Theatres across London’s West End will be dimming their lights at 19:00 tonight (2 July) in memory of the British choreographer Dame Gillian Lynne, who died on Sunday evening aged 92.

Before this evening’s performances begin, lights will be dimmed for one minute as a tribute by the theatre industry and audience members to the legendary choreographer, who began her career as a ballet dancer and went on to work on more than 60 shows across the West End and Broadway, including Andrew Lloyd Webber’s long-running musicals Cats and The Phantom of the Opera.

Dame Gillian received a Special Olivier Award in 2013 for her contribution to theatre. Last month, the New London Theatre (current home of Lloyd Webber’s School Of Rock The Musical) was renamed the Gillian Lynne Theatre – making her the first non-royal woman to receive this honour.

The tradition of dimming theatre lights has long been performed in the West End to pay respects to theatre’s most renowned contributors.

Julian Bird, Chief Executive of Society of London Theatre, said:

‘Dame Gillian Lynne’s contribution to theatre was inestimable. Her career, which spanned over seven decades, encompassed performance, choreography and directing. She worked across so many of the West End and Broadway’s top venues and productions, and won numerous awards and accolades. We are proud to celebrate her extraordinary legacy tonight in the West End.’



The 2018 autumn season at Bradford Theatres boasts brand new productions, reimagined classics and timeless favourites at the Alhambra Theatre, some great names in comedy and entertainment coming to King’s Hall, Ilkley and drama and comedy at the Studio

Adam Renton, General Manager Bradford Theatres says: “We hope you are looking forward to our exciting Autumn 2018 season – we’re sure you’ll agree that there’s something for everyone to enjoy.

We welcome a number of brand new productions which will be touring into the Alhambra Theatre this autumn, including An Officer and a Gentleman The Musical, Benidorm Live, Madagascar The Musical and Touring Consortium Theatre Company’s drama, Dracula.

Plus don’t miss your opportunity to book for Cameron Mackintosh’s acclaimed new production of Miss Saigon; or for a return visit of Matthew Bourne’s Swan Lake, which has a fresh look for the 21st Century. Yorkshire’s biggest and most lavish pantomime, Aladdin, is a must-see treat this festive season too! We also have an array of personalities at King’s Hall in Ilkley, including Jimmy Osmond,
Suggs and Susie Dent.

I look forward to welcoming you all to Bradford Theatres in the near future.”

Still Booking
Fame The Musical – Monday 27 August – Saturday 1 September, Alhambra Theatre
Signed: Fri 31 Aug 7.30pm, Audio Described: Sat 1 Sept 2.30pm
Featuring the Oscar-winning title song and a cast of outstanding dancers, singers, musicians and rappers as they transform from star struck pupils to superstars, Fame The Musical will indeed live forever. [Age recommendation 12+ with some sexual, drug, mental health references and mild swearing]

An Officer And A Gentleman – Monday 3 – Saturday 8 September, Alhambra Theatre
Captioned: Fri 7 Sept 7.30pm, Audio Described: Sat 8 Sept 2.30pm
The world premiere of a new musical that will simply sweep you off your feet!  Its feel-good soundtrack includes the hit song from the movie Up Where We Belong along with many 80s classic anthems including Girls Just Want to Have Fun, Livin’ On A Prayer, Heart of Glass, Material Girl and The Final Countdown. [Please be advised An Officer and a Gentleman contains themes of an adult nature and strong language.]

Darkside: performing The Pink Floyd Show You Gotta Be Crazy Tour – Saturday 8 September, King’s Hall, Ilkley
Susie Dent – The Secret Lives of Words – Monday 17 September, King’s Hall, Ilkley

Miss Saigon – Wednesday 19 September – Saturday 20 October, Alhambra Theatre
Signed: Thur 4 Oct 7.30pm, Audio Described: Wed 10 Oct 2pm, Captioned: Thur 11 Oct 7.30pm
Cameron Mackintosh’s acclaimed new production of Boublil and Schönberg’s legendary musical Miss Saigon lands at the Alhambra Theatre in Bradford this September.

