Cuba’s international hit music and dance show Pasión de Buena Vista to tour the UK for the first time in 10 years

Cuba’s  international hit music and dance show
Pasión de Buena Vista
to tour the UK for the first time in 10 years

All the way from Havana comes Cuba’s award-winning international hit music & dance show Pasión de Buena Vista, featuring a stunning 17-piece ensemble of incredibly talented musicians, singers and dancers.

The highly skilled and stunningly rhythmic 12-piece ‘The Buena Vista Band’ renowned throughout Cuba and the Latin music community, combine with celebrated Cuban dance troupe ‘El Grupo de Bailar’ to present this unique and exhilarating stage show, transporting audiences on a journey through the streets and night clubs of Havana to an era of real Cuban musical life via an array of the island’s most iconic dances, including the irresistible Salsa, Mambo, Cha-cha-cha, Danzón and Bolero.

Merging Cuba’s old traditions with the island’s new musical influences, the show moves and blends between evoking the atmosphere of a sultry Havana Jazz club; and the energy, exuberance and heat of a legendary Havana Cabaret show via the traditional Cuban traditional street festival party; all reflecting the rich culture of Cuba. More like a vacation to the island than just a concert, which explains why Pasión de Buena Vista has been enjoyed by more than 800,000 people at over 800 shows across 35 different European countries alone.

Fronting the show is Musical Director and lead vocalist Pelayo Oxamendi. A music graduate of the  University of Havana, Pelayo worked with the legends Compay Segundo, Ibrahim Ferrer, Omara Portuondo, Ruben Gonzalez and Pio Leyva from the iconic Buena Vista Social Club.

The show’s incredible production values add further to the steamy atmosphere, including stunning backdrops and over 150 suitably flamboyant tailor-made outfits, befitting of the show’s celebration of Cuba’s cultural heritage and invigorating, life-affirming spirit.  

The vibrant music and natural rhythm of Cuban people, exquisite costumes and elaborate choreography are sure to keep you entertained all night.


“Hot, passionate, authentic and energetic – sensational music, vocals, incredible rhythms and dancing”
The Times

“A Cuban piece of Soul –  Pasión de Buena Vista presents old tradition with new Dance and Musical influences of the island smouldering with passion”
El Mundo, Spain

“Pasión de Buena Vista rocks with Cuban magic. The very best in Cuban and Latin Music and
spectacular dance.”
London Evening Standard


Wednesday 28 February
St David’s Hall

Thursday 29 February
The Anvil

Friday 1 March
The Forum

Saturday 2 March
De La Ware Pavilion

Sunday 3 March
The Hexagon

Tuesday 5 March
Pavilion Theatre

Wednesday 6 March
The Alban Arena

Thursday 7 March
The Churchill Theatre

Friday 8 March
Town Hall

Saturday 9 March
The Lighthouse

Sunday 10 March
Tyne Theatre & Opera House

Falstaff – Opera North Review

Leeds Grand Theatre – until 18th November 2023

Reviewed by Dawn Smallwood


Opera North’s new Green Season is underway with its first performance of Falstaff at the Leeds Grand Theatre. Verdi’s Falstaff is a three-act comedic opera which was first premiered in 1893 in Italy and performed by Opera North for the very first time in 1997. This is Verdi’s only comedic opera with the libretto adapted by Arrigo Boito and based on Shakespeare’s The Merry Wives of Windsor and some scenes from Henry IV.

Set during the reign of Henry IV with a modern and contemporary twist of the 1980s, the story is about Sir John Falstaff (Henry Waddington), an overweight knight, whose mission is to seduce two married women in order for him to acquire their husbands’ wealth. However, the wives, Alice (Kate Royal) and Meg (Helen Évora) receive each Falstaff’s love letter, identical ones, and they decide to punish him alongside Ford (Richard Buckhard) Alice’s husband, who undercovers Falstaff intentions. There is also Nannetta (Isabelle Peters), Ford and Alice’s daughter, and Fenton (Egor Zhuravskii) who are in love with each other. However, Ford disapproves and wants Nannetta instead to marry Dr Caius (Paul Nilon) because of his wealth and reputation.

The plot unravels throughout with panic and chaos reducing in Falstaff being hidden in the laundry basket and is thrown in the river at the conclusion of Act Two. At the beginning of Act III, Falstaff, after being dunked in the river, laments his vulnerability and the injustice against him and seeks comfort in drinking. The story then builds up again when the characters dress up again as supernatural creatures to punish Falstaff once and again and that Ford ensures that Nannetta is married to Dr Caius. The scenes and characters have some resemblance to Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream.

With further confusion and chaos, it ends with Falstaff having the final laugh and concluding that everything in the world, probably everyone too, is a jest, foolhardy. Like all Shakespeare’s comedies it all ends well with the cast reiterating Falstaff’s statement with a fugue, ‘Life is a burst of laughter.’

