Hull-born Liam Mower returns home as Matthew Bourne’s New Adventures make city debut

Matthew Bourne’s Swan Lake Glides into Hull

New Adventures Set For City Debut

Thrilling, audacious, witty and emotive; Matthew Bourne’s Swan Lake is coming to Hull in 2019 as part of a nationwide tour.

The show will tour for 32 weeks to 22 venues throughout the UK including Hull New Theatre, before embarking on a number of international tour dates.

New Adventures’ star Will Bozier, currently dancing to great acclaim as ‘Harry, the Pilot’, in Matthew Bourne’s Cinderella and former English National Ballet star Max Westwell, who was also recently seen in the West End in An American in Paris, are both making their debuts in the role of ‘The Swan’.

While returning to the role of ‘The Prince’, are hull-born dancer Liam Mower* (currently wowing audiences as ‘The Angel’ in Cinderella) and Dominic North (acclaimed star of Edward Scissorhands, The Car Man, Sleeping Beauty, The Red Shoes and currently Cinderella). They are joined by New Adventures’ newcomer, James Lovell who is making his professional debut.

‘The Queen’ will be performed by two New Adventures’ favourites, Nicole Kabera and Katrina Lyndon both making their debuts in this role, while Katrina Lyndon also takes on the role of ‘The Girlfriend’ alongside Freya Field and Carrie Willis who are both returning to the Swan Lake Company.

The company also includes a number of dancers making their New Adventures’ debut including; Nicole Alphonce, Leigh Alderson, Andrew Ashton, Jonathan Luke Baker, Benjamin Bazeley, Alistair Beattie, Lewis Bondu, Isaac Bowry, Megan Cameron, João Castro, Zanna Cornelis, Kayla Collymore, Keenan Fletcher, Alex Fadayiro, Michaela Guibarra, Bryony Harrison, Nicholas Keegan, Shoko Ito, Courtney Liu, Jack Mitchell, Harry Ondrak-Wright, Barnaby Quarendon, Jack William Parry, Sam Salter, Stan West and Milwhynne Williams.

Matthew Bourne said “With the largest cast in our repertory, Swan Lake always gives us the opportunity to bring a wealth of new talent into the Company and I’m excited to welcome so many new dancers into the New Adventures family.”

Matthew Bourne’s Swan Lake returns with a fresh look for the 21st Century. Retaining the iconic elements of the original production loved by millions around the world, Matthew Bourne and his Associate Artists, award-winning designers Lez Brotherston (Set and Costumes) and Paule Constable (Lighting) will create an exciting re-imagining of the classic production.

Collecting over 30 international accolades including an Olivier Award in the UK and three Tonys on Broadway, Matthew Bourne’s powerful interpretation of Tchaikovsky’s masterpiece is a passionate and contemporary Swan Lake for our times.

New Adventures is a national portfolio organisation supported using public funds by Arts Council England.

Swan Lake comes to Hull New Theatre from 23-27 April 2019. Tickets on general sale from 10am on Friday 13 July in person via the Hull City Hall Box Office and from 11am over the phone on 01482 300 306 or online at our new website

New Adventures is a national portfolio organisation supported using public funds by Arts Council England.

*Liam Mower is currently scheduled to perform on the following dates:

Tuesday 23 April – Evening

Thursday 25 April – Matinee

Friday 26 April – Evening

Saturday 27 April – Evening

However, the appearance of any particular artist cannot be guarantee

Darlington Hippodrome – Cirque Berserk!


Breath-taking and death-defying are just two of the ways to describe the incredible Cirque Berserk! which comes to Darlington Hippodrome for a week from Tuesday 17 July.

When a show includes knife-throwing, gravity-defying somersaults, acrobatic displays from the ceiling, South American throwing weapons set on fire and the world famous ‘Globe of Death’, you know you’re in for an amazing night.

The 35-strong cast of performers is drawn from around the world, from as far afield as Kenya, Cuba, Mongolia, Brazil and the Czech Republic.

Direct from the West End and showcasing the finest in traditional circus thrills and skills, Cirque Berserk! celebrates the 250th anniversary of the invention of circus by bringing this treasured form of live entertainment bang up-to-date in a jaw-dropping spectacular created especially for the theatre.

It’s a show that is great for the kids and even better for the adults – not to be missed.

