CROUCH, TOUCH, PAUSE, ENGAGE COMES TO ARCOLA THEATRE

9c2e084f412cd3e2_800x800arPLAY ABOUT GAY WELSH RUGBY LEGEND GARETH THOMAS LOOKS AT THE MAN AND THE TOWN THAT MADE HIM – BRIDGEND

Crouch, Touch, Pause, Engage – the critically-acclaimed play about Gareth Thomas, the first professional rugby player to come out while still playing – comes to Arcola Theatre this spring (20 May – 20 June 2015) following its current tour. Directed by Max Stafford-Clark, and written by Robin Soans, the play is a co-production by Out of Joint, National Theatre Wales and Arcola Theatre.

A cast of six play all the characters, and each plays Gareth himself at different stages in his story. Full cast: Rhys ap William, Patrick Brennan, Katie Elin-Salt, Daniel Hawksford, Lauren Roberts and Bethan Witcomb.

“I was doing something nobody had done before, and if you’re the first to do something, you have to be prepared to take the sh*t for it.”

On the eve of one of the most important games of his career, Welsh rugby legend Gareth Thomas received a warning: The Sun newspaper was going to “out” him as gay.

This is the story of two Welsh names bruised, but not beaten, by media speculation; Gareth “Alfie” Thomas, 100 caps for Wales, once its captain, now the world’s most prominent gay sportsman; and his hometown, Bridgend.

Working with Alfie himself, and young people in Bridgend, two of the UK’s most exciting theatre companies – Out of Joint and National Theatre Wales – have teamed up to tell a great story about sport, politics, secrets, life and learning to be yourself.

Writer Robin Soans is celebrated for his documentary verbatim plays based on interviews with real people, including Out of Joint’s acclaimed shows Mixed Up North, A State Affair and Talking to Terrorists which was nominated Best Play at the TMA awards and has had subsequent productions overseas including in Tehran. Others include Life After Scandal about Christine and Neil Hamilton, andThe Arab-Israeli Cookbook, which also spawned a book of recipes. His most recent play was the fictional drama Perseverance Drive, which played to great praise at the Bush Theatre in 2014.

Director Max Stafford-Clark co-founded Joint Stock Theatre Group in 1974 following his Artistic Directorship of The Traverse Theatre, Edinburgh. From 1979 to 1993, he was Artistic Director of The Royal Court Theatre, after which he founded Out of Joint. His work as a director has overwhelmingly been with new writing, and he has commissioned and directed first productions from writers including Sue Townsend, Stephen Jeffreys, Timberlake Wertenbaker, Sebastian Barry, April de Angelis, Mark Ravenhill, Andrea Dunbar, Alistair Beaton, David Hare and Caryl Churchill. Additionally he has directed for the RSC, Sydney Theatre Company, New York’s Roundabout Theater and most recently The Seagullfor Culture Project, New York. His books are Letters to George, Taking Stock and Journal of the Plague Year.

The show forms part of a season of work about the state of the British media at Arcola Theatre.

Listings Information

Out of Joint, National Theatre Wales & Arcola Theatre with Sherman Cymru present
CROUCH, TOUCH, PAUSE, ENGAGE
Written by Robin Soans
Directed by Max Stafford-Clark

20 May – 20 June 2015
Arcola Theatre, London

Box Office: www.arcolatheatre.com
By phone: 020 7503 1646
24 Ashwin Street, London E8 3DL

Monday – Saturday evenings at 7:30pm
£19 / £15 concessions
Saturday matinees at 3:00pm
30 May, 6 June – £17 / £14 concessions
13 June, 20 June – £19 / £15 concessions
Opening performances (20-23 May) – All tickets £12
Pay What You Can Tuesdays (tickets in person from 6pm – limited and subject to availability)
Tickets are £10 or less with Arcola Passport

Please note: the play includes swearing and sensitive material

Award-Winning Mica Paris to star in Love Me Tender tour

AWARD WINNING SINGER AND PLATINUM SELLING ARTIST

MICA PARIS

TO STAR AS ‘SYLVIA’ IN THE UK AND IRELAND TOUR OF

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PRODUCED BY ADAM SPIEGEL PRODUCTIONS, ROBERT G. BARTNER

AND THE AMBASSADOR THEATRE GROUP

 

