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Theatre

Feature BIG BOLD AND SURPRISINGLY BEAUTIFUL SHREK THE MUSICAL IS A GIANT SUCCESS

Liz Coggins reviews the launch of the national tour at The Grand Theatre Leeds.

 

If you thought Shrek was just for kids – then think again. It’s rather like pantomime – sweet, sugary and innocent but subtlety laced with some rather cheeky innuendoes that make it an hilarious experience for grown ups.

 

General Manager, Ian Sime, has once again pulled out all stops and secured Leeds audiences the fantastic experience of being the very first to witness this great national tour of this great musical.

 

The musical stems from DreamWorks motion picture and the book by William Steig. It’s the story of Shrek the ogre and the feisty Princess Fiona both…

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Feature THE MOUSETRAP RETURNS TO LEEDS GRAND THEATRE

Agatha Christie’s The Mousetrap has been the world’s longest running stage production at its London home for more than 55 years. The 60th Anniversary – and first ever - UK tour of this beloved murder mystery has now been seen by over 600,000 people across more than 600 performances.

Of course Leeds Grand Theatre is not new to The Mousetrap. Before it began its unprecedented run in the West End in 1952 it was at The Grand – and it starred Richard Attenborough and his beloved wife Sheila Sim.

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Feature THE TOAST OF THE EAST COAST

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 THERE IS NOTHING LIKE A DAME – CERTAINLY IF ITS DAME EDNA

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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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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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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