Trafalgar Studios, London – until 3 August 2019

Reviewed by Lisa Harlow


The premise of this debut play by Michael Dennis was already a huge attraction given its early eighties Blake’s 7 style fantasy programme focus. Immediately, the set did not disappoint: a door that lights up with the Simon electronic game colours; a space invaders-style tabletop that serves as a spaceship command centre; graphics, blips and bloops straight out of ZX Spectrum game and Mark Gatiss as the computer’s voice, Kosley. Yes, I was happy.

The audience reacted with great delight to the play’s energetic introduction, which held much promise for its later content. There were many a one-liner which continued to keep the crowd happy, though I seemed to be not in on the joke at times. Perhaps being a member of the creative industry is a must?

Marina Sirtis, well known from the Star Trek: Next Generation series and films, does not have to imagine too wildly the life of an actress from this genre in the role of Marianne. Marianne’s early career included a prime role as Regana in Dark Sublime, an other worldly TV series from forty years prior, which has attracted cultish status amongst a young generation of fans. We find her struggling with the challenge of finding work of any value as an older actress, being drawn into the world of sci-fi conventions and coming to terms with a secret of her heart. The wine guzzling, wise cracking mask that she usually presents to the world, gradually dissolves as her heart’s secrets become apparent. Marina’s performance throughout is superb.

Kate (Jacqueline King) is Marina’s (long-suffering) friend of old, and the push and pull between these two characters provides a central thread to the storyline. Their interplay is gorgeous, though I can’t shake the almost Victoria Wood-like essence with which Jacqueline plays this part. Kate’s new partner (Sophie Ward) triggers Marianne’s inner turmoil, of which it is unclear whether Marianne herself was aware.

Another core theme is the consideration of fans meeting their heroes. Oli (Kwaku Mills) is a gay teenager whose nervous, over enthusiastic bundle of energy completely conquers the stage. His sharing of how Dark Sublime rescued him from his battle with loneliness and being gay in the suburbs is touching. But it is how his self esteem, in spite of his age, allows him to cut free from situations which do not serve him and this attitude inspires Marianne to review her own life path on a far deeper level.

I eagerly anticipated to Vykar’s (Simon Thorp) regular interruptions as a ‘political dissident on the run from a penal planet in the fourth quadrant’ in his silvery, low cost space outfit, with kitchen utensil-like weaponry. Sections of the missing episode of Dark Sublime is interspersed through the performance. Given Dark Sublime took place in parallel dimensions, I particularly enjoyed the revelation that the missing episode mirrors the dynamics between the key characters in the modern day narrative. Regana revealing that she was never in fact trying to possess the Shadow Ruby but be free from it, holds the key to what happens next for all the characters.

This is a very long performance, and there is definitely room for periods of relatively unnecessary action to be trimmed from earlier dialogue: the laughs have died down and the conversational content can drift and contain too many pauses. The size of the performance space evidently presents a number of challenges and limits the look of the locations of later scenes.

The play’s early eighties references will bring plenty of glee to those old enough to remember.

Overall, this is a very enjoyable and polished performance from all involved, and the exaggerated and cliché acting and costumes in the final Dark Sublime interlude is an absolute delight.

Misterman Review

Jack Studio Theatre – until 29 June 2019

Reviewed by Claire Roderick


With the stage set up as a small enclosure constructed of polythene sheets, American Psycho immediately springs to mind, but the sight of Thomas Magill (Warren Taylor) frantically scratching on the floor and the trippy projections of dolls and babies accompanied by religious chanting announces a completely different type of mania.

Thomas (don’t ever call him Tommy) is surrounded by cassette recorders and flips through a tape until he finds the exact place to begin his story, one he has obviously re-enacted many times but still cannot accept. Thomas has recorded his conversations with the people of Inishfree, and carefully notes their sins in his notebook – at one point even threatening his cat with being marked down. Thomas acts as an unwanted prophet and judge, despairing that evil is now their God. Living with his mammy and the cat after his father’s death, Thomas’s daily routine of buying her favourite Jammy Dodgers and rubbing her with Vick seem to be the only anchor he has. Seeing sin in every stereotypical resident of Inishfree, portrayed with a recording or through Thomas’s unflattering impressions, he takes out his anger and frustration on a small dog, until he is seemingly saved by a beautiful angel.

