date chorus girls, he replaced it with a sophisticated stage show that wouldn’t be out of place in a number one theatre or top class cabaret venue.


For this years show Peers was adamant when auditioning his cast “I wanted singers who could dance – not just move”  and he certainly…

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Feature The Hottest Ticket in Town

Liz Coggins reviews Wicked at The Grand Theatre

I can’t remember seeing a show at The Grand (and my first visit was at the age of two) where the entire audience rose to its feet at the end of the show to give a standing ovation - which was exactly what happened after the second performance of Wicked and not without good reason!


After seeing the show I really understood why General Manager, Ian Sime confessed that when he received confirmation that Wicked was coming to the theatre – he and his staff “danced round the office with excitement!”. For The Grand is the only venue in Yorkshire for…

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Feature Betty Blue Eyes is Back Where She Belongs

Liz Coggins reviews West Yorkshire Playhouse’s latest musical offering

When one of Yorkshire’s most famous sons turns 80 it’s time for a celebration. And that’s exactly what’s happening at West Yorkshire Playhouse as Alan Bennett reaches that landmark age.


With plays and even an audience with Bennett, the ultimate offering has to be the musical Betty Blue Eyes. First performed in 2011 it’s the first performance of George Stiles and Anthony Drew’s musical outside London. And the Bennett connection? The script by Ron Cowen and Danielle Lipman is adapted from Bennett’s screen play for his 1984 film A Private Function.


The play takes place at a time…

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Feature People Matters Showcase

An exciting exhibition of photography

An exciting exhibition of photography, fine art, performance and more created on People Matters community courses, part of Learning Disability Week.

Holy Trinity Church

16th - 20th June

Mon - Fri, 10am - 3pm

Launch evening Wednesday 18th June, 6-8pm

People Matters creates opportunities for people with learning and other disabilities to be more independent and enjoy life in the same ways, and in the same places, as anybody else. We offer adult learning courses, social groups, workshops, trips and activities and aim to develop inclusive communities in Leeds.

The exhibition includes:

- Creative and expressive projects in traditional, digital…

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Liz Coggins reviews Barry Humphries’ Farewell Tour at The Grand Theatre

From the sharp wit of Dame Edna, the ghostly poignancy of Sandy Stone to the grotesque, slavering Sir Les Patterson, who pushes bad taste as often as he breaks wind, Eat, Pray, Laugh! is an ingeniously created extravaganza that acts as a vehicle for Humphries’ most popular characters.


Fast moving, glamorous and seamless it’s a high energy show that sees Humphries leave the stage only to emerge minutes later as a totally different character. We meet him as the inebriated cultural attaché Sir Les who has recreated himself as “Oz’s answer to Nigella Lawson”. When he’s not doing “trouser…

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Feature A Passionate Puccini

Liz Coggins reviews Opera North’s Spring Season

I am a purist when it comes to opera, and I thought nothing could change my mind, but Opera North’s production of La Boheme could have changed it.


I first saw the company perform this work back in the late 70’s as a very very young opera goer. To be honest I never really warmed to it. I found it really a little too slow and dull for my liking, preferring what I call its sister opera La Traviata – well both leading ladies die tragically from illness in the end don’t they!


But this revival – I…

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Liz Coggins reviews Shaw’s Pygmalion at Leeds Grand Theatre

There could be no more befitting tribute to Shaw’s play than this major new centenary revival of Pygmalion.


The inspiration for the musical ‘My Fair Lady’, Pygmalion is one of the theatre’s most entertaining and beguiling explorations of gender, social equality and class and one of Shaw’s most popular works and regarded as a classic British drama.


Full of his trademark wit, style and humour the story evolves around the aristocratic and pompous professor Higgins who makes a bet with his friend Colonel Pickering that he can transform the manners and speech of Cockney flower girl Eliza Doolittle…

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Review The Pitmen Painters

Liz takes a look at the Pitment Painters at the Alhambra

There are no big names in the cast, the set is simple and its title is as blunt and to the point as its characters – yet the Pitmen Painters is one of the finest plays I have seen for some time at The Alhambra.

Written by Lee Hall, author of Billy Elliott, The Pitmen Painters is both meaningful and extremely funny. It reflects through the medium of art, the political and social cultures of the early 30’s and 40’s.

The story is based on fact. It tells the story of a group of Ashington miners, who hire a professor…

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Review Save the Last Dance for Me

Sometimes no matter how much talent and creativity you put into a similar version of a highly successful show it never quite hits the same heights as its predecessor.

Save The Last Dance for Me, a new rock n roll musical ,set in the early 60’s based on heartbreak and young love from the writers of Dreamboats and Petticoats, but sadly it doesn’t have the same impact on its audience.

The story is told through the iconic music of Pumus and Shuman and follows the holiday romance of a 17 year old teenager from Luton on holiday with her sister…

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Review The Ladykillers

“That’s one of the best plays I’ve ever seen here”, remarked the lady behind me on the way out. And she wasn’t alone everyone leaving the theatre was full of praise for the production – for there is little doubt that The Ladykillers is an evening of superb top class theatre.

The Ladykillers is a story that deals with good and evil in a humorous way. The story is the result of a dream by American William Rose,who in 1955,was persuaded to turn it into a film, The result was the iconic Ealing comedy with Cecil Parker, Herbert Lom, Danny…

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