Possibly The Greatest Gig In History at Leeds Grand Theatre

image005 (1)FAB FACTS YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT MILLION DOLLAR QUARTET

AT LEEDS GRAND THEATRE

Million Dollar Quartet tells the true story of the one-off, impromptu gig at Sun Records in 1956 where Elvis Presley, Carl Perkins, Johnny Cash and Jerry Lee Lewis found themselves in the studio at the same time, started to jam together and Sam Phillips hit the record button … the rest is history.

The stage production of the same name is set to open at Leeds Grand Theatre next Monday 7th November for one week only. In a non-singing role Jason Donovan, as the famous Sun Records owner Sam Phillips, delivers the story of the time the quartet came together showing their challenges with each other, their incredible skills as musicians and their personalities as young men out to take the world by storm.

Audiences can expect to be transported back to the late 50s and witness a fascinating story, a night of rock and roll and, no doubt, a dance in the aisles to finish.

Here are a few fun facts about the show and its original stars.

·         At the time of the recording Jerry Lee Lewis was a complete unknown, Elvis was already famous and had recently left Sun Records for RCA, Johnny Cash was yet to Walk The Line and Carl Perkinshad written Blue Suede Shoes only to have it performed by Elvis when Perkins was involved in a car accident.

·         Elvis Presley had 18 No. 1 hits and 38 Top 10 hits in the USA

·         He made 31 movies including Love Me Tender and Viva Las Vegas

·         Elvis is the best-selling solo artist in the history of recorded music, having sold around 600 million records

·         At age 48 Johnny Cash was the youngest living inductee into the Country Music Hall of Fame

·         There is a species of tarantula named after him – the Aphonopela johnnycashi was identified in 2015

·         In his lifetime Johnny release 165 singles with 13 reaching No. 1

·         Jerry Lee Lewis was the seventh person to be inducted into The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame

·         In his ranch in Memphis Jerry Lee Lewis he has piano-shaped swimming pool

·         He is the last surviving member of the Million Dollar Quartet

·         Million Dollar Quartet premiered in 2006 at Florida’s Seaside Music Theatre in 2006, it opened on Broadway in 2010, where it was nominated for three Tony Awards, and has been touring the United States since 2011 where it is still going today.

·         The show contains 23 hit songs including Blue Suede Shoes, Long Tall Sally and Great Balls of Fire

Million Dollar Quartet is at Leeds Grand Theatre from Monday 7th to Saturday 11th November

Tickets are on sale now priced from £19.50 to £38

Book online at leedsgrandtheatre.com or call Box Office on 0844 848 2700

Torben Betts’s INVINCIBLE to Tour Again in 2017

BY POPULAR DEMAND

TORBEN BETTS’S CRITICALLY ACCLAIMED

INVINCIBLE

TO TOUR UK FOR SECOND TIME

OPENING 24 JANUARY 2017

The Original Theatre Company is delighted to announce that, due to popular demand, its production of Torben Betts’s critically acclaimed INVINCIBLE will tour the UK for a second time, once again directed by Christopher Harper. The 2017 tour will open at Royal & Derngate in Northampton on 24 January 2017.

Alastair Whatley, Emily Bowker and Graham Brookes will reprise the roles of Oliver, Emily and Alan respectively. Elizabeth Boag joins the 2017 tour as Dawn.

Artistic Director of The Original Theatre Company, Alastair Whatley, said of the second UK tour, “We are delighted to be taking Invincible back on the road in 2017. Torben’s state of the nation comedy reached out to audiences across the UK in 2016 with his vision of a nation divided, cleft in two down the Watford Gap. We look forward to navigating the play through post Brexit Britain in 2017.”

With the recession biting hard, Emily and Oliver have decided to downsize and shift their middle-class London lifestyle to a small town in the north of England. One night, they open their doors to their next door neighbours, Dawn and Alan. Over the course of a disastrous evening of olives, anchovies, Karl Marx and abstract art, class and culture collide, resulting in consequences that are both tragic and hilarious.

INVINCIBLE had its world premiere at the Orange Tree Theatre in Richmond in 2014 and transferred later that same year to St James Theatre, London. Invencible, a Spanish version of INVINCIBLE, has just begun a nine-month tour of Spain, starring Spanish film actress Maribel Verdu.

Torben Betts was born in Lincolnshire and studied at Liverpool University. He became the resident dramatist at Scarborough’s Stephen Joseph Theatre in 1999. Poet and dramatist Liz Lochhead said Betts “is just about the most original and extraordinary writer of drama we have.” His play The Unconquered won Best New Play 2006/07 at the Critics’ Awards for Theatre in Scotland. 2015 saw a revival of his acclaimed 2012 play Muswell Hill at London’s Park Theatre, his latest work, What Falls Apart, opened at Newcastle’s Live Theatre, and his version of Chekhov’s The Seagull was staged at Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre. In February 2016, Betts adapted Get Carter for Northern Stage in Newcastle.