Under Alex Howarth’s assured direction, the intensity of the play is magnified. Warren Taylor’s coruscating and devastating performance is both sympathetic and horrifying. There are no props except the cassette players, so Thomas uses mime, and together with Taylor’s nuanced expressions and gestures as Thomas tries to put his thoughts in order, this emphasises his mental health crisis effortlessly. Thomas’s inner world is brought to life brilliantly through Rachel Sampley’s design. From starry beauty and graceful doves to the looming characters as Thomas voices their words – their faces are never clear as their sins and threats are what Thomas remembers – Sampley’s mesmerising projections and lighting, alongside inspired sound and music, add another facet to Thomas’s fracturing mind and create something extraordinary

Othello Remixed Review

Omnibus Theatre, Clapham – until 14th July

Reviewed by Keiley Archer


Directed by Darren Raymond, the Intermission Theatre Company presents a unique adaptation of Shakespeare’s tragedy, cleverly using the backdrop of a boxing ring for this classic tale of jealousy, hope and revenge. The small venue of the Omnibus Theatre allows for an intimate performance, adding to the already tense nature of the play.

Othello Remixed’ is an apt title for the performance, which seamlessly blends Shakespearean dialect with modern day street slang. This twist on Shakespeare’s classic tragedy exemplifies how issues surrounding race, gender and identity remain relevant in today’s society. It can be viewed as much as a reflection of a contemporary society as it could an Elizabethan one.

Modern day humour is effectively woven into the play amongst the growing tensions of Act 1, created by Iago (Baba Oyejide) and his jealousy fuelled lies towards Othello (Kwame Reed), which results in a suspense-filled second act, keeping the audience on the edge of their seats until the explosive finale, which created an audible gasp as the lights dimmed. Theatrical talent is noticeable throughout the entire cast, each member able to capture the audience’s attention from beginning to end.

Intermission’s production is to Shakespeare what Hamilton is to musicals. It is a performance I wish all school students could experience. It opens Shakespeare up to a new audience, while still holding the appeal for traditional Shakespeare viewers.

If I recommended this performance to every person I know, I still would not have recommended it enough. It is a genuine must-see.




Summer Nights have never been such a blast as the first new production in 25 years of Grease got off to a lightnin’ start at Leeds Grand Theatre with several red-carpet events and stars of stage and screen in attendance.

Panto and Good Old Days favourite Billy Pearce, Emmerdale stars Bhaskar Patel and Charlotte BellamyFat Friends The Musical cast members Jodie PrengerNatalie Anderson, Neil Hurst and Jonathan Halliwell andBBC Look North presenter Amy Garcia joined packed houses to watch Jim Jacobs and Warren Casey’s iconic musical Grease, produced by Colin Ingram, directed by Nikolai Foster andchoreographed by Strictly Come Dancing’s Arlene Phillips.

Stars Peter Andre and Ore Oduba both wowed audiences as the iconic Teen Angel, as did Dan Partridge as Danny, Martha Kirby as Sandy, Louis Gaunt as Kenickie and Rhianne-Louise McCaulsky as Rizzo.

★ ★ ★ ★ ★

‘Performed with a quite extraordinary verve, this first new production in over two decades was well worth the wait’


‘This new production is everything a gutsy, loud and emphatic musical should be’

On:Yorkshire Magazine

Grease is at Leeds Grand Theatre until Saturday 20 July 2019

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

Real stories and real spectacle: Award-Winning Titanic The Musical sails into Woking

Real stories and real spectacle: Award-Winning Titanic The Musical sails into Woking

From Thursday 11 – Saturday 13 July Titanic The Musical will be coming to the New Victoria Theatre, Woking. Based on the lives of real people on board the most legendary ship in the world, this production, written by Maury Yeston (music and lyrics) Peter Stone (book), tells the story of those people, their hopes and aspirations, in its final hours on 14 April 1912.

Unaware of the fate that awaits them, the Third Class immigrants dream of a better life in America, the newly-enfranchised Second Class dream of achieving the lifestyles of the rich and famous, and the millionaire Barons of the First Class dream of their mastery lasting forever.

The production comes from a successful run in London where it was heralded ‘a modern musical theatre master piece’ by The Stage. The original Broadway production of Titanic The Musical won five Tony Awards including Best Musical, Best Score and Best Book.

