Yorkshire Theatre Newsletter: What's On This Week (Dec 10-16)
A Wish, A Song, Maybe Even A Prayer... Yorkshire Theatre For All Ages At Christmas.
In the days before t’internet you could find love by answering an advert in the Lonely Hearts column of a local newspaper. I once worked with a woman who contracted a long and happy second marriage in this way. But the only time I tried it, I found myself wandering around a motor-cycle shop in Leeds with a guy who didn’t even have a licence. We were, to put it mildly, not fated to be.
Then email arrived and the ether was full of lovelorn people writing carefully crafted letters to potential suitors. This was the era of Nora Ephron’s classic 1990s romcom You’ve Got Mail, in which Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan thought they hated each other until… you know the rest.
And then the dating apps arrived. Decorous at first, but increasingly less so, until finally we have arrived at today’s swipe-right, ‘hook-up’ culture. I met this newsletter’s marketing sponsor on Match.com in 2007 — he was in Yorkshire for a few months doing lucrative, top-secret things at a local RAF base — so I can’t complain.
All of which brings us to She Loves Me, which opens this week at the Crucible in Sheffield. This under-rated Harold Prince musical has an interesting pedigree: It began life as the 1937 play Parfumerie by Hungarian Hungarian playwright Miklós László — a delightful source material set in pre-war Budapest which has been Hollywood-adapted many times.
She Loves Me is the Broadway musical version of the story. Created by the songwriters of Fiddler on the Roof, and the writer of Cabaret, it was a slow-burner that ran for about 300 performances in 1963 but subsequently enjoyed award-winning revivals in New York and London. The Crucible version, directed by Robert Hastie and starring Alex Young (Standing at the Sky’s Edge), David Thaxton (The Phantom Of The Opera) and Adele Anderson (Fascinating Aïda), is set to deliver a classy night out. Dec 11-Jan 15, £15-£40
What’s On This Week (Dec 10-16):
I sent Yorkshire Theatre’s Latvian photographer, Irita Sluka, along to Cinderella at York Theatre Royal to find out what someone not born into the tradition would make of this most British (and Irish!) of theatrical forms. I can’t wait for her review to drop some time next week.
Meanwhile, at t’other place (the Grand Opera House, York), Berwick Kaler stars in Dick Turpin Rides Again. Eighteenth-century highwayman Dick Turpin was, of course, hanged at the Knavesmire in York (where the racecourse is now) following a death-defying ride on his famous mare Black Bess. I once checked into the reading room at York Central Library to read a first-hand account of his execution which they kept in a bookcase locked behind a grill but which was available to the general public on request.
Let other pens dwell upon the Unpleasantness which two years ago saw panto legend Kaler turfed out of the Theatre Royal venue he had made his own after ticket sales began to flag. This year sees the coming together of three legends — Turpin, Kaler and world-class Scarborough-based pantomime production company Qdos — in a refreshed format spiced with revenge. Dec 11-Jan 9, £13-£47
Also opening on Saturday is Sleeping Beauty at Bradford’s Alhambra. Comedian Billy Pearce stars as King Billy and, in a perfect piece of shoe-in casting, TV celebrity Dr Ranj oversees medicine in the snoozing Royal Household. Dec 11-Jan 16, £16.50-£41.50
Rescheduled from 2020, Hull’s New Theatre has Snow White And The Seven Dwarfs starring Coronation Street’s Faye Brookes and longstanding panto dame Nigel Ellacott (Dec 11-Jan 2, from £16.50). And Bridlington Spa have a highly respectable effort in The Pantomime Adventures Of Peter Pan, a Paul Holman Associates production starring Collabro’s Michael Auger. Dec 14-Jan 3, £19-£24
Finally, if you fancy something a little different, there’s Sleeping Beauty from Panto Ever After at the Viaduct Theatre, Halifax. This takes place on a traverse stage (with audience both sides) in the Viaduct’s underground space. Dec 15-24, £12.50-£17
Christmas Shows that aren’t pantomimes…
The Grand Theatre, Leeds, have booked the spectacular touring production of Disney’s Bedknobs And Broomsticks as their Christmas show. It’s actually a Mary Poppins rip-off (the original songs are by the Sherman Brothers). But combine it with one of those stories of wartime evacuation that kids find so irresistible, add a trainee witch, and you have a sure-fire winner. To Jan 2, £19-£52
There’s just time to catch the delightful Wish at CAST, Doncaster. This is a gentle show for babies (under 18 months) and their grown-ups created by Sarah Argent. To Dec 12, £6 each
Also at CAST is the classic Snow Mouse, a puppet show aimed at pre-schoolers. Snow Mouse was developed in the West Country by Travelling Light Theatre Company in association with The Egg, which is the young people’s space at Theatre Royal, Bath. To Dec 19, £8.50
And for grown-ups there’s a pair of sinister ghost stories at the Stephen Joseph Theatre in Scarborough. Oh Whistle…, presented by Nunkie Theatre, consists of actor Lloyd Parry telling two chillers by MR James. Dec 16, from £10
News And Resources:
Bradford’s Theatre In The Mill, which is part of Bradford University, is looking for a Senior Producer to lead this renowned artist development space into its next phase. The salary is £31,406 to £34,304 per annum and you have until Dec 17 to apply.
See in the New Year with the Orchestra of Opera North. Viennese Whirl is a sophisticated compilation of traditional waltzes, marches and polkas. Young Italian-Turkish conductor Nil Venditti, Principal Guest Conductor of Orchestra della Toscana, takes the podium in her Opera North debut, with Irish soprano Máire Flavin joining the ensemble for songs and arias by Lehár and others. Huddersfield Town Hall, Dec 30, £20 and Hull City Hall, Dec 31, £15-£26.50
That’s all for this week, folks. Now I’m off to watch You’ve Got Mail…