The first £15 performances go on sale today, Monday 4 November, at 12pm for The Jamie Lloyd Company’s production of Edmond Rostand’s Cyrano de Bergerac, freely adapted by Martin Crimp, directed by Jamie Lloyd and starringGolden Globe and Olivier Award nominee James McAvoy. In association with British Airways, £15 tickets will be offered throughout the season as part of the company’s commitment to making theatre more accessible.The Jamie Lloyd Company is the successful partnership between Ambassador Theatre Group, the UK’s leading theatre company, and artistic director Jamie Lloyd.

These £15 tickets are available to under 30s, key workers, and those receiving job seeker’s allowance and other government benefits for performances on 2 December (7.30pm), 12 December (2.30pm), 16 December (7.30pm) and 2 January (2.30pm). They will be available to book for a limited time only at Further £15 performances to be released throughout the season, which runs until September 2020.

Fierce with a pen and notorious in combat, Cyrano almost has it all – if only he could win the heart of his true love. There’s just one big problem: he has a nose as huge as his heart. Will a society engulfed by narcissism get the better of De Bergerac – or can his mastery of language set Roxane’s world alight?

Cyrano de Bergerac opens at Playhouse Theatre on 6 December, with previews from 27 November and runs until 29 February.

The company, supported by British Airways, are also offering 15,000 free tickets. These tickets will be distributed by a dedicated outreach manager to both secondary state schools and community organisations who otherwise would not have access to the theatre. If you work with a group who does not have the means or opportunity to visit the theatre, please register your interest here.

The Jamie Lloyd Company                                                                                                           Playhouse Theatre

Northumberland Avenue, Charing Cross, London WC2N 5DE

£15 Performances – Cyrano de Bergerac


On sale from 12pm on Monday 4 November for a limited time only. Must be booked online. Please note £15 tickets can only be picked up from the theatre box office 45 minutes prior to the show, and valid ID must be presented upon collection, or entry will be denied.

Performance Dates:

Monday 2 December 2019           7.30pm

Thursday 12 December 2019       2.30pm

Monday 16 December 2019         7.30pm

Thursday 2 January 2020               2.30pm

Season Listings

Box Office: 0844 871 7631


27 November 2019 – 29 February 2020

Please note reviews are embargoed until Monday 9 December 2019.


10 June – 5 September 2020

Twitter: @JamieLloydCo

Instagram: @jamielloydco

Germ Free Adolescent Review

The Bunker – until 9 November 2019

Reviewed by Claire Roderick


Germ Free Adolescent is a striking illustration of the gaping hole The Bunker will leave in the theatrical landscape when it closes next year. Natalie Mitchell’s two-hander was developed with y young people, youth workers and mental health services in Kent, resulting in an engaging and accessible glimpse at teenagers and their problems that will actually appeal and connect with younger audiences without alienating older people.

Sixteen-year-old Ashley (Francesca Henry) has been going pout with Ollie (Jake Richards) for three months, and tonight is the night they will take things to the next level. They are both nervous, for different reasons – Ashley has OCD, which she tries to mask by running an unofficial sexual health clinic at school using the facts she has memorised from her vast collection of leaflets about the diseases she is terrified of catching. Trying to convince herself that it will be alright, she goes to Ollie’s house for their big night. She is unaware that Ollie has his own body image issues that have coloured his past encounters with girls and is a bundle of nerves too.

The two characters never talk to each other, instead two interweaving monologues, expertly timed and delivered, are used to portray this bittersweet comedy of errors and misunderstandings. Director Grace Gummer has the actors moving around Lizzy Leech’s minimalist set in a way that effortlessly creates a sense of place. The dialogue is fast and fierce, with speech patterns that are instantly recognisable to parents of teenagers. Henry and Richards inhabit their characters brilliantly, endearing and frustrating in equal measure, you can’t help rooting for these two to find a way through the mess they’re in. Richards is hilarious as Ollie, a roiling mess of a man-child with his sweet sensitive instincts overwhelmed by the male stereotype that he feels he needs to live up to. He spouts some vile stuff at and about Ashley, which drew despairing laughter from older audience members and gasps and winces from the younger audience. Henry is wonderful as Ashley, naively cocky when she feels safe and comfortable and creating deeply uncomfortable moments when she goes through her coping mechanisms.