Director Christopher Harper is an Associate of the Original Theatre Company and directed their 2011 production of See How They Run. As an actor, he played Benedick on a world tour of Much Ado About Nothing for the Globe and starred as Victoria Wood’s son, Cliff Last, in the television filmHousewife 49.

INVINCIBLE is designed by Victoria Spearing, with sound by Max Pappenheim. The national tour is produced by Tom Hackney for The Original Theatre Company, Adrian Grady for Theatre Royal Bury St Edmunds and Ghostlight Theatre Production (a Bob and Co Company).

Website: www.originaltheatre.com

Facebook: www.facebook.com/OriginalTheatre

Twitter: @OriginalTheatre

2017 TOUR SCHEDULE     

24 – 28 January                          Royal & Derngate, Northampton                                   01604 624811                                                                                                                                            www.royalandderngate.co.uk                                        On sale

 

31 Jan – 4 February                    Derby Theatre                                                              01332 59 39 39

                                                    www.derbytheatre.co.uk                                               On sale soon

 

8 – 10 February                           Cast Doncaster                                                             01302 303 959

                                                    Castindoncaster.com                                                    On sale 21 Nov

 

16 – 18 February                         Lawrence Batley Theatre, Huddersfield                         01484430528

                                                     thelbt.org                                                                      On sale 9 Dec

 

22 – 25 February                        Stephen Joseph Theatre, Scarborough                        01723 370541

                                                    www.sjt.uk.com                                                             On sale soon

 

1 – 4 March                                Cambridge Arts Theatre                                                 01223 503333

                                                   www.cambridgeartstheatre.com                                     On sale

 

7 – 11 March                               Palace Theatre, Southend                                             01702 351135                                                                                                                                          www.palacetheatresouthend.co.uk                                 On sale soon

                                                 

15 – 18 March                             Harrogate Theatre                                                         01423 502 116

                                                   www.harrogatetheatre.co.uk                                          On sale soon

 

21 – 25 March                            Lichfield Garrick Theatre                                               01543 412110

                                                   www.lichfieldgarrick.com                                                On sale soon

 

28 – 30 March                            Theatre Royal Brighton                                                  0844 871 7650

                                                   www.atgtickets.com/brighton                                         On sale

PARK THEATRE – NEW SEASON ANNOUNCED

PARK THEATRE
 
SPRING-SUMMER 2017 SEASON ANNOUNCED
 
MIRIAM MARGOLYES TO STAR IN MADAME RUBINSTEIN, DIRECTED BY JEZ BOND
 
TOM BENNETT, JASPER BRITTON, JOEL FRY AND MORGANA ROBINSON TO STAR IN RAISING MARTHA
MICHELLE COLLINS TO STAR IN A DARK NIGHT IN DALSTON
 
ACTION TO THE WORD’S AWARD-WINNING VERSION OF A CLOCKWORK ORANGE HITS PARK THEATRE
 
A REVIVAL OF ACCLAIMED MUSICAL TICK TICK… BOOM!
 
BRIGIT FORSYTH STARS ALONGSIDE HER DAUGHTER ZOE MILLS IN KILLING TIME
 
CAPTIONED, AUDIO DESCRIBED, DEMENTIA FRIENDLY, RELAXED AND PARENT AND BABY PERFORMANCES LAUNCHED ACROSS THE SEASON
 
Artistic Director Jez Bond today announces Park Theatre’s new Spring Summer 2017 season, with an array of new writing across both spaces, together with a long awaited European premiere, an acclaimed musical and a drama revival.
 
Bond says, “Our new season is full of firsts. There’s a whole host of new writing, including the world premiere ofMadame Rubinstein which has been developed and co-produced by Park Theatre and that I’m thrilled to be directing. For the first time ever, we have an access performance programmed for every production, which alongside our creative learning and ticketing initiatives, ensures that more people than ever can enjoy Park Theatre. As well as the excitement of a new season of work, we are also upgrading our sales channels, meaning an even better customer experience from start to finish. All of this is delivered by our small and dedicated team who continue, as ever, to work without any government subsidy for core funding.”
 
