Amici Dance bring together international artists for One World at Lyric Hammersmith | 27 June – 2 July 2022

World-renowned Amici premiere One World: Wealth
of the Common People
for 40th anniversary
Lyric Hammersmith Theatre, Lyric Square, King Street,
London, W6 0QL
Monday 27th June – Saturday 2nd July 2022

The renowned Amici Dance Theatre Company, the world’s first disability-inclusive professional dance company, will celebrate their 40th anniversary with the world premiere of One World: Wealth of the Common People. After delaying the much-anticipated premiere from 2020 due to the pandemic, this pioneering dance-theatre company are bringing together an 80 strong cast of disabled and non-disabled performers. Many of the performers and companies have been invited by Amici from across the globe for a timely exploration of unity and tolerance amidst the ongoing global refugee crises.

Choreographed by acclaimed Wolfgang Stange (Director, Founder and Principal Choreographer at Amici) and devised by the performers themselves, One World is a vital and moving production that looks through the eyes of those who have experienced first-hand what it’s like to be marginalised by difference. This ambitious spectacle masterfully mixes projection, dance, spoken word and live music in an explosive celebration of joy, life, protest and the beauty of uniting people from different cultures across the globe. Amici’s stunning work continues to subvert stereotypes and challenge conventional attitudes to disability and the arts breaking both barriers and new ground. Alongside One World, there will be a programme of performances from the invited companies and artists, as well as workshops and films from Amici’s repertoire

Amici will be inviting guest performers from Sri Lanka, New Zealand, Scotland, Wales and the USA. Welsh dance company Dragon’s Heart & Dragon’s Soul will present two pieces; Casanau Du (Black Kisses), which tells the stories of Welsh coal mining communities; and T4, which tells of the harrowing start of Berlin’s ‘final solution’, when they euthanised people with disabilities, and displays the humanity of the people considered imperfect by the Third Reich. Jolt Dance from New Zealand will present a talk and their work Takiwatanga. Sri Lankan dancer Eluwana Mudiyanselage Pushpasiri will perform and present a talk about being a dancer in Sri Lanka. Scottish company Indepen-dance will show a short film and facilitate a creative movement and exploration workshop. From America, Brio Theatre will present The Real Me, including a monologue by a British actress and a poem performed by an Amici member. Wolfgang Stange and Amici members will run an open workshop for people to learn their innovative methods and practises.

Wolfgang Stange comments, Two years ago I was pushed to make work that raised awareness of the atrocities that are plaguing our planet after the Easter Sunday bombings in Sri Lanka and the current refugee crisis on Europe’s shores. The conflict zones with wars raging in far away places have arrived in Europe and bring the horrific suffering of ordinary people into our living rooms via the TV screens. Like most people I have been deeply affected by the innocent lives that have been lost and the tragic exodus of mothers trying to escape the onslaught protecting their children seeking refuge in foreign countries. It is more important than ever to remind ourselves that in order to change things, we must relive some of those horrors, but we must not lose sight of hope. Without hope we would be very lost indeed. Amici shows that sharing and celebrating each other’s differences is the only way forward.

Amici are a unique integrated-arts company that have, over the years, inspired thousands of people to look at art (and the world) from a new and magical perspective. With a focus on individual talent regardless of ability, they help performers to realise their latent gifts as artists. They run weekly classes for its 40+ members, organise open-workshops, residencies, and student placements and stage performances throughout the year including their biennial full company show, performed in the Lyric Hammersmith Theatre’s Main House, where they are a Lyric Partner Company.

Amici are totally and utterly inspiring (The Guardian)

I count my evenings spent watching the work of Amici among the most rewarding in a year’s dance-viewing. Amici affirms life, creativity and the power of compassion (Clement Crisp, The Financial Times)

Poet Simon Mole and musician Gecko announce Your Words, Your World and a 2022 Poetry Picnic tour

Poet Simon Mole and musician Gecko 

announce their Your Words, Your World initiative for young people 

including a 2022 tour for their Poetry Picnic show 

Poet Simon Mole and Musician Gecko are launching Your Words, Your World – a new project supporting young people to express themselves and helping them to understand that their words have the power to shape the world around them. The duo hopes to connect with children and their families by throwing poetic parties at theatres and libraries whilst also continuing to build their creative community online.  