Chris Ramsey Live 2018 (The just happy to get out of the house tour) – Friday 21 September, King’s Hall, Ilkley
Jimmy Osmond and 70’s Jukebox – Tuesday 25 September, King’s Hall, Ilkley

Martin Roscoe (Piano) – Friday 28 September, Bradford Cathedral – Part of Bradford International Classical Concert Season 2018/19: Bradford 31st Chamber Season

Ben Goldscheider (Horn), Callum Smart (Violin), Richard Uttley (Piano) – Friday 19 October, Bradford Cathedral – Part of Bradford International Classical Concert Season 2018/19: Bradford 31st Chamber Season

Showaddywaddy – Friday 19 October, King’s Hall, Ilkley
Suggs What A King Cnut – A life in the realm of Madness… Tuesday 23 October, King’s Hall, Ilkley

Madagascar The Musical – Tuesday 23 – Saturday 27 October, Alhambra Theatre
Join Alex (X-Factor 2016 winner Matt Terry), Marty, Melman and Gloria as they bound out of the zoo and onto the stage in this live musical spectacular. [Recommended age 5+]

Some Guys Have All The Luck – Thursday 25 October, King’s Hall, Ilkley
Celebrating the career of one of rock’s greatest icons, Rod Stewart – from street busker through to international superstar!

Benidorm – Monday 29 October – Saturday 3 November, Alhambra Theatre
Signed: Wed 31 Oct 7.30pm, Captioned: Thur 1 Nov 7.30pm, Audio Described: Sat 3 Nov 2.30pm
Starring Jake Canuso (Mateo), Janine Duvitski (Jacqueline), Adam Gillen (Liam), Sherrie Hewson (Joyce Temple-Savage), Shelley Longworth (Sam), Tony Maudsley (Kenneth) and featuring Neptune’s very own Asa Elliott, the official world premiere of Derren Litten’s smash-hit ITV comedy Benidorm is set to bring
sunshine and smiles to Bradford in the stage debut production of the hugely popular TV show. [Suitable for ages 12+]

Tour de Ned – Tuesday 6 November, King’s Hall, Ilkley
Phil Nichol Your Wrong – Thursday 8 November, The Studio [Age recommendation 14+]

Matthew Bourne’s Swan Lake – Tuesday 6 – Saturday 10 November, Alhambra Theatre
Audio Described: Sat 10 Nov 2.30pm, Post Show Q&A Tue 6 Nov – free to ticket holders
Retaining the iconic elements of the original production loved by millions around the world, Matthew Bourne and award-winning designers Lez Brotherston (Set and Costumes) and Paule Constable (Lighting) will create an exciting re-imagining of the classic production.

Matthew Bourne’s Swan Lake Open Workshop for Beginners – Saturday 10 November, The Studio
A unique opportunity for those aged 18+ to work with leading New Adventures artists and explore movement from the legendary production of Matthew Bourne’s Swan Lake.

The Real Thing – Feel the Force Tour 2018 – Friday 9 November, King’s Hall, Ilkley

Partition – Tuesday 13 – Thursday 15 November, The Studio
Partition tells the tale of how, 70 years after it was abruptly divided, the history of the Indian subcontinent continues to tear families apart.

Brendan Cole – All Night Long – Tuesday 13 November, Alhambra Theatre
For his 10th Anniversary tour, Brendan is joined by his sensational cast of guest dancers, a captivating leading lady and superbly talented 14-piece band and singers, to whip up an extravagant mix of Latin fever and ballroom magic.

Ruby Wax – How to be Human – Wednesday 14 November, Alhambra Theatre
Ruby has a little help from monk Gelong Thubten, who explains how the mind works, and neuroscientist Ash Ranpura who explains where everything that makes us ‘us’ can be found in the brain.