Verdi’s diverse musical ingenuity is rhythmically and harmonically sounded and played throughout with a wide range of musical instruments, which creates the perfect ambience for this comedic opera. A stupendous performance from the cast with support from the Opera North chorus. The standout performance must be Henry Waddington’s portrayal of Falstaff. Waddington superbly engages exquisitely and with authority the role of Falstaff personifying his egoistical, mischievous and comedic behaviour which entertains the audience from beginning to end.

Opera North, lead by Leslie Travers, inspiringly uses sets and backdrops from previous productions for this one. A notable feature is the acquisition of a second hand 1970s caravan, locally sourced, and how curating this is a pivotal role for Falstaff’s abode in the first couple of acts. Another feature is the use of the antlers for a prop in the Third Act which were shed naturally by local deer and depicting ‘Herne the Hunter’ with its horns which Falstaff disguises as. The sustainable staging is supported by Paule Constable and Ben Pickersgill’s aesthetic lighting.

Under the excellent direction of Olivia Fuchs and musically by Garry Walker, Falstaff is an outstanding production and is supported with a talented performance and a sustainable staging which both live up to Opera North’s Green Season and towards a green future in the theatre industry.









·        Wish You Weren’t Here: A new play by Katie Redford directed by Theatre Centre Artistic Director Rob Watt (Human Nurture, Birds and Bees) about growing up, single parenthood and finding your way in the world as women. Co-produced by Sheffield Theatres and Theatre Centre.

Wednesday 24 January – Saturday 10 February 2024 then touring

·        Lines: Created by Junaid Sarieddeen, John Rwothomack, Fidaa Zidan and Alexandra Aron with additional writing by Asiimwe Deborah Kawe, this new play asks what connects five prisons over five decades in Uganda, Palestine, and the UK? A look through the bars of post-colonial life as told through stories in these diverging yet parallel worlds. Co-produced by Sheffield Theatres and Roots Mbili Theatre.

Tuesday 27 February – Saturday 9 March 2024


·        The CrucibleProduced by Sheffield Theatres and staged in the iconic Crucible Theatre by Associate Artistic Director Anthony Lau (Miss Saigon, Anna Karenina). Arthur Miller’s timeless masterpiece based on the true events of the infamous Salem witch trials.

Saturday 2 – Saturday 30 March 2024

Robert HastieArtistic Director of Sheffield Theatres, said: 

With this new season of shows, we are delighted to share with audiences bold new work in the Playhouse, and a timeless classic on our Crucible stage.

The Playhouse continues to offer our audiences thrilling new writing and theatrical adventures. Headlining our spring season are a mother and daughter trip to the seaside and a journey into the lives of prisoners around the world.

It’s always a joy to welcome back Theatre Centre who make brilliant work for younger audiences, as we co-produce a third production with them in their 70th anniversary year. Wish You Weren’t Here by Katie Redford  tells the story of a teenage girl and her mother on a hilarious holiday in Scarborough, including highs, lows, and uncomfortable truths, and plays in both the Playhouse and in schools around the city.

Lines is an international collaboration developed by Sheffield-based Roots Mbili, and we are proud to support this trailblazing company as they build on the success of John Rwothomack’s devastating 
Far GoneLines interweaves stories post-colonial life through the bars of five prisons across the globe.

Then, Anthony Lau, our Associate Artistic Director, directs Arthur Miller’s classic The Crucible. Miller’s greatest play and the Crucible theatre are made for each other, and not just for the obvious reason that they share a name.

Miller’s epic story of the Salem witch trials gathers us together in the public forum of the theatre to bear witness to the consequences of allowing fear and dishonesty to govern our society. Staged by the team that made Sheffield Theatres fizz with their dazzlingly creative takes on Anna Karenina and The Good Person of Szechwan, this promises to be unmissable.

Tom Bird, Chief Executive of Sheffield Theatres, said:

“Sheffield Theatres continues to thrive -we’re delighted that our summer production of Miss Saigon was attended by over 35,000 people, and that over 30% of audience members were new to our theatres. Our autumn productions, The Hypochondriac and We Could All Be Perfect, are opening this month and will delight and inspire in equal measure. Elsewhere, Life of Pi has begun its national tour; Accidental Death of an Anarchist enjoyed a barnstorming end to its limited run in the West End; and we can’t wait for Standing at the Sky’s Edge to kick off its own West End run in February. Meanwhile, our extraordinary Learning and Participation work continues in schools and community settings right across the city, and our Talent Development programme nurtures Sheffield’s creatives of the future.

We’re looking forward to a bumper family Christmas, with our pantomime Beauty and the Beast in the Lyceum, and White Christmas in the Crucible – followed by the spring season of brand-new shows announced today.”