OPENING ON FRIDAY 5 JUNE 2015

AT THE MANCHESTER OPERA HOUSE

Adam Spiegel Productions, Robert G. Bartner and the Ambassador Theatre Group are delighted to announce that award-winning singer and platinum selling artist MICA PARIS will star as ‘Sylvia’ in the UK and Ireland tour of “LOVE ME TENDER – the new musical inspired by and featuring the music of Elvis Presley. The tour will open on Friday 5 June 2015 at the Manchester Opera House. Full casting to be announced shortly. Full tour schedule below. www.LoveMeTenderMusical.com

Producer Adam Spiegel said: “I’m a huge fan of Mica Paris and as soon as I heard her audition I knew she was perfect for the role of Sylvia. Her incredible, powerful voice and presence does true justice to the greatest hits of the one and only King of Rock and Roll, Elvis Presley”.

Mica Paris is one of the UK’s most respected female singers with a career of Top 10 hit singles and albums worldwide. The range, power and beauty of Mica Paris’ singing made an immediate impact on the UK music scene in 1988 when she released her debut, platinum-selling album, ‘So Good’ from which she had her first top ten hit, ‘My One Temptation’. More worldwide hit albums and singles followed including ‘Black Angel’, ‘Stay’ and ‘Carefree’.

 

An incredible live performer worldwide, Mica has collaborated with, and been a special guest for many respected artists including Prince, Michael Bolton, Dionne Warwick, Paul Rodgers, David Gilmour and Jools Holland.

 

Mica has also turned her talents to the stage, appearing in the West End productions of ‘Mama I Want To Sing’, ‘The Vagina Monologues’ and ‘Sweet Lorraine’ as well as a sell-out residency at Ronnie Scott’s Club. Her TV credits including being a regular host on BBC1’s ‘What Not to Wear’ and an expert judge on ‘Gok Wan’s Miss Naked Beauty’ for Channel 4. Mica has also presented the Radio 2 programme ‘Soul Solutions’. Enjoyed by over a million listeners it one of the most successful soul and R&B shows in the UK.

 

From the producers of Hairspray, Jersey Boys and West Side Story “LOVE ME TENDER” is a hilarious feel-good musical featuring Elvis Presley’s greatest hits. In a small town in 1950s America, a guitar-playing, hip-swivelling stranger rides his motorbike into town. Is he The Devil in Disguise or a Hound Dog in hisBlue Suede Shoes? The townsfolk are about to be All Shook Up and could be headed for Heartbreak Hotel, but for Natalie, the love-struck, tomboy mechanic, it really is Now or Never.

Packed with 25 of the best loved songs by The King himself, “LOVE ME TENDER”, by the writer of the award-wining West End and Broadway smash hit Memphis, is a funny and moving tale of hope, second chances and the healing qualities of Rock ‘n’ Roll.

LOVE ME TENDER” is Written by Tony Award Winner Joe DiPietro (Memphis) and Directed and Choreographed by Olivier Award Winner Karen Bruce (Saturday Night Fever, Dance ’Til Dawn, Pacific Overtures) with Set Design by award nominated Morgan Large (Flashdance, Cat On A Hot Tin Roof), Lighting Design by James Whiteside (Never Forget, Footloose) Costume Design by Vicky Gill (Dance ‘Til Dawn, Strictly Come Dancing) and Casting by James Orange (The Producers, Sweeney Todd).

THE KING’S SPEECH AT LEEDS GRAND THEATRE

JASON DONOVAN & RAY COULTHARD IN

 

THE KING’S SPEECH AT LEEDS GRAND THEATRE

 

THE ORIGINAL PLAY THAT INSPIRED THE OSCAR-WINNING MOVIE

 

Jason Donovan is set to take to the stage in Leeds next month with The King’s Speech – the original play that inspired the Oscar-winning successful film.  Raymond Coulthard will play King George VI and Jason Donovan the Australian speech therapist Lionel Logue.