Maury Yeston says about the production, ‘It’s a grand story about people’s bravery, cowardice and a coming together of humanity’.

The New Victoria Theatre is the only UK venue to host the show before it sets off on an International tour until December.


Thursday 11 – Saturday 13 July

Thu – Sat eves 7.30pm

Sat mat 2.30pm

Tickets from £21.90 fees apply

You can book tickets by calling the Box Office on 0844 871 7645 (Fees apply. Calls cost up to 7p per minute, plus your phone company’s access charge), Groups Booking Line 0333 009 5386 or online at www.atgtickets/woking (fees apply).

New Victoria Theatre, Peacocks Centre, Woking, Surrey, GU21 6GQ



The autumn season at Bradford Theatres is packed with the biggest musicals, world-class dance, family shows and top names in comedy and entertainment.

Adam Renton, General Manager Bradford Theatres says:
“At the award-winning Alhambra Theatre, we open the season with the ‘first class thriller’ The Girl on the Train, followed by a huge choice of musicals including Kinky Boots, Priscilla Queen of the Desert, Mamma Mia! and The Bodyguard. Don’t forget to book early for Yorkshire’s biggest and most lavish pantomime – this year it’s Snow White & the Seven Dwarfs

Following an extensive and transformational refurbishment at St George’s Hall, we look forward to welcoming an array of musicians and singers, including Elkie Brooks, Jools Holland, Lulu and indie rock band Bastille; as well as the return of our international classical music season, with resident orchestra, The Hallé. The new Café at St George’s Hall is now open and we hope you will call in to enjoy a drink and some food with us.

Comedy is in plentiful supply this autumn at both St George’s Hall and King’s Hall in Ilkley with: Count Arthur Strong, Romesh Ranganathan, Henning Wehn, Ben Elton, Lenny Henry, Jimmy Carr, Ed Byrne and more!”

The James Bond Concert Spectacular – Friday 6 September 7.30pm, St George’s Hall
The popular Q The Music Show brings the fabulous and iconic music of James Bond to you in a stunning concert with guest compere Caroline Bliss

The Girl on the Train – Tuesday 10 – Saturday 14 September, Alhambra Theatre
Signed: Thur 12 September 7.30pm, Captioned: Fri 13 September 7.30pm, Audio Described: Sat 14 September 2.30pm Adapted from Paula Hawkins’ novel – an international phenomenon selling over twenty million copies worldwide – and starring Samantha Womack and Oliver Farnworth, this gripping new play will keep you
guessing until the final moment. Age recommendation 14+

Showaddywaddy – Friday 13 September 7.30pm, St George’s Hall
Dolly & The Moonshine Runners – Thursday 12 September, King’s Hall Ilkley
Rip It Up! Singing & Dancing through the 70s – Tuesday 17 September 7.30pm, St George’s Hall
Join Olympic champion Louis Smith, Rachel Stevens S Club 7, Lee Ryan Blue and Melody Thornton Pussycat Dolls for a groovy evening of singing and dancing.

Priscilla Queen of the Desert – Tuesday 17 – Saturday 21 September, Alhambra Theatre
Signed: Thur 19 September 7.30pm, Captioned: Fri 20 September 7.30pm, Audio Described: Sat 21 September 2.30pm
Starring Strictly Come Dancing winner Joe McFadden, Priscilla is the hilarious adventure of three friends who hop aboard a battered old bus bound for the Outback to put on the show of a lifetime. Their epic journey is a heart-warming story of self-discovery, sassiness and acceptance. Age recommendation 13+

An Evening with Lesley Garrett – Wednesday 18 September 7.30pm, St George’s Hall
Voice of the Heart The Carpenters – Wednesday 18 September 7.30pm, King’s Hall, Ilkley
Steve Harley Trio – Friday 20 September 7.30pm, King’s Hall, Ilkley
Count Arthur Strong Is There Anybody Out There? – Saturday 21 September 8pm, King’s Hall, Ilkley
Joe Brown 60th Anniversary Tour – Tuesday 24 September 7.30pm, King’s Hall, Ilkley

Tom Gates Live On Stage – Wednesday 25 – Saturday 28 September, Alhambra Theatre
Signed: Fri 27 September 10.30am
Based on the best-selling books by Liz Pichon, this brand-new story is brought to you by the award winning producers of Horrible Histories and Gangsta Granny. It’s pure fun for the whole family whether you’re a lover of the books or new to Tom and his friends!