In addition to new shows in 2024, Sheffield Theatres have a broad range of productions across their three venues. In the Playhouse We Could All Be Perfect is commissioned, developed and produced by Sheffield Theatres. Thisnew play by Doncaster writer Hannah Morley and directed by Ruby Clarke is a furious and funny exploration of whether teenage girls will save the world and asks if they should have to. Until Saturday 14 October 2023

In the Crucible, Roger McGough’s celebrated adaptation of Molière’s The Hypochondriac is produced by Sheffield Theatres and staged by director Sarah Tipple. This witty satire proves that laughter really is the best form of medicine. Saturday 30 September – Saturday 21 October 2023

This festive season Sheffield Theatres will present a new production of Irving Berlin’s White Christmas staged on the iconic Crucible stage and directed by Paul Foster (Talent, Kiss Me, Kate and Annie Get Your Gun). This classic feel-good musical for all the family features the songs Blue SkiesSisters and the festive favourite White Christmas. Saturday 9 December 2023 – Saturday 13 January 2024.

In the Lyceum theatre in December, Sheffield Theatres and Evolution Pantomimes will stage the family pantomime Beauty and the Beast. Panto legend Damian Williams returns for his 16th year and stars alongside Duncan James (Blue) as Danton and Jennie Dale (CBeebies’ Swashbuckle) as Fairy.Friday 8 December 2023 – Sunday 7 January 2024.

Beyond Sheffield, the Olivier Award-winning new musical which started life at the Crucible Theatre and wowed audiences at the National Theatre, Standing at the Sky’s Edge, transfers to the West End’s Gillian Lynne Theatre from Thursday 8 February 2024. Written by Chris Bush with the music of Richard Hawley and directed by Robert Hastie,

Two hit shows which also started life in the Crucible Theatre are entertaining audiences around the UK with the Olivier and Tony Award-winning stage adaptation of Life of Pi, continuing its UK and Ireland tour throughout 2023 and into 2024, lifeofpionstage.comand the West End hit musical, which was originally developed by Sheffield Theatres, Everybody’s Talking About Jamie continues to delight audiences around the UK into 2024

Sheffield Theatres also continues to host some of the UK’s best touring plays, musicals and dance.

Visiting the Crucible this year:

Theatre Re presents The Nature of Forgetting on Wednesday 31 January – Thursday 1 February. Tom is living with young onset dementia. We meet him as he prepares for his 55th birthday party and past memories come flooding back. Following sold-out performances across the globe, Theatre Re brings its explosive, powerful and joyous piece about what is left when memory is gone, back to the UK.

Join David Suchet for Poirot and More: A Retrospective on Friday 2 February. For over 25 years David Suchet captivated millions worldwide as Agatha Christie’s Poirot. Meet the actor behind the detective and the many characters he’s portrayed over a career spanning five decades. This retrospective will have you witness some of his most beloved performances in a new and intimate light.

The Lyceum will host a number of touring productions, both new and returning:

The winner of the Blue Peter Book Award and the Waterstones Children’s Book Prize, The Boy at the Back of the Class is brought to life on stage from Tuesday 5 – Saturday 9 March. Ahmet’s classmates hatch a plan to reunite him with his family. An unexpected and often hilarious adventure follows, with a terrific twist.

English Touring Opera bring a season full of big city temptations with new productions of two landmark operas. The dramatic and moving Manon Lescaut by Puccini, directed by Jude Christian, plays on Monday 11 March, then Stravinsky’s brilliantly inventive The Rake’s Progress, directed by Polly Graham, plays on Tuesday 12 March.

Croft House Theatre Company presents Andrew Lloyd Webber’s award-winning musical, Sunset Boulevard from Tuesday 19 – Saturday 23 March, featuring the unmistakable classic songs, With One LookAs If We Never Said Goodbye and The Perfect Year. An amateur production by arrangement with The Really Useful Group Ltd.

Join Bluey, Bingo and Mum and Dad Bandit and Chilli with Bluey’s Big Play from Wednesday 27 – Saturday 30 March. A brand-new theatrical adaptation of the Emmy® award-winning children’s television series, join the Heelers in their first live theatre show in the UK. Featuring brilliantly created puppets, this is Bluey as you’ve never seen it before, brought to real life.

From Tuesday 2 – Saturday 6 April, Northern Ballet’s Romeo and Juliet tells the ultimate tale of forbidden love; of two young people who risk everything to be together. Adapted by Christopher Gable and Massimo Moricone from Shakespeare’s masterpiece, Romeo and Juliet is one of Northern Ballet’s most beloved and critically acclaimed productions – and it’s making a long-awaited return to UK stages next spring.

Alfred Hitchcock’s classic spy thriller The 39 Steps is hilariously recreated for the stage in this smash-hit Olivier and Tony Award-winning comedy. Follow the incredible adventures of our handsome hero Richard Hannay, complete with stiff-upper-lip, British gung-ho and pencil moustache as he encounters dastardly murders, double-crossing secret agents, and, of course, devastatingly beautiful women. Four fearless actors. 139 roles. 100 minutes of fast-paced fun. From Tuesday 30 April – Saturday 4 May.

On Tuesday 7 MayMiles Jupp presents On I Bang. Since Miles’ last tour finished at The London Palladium in 2017, he’s been in The Full Monty on Disney Plus, The Durrells and Why Didn’t They Ask Evans?  as well as many episodes of Frankie Boyle’s New World Order and Have I Got News For You. His new show is a tale about surprise, fear, luck, love and qualified medical practitioners.