 

Telling the iconic story of King George VI’s relationship with his speech therapist, the play comes to Leeds Grand Theatre from Tuesday 26th to Saturday 30th May.

As the world stands on the brink of war, King Edward VIII sparks controversy with his love for married socialite, Wallis Simpson. As Edward’s position become increasingly untenable, his brother Bertie, who has previously shied away from the public eye because of a terrible stammer, is thrust in to the spotlight as his likely successor.

With the support of his wife Elizabeth (the much-loved future Queen Mother), Bertie meets maverick speech therapist and failed actor, Lionel Logue, at an office in Harley Street. Together they embark on an unlikely journey to prepare Bertie to lead his country as King George VI.

 

The King’s Speech is the true and heart-warming story of one man’s struggle to overcome his personal affliction and, in his country’s darkest hour, deliver the now iconic speech broadcast across the globe to inspire his people.

 

One of the most successful British films of all time, The King’s Speech won four Academy Awards, including Best Picture, Best Actor and Best Director, as well as seven BAFTAs, including Best Film.

The play also stars Nicholas Blane, Jamie Hinde, Felicity Houlbrooke, Claire Lams, Katy Stephens and Martin Turner.

The King’s Speech is at Leeds Grand Theatre from Tuesday 26th to Saturday 30th May.

 

Tickets are on sale now priced from £18.50 to £34.

 

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

 

MINISTRY OF SCIENCE

Interview with Mike Goble, Presenter of Ministry of Science Live.

??????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????Ladies and Gentlemen, boys and girls, please keep your head firmly on your shoulders and your arms and legs inside the ride at all times – Ministry of Science Live explodes onto a stage near you soon!

This is not your ordinary science show – it comes jam packed with fun, laughter and plenty of amazing science and history which includes a fully operational hovercraft, massive cannons with lots of bangs, a push bike that makes the best smoothie ever and look out for Darth Vader playing with plasma! Investigating the inventors and engineers who have shaped the modern world we live in, the audience experience everything from liquid nitrogen flowers to hydrogen bottle rockets, Buzz Aldrin to Virgin Galactic, cat food tins to hovercraft and methane to the invention of the battery. Expect loud explosions and more!

Ministry of Science Live is a fully engaging interactive experience that explores energy and engineering using brilliantly designed demonstrations and historical references as a narrative. Combining stimulating live entertainment with the world of education the show’s primary aim is to inspire and educate young people through the medium of live theatre.

We spoke to the show’s presenter, Mike Goble, to find out more.

In your own words, tell us about the stage show.

Ministry of Science Live is a show that is very exciting to be a part of, having launched in Northern Ireland to a staggering 7,500 people across a week at the CultureTech festival, we’ve just returned from touring the UAE and now we’re embarking on our first UK Theatre tour. I love being part of live theatre – especially when it’s something the whole family can enjoy. One aim of the show is to prove that science is actually fun and to hopefully inspire, not only the kids, but the grown-ups as well to enjoy exploring and learning about the world around us. Maybe one day someone in our audience will be the next great inventor or make a huge scientific discovery….

What can people expect?

I guess people can expect to go away from the show hopefully both entertained and having learnt something new. It’s fun and entertaining with a few loud bangs thrown in for good measure!

Is it really educational as well as fun?

Yes. The starting point of everything in the show is always the science. Then we find a way of presenting it that’s clear, engaging and enjoyable. I present the show with a girl called Emma Blackwell and we have a lot of fun working together and hopefully that comes across to the audience as well.

Is it dangerous in any way for the presenters?

The show is live science and uses a number of gases such as our demonstration that explains the fire triangle which includes igniting hydrogen and oxygen balloons, which when ignited makes a rather large bang right in front of you on the stage. A lot of the elements of the show are dangerous if not handled correctly and by professionals. All the cast and crew are experienced in handling chemicals and gases and have been trained by both scientists and health & safety personnel in order to be able to deliver the show safely to audiences. However, none of the demonstrations on Ministry of Science Live should be recreated at home or school.

How did Ministry of Science come about?