Hot Flush! The Musical – Wed 25 September 7.30pm, St George’s Hall
The Manfreds – Thursday 26 September 7.45pm, King’s Hall Ilkley – SELLING FAST!
The Magic of Motown – Thursday 26 September 7.30pm, St George’s Hall
Les McKeown’s Bay City Rollers – Saturday 28 September 7.30pm, St George’s Hall

Steve Steinman’s Anything For Love – The Meat Loaf Story – Wed 9 October 7.30pm, St George’s Hall
Jimmy Carr – Terribly Funny – Thursday 10 October 8pm, St George’s Hall. Age recommendation 18+ SELLING FAST!
Believe – The Cher Songbook – Friday 11 October 7.30pm, St George’s Hall
One Night of Elvis Lee Memphis King – Saturday 12 October 7.30pm, St George’s Hall

Dance Consortium presents Dada Masilo – Giselle – Friday 11 & Saturday 12 October, Alhambra Theatre
Opening in a lively South African village, Masilo’s Giselle tells the story of a trusting peasant girl who is thrust into a world of betrayal and shame when her lover rejects her. Spurned by her family and killed by heartbreak, Giselle returns from the grave as a supernatural being, bent on revenge. Age recommendation 12+, contains some partial nudity. Post-show Q&A with members of the company on Friday evening. Free to ticket holders.

Kinky Boots – Tuesday 15 – Saturday 26 October, Alhambra Theatre
Signed: Thur 17 October 7.30pm, Captioned: Thur 24 October 7.30pm, Audio Described: Sat 26 October
With songs by Grammy® and Tony® winning pop icon Cyndi Lauper, Kinky Boots takes you from the factory floor to the glamorous catwalks of Milan. West End star Kayi Ushe will be putting on the boots to play Lola. He will be joined by Paula Lane as Lauren, best known for her role as Kylie Platt in Coronation Street, and Joel Harper-Jackson, who recently starred in the UK tour of The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time, will be playing Charlie Price. Age recommendation 10+.

Lulu On Fire – Friday 18 October 7.30pm, St George’s Hall
Elkie Brooks – Saturday 19 October 7.30pm, St George’s Hall
Stick Man – Monday 21 – Wednesday 23 October Mon 3.30pm; Tue 11am & 1.30pm; Wed 11am & 1.30pm, St George’s Hall. Touching, funny and utterly original, Freckle Productions’ delightful adaptation of Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler’s Stick Man is back!

Gilbert O’Sullivan in Concert Just Gilbert – Tuesday 22 October 7.30pm, King’s Hall Ilkley
Suzi Ruffell Dance Like Everyone’s Watching – Wednesday 23 October 8pm, The Studio
The Cavern Beatles – Wednesday 23 October 7.30pm, King’s Hall Ilkley
The Unthanks The Emily Brontë Song Cycle + Special Guests – Thursday 24 October 7.30pm, St George’s Hall
Royal Shakespeare Company First Encounters: The Merchant of Venice – Thursday 24 October, The Studio
Big Girls Don’t Cry – Friday 25 October 7.30pm, St George’s Hall Celebrating the music of Frankie Valli & The Four Seasons, St George’s Hall
Lee Mead – My Story – Friday 25 October 7.45pm, King’s Hall Ilkley
Darren Harriot – Good Heart Yute – Friday 25 October 7.30pm, The Studio
Flanders Symphony Orchestra – Saturday 26 October 7.30pm, St George’s Hall
Part of Bradford’s International Classical Music Season 2019/20 – 152nd Orchestral Concert Season
Fastlove A Tribute to George Michael – Thursday 31 October 7.30pm, St George’s Hall

Mamma Mia – Wednesday 30 October – Saturday 23 November, Alhambra Theatre
Captioned: Thur 7 November 7.30pm, Signed: Thur 14 November 7.30pm, Audio Described: Sat 16 November 2.30pm
Set on a Greek island paradise, a story of love, friendship and identity is cleverly told through the timeless songs of ABBA. Age recommendation 5+.