Cluedo, the hilarious whodunit is back on stage with a new mystery, new house, new suspects, and lot of new bodies with Cluedo 2: The Next Chapter! If you’re a fan of the game or enjoyed the hysterical first play – you’re gonna love this! If you missed the first Cluedo, it doesn’t matter – this is a brand new story – for all age groups – so come and have some fun – you’ll love it too! From Tuesday 14 – Saturday 18 May.

Join Alex the Lion, Marty the Zebra, Melman the Giraffe, Gloria the hip hip Hippo and those hilarious, plotting penguins as they bound out onto stage in the musical adventure of a lifetime: Madagascar the Musical! Based on the smash DreamWorks animated motion picture and filled with outlandish characters, adventure galore and an upbeat score, you’ll have no choice but to ‘Move It, Move It!’From Wednesday 22 – Saturday 25 May.

It’s big… it’s bright… it’s a brand-spanking new production of ‘the original showbiz musical’42nd Street! The iconic song-and-dance spectacular featuring a hit parade of toe-tapping songs including 42nd StreetWe’re In The Money, Lullaby of Broadway, Shuffle Off To Buffalo and I Only Have Eyes For You. A timeless and inspiring showbiz fairy tale that combines breath-taking tap dance routines, backstage intrigue, classic romance and delightful comedy to dazzling effect. It’s simply irresistible! Running from Tuesday 28 May – Saturday 1 June.

Based on Khaled Hosseini’s international bestselling novel, The Kite Runner returns to Sheffield from Tuesday 4 – Saturday 8 June.This haunting tale of friendship spans cultures and continents and follows one man’s journey to confront his past and find redemption. The unforgettable theatrical tour-de-force returns to the UK direct from Broadway.

Written by Kay Mellor and directed by Gaynor FayeThe Syndicate runs from Tuesday 11 – Saturday 15 June. Five supermarket employees’ lottery syndicate numbers come in, just as their jobs and livelihoods are under threat. Will a share of the £18million jackpot make their dreams come true or their nightmares a reality? A moving comedy drama based on the first series of the hit BBC TV show, The Syndicate.

Based on the award-winning 80s film which starred Richard Gere, An Officer and a Gentleman runs from Monday 17 – Saturday 22 June. A timeless story of love, courage, and redemption, be part of the emotional journey of Zack Mayo, a fearless young officer candidate, and the captivating Paula Pokrifki, whose fiery spirit matches his own. Their encounters ignite a spark that transcends boundaries, awakening a passionate love that defies all odds. Featuring the songs of Madonna, Bon Jovi, Cyndi Lauper, Blondie, and many more.

Tim Rice and Andrew Lloyd Webber’s award-winning production of Jesus Christ Superstar runs from Monday 24 – Saturday 29 June. A global phenomenon that has wowed audiences for decades is set against the backdrop of an extraordinary series of events during the final weeks in the life of Jesus Christ, as seen through the eyes of Judas. Reflecting the rock roots that defined a generation, the legendary score includes ‘I Don’t Know How to Love Him’, ‘Gethsemane’ and ‘Superstar’.

Winner of four Olivier Awards including Best New Musical in London and the Tony Award for Best Direction of a Musical on Broadway, Come From Away makes its Sheffield debut from Tuesday 9 – Saturday 20 July. This smash hit show shares the incredible real-life story of the 7,000 air passengers from all over the world who were grounded in Canada during the wake of 9/11, and the small Newfoundland community that invited these ‘come from aways’ into their lives with open hearts.

The crowning glory of Broadway, the West End and beyond, the international smash hit SIX the Musical makes its royal return to Sheffield from Tuesday 23 July – Sat 10 August following its previous sell-out success! From Tudor Queens to Pop Princesses, the six wives of Henry VIII take to the mic to tell their tales, remixing five hundred years of historical heartbreak into an 80-minute celebration of 21st century girl power.

Pretty Woman: The Musical comes to Sheffield from Monday 23 – Saturday 28 September. Hollywood’s ultimate rom-com is “a dazzling stage show” (Daily Express), starring Amber Davies and Ore Oduba. Direct from the West End, this smash-hit musical is the perfect show for dates and mates, this feel-good love story for the ages guarantees a big night out. Big. HUGE!

Ready to raise a little hell? Winner of Best New Musical (WhatsOnStage Awards 2023), the West End smash-hit Bonnie and Clyde comes to Sheffield from Tuesday 8 – Saturday 12 October. Two small-town kids from the middle of nowhere became the biggest folk heroes in all America. They craved adventure—and each other. Their names were Bonnie and Clyde. Starring Catherine Tyldesley (Coronation Street), Danny Hatchard (EastEnders), Katie Tonkinson (Bat Out of Hell) and Sam Ferriday (The Cher Show).

The international musical phenomenon Hairspray swings back into Sheffield from Monday 14 – Saturday 19 October. Vivacious heroine Tracy Turnblad has big hair, a big heart, and big dreams to dance her way onto Baltimore TV and into the heart of teen idol Link Larkin. This fun-filled, feel good show is bursting with show-stopping numbers, dazzling costumes, and dizzying dance-routines that you can’t help but shimmy too! 