As part of Your Words, Your World, Simon Mole and Gecko’s snack-heavy celebration of music and poetry Poetry Picnic returns this summer after its successful premiere last year. The 2022 tour dates are The Big Bristol Poetry Picnic (4 June, Wardrobe Theatre, Bristol), The Big Spork! Poetry Picnic (5 June, Exeter Phoenix), Sheffield Rivelin Co Poetry Picnic (9 July, The Pavilion, Hillsborough Park, Sheffield), The Big Booktastic Poetry Picnic (10 July, The Place, Bedford) and The Norwich Poetry Picnic (27 July, Norwich Theatre Royal).   

At Poetry Picnic, with fun (and quite silly) games Simon and Gecko build kids’ confidence and skill with words to help them unlock their poetry powers. Audience members will be supported to pen a poem from their picnic blanket and hear some Beatles-meets-the-Beastie-Boys style bangers from the duo themselves. Participants will also have the chance to share the stage and perform their poems with the show’s professional performers for the grand finale. On the day, every child will receive a Your Words, Your World notebook and Simon and Gecko can’t wait to see the wonders with which they will fill them up. Poetry Picnics are ideal for ages 6yrs+. Just remember to BYOB – bring your own biscuits! 

Also, as part of Your Words, Your World, Simon Mole will again partner with leading poetry organisation, Apples and Snakes, to mentor a collective of six up and coming poets, giving them the opportunity to write for – and more importantly WITH – children. Top poets Kate Wakeling and John Hegley will be the guest facilitators. 

Simon Mole is an acclaimed children’s poet, National Poetry Day Ambassador, and sleep deprived dad. He writes books, makes shows, and runs workshops for children and families. The tutorial videos at his YouTube channel are used by hundreds of thousands of children and teachers each year ( Simon runs two live online poetry workshops a month (

Gecko is a Singer, Storyteller and Musician. His playful lyrics cover the big things in life; think iPhones, libraries and Guanabana fruit juice to name but a few. Gecko’s previous appearances include Glastonbury, Latitude, BBC Radio 1, Sky Arts, 6 Music and the Edinburgh Festival Fringe. His 2017 debut album Volcano was the Morning Star’s ‘album of the year’. In 2020, Gecko released his second album Climbing Frame crowd funded by his audience in just 48 hours. In 2021 his song Rapunzel went viral on Tik Tok ( 

Poetry Picnic is created by Simon Mole, Gecko and Peader Kirk. It is produced by Rua Arts and funded by Arts Council England. 


Category: Poetry, Children’s, Family, Outdoor events 

For ages: 6+ 

Running time: 75 mins 

Check with individual venues for COVID-19 guidelines. 

Show: The Big Bristol Poetry Picnic 

Date/Time: 4 June, 11am and 2pm 

Venue: Wardrobe Theatre, The Old Market Assembly, 25 West Street, Old Market, Bristol, BS2 0DF 

Tickets: £9 

Box Office: 

Show: The Big Spork! Poetry Picnic 

Date/Time: 5 June, 2pm 

Venue: Exeter Phoenix, Gandy Street, Exeter, Devon EX4 3LS 

Tickets: £10* adults | £7* under 18’s 

Box Office: 

Show: The Big Booktastic Poetry Picnic 

Date/Time: Sun 10 July, 1pm 

Venue: The Place, Bradgate Rd, Bedford MK40 3DE 

Tickets: Adult £5 | Child £8 | Family Blanket £28 (2 adults + up to 3 children) 

Box Office: on sale soon 

Show: Sheffield Rivelin Co Poetry Picnic 

Date/Time: Saturday 9 July, 1pm and 3pm 

Venue: The Pavilion, Hillsborough Park, Sheffield S6 4HB 

Tickets: £7 

Box Office: For more info visit 

Show: The Norwich Poetry Picnic 

Date/Time: Wednesday 27 July, 1pm and 3pm 

Venue: Norwich Theatre Royal, Theatre St, Norwich NR2 1RL 

Tickets: Family Blanket £30 

Box Office: 

Barry Cryer: A Celebration


Glittering array of stars gather to remember iconic talent in special one-off show on 13th June including Stephen Fry, Judi Dench, Bill Bailey, Harry Hill, Maureen Lipman, Barry Humphries and Stewart Lee, plus recorded tributes from the likes of Stephen Merchant, Sandi Toksvig, Emma Thompson & Lee Mack