Mark Thompson, the shows writer and director has been involved in family shows for over 13 years working with some of the biggest brands that perform in the UK and around the world. Mark is incredibly passionate about science communication having written the touring productions of Brainiac Live, which recently made it’s west end debut, Science Museum Live!, Guinness World Records Officially Amazing Science Live and BBC Hidden World Live previously. Ministry of Science is his own brand combining the best of education with entertainment. He’s incredibly passionate about science and seriously wants to inspire youngsters about science and engineering – in a fun way.

What age group would be most interested in the show?.

The show works around the curriculum of 6-12 year olds as we want inspire children at a young age to be enthused by Science. However, the style of the show is slick, fun, and full of action so it gets good feedback from the adults as it brings out the big kid in them.

Can the audience get involved?

Audience participation is used throughout the show and some people get to join us up on stage to get a bit closer to the action doing everything from piloting a hovercraft to making a smoothie using a pedal power bike that powers a blender.

What is your favourite part of the show?

Tough question. I have always performed in family friendly shows but this one allows me to play with some very cool gases – so it’s that part of Ministry of Science I enjoy!

If you were not involved with the show, why would you want to come see it?

Well, its jam backed with explosions, chemicals, science, history, engineering and all round a lot of fun. I like seeing live entertainment and this is a show that the younger members of my family would love but also Grandad could come along too and thoroughly enjoy it. I’d come and see it because it would be a fun family trip and just maybe you might discover something about the world we live in that you didn’t know before…

Ministry of Science Live! is at Darlington Civic Theatre on Saturday 6 June. Tickets* are £14.50 for adults and £12.50 for children

To book contact the Box Office on 01325 486 555 or visit www.darlingtoncivic.co.uk

*Includes a £1 restoration levy

AUTUMN 2015 SEASON AT THE BUSH THEATRE

  • BushTheatre076 ‘THE INVISIBLE’ BY REBECCA LENKIEWICZ (WORLD PREMIERE)
    NEW PLAY EXAMINING HUMAN IMPACT OF CUTS TO THE LEGAL AID SYSTEM
  • ‘F*CK THE POLAR BEARS’ BY TANYA RONDER (WORLD PREMIERE)
    SURREAL FAMILY DRAMA ABOUT THE POWER OF THE INDIVIDUAL TO AFFECT CHANGES TO OUR PLANET
  • ‘FORGET ME NOT’ BY TOM HOLLOWAY (EUROPEAN PREMIERE)
    NEW PLAY ABOUT THE TRANSPORT OF BRITISH ORPHANS TO AUSTRALIA IN THE 1940s, 50s AND 60s
  • RADAR
    RETURN OF THE BUSH’S NEW WRITING FESTIVAL

The world premiere of F*CK THE POLAR BEARS by Tanya Ronder, and the European premiere of FORGET ME NOT by Tom Holloway will follow the previously announced play THE INVISIBLE by Rebecca Lenkiewicz in the Bush Theatre’s autumn season. The Bush’s acclaimed new writing festival RADAR will also return in November.

First announced in 2014, THE INVISIBLE (3 July – 15 August 2015) is a new play by Rebecca Lenkiewicz about the current government’s reforms to the provision of legal aid. Following cuts totalling £350m, many ordinary people will find their access to justice restricted as their entitlement to free legal aid is withdrawn. Based on interviews with real people at all levels of the British justice system, this play aims to tell the stories of those ordinary people affected by the reforms and to examine how these cuts are driving deeper cracks into the fabric of our society.

Commissioned by the Bush Theatre, F*CK THE POLAR BEARS (11 September – 24 October 2015) by Tanya Ronder is a funny and surreal new family drama about the power of the individual in a world obscured by politics. Gordon has worked hard to get where he is. He’s on the verge of a massive promotion at one of the Big Six energy companies. His wife Serena has worked hard too, and now dreams of a bigger house, a slimmer body, a happier life. But behind their perfect front door, light bulbs are blowing, the drains keep blocking, and a phone inexplicably refuses to charge. As Gordon chases the spectres behind these mysterious events, he spirals out of control and the family are forced to ask whether the life they desire is worth its cost.