Ollie’s actions are deplorable as the play goes on, but you never lose the sense that there is hope for this young man if he surrounds himself with the right people, and Ashley’s realisation that she doesn’t have to hide who she is wraps things up neatly. This could feel contrived, but the characters are so easy to invest in that an optimistic upbeat ending is exactly what they deserve. Topical, funny and charming – well worth a look.

A Kind of Loving Review

Jack Studio Theatre – until 16 November 2019

Reviewed by Claire Roderick


Bang Theatre bring 1960’s Yorkshire to South London with John Godber’s adaptation of Stan Barstow’s novel. The story of a young couple’s courtship and quick marriage after she falls pregnant is common in books and films of the era, but Victor Brown’s take on his situation makes A Kind of Loving stand out.

Idealising women and longing to meet someone just like his adored sister, he is much happier admiring Ingrid, a typist in the factory, from afar. When they finally go out, his growing disappointment with reality and his struggle to let her know he doesn’t want to see her without hurting her feelings mean that they never actually break up. When Ingrid discovers that she’s pregnant, Vic does the right thing and offers to marry her, but they end up living with her domineering mother, and Vic feels that he is treated like a lodger.

Elizabeth Elstub’s direction feels a little static at times, but perhaps that is meant to portray Vic being trapped. The 1960s attitudes towards women jar a little, but produce amused giggles and gasps rather than outrage, but the class divisions still ring true. Vic’s working-class parents accept the situation, after initial suspicion of the girl who “trapped” her son into marriage from Vic’s mum, but Ingrid’s parents are middle class, with her engineer father working away from home. Mrs Rothwell is an overprotective snob who takes every opportunity possible to let Vic know that he will never be good enough for her daughter and does her best to undermine his relationship with his wife – the ultimate monster-in-law.

Adam Goodbody is outstanding as Vic, telling his story directly to the audience with an air of acceptance and despair as Vic’s musings on the rapidly changing world around him amplify his confusion. The character never makes any pretence at being noble, in fact some of his asides during conversations with Ingrid are cruel and vile, but Goodbody keeps Vic sympathetic and grounded. Courtney Buchner is excellent as Ingrid, full of innocent, romantic hope at first but gradually being worn down by her situation. The stoic and calm fathers are in stark contrast to the emotional mothers, with Maggie Robson a scream as Mrs Brown and Annabelle Green chillingly uptight and controlling as Mrs Rothwell. The other characters are almost caricatures but create a wonderful sense of the era and some fine comedy moments. Gritty, fun and still relevant, A Kind of Loving is a real treat.

The Greek Passion Review

Newcastle Theatre Royal – 2 November 2019 and on tour around the UK


A night at the opera (no, not the Queen album from 1975) is something that seems out of the reach of the “common” man, but Opera North are encouraging all sections of the community to attend their performances, starting with Martinu’s The Greek Passion.

Sung in English and with subtitles, The Greek Passion is as relevant today as it was when it was first composed over 60 years ago.  Based on Nokos Kazantzakis’s 1948 novel Christ Recrucified, The Greek Passion opens in the remote Greek village of Lycovrissi. Its Easter Sunday and the village elders are handing out the roles for their Passion play to be performed in a years time.

Archon (Jonathan Best), one of the elders, wants his son to play Jesus, instead his son Michelis (Rhodri Prys-Jones) is chosen to play Peter.  Archon’s daughter Lenio (Lorna James) is engaged to be married to Manolios (Nicky Spence) who is chosen to play Jesus. The other villagers Kostandis (Richard Mosley -Evans) the cafe owner is James.  Yannakos (Paul Nilon) the postman is John. But Panait (Jeffrey Lloyd-Roberts) is upset to be chosen to play Judas. Katerina (Magdalena Molendowska), a widow and lover of Panait is chosen to be Mary Magdalen.

In the middle of this, a group of refugees arrives lead by their Priest Fotis (John Savournin).  Their village was burnt and they had to flee. When one of the refugees dies from exhaustion and starvation, Lycovrissi’s Priest, Grigoris (Stephan Gadd) declares it is cholera and frightens the other villagers from helping the refugees.  Manolio, in his role of Jesus, gives divine intervention, and tells the refugees to take shelter on the Sarakina mountains

Christopher Alden’s confident direction makes the story very clear. Charles Edwards’s staging is very minimalist in style – a raked wooden seating bank (which doubles up as a mountaintop as the story progresses) taking up most of the stage. White mannequins are used to represent the refugees when the chorus are playing the villagers, but when the chorus are the refugee’s they hold the mannequins.