A special, one-off tribute show to iconic comedy writer Barry Cryer, who died earlier this year, has been announced today. Barry Cryer: A Celebration, which will feature a string of stars, will go on sale on Friday 6th May, available from, with all profits going to The Royal Variety Charity, helping performers in need

Join family and friends of the late Barry Cryer in celebrating his unique comic spirit, in a show put together by Barry’s son Bob Cryer. Baz had a gift for making everyone feel welcome and this night of tributes will do the same. He spent his life making people laugh and left behind him a legacy of fun, joy, love, and silliness that this show will celebrate.

Baz regularly told fantastic stories and anecdotes about others – the many brilliant and fascinating people he’d worked with and knew – but as he was loved and admired by so many, now is the perfect time for the great and the good of the comedy world to come together to share some stories about him.

The line-up (subject to change) in alphabetical order includes:

·                     Bill Bailey

·                     Gyles Brandreth

·                     Pauline Daniels

·                     Stephen Fry

·                     Andy Hamilton

·                     Harry Hill

·                     Barry Humphries

·                     Stewart Lee

·                     Maureen Lipman

·                     Ronnie and The Rex

·                     Arthur Smith

·                     Michael Palin

So, let’s celebrate his brilliant and mischievous life and career – come and join us on June 13th to #celebratebaz!

Listings information:

Show name: Barry Cryer: A Celebration
When: 7.30pm, Monday 13th June 2022
Where: Lyric Theatre, Shaftesbury Avenue, London W1D 7ES
Box office: / 0330 333 4812
Age rating: 14+




Thursday 23 June – Saturday 8 October 2022

Royal Shakespeare Theatre

The Royal Shakespeare Company (RSC) has today announced further casting details for its upcoming production of Richard III, which runs from 23 June – 8 October 2022 in the Royal Shakespeare theatre. The production will be directed by Gregory Doran, whose decision to step down as Artistic Director after 35 years with the Company and ten years in post, was announced last month.

Gregory Doran, Director of Richard III said: Its a real thrill to be back in the rehearsal room at last working with this fantastic company of actors which includes several familiar faces from current double-bill of Henry VI Rebellion and The Wars of the Roses alongside returning company members from across the years and those making their debut with the RSC this Summer.

Richard III has a quartet of extraordinary women’s roles and I am delighted that we have enticed RSC veteran Claire Benedict back, (having taken a few years out) to play The Duchess of York; Kristy Bushell (The White Devil) to play Queen Elizabeth; Rosie Sheehy (King John) to play Lady Anne, and of course Mariah Gale returning in the role of Queen Margaret.

Richard III completes the bloody cycle of plays covering the War of the Roses, one of the most turbulent periods in English history. Its the story of Richard, Duke of Gloucesters unscrupulous climb to power and Im delighted to be working with Arthur Hughes, whose own particular lived experiencewill, Im sure, bring a new urgent and unexpected perspectiveto the role of Richard.

Past productions of Richard III at the RSC have included many memorable performances of this role, from Ian Holm to Jonathan Slinger and of course, Antony Sher. Nearly 40 years on from his celebrated performance as Shakespearebottled spider, Im delighted to be putting disabled talent centre stage in this savage analysis of tyranny and the dangers of letting it go unchecked.

The RSC has also released new video footage of Arthur Hughes in the title role of Richard following his RSC debut in Wars of the Roses this Spring which was described as a performance of ‘hypnotic, snarling intensity’ (The Telegraph) and as ‘a brilliance of intensifying evil’ (The Observer).

Arthur Hughes puts down a hell of a marker for his forthcoming Richard III.”

Financial Times, Wars of the Roses

Arthur Hughes makes a gripping Richard, a charismatic and physically forceful presence”

The Stage, Wars of the Roses

Joining Arthur on stage in the role of Anne is Rosie Sheehy, who last performed at the RSC in 2019, playing the title role in King John, directed by Eleanor Rhode.