FORGET ME NOT (8 December 2015 – 16 January 2016) by Tom Holloway is a co-production between the Bush Theatre and HighTide Festival Theatre. Under an agreement between the British and Australian Governments, between 1945 and 1968, over three thousand British children were told they were orphans and sent to Australia on a promise of warmth, fresh air, abundant food and boundless opportunity. Instead they arrived to deprived institutions where neglect and abuse were the norm. Tom Holloway’s tender new play unearths a secret buried by time that, in turn, exposes a world of historical injustices currently in the limelight. This European premiere reunites the Bush with HighTide Festival Theatre (Incognito by Nick Payne, 2014) and is directed by HighTide’s Artistic Director, Steven Atkinson.

RADAR (November 2015) is the Bush Theatre’s annual festival of new writing, now in its fourth year. Since its inception in 2011 the festival has showcased electrifying new work from Bryony Kimmings, Caroline Horton and Inua Ellams, and has premiered shows including Kieran Hurley’s Beats, Luke Barnes’ Chapel Street and Michaela Coel’s award-winning Chewing Gum Dreams. Last year’s festival also included Simon McBurney in a one-off performance of White Rabbit Red Rabbit. RADAR is hand-picked and curated by the Bush Theatre’s creative team. Full line-up and ticket information to be announced.

The Bush Theatre’s 2015 season has already seen The Royale, directed by Artistic Director Madani Younis, sell out to public and critical acclaim, while Caroline Horton’s Islands split opinion like few other shows in the Bush’s recent history. James Graham’s political thriller The Angry Brigade is the next show in the main house, opening on 6 May – the day before the General Election.

July 2015 will see the Bush Theatre join with Shubbak, London’s festival of contemporary Arab culture, to present Nahda by Sevan K. Greene, produced by Sandpit Arts (15  – 18 July 2015). A collection of four new plays, Nahda examines what it means to be Arab across four strata: familial, political, economical, and social. Initiated by the Mayor of London in 2011, the third edition of Shubbak Festival of Contemporary Arab culture returns to London from 11 to 25 July 2015 and takes place across many of the capital’s leading cultural institutions, including the Bush Theatre.

 

LISTINGS

30 April – 13 June 2015
THE ANGRY BRIGADE
By James Graham
Directed by James Grieve

Press night 6 May, 7pm

Designed by Lucy Osborne

Mon to Sat at 7.30pm
2.30pm Saturday matinees (from 9 May)
2.30pm Wednesday matinees (from 13 May)

BushGreen Live Debate: Is anarchism a useful political ideology?
27 May, 6pm

Captioned performance 29 May, 7.30pm
Audio described performance 6 June, 2.30pm

3 July – 15 August 2015
THE INVISIBLE
By Rebecca Lenkiewicz

Press night 8 July, 7pm

Mon to Sat at 7.30pm
2.30pm Saturday matinees (from 11 July)
2.30pm Wednesday matinees (from 15 July)

BushGreen Live Debate: In an age of austerity, why defend legal aid?
22 July, post-show

Captioned performance 24 July, 7.30pm
Audio described performance 1 August, 2.30pm

15 – 18 July 2015
NAHDA
By Sevan K. Greene

Wed to Sat at 7.00pm
Wed and Sat, 2.00pm

11 September – 24 October
F*CK THE POLAR BEARS
By Tanya Ronder

Press night 16 September, 7pm

Mon to Sat at 7.30pm
2.30pm Saturday matinees (from 19 September)
2.30pm Wednesday matinees (from 23 September)

BushGreen Live Debate: Can the world economy survive without fossil fuels?
30 September, time tbc

Captioned performance 9 October, 7.30pm
Audio described performance 3 October, 2:30pm

08 December 2015 – 16 January 2016
FORGET ME NOT
By Tom Holloway

Press night 11 December, 7pm

Mon to Sat at 7.30pm
2.30pm Saturday matinees (from 19 December)
2.30pm Wednesday matinees (from 16 December)

Christmas performance schedule: tbc

BushGreen Live Debate: At a time of public inquiries into historic abuse, how do we maintain public trust in our institutions?
11 January, time tbc

Captioned performance 15 January, 7:30pm
Audio described performance 9 January, 2:30pm

Ticket prices:

Evenings: £20

  • £12.50 concessions (registered unemployed and disabled)
  • £15.50 for Senior Citizens
  • £12.50 for students/under 26s
  • 10% off for Bush Local members

Previews: £15.50

  • £10.50 concessions (registered unemployed and disabled)
  • £12.50 for Senior Citizens
  • £10.50 for students/under 26s
  • £12.50 for Bush Local members


Matinees: £15

  • £10.00 concessions (registered unemployed and disabled)
  • £10.00 for students/under 26s
  • £10.00 for Senior Citizens
  • 10% off for Bush Local members

Nahda

All tickets £12

Season Offers*

Season 3 for 2
See 3 shows for the price of 2. Valid for top price tickets only, shows must be purchased at the same time. Not valid for previews, matinees or RADAR.

Live or work locally – Join our free local membership scheme Bush Local for £12.50 preview tickets, 10% off all other performances and a 10% discount at the Cafe Bar. For more information and to become a member, visit bushtheatre.co.uk

Educational Groups – Schools tickets are £10 (matinees) and £12.50 (evenings), plus one teacher goes free with every 10 pupils. To reserve tickets, please call the Box Office between 12 – 8pm.

Bush Connect scheme – A free membership scheme for students and under 26s, BUSH CONNECT offers its members £10-£12.50 tickets for all Bush Theatre productions, a 10% discount at the Cafe Bar, special offers, giveaways and competitions, and exclusive events and networking opportunities.

Group Bookings – Book for a group of 11 or more people and the 11th person will go for free.

*Terms and conditions apply, see the Bush website for further information.

 

TOM CONTI FRONTS STELLAR CAST AS HIT WEST END DRAMA HEADS NORTH

The gripping courtroom drama that’s captivated the West End – Twelve Angry Men is set to visit Newcastle Theatre Royal this summer starring Tom Conti.  Take your seat courtside as battle commences 15 – 20 June 2015.    

 

Pamela Raith Photography_12AM_060Lauded as one of the great ‘must-see’ movies of all time, Reginald Rose’s Twelve Angry Men originated as a television play and has been successfully adapted for film, radio and stage. The 1957 three-time academy award nominated film version starred andwas produced by Henry Fonda.

 

The story follows twelve jurors who have murder on their minds and a life in their hands as they decide the fate of a young delinquent accused of killing his father. But what appears to be an open and shut case soon becomes a dilemma for the twelve, as their prejudices and preconceived ideas about the accused, the trial and each other turn the tables every which way, until the nail-biting climax…

 

The production proved a huge hit in London where it had a record-breaking run playing to sold out houses and receiving multiple five-star reviews, being hailed as the ‘classiest, most intelligent drama in the West End’ (Daily Express).

 

Tom ContiOlivier Award winner, Tony Award winner and Oscar nominee Tom Conti returns as Juror Number 8, the role made famous by Henry Fonda. Tom is one of the most respected and celebrated actors of his generation – unforgettable as the leading man in hit films such as Merry Christmas Mr Lawrence and Shirley Valentine. Tom and Dame Judi Dench were recently voted the most popular actors in the West End in the last 25 years.

Tom will be joined by six of the original West End cast – Robert Duncan, best known for his role as the as jargon-spouting chief executive Gus Hedges in Drop The Dead Donkey; Andrew Frame, who starred as P.C Hargreaves in Eastenders; David Calvitto, whose many theatre credits include These Shining Lives and The Odd Couple; Mark Carter, whose TV credits include Hollyoaks, Utopia and The Knock and Sean Power, who starred in ITV’s Secret Diary Of A Call Girl and Fright Night 2. Jon Carver, who has had a recurring role in Doctors, returns to play the guard. Taking a seat for the tour will be new jury member Andrew Lancel, best known for playing the villainous businessman Frank Foster in Coronation Street.

 

Forming the rest of the jury will be Denis Lill, who starred in The Royal and Only Fools And Horses, Paul Beech, whose theatre credits include King Lear and A Tale of Two Cities, Alexander Forsyth, who has starred in stage productions of Porcelain and It Never Ends, Edward Halsted, who starred in Holby City and Jonathan Creek, and Gareth David-Lloyd, who is best known for his role as Ianto Jones in the Doctor Who spin-off Torchwood.

