The Producers Review

Grand Theatre, Leeds – 8 June 2015

The musical version of Mel Brooks film The Producers arrives in Leeds this week.  Its sheer wonderful lunacy.  Irreverently disrespectful, it’s also incredibly funny

Telling the story of Max Bialystock (Cory English) and Leo Bloom (Jason Manford)  who set out to produce a sure fire flop on Broadway and they hope “Springtime for Hitler” is the show to do it for them.

I’m not a fan of ‘stunt’ casting for the sake of it but doubters need not worry that this has been ‘star’ casting for easy ticket sales –  Manford has a background in musical theatre, and treads the boards like seasoned pro. His vocal ability was extremely admirable, pleasing vibrato and with a range not often heard in untrained singers. He can sing, he can dance, he can act and his American accent was flawless.

Ross Noble’s mad-as-a fish portrayal of Franz Liebkind is a comedy billiance. His derranged eyes, love of pigeons, adoration of Hitler and maniacal disposition are hilarious.  Threatening to shoot the Musical Director (Andrew Hilton) whilst showing the correct way to perform Haben Sie Gehört Das Deutsche Band is sheer genius

But its not just the ‘names’ who shine in this show.  Cory English is the undisputed star of the show.  He wrings every considerable comic moment out of Max Bialystock, the sly old producer with a gift for romancing pensioners.  In an energy-filled tour de force performance Betrayed, in the second Act, is quite superb.

Roger De Bris, is The Worst Director in Town and playing him superbly was David Bedella. Appearing on stage for the first time looking like Shirley Bassey, camp and entertaining, David really came into his own during the second half showstopper Springtime For Hitler where he strutted, pouted and minced his way through World War 2, fantastic.

Stephane Anelli as Carmen Ghia was outrageous and Tiffany Graves as Ulla almost stole the show with her performance of If You’ve Got It Flaunt It where she managed to change bikini apparently hands free, in full view yet out of site whilst still singing!

Lee Proud’s dance routines are excellent as the cast goose-stepped and danced in their jackboots while four massive ‘sieg heil’ saluting arms being raised from the wings was ingenius.

Featuring a riotous mix of eccentric characters and the all-time classic song Springtime For Hitler, The Producers is not just a camp extravaganza but is a huge musical triumph.

In Leeds until Saturday 13th June and on tour around the UK



Florence and the Machine

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**** Q

**** The Times

**** Evening Standard

***** Timeout

“a joyful return” 8/10 NME

“Florence’s finest hour of all” **** DIY

“Florence is clearly ready to soar once again” **** MOJO

‘How Big How Blue How Beautiful’, Florence’s third critically acclaimed album was released this week to top the UK album chart, selling more than the rest of the top 5 combined, topping the charts in 24 other countries and are currently on course to have their first Number One album in the USA.

Now Florence + the Machine announce their return to the stage with their first full UK tour since March 2012. September will see them embark on a 12 strong string of dates which will take them across the country including one night in Newcastle at the Metro Radio Arena on Tuesday 15th September 2015. The tour will follow a big festival season for Florence + the Machine who are set to play big slots at Glastonbury, Splendour In The Grass, Electric Picnic amongst others.

Tickets priced from £35 subject to service and processing fee are on sale Friday 12th June from 9am & available from:-

Credit Card Booking and Information Line 0844 493 6666

The Metro Radio Arena Newcastle Box Office (Mon – Fri: 10.00am 4.00pm, Sat: 11.00am – 2.30pm)

Internet Site:- /

Group Bookers should call (0191) 260 6006

Accessibility bookings should call (0191) 260 6066 for further details.




Following a sell-out UK and Ireland tour and two hugely successful runs at Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre, To Kill a Mockingbird returns to London from 24 June until 25 July 2015 at the Barbican.Robert Sean Leonard will be reprising the role of Atticus Finch exclusively at the Barbican.

Robert Sean Leonard is a Tony award-winning American actor and is best known for playing Dr. James Wilson in the Fox television series House and Neil Perry in the 1989 movie Dead Poets Society. Having frequently performed on and off Broadway since 1986, To Kill a Mockingbird at Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre in 2013 marked Robert’s critically acclaimed return to the London stage for the first time in 22 years.