King of Pop starring Navi – Thursday 15 November, Alhambra Theatre
Led by the world’s number one Michael Jackson tribute artist Navi

Sounds of the 60s with The Zoots – Thursday 15 November, King’s Hall, Ilkley
GaGa – A Tribute to Queen – Friday 16 November, King’s Hall, Ilkley
Paul Foot – Image Conscious – Friday 16 November, The Studio [Age recommendation 14+]
Chicago Blues Brothers – Motown Mission – Friday 16 November, Alhambra Theatre

Pieter Wispelwey (Cello) and Danny Driver (Piano) – Friday 16 November, Bradford Cathedral – Part of Bradford International Classical Concert Season 2018/19: Bradford 31st Chamber Season

Sarah Millican – Control Enthusiast – Saturday 17 November, Alhambra Theatre (Ages 16+ only) SELLING FAST!

Saturday Night Fever – Tuesday 20 – Saturday 24 November, Alhambra Theatre
Signed: Thur 22 Nov 7.30pm, Captioned: Fri 23 Nov 7.30pm, Audio Described: Sat 24 Nov 2.30pm
Whilst paying homage to the 1977 John Travolta classic, this new stage version promises more drama, more music and hot new choreography, which is sure to have you dancing in the aisles!

An Evening with Julian Norton – Wednesday 21 November, King’s Hall, Ilkley
The star of the popular Channel 5 Television series The Yorkshire Vet, recounts tales from his life as a vet, the huge variety of animals he has treated, as well as the human characters he’s met along the way!

Bram Stoker’s Dracula – Tuesday 27 November – Saturday 1 December, Alhambra Theatre
Captioned: Wed 28 Nov 7.30pm, Audio Described: Sat 1 Dec 2.30pm
This brand-new multi-sensory stage adaptation is brought to irresistible life in a contemporary, visceral interpretation of Bram Stoker’s book that includes all the familiar characters. With breath-taking illusions and spine chilling effects, this classic tale of obsession and horror will keep you on the edge of your seat!

Del Boy & Rodney The Comedy Dinner Show – Mon 3 & Tue 4 December, Restaurant 1914 at The Alhambra Theatre
René & Edith The Comedy Dinner Show – Wed 5 December, Restaurant 1914 at The Alhambra Theatre
[Entertainment by Laughlines Comedy Entertainment. Includes a three course dinner.]

Aladdin – Saturday 8 December 2018 – Sunday 20 January 2019, Alhambra Theatre
Signed: Thur 20 Dec 2.30pm, Audio Described: Wed 2 Jan 2pm & 7.15pm, Relaxed Performance: Tue 8
Jan 6pm, Captioned: Sun 13 Jan 1pm
Hop aboard a magical carpet and fly to Old Peking in this year’s must-see festive show Aladdin. Starring the undisputed King of Bradford Panto, Billy Pearce, stage, screen and pantomime legend, the one-and-only
Christopher Biggins and Blue star Simon Webbe.

Dear Santa – Sunday 9 & Monday 10 December, King’s Hall, Ilkley
From the author of the well-loved children’s book Dear Zoo, Rod Campbell
You Win Again – Celebrating the Music of the Bee Gees – Thursday 13 December, King’s Hall, Ilkley

Coming soon
Dirty Dancing – Monday 28 January – Saturday 2 February 2019, Alhambra Theatre
Captioned: Thur 31 Jan 7.30pm, Audio Described: Sat 2 Feb 3pm

Club Tropicana The Musical – Monday 4 – Saturday 9 February 2019, Alhambra Theatre
Signed: Thur 7 Feb 7.30pm, Captioned: Fri 8 Feb 7.30pm, Audio Described: Sat 9 Feb 2.30pm

Royal Shakespeare Company – Romeo and Juliet – Tuesday 12 – Saturday 16 February 2019, Alhambra
Theatre. Captioned: Thur 14 Feb 7.30pm, Signed: Fri 15 Feb 7.30pm, Audio Described: Sat 16 Feb 2pm

Matilda The Musical – Tuesday 19 February – Saturday 23 March 2019, Alhambra Theatre
Audio Described: Wed 6 Mar 2pm, Captioned: Thur 7 Mar 7.30pm, Signed: Thur 14 Mar 7.30pm

Stage 84 presents Christmas Spectacular – Sunday 25 November, Alhambra Theatre

To book for all of these shows please contact the Box Office on 01274 432000
or visit our website: bradford-theatres.co.uk
Booking fees apply:
Phone/Counter – £1 per ticket plus postage charge where applicable.
Online – £1.50 per ticket plus £1 per transaction for postage.