Rosie’s other theatre credits include Oleanna (Bath Theatre Royal & The Arts Theatre West End), Anna X (The Vaults), The Wolves (Theatre Royal Stratford East), The Whale (Theatre Royal Bath), Uncle Vanya (Theatre Clwyd/Sheffield Theatres), Escape the Scaffold (Theatre 503), Strife (Chichester Festival Theatre), Bird (Royal Exchange Manchester), The Hairy Ape (The Old Vic) and Chicken (Paines Plough).

Returning to the company following Henry VI: Rebellion and Wars of the Roses are Minnie Gale, Ashley D Gayle and Ben Hall who will reprise their roles as Margaret, Edward and Clarence respectively. Also returning is Conor Glean who will play the role of Murderer having played the roles of Dick and Young Clifford in Rebellion and The Wars of the Roses.

They will be joined by Nicholas Armfield (Richmond) who was last at the RSC playing Clodius/Agrippa in Imperium, stage adaptation of the Cicero trilogy of novels by Robert Harris adapted by Mike Poulton for the RSC, which premiered in The Swan Theatre in 2017 before transferring to the Gielgud Theatre, London in the Autumn of 2018. Also returning is Micah Balfour (Hastings), who re-joins the company following his role as Don John in Roy Alexander Weise’s afro-futuristic production of Much Ado About Nothing in 2022 and Claire Benedict (Duchess of York), whose previous RSC credits include The Canterbury Tales, Tamburlaine the Great, Antony and Cleopatra, The Odyssey and Eastward Ho. They will be joined by Kirsty Bushell (Elizabeth) who was last seen in the RSC’s 2014 production of The White Devil directed by Maria Aberg and whose recent theatre credits include The Tempest (Jermyn Street Theatre); King Lear (Duke of York’s Theatre); The Cherry Orchard (Royal Exchange/Bristol Old Vic) and Romeo & Juliet (Shakespeare’s Globe).

Making his RSC debut this season this Springis Callum Coates (Brackenbury), whose extensive screen credits include the hit BBC series Life After Life (BBC) and Gentleman JackThe Crown (Netflix), Outlander (Sony/Starz), Emmerdale (ITV), Eastenders (BBC) and The Witcher (Netflix). Callum’s stage credits include award winning A Very Expensive Poison (Old Vic), A Case of the Frightened Lady (UK Tour), Henry V (Antic Disposition), Fallen Angels (Salisbury Playhouse), Propaganda Swing (Coventry Belgrade/Nottingham Playhouse) and A View from the Bridge (Liverpool Playhouse, E&P).

Also making their debut with the company are Oscar Batterham (Rivers), Sophie Cartman (Keeper), Matthew Duckett (Catesby) Will Edgerton (Tyrell)Olivia Onyehara (Dorset/Citizen 2), Thom Petty (Ratcliffe)and Joeravar Sangha (Murderer).

Completing the cast are Simon Coates (Stanley), Eloise Secker (Mistress Shore/Citizen 1) and Jamie Wilkes (Buckingham). Simon’s previous productions for the RSC include CoriolanusThe Merry Wives Of WindsorLoveplayLuminosityThe Taming Of The Shrew and The Comedy Of ErrorsEloise Secker played the roles of Clodia & Fulvia in Imperium. Eloise’s other RSC credits include The Two Noble Kinsmen, The Rover, and The Seven Acts of Mercy. Jamie Wilkes last appeared at the RSC playing the role of Charles, the Dauphin in Gregory Doran and Owen Horsley’s 2021 production of Henry VI: Part One Open Rehearsal Project. Jamie was one of the Two Noble Kinsmen in the RSC’s 2016 production of the same name directed by Blanche McIntyre, and appeared in The Rover in 2016, as well Oppenheimer, and The Shoemaker’s Holiday.

Arthur Hughes is best known for his roles as Ryan McDaniel in supernatural Netflix series The Innocents and as Ruairi Donovan in the hit BBC Radio 4 series The Archers. Most recently, Arthur appeared Jack Thorne’s Channel 4 care-home drama Help with Jodie Comer and Stephen Graham and played the co-lead in the ground-breaking BBC civil-rights drama Then Barbara Met Alan (2022) alongside Ruth Madeley, also directed by Jack Thorne, with script by award-winning actor-turned-writer Genevieve Barr. The film tells the story of two disabled cabaret performers, Alan Holdsworth (Arthur) and Barbara Lisicki (Ruth Madeley) who met at a gig in 1989 and would go on to become the driving force behind DAN – the Direct-Action Network, whose fearless and coordinated protests pushed the campaign for disabled rights into the spotlight.