The full cast of To Kill A Mockingbird includes Christopher Akrill (Boo Radley), Geoff Aymer (Reverend Sykes), Victoria Bewick (Mayella Ewell), David Carlyle (Nathan Radley/Mr Gilmer), Natalie Grady(Maudie Atkinson), Jamie Kenna (Heck Tate), Susan Lawson Reynolds (Calpurnia), Zackary Momoh(Tom Robinson), Ryan Pope (Bob Ewell), Christopher Saul (Walter Cunningham/Judge Taylor) andConnie Walker (Stephanie Crawford/Mrs Dubose). Jemima Bennett, Ava Potter and Rosie Boore will share the role of Scout whilst Harry Bennett, Tommy Rodger and Billy Price will share the role of Jem. The role of Dill Harris will be shared by Leo Heller, Connor Brundish and Milo Panni.

Directed by Timothy Sheader, To Kill a Mockingbird originally opened Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre’s 2013 season to critical acclaim and sell-out performances. Due to popular demand, the production then returned for two weeks to conclude the 2014 season at the Open Air Theatre before embarking on a highly successful UK and Ireland tour in 2014/15. Proving its success across every art form, the 1960 novel was awarded the Pulitzer Prize, followed by the film adaptation in 1962 which won three Oscars out of the eight it was nominated for. Harper Lee’s much anticipated second novel Go Set a Watchmanwill be released in July 2015.

To Kill a Mockingbird is produced by Regent’s Park Theatre Ltd, Fiery Angel, Adam Spiegel and William Village.



24 June – 25 July 2015
Barbican Theatre

Regent’s Park Theatre Ltd, Fiery Angel, Adam Spiegel, William Village present
the Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre production of
To Kill a Mockingbird
Adapted for the stage by Christopher Sergel
Based on the novel by Harper Lee

Press night: Thursday 2 July 2015
Monday – Saturday 7.30pm
Matinee performances (Thurs & Sat) 2.30pm

Tickets £19-45
Premium seats £60
Schools £16 plus 1 free teacher with every 10 pupils, Monday to Thursday
Young people £15 ticket to 18-25 year olds who are members of the Barbican’s scheme
Groups £10 off top price for groups of 10 or more, Monday to Thursday

Box Office: 020 7638 8891
Online Booking:

Director Timothy Sheader
Designer Jon Bausor
Composer Phil King
Original Movement Naomi Said
Movement Director Polly Bennett
Lighting Designer Oliver Fenwick
Sound Designer Ian Dickinson for Autograph
Casting Director Lucy Jenkins CDG and Sooki McShane CDG
Casting Director (children) Jessica Ronane CDG
Dialect Coach Majella Hurley
Resident Director Paul Foster
Assistant Designer Rebecca Brower

Tony Award-Winning Play in Leeds









The National Theatre’s production of The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time was one of the big winners at last night’s prestigious Tony Awards® held at the Radio City Music Hall in New York (7 June 2015), winning five awards – Best Play – Simon Stephens, Best Direction of a Play – Marianne Elliott, Best Performance by a leading Actor in a Play – Alex Sharp as Christopher Boone, Best Lighting Design of a Play  – Paule Constable and Best Scenic Design of a Play  – Bunny Christie and Finn Ross.


The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time started life at the National Theatre’s Cottesloe Theatre in 2012, transferred to the West End in 2013 (winning seven Olivier Awards) and is now simultaneously running at the Gielgud Theatre in London’s West End, on Broadway at the Ethel Barrymore Theatre and is on a major tour of the UK and Ireland coming to Leeds from Tuesday 25th to Saturday 29th August.


Marianne Elliot, who won the award for Best Direction of a Play said:


‘I’m absolutely thrilled and honoured that we have won  five Tony Awards, and that our show has been as embraced by audiences in New York, as it has been in London and on this amazing tour of the UK and Ireland, which has been thrilling audiences since it began late last year. When we first started working on this show we had no idea whether there would be an audience for it.  We were all working outside our comfort zones,  all trying to do something we believed in utterly but which meant taking risks. It was incredible to see the audience at the National Theatre, then for that to grow in to the West End.  To have even the slightest idea that it would go to Broadway, let alone to win these awards is incredible”

Simon Stephens, who accepted the award for Best Play alongside the entire producing team added: ‘It’s been an incredible collaboration and the fact the show has been received this well in New York means the world to me.’

Paule Constable, who won the award for Best Lighting Design of a Play commented:   ‘Winning the Tony for Best Lighting for Curious is completely overwhelming.  Curious is a celebration of collaboration – between all of us as a creative team – and with the audiences and community of Broadway.  The way they have taken this show to their hearts is life-affirming.  I am so proud of what we all achieved – of the whole company – and of all the people who convinced us that this could work and help to steer us.  We had no idea we would end up here!’