Company – Additional Casting Press Release




 Stephen Sondheim and George Furth’s musical


Directed by Marianne Elliott

Gielgud Theatre, Shaftesbury Avenue, London


Previews from 26 September 2018

Opening Night 17 October 2018


Further casting was announced today (Friday 29 June 2018) for Marianne Elliott’s highly anticipated new production of George Furth and Stephen Sondheim’s COMPANY which previews from 26 September 2018.  Cast already announced are: Rosalie Craig in the central role of Bobbie, Broadway star Patti LuPone as Joanne and Mel Giedroyc as Sarah.

Announced today are the actors playing Bobbie’s three boyfriends: RICHARD FLEESHMANas Andy, GEORGE BLAGDEN as PJ and MATTHEW SEADON-YOUNG as Theo. All three characters have been re-gendered for this new production, which includes their classic songYou Could Drive a Person Crazy. Stephen Sondheim has renamed the roles. Andy was originally April, PJ was originally Marta and Theo was Kathy.   

Also announced today are: GAVIN SPOKES as Harry, who is married to Sarah (Mel Giedroyc), RICHARD HENDERS and JENNIFER SAAYENG playing David and Jenny,ASHLEY CAMPBELL as Peter and BEN LEWIS playing opposite Patti LuPone as Joanne’s husband Larry.

Richard Fleeshman is currently starring in the UK and Ireland tour of Sting’s new musical,The Last Ship.  His many other credits include: the lead role of Sam Wheat in Ghost the Musical on Broadway and in the West End, Legally Blonde the Musical, Guys and Dolls,Damsel in Distress and UrineTown: The Musical.  His television work includes Call the Midwife, the lead role in the six part BBC series,  All the Small Things, and Craig inCoronation Street.

George Blagden, is currently playing the lead role of Louis XIV in Versailles on BBC TV and playing Damis in Tartuffe at the Theatre Royal Haymarket.  His other theatre work includes Jamie Lloyd’s The Pitchfork Disney at Shoreditch Town Hall and Platinum at Hampstead Theatre.  He played Grantaire in the film version of Les Miserables and other TV work includes Black Mirror: Hang the DJ (Netflix) and Athelstan in The Vikings.

Matthew Seadon-Young recently appeared in Sondheim’s Assassins at the Gate Theatre in Dublin.  His other stage work includes: Big FishBeautiful in the West End, Sweeney Todd for English National Opera and UrineTown: The Musical.  He also appeared in the feature film, Pride.

Gavin Spokes starred in James Graham’s play Quiz in the West End and at Chichester Festival Theatre.  His other theatre work includes: Against at the Almeida Theatre, Carouselfor English National Opera, he received an Olivier-award nomination for his role as Nicely Nicely in Guys and Dolls in the West End, 1984 at the Almeida and in the West End, Francis Henshall in the National Theatre production of One Man, Two Guvnors and Oliver Hardy inLaurel and Hardy at the Watermill.  His TV credits include: Man Down and Utopia for Channel 4.

Richard Henders’ National Theatre credits include The Beaux Stratagem, The White Guardand Trevor Nunn’s productions of Anything Goes, Love’s Labour’s Lost and The Cherry Orchard, and John Caird’s production of Candide.  His TV work includes Warren in Kingdom,The Inspector Lynley Mysteries and Foyle’s War.

Jennifer Saayeng’s recent theatre credits include: Caroline or Change at the Chichester Festival Theatre, Ragtime at the Charing Cross Theatre, Les Liaisons Dangereuses and City of Angels at the Donmar Theatre, The Etienne Sisters at the Theatre Royal Stratford East andThe Color Purple at the Menier Chocolate Factory. Her TV work includes Vera, Eastendersand Emerald City.

