Anything for Love Review

Grand Opera House York Wednesday 29th May 2019.

Reviewed by Michelle Richardson

4 Stars

Steve Steinman once again hit the Grand Opera House York, this time with his reworked Meatloaf Story, Anything for Love. Steinman has been touring the UK and beyond with his original Meatloaf Story and Vampires Rock for years, after appearing on Stars in your Eyes as Meatloaf. This brand-new tour has the added attraction of Lorraine Crosby, the original artist who sang with Meatloaf on Anything for Love, off the Bat Out Of Hell II album, she was also managed by Jim Steinman earlier in her career. This show was only the third performance of the tour, which continues right into next year.

I’m so glad to say that the theatre was packed out, not sold out, but enough of a crowd to provide a buzz and excitement with what we were about to experience. Straight away what hits you is the staging, with the huge bat right in the middle. Unexpectantly, for me anyway, the first tune we hear is Anything for Love, Crosby and Steinman’s vocals had me coming out in goose bumps. What followed was a feast of Meatloaf’s tunes from Bat Out of Hell I, II and III. We also get to hear a bit of Bonnie Tyler and Celine Dion. Steinman does the majority of the singing, but Crosby does her fair share, duets and solos, as well as providing us with tales of Bonnie Tyler and being a bad influence.

Steinman surrounds himself with a loyal group of performers, his ever-present side kick John Evans, providing backing vocals. It was strange to see him normal gear and not in his animal print legging and blue pvc pants. Emily Clarke, Trixi Bold and Victoria Hawley, the latter two continuing on from the fabulous Vampires Rock, provide the backing vocals and moves. Once again, the band were awesome, with some spectacular moments. We welcomed backed York’s own Henry Bird, who lapped up all the applause, this time he was joined by another York guitarist Damien Sweeting, Zoe Parr, pianist Andrew Present and the icing on the cake, the drummer, Pete Jean. Towards the end of the performance Jean performs a drum solo which was breath-taking, all I can say is wow!

Steinman is such a people person, interacting with audience, having a laugh at his and our expense, this is what makes his show so good and approachable, no wander he has such a group of loyal fans. Of course, what made the night was the encore of Bat Out of Hell, the absolute whole audience were on their feet singing and dancing.

The only reason I have not given the show 5 stars is unfortunately down to the sound on occasion. Both have such powerful voices and pack a punch, but at times it was just resonating completely through my body and I could not hear the vocals clearly enough. Please don’t let this put you off as this may just be a local issue, or even just me and my hearing.

Again, Steinman has produced a cracker of a show, one not to miss for all, and you even get to see fireworks, what more could one want from a night out. I am now officially one of the fans who so look forward to his shows, bring on the next one.

Horrible Histories: Dreadful Deaf Review

Bristol Old Vic, Bristol – until 1st June 2019.

Reviewed by Jules Cooke.


Before the show even began I was captivated by the beautiful and vibrant set, surround by a variety of interesting looking costumes and props. Shortly after I arrived, the screen (which served as the backdrop) began to showcase some “amazing deaf people”, which was pleasant to watch as the rest of the audience found their seats.

As the show began, the actors immediately captured the audience with their huge personalities and strong stage presences. The three-strong cast was a mix of hearing and non-hearing artists, which felt fitting for this accessible performance aimed at both deaf and hearing folks. The company used both sign and spoken language, balancing the different forms of communication well, every moment was clear, expressive and engaging.

The actors were consistently entertaining, through a wide variety of stimulating characters. They took us on a journey beginning far away in Ancient Greece, leading us all through history right back to the Greece we know today. The stories they told were educational, funny and heart-warming, carrying us through a whole range of emotions.

The performers shared a wide range of poignant stories focusing on deaf people throughout history, presenting a well balanced and compelling perspective. The topics they dealt with were often difficult ones but were handled sensitively and humorously.

