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

  1. Feature Sense-Charity


  3. Feature The queen of all ballets: Cleopatra is back


The Girl of the Golden West – Opera North’s first opera of the… (Read more...)

Review High Society

From the first few moments of the show it was obvious what was going to happen. But it took nearly 3 hours of overly long dialogue, overdoses of reprises and the constant moving, sometimes just for the sake of it, of slotted door flats, to play out this story. Add to this too many sub-plots plus songs and duets that needed scissors taking to and you have the musical High Society.

High Society started life as a play on Broadway with the title ‘ The Philadelphia Story’ and was made into a film in 1939 with Cary Grant, Katharine Hepburn…

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Review Rutherford and Son

Rutherford and Son has been hailed by the National Theatre as one of the top 100 plays of the twentieth century – and after seeing Northern Broadsides production at West Yorkshire Playhouse this week it is not hard to understand why.

When premiered in London in 1912 Githa Sowerby’s play drew comparisons with Ibsen. Githa had taken on the British male theatre establishment and won. She was a woman of determination and considerable courage to do this and the dark story of a ruthless father who sacrifices his children for his huge glassworks in the North was later discovered to…

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Review Matthew Bourne’s Sleeping Beauty

A Gothic Romance

Starting life as a story in 1697 the tale of Sleeping Beauty has been a play, Disney film, ballet and even a pantomime and is the epitome of a made in heaven fairy tale.

As a ballet it has delighted for generations. Sleeping Beauty was one of the first I ever saw as little more than a toddler with Alicia Markova and Anton Dolin and years later I found myself spellbound by the same magic watching Fonteyn and Nureyev, as millions of tiny wanna-be-ballerinas going to the ballet still do today. Why? Because it has the perfect ingredients of a…

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Review Hairspray

That fabulous musical Hairspray literally exploded onto the stage of Bradford Alhambra with verve, vibrance and gusto.

A musical dealing with racial segregation in America, prejudice against overweight people and high school bullying could be a dismal affair but quite the opposite Hairspray has a wonderful feelgood factor that radiates across the footlights.

Set in Baltimore in the 1960’s it tells the story of Tracy Turnblad, a big girl with big hair and a passion for dancing as she sets out to follow her dream, inspire her larger than life mother and win the boy she loves.

Along the way…

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Theatre Review The Great Gatsby

The Great Gatsby combines passion and spirit with a delightful frothiness and decadence of a bygone era – the 20’s.

Based on the classic novel by F Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby was later a film with Robert Redford and Mia Farrow which inspired some of the most stylish catwalk and mainstream fashion collections However transferring a novel and movie to the stage, in whatever medium is always a risk – a risk which for Northern Ballet has paid off.

Just like a jigsaw everything fits perfectly in David Nixon’s production. The music, most of it taken from the works…

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Theatre Review The Thing About Psychopaths

Ben Tague’s new play has a strong but simple message – when the going gets tough in today’s world no-one cares about anyone else but themselves and that’s the way to succeed whoever or where-ever you happen to be.

To consolidate his message Tague has drawn on his own life experience of a brief period spent on remand in a Dublin prison – without this environmental background to draw on it is doubtful if the work would have been as powerful.

The plot revolves around Noel (Shaun Cowlishaw) who comes from a decent background and who has grown up comfortably,…

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Review Goldilocks and the Three Bears

John catches Goldilocks and the three bears at the Carriageworks

I have been to many LIDOS (Leeds Insurance Dramatic & Operatic Society) productions over the last decade, both pantomimes and also musicals and have always found them to be of a very high standard.

When Insurevue disbanded in 1973, it seemed that the end was in sight for amateur dramatics within the insurance industry in Leeds. However, a team of enthusiasts, led by the likes of Alan Smith, Noel Meer, Bob Sutherland and Barrie Ward decided to keep the tradition alive. They moulded a group of insurance workers, largely inexperienced, into a performing company and on 14th January 1974 their…

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Review Cinderella testtesttesttesttest

Liz takes a look at the Cinderella panto at the Alhambra

For over 75 years The Alhambra has been synonymous with spectacular pantomimes and this year’s production is no exception.

With its breathtaking sets, lavish costumes and amazing transformation scenes and some startling special effects Cinderella can only be described as magical.

The mainstay of the panto for 14 years has been Billy Pearce “My name’s Buttons this year”, he quips. Hardly ever off stage he’s a bundle of energy and vitality with his own inimitable brand of comedy, with a strong local stamp on it which the audience love; whilst at the same time capturing the warmth, tenderness and pathos…

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Review One Man Two Guvnors

There had been much hype over the last year about this particular production and I really wasn’t sure what to expect from an adaptation of a 250 year old Italian comedy, The Servant of Two Masters.

What I actually experienced at the opening night of this play was one of the funniest evenings I have been to for many years. The comedy in this production is superb. It is well written, brilliantly acted and the timing and slapstick is immaculate.

Comedian Rufus Hound takes the lead role of Francis Henshall in Richard Bean’s award-winning version of Carlo Goldoni’s classic Italian…

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Review Jack and the Beanstalk

Despite lavish sets and costumes, and a talented cast of panto favourites Jack and The Beanstalk lacks the sparkle, vitality and brash, belly laugh humour that we have come to expect from Paul Holman productions.

This year’s offering is also thin on the ground with audience participation as there are few opportunities to hiss, boo and shout catchphrases – with the tried and tested ghost gag failing to create a deafening din.

Even pantomime favourite Jezz Edwards, as Simon , had little opportunity to do what he’s best at doing - getting the audience to raise the…

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