Taro Review

Jack Studio Theatre – until 16 February

Reviewed by Claire Roderick


When you leave a theatre and you and your companion, who can usually talk the hind legs off a donkey, can only whisper “wow” dreamily, then you know you’ve seen something special. Arrows & Traps’ Taro is visually and emotionally stunning.

Playing alongside the wonderful Gentleman Jack as part of the Female Firsts season, Taro tells the story of another remarkable and inspiring woman. Gerta Pohorylle was a German Jew who moved to Paris as Hitler rose to power, where she met Endre Freidmann, who introduced her to photography. The influx of refugees in France meant that Freidmann couldn’t get the jobs or credit he deserved, even with the canny Gerta acting as his agent. The pair invented the persona of Robert Capa, an American, and Gerta was soon able to demand much more from the publications and agencies. Gerda changed her name to Gerda Taro, and together they covered the Spanish Civil War until her death in 1937. With most of her work being attributed to Capa, Gerda’s name isn’t well known, but this magnificent play will surely encourage many to find out more about this incredible woman.

This has obviously been a labour of love for writer/director Ross McGregor and the Arrows, and every moment radiates class. Odin Corie, Ben Jacobs (lighting) Alistair Lax (sound), and Samuel Sim (music) have created a magical world hovering between movies and photography that perfectly matches the conceit of Greta Garbo (Beatrice Vincent) instructing Gerda (Lucy Ioannou) on how to portray her life as a movie. Ioannou glides around the stage, watching as Gerta (Cornelia Baumann) plays out her life in Paris and Spain, but constantly returns to scenes from her Jewish upbringing and confrontations with her father, which resolve themselves into warm memories as the play progresses. Baumann and Ioannou are mesmeric, with Baumann powerfully fierce and passionate as Gerta realises her ambitions, and Ioannou is ethereal and mystical as she voices McGregor’s more poetic lines, until her final emotion shredding scene with Endre (Tom Hartill) where everything is laid bare between them and the depth of his love for her is revealed. Vincent wafts around imperiously as Garbo, acting as puppeteer and purring fantastic one-liners.

The tableaux and movement the cast perform add another level to this production, with movement director Matthew Parker and mime choreographer Will Pinchin creating beautiful moments, both whimsical and devastating. Just sublime.

Valentine’s Day scary dates…

Join Minster FM at the York Dungeon for their ‘Scariest Dates’ speed-dating night

Thursday 14 February 2019 at 6.30pm

This Valentine’s Day, Minster FM is holding a speed-dating night with a difference! Join them at the York Dungeon for

Scariest Dates.

If Valentine’s Day fills you with horror then they’ve got a blind date for you with a terrifying twist.

If you are single, enter below and you could be joining Minster FM at the York Dungeon for their very special spooky speed dating evening on Valentine’s Night. Leave behind nightmare dates of the past, because Minster FM’s Scariest Dates at the York Dungeon could be a ticket to finding your dream date.

Registration takes place at York Dungeons reception where you will be given a badge with your first name on it and a score card, then your Minster FM hosts will give a short welcome and a brief explanation.

Half of the dates will sit in 8 rooms within the venue and then their dates will rotate from one room to the next after spending 5 minutes in the company of each person. Your Minster FM hosts will signal when it is time to move on. At the end of the event you will hand your score sheet to the host, having marked on it whether you would like to ‘ditch’, ‘date’ or ‘friend’.

At the end of all of the dates your Minster FM hosts will then let you know who you have best matched with.  You are then free to stay and enjoy the venue and chat with anyone else at the event as the Tavern bar will be open.

Each person will get a maximum of 2 free drinks (alcoholic or non-alcoholic).

Applicants must be over 18 years old.  To enter use the link below and complete the application form.


Applications close at Midnight on Sunday 3rd February 2019.

Do You Love This Planet? By Alexander Matthews At the Tristan Bates Theatre in London FULL CASTING ANNOUNCED

Do You Love This Planet?

By Alexander Matthews

At the Tristan Bates Theatre in London
27 February to 23 March 2019


Do You Love This Planet? by the playwright and philosopher Alexander Matthews will premiere at Covent Garden’s Tristan Bates Theatre in February 2019.  Directed by Antony Law with design by Adrian Gee, the play will star Christian James as ‘Alan’, Lucy Lowe as ‘Rachel’ and Chris Porter as ‘Schumann’. Do You Love This Planet will run from 27 February to 23 March

Do you really love this planet? Enough to be a whistleblower? Rachel’s life is torn apart when she demands an answer to these questions. But how far is she prepared to push her family in her quest to do ‘what is right’?

This new play, examines the importance of human responsibility on a declining planet, inviting audiences to question their own moral and social responsibility in an age of climate change and global warming.