The Very Hungry Caterpillar Show runs from Thursday 31 October – Saturday 2 November, having dazzled audiences around the globe for over seven years by faithfully bringing to the stage Eric Carle’stimeless classics. Created by Jonathan Rockefeller, leap onto the page and join an unforgettable journey full of whimsy, nostalgia, and one very hungry caterpillar.

It’s electrifyin’! Grease is back from Tuesday 12 – Saturday 16 November. After a whirlwind summer romance, leather-clad greaser Danny and girl-next-door Sandy are unexpectedly reunited when she transfers to Rydell High for senior year. But can they survive the trials and tribulations of teenage life and find true love once more?

Over in the Playhouse, touring productions include:

Howerd’s End on Tuesday 6 February. Frankie Howerd was one of Britain’s most loved comedians. But he had a secret, and his name was Dennis. This play by Sheffield-born Mark Farrelly explores their relationship.

Join Little Bear and Dad Bear for Can Bears Ski? on Wednesday 7 February, as they learn how there are many ways to find your place in the world. Based on the book by poet Raymond Antrobus.

Luna Loves Library Day The Musical plays onSaturday 17 February. Go on an adventure among the library shelves in this exciting new musical for families. Based on the book by Joseph Coelho and Fiona Lumbers.

China Plate and Staatstheater Mainz present A Family Business. How do ordinary people communicate about urgent issues? A show that explores the hidden threat of nuclear weapons. Created and performed by Chris Thorpe. Running Monday 19 – Tuesday 20 February.

James Rowland’sPiece of Work on Saturday 30 March is aremarkable road trip mixing music, comedy and storytelling to paint a picture of our country in all of its beauty, grime, pain and kindness.

Get Involved

Alongside Sheffield Theatres’ own productions, dazzling tours and up-and-coming shows, you can develop creativity and learn more with a dynamic range of activities and events:

Teachers can take part in a wealth of education engagement opportunities. From young people working with industry professionals, to teachers joining the Sheffield Theatres Educators Party (STEP), Sheffield Theatres aims to support teachers in delivering the curriculum while developing creative opportunities for young people.

Showcasing the creativity of our communities, in our buildings and across the city, Sheffield Theatres co-create arts projects in community settings and welcomes participants from Sheffield to experience shows, workshops and events. Join Come to Ours; free monthly creative drop-in sessions on the last Tuesday of every month, where you can meet the friendly team.

For those looking to be involved in performance, Sheffield People’s Theatre (SPT) is Sheffield Theatres’ intergenerational company for anyone aged 12+ with a shared passion for being involved in great theatre both on and off stage. Launchpad is a group for adults aged 18 plus with learning disabilities and/or Autism to take part in fun and engaging skills development and theatre workshops. The Young Company is for anyone aged 18–25 who is looking to develop a career in the creative industries, offering skill development workshops in preparation for a production in the Playhouse.

Tickets for all newly-announced shows go on sale to Centre Stage Members at 10am Saturday 7 October 2023 and on general sale at 10am on Saturday 14 October 2023. Tickets for all 2023 productions are on sale now.

Accessible performances are available on the majority of productions. Tickets can be booked through the Box Office in person, over the phone on 0114 249 6000 or at

Macbeth Review

Northern Stage Newcastle until 7th October and then various other venues until February 2024

Reviewed by Sandra Little


This new production of Macbeth is set in the present day and is described in the publicity material as, “a play that speaks to the world we find ourselves living in now.” It is a co production between Northern Stage, English Touring Theatre, Shakespeare North Playhouse and Theatre de la Ville de Luxembourg.

The setting for most of the play is a 1970s living room, possibly in an apartment and there are few changes to this set throughout the production. There is also a kitchen and bathroom, a large dining table, chunky television and drinks cabinet on stage. The setting has quite a sparse feel and most of the stage has few props. The use of technology to enhance the setting works well and is used effectively.

The play does not begin with the witches as might be expected, but instead we are introduced to a modern version of Lady Macbeth (Laura Elsworthy) who is waiting for the return from battle of her husband. On his return, Macbeth (Mike Noble) shares with his wife the predictions from the witches and so the plotting to ensure Macbeth becomes King begins. After an evening of partying Duncan (Ross Waiton) is the first of several people to be murdered!

As anyone who has ever seen or studied Macbeth will know, life for Macbeth and Lady Macbeth becomes increasingly troubled as they allow themselves to be obsessed with power. The modern version of this well known play is generally true to the original script, however there are deviations that I simply could not understand or see the need for. A disco ball and a karaoke disco song from Malcolm (Jasmine Elcock) seemed to have little relevance other than to provide some light entertainment. Presenting the witches in blonde wigs and gingham frocks also left me feeling confused, as did Duncan rising from a shroud to become Banquo’s murderer!