Bunny Christie, who received the award for Best Scenic Design for a play, alongside fellow Scott Finn Ross said: ‘The success of this show could never have happened without the teams at The National Theatre and I am really proud of this big wonderful company.’   Finn Ross added: ‘For the show to be taken on board like this is an incredible honour and I am deeply touched.’

The production has been hugely successful during this year’s Broadway theatre awards season in New York, also winning 5 Outer Critics Circle Awards, including Outstanding New Broadway Play and 6 Drama Desk Awardsincluding Outstanding Play. 

Christopher, fifteen years old, stands beside Mrs Shears’ dead dog.  It has been speared with a garden fork, it is seven minutes after midnight and Christopher is under suspicion. He records each fact in a book he is writing to solve the mystery of who murdered Wellington.  He has an extraordinary brain, and is exceptional at maths while ill-equipped to interpret everyday life.  He has never ventured alone beyond the end of his road; he detests being touched and distrusts strangers.  But his detective work, forbidden by his father, takes him on a frightening journey that upturns his world.

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time comes to Leeds Grand Theatre from Tuesday 25th to Saturday 29th August

Tickets are on sale now priced from £18.50 to £35.

Book on-line at or call box Office on 0844 848 2700


The Producers in Leeds



Based on Mel Brooks’ beloved Academy Award winning movie, The Producers is a hilarious musical comedy that has taken Broadway and the West End by storm, winning a record-breaking 12 Tony Awards and 3 Olivier Awards; it comes to Leeds Grand Theatre bringing with it two great Northern comedians.

The Producers UK Tour 2015 - Jason Manford as Leo Bloom and company - photo credit Manuel HarlanRoss Noble joins forces with fellow comedian Jason Manford and a sterling cast including Cory English, David Bedella, Tiffany Graves and Stephane Anelli.

Impoverished by a string of flops, New York producer Max Bialystock (Cory English) recruits downtrodden accountant Leo Bloom (Jason Manford) to help him pull off Broadway’s greatest scam. Together they aim to produce the worst show ever and run away to Rio with millions, but they learn that Show Business can always find a way to kick you in the teeth.

Ross said of his role; “I am very excited about appearing in The Producers. I am a huge fan of the show and for anyone who loves comedy, the chance to perform the work of Mel Brooks is amazing!”

Jason said; “I’m so thrilled to be starring in my favourite musical of all time. Mel Brooks is a genius and I’m so excited to be playing the iconic role he created. The show is a riot of laughs from start to finish.”

Featuring a riotous mix of eccentric characters and the all-time classic song ‘Springtime For Hitler’, The Producers is the funniest Broadway musical of all time.

Mel Brooks said; “It’s brilliant to see ‘The Producers’ being brought to life again with this new production.”

The Producers is at Leeds Grand Theatre from Monday 8th to Saturday 13th June 2015.

Tickets are on sale now priced from £18.50 to £40.

Book online at or call box Office on 0844 848 2700.

An Evening of Burlesque Review

Empire Theatre, Sunderland – 5 June 2015

I had no idea what to expect when see Burlesque for this first time, but I was soon amazed and in awe of what I saw.  Its most definitely not stripping.  Its artistic, talented and relies on both suggestion and imagination in making the performances work so well.

Dance troop the Folly Mixtures dazzle with outstanding dance routines and individual performances show what true talent is.  A fire dance routine adds some thing a bit different and Storm Hooper’s stunning routine with hula hoops truly needs to be seen to be believed.

The show is broken up with a very funny comedy performance from Peter Antoniou – a psychic comedian and incredible acrobatic display from Andromeda Circus whose body contortions are mind bogglingly impossible

The whole show is held together by Lady Alex the “glittering tip on the iceberg of outstanding talent”.

So remember the rules: the more noise you make them more you see and give a whoop a cheer and a sexy noise to see the show as soon as possible

On tour around the UK see for details

Beverley Knight to star as Grizabella in Cats at the Palladium

beverley-knight-as-grizabella-96883It has been confirmed that Beverley Knight is reportedly going to star as Grizabella when Cats returns to the London Palladium later this year.

Following critically acclaimed performances in The Bodyguard and Memphis, the soul singer will play the iconic role when Andrew Lloyd Webber’s musical heads back to the West End for a limited run.

The Palladium run last year saw Nicole Scherzinger and Kerry Ellis play Grizabella, and Jane McDonald will play the role later this year in Blackpool.

Andrew Lloyd Webber’s musical is directed by Trevor Nunn, with choreography by Gillian Lynne and design by John Napier.

Tickets for the run, which plays from 23 October 2015 to 2 January 2016, are on sale now.