Arthur’s previous stage credits include La Cage Aux Folles (Park Theatre), Our Town (Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre, London) The Solid Life of Sugar Water (NT/Graeae Theatre Company), Saint Joan (Donmar Warehouse), Vassa (Almeida), Julius Caesar and One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest (Sheffield Crucible).

Richard III is directed by Gregory Doran, whose first production as Artistic Director at the RSC was Richard II (2013) where he was reunited with David Tennant in the title role. The acclaimed production transferred to the Barbican Theatre, London and was the first RSC production to be seen live in cinemas around the world. In 2015, his productions of Henry V (2015), Henry IV Parts I & II embarked on an international tour to Beijing, Shanghai and Hong Kong prior to a month-long residency at New York’s Brooklyn Academy of Music, joined by Richard II. Gregory directed King Lear in 2016 with Antony Sher, a revival of his celebrated puppet Masque Venus and Adonis in 2017 and a ground-breaking production of The Tempest (2016/7) with Simon Russell Beale as Prospero, created with Intel and in association with Imaginarium Studios. 

In 2016 Gregory directed Shakespeare Live! broadcast on the BBC and which marked the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death. Many RSC alumni joined the line-up including Judi Dench, Paapa Essiedu, Ian McKellen, Helen Mirren and David Tennant, alongside the Company’s President HRH The Prince of Wales. The performance was nominated for a 2017 BAFTA for Best Live Event.

In his 2018 production of Troilus and Cressida, he collaborated with virtuoso percussionist Dame Evelyn Glennie in a staging which featured the RSC’s first equally gender-balanced cast in a on the main stage, and the first disabled actor to play a leading Shakespeare role for the Company with deaf actor Charlotte Arrowsmith as Cassandra.

Other productions include the world stage premiere of David Walliams’ The Boy in the Dress in 2019, Death of A Salesman with Antony Sher and Harriet Walter and The Witch of Edmonton with Eileen Atkins in the title role.

Richard III features Set and Costume design by Stephen Brimson Lewis with Lighting by Matt Daw. Music is by Paul Englishby and Sound Design by Claire Windsor. Movement is by Sian Williams with Fights by Rachel Bown-Williams and Ruth Cooper-Brown. The Associate Director is Aaron Parsons.

A Murder is Announced Review 

King’s Theatre, Edinburgh – until Saturday 7th May

Reviewed by Ellen Searle 


When you buy a ticket to see an Agatha Christie on stage, you know what you want. You want clipped English accents, perfectly crafted early to mid century costumes and stage design, and enough twists and turns to keeps you guessing, but delivered at a pace in keeping with a time of gramophones, antimacassars, and tweed skirts. This Middle Ground Theatre production, adapted for the stage by Leslie Darbon, and designed and directed by Michael Lunney, stars a host of familiar faces of the stage and screen, and it does not disappoint.

In the local newspaper of the charmingly named Chipping Cleghorn, someone has placed a small ad to announce that at 6.30pm that evening, a murder will be committed at Little Paddocks, the home of the warm, refined Letitia Blacklock (Barbara Wilshere). With an extended household of distant family and old friends living in and visiting Little Paddocks, there is a host of potential victims and perpetrators.  But as we know, the most cunning of criminals will be no match for the mighty Miss Marple (Sarah Thomas), who happens upon the action while staying with her nephew at the village Vicarage.  And so the scene is set for a most pleasing evening of entertainment.

While classic Agatha Christies may be the theatrical equivalent of the culinary world’s Sunday roast, the plots retain the power to absorb their audience. Here, we are expertly misdirected so that the big reveal when it comes surprises as much as delights its audience.  The excellent costume and set design is matched by the apparently effortlessly expert acting by the entire cast, and from the very first moment we know we are in the safest of hands.

The writing is just right. It keeps us on track without patronising us, and provides enough humorous moments to avoid becoming too camp, a trap lesser Agatha Christie productions have fallen into. The nods to contemporary issues elevate the script, such as single mother Phillipa Haymes (Emma Fernell) lamenting that despite the progress made for women’s rights, there is still so much to be done. And indeed, on the issue of feminism, it is great to see a production with so many strong and often older female characters.