Christian James’ stage credits include the UK tour of The Commitments and Bertie in H.R.Haitch (Union Theatre).  Lucy Lowe has appeared at The Lowry in The Lock In, The Lonely Clouds of Guernica and Eight and her film roles include film include Happiness in Retrospect, Winter Hill (Nominated best Actress at Top Indie Film Awards), Clubbed and Blood.  Chris Porter’s theatre credits include Romeo and Juliet (Kenneth Branagh Co), The Hypochondriac (Liverpool Playhouse and ETT), Victory (Arcola), Onysos the Wild (503 and Traverse), Tartuffe (Watermill), Saint’s Day and The Road to Ruin (Orange Tree Theatre), The Art of Success (Arcola) andThe Winter’s Tale and The Maid’s Tragedy (Shakespeare’s Globe).  On film he has been seen in Murder on the Orient Express (dir. Kenneth Branagh) and The Winslow Boy (dir. David Mamet).

Alexander Matthews was born in New York City in 1942.  He taught Philosophy in a number of universities between 1975 and 1989. In 1986 he was awarded a Visiting Fellowship to Princeton University. He has published several books and essays including ‘A Diagram of Definition’ and has written three plays including ‘Screaming Secrets’ and ‘Glass Roots’ which had their stage premieres at the Tristan Bates Theatre in Spring 2018.

Alexander Matthews had a privileged but haphazard upbringing into the literary world. His father, TS Matthews, was an author, biographer and journalist, and an editor-in-chief of Time Magazine.  Martha Gellhorn, his stepmother, was a notable author and war correspondent, and the third wife of Ernest Hemingway.  Their friends and associates, including Edmund Wilson, Adlai Stevenson and Robert Graves have had a marked influence on his work; his writings are renowned for focusing on the nuances and idiosyncrasies of human behaviour. 

Alexander has been the Chair of the Martha Gellhorn Trust Prize Committee for nearly 20 years.  Since its foundation in 1999, it has offered a prize for journalism, for the kind of reporting that distinguished Gellhorn: in her own words “the view from the ground”; a human story that sees through the established version of events to expose the unpalatable truth which lies behind official propaganda or conduct.  Past winners include Robert Fisk, Iona Craig and Robert Parry.  

Listings information:

Do You Love This Planet? 
Venue:                                 Tristan Bates Theatre, 1A Tower Street, London WC2H 9NP

Dates:                                   27th February to 23rd March 2019

Performance Times:       Tuesday-Saturday at 7.30pm

                                                Saturday at 2.30pm

                                                Sunday at 3.00pm

Tickets:                                 £18 (£15 concs); previews £12

Box office: 020 3841 6611 and online at www.tristanbatestheatre.co.uk

George Perrin and James Grieve announce that they are stepping down as Artistic Directors of Paines Plough


Ahead of launching their 10th annual programme of new plays on tour, George Perrin and James Grieve have announced that they are stepping down as Artistic Directors of Paines Plough. Since 2010, the pair have produced 45 World Premieres by writers such as Mike Bartlett, Penelope Skinner, James Graham, Sabrina Mahfouz and Vinay Patel, touring them to hundreds of villages, towns and cities across the UK and around the world.

Their playwright development initiative THE BIG ROOM, has launched the careers of a new generation of playwrights including Tom Wells, Kate Tempest and Zia Ahmed.

The pair revitalised small-scale touring whilst at the organisation and launched celebrated initiatives like Open Auditions to ensure that Paines Plough meets actors from all backgrounds across the whole of the UK.

In 2014, Perrin and Grieve built their own pop-up theatre ROUNDABOUT for Paines Plough to reach those communities least engaged with the arts, a pop-up space which is now recognised as a fixture of touring theatre across the country.

George Perrin and James Grieve said: “We are honoured to have been the custodians of this essential organisation and are proud to now pass it on to a new generation of artists and producers. It’s been a joy to travel the country and traverse the globe bringing the best new British plays to the doorsteps of our audiences. We’ll leave as we arrived: die-hard fans of the best new writing touring company in the world.”

Kim Grant, Chair of the Paines Plough Board of Trustees, said: “George and James have led Paines Plough through nine years of outstanding achievement, unrelenting progress and unforgettable theatre experiences for audiences across the UK. Throughout their stewardship the company has remained true to its roots as the leading national touring theatre company for new plays and with ROUNDABOUT now firmly established as a unique and sophisticated flexible  pop-up theatre space, they leave us and their successors a wonderful legacy.”

Programme 2019 will be announced later this week. James and George will leave Paines Plough in the summer to pursue new projects.

The board of Paines Plough will begin their search for new artistic leadership in February.

Cast announced for Boots at The Bunker | 19 Feb – 16 March 2019

The Bunker, 53A Southwark Street London SE1 1RU
Tuesday 19th February – Saturday 16th March 2019

Amanda Boxer (Mosquitoes, National Theatre; Blue Heart, Orange Tree/Tobacco Factory; The Arab Israeli Cookbook, Gate Theatre/Tricycle Theatre) and Tanya Loretta Dee (Eastenders debut; One Life Stand, Paines Plough; Offside, Futures Theatre) will star in Sacha Voit and Jessica Butcher’s Boots. This dynamic female-led production is a funny, heart-breaking adventure through forests, friendship and FemFresh that reveals the loneliness of age and the power of Mother Nature.