If I were to nominate my favourite actor from this performance I would choose Leo Wan who plays Ross, a thane who delivers news of bravery and murders to various other characters. His approach was often lighthearted and funny and he was able to engage with the audience.

Whilst I must confess that the combination of ancient and modern didn’t work for me the play was performed to a full house and applause from the audience at the end was warm and appreciative.







SuperYou Musicalstarring Lucie Jones (Wicked/Waitress/Les Miserables/X-Factor), is an uplifting musical, written and composed by Lourds Lane, that centers around the transformative journey of a comic book artist who discovers self-love and her own voice as her superheroine creations spring to life. It will make its West End debut, in a concert version, at the Lyric Theatre for one performance only on 15 November 2023.

The musical’s score is a dynamic rock soundtrack that seamlessly incorporates a wide range of musical styles, including pop, hip hop, swing, blues, gospel, country, and soulful power ballads.

By delving into themes of discovering inner strength, while fostering acceptance, inclusivity, and celebrating kindness, both towards others and, crucially, oneself, SuperYou is conveyed through poignant dialogue and modern, instantly memorable music, making it a tale that feels particularly relevant and timely in today’s world.

Creator, Lourds Lane, says, “There are no words to express how thrilled I am for audiences to experience a little taste of the music and story of SuperYou performed by Lucie Jones and the rest of our showstopping London cast.  But I think what excites me the most, is meeting the fans – the ones who rushed the stage at last year’s Musical Con, the ones who have been posting covers of themselves singing our music for the last three years, the ones who send us comic book art of our superheroes, and those diehards who travel far and wide to see us at every show.  This concert is our first big London launch, and I can’t wait to meet the “SuperYoumans” who feel inspired to come out to see us here at the Lyric first before our anticipated West End-run next year.

Initially planned for an off-Broadway debut, SuperYouwas the first theatrical production to perform during the pandemic, performing concerts on socially distanced pick-up trucks at a drive-in, in upstate New York. These pandemic concerts garnered national and international attention, and a film was later released as a popular documentary on Broadway on Demand.

During the pandemic, while many shows stopped activity and shut down, SuperYougained what Playbill calls “a substantial cult following” for its online content and concept album of demos with over 23 million views on TikTok. #FANCOVERFRIDAY emerged as fans worldwide created their own SuperYoumusic renditions, a trend continuing for three years.

Due to its online popularity and viral videos, SuperYou quickly sold-out Carnegie Hall in July 2022. The musical continued its success with a critical and audience- acclaimed developmental production at Skylight Music Theatre in Milwaukee in June 2023. Following their impressive debut at London’s Musical Con last year, SuperYouwill be back at Musical Con again this year.

Tickets to the SuperYou Concert at the Lyric are available here:

SuperYou has book/music/lyrics and arrangements by Lourds Lane, direction and choreography by JoAnn M. Hunter, music supervision and arrangements by Wendy Bobbitt Cavett, projection design by Caite Hevner, lighting design by Charlie Morgan Jones, sound design by Justin Teasdale and is produced by Melissa M. Jones / All Awesome with general management by Anthology Theatre Productions. Casting by Pearson Casting.

Shock Horror Review

Churchill Theatre, Bromley – until Saturday 30 September 2023

Reviewed by Elizabeth Smith


I am not a fan of horror movies and haven’t watched one for decades, they scare me! So on
reading the synopsis of Shock Horror I wasn’t looking forward to the play. Well, how wrong could I be.

Set in the derelict Metropole cinema the scene is set for a terrifying tale of a dysfunctional family and the inevitable outcome for a young boy who grew up in this unsettling situation.
Herbert, Alex Moran, is closeted in a decaying building with a father, Joseph Carter, who is
obsessed with horror films and a mother, Chloe Proctor, who is struggling with reality. The only relatively sane influence is a priest, Chris Blackwood, his Mother introduces to exorcise the venue of the evil she sees at every angle.

Herbert is locked away from the real world and explores the cinema via the walls to watch the tales of murder and mayhem unfold when he should be alone in bed. The priest suggests he be sent away to school but his parents are opposed to his leaving. So the darkness in the walls becomes his only play mate.

We watch the horror of his upbringing come to light when he returns to the cinema as an adult to finish his tale of what went on.

With references, including props from many unforgettable horror films, a musical score that has you sat on the edge of your seat from the opening bars, to the sound of voices and movement all around you it is truly a tense immersive experience not to be missed.

With four outstanding performances I must congratulate Alex Moran on his energy as he carries the play as if performing a monologue. The chilling screams from Chloe Proctor have the hairs on the back of your neck stand up. Joseph Carter conveys his fleeting concerns for Herbert with empathy and disregard in equal measures. Chris Blackwood performs, as would be expected from a horror film, a creepy priest who’s intentions seem questionable.

For the whole performance you are suspended in a tense arena waiting for the next unsettling thing to occur. Thanks to the sound design of Beth Duke, composer Ben Parsons and lighting design by Joe Price and illusions form John Bulleid and Sam Upton.

