★★★★★ A brave and beautiful retelling of his whole life story…a seriously emotional experience – Manchester Evening News
★★★★★ Barlow holds his audience rapt throughout…[he’s] a candidly open and honest storyteller – Edinburgh Evening News
Acclaimed singer, songwriter, composer and producer, Gary Barlow is bringing his theatrical one man stage show, A Different Stage, to London’s West End, with more dates now on sale, due to unprecedented demand. Gary will now perform at TheDuke of York’s Theatre from 30 August to 25 September 2022.
A Different Stagepremiered in February to a rapturous reception from his delighted fans. He has since played to sell-out audiences around the UK, including four very special shows at the community centre in his hometown of Frodsham, as well as York, Salford, Liverpool and Edinburgh.
After London’s West End, the tour will continue around the UK & Ireland. Full dates below:
Truro Hall for Cornwall – 27 – 28 September
Salford The Lowry Lyric Theatre – 4 – 8 October
Newcastle Tyne Theatre – 11 & 12 October
Aylesbury Waterside Theatre – 19-21 October
Dublin Gaiety Theatre – 26 – 29 October
Southend Palace Theatre 1 – 4 November
Portsmouth New Theatre Royal – 7 – 11 November
Nottingham Playhouse – 13 – 15 November
A Different Stage, which Gary Barlow created with his long-time friend and collaborator, Tim Firth, is an intimate evening with Gary, as he recounts, with humour, some tears and unflinching honesty, his life story. Of course, along the way, there will be some music, but some of which will be a surprise to many.
Gary said: “Now I’ve done shows where it has just been me and a keyboard. I’ve done shows where I sit and talk to people. I’ve done shows where I’ve performed as part of a group. But this one, well, it’s like all of those, but none of them. When I walk out this time, it’s going to be a very different stage altogether.”
Gary Barlow is one of Britain’s most successful songwriters and record producers. As part of the group Take That, he has won eight BRIT Awards and sold over 45 million records. Aside from his achievements with Take That, he has also co-written and produced music for other renowned artists including Dame Shirley Bassey, Sir Elton John and Robbie Williams.
In more recent years, Gary has also turned his attention to the world of theatre, composing the score for the hugely successful production of Finding Neverland, working alongside Tim Firth on Calendar Girls The Musical, and collaborating with Tim and his Take That bandmates on The Band, a record-breaking stage musical currently being adapted into a feature film.
A Different Stage is directed by Tim Firth, with design by Es Devlin, lighting by Bruno Poet and sound design by Gareth Tucker.
30 August – 25 September 2022
Duke of York’s Theatre
St Martin’s Lane
London WC2N 4BG
Performances: Tuesday – Saturday at 7.30pm* and Sunday at 2.30pm
ACTS ANNOUNCED FOR SHEFFIELD THEATRES’ TOGETHER IN THE SQUARE
Saturday 9 – Sunday 10 July 2022
Sheffield Theatres, in production with The University of Sheffield and Yellow Bus Events, is excited to host the return of Together in the Square – an outdoor weekend of free events, taking place on Saturday 9 and Sunday 10 July. Tudor Squarewill be transformed into a festival space with events including street acts, music, poetry and theatre, to coincide with the first weekend of the UEFA Women’s EURO 2022.
Street performers will be entertaining across both days from 11am, including: Mark Mark Productions, Able Mabel & Peter Anderson, Abi Collins, Madame Zucchini, Bread & Butter Productions and Felicity Footloose.
On Saturday 9 July from 2pm, enjoy acapella chorus by Steel City Voices, followed by evocative songs from Emma Saville. After this, Debjani Chatterjee performs spoken word poetry, then music from Hattie Cooke and contemporary dance from over 50s company Third Bite Dance. Later into the afternoon, Sunrit Culture Group share traditional Indian arts and culture with DJ Malika Green performing between acts and into the evening. Northern rapper Kay Greyson then performs, and the day concludes with an immersive and part improvised Drag King cabaret show from HÄUS OF DONS.