The music is, of course, glorious.  The idea of a simple set lets the Opera North’s orchestra, led by Anthony Hermus,  mean that it’s the beautiful sound that we concentrate on. Nicky Spence leads the exquisite singing as he portrays his journey from lowly Shepherd to Jesus.  The Opera North chorus, the Kyrie Eleison in particular, are thrilling – with a score that covers both ecstasy and violence

The ideals are that kindness and empathy towards those in need are the things we should be doing without thinking, whatever the political climate.  Opera North staging of The Greek Passion does just that.

Jerker Review

King’s Head Theatre, Islington – until 23 November 2019

Reviewed by Antonia Hebbert


The playwright called this ‘A Pornographic Elegy with Redeeming Social Value and a Hymn to the Queer Men of San Francisco’, which along with the title is maybe all you need to know. But to justify being here and give a little more detail, here goes.

At the flamboyant height of the San Francisco gay scene of the 1980s, two men have a relationship by telephone, in which they describe in intimate physical detail exactly what they imagine doing to each other, and tell each other what to do to themselves. They talk about sexual encounters, in detail, and take each other into fantasies, both violent and playful. All good hot fun, except that AIDs has just emerged and is grimly reaping its way through the gay community. So as well as being erotic/pornographic, this 1985 play by Robert Chesley is a defiant celebration of the male body and all the exuberances of male sex and intimacy.

The actors are the very believable Tibu Fortes (Bert) and Tom Joyner (J.R.), and mostly they’re talking from their beds at each end of the performance space, with the audience crowded in on three sides. The setup is the same as for A Prayer for Wings, reviewed elsewhere, but much neater and tidier. This production also has intimacy directors (Enric Ortuno and Yarit Dor), which may be why it always feels like a play (albeit a pornographic one) rather than a peepshow.

It’s significant that J.R., who makes the first phone call, is a historian – he is preserving a moment in queer history. Times have changed, and HIV/AIDS doesn’t hold quite the same sort of dread. It’s a little like watching an old war film in a time of relative peace. But for director Ben Anderson the play still has an important message about openness. In Chesney’s words, ‘prudery kills … nobody ever died from being offended’.

A Prayer for Wings Review

Kings Head Theatre, Islington – until 23 November 2019

Reviewed by Antonia Hebbert


A mother and her daughter live in a disused chapel on a rundown terrace in South Wales. The mother has advanced MS, the daughter has grown up as her carer. They are trapped by poverty and dependency. In a play that’s much more entertaining than it sounds, we are trapped with them in an endless cycle of repetitive days.

The claustrophobic performance space has a bed at each end and the audience on three sides. For Mam (superb Llinos Daniel), cups of tea, baked beans and chocolate have become hugely important in a shrunken life. You can almost feel her discomfort as she wakes up thirsty and uncomfortable, and her relish as she tucks in to toast, and energetically picks her teeth. For daughter Rita (equally superb Alis Wyn Davies, full of suppressed energy), each day promises the same irritations, chores and tedium, with only daydreams and cringe-making encounters with local boys to escape to. Like Rita, we come to dread Mam’s harsh cry for help at the start of the day. There is tenderness between them, but enforced closeness tips them towards loathing.

The pair alternate between talking at each other and talking to us. Welsh turns of phrase delivered in resonant Welsh voices add to the power of the piece. Also in the cast is Luke Rhodri, who appears entertainingly as various local boys, including one who may offer Rita a lifeline. The play’s ending doesn’t feel completely convincing, but this is a beautifully observed slice of life (despite odd moments that remind you it was written 35 years ago). The director is Sean Mathias, who is also the writer of the play, and based it partly on memories of his own mother caring for his bedbound father.

High Fidelity Review

Turbine Theatre – until 7 December 2019

Reviewed by Donna Easton


I am not sure if it was the very essence of the Turbine theatre itself, the vinyl clad set, the battered leather sofa on which I sat, the faint smell of incense in the air or the fact that I had devoured my copy of Nick Hornby’s novel in my teens but on entering the space, I was catapulted back to London in the 90s.

The design team perfectly created that vibe before an actor stepped on stage but when they did enter Rob’s music shop where most of the action was set, we were introduced to a bunch of beautifully crafted characters that made me smile instantly. Now, I am a lover of musical theatre but to fully enjoy this particular genre, we always have to suspend our disbelief and just go with it but as the cast embarked on their first routine and a confused looking Rob mouthed, ‘What the f*ck?’ to the audience I knew I could relax as this was a musical with a clear difference.