Cirque Berserk! runs at Darlington Hippodrome from Tuesday 17 to Sunday 22 July.

For more information or to book call 01325 405405 or visit









FROM 5 – 29 SEPTEMBER 2018


Casting for the European premiere of Bill Russell and Janet Hood’s new musical Unexpected Joy has been announced. The powerful all-female cast is made up of: Janet Fullerlove (Fortune’s Fool, The Beggar’s Opera) as Joy; Jodie Jacobs (Myth, Rock of Ages) as Rachel; Melanie Marshall (Guys and Dolls, Jane Eyre) as Lou; and Kelly Sweeney (Ronald William White Acting Through Song Prize Winner 2018) as Tamara.


Following a hugely successful run off-Broadway at the York Theatre Company, Unexpected Joy transfers to London’s Southwark Playhouse from 5 September 2018, with press night on Friday 7 September. 


Award-winning producers, Katy Lipson of Aria Entertainment and Jim Kierstead of Kierstead Productions, have joined forces either side of the Atlantic to bring UK and US audiences’ groundbreaking, innovative and current new musicals. Unexpected Joy is their first partnership venture with the musical being directed by Amy Anders Corcoran, with the book and lyrics written by Bill Russell and music by Janet Hood.  


Katy Lipson said, “New chamber musicals are rarely seen on stage, not to mention musicals with an all-female cast celebrating the importance of the freedom to love and that ‘Love is Love’. I have always been a huge fan of Janet and Bill’s work and it is an honour to be presenting a UK Premiere of their latest musical in London, after our premiere Off-Broadway earlier in the year. I hope audiences will embrace these marvellous, strong characters and beautiful score.”



The creative team is completed by: Gareth Bretherton (Musical Director), Verity Johnson (Designer), Nic Farman (Lighting Designer), James Nicholson (Sound Designer), Jane Deitch (Casting Director) and Chris Matanlé (General Manager for Aria Entertainment). 


Unexpected Joy is the story of three generations of female singers, long-held family tensions and a week together where change is in the air – Joy, a baby boomer pop star, is visited by her daughter, Rachel and granddaughter Tamara. Rachel is married to a prominent televangelist, so Joy is reluctant to divulge that she’s planning to marry Lou, another singer who happens to be a woman. A week with all four together is bound to lead to tension, laughter, discoveries and happiness that really is unexpected.  Let the sparks and music fly!


In a time when the awareness of diversity and acceptance in society is at an all-time high, it’s the perfect opportunity to examine differences within our own families. It’s easy sometimes to disregard strangers who believe and live differently than the way we do, but what happens when those differences occur within our own family units?


Unexpected Joy explores this concept by introducing three generations of women who have different values, dreams, and goals.  After drawing strong lines in the sand about what behaviors and thoughts each deems to be acceptable and unacceptable, at the end of the day, the question really is how can people get along and be the family they were always meant to be by finding common ground.  Through laughter, tears, self-discovery, and an original and compelling score, Unexpected Joy encourages its characters, as well as the audience, to take a journey of self-discovery because, at the end of the day, we really are all just one big family.





05 – 29 SEPTEMBER 2018 



Wednesday – Saturday: 8.00pm 

Thursday & Saturday: 3.30pm 

Sunday: 3.00pm 


Ticket prices

£12 Previews 

£20 Standard 

£16 Concessions 


AddressSouthwark Playhouse, 77-85 Newington Causeway, London, SE1 6BD


Box Office: 020 7407 0234












15 minutes with Anna Jane Casey

15 minutes with Anna Jane Casey

It’s always a pleasure to interview Anna Jane Casey.  Her twitter intro may describe her has “wife, mother, marathon runner & stagey bint” but leaves out incredibly friendly, generous and very down to earth.

We sat down to discuss her starring role as Annie in Calendar Girls the Musical written by Gary Barlow and Tim Firth and produced by David Pugh and Dafydd Rogers.

How are rehearsals going?

It’s lovely, everyone is so nice.  I know you always say that but it’s so true.  Ruth Madoc (starring as Jessie) has been telling us some amazing stories and Fern Britton (Marie) has interviewed so many people and has some tales to tell too.  So I’m going to be spending the tour saying “tell me more” in various peoples dressing rooms


Have you seen the show before?