Ashley Campbell recently played Sammy Davis Jr in The Rat Pack Live from Vegas at the Theatre Royal Haymarket. His other theatre credits include Sunny Afternoon in the West End, The Color Purple at the Menier Factory, Five Guys Named Moe at the Theatre Royal, Stratford East and he recently completed a season at the RSC in Much Ado about Nothing, Macbeth,The Rover and Two Noble Kinsmen.   He features in the 2017 film: Mamma Mia: Here we Go Again! with Cher.

Ben Lewis is currently appearing as The Phantom in The Phantom of the Opera at Her Majesty’s Theatre in the West End.  His many other credits include: Annie Get your Gun at the Crucible Theatre, Sheffield, Forbidden Broadway at the Vaudeville Theatre, Side by Side by Sondheim at the Theatre Royal, Sydney, A Little Night Music for Opera Australia, Monty Python’s Spamalot and Priscilla, Queen of the Desert.  Ben played the Phantom the filmed version of Love Never Dies.

At Bobbie’s 35th birthday party all her friends are wondering why she isn’t married; why she can’t find the right man and why she hasn’t settled down to have a family. The multi-award winning musical comedy about life, love and marriage includes Stephen Sondheim’s iconic songs, The Ladies who Lunch, Being Alive, Side by Side and You Could Drive a Person Crazy.

Marianne Elliott, Artistic Director of Elliott & Harper Productions, a company she founded in 2016 with producer Chris Harper, was awarded an OBE in The Queen’s Birthday Honour’s List 2018 for her services to theatre. Elliott is the first woman in Broadway history to win two Tony Awards for Best Director and her recent Broadway transfer of Tony Kushner’s Angels in America received the 2018 Tony Awards for Best Revival of a Play, Best Actor (Andrew Garfield) and Best Featured Actor (Nathan Lane).  Angels in America at the National Theatre also received the 2018 Olivier Award for Best Revival of a Play.

Marianne’s ground-breaking production of The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time received 7 Olivier Awards in London, including Best New Play and Best Director and 5 Tony Awards for its run on Broadway, including Best Play and Best Director. It continues to tour internationally. Her production of Saint Joan earned her the Olivier Award for Best Revival of a Play and Pillars of the Community earned her the Evening Standard Award for Best Director.  War Horse, which she co-directed, and has been seen by over 7 million people world-wide, and is on its second UK tour.


Joining Marianne Elliott on the creative team for Company are:  musical supervisor and conductor Joel Fram, choreographer Liam Steel, designer Bunny Christie, lighting designer Neil Austin, sound designer Ian Dickinson (for Autograph Sound), illusions designer Chris Fisher, orchestrator David Cullen, dance arranger Sam Davis and casting directors Alastair Coomer CDG and Charlotte Sutton CDG.  Further casting will be announced shortly.


The producers for Company at the Gielgud Theatre are: Elliott & Harper Productions,Catherine Schreiber, Grove Entertainment, Jujamcyn Theaters, LD Entertainment, David Mirvish, Aged in Wood Productions/Ricardo Hornos, Bob Boyett/Tom Miller, Bruno Wang Productions/Salman Al-Rashid, Across the Pond Theatricals/ Trio Theatricals andGreek Street Productions/Christopher Ketner.


Stars of Bat Out Of Hell Perform in Aid of Invictus










In April 2018, hit West End show, Bat Out Of Hell – The Musical, announced a wide-ranging global partnership to support the Invictus Games Foundation, the governing body of the Invictus Games, a global sporting event for wounded, injured and sick servicemen and women, both serving and veterans.

Last Friday (29 June), the head of the Invictus Games Delegation, Air Vice-Marshall Garry Tunnicliffe, on behalf of the UK Invictus Games Partnership Board, invited the cast to the Dorchester Hotel, London to perform at their fundraising gala.

The next Invictus Games will be held in Sydney, Australia 20-27 October, with 500 international competitors in a multi-sport extravaganza and the UK will sending a strong team.

Stars of Bat Out Of Hell – The Musical, Andrew Polec, Christina Bennington, Rob Fowler, Sharon Sexton, Danielle Steers and Wayne Robinson, performed Bat Out Of HellFor Crying Out LoudAllComing Back to Me and Dead Ringer for Love at the event.