 

This production is directed by Christopher Haydon, artistic director of the Gate Theatre, Notting Hill.

 

Twelve Angry Men is at Newcastle Theatre Royal Mon 15 – Sat 20 June 2015. Tickets are available from £14.50 (save 50p per ticket by booking online) and can be purchased from the Theatre Royal Box Office on 08448 11 21 21 or select your own seat and book online at www.theatreroyal.co.uk

 

 

VIDEO RELEASE: BEHIND-THE-SCENES INTERVIEW WITH DAMIAN LEWIS, JOHN GOODMAN, TOM STURRIDGE AND DANIEL EVANS DISCUSSING AMERICAN BUFFALO

Barnum Review

Barnum – The Grand, Leeds

Posted by: The Reviews Hub – Yorkshire & North East 

https://www.thereviewshub.com/barnum-the-grand-leeds/

16/04/2015 

Book: Mark Bramble

Music: Cy Coleman

Lyrics: Michael Stewart

4*

Mr. Phineas T Barnum has pitched up in Leeds, and now you should follow the band to the Grand to see the “greatest Show on Earth”

Brian Conley plays the title rôle of Barnum – American Showman extraordinaire. Showing off his “miracles” and acts with a hint of “humbug”, his motto is that there’s a sucker born every minute. Conley more than earns the applause that welcomes him on stage, and is perfectly cast in the rôle – acting, singing, performing magic tricks and even circus skills, including walking the tightrope.

The show introduces P.T Barnum just before he sets up his famous American Museum in New York in 1841, leading through his time in office right up to the time he meets Mr. Bailey (John Stacey) when they open their world famous circus. While Barnum introduces his most famous attractions (including a 160-year-old lady and a 25-inch man, who have great song and dance routines of their own), a ringmaster introduces the main action. This includes the dramatic unveiling of Mrs. Barnum, “the female of the species”, about to meet her husband having been kept waiting for an hour and 14 minutes … the sparky, loving wife, Chairy (Linzi Hateley) who has a few tricks of her own, including a double headed coin.

While maybe short on memorable songs, the show has some great scenes, especially those with elements of comedy. Landi Oshinowo is excellent as the 160 year old nurse of George Washington and Mikey Jay-Heath as Tom Thumb. Mention must as well go to the act with class, Jenny Lind (Kimberly Blake). The show boasts an impressive set designed by Scott Pask, great lighting designed by Paule Constable, as well as magical effects and imaginative choreography from Andrew Wright. Paul Wills’ colourful Victorian circus costumes and Linda McKnight’s wonderful wigs all add to the wonderful atmosphere and vibe of the production. Added to that, the orchestra who are elevated above the stage rather than down in the pit, really enhances the visual element to this production. Even The Grand itself is transformed with lighting to resemble the interior of the big top and before the show starts, the audience are treated to some breath-taking and hilarious performances from the versatile cast.

Cameron Mackintosh’s touring production, which was developed from the hit Chichester Festival Theatre 2013 production, is a spectacular show. It’s a gentle love story with a mix of never giving up and triumphing over adversity. By the end of the show, however, it does not really matter whether you are there for the music, the aerial work, circus tricks or the storyline; ultimately, this show oozes class and it is clear that no expense has been spared in the staging. Barnum is a fabulous show, and ideal for all the family.

BRIAN CONLEY TO STAR AT LEEDS GRAND THEATRE IN BARNUM

One of the UK’s most versatile actors and performers, Brian Conley, continues his successful musical theatre career with Cameron Macintosh’s production of Barnum at Leeds Grand Theatre this week.

The musical follows the life and dreams of America’s Greatest Showman, Phineas T Barnum – a man renowned for his shameless peddling and promotional activity and credited with saying ‘every crowd has a silver lining’.

Aged 25 Barnum paid $1,000 to obtain the services of Joice Heth – a woman who claimed to be 161 years old and the nurse of George Washington; Barnum exhibited her in New York and New England earning himself about $1,500 a week. He went on to display a mermaid, Jumbo the elephant and the famous General Tom Thumb.