Boots is a story of personal revolution and rebellion following Liz and Willow as they meet in Boots and form a powerful cross-generational friendship. The production explores the understanding we can gain from putting ourselves in someone else’s shoes.

Using the environment and the amazing synergy and connectivity of different species of trees as a metaphor for our friendships, Liz and Willow come to realise that while they may come from different worlds their shared experiences connect them. When they learn that the local woods are to be cut down, the two women unite in attending a protest against the buzzing chain saws. Through their friendship they find the bravery they need to begin to feel rooted within themselves as they fully embrace their potential and find their own true voice

Boots questions what it means to be a woman and what it means to be a mother. Is it waxing and facials, or is it wiping bottoms and caring for the sick? Why, for so long, has it not been about adventuring round the world and making new discoveries? How have women learnt to silently oppress their desires, their hurts and their hungers? Women and mothers have been conditioned to endure in silence and suppress their personal desires in order to care for others; Boots offers them a story of consideration, time, trust and friendship.

Jessica Butcher comments, For me, Boots is a story of female friendship. Between two women. And also between all women. It is a story of self care and love for yourself and the world around us. The play holds many unspoken truths that have been silenced for thousands of years. It is a release, a celebration of the female voice. And that female voice is strong, sensitive, intelligent, chaotic, emotional and loud. This is a play about feelings, I believe the more we examine those feelings bravely and honestly, with an audience, the world becomes a kinder place.

Sacha Voit says, Boots is about the courage that kindness gives us to release ourselves from silence, because truthfully telling stories and being heard is the only thing that will heal and change the world. Kindness and friendship. Boots is about questioning and rebelling against our conditioning, our habits and repeated thoughts. And forging new connections. Only friendship, understanding and kindness can allow us true revolution within ourselves, and therefore, in wider society. Alone, we cannot change the world. Together, we can.

Through their shared love of trees, and their relationship to nature, Liz and Willow find a friendship that takes them to night vigils and burning protests.

A Wicked Cast Announcement For St Helens Theatre Royal As Linda Lusardi Confirmed To Play Wicked Witch In Easter Panto



Regal Entertainments are delighted to announce that star of stage and screen, Linda Lusardi,will join the cast of The Wizard of Oz when it comes to St Helens Theatre Royal this Easter.

The former Emmerdale and Brookside actress will play The Wicked Witch when this smash-hit production returns from Saturday 6 to Monday 22 April following sell out seasons in 2016, 2017 and 2018, as well as a hugely successful Merseyside tour in 2017.

Linda Lusardi’s career has spanned nearly 30 years.

She first shot to fame in the early 80’s as one of Britain’s best-loved models, before moving in to the world of television.

Her major TV roles include Carrie Nichols in ITV’s Emmerdale, where she murdered Tom King in one of the most memorable storylines of the year; Maggie Lyons in The Bill; Frankie in Brookside; and played herself in The Detectorists on BBC4.

Linda has also appeared on numerous successful reality shows including ITV’s Loose Women, Dancing on Ice 2008, Come Dine with Me and Celebrity Masterchef 2011.

Her leading stage roles include; Funny Peculiar, Bedside Manners, Not Now Darling, No Sex Please We’re British and Rock with Laughter.

No stranger to panto, she has played roles up and down the country since 1988. She received 5-star reviews in her latest production starring as The Wicked Queen in Snow White at The Playhouse Weston Super Mare which broke box office records.

Regal Entertainments’ reimagined version of this classic family tale includes a brand-new script and music for 2019 including lots of chart hits, old and new, for audiences to sing along to.

This high-value production will feature dazzling costumes and sets, show-stopping choreography and unbelievable special FX which audiences have come to know and love from all Regal Entertainments’ productions!

St Helens Theatre Royal manager, Chantelle Nolan said: “We are delighted to announce Linda Lusardi as our Wicked Witch – she has had such a prolific career and is a seasoned panto pro. I know audiences of St Helens will love her – when they’re not booing her that is.

“The Wizard of Oz is a real favourite with our audiences, and I am certain they will love this brand-new version which includes a new script and lots of wonderful new songs to sing and dance to.”

Click your heels together and join Dorothy and Toto as they journey along the Yellow Brick Road with new friends Scarecrow, Tin Man and Cowardly Lion, to meet the Wizard so he can make their dreams come true.

Get ready for a whole lot of family fun as this classic tale is reawakened.

For more information, please visit: www.sthelenstheatreroyal.com

Like us on Facebook:  www.facebook.com/St-Helens-Theatre-Royal

Follow us on Twitter: @TheatreRoyalStH


Regal Entertainments Ltd presents The Wizard of Oz

Dates: Saturday 6 April – Monday 22 April 2019

Times: Monday-Friday: 13:00 / Saturday and Sunday: 13:00 17:00

Tickets: From £13*

*All prices are inclusive of a £1 per seat transaction fee. On-line bookings are subject to an additional 50p per seat on-line processing fee.