If you are a horror buff and a fan of feeling unsettled this is the show for you



Today (Friday 29 September), Executive Producer Joe Hisaishi and the Royal Shakespeare Company (RSC), in collaboration with Improbable and Nippon TV, announce the full company for the multi-award-winning stage adaptation of Studio Ghibli’s My Neighbour Totoro which will return to the Barbican theatre for a strictly limited run from Tuesday 21 November 2023 to Saturday 23 March 2024.

Mei Mac will reprise her Olivier and WhatsonStage Award-nominated performance as Mei Kusakabe with Ami Okumura Jones returning as older sister Satsuki, Dai Tabuchi in his role as Tatsuo and Jacqueline Tate as Granny.

Also returning as Kazego Puppetry ensemble are; Boaz ChadJasmine ChiuAndrew Futaishi (Hiroshi), Matthew LeonhartArina Ii (Miss Hara), Yojiro IchikawaSi RawlinsonMark Takeshi Ota and Shaofan Wilson.

Joining them are; Jessie BaekJasmine BayesKa Long Kelvin Chan (Kanta), Elizabeth ChuAnna KatoHeather LaiAmanda Maud (Nurse Emiko), Yuki NittaBright OngEmily Piggford (Yasuko), Daniel PhungGun Suen and Naomi Yang (Tsukiko).

The global stage premiere of Hayao Miyazaki’s celebrated 1988 animated feature film, adapted by Tom Morton-Smith (Oppenheimer), was first announced in April 2022 and broke the Barbican’s Box Office record for most tickets sold in a single day. The production opened at the Barbican in October last year, where it received both critical and audience acclaim, winning six Olivier Awards, five WhatsOnStage Awards and the Critic’s Circle Awards for Best Design.

Directed by Improbable’s Phelim McDermott with production design by Tom Pye, costume design by Kimie Nakano, lighting design by Jessica Hung Han Yun, and movement by You-Ri Yamanaka. Puppetry design and direction is by Basil Twist, created with puppetry associate Mervyn Millar’s Significant Object and the Jim Henson Creature Shop.

The production features music from Joe Hisaishi’s iconic score in a new orchestration by Will Stuart, performed by live musicians including singer, Ai Ninomiya, with sound design by Tony Gayle. Video design is by Finn Ross and Andrea Scott. Casting Director is Hannah Miller CDG. Associate Director is Ailin Conant.

Artwork for the stage adaptation of My Neighbour Totoro includes a hand drawn title by Toshio Suzuki, Producer for Studio Ghibli, who was involved in the planning and production of the original animated film.

This enchanting coming-of-age story explores the magical fantasy world of childhood and the transformative power of imagination, as it follows one extraordinary summer in the lives of sisters Satsuki and Mei.

In order to be closer to their mother while she recovers from an illness in a rural convalescent hospital, their father moves the family to the countryside. As the girls explore their beautiful new surroundings, Mei encounters magical creatures and the ancient protector of the forest she calls Totoro.

Although Satsuki doesn’t believe her little sister at first, they are soon both swept up in exciting adventures with their new neighbours – transported to a long-forgotten realm of spirits, sprites, and natural wonder.

Black Sabbath – The Ballet Review

Birmingham Hippodrome – until 30 September 2023

Reviewed by Courie Amado Juneau


Black Sabbath – The Ballet, Credit: Johan Persson/

Black Sabbath and ballet seem like unlikely bedfellows. So left-field a concept that it made the show irresistible, especially given the approval and collaboration of original Sabbath band members, particularly guitarist Tony Iommi who was very closely involved.

The ballet falls into three acts. Act 1:“Heavy Metal Ballet” showcased ballet’s barrier breaking qualities whilst also presenting Birmingham to the world as a culture capital, through the music of Black Sabbath. From the darkness emerge our first troupe of dancers as Ozzy’s voice rings out with the opening lines of War Pigs. I really enjoyed Marc Hayward’s role as “Guitar Spirit”. Not only was his playing masterful (since he had a lot of interaction with dancers onstage) but the Gibson SG is synonymous with the band, so having it up there was like welcoming an old friend.

The stage’s darkness was almost a performer in its own right; it was certainly a presence! Perhaps a metaphor for Heavy Metal, 1970’s Birmingham, Sabbath themselves… During the show light boxes descended displaying iconic images from the band’s history. Minimal staging, but very apt with black and white being the predominant colours.

Birmingham Royal Ballet is world renowned for a reason and tonight’s performance showed why. The choreography was mostly modern with a smattering of more classical steps, giving something to please everyone. The “eternal kiss” (two dancers locked at the lips for an extended dance sequence) was just one highlight of a surprisingly romantic feeling work, in which the entire company brought unbounded passion and energy.

Act 2: “The Band” was even better than Act 1. I loved the voice overs from the original band members and Sharon too. Set against a backdrop of neon “strings”, it was subtle and perfectly pitched to concentrate the attention on the story of the band’s formation.