The show ended on a high note, with a positive and empowering message to all deaf people. After the show ended, the screen once again began to show a range of “amazing deaf people”, this time focusing on artists and creatives. I think this was a charming note to leave on, fitting nicely with the theme and message of their show.

This was an extremely engaging, visual show and I would highly recommend it to any audience.

Shakespeare’s The Tempest at Arundel Castle on 16-17 August

Shakespeare’s The Tempest at Arundel Castle

Arundel Castle in West Sussex is set to host two magical al-fresco performances of Shakespeare’s The Tempest on 16-17 August, kicking off the Arundel Festival.

Set within Arundel Castle’s critically-acclaimed Collector Earl’s Garden, alive with thousands of colourful blooms, these performances offer theatre lovers an experience unlike any other.

The talented actors of Illyria, one of the UK’s oldest outdoor touring theatre groups, will return to the Castle for their first production of the popular play in 15 years.

Illyria’s Artistic Director, Oliver Gray, commented: “We’re so pleased to return to the stunning location of Arundel Castle. Visually, it’s a beautiful space, not to mention an acoustical dream for us, as we don’t have to use any artificial amplification in our performances. It’s the ideal place to be on a lovely English summer evening, down on the balmy south coast surrounded by lush gardens and fresh open air.”

He also teased a completely reimagined presentation of his favourite Shakespearean play: “As it’s been so long since I’ve last directed The Tempest, I’ve been able to come back to it with completely fresh eyes. We will be performing the play in ways that audiences may not have experienced before.”

For example, the play’s Prospero, who is typically depicted as a quintessential father figure, will be portrayed as a female character who is fiercely protective of her daughter from unwanted advances. Furthermore, the rainstorm scene, which Oliver describes as “terminally dull in most productions,” has been reimagined to become an acrobatic vision of a drunkard that is nothing short of hilarious.

Castle Manager Stephen Manion said: “We’re thrilled to welcome Illyria and theatre lovers back to Arundel Castle. The Tempest is one of my favourite Shakespearean plays because it’s so broad in its range. It has dramatic tragedy and raucous comedy, breathtaking poetry and magical stage effects, pure silence and beautiful music.

“Illyria’s unique verse-speaking style has a level of clarity rarely heard. We’re expecting this to be the funniest and most magical performance of The Tempest we’ve ever seen. We urge anyone interested to buy tickets early as we expect these to be sell out shows.”

Tickets for The Tempest are now available from £15 for a child and £20 for an adult. For more information please visit

Darlington Hippodrome Theatre Archives Open to All


Darlington Hippodrome’s fascinating 112 year history will soon be available to explore online thanks to an army of volunteers who have been working tirelessly behind the scenes for almost 2 years.

As well as historic posters, programmes, playbills, letters and postcards, many of the hundreds of items are rare and previously unseen. Most of the archives have been stored at the Crown Street Library with many other pieces being donated by the public. Each item has been painstakingly recorded, photographed, securely filed and stored electronically with an index of each item soon to be available online.

Cait Baratt, the Hippodrome’s Heritage Learning and Engagement Officer said “Our team of volunteers has been working on this project for nearly two years. They have become true ambassadors for the history of the theatre and have unearthed some amazing documents.”

“A small selection of the archives will be available to the general public on Thursday 6 June at the Hippodrome from 12noon for people to just drop in and experience some of the amazing historical items as well as hearing from the volunteers about their work.”

The team of volunteers will be at the Hippodrome on Thursday 6 June from 11am to 3pm with many items from the archives for the public to look through. The team will also be on hand to discuss any of the items as well as accepting any further items of the theatre’s history that people may have.

A database index of the archives will go live on the theatre’s website on Thursday 6 June. For more information visit

Queer Female Weimar Cabaret To Play At The Other Palace

Patrick Kennedy Phenomenological Theatre and Clamour Theatre presents



Patrick Kennedy Phenomenological Theatre and Clamour Theatre today announces a specially reworked centenary production of HALBWELT KULTUR, an all-female queer cabaret celebrating the pioneering women of the Weimar Republic, playing at The Other Palace Studio for two performances on Saturday 28 September.