Book in person at the Theatre Royal Box Office, Corporation Street, St. Helens, Merseyside WA10 1LQ (Mon – Sat 10am – 5pm). Alternatively, call 01744 756 000 or log on to:www.sthelenstheatreroyal.com.




Daniel Schumann, Lee Dean and Cambridge Arts Theatre

in association with Birmingham Rep present

Rebus: Long Shadows

By Ian Rankin and Rona Munro

Director: Robin Lefevre; Designer: Ti Green; Lighting Design: Chahine Yavroyan and Simon Bond
Composition and Sound Design: Garth McConaghie; Casting: Ginny Schiller CDG

On tour: 29 January – 16 March 2019

Daniel Schumann, Lee Dean and Cambridge Arts Theatre in association with Birmingham Rep today announce the additional venue of Rose Theatre Kingston to the successful UK tour of Rebus: Long Shadows. The productionwritten exclusively for the stage by author of the original novels, Ian Rankin and playwright RonaMunro toured from September to November 2018, and will tour to a further six cities, starting this week inGlasgow from 29 January. Then visiting CardiffCambridge and NewcastleBath before completing its run inKingston on 16 March.

Ron Donachie joins the cast as John Rebus. He is no stranger to the role having created the title role in all the BBC Radio dramatisations of the Rebus novels. He also played Deputy Chief Inspector Gunner in the Rebus TV series and Ser Roderick Cassell in Game of Thrones. Continuing in their roles are Dani Heron (Angela),Eleanor House (Heather/Maggie), Neil McKinven (Mordaunt), John Stahl (Big Ger Cafferty) and Cathy Tyson (Siobhan Clarke). 

Detective Inspector John Rebus is retired but the shadows of his former life still follow him through the streets of Edinburgh. Whisky helped but now he’s denying himself that pleasure. But when the daughter of a murder victim appears outside his flat, he’s back on the case and off the wagon.

Ian Rankin is the internationally bestselling author of the Inspector Rebus and Detective Malcolm Fox novels, as well as a string of standalone thrillers. His books have been translated into 36 languages and are bestsellers on several continents. Rankin has won multiple awards including four The Crime Writers Association Dagger Awards, and in 2004 received America’s celebrated Edgar Award. He is also the recipient of the OBE for services to literature.

Rona Munro has written extensively for stage, radio, film and television. Her theatre credits include The James PlaysScuttlersIron – which won the John Whiting Award, The Last Witch and Little Eagles. Her television credits include RehabBumping the Odds (BAFTA nomination), and Doctor Who; and for film, Ladybird Ladybirdand Oranges and Sunshine.

Robin Lefevre is an award-winning theatre director who has worked extensively in the UK, Ireland and the United States. He directed John Hurt in Afterplay, Arthur Miller’s All My Sons, and John Byrne’s first playWriter’s Cramp. On Broadway his credits include Brian Friel’s The Aristocrats which won him the New York Drama Desk Award for Best Director and George Bernard Shaw’s Heartbreak House. More recently he has worked on Duet For One at Birmingham Repertory Theatre and on tour, Ladies in Lavender at the Royal and Derngate and The Glass Menagerie at the Gate Theatre in Dublin.

Tour Dates

Glasgow Theatre Royal

29 January – 2 February

Box Office: 0844 871 7647


Cardiff New Theatre

5 – 9 February

Box Office: 029 2087 8889


Cambridge Arts Theatre

11 – 16 February

Box Office: 01223 503333


Newcastle Theatre Royal

25 February – 2 March

Box Office: 08448 112122


Bath Theatre Royal

4 – 9 March

Box Office: 01225 448844


Rose Theatre Kingston

12 – 16 March

Box Office: 02081 740090







Artistic Director of Sheffield Theatres Robert Hastie today announces the full casts for the debbie tucker green’s hang; and the world première of his production of the new musical Standing at the Sky’s Edge with music and lyrics by Richard Hawley and book by Chris Bush.

For hangTaio Lawson directs Diveen Henry (Three), Marianne Oldham (One) and Sid Sagar (Two). The production opens on 26 February, with previews from 21 February, and runs until 9 March.

For Standing at the Sky’s EdgeRobert Hastie directs Darragh CowleyNicole DeonLouis GauntAdam Hugill,Robert LonsdaleFela LufadejuMaimuna MemonJohanne MurdockDamian MyerscoughAlastair NatkielFaith OmoleDeborah TraceyRachael Wooding and Alex Young.          The production opens on 20 March, with previews from 15 March, and runs until 6 April.