No I’ve not.  I saw the film when first came out, but I’ve done workshops and read throughs and it’s going to be fabulous.  Ruth (Madoc) has been in the play version of Calendar Girls but she’s playing a different character this time.  Sara Crowe (Ruth) is going to steal every scene and Denise Walsh (Celia) is just lovely. It’s a story full of emotions, happy and sad and tells a beautiful story about some amazing women who broke the mold


So how do you feel about going nude?

I really don’t mind, naked I look like a 14 year old boy because I have a dancers body.  It might be an age thing but I’ve had two children I really don’t care about getting it all out on stage.  You (the audience) don’t actually see as much as you think you would – its more implied that visual. The only people to see everything are us actresses on stage and the stage crew in the wings.  It shouldn’t be an issue though, the human body in all its forms is beautiful be it me looking like a boy or the others with huge breasts and curvy hips. Our role models should be real women who look like real women, not heavily edited, airbrushed images.

When we did the first photocall earlier in the year, Ruth who is in her 70’s was the first one to be topless, the older you get the less you care


Have you worked with any of the cast before?

Not the main cast, but I have worked with Nikki Gerrard who is understudying the parts.  And I’ve known others by osmosis, my stage husband Phil Corbitt has worked with Graham (Macduff) my real husband


Have you met the original Calendar Girls?

Yes, I’ve met Angela who my character of Annie is based on and Trish who Chris (Rebecca Storm) is based on.  We had a trip to Burnsall in North Yorkshire where is all began and met with our real life counterparts.

I wanted my Annie to be authentic but not an impression of Angela so I’ve said to tell me if anything is wrong with my character, if I’d say things in a different way or not say certain things at all.  

They have raised, and continue to raise, so much money for Bloodwise.  And I want to play my part and play my part well


Are you doing the full tour?

Yes, I think its 19 months all around the country


Are you looking forward to any particular theatre?

Sheffield, I’ve never played the Lyceum but the Crucible has been a very big part of my life.  Salford Lowry because that is my “home” town – I think my parents are getting a coach party up to see it.  And Edinburgh because its 20 years in August since I got engaged to my husband Graham whilst playing Edinburgh.  He proposed in Leith. My oldest daughter is going to see me when I’m in Canterbury too


So this is the second time you’ve played a role made famous by Julie Walters what do you want to do next?

I just want to be Julie Walters when I grow up.  I was Mrs Wilkinson in the West End and on tour and now this.  I’ve just introduced my girls to Victoria Wood and I’ve had them doing “Two Soups” in the kitchen in fits of hysterics ever since.


How is the Marathon running going?

You’ll understand how busy life is, but we have recently moved out of London to Kent.  But my girls still go to school in London until term ends in 9 days time. So I have to get them up and bring them to school in London, then go to rehearsals so I’m having to get up at 5am to run.  Its cooler then too. Again I think its an age thing – Sara (Crowe) says she is an early riser and does yoga at 6am. I’m running the Berlin Marathon in September for the Alzheimer’s Society. Once this run is other I’ll be fit enough to do a tour

If you’d like to sponsor AJ then you can find the link here

Thank you to Anna Jane for her time



Facebook: @thegirlsmusical

Twitter: @thegirlsmusical



16 August – 1 September Leeds Grand Theatre 0844 848 2700

5 – 15 September The Marlowe, Canterbury 01227 878 7787

18 – 29 September Newcastle Theatre Royal 0844 811 2121

2 – 13 October Festival Theatre Edinburgh 0131 529 6000

16 – 20 October Leicester De Montfort Hall 0116 233 3111

23 – 27 October Venue Cymru, Llandudno 01492 872000

30 October – 10 November The Lowry, Salford 0843 208 6000

13 – 17 November Stoke Regent Theatre 0844 871 7649

20 – 24 November Hull New Theatre 01482 300 306

27 Nov – 1 December Liverpool Empire 0844 871 3017

8 – 19 January 2019 Mayflower Theatre Southampton 02380 711811

22 Jan – 2 Feb 2019 Bord Gáis Energy Theatre, Dublin 0844 847 2455

5 – 16 February 2019 Norwich Theatre Royal 01603 630 000 On sale soon

19 Feb – 2 March 2019 His Majesty’s Theatre, Aberdeen 01224 641122

5 – 16 March 2019 The Orchard Theatre, Dartford 01322 220000

19 – 23 March 2019 Sunderland Empire 0844 871 3022

26 – 30 March 2019 New Victoria Theatre, Woking 0844 871 7645

2 – 13 April 2019 Sheffield Lyceum Theatre 0114 249 6000

16 – 20 April 2019 New Theatre, Oxford 0844 847 1585




Kinky Boots, the winner of every major Best Musical award, is pleased to announce casting for the upcoming UK tour. Callum Francis will play Lola until 15 December 2018 and Kayi Ushe will play the role from 17 December 2018. Paula Lane, known for her role as Kylie Platt in Coronation Street will play Lauren and Joel Harper-Jackson will play Charlie.