Featuring a live jazz band and songs by Kurt Weill, Hans Eisler, Friedrich Hollaender and Mischa Spoliansky, Halbwelt Kultur immerses audiences in Weimar culture, both artistic and political. It narrates stories of the actresses, singers, writers and revolutionaries who became the icons of their fields and stitches monologues with some of the best cabaret songs of all time to form a rich tapestry of decadent Weimar life. Halbwelt Kultur touches on many of the life-threatening issues confronting women during the Weimar Republic in the face of growing Nazism including the persecution of the gay and lesbian community.

Director Patrick Kennedy said, “We had an overwhelming response from critics and audiences when we officially premiered Halbwelt Kultur at Jermyn Street Theatre in 2013 and since then Steph Martin and myself have been working on an even bigger, even more extravagant edition. We are delighted to be staging this newly reworked production at The Other Palace one hundred years after the Weimar Republic’s founding and the beginning of these women’s extraordinary, groundbreaking stories.”

Originally devised as the VIP pre-show to Rufus Norris’s Cabaret at Churchill Theatre, Bromley in 2012, Halbwelt Kultur, based on an original idea by director Patrick Kennedy (Hotel For Criminals, Elephant Steps, Pain(t), King Cowboy Rufus Rules The Universe!), is written by Stephanie Martin (Joy, Juniper and Jules, Alkaline).




The Other Palace

Dates: Saturday 28 September; 3.30pm & 8pm

Tickets: £20 floor and upper gallery, £25 gallery

Box Office: 0207 087 7900 |

Myra DuBois: We Wish You a Myra Christmas Review

Soho Theatre – until 1 June 2019

Reviewed by Claire Roderick


It’s still only May, but Myra DuBois manages to fill the Soho(ho) Theatre Downstairs with Christmas spirit, complete with cardboard tree and the mandatory box of Quality Street. Looking spectacular in a dress resembling a glittery Christmas cracker wrapped in a net curtain, Myra’s on a mission to convert an (un)lucky audience member from Bah Humbug to Christmas jumper-wearing joy, and there are singalongs (including a hysterically chaotic rendition of 12 Days of Christmas showcasing the audience’s gift wishes), anecdotes from Myra’s panto career and glimpses of her childhood.

The joy of the show is Myra’s coruscating wit when weaving snippets of information picked up from the audience into riffs on veganism, mindfulness and her romantic history. Although the whip-smart, hilarious comments all score direct hits, the audience is never intimidated or humiliated – it’s like being teased unmercifully by that wonderfully inappropriate aunt that everyone tries to get drunk at family gatherings. Instead of relief, you end up a little disappointed that you weren’t picked on.

Whether you’re a seasoned AdMyra or you’ve never seen DuBois in action, this clever and face-achingly funny hour in the company of the Siren of South Yorkshire doesn’t seem enough. This is playfully scathing comedy at its best.

Victoria Yates to star in a one off free reading performance of the multi-award-winning Simon Stephens’ one women short play T5

Victoria Yates to star in a one off free reading performance of the multi-award-winning Simon Stephens’ one women short play T5

The Omnibus Theatre Clapham

12TH JUNE 2019 at 9.15pm

British actress Victoria Yeates, best known for her portrayal of one of the UK most love TV characters Sister Winifred in ‘’Call The Midwife’’ on BBC 1, and most  recently seen playing Bunty the Major in the release of ‘’Fantastic Beats The Crimes Of Grindelwald’’ will perform a one off reading of Simon Stephen’s play T5. This reading production of Simon Stephens T5 will be FREE to all full paying ticket holders of ‘’ Country Music’’ by Simon Stephens, currently  playing at the Omnibus Theatre until June 23rd.