On Sunday 10 July, the lovable Granny Norbag entertains from 1.30pm, followed by Pinder Dance Productions who last performed in the Crucible for our community celebration event Together in the City. We welcome BBC Radio Sheffield host Sile Sibanda, before rounding off the weekend with a performance from Stannington Brass Band.
JohnTomlinson, Producer at Sheffield Theatres said:
‘We have a fantastic line-up of talent for this year’s Together in the Square, including the return of acts who entertained the crowd last year and new performers who we are excited to see debut on the square. Both days will provide free entertainment for all ages, plus we have a BBQ running outside Crucible Corner for guests to enjoy across the two days.
With a UEFA Women’s EURO 2022match happening at Bramall Lane on Saturday 9 July, we hope the people of Sheffield will enjoy some theatre and entertainment with us, alongside the brilliant teams at The University of Sheffield and Yellow Bus Events.’
Professor Vanessa Toulmin, Director of City and Culture at the University of Sheffield, added:
‘It’s always brilliant to work with our great cultural partners Sheffield Theatres and Yellow Bus Events on events like Together in the Square. We’re looking forward to a day filled with vibrant music, poetry and street theatre by local artists and performers to bring free entertainment and culture to the city centre.’
Alongside these performances and other creative events happening across the city, Sheffield Theatres celebrates the history of football in Sheffield by coinciding with the UEFA Women’s EURO 2022. Matches will take place throughout July at both Bramall Lane in Sheffield and New York Stadium in Rotherham, with events such as Together in the Square supporting the celebrations throughout South Yorkshire.
All performances at Together in the Square will be free with unallocated seating on Tudor Square. An outdoor BBQ will be running in the square outside Crucible Corner on Saturday and Sunday, catering for meat, vegetarian and vegan options.
Together in the Square is made possible by the support of Sheffield City Council.More information can be found at sheffieldtheatres.co.uk.
Peter Brook – statement from the Royal Shakespeare Company on the death of Peter Brook
We were deeply saddened to hear today of the passing of visionary director and RSC Honorary Associate Artist, Peter Brook
Peter was a giant of European theatre, who breathed exhilarating new life into the art form. His influence at the Royal Shakespeare Company cannot be overestimated, with more than 20 years of artistry and experiment, including the remarkable US, a daring response to the Vietnam war which premiered at the Aldwych in 1966 with a cast including Glenda Jackson.
In 1970 he directed the truly revolutionary A Midsummer Night’s Dream, designed by Sally Jacobs, and with a cast including Frances de la Tour, Ben Kingsley and Patrick Stewart. This production completely reset what it meant to bring Shakespeare alive for a contemporary audience, and continues to exert a serious influence on theatre artists today.
Erica Whyman, RSC Acting Artistic Director, said, “I was privileged to get to know Peter in the 1990s at the National Theatre Studio where he generously shared his practice with younger theatre-makers, and later when I presented his work at Northern Stage. He was a mesmerising person, fascinated by the potential of human beings to communicate the most delicate feelings and thoughts to one another, by respecting the commanding simplicity of an ‘empty space’ ”.
Gregory Doran, RSC Artistic Director Emeritus, added ‘When Peter was last in Stratford in February 2019, he generously agreed to come and talk to the acting company. At 94, he still conveyed the boundless curiosity which has characterised his career. From the Watteau-inspired Love’s Labour’s Lost in Stratford in 1947, to the ground-breaking Titus Andronicus with Olivier in 1955, from the Theatre of Cruelty Season to the legendary A Midsummer Night’s Dream in 1970, from the Marat/Sade to The Mahabharata, Peter defined the essential. We ‘shall not look upon his like again’ ”.
Peter’s decades of captivating work at Les Bouffes Du Nord emerged from the explorations he was undertaking at the RSC. His influence will never be forgotten and his spirit will be sorely missed.