The tour will open at Royal & Derngate in Northampton on 19 September 2018, returning to the home of this heart-warming British story, whilst the West End production continues at the Adelphi Theatre until 12 January 2019.

Also joining the Kinky Boots cast will be Demitri Lampra (Don), Adam Price (George) Helen Ternent (Nicola) who will be accompanied by Charlie Allen, Nicola Avino, Lizzie Bea, Joshua St Clair, Connor Collins, Daniel Conway, Shaun Dalton, John Dempsey, Niki Evans, Mary Fox, Scarlet Gabriel, Damon Gould, George Grayson, Portia Harry, Joshua Lovell, Jacob McIntosh, Chileshe Mondelle, Alfie Parker, Fred Smiley, Toyan Thomas-Browne, Andy Watkins and Jason Winter

Current tour dates include:

Royal & Derngate, Northampton (19 September – 6 October 2018)
Wolverhampton Grand Theatre (16 – 27 October 2018)
Newcastle Theatre Royal (29 October – 10 November 2018)
Manchester Opera House (12 November – 1 December 2018)
Edinburgh Playhouse (10 December 2018 – 5 January 2019)
Marlowe Theatre, Canterbury (14– 26 January 2019)
Regent Theatre, Stoke-on Trent (28 January – 9 February 2019)
Venue Cymru, Llandudno (11 – 16 February 2019)
New Theatre Oxford (18 – 23 February 2019)
Bristol Hippodrome (25 February – 9 March 2019)
Birmingham Hippodrome (11 – 23 March 2019)
Liverpool Empire (25 March – 6 April 2019)
Leeds Grand Theatre (8 April – 20 April 209)
His Majesty’s Theatre, Aberdeen (23 April – 4 May 2019)
Kings Theatre Glasgow (6 – 18 May 2019)
Theatre Royal Nottingham (27 May – 8 June 2019)

Lyceum Theatre, Sheffield (10 – 22 June 2019)
Sunderland Empire (24 June – 6 July 2019)
Theatre Royal, Plymouth (8 July – 20 July 2019) – Public booking opens 13 July 2018
Wales Millennium Centre, Cardiff (22 July – 3 August 2019)
Mayflower Theatre, Southampton (3-14 September 2019)

Kinky Boots at the Adelphi Theatre has become a favourite with UK theatregoers having won three Olivier Awards for Best New Musical, Best Costume Design and Best Actor in a Musical for Matt Henry who played Lola. Kinky Boots also won the London Evening Standard BBC Radio 2 Audience Award for Best Musical as well as three WhatsOnStage Awards for Best New Musical, Best Actor in a Musical and Best Choreography.

With a book by Broadway legend and four-time Tony® Award-winner Harvey Fierstein (La Cage aux Folles), and songs by Grammy® and Tony® winning pop icon Cyndi Lauper, this joyous musical celebration is about the friendships we discover, and the belief that you can change the world when you change your mind.

Inspired by true events, Kinky Boots takes you from a gentlemen’s shoe factory in Northampton to the glamorous catwalks of Milan. Charlie Price is struggling to live up to his father’s expectations and continue the family business of Price & Son. With the factory’s future hanging in the balance, help arrives in the unlikely but spectacular form of Lola, a fabulous performer in need of some sturdy new

With direction and choreography by two-time Tony® Award-winner Jerry Mitchell (Legally Blonde, Hairspray), Kinky Boots is the winner of every major Best Musical award including three Olivier Awards, three WhatsOnStage Awards as well as six Broadway Tony® Awards.