The actors seemed to deliver most of the musical numbers with their tongues firmly in their cheeks producing a unique dialogue for the audience and made the sincere moments all the more engaging. The feeling of being part of their gang was not only beautifully created by the informal first few rows (bean bags and sofas) but Rob’s asides and knowing looks to the audience were always perfectly delivered. Often as though chatting to one of his mates with laser focus on his chosen audience member and smashed down the fourth wall and brought us in to his shop, his flat and his life.

Oliver Ormson’s Rob should (on paper) be a character we dislike with his questionable morals and treatment of women but Vikki Stone’s beautiful ‘Brit’icising of the script and Oliver’s impeccable delivery made me root for him like a good friend who you just want to get their act together. My feminist alarm bells were definitely ringing at times but I just couldn’t help but want him to sort himself out and get the girl.

I felt like I had, at some point of my youth, encountered each and every one of the characters. The boys seemed to have the stronger ‘character’ roles and the girls were given the more realistic parts which were all incredibly real and believable. Carl Au’s Dick was an adorable misfit and I was willing him to get together with Natalie Imbruglia loving Anna, gorgeously played by Rosie Fletcher. Robbie Durham’s Barry was one of those guys that you have in your group that drives you crazy but you love him. I was clapping and grinning madly at his final song beautifully flanked by Jessica Lee and Lauran Rae.

Ian was hilariously played by Robert Tripolino. The character is written with such insight and must have been a joy of a role to play. Robert certainly had me laughing hysterically at ‘Ian’s Here’, ‘Ian’s Eulogy’ and his appearance in Rob’s nightmare was a particularly laugh out loud highlight!

Shanay Holmes’ Laura was a particularly believable character and I wanted the best for her and she played a woman in the throes of emotional turmoil beautifully. Bobbie Little’s Liz was the friend you want to have on your side and both women played their roles impeccably and their voices were soulful, strong and fierce and they provided a beautiful contrast of realism among the other characters.

Watching Eleanor Kane’s Marie and her beautiful tone was like being at an intimate gig. The duet with Shanay Holmes gave the action a moment of perfect stillness and then her matter of fact treatment of Rob was again a lovey dose of realism.

One of my favourite moments had to be the arrival of Bruce Springsteen played by Joshua Deever. I loved his stage presence and Rob’s transition during this song was a joy to watch.

Tom Jackson Greaves, direction and choreography is inspired. The choreography seemed to fit each character and moved the narrative along perfectly.

In summary, I loved hanging out with this group of vinyl obsessed characters on a Friday night and went home feeling nostalgic, warm and happy. A quirky joy of a musical. I loved it!

Influence Review

Leeds City College – Friday 1 November 2019

Reviewed By Dawn Smallwood


Playhouse Youth Theatre delivers Influence, their latest production, at Leeds City College which the company are currently partnering with to offer young people creative opportunities. Influence is collaborated with a consortium of partner theatres which encourage young people to work with creative professionals and to get fully involved and immersed in the process and the finished production.

Influence is written by the Scottish playwright, Andy McGregor, and is inspired by Black Mirror and Stranger Things, modern TV hits. It follows a group of typical teenagers on an unknown adventure, following a disappearance of a local boy. The journey they embark on surprisingly twists and turns and ultimately land them where they didn’t anticipate or expected. They end up in place and circumstance where data is illegally and unjustifiably collected, mind manipulation reigns, surprises are revealed in somewhat a chillingly clinical underground dystopia.

Technology is the key and the play explores how much one is influenced darkly by smart phones and the internet particularly social media, advertising, capitalist vices and celebrities. There are science fiction and comic elemental themed aspects to Influence. There is subtle linking of corporate organisations and superficial influencers and how this really affects on people especially when it comes to making crucial choices and decisions. The moral of the story suggests standing up to what one believes in is so paramount.

This excellent play is absurd, colourful, fast and outrageous. There is plenty of content packed in and all covered in a 75 minute performance. One is invited to have a think who are their real “influencers” are in their lives and how they are “influenced”. Influence definitely raises awareness and thought provokes to what is fundamental in today’s world and its current affairs.