Rapture, written by Sophie Leydon and produced by the LGBTQIA+ collection Pink Sky Theatre, is an exciting exploration of the lives of three young people navigating life, love, and trauma in East London. The play centres around three flatmates; Rosy (Izzy Neish) and Kit (Sam Crerar) who are in a relationship, and their best friend Tommy (Bryan Moriarty), all of whom are struggling with their pasts and presents. At the start of the show, the dynamic between the main characters is fiery but good natured and full of love, however things soon start to unravel as other characters are introduced.
Spoken word poetry, direct to audience monologues, and dialogue (plus a bit of audience participation) are used to convey the story, keeping us on toes. The transitions, especially in the first half, are smooth and the pace is snappy. The actors switch between characters and settings using clever tweaks in tone and a limited number of props. From colleagues, to family members, to party goers, it was never difficult to discern which character was present. There are no big sets or costumes, but they are not missed. It is atmospheric enough already.
As we walked into the theatre, there was a list of trigger warnings that we had to OK before entering which include substance abuse, suicidal ideation, self harm, dead naming, and sexual assault. Big topics that are tackled with delicacy and heart (and a few laughs) in this honest celebration of the queer urban family.
Oldham Coliseum Theatre, Oldham – until 2nd July 2022
Review by Rebecca Hampson
Written by Alphamum Production, a new female led production company created by Joann Condon and Leonie Rachel, Little Boxes is a one woman show staring Joann Condon taking the audience on a journey through Joann’s life and the ‘boxes’ that society and she herself has placed herself in. The show explores the importance of the Arts, the importance of hopes and dreams and the importance of allowing yourself to ‘be me’.
Throughout the performance Joann picks up a variety of cardboard boxes which differ in shape and size, and all represent different social categorisations that have been placed upon Joann in her life so far. These boxes represent different stages of her life and show her growth and development through life.
The boxes offer moments of joy, passion and laughter but also offer moments of sadness and grief. As an audience we a thrust from moments of laughter to moments of tears as we experience Joann’s raw emotion and empathise and relate to the struggles of being a woman.
A poignant moment within the play was when Joann spoke about how Drama gave her hope during the grief of losing her father. The realisation of how Drama gave her freedom to be someone, anyone, but herself for a while was a feeling I resonated with and reminded me why I also fell in love with Drama.
Joann was spectacular in this piece, and you could clearly see the real emotion and passion that radiated across the stage. The staging, sound and lighting beautifully complemented the piece and provided moments of comic relief after emotional scenes. I particularly enjoyed the used of the song ‘Jump’ which encouraged audience participation and lifted the spirts of everyone in the room.
I left the theatre today conscious of the boxes I put myself into and how I may make my own ‘me’ box bigger. Great theatre makes us think and I am particularly grateful to Little Box for such an inspiring piece of theatre.
This is not a show to miss so please look out for it as it will be touring in Buxton from 11th July to 14th July!
Hit musical returns to Salford from Tuesday 2nd to Sunday 14th August 2022
The multi award-winning musical phenomenon SIX, written by Toby Marlow and Lucy Moss, returns to The Lowry, Salford, next month.
The new touring Queens include: Chlöe Hart (Catherine of Aragon), Jennifer Caldwell (Anne Boleyn), Casey Al-Shaqsy (Jane Seymour), Jessica Niles (Anna of Cleves), Jaina Brock-Patel (Katherine Howard) and Alana M Robinson (Catherine Parr). Grace Melville, Leesa Tulley and Natalie Pilkington (Dance Captain)will be joining the cast as Alternates, with Super Swing Harriet Caplan-Dean. The cast are backed by the show’s all-female band, The Ladies in Waiting.
SIX follows the six wives of Henry VIII as they take to the mic to tell their own personal tales, remixing five hundred years of historical heartbreak into an 80-minute celebration of 21st century girl power.