Callum Francis (Lola/Simon) most recently starred as Lola in the Australian Tour of Kinky Boots – for which he won the 2017 Helpmann Award for Best Male Actor in a Musical – direct from the Original London Production at the Adelphi Theatre. His other theatre credits include Miss Saigon (Prince Edward Theatre); The Lion King (Lyceum Theatre); Ghost (Piccadilly Theatre); Hair (European Tour); Ultimate Broadway (Shanghai Culture Square Theatre); Naked Boys Singing (Charing Cross Theatre) and Fame (Manchester Opera House).

Kayi Ushe (Lola/Simon) has several theatre credits including The Crucible, A Little Night Music (Storyhouse, Chester); Motown the Musical (Shaftesbury Theatre); Wonderland (UK Tour); The Book of Mormon (Prince of Wales Theatre); Avenue Q (UK Tour); Kisses on a Postcard (North Devon Theatres); Fame the Musical (Italian tour) and Crazy for You (London Palladium).

Joel Harper-Jackson (Charlie Price) has numerous theatre credits including Pieces of String (Mercury Theatre); Myth: The Rise and Fall of Orpheus (The Other Palace); The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time (UK Tour), Jesus Christ Superstar (Regents Park Open Air Theatre); Beautiful – The Carole King Musical (The Aldwych Theatre); Little Women (Hope Mill Theatre); Picture Perfect (St James); Pacific Overtures (Union Theatre); Rent (UK Tour) and West End Women (UK Tour). His film credits include The Curse and Abu Ghraib.

Paula Lane (Lauren) has appeared on stage in Be More Martyn (Southwark Playhouse) and The Bengal Lily (Manchester Royal Exchange). Her television and film credits include Coronation Street; Doctors; Heartbeat; The Royal; Going Postal and War Wounds.

Demitri Lampra (Don) has appeared on stage in both The Jungle Book (Image Musical Theatre) and The Wind in the Willows (UK tour).

Helen Ternent (Nicola) has several theatre credits including Jersey Boys (Piccadilly Theatre); The Pajama Game (Shaftesbury Theatre); Stephen Ward (Aldwych Theatre); Viva Forever (Piccadilly Theatre); Hairspray! (UK Tour); High School Musical 2 (UK Tour) Fame (UK Tour); We Will Rock You (Vienna/Zurich); The Three Musketeers (Berlin); Mamma Mia! (Cyprus).

Adam Price (George) has multiple theatre credits including Privates On Parade (MGC, Noel Coward Theatre); Hairspray (Shaftesbury Theatre); Hairspray (UK Tour); Blood Brothers, Oliver Twist, Ghosts of Scrooge (Library Theatre); Babes in Arms, The Winter’s Tale, A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre); The Boys From Syracuse (Crucible, Sheffield); Guys & Dolls, Fat Pig
– The Musical (Leicester Haymarket); The Red Balloon (Bristol Old Vic); Notre Dame (Oxford); The Merry Widow, Ghosts Of Ruddigore (Opera Della Luna); Make Some Noise, One Step Beyond (Stratford East); A Hole In The Fence (White Bear Theatre); Much Ado About Nothing (Hampstead Theatre) and The Dark Side (UK Tour). His television and film credits include Family Affairs; Eastenders; May To December; Coppers; The Cuckoo Sister; Grange Hill; Just Good Friends; Executive Stress and Young Soul Rebels.

Kinky Boots is produced by Daryl Roth and Hal Luftig and Playful Productions, in association with Cameron Mackintosh.

Book: Harvey Fierstein
Composer & Lyricist: Cyndi Lauper
Director & Choreographer: Jerry Mitchell
Musical Supervision, Arranger & Orchestrator: Stephen Oremus
Scenic Design: David Rockwell
Costume Design: Gregg Barnes
Lighting Design: Kenneth Posner
Sound Design: John Shivers
Hair Design: Josh Marquette
Further tour dates to be announced in due course.