An Evening with Lenny Henry: Who Am I Again? – Tuesday 5 November 7.30pm, St George’ Hall
Prague Symphony Orchestra – Saturday 9 November 7.30pm, St George’ Hall
Part of Bradford’s International Classical Music Season 2019/20 – 152nd Orchestral Concert Season
The Stylistics – A Night of Back to Back Hits – Tuesday 12 November 7.30pm, St George’ Hall
Richard & Adam – The Greatest Songmen UK Tour 2019 – Thursday 14 November 7.30pm, King’s Hall Ilkley
Neil Oliver – The Story of The British Isles in 100 Places – Friday 15 November 7.30pm, St George’ Hall
Broken Ring Wrestling – Saturday 16 November 7pm, St George’s Hall

Paul Zerdin’s Puppet Party – Tuesday 19 November 7.30pm, King’s Hall Ilkley
Mugenkyo Taiko Drummers Tribe 25 – Tuesday 19 November 7.30pm, St George’ Hall
Psychic Sally Morgan – Wednesday 20 November 7.30pm, St George’ Hall
This show is investigational and for the purposes of entertainment.
Jools Holland and his Rhythm & Blues Orchestra – Thursday 21 November 7.30pm, St George’ Hall
Michael Starring Ben – Friday 22 November 7.30pm, St George’ Hall
Featuring the UK’s ultimate Michael Jackson tribute star, Ben Bowman
Pasadena Roof Orchestra with singer and band leader Duncan Galloway – Thursday 28 November 7.30pm, King’s Hall Ilkley

The Bodyguard – Tuesday 26 November – Saturday 7 December, Alhambra Theatre
Captioned: Fri 29 November 7.30pm, Signed: Thur 5 December 7.30pm, Audio Described: Sat 7 December 2.30pm
The international, award-winning smash-hit musical based on the blockbuster film, The Bodyguard is back! Following her triumphant West End run and sell-out UK Tour, Alexandra Burke* returns to the role of Rachel Marron in Bradford. Age recommendation 12+
*Alexandra Burke will perform the role of ‘Rachel Marron’ at evening performances only. The producers of The Bodyguard cannot
guarantee the appearance of any particular artist, which is always subject to illness and holidays. Please check before booking.

Christmas Crooners Santa Baby – Tuesday 3 December 7.30pm, King’s Hall Ilkley
Bastille – Doom Days Club Nights – Tuesday 3 December 7pm, St George’s Hall. SOLD OUT!
Romesh Ranganathan – The Cynic’s Mixtape – Wednesday 4 December 8pm, St George’s Hall. Age recommendation 14+
Henning Wehn – Get On With It – Thursday 5 December 7.30pm, St George’s Hall. Age recommendation 16+
The Bootleg Beatles – Friday 6 December 7.30pm, St George’s Hall
Sounds of The 70s with The Zoots – Friday 6 December 7.45pm, King’s Hall Ilkley
Darkside The Pink Floyd Show – Which One’s Pink? Tour – Saturday 7 December 7.30pm, King’s Hall Ilkley
The Drifters – Saturday 7 December 7.30pm, St George’s Hall
Ben Elton Live – Sunday 8 December 7.30pm, St George’s Hall
Dear Santa – Monday 9 & Tuesday 10 December Mon 1pm & 4pm; Tue 10.30am & 1.30pm, King’s Hall Ilkley
Rod Campbell’s Dear Santa is an ideal introduction to theatre for those aged 2 to 7 years old – they will get to meet Santa after the show!

Comedy Dinner Shows – Del & Rodney – Monday 9 & Tuesday 10 Dec Doors 7pm, events start 7.30pm,
Restaurant 1914 at the Alhambra Theatre (includes three-course dinner)
Comedy Dinner Shows – René & Edith – Wednesday 11 December Doors 7pm, event starts 7.30pm,
Restaurant 1914 at the Alhambra Theatre (includes three-course dinner)

A Christmas Evening with Merrill Osmond – Thursday 12 December 7.30pm, St George’s Hall
Into The Groove – The Ultimate Tribute to Madonna – Thursday 12 December 7.45pm, King’s Hall Ilkley

Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs – Saturday 14 December 2019 – Sunday 26 January 2020, Alhambra Theatre. Signed: Thur 19 December 2pm, Audio Described: Thur 2 January 2pm/7.15pm, Captioned: Sun 12
January 1pm, Relaxed Performance: Tue 14 Jan 6pm.
Don’t miss the magic of this year’s enchanting family pantomime, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs starring Alhambra Theatre panto legend Billy Pearce, Steps star and Strictly Come Dancing finalist Faye Tozer and family TV favourite Paul Chuckle.