The Duke of Sussex sent an uplifting video message to all in the room at the Dorchester, in which he mentioned his “Congratulations to the UK Team. Fantastic to be selected and I hope you are all looking forward to Sydney. I think its going to be an amazing journey and one hell of an experience. Thank you for everyone’s continued support of the team and the Invictus Games as a whole, as it simply wouldn’t be possible without the enthusiasm and passion that everybody shares.”

Andrew Polec, who plays Strat in the musical, said, “It was such an amazing honour to perform in support of Invictus. What a rocking night! Our whole cast is looking forward to further building this incredibly special relationship.”

The Musical is also announcing new ways for fans to donate to Prince Harry’s Invictus Games Foundation, to assist as it delivers its transformational work.

Bat Out Of Hell fans can now donate directly to Invictus when buying their ticket on www.batoutofhellmusical.com and the show is also donating a percentage of all top price tickets sold.

In April, an initial donation of a six-figure number was gifted by Bat Out Of Hell – The Musical to the Invictus Games Foundation and an exclusive charity gala performance will be held in the not too distant future.

Hundreds of tickets are being made available for veterans and their families to experience the hit show. To support those who live outside of London, the show’s producers have also made funds available that will assist with travel costs for those outside of the Capital.

There will be private tours, family theatre workshops and the producers have agreed to run a special employment programme to help assist wounded, injured or sick serving or ex-service personnel interested in a career in the theatre.

Bat Out Of Hell – The Musical producer, Michael Cohl said, “We are so pleased to deepen our partnership with this wonderful charity and make our contribution towards the success of the Invictus Games 2018.”

The winner of the Evening Standard Radio 2 Audience Award for Best Musical 2017, Bat Out Of Hell – The Musical wowed critics and public alike when it played limited seasons at Manchester Opera House, London Coliseum and Toronto’s Ed Mirvish Theatre in 2017, and has been seen by nearly 500,000 people to date.  It began previews at London’s Dominion Theatre on Monday 2 April and is currently booking to 27 October 2018.

Bat Out Of Hell became one of the best-selling albums in history, selling over 50 million copies worldwide.  16 years later, Steinman scored again with Bat Out Of Hell II: Back Into Hell, which contained the massive hit I Would Do Anything For Love (But I Won’t Do That).

Jim Steinman’s Bat Out Of Hell – The Musical is a romantic adventure about rebellious youth and passionate love, set against the backdrop of a post-cataclysmic city adrift from the mainland.  Strat, the forever young leader of The Lost, has fallen for Raven, daughter of Falco, the tyrannical, ruler of Obsidian.

Bat Out Of Hell – The Musical has book, music and lyrics by Jim Steinman, direction by Jay Scheib, choreography by Emma Portner, with musical supervision and additional arrangements by Michael Reed, set design by Jon Bausor, costume design by Jon Bausor and Meentje Nielsen, video design by Finn Ross, lighting design by Patrick Woodroffe, sound design by Gareth Owen, orchestration by Steve Sidwell, casting by David Grindrod CDG, fight direction by Stuart Boother and musical direction by Robert Emery.

The German language premiere will be held at the Stage Metronom Theatre, Oberhasuen, Germany in November 2018.

Jim Steinman’s Bat Out Of Hell – The Musical is produced by David Sonenberg, Michael Cohl, Randy Lennox & Tony Smith.

MancMade@53two review

53two, Manchester – 30th June 2018.

Reviewed by Sally Richmond


On Saturday the 30th of June, MancMade at 53two returned in the form as a one-day celebration of some of Manchester’s finest and multi-talented performers. Earlier in the year, MancMade had been spread over three days but today it was a non-stop showcase of live acts just in one.

53two is a unique and fascinating Arts venue, being part of the mysterious Deansgate abandoned underground tunnels, it is operated as a charity and is Manchester’s largest performing space for artists. The beautiful red-bricked under-dwelling has two rooms under the one roof, which are extremely versatile as they have multi-faceted uses from being a theatre, wedding or gig venue, exhibition room and the list goes on.