Official UK Website:
Official Facebook:
Official Twitter:


Royal & Derngate, Northampton
19 September – 6 October 2018
Box Office: 01604 624 811

Wolverhampton Grand Theatre
16 – 27 October 2018
Box Office: 01902 429 212

Newcastle Theatre Royal
29 October – 10 November 2018
Box Office: 08448 11 21 21

Manchester Opera House
12 November – 1 December 2018
Box Office: 0844 871 3018

Edinburgh Playhouse
10 December 2018 – 5 January 2019
Box Office: 0844 871 3014

Marlowe Theatre, Canterbury
14 – 26 January 2019
Box Office: 01227 787 787

Regent Theatre, Stoke-on-Trent
28 January – 9 February 2019
Box Office: 0844 871 7649

Venue Cymru, Llandudno
11 – 16 February 2019
Box Office: 01492 872 000

New Theatre Oxford
18 – 23 February 2019
Box Office: 0844 871 3020

Bristol Hippodrome
25 February – 9 March 2019
Box Office: 0844 871 3012

Birmingham Hippodrome
11 – 23 March 2019
Box Office: 0844 338 5000

Liverpool Empire
25 March – 6 April 2019
Box Office: 0844 871 3017

Leeds Grand Theatre
8 April – 20 April 209
Box Office: 0844 848 2700

His Majesty’s Theatre, Aberdeen
23 April – 4 May 2019
Box Office: 01224 641112

Kings Theatre Glasgow
6 – 18 May 2019
Box Office: 0844 871 7648

Theatre Royal Nottingham
27 May – 8 June 2019
Box Office: 0115 989 5555

Lyceum Theatre, Sheffield
10 – 22 June 2019
Box Office: 0114 249 6000

Sunderland Empire
24 June – 6 July 2019
Box Office: 0844 871 3022

Theatre Royal, Plymouth – Public booking opens 13 July 2018
8 July – 20 July
Box office: 01752 267222

Wales Millennium Centre, Cardiff
22 July – 3 August 2019
Box office: 029 2063 6464

Mayflower Theatre, Southampton
3-14 September 2019
Box office: 02380 711811

Gangsta Granny Review

Hull New Theatre – until 8th July 2018

Reviewed by Catherine McWilliams


Towards the end of the performance Ben, our hero, says “Tonight was wicked” and the little girl behind me summed up the feelings of the packed Hull New Theatre when she shouted back “oh yeah it was!”

From start to finish this is a cracking play that all ages in the audience loved. The little girl next to me was about 4 years old and just couldn’t stay still while we were waiting for Gangsta Granny to start but once it started she was wrapped up in the entire performance and clearly loved every minute.

Gangsta Granny is superbly adapted from the David Walliams novel by Neal Foster and is another fabulous Birmingham Stage Company production. The scenery is very clever, with its movement being skillfully incorporated into the play, adding glitz and fun to a mundane task! The choreography ( Paul Chantry and Rae Piper) is excellent and adds some wonderfully funny moments to the performance.

Gangsta Granny tells the story of Ben (Tom Cawte) who lives with his Mum (Jenny Gayner) and Dad (Jason Furnival) who are desperate for him to be a dancer rather than the plumber he wants to be. Every Friday night Ben has to go to his Granny’s house whilst Mum and Dad go dancing. To Ben this is the worst night of the week as Granny is boring and her favourite food is …cabbage – cue major groans from the children! But Granny is the cabbage queen her recipes include cabbage pie, cabbage soup and cabbage crème brulee. Then Ben discovers that Granny is a jewel thief and he plans a spectacular robbery for them both. This is a story that every youngster can relate to, imagining themselves as Ben.

Tom Cawte is outstanding as Ben, he captures an 11 year old’s frustrations and gawky movements wonderfully and his facial expressions clearly showed what he was thinking without him uttering a word. His dance at the dance competition was inspired and had me laughing like a drain, but the youngsters around me were all rooting for Ben to do well and were screaming at the judges’ scores!

Lauren Taylor was a brilliant Granny, her performance was just right and never over the top. She showed us a full range of emotions beautifully, but had the children once she bottom burped! Her performance near the end was particularly touching.

Mum (Jenny Gayner) and Dad (Jason Furnival) hit it just right as a couple obsessed with dancing and “Strictly” and their car dance will stay with me – so funny.

Jason Furnival also provided the character for the children to shout at and hate as Mr. Parker. He was wonderfully obnoxious and played the part to perfection. I hadn’t even realised that he was also playing Dad until I read the programme, a superb contrast. The ensemble cast all play their parts to perfection, adding to the enjoyment as they quickly switch characters.

A superb night out at the theatre, this will leave you with a huge smile on your face and a lovely feeling in your tummy!! Whatever your age grab the chance to go and see Gangsta Granny, you will love it.