In an ever faster paced modern world, where we can feel bombarded with images and information through omnipresent screens, to enter the world of this bygone era is to be provided with the most charming of respite.  All in all, this super whodunnit from the undisputed 20th century queen of crime fiction is brought brilliantly to life and oozes with charm, with simple but highly effective staging, superb costumes and stage design, great writing, and the very highest standards of acting throughout. This is an absolute gem of a production.

The Homecoming Review

Theatre Royal Brighton – until May 7th 2022

Reviewed by Sue Bradley


Written in 1964 and premiered in London 1965, the power of Pinter’s writing, and the quality and skill of this production, mean that the themes of familial dysfunction are just as relevant today as they were over fifty years ago when this work deservedly won the Tony for Best Play in 1967.

This is a funny, if dark, exploration of family and relationships and encompasses all of Pinter’s trademark stillness and slower pace, giving us plenty of time for the meaning to sink in.

Teddy, a professor at an American university, returns to his childhood South London home with his wife, Ruth, to find his father, uncle and brothers still living there.  What will happen when the emancipated Ruth is thrown into the masculine world of aggression and self-aggrandisement that has shaped this family? The outcomes are not as obvious as they might at first seem, as Ruth becomes more powerful.

Mathew Horne (Star of BBC’s Gavin & Stacey) is Lenny, one of Teddy’s brothers. Playing very much against type, he owns the stage with a creeping menace and really gives us a sense of hidden (and probably unpleasant) depths, with his impressive delivery of long, complex lines.  

Keith Allen (The Young Ones, Comic Strip Presents, Trainspotting) as Max, the capricious and bullying patriarch, commands our attention throughout. A nightmare of a father-figure, he cannot be dismissed at any point, as he changes his mood unpredictably, morphing from a sweet character to one that is quite vile.  

Shanaya Rafaat (Eastenders, Lewis) is a cool and enigmatic Ruth. We are challenged to make up our own minds about her motivations and the disruption she brings.

The set is dominated by an absurdly long and high staircase disappearing upward into darkness, contributing to the sense of unreality that is one of the cornerstones of this play. No-one and nothing is quite what it seems.

The sound and lighting design are very effective and unobtrusive, except when the lighting is used several times for a particular dramatic effect giving us a surprise and adding to the general air of menace.

Other Cast members are Sam Alexander (Emmerdale, Lady In The Van) as Teddy, Ian Bartholomew (Coronation Street, Into The Woods) as Sam, the mild-mannered brother of Max and Teddy’s uncle, and Geoffrey Lumb as Joey, Teddy’s other brother.

This is not the show for you if you want the simple and efficient clarity of a TV Soap but if you want to be drawn in, challenged and given plenty to think and talk about on your way home, then this production is not to be missed. 

Absolutely wonderful.



A Sheffield Theatres Production



By Chris Bush

Co-directed by Robert Hastie, Anthony Lau and Elin Schofield

Designers Janet BirdNatasha Jenkins and Ben Stones

Lighting Designers Richard Howell, Jai Morjaria and Johanna Town
Composer Richard Taylor

Sound Designers Tingying Dong, Annie May Fletcher and Sam Glossop

Movement Director Tom Herron

Casting Director Christopher Worrall
Casting Consultant Stuart Burt CDG
Assistant Directors Callum Berridge, Grace Cordell and Alexandra Whiteley
Assistant Sound Designer José Guillermo Puello

Thursday 16 June – Saturday 2 July 2022

Sheffield Theatres todayannounces the cast for its trilogy of new plays, Rock / Paper / Scissors, by Chris Bush.

Performing across all three theatres, the cast includes: Denise Black (Coronation Street)playing Susie, Natalie Casey (Guys and Dolls) playing Mel, Andrew Macbean (Amadeus) playing Leo, Daisy May (Sex Education) playing Molly,Alastair Natkiel (Standing at the Sky’s Edge) playing Billy, Samantha Power (Chicken Soup) playing Faye, Guy Rhys (Mary, Queen of Scots) playing Omar, Lucie Shorthouse (Everybody’s Talking About Jamie) playing Zara,Dumile Sibanda (Hedda) playing Ava,Jabez Sykes (Spring Awakeningplaying Mason, Maia Tamrakar (Spring Awakeningplaying Liv, Joe Usher (The Last Days of Judas) playing Trent, Chanel Waddock (Hamlet) playing Cocoand Leo Wan (Bridgerton)playing Xander.