A Sheffield Theatres Production


By debbie tucker green

21 February – 9 March 2019P

Cast: Diveen Henry (Three), Marianne Oldham (One) and Sid Sagar (Two)

Director: Taio Lawson; Designer: Rosanna Vize; Movement Director: Jenny Ogilvie; Lighting Director: Andy Purves; Sound Designer: Dan Balfour; Casting Director: Karishma Balani

‘You want to know my decision’

Nearly now; in a Britain with a radically altered legal system, a woman has made her choice. As the victim of a serious crime, she is in control of the perpetrator’s fate.

Searing and darkly humorous, hang explores morality and a sense of justice through the lens of one victim’s decision.

debbie tucker green is a writer-director and works across theatre, television and film. Her theatre credits include a profoundly affectionate passionate devotion to someone (noun)hangtruth and reconciliation and random (Royal Court), nut (National Theatre) and generations (Young Vic). The film version of random, which she adapted from her stage play and directed for Channel 4, won the BAFTA for Best Single Drama in 2012. Debbie’s first feature film Second Coming won the International Film Festival Rotterdam 2015 Big Screen Award and was BAFTA nominated. She has written and directed several radio plays including an adaptation of Assata Shakur’s biography Assata Shakur – the FBI’s Most Wanted Woman, as well as original work including lament – winner of a gold ARIAS award, gone and freefall.

Diveen Henry plays Three. Her theatre work includes Hamlet (Barbican), Cape (Unicorn Theatre), Helen(Shakespeare’s Globe), The Comedy of Errors, Twelfth Night (RSC), Guts, Sunburn, Out of It, Trying It On, The Carnival King, Stories of War, Get Away from Me (Royal Court Theatre) and The Darker Face of Earth(National Theatre). For television, her work includes Temple, Death in Paradise, Bliss, No Offence, Apple Tree Yard, From the Cradle to the Grave, Dumping Ground, Count Arthur Strong, Coming Up, Misfits andLuther; and for film, Dreams of a Life, London River, Hell’s Pavement and Grown Your Own.

Marianne Oldham plays One. Her theatre work includes A Monster Calls, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead (The Old Vic), The Argument (Hampstead Theatre), The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas (Chichester Festival Theatre), Sons Without Fathers (Arcola Theatre, Belgrade Theatre Coventry), You Can Still Make a Killing (Southwark Playhouse) and The Real Thing (ETT). For television, her work includes A Very English Scandal, The Living and The Dead, Life in Squares, Obsession, The Musketeers and The Crimson Field; and for film, Finding Your Feet, Absolutely Anything, Silent Girl and Titus.

Sid Sagar plays Two. His theatre credits include White Teeth, The Invisible Hand (Kiln Theatre), Julius Caesar(Bridge Theatre), Queen Anne (RSC/Theatre Royal Haymarket), The TempestCymbelineThe OresteiaThe Taming of the Shrew (Shakespeare’s Globe), Treasure (Finborough Theatre), The History Boys (UK tour), True Brits (HighTide/Edinburgh/Bush Theatre),and Eternal Love  (Shakespeare’s Globe & English Touring Theatre). His television work includesPress, Strike: Career of Evil,The Hollow Crown and The Lost Honour of Christopher Jefferies; and for film, Eaten By Troll, Murder on the Orient Express, Karma Magnet

Taio Lawson directs. He is Resident Assistant Director at Sheffield Theatres (part of the Regional Theatre Young Director Scheme). For Sheffield Theatres, Assistant Director credits include Love and Information, Frost/Nixon, The Wizard of Oz and Desire Under The Elms. As Director credits includeHow To Make Love To A Muslim Without Freaking Out (Rehearsed Reading, Bush Theatre), Face in a Jar (St Paul’s Furzedown Church/Rhoda McGaw Theatre), What We Are, 90’s Kid (ETC Theatre), Gutted ‘n’ Battered (UK/International Tour) and Sexy Buff Ting (Cockpit Theatre). As Assistant Director credits include Life of Galileo, Sizwe Banzi Is Dead (Young Vic),OIL, They Drink It in the Congo (Almeida Theatre), Octagon (Arcola Theatre) and Perseverance Drive (Bush Theatre). Lawson is also a patron for COMMON which is a non-profit arts organisation which exists to support the UK theatre industry in achieving greater socio-economic diversity, and make theatre more accessible to the working-class; whether they be artists, audiences or communities.  


A Sheffield Theatres Production

World Première


Music and Lyrics by Richard Hawley

Book by Chris Bush

15 March – 6 AprilP

Cast: Darragh CowleyNicole DeonLouis GauntAdam HugillRobert LonsdaleFela LufadejuMaimuna MemonJohanne MurdockDamian MyerscoughAlastair NatkielFaith OmoleDeborah TraceyRachael Wooding, and Alex Young.