Knights of the Rose Review

Arts Theatre  – until 26 August


My first draft of this review was simply 3 letters and a question mark, but I have a word count to meet. Before I start, let me stress that I love a good jukebox musical, so I REALLY wanted Knights of the Rose to be great. Sadly, this show is the perfect example of jumping on the bandwagon after the phenomenal success of previous rock musicals – but the wheels have fallen off at high speed and this particular wagon is careering over a cliff.

Set in Arthurian England, the plot centres around the House of Rose, whose knights have been away fighting for years and return to their ladies. Then there’s a war with King Mordred of Avalon. Yes – you read that correctly. One of the love triangles in the show is inspired by Chaucer’s The Knight’s Tale, and there’s a legitimate/illegitimate/cousin thing going on as well.

Creator Jennifer Marsden has either read a lot of books or has a huge dictionary of quotations; either way, she has used as many borrowed lines as possible in her script. There are three pages of literary references in the programme – that’s THREE PAGES! – from Omar Khayyam to Wordsworth, via Shakespeare and Chaucer. It feels as if quotes were put in a lucky dip and drawn out at random for use, as they sit so mangled and awkwardly in the script. And if you’re going to include your own attempts at verse amongst such stellar literature, then it has to be better than the corny doggerel that serves as narration in this show. Throwing in copious thees, thous and alases doth not, alas, improve clunky verse.

The whole thing is taken so seriously and is so po-faced that the musical numbers are ridiculously out of place. A knight is wooing his princess with verilys and forsooths and suddenly asks “Would you dance, if I asked you to dance?” and probably says a few more lines before the music for “Hero” begins, but it’s inaudible over the laughter from the audience. A death scene turns to comedy gold as a knight turns mournfully to the audience and starts singing “He ain’t Heavy, He’s my Brother”, and the list goes on. Incongruous lines from Shakespeare shoehorned into scenes begin to draw groans and stifled laughter as the show progresses and it finally dawns on the audience that this is NOT a comedy. The lack of diversity on stage will probably be a big talking point, but it is shocking that a female writer could create such insipid female characters.

The talented cast are committed and soldier on through this quagmire of verbal sludge. They are much too good for this show, with the fantastic Oliver Savile, Chris Cowley, Ruben Van keer and Matt Thorpe managing to rise above the content, even with the misjudged pitching of the musical numbers. Poor Cowley has to sing his big villain solo after being seemingly transported to a pantomime – with green and red lighting and skull warrior dancers that King Rat would be proud of. The songs included are great but disappear during the second act to be replaced by more classical numbers as the show suddenly begins to take itself even more seriously, which didn’t seem possible before the interval.

Knights of the Rose is a weird and woeful hybrid of low budget 1950s “Merrie Olde England” films and a particularly ill-judged themed episode of Glee. Not bad enough to be brilliant. Just bad.

Flesh and Bone Review

 Soho Theatre – until 21 July

Reviewed by Claire Roderick


Elliot Warren’s debut play is full of fire, fury and fizzling fun. The inhabitants of an East End estate vent their spleens in lyrical monologues as the threat of bulldozers loom over them.

Tel (Elliot Warren), lives with his girlfriend Kel (Olivia Brady) and his brother Reiss (Michael Jinks) in the flat belonging to Kel’s Grandad (Nick T Frost). Their downstairs neighbour is dealer Jamal (Alessandro Babalola). The characters are confrontational and in your face from the outset, describing their lives and confrontations with unapologetic candour.

Warren’s writing is lyrical and exciting, full of Shakespearean beauty and modern filth. This is Berkoff’s East for the 21st century, but with more warmth and heart. As the characters pour their hearts out revealing secrets about their lives, amongst the violence and shouting, there is always room for the silliness and humour that keeps families together. Stereotypes presented by the media about inner city estates are tackled and celebrated with a giant “up yours” to gentrification, and the sense of unromanticised pride in their community shines through.

Directed by Warren and Brady, the play is slick and full of movement, with Warren never still, portraying Tel as a dangerous caged animal. Brady’s Kel is a hoot, but equally powerful as she defends her way of life. Frost’s fantastic Grandad is instantly recognisable, all bad jokes and reminiscing about the past as he sits in his dressing gown. Jinks is wonderful as Reiss, hiding his fabulous life in Soho from his brother and squeezing every drop of emotion from his monologues. Babalola is phenomenal as Jamal – physically intimidating and terrifying, but finally revealing the lost little boy trapped in a life he hasn’t chosen. His sudden swings from defensive aggression to honest innocence are a joy to behold.