Hilarious new comedy Raising Martha by David Spicer, starring Morgana Robinson (BBC1’s The Agency), Joel Fry (ITV’s Plebs), Jasper Britton (The Libertine, West End) and Tom Bennett (E4’s Phoneshop) opens the season, marking the show’s world premiere in PARK200. Action to the Word’s award-winning all-male version of Anthony Burgess’ A Clockwork Orange follows with a blend of electrifying and testosterone filled physical theatre. Tony award-winning and Pulitzer prize finalist David Henry Hwang returns to Park Theatre following the success of Yellow Face (Park Theatre 2013, National Theatre transfer 2014) with the European premiere of his Broadway hit comedy, Chinglish. Park Theatre and Oliver Mackwood in association with TBO productions present the world premiere of brand new comedy Madame Rubinstein. Directed by Park Theatre Artistic Director Jez Bond and starring the BAFTA award-winning Miriam Margolyes (Harry Potter, Romeo & Juliet), this is a bright new comedy about the woman who invented beauty, Helena Rubinstein. The season in Park200 concludes with the world premiere of Twitstorm by Chris England, a hilarious exploration of what can happen when the self-righteousness of social media gets out of hand, produced by the team behind Park Theatre hits Dead Sheep, An Audience with Jimmy Savile, The Roundaboutand Deny Deny Deny.
 
The PARK90 season opens with the London premiere of punchy black comedy The Albatross 3rd & Main, exploring the flip side of the American dream. Brigit Forsyth and daughter Zoe Mills star in Killing Time, inspired by an original cello composition by Brigit Forsyth, which she will play live among a feast of cello classics, and written by daughter Zoe Mills this new comedy explores inspiration, music, life and the right to die. Michelle Collins will star in the world premiere of A Dark Night in Dalston, a funny and touching two-hander written by award-winning writer Stewart Permutt. Hot Coals Theatre return to Park Theatre with Finders Keepers, a fun filled, highly visual piece inspired by the story of Moses, fully inclusive for both (d) Deaf and hearing audiences. Acclaimed rock musical tick, tick… BOOM! by Pulitzer Prize and Tony award-winner Jonathan Larson tells the story of the sacrifices he made to achieve his big break in theatre. Buckland Theatre Company close the Park90 season with Marius von Mayenberg’sThe Ugly One, translated by Maja Zade, directed by JMK award-winner Roy Alexander Weise.

The Acedian Pirates Review

Theatre503 26 October – 19 November.  Reviewed by Claire Roderick

Jay Taylor’s debut play is full of emotion, intelligence and dark humour. Set in a lighthouse on an unnamed island, in a dystopian future/past/present, The Acedian Pirates raises all sorts of uncomfortable, and unanswerable questions about war and occupation.

Acedia, we are helpfully told by Jacob, is a state of apathetic listlessness, a moral failing that ruins great men. Jacob is a young, bookish soldier, recently transferred to military intelligence and the lighthouse. In stark contrast to the older, more experienced men, he questions his orders and their entire mission, asking why they are occupying the island and what good they have done. Nobody seems to know why the war started, or what they are fighting for, instead spouting recruitment slogans about serving the Capital State, helping and doing good.

On the upper floor of the lighthouse is a woman. Nobody has seen her, except Troy, son of the leader of the Capital State, who brutalises her. The men call her the moon, and Helen, and a whole mythology, and prophecies, have evolved around her, as both armies prize her.

Cavan Clarke’s wonderfully nuanced performance as Jacob is the beating heart of the play, watching his spirit break as he realises that beneath all the rhetoric, no one can justify their actions during the occupation, and that he has killed men for no worthwhile reason. Matthew Lloyd Davies’ Ivan has just the right mix of world weary cynicism and self-preservation, Andrew P Stephen as Bernie begins as a typical martinet but allows some sensitivity to creep through the rage. Marc Bannerman’s Bull is aptly named, a man of few words who simply obeys orders, which makes his revelations about Sixsmith’s death seem almost poetic in a beautifully measured performance. Rowan Polonski gives Troy a deliciously unhinged sense of danger, but still allows the audience to see the spoiled and scary brat beneath. Sheena Patel as Helen is an ethereal figure exuding calm – just as her myth deserves – until we get to see her as an actual woman, rather than the men’s idealised vision.

There are no huge battles in this play, just a very effective and visceral choreographed sequence by Clarke – most of the time the men sit around smoking or drinking, waiting for orders and reminiscing about fallen comrades. The circular set is claustrophobic, limiting the actors’ movements, adding to the sense of frustration and tedium, and hinting at the circles of hell. Taylor offers no answers to the questions he raises – the decision to intervene and occupy another state, and the actions of soldiers during military occupations are issues that still haunt the UK – because there are no easy answers. Taylor layers war myths and ideals about honour in the script, and proceeds to tear them apart by showing the ordinary men and the effects of war on them and their morality.

The Acedian Pirates is a stunning debut from Jay Taylor – tightly written and filling every moment with meaning. Well worth a look.

Lunatic Review

TheatreN16 30 – 31 October.  Reviewed by Claire Roderick

I was so excited when I heard about this. Lunatic – a nu-gothic play about Dr John Seward and his sessions with R. N. Renfield in his insane asylum. I wanted to see what the talented Whit Hertford could do with Bram Stoker’s classic.