T5 portrays a road trip below the heart of London and follows a darkly magical flight out to the edges of the 21st Century. Visions of violence, and the ancient and modern lights of the city mingle with the dreams and nightmares of family life in this searing monologue by Simon Stephens.

Directed by the 2 times Offie Nominated director Scott Le Crass who previous credits include Elmer(UK and International tour) Sid (UK tour) and Kicked in the Sh**ter (Hope Theatre, Theatre in the Mill, Bradford). He is a working-class director who wants these voices represented on stage.

Madagascar The Musical Review

Hull New Theatre – until 1st June 2019

Reviewed by Catherine McWilliams


Madagascar The Musical is based on the much loved Dreamworks film Madagascar, following a bunch of friends from New York’s Central Park Zoo as they go in search of the wild.

Marty the Zebra (Antoine Murray-Straughan) is having a 10th birthday, together with a midlife crisis as he has never seen the wild and has become tired of performing the same old routine for the visitors to the zoo. His friends Alex the Lion (Matt Terry), Melman the Giraffe (Jamie Lee-Morgan) and Gloria the Hippo (Timmika Ramsay) try to persuade him that life is good in the zoo and that he doesn’t need to see the wild, but Marty is unconvinced as they could go and see the wild and “be back by morning and no one will ever know”. That night he escapes from the zoo to go to Grand Central Station to catch a train to Connecticut (the wild) and chaos ensues as his friends set out to bring him back. As a parallel story the penguins are also tunneling out of the zoo in their bid to return to Antarctica. Eventually our heroes Alex, Marty, Melman and Gloria end up on Madagascar where they meet King Julien (Jo Parsons) and things begin to go a little awry.

This is a fun filled night out, wonderful songs and performances, the costumes are fabulous and the puppets are incredible. Aside from the 5 main characters all the other animals are puppets, initially I was a little worried as you could see the operators but they became part of the animal and it was the animal you watched, outstanding. Incredibly all the puppets had real character too, from the penguins to the lemur. What astonished me as well was how few members of the cast there were when they took the curtain call, the puppeteers doubling as other cast members, a wonderfully talented ensemble.

Matt Terry was a fabulous Alex, he has a beautiful voice and his relationship with Marty (Antoine Murray-Straughan) was touching and believable. Alex’s dream sequence performance after he has been shot with a dart was very funny and I loved the 30’s style sequence where Marty was singing about steak.

Antoine Murray-Straughan was just right as Marty, naïve, excitable and totally optimistic. His duet with Alex about friendship was beautiful and I loved his dancing.

Timmika Ramsay owned Gloria, sass a plenty, a hippo with all the right attitude, glorious. Jamie Lee-Morgan’s Melman was suitably neurotic and he moved unbelievably well with that long neck!

Jo Parsons was a wonderful King Julien, very funny as he connived and schemed. He led the lemurs and cast in an outstanding rendition of “I like to move it”.

This performance fairly zips along, the music and choreography is tight, harmonies are spot on, humour and pathos a plenty, I had a huge smile on my face from start to finish and left the theatre feeling good. A fabulous family night out – everyone left the Hull New Theatre with a big smile on their face.

Twirlywoos – as seen on CBeebies – arrives on stage in London this Summer

MEI Theatrical presents

Twirlywoos Live!

The beloved TV show arrives in London this Summer

At the Underbelly Festival Southbank

From Saturday 3 to Saturday 31 August 2019

The wonderful world of Twirlywoos – as seen on CBeebies – will be brought to life on stage for the first time in London this Summer, when Toodloo, Great BigHoo, Chickedy, Chick and Peekaboo set sail for the Underbelly Festival Southbank for four weeks only from Saturday 3 to Sunday 31 August 2019.   

Featuring all the favourite characters from the hit TV show, expect mischief, music and plenty of surprises as the Twirlywoos embark on a new adventure onboard their Big Red Boat. With beautifully inventive puppetry,Twirlywoos Live! promises to be a laugh-out-loud treat for little ones.