Barnum’s warmth and the excitement of his imagination were a force to be reckoned with and throughout his life he continued to draw in the crowds before teaming up with James A Bailey to create the ‘Barnum & Bailey Greatest Show on Earth’.

With a host of circus performers welcoming audiences into the auditorium – expect balancing acts on theatre seats and people leaping through hoops – stunning costumes, great songs and plenty of laughs from Brian Conley as the eponymous showman, Barnum is a joy for people of all ages.

Barnum is at Leeds Grand Theatre from Tuesday 14th to Saturday 25th April.

Tickets are on sale now priced from £21.50 to £48.50.

Book online at leedsgrandtheatre.com or call box office on 0844 848 27 00.

Joining Brian Conley as ‘PT Barnum’ and Linzi Hateley as ‘Chairy’ are: Kimberly Blake as ‘Jenny Lind’; Mikey Jay-Heath as ‘Tom Thumb’; Landi Oshinowo as ‘Joice Heth’ and John Stacey as ‘Ringmaster’/ ‘Bailey’. They are joined by: Georgie Ashford; Greg Bernstein; David Birch; Nick Butcher; Alison Connell; Stefan Dermendjiev; Silvia Dopazo; Chris Gage; Joanna Goodwin; Pascal Haering; Rebecca Hawkins; Erin Jameson; Courtney-Mae Briggs; Jen Robinson; Louis Stockil; Lucy Thatcher and Edward Wade.

WEST END STAR NADIM NAAMAN TAKES ON THE CHALLENGE OF THE VIRGIN MONEY LONDON MARATHON

RAISING VITAL FUNDS FOR THE MAKE A DIFFERENCE TRUST

AND BECOMING THE CHARITY’S FIRST EVER OFFICIAL RUNNER

ON SUNDAY 26 APRIL 2015

Nadim NaamanBy night, West End star Nadim Naaman inhabits the dark world of Sweeney Todd’s London but each day before the show he dons his trainers to fulfil his final training preparation for this year’s Virgin Money London Marathon, so he will be ready for the challenge of the 26-mile course on Sunday 26 April 2015.

Nadim’s marathon place is extra-special as he is The Make A Difference Trust’s first ever “official” runner (charities are allocated fundraising places). Originally founded as West End Cares in 1990 and later becoming Theatrecares, The Make A Difference Trust (MAD Trust) raises funds for HIV and AIDS Projects that raise awareness and provide care, support and education in the UK and Sub-Saharan Africa.

A Londoner born and bred, 29-year old Nadim currently lives in Southfields, and studied Drama at The University of Warwick before training professionally in Musical Theatre at The Royal Academy of Music. Currently starring as Anthony in Sweeney Todd (West End pop-up transfer of the Tooting Arts Club production), his numerous West End credits include One Man, Two Guvnors and The Phantom of The Opera.

Nadim said: “The Make A Difference Trust has spent many years persuading the bigwigs to allocate them a charity place. This year they have finally been successful! I am honoured to run this race for the Trust. The idea of being the sole representative of such a worthy cause in a sea of 40,000 runners, many of whom are in teams of hundreds for bigger charities, is daunting but I know that I will feel hugely proud. What’s more, MAD Trust is the charity at the heart of my profession as a London-based actor. The hard part? Making this single place count. We need to make such a statement that next year MAD Trust is offered 5 places, and eventually, 50. MAD Trust has developed a wonderful reputation for raising funds via top-quality cabarets, concerts and shows, but this is an opportunity to go back to basics – to make the charity and the cause the star – and to take the charity to those who currently don’t know it exists. With your help, we can do this, and more excellent work can be done to help the lives of many who struggle every day because of HIV and AIDS, and many other long-term illnesses.

Support Nadim’s fundraising by making a donation here – every pound makes a huge difference to the work of The MAD Trust: virginmoneygiving.com/nadimnaaman

Keep up with Nadim’s marathon preparation stories through his Blog:  nadimmarathon.blogspot.co.uk and offer words of encouragement on Twitter @nadimnaaman

For more information about The Make A Difference Trust visit: www.madtrust.org.uk