Denise Black returns to Sheffield Theatres after appearing in Miniatures, her first professional acting job, and SistersNatalie Casey is welcomed back following her role in 2019 Christmas musical Guys and DollsAlastair Natkiel returns after starring in Standing at the Sky’s Edge, also in 2019. Lucie Shorthouse returns having played Pritti Pasha in the original Sheffield production of Everybody’s Talking About Jamie, and more recently the lead in Victoria Wood’s Talent in 2020. Having appeared in Chicken Soup in the Studio, Samantha Power is also welcomed back to Sheffield Theatres.

Andrew Macbean, Daisy May, Guy Rhys, Dumile Sibanda, Jabez Sykes, Maia Tamrakar, Joe Usher, Chanel Waddock and Leo Wan all make their Sheffield Theatres debut. Four of the roles have been written by Chris Bush specifically for actors who graduated during the pandemic; to ensure them a platform after having launched their careers in such difficult and unprecedented circumstances.

Additional members of the creative team are also announced: joining the previously announced co-directors Robert HastieAnthony Lau and Elin Schofield, and designers Janet Bird (Paper in the Lyceum Theatre), Natasha Jenkins (Scissors in the Studio Theatre) and Ben Stones (Rock in the Crucible Theatre), are: Lighting Designers Richard Howell, Jai Morjaria and Johanna Town; Composer Richard Taylor;Sound Designers Tingying Dong, Annie May Fletcher and Sam Glossop; Movement Director Tom Herron; Casting Director Christopher Worrall, Casting Consultant Stuart Burt CDG and Assistant Sound Designer José Guillermo Puello. TheAssistant Directors are Callum Berridge, Grace Cordell and Alexandra Whiteley, with Alexandra and Callum joining the creative team as current members of Sheffield Theatres’ Bank Cohort for 2022.

Rock / Paper / Scissors 
are three new plays by Chris Bush (Standing at the Sky’s Edge). The centrepiece of Sheffield Theatres’ 50th Anniversary celebrations, the plays will see all three Sheffield spaces – The Crucible, Studio and Lyceum theatres – unite to stage Chris’snew trilogy of playsThree interlinked but standalone plays will tell the story of a Sheffield scissor manufacturer and the three generations feuding over what happens to the factory site. In a theatrical first, the same cast perform in the Crucible, Lyceum and Studio simultaneously, dashing between scenes, when a character exits one stage, they arrive on another. 

Rock / Paper / Scissors runs at Sheffield Theatres from Thursday 16 June – Saturday 2 July 2022. Tickets can be booked through the Box Office in person, over the phone on 0114 249 6000 or at Accessible performances are available.

Join Gecko for playful story songs of pig outlaws, tooth fairy admin and more in Man With a Guitar Plays Story Songs at Banshee Labyrinth in Edinburgh throughout August, as part of PBH’s Free Fringe

Join Gecko for playful story songs of pig outlaws, tooth fairy admin and more in  

Man With a Guitar Plays Story Songs 

at Banshee Labyrinth in Edinburgh throughout August, as part of PBH’s Free Fringe 

Ignored characters in Italian renaissance paintings, pig outlaws and tricky tooth fairy admin are just a few of the topics which singer-songwriter Gecko will be covering this August in Man With a Guitar Plays Story Songs. Expect wit and warmth from this Glastonbury Festival regular, fresh from appearing on the BAFTA-winning Sky TV show Life and Rhymes, when he performs at Banshee Labyrinth (29-35 Niddry St. Edinburgh) from 6-9, 11-16, 18-23, 25-28 August at 2pm as part of PBH’s Free Fringe (free non-ticketed show). 

Gecko said: “Audiences can expect songs sung from the point of view of numerous characters including an exhaustive guide to surviving primary school from a 5 year old two weeks into their first term, the trials and tribulations of being repeatedly asked to play Wonderwall during other songs you are already playing, and a reimagining of Rapunzel with less hair pulling. I will try to make you laugh and cry within the space of an hour – and will offer you a full refund if you don’t (note this is a free entry show).” 