The Snowman – Wednesday 18 December 1.30pm & 6.30pm, St George’s Hall
Ed Byrne – If I’m Honest… Saturday 14 December 8pm, St George’s Hall. Age recommendation 16+
The Chicago Blues Brothers Christmas Party – Saturday 21 December 7.30pm, St George’s Hall

Centre Stage Theatre Productions – The Wizard of Oz – Thursday 3 – Saturday 5 October, St George’s Hall
CC Dance Company presents – The Greatest Show – Tuesday 8 & Wednesday 9 October, Alhambra Theatre
Stage 84 Presents – Christmas Spectacular 2019 – Saturday 30 November, St George’s Hall
The Great Yorkshire Chorus presents – A Great Yorkshire Christmas – Friday 20 December, St George’s Hall

To book for all of these shows please contact the Box Office on 01274 432000
or visit our website: bradford-theatres.co.uk
Booking fees apply:

Phone/Counter/Online – £2 per ticket plus postage charge where applicable.



Today, Sheffield Theatres and Evolution Pantomimes are delighted to announce that Strictly Come Dancing favourite, Joanne Clifton, will be joining the cast for this year’s Sheffield Lyceum pantomime, Cinderella.

Joanne, best known for her time on Strictly, has most recently been seen in productions such as Flashdance and Rocky Horror Show at the Lyceum and is currently brushing up her magic to play the Fairy in this year’s pantomime spectacular.

Also announced are Ben Thornton (People Just Do Nothing) as Dandini, Evelyn Hoskins (This Is My Family, Sheffield Lyceum and UK tour) as Cinderella and Oliver Watton (Wicked, West End) as Prince Charming. They will head to the ball alongside Phil Gallagher (CBeebies’ Mister Maker) as Buttons, plus Sheffield legend Damian Williams and Matt Daines (The Go Go Go Show), as the Ugly Sisters.

The show will once again be written by Paul Hendy, and produced by the same team who brought Peter Pan to the Lyceum last year. Expect big laughs, bigger costumes and spectacular special effects in our most dazzling panto yet!

Cinderella runs at the Lyceum Theatre from Friday 6 December – Sunday 5 January. Tickets are on sale now and can be purchased from Sheffield Theatres’ Box Office in-person, by phone on 0114 249 6000 or online at sheffieldtheatres.co.uk and are priced from £15.00 [limited availability].




Everybody’s Talking About Jamie, the award-winning feel good musical sensation, is delighted to announce that award-winning TV and stage actress, Rita Simons, best known for playing Roxy Mitchell in EastEnders, will take to the stage in the role of Miss Hedge. Rita takes over the role from Faye Tozer on 5 August 2019 for a limited season.

Rita Simons said:

I am so excited to be playing Miss Hedge in what is by far my favourite show…I went to see it when it opened and always wanted to be part of this incredible show…roll on August!

Nica Burns, Producer of Everybody’s Talking About Jamie said:

Rita is a very popular and much loved actress. Before she burst onto our TV screens winning Most Popular Newcomer at the National Television Awards, she had a successful career as a singer and two hit singles with the band, Girls @ Play.  She will knock you out with her voice as she rocks it as Miss Hedge.

Rita Simons is best known for playing Roxy Mitchell in BBC’s EastEnders and is one of Britain’s best loved TV actresses. She won Most Popular Newcomer at the National Television Awards and Best Newcomer at the Digital Spy Soap Awards. Rita most recently starred in the film The Krays: Dead Man Walking and was a campmate on the hit ITV reality show I’m a Celebrity…Get Me Out Of Here! in 2018.

Rita’s theatre credits include Legally Blonde (UK Tour) and The House in Cold Hill (UK Tour).