Influence is absolutely memorable and under the direction of Gemma Woffinden the cast delivers such an excellent performance where every member of the cast has an important role to play. There is a fair bit of humour thrown in and this captivates and engages the audience who can relate to a fair number of the influences that are referenced. Irene Jade’s staging works well and the space is used full to its capacity and the staging goes well with Tim Skelly’s eclectic lighting and Jonnie Khan’s music and soundscapes. Leeds Playhouse Youth Theatre delivers another successful production to address issues that are a grave matter of concern.

Northern Ballet’s Little Red Riding Hood Review

Stanley & Audrey Burton Theatre – Friday 1 November 2019

Reviewed By Dawn Smallwood


Once upon a time a folklore tale called Little Red Riding Hood was written. Today an adaptation of this classic fairytale by Northern Ballet is receiving its world premiere at the Stanley and Audrey Burton Theatre in Leeds. This production is specifically targeting children, in the form of ballet, movement and drama and is accompanied to Eloise Gynn’s music, played live by the Northern Ballet Sinfonia. Little Red Riding Hood is introduced as a “kind and thoughtful little girl who loves her family”.

Northern Ballet’s productions for children are critically acclaimed following sell out runs and adaptations for CBeebies TV. It is evident with the many families being in attendance that these productions are certainly very popular. The adaptation is a similar retelling of the actual tale which is well known. Northern Ballet have introduced some extra characters; a bear, a fox and a badger; softer touches to the characters especially the Wolf; and some happy outcomes at the end are created.

Set to Marjoke Henrichs’ simple but colourful set, the dancers interpret the adventure simply and dramatically with excellent portrayals of the characters. The interpretation is easily understood and a story sheet is available to everyone on their arrival at the theatre. The dancers work in harmony and Mariana Rodrigues’ choreography and direction solidifies the cast’s collective contribution to this production.

Like many folklore and fairy tales there are often some dark elements however Northern Ballet are targeting children and no doubt would want to keep the story happy and simple and it is obviously so. This 40 minute ballet is received well by the audience and Little Red Riding Hood is an excellent simple short and sweet ballet for children and families alike

New season announced by Newcastle Theatre Royal


Newcastle Theatre Royal has announced a jam-packed programme of new shows as it launches its Spring/Summer 2020 season.

Bursting with spectacular musicals, powerful drama and laugh-out-loud comedy, the new season will continue to bring the finest touring productions in the country to the North East.

Carrying David (Thu 9 – Fri 10 Apr 2020) – from the local writer and director Ed Waugh who recently toured North East classic, Hadaway Harry – tells the inspiring story of how local hero Glenn McCrory, inspired by his terminally ill brother, became the first world champion boxer from the region.

Stephen Tompkinson stars in the popular British comedy, Educating Rita (Mon 18 – Sat 23 May 2020) which tells the story of married hairdresser Rita and her tutor Frank who come to realise how much they have to teach each other.

David Walliams’ best-selling story Billionaire Boy (Wed 15 – Sat 18 Jul 2020) is brought to life on stage by the award-winning producers of Gangsta Granny and Horrible Histories.

The summer sees new neighbours move in when the kooky The Addams Family (Thu 30 Jul – Sat 8 Aug 2020) make themselves at home in the spectacular musical comedy. And younger audiences will be delighted by the return of everyone’s favourite pig in Peppa Pig’s Best Day Ever (Wed 12 – Thu 13 Aug 2020).

Making a much anticipated return following its sell-out run in 2017, Beautiful – The Carole King Musical (Tue 18 – Sat 22 Aug 2020) chronicles the remarkable rise to stardom of one the most successful solo acts in popular music history.

Pop superstar Beverley Knight will take to the stage in The Drifters Girl (Sat 5 – Sat 19 Sep 2020), a new show from Newcastle born producer Michael Harrison. Making its world premiere at Newcastle Theatre Royal, it tells the story of one of the world’s greatest vocal groups and Faye Treadwell, the legendary manager who made them.

It was the television quiz show scandal that gripped the nation. In April 2003, Army Major Charles Ingram, his wife and coughing accomplice were convicted for cheating on Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? The audience gets the chance to decide if he was really guilty in Quiz (Mon 21 – Sat 26 Sep 2020).

Tickets for all new shows in the Spring/Summer 2020 season go on sale to the general public at 9am on Fri 8 Nov 2019 but Friends of the Theatre Royal can book from Mon 4 Nov – visit for more information.

Tickets can be purchased online at or from the Theatre Royal Box Office on 08448 11 21 21 (Calls cost 7p per minute plus your phone company’s access charge).