Twirlywoos Live! is brought to the stage by MEI Theatrical, whose productions include The Very Hungry Caterpillar Show, playing at Troubadour White City Theatre this August celebrating 50 years of the book, andSarah and Duck Live on Stage, which premiered at Polka Theatre before touring the UK. It is written by Zoe Bourn, who has brought to life some of the world’s best-loved children’s titles including Thomas and Friends and Fireman Sam Live!.

Twirlywoos was first broadcast on CBeebies in 2015, and in 2017 celebrated its 100th episode. It is co-created byAnne Wood, who has devised shows including Teletubbies, and Steve Roberts, who with Anne co-created the Bafta-winning CBeebies series Dipdap.

Twirlywoos Live! is recommended for ages 1+, with babes in arms welcome. The running time is 55 minutes with no interval.




Belvedere Road Coach Park, London, SE1 8XX

Press Performances: Sunday 4 August, 11am and 2pm

Performances: Tuesdays and Wednesdays 11am, Thursday-Sunday 11am and 2pm

Tickets: From £14.50

Box Office: • 0333 344 4167


The Comedy About A Bank Robbery Review

Lyceum Theatre, Sheffield – runs until 1st June 2019

Reviewed by Sophie Dodworth


Mischief Theatre are back with their sell out show and arrive at The Lyceum on their penultimate leg of their UK tour. Mischief has come a very long way in a short few years, starting from a group of theatre students. They made their debut at a gig with less people in the audience than on the stage in 2008. Their first production of The Play That Goes Wrong made The West End in 2015 then Broadway in 2017. What an achievement? Well yes but truly deserved, and also what a talented group of writers and actors that appear in their productions, every single show is full of to the brim of gags, laughs and well-suited cast…Mischief are an exquisite example of what a theatre company can and should offer.

Set in 1958 in Minneapolis City Bank, under the gruff and barking-mad management of Robin Freeboys (Damien Lynch). The farcical plot follows the attempted heist of a priceless diamond owned by a Hungarian prince, sought after by a mean and moody escaped convict, Mitch (Liam Jeavons). Along for the ride comes Cooper (David Coomber), one of the most clueless, corrupt guards from the prison Mitch has just fled. They are joined by Caprice (Julia Frith) the gold-digging daughter of Freeboys. Caprice gets the hots for pick-pocket Sam (Sean Carey) even though she is Mitchs’ girl.

From the opening scene right until curtain down, the audience are in stitches. Some almost bent over double kind of hilarious! It is impossible to mention all the best bits as truly there are too many, but really stand out moments have to include impeccably timed slapstick, involving Sams’ attempted concealment above and below a mechanical (and of course malfunctioning) fold-up bed, while Mitch and a reluctant Caprice canoodle. Sam is then forced into impersonating Freeboys for the purpose of Mitch, assisted by Caprice frantically miming clues at him to help save his neck.

The actors on this tour do not disappoint and to be fair, each and every single cast member on the stage gives it their all and they all deserve a mention; but real stand out performances from Carey, he has some real hard work to do with the pace and well-timed execution of his lines. Coomber is perfectly suited to his character, getting laughs at literally every sentence! A fabulous performance from Frith and rather outstanding that this is her professional debut. An extra well done to Jon Trenchard playing long standing office intern Warren Slax…what an actor, as well as laughing at this character, you find yourself really warming to the sweet personality of the unfortunate, gullible, memory loss man!

The set was rather intricate with smooth transitions between scenes and plenty of changeable set to keep the eyes entertained.

Even though this is not marketed as a musical the show is lined with music from the 50s, sung beautifully by the cast, delivering some strong harmonies.

This show really delivers everything that you could want from a comedy but also a sturdy storyline, complete with actors giving performances with gust. Well done Mischief Theatre, you really have delivered again.