Since its early days as a student production in a 100-seat room at the 2017 Edinburgh Fringe Festival, the showhas fast become a global musical phenomenon. SIX currently has productions playing on Broadway at the Brooks Atkinson Theatre and on tour in Australia and New Zealand, with a major US tour coming soon. Meanwhile, back on home turf, the London production is now enjoying its third royal residence in the West End at the Vaudeville Theatre and the UK tour continues its nationwide sold-out reign, now booking through to 2023.
Winner of the 2022 Tony Award for ‘Best Original Score’ on Broadway, the 2022 Whatsonstage Award for ‘Best West End Show’ and the 2020 BBC Radio 2 Audience Award for ‘Best Musical’, SIX was also nominated for five Olivier awards, including ‘Best New Musical’.
Celebrating the global success of its songs with over 300 million streams and over 3 billion views on TikTok,the original studio album of SIX officially turned Gold in March 2022, marking over 100,000 sales in the UK.
Written by Toby Marlow and Lucy Moss, SIX is co-directed by Lucy Moss and Jamie Armitage, featuring choreography by Carrie-Anne Ingrouille. The design team includes Emma Bailey (Set Design), Gabriella Slade (Costume Design), Tim Deiling (Lighting Design) and Paul Gatehouse (Sound Design). The score features orchestrations by Tom Curran with music supervision and vocal arrangements by Joe Beighton. Musical Director Jennifer Deacon and UK Musical Supervisor Katy Richardson. Casting is by Pearson Casting. SIX is produced by Kenny Wax, Wendy & Andy Barnes and George Stiles.
UK Cast Announced As LIZARD BOY, The New Hit Indie Rock Musical Sensation From The US, Makes Stunning UK Debut at Hope Mill Theatre, Manchester And Gilded Balloon’s Patter Hoose at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe
The UK cast for the new indie rock musical has been announced ahead of its UK premiere at Hope Mill Theatre in Manchester from 14th – 27th July 2022. Equal parts comic book lore and coming-of-age love story, Lizard Boy is the thrilling original rock musical that’s been called “Ingenious” (San Francisco Chronicle), “Phenomenal” (San Jose Mercury News), “Ferocious & Funny”(Seattle Times).
During a bizarre childhood accident, Trevor was drenched head to toe in dragon’s blood. Growing green and scaly skin, he withdrew from the world. Tonight—twenty years later—Trevor’s first date with a cute guy transforms into adventure of mythic proportions.
The UK cast is Anthony Rickman as Trevor, Alan Cammish as Cary and Sophie Reid as Siren, who playing alternate nights alongside the original US cast of Justin Huertas, Kirsten “Kiki” DeLohr Helland and William A. Williams, the hit show will make its UK premiere at Hope Mill Theatre in Manchester from 14th – 27th July 2022.
Lizard Boy will then travel up to the Edinburgh Festival Fringe for a full run at the Big Yin, Gilded Balloon Patter Hoose from 5-28August 2022.
Lizard Boy author, composer and star Justin Huertas said: “Lizard Boy was conceived when the late, great Jerry Manning commissioned me to write a small, simple solo show for Seattle Rep. I had never written anything before, and Jerry made one request: play your cello. Many years later—inspired by my love of comic book superheroes, with the help of my best friends, and with Jerry’s spirit watching over us—Lizard Boy has grown into the unique, dynamic, indie-rock musical that it is today. At their core, superhero stories are about transformation, identity, and difference—so the genre was a natural fit for me as a theatremaker and as a person of colour. With Lizard Boy, I set out to create a piece that is authentic to who I am as both. I hope, with their empathy and imagination as a guide, audiences will embrace Lizard Boy and celebrate its message: what makes you different makes you powerful. “
Justin commented on the Manchester performances: “It’s always been my dream to bring Lizard Boy around the world. I can’t wait to bring some Seattle magic to Manchester! I’m so excited to learn even more about this show from a brand-new audience. After so many months making art in my room, I can’t wait to share this story live in such a creative city as Manchester.”