Director: Robert Hastie; Designer: Ben Stones;Choreographer: Lynne Page

Musical Supervisor: Tom Deering; Musical Director: Will Stuart; Lighting Designer: Mark Henderson

Sound Designer: Simon Baker; Casting Director: Stuart Burt CDG

“Tonight the streets are ours”

Park Hill. To the dreamers who designed it, it’s a streets-in-the-sky paradise for the workers of a great city. To successive governments, it’s a symbol of everything they’d rather ignore. To the people who live there, it’s home. With a soaring score combining new and classic songs by Richard Hawley, Standing at the Sky’s Edgetells the story of three families through 60 turbulent years in a heart-swelling, heart-breaking love song to Park Hill, Sheffield’s concrete utopia, where there’s ‘hope hung on every washing line’.

Richard Hawley is synonymous with his native city of Sheffield. He has released eight studio albums over the last 16 years with two being nominated for the Mercury Music Prize. He is also a Brit nominee and received a South Bank award in 2007. Over the years Richard has become as well known for his guitar playing as his singing and has dueted with Tom Jones, Nancy Sinatra and Shirley Bassey, and also having played with Arctic Monkeys, Elbow, Paul Weller, Manic Street Preachers and Pulp, the band he played guitar with for a number of years. Best known for his mix of classic songwriting, soothing vocals and northern grit realism, Richard is something of a unique artist in British popular music; being able to cross boundaries from one musical style to another whilst keeping intact his own strong identity.

Chris Bush is a Sheffield-born playwright, lyricist and theatre-maker. For Sheffield Theatres, her credits includeSteel, What We Wished For, A Dream and The Sheffield Mysteries. Other work includes Pericles (National Theatre) and The Changing Room (NT Connections 2018) The Assassination of Katie Hopkins (Theatre Clwyd – Best Musical UK Theatre Awards), A Declaration from the People (National Theatre), Larksong (New Vic Theatre), Cards on the Table (Royal Exchange Manchester), ODD (Royal & Derngate concert performance), Sleight & Hand (Summerhall and BBC Arts), TONY! The Blair Musical (York Theatre Royal and UK tour), Poking the Bear (Theatre503) and Wolf (National Theatre Studio reading).

Darragh Cowley plays Gary. Cowley graduated from Guildford School of Acting in 2018. His theatre credits include Spring Awakening (Hope Mill Theatre) and Snow White (London Palladium).

Nicole Deon plays Connie. Her theatre work includes Dreamgirls (Savoy Theatre), The Wind in the Willows(London Palladium and UK tour) and Mack and Mabel (Chichester Festival Theatre and UK tour).

Louis Gaunt returns to Sheffield Theatres to play Kevin  – he previously appeared in Kiss Me, Kate. His theatre work includes Oklahoma! (Grange Park Opera – The Stage Debut Award for Best Actor in a Musical), Sweet Charity (Nottingham Playhouse) and Dick Whittington (London Palladium). For television, his work includesStrictly Come Dancing and The Entire Universe.

Adam Hugill plays Jimmy. He recently graduated from LAMDA and this marks his professional stage debut. His television work includes Pennyworth and World on Fire; and for film, How To Stop a Recurring Dream and The Banishing.

Robert Lonsdale plays Harry. For theatre his credits include A Lie of the Mind (Southwark Playhouse), Plaques and Tangles, Open Court: Piigs and Brilliant Adventures (Royal Court Theatre), Another Place (Plymouth Theatre Royal), From Here to Eternity (Shaftesbury Theatre), A Life (Finborough Theatre), Anna Christie (Donmar Warehouse), Finding Neverland (Curve, Leicester), La Bete (Harold Pinter Theatre) and The Indian Wants the Bronx (Young Vic). For television his credits include Vera, Chewing Gum, Love Sick, The Interceptor, Lost Christmas, A Passionate Woman, Plus One and Decisions; and for film, The Glass House.

Fela Lufadeju plays George. His theatre work includes Guys and Dolls (Manchester Royal Exchange), Room(Theatre Royal Stratford East and Abbey Theatre), The Importance of Being Earnest (Birmingham Rep and Curve Leicester), Beautiful (Aldwych Theatre) and Dessa Rose (Trafalgar Studios).

Maimuna Memon plays Nikki. Her theatre work includes Into the Woods (Manchester Royal Exchange), The Busker’s Opera (Park Theatre), Lazarus (King’s Cross Theatre), Jesus Christ Superstar (Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre) and The Assassination of Katie Hopkins (Theatr Clywd). Most recently she performed in, and composed the score and lyrics for, Electrolyte (Edinburgh Fringe and forthcoming UK tour).

Johanne Murdock plays Vivienne. For theatre, her credits include Leave to Remain (Lyric Hammersmith), King Lear (Duke Of York’s Theatre), Toy Boy Diaries (Hope Mill Theatre), Duffy Beats The Devil (Acorn Theatre, Penzance), The Other Shakespeare (Anne Hathaway’s House and Oxford), Julius Caesar, Wind In The Willows, Taming Of The Shrew, Macbeth, Long Live, Richard III, Merry Wives Of Windsor, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Hamlet (Guildford Shakespeare Company) and The Comedy Of Errors (The Globe on Tour). For television, her work includes Hollyoaks, Holby City, EastEnders and Obsession Dark Desires; and for film, My Mother, Postcards From London, Being and Kayleigh’s Love Story.