This July Leeds Grand Theatre is set to welcome a host of West End Musicals to its stage.  From laugh-out-loud comedy to moving drama, toe-tapping classics and long-standing favourites, The Grand has them all.


Tuesday 30th June to Saturday 4th July

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Starring Michael Praed (Robin of Sherwood), Noel Sullivan (Hear’Say, We Will Rock You), Carly Stenson (Hollyoaks, Spamalot, Shrek) and Mark Benton (Waterloo Road, Doctor Who, Hairspray), audiences will be transported to the luxurious lap of the French Riviera where the decadent world of sophisticated conman Lawrence Jamieson (Praed) is set to come crashing down with the arrival of larger-than-life Freddy Benson (Sullivan) – a conman of an entirely different order. 

Soon realising the town ain’t big enough for the both of them, the two find themselves going head to head in the con of their lives, pulling out all of the stops in a bid for the affections of millionaire soap heiress Christine Colgate (Stenson).  Little do they know what they’ve let themselves in for.

Mark Benton guest stars as Inspector Andre in this comedy-musical that runs from Tuesday 30th June to Saturday 4th July.


Monday 6th to Saturday 11th July

Tim Rice & Andrew Lloyd Webber’s rock opera tells the story of the last seven days in the life of Jesus through a ground-breaking score that changed the face of musical theatre when it exploded onto the scene in 1971.  It boasts what have become some of the genre’s most legendary songs including I Don’t Know How to Love Him and of course Superstar.

Glenn Carter returns as Jesus, a role he has played in the West End, on Broadway and on film. Rachel Adedeji (X Factor finalist) plays Mary Magdalene and Australian star Tim Rogers (Whistle Down the Wind,Jersey Boys, The Full Monty) takes the role of Judas.


Monday 13th to Saturday 18th July


It’s 1963 and the world is changing. The advent of the Beatles and the Merseyside sound is inspirational but will it stir our three couples to follow their dreams into the world of pop? In a follow-up toDreamboats and Petticoats, Dreamboats and Miniskirts has the same wit, charm and songs that promise a great evening out.



Monday 20th July to Saturday 1st August


The timeless family classic returns in an all new production starring Danielle Hope (winner of BBC’s Over the Rainbow) and Steven Houghton (Coronation Street).  With a few of everyone’s favourite things the score includes Edelwiss, Do-Re-Mi, Climb Ev’ry Mountain and, of course, The Sound of Music. This new and lavish production coincides with the 50th Anniversary of the film.


For more information visit or call Box Office on 0844 848 2700



SouthWestFest:Press Release: Festival Returns – Next week with Special Guest producers and events from the Royal Court.

Festival Gala DaySouthWestFest 2015

Bringing together all that is great in SW1

Key News for the 2015 edition of SouthWestFest Festival:


 SouthWestFest launches with a core programme of free workshops including photography workshops, creative writing classes and a unique script writing master class.

 SouthWestFest takes place 19th – 28th of June 2015 and hosts over 20 events, free workshops and activities all taking place across SW1.

 SouthWestFest has partnered with The Royal Court and St.James Theater to provide free script writing master classes and workshops as well as creating a special one off Script Reading event showcasing the work contributed during these sessions.

 Stories of SW1 Writing Competition takes off this year with input from Award Winning Judges Hannah Vincent and Martin Dawes.

 SouthWestFest has worked with around 30 local organisations and businesses to bring the Pimlico Proms and Festival Day in St.Georges Square join 9,000 local residents for a weekend of celebrating this unique creative area of London.

proms3Join SouthWestFest in their celebration of SW1, starting with a free workshops programme which kicks off next week.

Sponsored by Sanctuary Housing, you can join pro photographer Barbora Celtlova for 3 beginner’s workshops in photography culminating in the Stories of SW1 Exhibition which will be held at The Abbey Centre as part of the SouthWestFest Festival celebrations.

prooms5You can also get involved with 3 creative writing workshop’s which will be taught by writer and tutor Sinead Keegan at Pimlico Library and attend the 4 hour script writing master class taught by Ola Animashawun from The Royal Court.

Work created in these workshops can then be entered in to the Stories of SW1 writing competition, which this year is judged by award winning authors, Hannah Vincent and Young People’s Laureate for Wales, Martin Daws.