Justin commented on the Edinburgh Fringe run: “Lizard Boy at the Edinburgh Fringe is a moment I’ve been dreaming of since we premiered this musical seven years ago in Seattle. After so many months making art in my room, I can’t wait to join the Fringe in person and share this story in a place that celebrates the arts so expansively. And on the 75th Anniversary! This is a dream come true!”
This historic comedic Opera set in Persia, has everything, love, jealousy, misunderstandings, laughter, and a happy ending.
The Holland Park stage is perfect in its simplicity, the Persian court bought to life by an ensemble cast of skilful dancers and acrobats, there were moments when the background comedy almost distracted from the main characters.
The Opera opens with Cecelia Halls Serse rendition of Ombra mai fu, a tribute to a tree (the above mentioned ensemble being the tree Serse is singing to), her voice filling the stage and she is riveting to watch. James Laing’s Arsamene and Timothy Nelson as his manservant Elviro soon enter the stage providing a dose of comedic buffoonery. Arsamene is engaging and a little infuriating as Serse’s brother, is his fear of his brother greater or the love he has for Romilda?
Sarah Tynana’s Romilda sings entrancingly, no wonder Serse falls in love with her voice. Her song is incredibly beautifully sung and fills the stage almost hypnotically.
Anna Cavaliero plays Atlanta (her role is merged with Princess Amastre in the original opera), she is playfully flirtatious and mischievous, causing laughter and mayhem in her wake, trying in vain to win her sisters lover from her. And Timothy Nelson takes on both the roles of Elviro Arsamene’s faithful servant, and Ariodate Romilda’s father, with great comedic effect his flower seller is amusingly buffoonish.
The Opera is condensed into two hours with an interval, the venue Holland Park is beautifully atmospheric, and watching the show as twilight falls has a rather romantic effect, wrap up warm though, this is England after all!
This version of Handel’s Serse is beautifully directed by Frederick Waxman the instruments included two (that I could see) Theorbo’s, which I was delighted to have the opportunity to hear played so beautifully. The cast of the Opera are spectacular, anyone who wants a romantic evening which ends in a smile should definitely go see this performance of Serse
Cambridge Arts Theatre, Cambridge – until Saturday 2nd July 2022
Reviewed by Steph Lott
On an empty stage, a big red telephone is ringing. A writer of musicals answers it and is told that he has to write a brand new musical in 2 hours! He agrees but says that he needs the audience to help him do it – so the audience has to shout out suggestions of a setting, style of music and the title of the show. And then they’re off!
This is improv at its very best. It’s a glorious mix of some very skilled performers romping through a show that’s being created as they go. Every night is a premier. Our show was called “Death in Bali”, was set in a yoga retreat and featured “The Parrots of Prophesy”! If you love West End musicals you’ll enjoy this show because there are nods to some that will be very familiar to you, such as Les Mis, Phantom, Hamilton and so on.
Unfortunately I can’t give credit to any particular performer as there was no cast list, but they are all so impressive, I could mention every one of them. They all have a wild variety of acting, singing and dancing skills, whilst the musicians respond to the action on stage, as the actors adapt their movements and lyrics; all in near perfect tempo. They also enjoy dropping each other in it from time to time!
I would thoroughly recommend this show and the audience, both young and old, were in stitches most of the time. Who knows what will be created on the night you go…
It is 35 years since The Commitments first burst from the pages of Roddy Doyle’s best-selling novel. The world’s hardest working and most explosive soul band are set to return in an all new stage production, kicking off a huge nine month tour opening in Bromley in September. The show will then tour across the country before culminating in Brighton in July 2023.
This major UK and Ireland tour of the smash-hit musical will star Coronation Street legend Nigel Pivaro, who appeared in the hugely popular ITV soap between 1983 – 2012 as the lovable rogue Terry Duckworth. He will be swapping the cobbles for the stage and performing the role of ‘Da’ in this all-new production.
Nigel Pivaro says: “I am thrilled to be marking my return to the stage in this production of The Commitments. It’s an iconic story that resonates across the years, about people who though distant from the music’s origins find communion and expression in the Motown style. A musical genre which was borne out of oppression and which the characters embrace as their own. The Motown Sound is as vibrant today as it was when it first burst through in the Sixties.”