Damian Myerscough plays Charles, Trevor, Seb, Workman. For theatre, his work includes Romeo and Juliet(HOME Manchester), A Bunch of Amateurs (The Watermill Theatre), Mamma Mia! (international tour), A View From the Bridge (Bolton Octagon), The Play What I Wrote, Arsenic and Old Lace (UK tours), Driving Miss Daisy(Oldham Coliseum) and Night Swimming, A Christmas Carol, Oedipus, Treasure Island, The Tempest, Abigail’s Party and The Count of Monte Cristo (Nuffield Southampton Theatres). For television, his work includesPhoneShop, Missing, Gunpowder Plot, Ivanhoe and Out of the Blue; and for film, Charlotte Gray, Jeremiah and The Man Who Knew Too Little.

Alastair Natkiel plays Marcus. For theatre, his work includes Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown(Playhouse Theatre), Strangers on a Train (Gielgud Theatre), Shrek the Musical (Theatre Royal Drury Lane), The Go Between (Trafalgar Studios), After the Blue (Jermyn Street Theatre), and Closer than Ever, Early Birds andOur Boys (Edinburgh Fringe). For television, his work includes Line of Duty and The Marchioness Disaster; and for film, Mad to be Normal and The Innocent.

Faith Omole plays Joy. Her theatre work includes An Ideal Husband (Classic Spring Theatre Company at the Vaudeville Theatre), Jack and the Beanstalk (Lyric Hammersmith), Bushmeat (HighTide), Twelfth Night (Royal Exchange Manchester), The Rolling Stone (Orange Tree Theatre and Manchester Royal Exchange) and Walk in the Light (National Theatre). For television, her work includes Endeavour; and for film, Dumpee and He Loves Me.

Deborah Tracey plays Grace.  Her theatre work includes Red5, Alice’s Adventures Underground (Les Enfants Terribles), Fever (Birmingham Rep), A Mad World My Masters (RSC), The Last Women (Belgrade Theatre Coventry), as well as writing and performing in her own work Death of a Beauty Saleswoman and Fades, Braids and Keeping It Real. Her television work includes Obsession and Fee Fi Fo… Yum; and for film, Absolutely Fabulous and Patient Zero.

Rachael Wooding returns to Sheffield Theatres to play Rose – she previously appeared in A Chorus Line and My Father’s Son. For theatre her work includes Fat Friends the Musical, Wonderland, Evita, Footloose (UK tours), We Will Rock You (Dominion Theatre), Street of Dreams (Manchester Arena), Jersey Boys (Prince Edward Theatre), Bright Lights, Big City (Hoxton Hall), Hairspray (Shaftesbury Theatre), Saturday Night Fever (Apollo Theatre) and Fame (Aldwych Theatre). For television, her work includes Girlfriends; and she was a semi-finalist on Britain’s Got Talent in 2016.

Alex Young returns to Sheffield Theatres to play Poppy – she previously appeared in Show Boat (also New London Theatre) and Anything Goes (also UK tour). Her other theatre work includes Me and My Girl (Chichester Festival Theatre), Follies (National Theatre), Carousel (ENO), Promises Promises (Southwark Playhouse), Bette Midler and Me (The Gilded Balloon), I Can’t Sing (London Palladium) and High Society (UK tour).

Robert Hastie’s recent productions as Artistic Director of Sheffield Theatres include A Midsummer Night’s Dream, The York Realist (co-production with the Donmar Warehouse – Evening Standard Theatre Award nomination for Best Director), The Wizard of OzOf Kith and Kin (co-production with Bush Theatre) and Julius Caesar. Previous directing credits include Macbeth (Shakespeare’s Globe), Breaking the Code (Royal Exchange Manchester), Henry V (Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre) and Cat on a Hot Tin Roof (Theatr Clwyd). As an Associate Director of the Donmar Warehouse, his work includes My Night with Reg by Kevin Elyot (Donmar Warehouse/West End – Best Newcomer nomination at the Evening Standard Theatre Awards, and Best Revival nomination at the Olivier Awards) and Splendour by Abi Morgan. His other directing credits include Carthageand Events While Guarding The Bofors Gun (Finborough Theatre), Sunburst (Holborn Grange Hotel), Sixty-Six Books (Bush Theatre) and A Breakfast of Eels (Print Room).

Sheffield Theatres                                                                                                                                    Listings

Crucible Lyceum Studio 55 Norfolk Street, Sheffield, S1 1DA                              

Box Office 0114 249 6000 –Mon – Sat 10.00am to 8.00pm

On non-performance days the Box Office closes at 6.00pm.