Staged in the Globe Space at the Bedford, giving the whole show a grander feel than in the smaller space upstairs, Lunatic started promisingly enough to the strains of “Bela Lugosi’s Dead”. White walls and stark strip lighting bring the plot forward from the Victorian era. Keeping true to the epistolary nature of Stoker’s novel, Hertford has Seward recording his diary after sessions with Renfield as he struggles to understand the nature of Renfield’s madness.

Chris Spyrides is most effective when Renfield is coherent and calm – very creepy – his shouts and roars were slightly overdone for me, and made me wish for a volume controller. Justin Stahley roots Seward firmly in the 21st century with his ticks and mannerisms, and keeps the audience’s attention with his quieter but eminently watchable performance. Sorcha Bannon is almost inaudible in her initial scenes as Mina, but her performance becomes stronger as Mina feels Dracula’s influence.

To emphasise the difference between the characters (maybe?) Whitfield has them speaking across the centuries. Renfield spouts huge amounts of Victorian gothic language, with all the fantastic insults, while Seward speaks like a confused IT technician. Seward’s infatuation with Lucy Westenra is handled sweetly, veering towards rom-com cliché at times, but moving the story along at a fine pace. Renfield’s little friends live in a padded envelope, and the scenes where he eats his way up the food chain are handled imaginatively. In fact, Lunatic is a play with some promise, until Renfield bites Seward. If only Whitford had ended the play there.

As Seward begins to lose his mind, I’m afraid I lost the will to live. The fractured state of the latter part of the play may well be meant to reflect Seward’s state of mind, but there was nothing memorable or coherent happening at all. Renfield’s ravings became repetitive and tedious and Seward seemed to morph into a petulant teenager. The scenes where Renfield is talking to his master were more rib tickling than spine tingling, and the introduction of Mina Harker served no purpose at all – the narrative could have progressed through Seward’s recordings instead. How Harker handily gets into Renfield’s cell (may have been for sex – don’t know – any action that took place when characters were seated or lying down was obscured unless you were in the front rows) is a mystery and added nothing. By the time the play ended in a bloody mess, in all senses of the word, I’m afraid I had lost interest in the characters and was hoping Van Helsing would stake them all.

A bold attempt at innovating the Dracula story, but Lunatic needs a lot of work on its later scenes to maintain its early momentum and promise.

Rocky Horror Show Review

Grand Theatre, Leeds – 31 October to 5 November 2016

What better place to be at Halloween than the beautiful Leeds Grand Theatre to see the Richard O’Brien’s Rocky Horror Show.

Less of a show and more of an immersive experience Rocky Horror is the definition of kitsch. Audience participation, whether in theatres and cinemas, has of course played a part in making it a long-runner and it wasn’t a disappointment last night. A campy, musical spoof on the haunted-castle horror movie genre, encompassing a ’70s glam-rock world of androgyny with characters that are more than offbeat.  Performed on a cartoonish-coloured, low-fi set – topped by a celluloid curl which contains the band, the show is bursting with energy and the action ticks along at a happy pace

Richard Meek (Brad) and Haley Flaherty (Janet) both deftly manage the transition from virginal couple to depraved disciples of Frank, and both have the chance to showcase their fine voices which more than match the pulsating band. Dominic Andersen is the titular Rocky and its more his pectoral muscles that are on show rather than his vocal ones and he carries off the role with sufficient skill.

Ex Coronation Street Actor, Charlie Condou as The Narrator turns in a genuinely witty performance, fully embracing the camp madness of it all – adeptly fending off the very vocal asides of the crowd both scripted and unscripted. I do hope he got his promised reward for getting through his first speech!  Paul Cattermole duel roles as Eddie and his Uncle, the wheel chair bound Dr Scott

Kay Murphy as Magenta and Sophie Linder-Lee as Columbia are both magnificent – all legs and screaming sexuality.  Kristian  Lavercombe as Riff Raff is a revelation, with his powerful voice, he is almost more Riff Raff than the original performed by Richard O’Brien.  He has played the part now more times than the great Mr O’Brien

Rightfully though, the show belongs to Frank. And as Frank n Furter, Liam Tamne does a rare thing indeed, by managing to convey both a more tender side to the character and an ever more mercurial one at the same time. His attraction and menace are skilfully portrayed. And he also looks so utterly stunning that it’s impossible to tear your eyes away from him when he’s on stage. Every eyebrow raised or lick of the lips is met with roars of approval by the crowd. A sublime performance.

No one escapes the fishnets as we are taken into the bizarre world of Frank and friends – guided by legendary numbers like The Time Warp, Sweet Transvestite and Dammit, Janet! – it’s clear that the show doesn’t have an outrageous reputation without reason. Packed full of mischief, innuendos and vulgarity it’s bound to make you laugh, cringe and everything in- between.

In Leeds until Saturday 5 November and on tour around the UK