The music was superb throughout, giving us some of the band’s original music (both pre-recorded and newly orchestrated) as well as brand new material inspired by Sabbath’s songbook. A perfect way to pay homage to the band’s legacy past and present. Act 3: “Everybody Is A Fan” was the absolute pinnacle, beginning with all the dancers in the 70’s Sabbath t-shirts making this final act really vivid (seeing all those colours after the largely monochrome earlier acts was inspired!). The Guitar Spirit reappeared and eventually all the dancing groups assemble for the finale. The kitchen sink was thrown at this final act (including an impressive Demon atop an overturned car), making a powerful impact. To top it all off Tony Iommi himself appeared with guitar, joining the orchestra for the climax song “Paranoid”. The roof came off the place. I understand that this was a special guest appearance rather than being a nightly occurrence, so we were extra privileged to witness this. Everyone deserves enormous praise for putting this ballet together, not least Director Carlos Acosta as the driving force behind it’s conception. On the way home Black Sabbath was blasting out of the speakers and I was looking forward to future Birmingham Royal Ballet shows, all the while feeling proud of England’s second city. Job very much done! A wonderful show I cannot recommend highly enough.





Set beneath the brick rail arches of Manchester’s 53Two, one of few independent theatre venues remaining in Manchester (themselves in need of vital funding to continue their excellent work) sits the industrial, starkly lit, and smoke-filled stage. Two dominant screens showing rapidly changing, non-linear footage on a loop. This is Red Brick Theatre’s bold and fearless production of Simon Stephen’s fractured portrait of Britain in 2005 from the winning Olympic 2012 bid up to the aftermath of the 7/7 bombings.

Aptly set within Manchester’s own vastly burgeoning city centre, where it seems, the fast pace and homogeneous tone of city life is consuming our city, it feels right to explore the disparate voices of our citizens during this time, who all share a common theme; These are fractured people.

Pornography’ is written as a series of monologues and duologues by seemingly unconnected individuals, which can be interspersed randomly. It is uncomfortable viewing, as Stephen’s intended it to be. Deftly directed by Oliver Hurst we see, amongst others, the angst of a state school teenager, struggling to cope with adolescence lust for his teacher, and a dysfunctional home-life, spouting neo-Nazi ideology. A lonely widower past her ‘best before’ date and suffering the beginnings of dementia. Siblings twisted in incestuous misdirection. A man driven to a desire to destroy. It begs the question; in a Nation intent on growing rapidly, dominating the global market both politically and financially, Progressing for progress’ sake. Are we failing our citizens by creating such divisions and desires that will ultimately destroy us?

Standout performances from Isobel Ford, Matthew Haywood and Issac Radmore, particularly the latter, who, had to contend with a technical hitch meaning he was stopped mid-monologue whilst they re-set. Hats off to him for handling the situation with grace and composure.

What is most striking to me is the company’s successful use of multimedia, often a distraction in theatre, and yet every image, soundscape and video carefully complimented the action.

The use of a movement coordinator is well spent. With the cast crisscrossing the space in a purposeful hyper walk. Often over-lapping each other, gives the impression of a busy city centre. A slick transition into passengers on a tightly packed tube gives a chilling effect as we hear one of the 7/7 bombers, walk us through his movements on the lead up to exploding his bomb.

Red Brick Theatre describe themselves as a collaborative Manchester-based theatre company with a commitment to telling stories in an innovative way, through varying mediums. This show did not disappoint.







Fresh from a hugely successful tour of Australia and the US, Emmy, Golden Globe, Critics Choice and Screen Actors Guild Award-Winner Darren Criss will make his West End debut at the iconic London Palladium on October 15th. Due to overwhelming public demand an extra 2.30pm performance has been added to the previously announced 8pm show.

Tickets go on sale at 10am on Friday 29 September

Criss will perform the hits of his career with his own four-piece band and special guests, Starkid’s Lauren Lopez and Joey Richter.

Musical fans get ready – this is a night you’ll never forget.

Darren Criss is a multi-award-winning actor, singer, and songwriter. Darren is best known for his portrayal of Andrew Cunanan in The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story, for which he won a Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Limited Series or Movie, and for his leading role of Blaine Anderson in Glee.

He rose to prominence as a founding member of StarKid Productions, a theatre production company based in Chicago, playing the role of Harry Potter in, and co-writing music and lyrics for, their musical production of A Very Potter Musical.

A talented, multi-hyphenate artist, Darren has released a critically acclaimed EP, Human, and made his Broadway Debut replacing Daniel Radcliffe in the revival of How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying, and his feature film debut in the comedy Girl Most Likely with Kristen Wiig, Annette Bening and Matt Dillon. Other screen credits include Royalties, Muppets Haunted Mansion, and Hollywood. He also performed at the 57th Presidential Inauguration for President Obama, First Lady Michelle Obama, Vice President Joe Biden and Second Lady Jill Biden.

Darren is also an advocate for LGBT rights and is the recipient of Variety’s Power of Youth Philanthropy Award for his contributions to the Trevor Project.

The London Palladium

Sunday 15 October 2023 @ 2.30pm & 8pm

To Sign Up for Ticket Access:

Public on sale 10am Friday 29 September

Image attached.

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