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

Review 42nd Street

Come and meet those dancing feet at the Alhambra Theatre

Starting life as a novel in the 1920’s, 42nd Street went on to become the film that revitalised the American musical and lifted the nations spirits during the dark days of the 30’s depression in the USA.

Although its rags to riches story of a chorus girl who steps into a leading role and becomes a star is predictable, over half a century later 42nd Street with its glitz, glamour and wall to wall toe-tapping still delivers a wonderful feel good factor to its audience.

Mark Brambles production is a nostalgically creative and exciting piece of vintage theatre. From the…

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Review Ondine

Northern Ballet returns to West Yorkshire Playhouse with the UK Première of Ondine

One of the highlights for me of watching the Olympics during August was the gymnastics in the Excel Arena and the grace of both the male and female gymnastics on their various items of apparatus and particularly the floor routines.

When I attended the Northern Ballet’s latest production of Ondine it brought back many of these memories as both the principal dancers and also those in various groups such as the Sea Maidens, Water Men, Chevalier’s Warriors and the Water Sprites were so gymnastic in their movement.

Ondine is the story of a Water Sprite and her relationship with a…

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Review Up ‘n Under

Tiny House Productions present Up ‘n’ Under

Up ‘n’ Under is a superb comedy by the playwright John Godber, first staged at the Hull Truck Theatre back in 1984. It is, however, a classic comedy that hasn’t dated at all over the last 28 years.

For non-Rugby League followers amongst the readership an “Up and under” is a tactical kick in rugby league in which the ball is kicked high and short onto or behind the defending team. This type of kick is usually made close to the opposition’s try line as an attacking play. It is a phrase made popular in the 1970’s by the late…

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News Canal Mills

Historic Leeds' venue Canal Mills to reopen as cutting-edge creative space

Canal Mills, the imposing 19th century, textile mill will reopen as Leeds’ most innovative new multi-arts and music venue this Autumn. Masterminded by Leeds-based events company Sound Channel, Canal Mills will showcase an array of electronic music events, live gigs, art exhibitions, theatrical projects and film screenings.

Situated adjacent to the Leeds-Liverpool Canal, the venue sits on the outskirts of the city centre and was originally one of the cities leading textile mills during the industrial boom of the 19th century.

In celebration of the venue’s illustrious history, Sound Channel are exploring an eclectic roster of music, visual arts, theatre…

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Theatre Review Angus, Thongs & Even More Snogging

Paul Clarke joins a gaggle of teenagers at West Yorkshire Playhouse’s world premiere adaptation of Louise Rennison's book


Or breasts in the world of confused teen Georgia Nicolson, and her misadventures with the opposite sex is the heart of this world premiere of Angus, Thongs & Even More Snogging.

Leeds born author Louise Rennison has shifted more than five million copies chronicling the antics of this teen icon, so it seemed natural that her hometown theatre would stage Georgia’s stage debut.

The story is straightforward. Georgia and her loyal band of mates are obsessed with boys, but have no clue how to pull one. She is also dealing with her embarrassing parents, school and puberty. Like all…

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Theatre Review Chicago

The 2012 Uk tour of this classic musical is a roaring success at Bradford Alhambra

A very special gala night at the Bradford Alhambra welcomed the opening of the 2012 UK Tour of Chicago last Saturday – and what a night it turned out to be. I am delighted to say therefore – that even with my most critical eye on – this tour is an absolute joy to behold from sizzling start to perfectly executed finish.

Chicago is a show that lives or dies by its cast, and this all-new cast assembled for the 2012 UK Tour is the finest I have seen in my many visits to Chicago over the years. Ann…

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Theatre Review Waiting for Godot

An all-black production of Beckett's modernist classic comes to the West Yorkshire Playhouse

One of Waiting for Godot’s quirks is its detection of the bleak in the breezy. The first time its protagonists, Vladimir and Estragon, contemplate suicide, their discussion is a relaxed one focusing on logistical hitches. They aren’t joking as such, but leave no suspicion that they might attempt it.

Such is the play’s renown that few will see this production knowing nothing about it. But, if you did, I’m not sure you’d realise that the characters weren’t written as Jamaicans. In choosing to read them this way, West Yorkshire Playhouse and Talawa Theatre have allowed character and culture latitude…

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Feature 12 Months of Neon Love

A look back at a year of glowing lyrics on a roof in Wakefield

It’s been a year since the launch of a glowingly ambitious art project – 12 Months of Neon Love. The project began, appropriately enough, on Valentine’s Day 2011 and this month sees the final in the series of 12 love lyrics light up Wakefield’s skyline in blazing red lettering.

In that time, we’ve seen a host of tender, romantic and heart-broken lyrics, all borrowed from well-known songs – there’s "I’m in Love, I’m all shook up, uh-huh-huh" (Elvis), "Love is a losing game" (Amy Winehouse), and "Love, love will tear us apart, again" (Joy Division).

"12 Months of Neon Love…

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Theatre Review If Walls Could Talk

Tip of the Tongue bring five anecdotal tales to The Carriageworks

Five young strangers sit in front of us, telling stories from their lives and punctuating each tale with a homemade musical segue. Household lamps, a chest of drawers, miscellaneous armchairs and a couple of stools make up the homely set from which the members of Tip of the Tongue recount their bitter and sweet anecdotes. And that’s it. That’s If Walls Could Talk in its entirety. And it’s just great.

Tom Black kicks things off with a story which blends a lingering obsession with Thomas the Tank Engine with the difficulty of having to ‘share’ his birthday with 9/11; Alison…

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Feature Opera North's Little Voices

Tom Goodhand attends a drama and music group designed for parents and their babies or toddlers in the wonderful Howard Assembly Room

Opera North has long been established as one of Leeds’ premier arts companies, and the opening of the Howard Assembly Room in January 2009 gave them a home, a venue that they can call their own. The room has acted in the past as a musical hall, a cinema and an adult cinema, before closing in the mid-80s until Opera North reopened it.

As a built-for-purpose venue which has had significant acoustic work done on it by Opera North, the Howard Assembly Room is an acoustically superb space, built to make the very best of the sounds that…

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