Dave Viney, a very funny and also poignant local poet who performed at the festival said “This is Manchester, we do things differently here.” and I certainly agree with him as it was different to other performing arts festivals I’ve been to before, as it just seemed to run effortlessly from one act to the next with, pardon the pun, no drama – even the audience returned back on time from the mini breaks throughout.

Fresh, new and talent are some words that could be used to describe the evening, alongside a sense of new beginnings and the feeling that you may be witnessing something or someone who’ll be “on the telly” or “that new play-write” sometime soon. But at the heart of it all was Manchester; a place that has created some of the greatest pioneers of our time and the best ‘chunes’ too … (another Viney quote) and tonight the talent was evident.

There was something for everyone at MancMade as the five plays were very diverse in their delivery and content from the playful but thought provoking ‘Heart to Heart’ written by Chloe Mclaughlin and directed by Lauren Sturgess ( brilliantly performed by Victoria Oxley, Ethan Holmes, Lucy Avison and Rob Mitchell-Jones), in which we had to imagine a world with no NHS and had choose which deserving citizen got a heart transplant to the laugh out loud ‘The Anniversary’, written by Victoria Connerty, directed by Simon Naylor (performed by two hilarious ladies the charming and witty Karen Henthorn and Meriel Schofield). As mentioned earlier, Dave Viney, performed some amusing and also nostalgic poems which were both down to earth and gave a no frills description of life in Manchester but with an underlying and undeniable love for his city.

Other acts included a moving play about a young man who had the heart wrenching decision of giving up his child after his partners early demise called, ‘The Whistling Kettle’, written and performed by Joey Ellis and directed by Sushil Chadasama, ‘Cross Words’ written by John Cooper, directed by David Whitney with outstanding performances from David Howell, Patricia Jones and George Astbury exploring the complexities of human relationships and Kate Anita performing her fusion of acoustic folk and alternative pop.

They always say they save the best till last and for me and many others in the audience judging by the laughter volume, that came in the form of actress Karen Henthorn, who played Debbie in The Anniversary and never as anyone made the act of eating a chocolate biscuit so intriguingly funny since the girl in the Cadbury flake ads.

After the plays, as always with Manchester came the music with one outstanding performer, James Holt, who surprisingly blew me away with song after that I can’t wait to Spotify! MancMade is a festival that I will definitely go to again and 53two is now on the top of my list to visit when I’m next here and want to grab a bit of that lovable, Mancunian culture, in those cosy caverns in the belly of the city.

Bugsy Malone Review

Yvonne Arnaud Theatre, Guildford – until 30 June 2018.

Reviewed by Antonia Hebbert


Fun, fun, fun. Bugsy Malone performed by kids was always going to be cute, but this production by the Yvonne Arnaud Youth Theatre was seriously good. Where to begin? Alan Parker’s musical is a popular classic, but it still depends on the performers, and tonight everyone performed their socks off. Everybody on stage seemed to have a character and an important role, even if they didn’t have a big part. Apparently the cast themselves created each scene, so all credit to them, and to the directors (Ally Manson, Ellie Johnson and Julia Black) for getting such creativity and commitment from the performers.

This was a lovely looking show too. Lighting and set designs were by Declan Randall, whose projections were beautiful and atmospheric, with ingenious touches such as the fold-out telephones. Molly Fraser designed the stylish costumes. The dancing was cheeky and charming, and had some magical moments (choreography by Vicky Jukes). Musical director David Perkins and a lively little band kept everything going along briskly, and the singing was always full of commitment.

Yes, it probably helps to have an audience full of mums, grans, friends and other supporters, but that doesn’t detract from the sheer quality and attention to detail throughout this production. Special mentions for all, but especially Robyn Mirmak’s Fat Sam, Judy Kingaby and Anya Newall’s narrator-singers, and Cole Flaherty’s Fizzy, whose big solo was breathtaking.

As someone said as we came out of the theatre, “I didn’t want it to end – I just wanted them all to keep on singing!”