Vampires Rock Review

Grand Opera House York Friday 25th January 2019

Reviewed by Michelle Richardson


Steve Steinman once again hit the Grand Opera House York, with his rocktastic musical concert, Vampires Rock on Friday, as part of his spring tour. For the past 15 years this show has been touring, with the promise of guitar Gods and sexy vampettes, playing to over a million people. Attracting an army of loyal fans he must be doing something right.

I have previously seen Vampires Rock, so I knew what to expect, well sort of. This version tells the tale of Baron von Rockula, fed up, after 300 years, with his Vampire Queen (special guest star, former X Factor winner Sam Bailey). He’s on the hunt to find a new virginial wife and as usual, it is up to his ever faithful sidekick Bosley (John Evans) to deliver the victim. Innocent Roxy Honeybox (Hayley Russell) is the prey, set upon by the Baron and his loyal group of sexy vampires. Obviously where there are vampires there has got to be Van Halensing (great 80’s reference there), hunting the Baron down.

The band, The Lost Boys, were excellent again, with local boy Henry Bird getting a bit of attention from the audience, enjoying the York guitarist strutting his stuff. All the musicians (Bird, Jamie Hiscox, Zoe Parr, Pete Dean and Andy Preston) are outstanding, playing and singing with such passion throughout the whole show. They played some great, classic rock anthems from the 80’s, including tracks from Joan Jett, Queen, Journey, Guns n Roses, and of course Meatloaf. Meatloaf is where it all started with Steinman, after an appearance on Stars in Their Eyes. I’ve just had a look on YouTube to see if I could find the appearance, and yes I did, a bit grainy but it’s there, great vocals, not sure about that dodgy ponytail though. I’m glad to say that the hair has now all gone and it’s a vast improvement.

Evans as Bosley, is the perfect foil for Steinman, they share great chemistry. I was glad to see that he was still strutting his stuff in his zebra print leggings with blue pvc pants on top, whilst rocking The Final Countdown.

Dancers and vocalists Russell, Trixi Bold and Victoria Jenkins do a terrific job, dripping with sex appeal. Sam Bailey is really the icing on the cake, her powerhouse vocals and interaction with Steinman is a wonderful addition to this tour. Her portrayal as Queen Vampire is a match for the Baron that is for sure.

There was quite a bit of audience interaction with Steinman delivering one liners outside the supposed script, and by the end of the night all of us were up on our feet dancing and singing away, though I did refrain from jumping to Van Halen. It was great to see all the variation in ages, the youngest that I saw must have only been about 7, complete with headphones, though it didn’t stop him boogying away with his massive red foam hand, and all the different costumes scattered around the theatre.

This vampire pantomime rock concert is still barking mad, but that is why it is so good. It really is corny and cheesy, with a panto feel to it, but it is more than that, it’s a musical extravaganza, packed with exhilarating energy. This is the second time that I’ve seen Vampires Rock, slightly re-vamped, and it is still as fresh, cheesy and thoroughly entertaining as I remembered, even more so with Sam Bailey’s vocals. This is a real fun night out and, as my plus one said, they should prescribe this show on the NHS, it really makes you feel so good, you forget about your worries, aches and pains.

Steinman will be coming back to the Grand Opera House York in May with his brand new show, Anything for Love, the Meatloaf story, so make a date in your diary and get booking, we definitely will!

No Show Review

Soho Theatre – until 9th February 2019

Reviewed by Elizabeth Smith


No Show, directed by Ellie Dubois, is any thing but that. It is a great show depicting the years of training a person has to go through to become a circus performer. Who knew you could get a degree in the discipline.

With wit and extreme talent the five female performers take you on a journey form the initial circus performance with big smiles and “ta-da” arms to the reality of how these performers learn their trade and explain the possible dangers of the skills they perform. With a slip or a wobble leaving them flat on their faces, to bruises and broken bones, if not worse.

Kate Mc William describes how female performers have to contend with the sexist attitude of males in the industry, who get to perform the dynamic moves while the girls show off the splits. She then shows us just what these girlies can do with hands free cartwheels, over and over again, trying to beat a world record, leaving the audience dizzy from the spectacle.

Camille Toyer, an imp of a girl, takes on the Cyr Wheel, that looks like it weights a ton. She spin’s herself all over the black box stage with such grace it looks easy, to the free fall to the ground, as the wheel spins out like a twisting penny.

Alice Gilmartin tries to introduce herself to the audience but is silence each time by her fellow performers to show the world how good she is at hand stands. Not up against the wall like most of us tried in childhood, but suspended on two or one pole, while contorting her body into different shapes.

Francesca Hyde, plays the accordion and then swings from her hair while being balanced by a large barrel of water. The sequence enhanced by her troupe mates dancing out of the way of this swinging pendulum that could knock them into next week.

Michelle Ross performs the final death defying trapeze act, while the audience holds it breath, with great humour.

These girls are incredible strong but as graceful as any contemporary dancer.

A fantastic spectacle of skills, opening our eyes to the hardships and camaraderie of the troupe.