Rita will join cast members: Layton Williams (Jamie New), Bill Ward (Hugo/Loco Chanelle), Alex Anstey (Laika Virgin), Luke Baker (Dean Paxton), Courtney Bowman (Fatimah), Marvyn Charles (Swing), Marlon G Day (Dad), Momar Diagne, Zahra Jones (Becca), James Gillan (Tray Sophisticay), Ryan Hughes (Mickey), Daniel Jacob (Sandra Bollock), Melissa Jacques, Emily Kenwright (Vicki), Sejal Keshwala (Ray), Luke Latchman (Sayid), Jordan Laviniere (Cy), Rebecca McKinnis (Margaret New), Harriet Payne (Bex), Rachel Price (Swing), Sabrina Sandhu (Pritti Pasha), Biancha Szynal (Swing), Adam Taylor (Swing) and Ziggy Tyler Taylor (Levi).

Jamie New is sixteen and lives on a council estate in Sheffield.

Jamie doesn’t quite fit in.

Jamie is terrified about the future.

Jamie is going to be a sensation.

Supported by his brilliant loving mum and surrounded by his friends, Jamie overcomes prejudice, beats the bullies and steps out of the darkness, into the spotlight. With catchy songs by lead singer-songwriter of The Feeling, Dan Gillespie Sells, and book and lyrics by writer Tom MacRae, this funny, fabulous, feel-good, musical sensation has been wowing audiences and critics alike. Sixteen: the edge of possibility. Time to make your dreams come true.





I am completely in awe of how full-on the performance was and how much they managed to get into such a short space of time without making the audience feel overwhelmed by it all.

Set during the war, on a small Greek Island occupied by the Italians. There is a forbidden love blossoming between a local girl and an Italian occupying officer. The first act sets the scene impeccably ready for emotional rollercoaster of a second act. Get your tissues at the ready. The show reflects how war impacts civilians incredibly well.

The set was extremely effective, the giant sheets of metal allow for the projections to act like an additional character. From the red light of fire or blue of the Mediterranean to the Army Tank projections. You really get a feel for where you are and how you would feel.

Drosoula (Eve Polycarpou) may have a supporting role but she commands the stage whenever she enters. Yet manages to take nothing away from the main characters Pelagia (Madison Clare), Carlo (Ryan Donaldson) or Mandras (Ashley Gayle) when she is there. Whilst they manage to hold your attention and make their acting appear so natural.

Every little detail is considered including the bleets of the Goat (Louisa Guerreiro) to comedic effect and so realistic sounding, and the animalist details of Psipsina (Elizabeth Mary Williams) the pine marten.

If you appreciate the exquisite detailing and full impactful artistry of a novel brought to life then this tear jerker is the one for you.

Giffords Circus ‘Xanadu’ Review

Chiswick House and Gardens – until 8th July 2019, then touring

Reviewed by Antonia Hebbert


You wouldn’t think a big top would be difficult to find, but getting to this meant an anxious dash along shadowy paths, past high walls and locked gates with no signs. Some of us audience were pretty frazzled on arrival. But by the end of the evening, all that was forgotten and we were dancing our hearts out in the middle of the arena. (I’m sure the signage will be fine from now on.)

This is a fabulous evening, with classic circus acts – astonishing acrobats, juggling, gorgeous trapeze and strap artists, clowning and the rest – brought together with terrific energy and style (Cal McCrystal directs; design is by takis). The Xanadu name comes from Coleridge’s dream-like 1797 poem, but the look is gloriously 1970s psychedelic. That means flares, afros, colour, bandannas, more colour, and classic 1960s and 70s songs, excellently performed by James Keay, Lil Rice and the band. There are clowns but don’t be alarmed – they’re funny and not at all creepy. The main one, Tweedy, has been with Giffords for 12 years. Circus founder Nell Gifford appears as a lovely lady on a white horse. Cuban acrobats come on as ‘The Beautiful People’ and do improbable leaps with skipping ropes and high bars. The Hungarian Donnert family do gymnastics on horseback (somehow horses are an acceptable exception to the rule that circuses shouldn’t have animals.) The Curatola Brothers do a bonkersly brilliant little acrobatic routine. A couple called Duo Imagine move enchantingly through the air held up by a strap and a lot of faith in each other. And so on – all with bags of charm and lots of dance, ending in a party-like finale, which is how we all ended up in the sawdust, boogying along with the performers.

Tasty end note: this circus travels with its own restaurant, Circus Sauce, which does very tasty nosh. You have to book: giffordscircus.com/sauce. Candyfloss, popcorn and the like are also on sale.