Brave, brilliant and slightly bonkers – Flesh and Bone is a must see.

Horrible Histories takes over Alexandra Palace this Christmas!

Horrible Histories takes over Alexandra Palace this Christmas!


London is in for a treat this Christmas with a special production of HORRIBLE HISTORIES – HORRIBLE CHRISTMAS playing at the Alexandra Palace Theatre from 13 to 30 December 2018. The producers behind the Olivier award nominated Gangsta Granny and the celebrated Horrible Histories stage shows, including Barmy Britain in the West End, are bringing this festive favourite to London for three weeks over the holiday period.

When Christmas comes under threat from a jolly man dressed in red, it’s up to one young boy to save the day – but can he save Christmas? From Victorian villains to Medieval monks, Puritan parties to Tudor treats, Horrible Histories take you on a hair-raising adventure through the history of Christmas in the company of Charles Dickens, Oliver Cromwell, King Henry VIII, St Nicholas and Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer as they all join forces to save the festive season!

Horrible Christmas is full of jokes, songs and hysterical historical facts. It’s great entertainment for all the family from ages 5 to 105 (106-year-olds may not like it).

Horrible Christmas is directed by Neal Foster (original director Phil Clark), designed by Jackie Trousdale with music by Matthew Scott, lighting by Jason Taylor, sound by Tom Lishman and choreography by Rae Piper and Paul Chantry. The cast includes Chris Gunter, Neal Foster, Laura Dalgleish, Ashley Bowden and Erika Poole.

So come and join us in a hair-raising adventure through the history of the festive season and help save us all from a Horrible Christmas!


Listings info:                                                                                                        

Birmingham Stage Company and Derby Theatre present Horrible Christmas at

Alexandra Palace Theatre, Alexandra Palace Way, London, N22 7BB


13 Dec 2018 – 30 Dec 2018

School Performances during school term

Tuesdays to Thursdays – 10am & 1.30pm

Saturdays 2.30pm & 6.30pm and Sundays 11am & 3pm


Public performances

Tuesdays to Thursdays Times vary – Performances at 10.30am, 1.30pm/2.30pm and 6.30pm/7pm

Saturdays 2.30pm & 6.30pm, Sundays 11am & 3pm

Box office:

See Tickets – 0871 220 0260


Public performances – Tickets £18.30 – £35.35

Search for The Railway Children



A leading Leeds youth theatre academy is looking for young performers – experienced and beginners – to star in a show that will be staged at Scarborough’s Open Air Theatre in August this year.

On Stage Academy is based at The Carriageworks Theatre in Leeds city centre; it regularly puts out calls for new stars – but this one is quite different.

Three years ago our patron impresario, Tony Peers, invited the students of On Stage Academy to perform at the Family Fun Day – and he was so impressed he invited us back!” explains Academy Principal Liz Coggins.

Tony Peers has been in showbusiness for over 50 years as a performer and producer. Often referred to as Mr Scarborough, he produces numerous summer shows and pantomimes around the UK.

I’m a firm believer in giving young talent a chance and I try to cast newcomers in most of my productions,” he says. “To have On Stage Academy on board with OAT is wonderful for all involved.”

On Stage Academy is booked to perform a potted and narrated musical version of The Railway Children on the afternoon of Monday August 27th, and in the lead up to the show will host a summer holiday workshop for the young actors.

This year we need a much larger cast and so are throwing our doors open to budding stars aged five to 16 years old; we are looking for leading roles and ensemble – all are welcome, and training will be given,” Liz continues.

We appreciate it’s the holiday season and understand that some will need to miss the odd rehearsal, but the team and I will work with all the performers to ensure everyone is up to speed and confident so please don’t let that put you off.”

Rehearsals will take place once a week from July 18th until August 22nd at The Carriageworks Theatre in Leeds and will include training in singing, acting and movement.

For young people to have the chance to perform on this outdoor stage is incredible,” Liz concludes. “They will be following in the steps of stars such as Little Mix, Olly Murs, Elton John and Jess Glynne – it’s a great experience and one they’ll never forget.”

If you know somebody aged between five and 16 years old who would like to take part in the stage production contact:

On Stage Academy:  [email protected] / 0113 262 8033