Following on from two weeks of great free workshops SouthWestFest will be celebrating in style with its Festival weekend, starting with the Pimlico Proms on the 19th of June, featuring a live orchestra and opera Singer Martin Aelred.

out door events2On Saturday the 20th of June SouthWestFest free Festival day will return to St. Georges Square in

Pimlico, entertaining an audience of over 9,000 local residents with 2 stages of live music, dance and performance, plus fairground rides, pop up photo booths, city farm, family fun activities, graffiti art workshops, craft, market stalls , food and more.

And the Festival doesn’t stop there, from the 21st – 28th of June there are events programmed all over SW1 including a Comedy Night at St. James Theater, Walking Tours with Westminster Guides, Art Exhibitions at Tachbrook Street Market and the Abbey Centre and a River Cruise from Westminster boating base.

Our finale event will be Peter Pan’s Picnic at Millbank Gardens on Sunday the 28th of June. Join

Peter Pan, Wendy, the Lost Boys and Captain Hook for an afternoon’s family friendly entrainment, interactive games and activities, kindly Sponsored by Berkeley and St Edward.

For more information and event tickets go to


Fiery Angel presents


Tom Bateman, Jessie Buckley, Jack Colgrave Hirst, Hadley Fraser, Michael Pennington, Zoe Rainey, Miranda Raison, John Shrapnel, Kathryn Wilder and Jimmy Yuill join the cast of the Kenneth Branagh Theatre Company productions of The Winter’s Tale and Harlequinade at Garrick Theatre. The two productions will play in repertory from 17 October 2015 until 16 January 2016.

Kenneth Branagh said: “This is a formidable group of actors – they combine fantastic experience in Shakespeare and comedy, with a youthful energy and brilliance that I’m excited to welcome to our season.”

Tom Bateman will play Florizel and Jack Wakefield, Jessie Buckley will play Perdita and Muriel Palmer, Jack Colgrave Hirst will play the Clown and Tom Palmer, Hadley Fraser will play Polixenes and First Halberdier, Michael Pennington will play Anitgonus, Zoe Rainey will play Emilia, Miranda Raison will play Hermione and Edna Selby, John Shrapnel will play Camillo and George Chudleigh, Kathryn Wilder will play Mopsa and Joyce Langland and Jimmy Yuill will play the Shepherd and Mr Burton. As previously announced, Kenneth Branagh will play Leontes and Arthur Gosport and Judi Dench will play Paulina in The Winter’s Tale.

The Winter’s Tale, Harlequinade, The Painkiller, Romeo and Juliet and The Entertainer make up the inaugural season of work for the Kenneth Branagh Theatre Company. The Company presents Plays at the Garrick, a series of plays that bring together an exciting group of actors led by Rob Brydon, Judi Dench, Derek Jacobi, Lily James and Richard Madden.


Garrick Theatre
2 Charing Cross Road
London, WC2H 0HH
Box Office: 0844 482 9673
Online Bookings:
Tickets from £15

No booking fees or transaction fees on any ticket booked direct through,, direct telephone bookings at the Garrick Theatre and to personal callers at the Garrick Theatre.



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17 October 2015 – 16 January 2016
Press performance: 7 November 2pm
Captioned Performance: 9 December 7.30pm
Audio Described Performance: 16 December 7.30pm

The Winter’s Tale will play in repertory with Harlequinade. Performances of The Winter’s Tale will be as follows:
17, 19, 20, 21, 29, 30 & 31 October at 7.30pm
31 October at 2.30pm
3, 6, 12, 13, 14, 19, 20, 21, 24, 25, 26 & 30 November at 7.30pm
4, 14, 21 & 25 November at 2.30pm
1, 2, 7, 8, 9, 16, 17, 18, 22, 23, 31 December at 7.30pm,
2, 9, 16, 23, 24 & 31 December at 2.30pm
2, 7, 8, 9, 14, 15 & 16 January at 7.30pm
2, 9 & 16 January at 2.30pm


24 October 2015 – 13 January 2016
Press performance: 7 November 7.30pm
Captioned Performance: 10 December 7.30pm
Audio Described Performance: 15 December 7.30pm

Harlequinade will play in repertory with The Winter’s Tale. Performances of Harlequinade will be as follows:
24, 26, 27 & 28 October at 7.30pm
28 October at 2.30pm
2, 4, 5, 9, 10, 11, 16, 17, 18, 23, 27 & 28 November at 7.30pm
11, 18 & 28 November at 2.30pm
3, 4, 5, 10, 11, 12, 14, 15, 19, 21, 24, 28, 29 & 30 December at 7.30pm5, 12, 19 & 28 December at 2.30pm
4, 5, 6, 11, 12 & 13 January at 7.30pm
6 & 13 January at 2.30pm