Gecko is a Singer, Storyteller and Musician. His playful lyrics cover the big things in life; think iPhones, libraries and Guanabana fruit juice to name but a few. With more than 1 million views and 400k likes on TikTok in the past year, Gecko’s previous appearances include Glastonbury, Latitude, Bestival, BBC Scotland, BBC London and the Edinburgh Festival Fringe. He has toured the UK, Europe & New Zealand. Gecko’s music has also been featured on BBC Radio 1, BBC Radio 6 Music, Radio X and BBC Introducing. He has twice been awarded ‘Album of the Year’ by The Morning Star newspaper. In 2020, Gecko released his second album, Climbing Frame, crowd funded by his audience in just 48 hours. He has shared bills with the likes of Tim Minchin, Eddie Izzard, Ed Sheeran, Billy Bragg, Josie Long and Robin Ince. 

Fans of Gecko’s story songs include Benjamin Zephaniah who said: ‘He’s a work of art’, Tom Robinson, BBC 6 Music: ‘Just completely charmed me…I think he’s quite brilliant’, Huw Stephens, BBC Radio 1: ‘It made me instantly happy’, John Kennedy, Radio X: ‘Absolutely brilliant’, Gary Crowley, BBC Introducing: ‘Guaranteed to put a smile on even the grumpiest of faces…an absolute favourite’ and Attila the Stockbroker, The Morning Star: ‘a sumptuous feast of lovely melodies and cascades of sweet and clever words, superficially often seemingly inconsequential but with serious undertones’. 

Gecko performs Man With a Guitar Plays Story Songs at Banshee Labyrinth (29-35 Niddry St, Edinburgh) from 6-9, 11-16, 18-23, 25-28 August. /


Title: Man With a Guitar Plays Story Songs

Company/Performer: Gecko 

Dates/Times: 6-9, 11-16, 18-23, 25-28 August at 2.00pm. 

Venue: Banshee Labyrinth (Banquet Hall), 29-35 Niddry St, Edinburgh EH1 1LG 

Box office: Part of PBH’s Free Fringe (non ticketed show) –

Running Time: 60 mins 

Category: Spoken word (music and comedy) 

Five Characters In Search Of A Good Night’s Sleep Review

Southwark Playhouse, London – until 21 May 2022

Reviewed by Alun Hood


The title might be a nod to Pirandello, but there is more of a sense of Beckettian gloom to this unusual, beautifully crafted piece of theatre. Five Characters In Search Of A Good Night’s Sleep tells you pretty much what you’re going to get as a quintet of older people mull over their lives while courting elusive sleep in a series of monologues ranging from the mundane to the deeply moving.

Created by Sonja Linden and director Mike Alfreds in conjunction with a team of actors (two of whom are in the present cast), the show is essentially plotless, concentrating instead on providing snapshots of very different lives, the only common factors being that none of these people are in the first flush of youth, and they’re all in the grip of serious regret. If the length -an hour and three quarters with no interval- feels punishing given the lack of interaction between the actors, the storytelling is undeniably compelling, and the performances are top notch.

It’s a pleasure to see veteran actors of the calibre of Sally Knyvette, Andrew Hawkins and Vincenzo Nicoli working at close quarters, and it is arguably most fascinating watching them fully inhabiting their characters in the moments when they’re not actually speaking. Gary Lilburn’s Irish Hugo, garrulously descending into macular degeneration, is terrific, so vivid and natural that one almost forgets he’s even acting, and is probably the most satisfyingly well crafted creation. Geraldine Alexander breaks the heart as a woman whose grip on a life devoted to being her elderly mother’s carer is slipping.

It’s not exactly feel good entertainment but it’s sweet and sad, and there is some wry humour. For a piece where each character is preoccupied with getting off to sleep, Mike Alfred’s staging moves at an excellent pace, as the monologues bleed into each other, and character’s thoughts are left hanging in the air, like melancholic non sequiturs. It’s tempting to think that the whole thing might work just as well on the radio as on a stage but then one would miss out on Neill Brinkworth’s subtle and rather marvellous lighting design which subtly suggests the transition from the middle of the night to the waking dawn as the piece progresses.

It’s really more an anthology than a conventional play, and the lack of action may prove frustrating for some, but it’s exquisitely done and the performances make it absolutely worth seeing.