Roddy Doyle added: “I’m delighted that The Commitments are coming back in 2022 & 2023 and I’m particularly looking forward to seeing how Nigel Pivaro tackles the part of Jimmy Rabbitte’s Da.”
This new tour for 2022/23 is directed by Andrew Linnie. Andrew made his West End debut in the original production in 2013, playing the role of Dean, the band’s sax player. He then went on to star in the lead role of Jimmy Rabitte in the 2016/2017 UK tour.
Joining the cast as Deco is Olivier Award nominee Ian McIntosh.Ian is no stranger to this role, having previously played Alternate Deco during the original West End run. Previous credits include Galileo in the UK tour of We Will Rock You, Sid Worley in An Officer and a Gentleman and he was Olivier nominated for ‘Best Supporting Actor in a Musical’ for his role as Barry in Beautiful – The Carole King Musical. His extensive musical career has also seen him perform in Hair and Can’t Buy Me Love.
Other casting includes James Killeen as Jimmy, Stuart Reid as Joey, Ciara Mackey as Imelda, Michael Mahony as Oustpan, Ryan Kelly as Billy, Conor Litten as Dean, Guy Freeman as Derek, Stephen O’Riain as James, Ronnie Yorke as Mickah, Eve Kitchingman as Natalie, and Sarah Gardiner as Bernie. Maryann Lynch, Alice Croft, James Deegan, Callum Martin, Joshua Barton, Ed Thorpe and Colm Gleeson make up the ensemble.
In 2013 The Commitments musical opened in London’s West End to universal critical acclaim and enjoyed a record-breaking two-year residency at the Palace Theatre. After which, it hit the road for a major tour, invigorating audiences up and down the country throughout 2016 and 2017.
The rescheduled nine-month tour will see the show perform in front of fans all over the UK & Ireland, opening in Bromley in September and then playing Portsmouth, Wolverhampton, Sheffield, Milton Keynes, Hull, York, Bradford, Aberdeen, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Wimbledon, Truro, Plymouth, Aylesbury, Dublin, Belfast, Ipswich, Bournemouth, Dartford, Bristol, Southampton, Nottingham, Northampton, Liverpool, Birmingham, Blackpool, Darlington, Peterborough, Cardiff, Llandudno, Manchester, Reading and Newcastle before culminating in Brighton in July 2023.
The Commitments musical has been adapted from the novel by Booker prize-winning author Roddy Doyle. Featuring an electric playlist, The Commitments showcases more than 20 soul classics performed live on stage, including Night Train, Try A Little Tenderness, River Deep, Mountain High, In The Midnight Hour, Papa Was A Rolling Stone, Save Me, Mustang Sally, I Heard It Through The Grapevine, Thin Line Between Love and Hate, Reach Out, Uptight, Knock On Wood, I Can’t Turn You Loose and many more!
The Commitments tells the story of Jimmy Rabbitte, a young working-class music fan, who transforms an unlikely bunch of amateur musicians into an amazing live act, which becomes the finest soul band Dublin has ever produced. Placing a classified advert in a music paper, Jimmy auditions a number of wannabes before finalising the members of his new band, which he names ‘The Commitments’.
Humour kicks in as the band get to know each other and their instruments, grappling with inter-group differences as they muddle their way through early rehearsals for the band’s first gig. Just as they improve and begin to get a name for themselves, they combust. The backing singers are more interested in the middle-aged horn playing legend, the singer has entered Eurovision, the drummer has walked out mid-gig and the saxophone player has dangerous leanings towards a jazz career.
The Commitments is a guaranteed “fabulously-fun night” (Daily Mail) that you will simply never forget.
“The Commitments is the musical we’ve been waiting for.
So good, our critic almost weeps”
The Sunday Times ★★★★★
“This hugely enjoyable show touches the sublime. Wonderfully funny”