Modern Theatre Reviews (2014)

I enjoy the good fortune of living in an area which is well blessed for good quality theatre. In less than a twenty minute journey from my home I can reach the Bradford Alhambra Theatre, Leeds Grand Theatre, and the West Yorkshire Playhouse (with two auditoria, based in Leeds City Centre). Extend that journey to forty minutes and I can also take in the Halifax Victoria Theatre, Huddersfield Lawrence Batley Theatre and the Wakefield Royal Opera House. Consequently, I visit one or other of these theatres fairly regularly and I thought it would be good to share my impressions from these outings with visitors to this website.

The scores given below are intended to reflect my own overall level of satisfaction with, and/or enjoyment of, the show concerned (based of course upon my own personal tastes). They are not intended to be necessarily indicative of the technical and/or artistic merits of the particular production concerned. I am not a professional critic or reviewer, and pay full price to see all of these shows for my own entertainment. Consequently, I have no vested interest nor any axe to grind, but neither do I pay to see shows which prima facie do not have a good reputation or do not appeal to me. These then are my own honest opinions - only those shows given a single star rating do I consider a significant dissappointment, and zero stars not worth seeing.

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Key to Genres

Comedy

Drama

Tragedy

Thriller/
Mystery

Musical

Opera

Ballet

Dance/
Physical

Ice
Dance

Stand
Up

Concert

Variety
/Other

Click on the production title for a detailed review

Production

Genre

Date / Venue / Produced by

Score

12th September, 2014
WY Playhouse, Leeds

Northern Ballet

*****

Impressive sets and costumes allied to first class performances. A production to really sink your teeth into.

23rd August, 2014
City Varieties, Leeds

National Youth Music Theatre

****

A hugely impressive performance of a poignant and emotionally striking new musical.

15th August, 2014
Grand Theatre, Leeds

Dreamworks Theatricals, et al.

***

A very funny and monstrously spectacular stage version of the popular movie.

24th July, 2014
The Cattle Ring, Salisbury

Winterbourne Opera

****

A bright and cheerful version of the classic comic opera, superbly sung with some outstanding lead performances.

23rd July, 2014
Swan Theatre, Stratford-upon-Avon

RSC

***

A feisty and rambunctious performance of a little known Jacobean comedy. Well worth a visit.

18th July, 2014
Alhambra Theatre, Bradford

The Upstagers

****

A brilliantly funny and unforgetably musical treat. A real professional standard triumph.

17th July, 2014
Carriageworks, Leeds

CAPA College

****

A raw, visceral and spiritedly energetic version of the classic musical.

11th July, 2014
Carriageworks, Leeds

Leeds Youth Opera

****

A beautifully sung version of Mozart's masterpiece - another triumph for L.Y.O.

8th July, 2014
Grand Theatre, Leeds

Mischief Theatre

****

A hilariously comic romp in the hands of the worst amateur dramatic company ever.

3rd July, 2014
Grand Theatre, Leeds

Marc Platt, Universal Pictures, et al.

*****

A kaleidoscope of great music and magical sensations for the whole family to enjoy. To quote the vernacular - Wicked!

20th June, 2014
S&A Burton Theatre, Leeds

Northern Ballet

****

A superb evening of dance topped by a stunning new piece from fledgling choreographer Tindall.

13th June, 2014
Alhambra Theatre, Bradford

National Theatre & Handspring Puppet Company

***

Spectacular puppetry struggles to enliven a dull first half but, like its leading protagonists, the production matures well as the story progresses.

6th June, 2014
New Bradford Playhouse, Bradford

Bradford Players & Heaton Amateurs

***

Not exactly a laugh a minute but certainly a pleasantly amusing pot-boiler of a comedy.

30th May, 2014
Grand Theatre, Leeds

Michael Brenner

****

A beautifully crafted if rather hackneyed version of the classic musical.

23rd May, 2014
Eloise Macdonald Theatre, Charlotte (NC, USA)

Theatre Charlotte

****

An energetic and totally absorbing production of the iconic rock musical.

21st May, 2014
Alabama Theatre, North Myrtle Beach (SC, USA)

Gaylord Entertainment Productions and Corporate Magic

****

Full of energy and spectacle with great music from highly talented performers. A brilliant addition to any vacation.

17th May, 2014
Raleigh Memorial Auditorium, Raleigh (NC, USA)

Carolina Ballet

*****

A sumptuously produced and beautifully performed version of the much-loved classical ballet enhanced by some innovative new touches.

15th May, 2014
Palace Theatre, Myrtle Beach (SC, USA)

Spirit Productions

***

A spectacular show but one that is, unfortunately, is a little more spectacle than substance.

2nd May, 2014
City Varieties, Leeds

Off The Kerb Productions

****

Two hours of pants-wettingly funny comedy from the dryest comedian on the circuit.

25th April, 2014
City Varieties, Leeds

Matthew Bugg

****

Sexy, poignant and very funny, a clever chamber musical that brilliantly evokes wartime Britain.

11th April, 2014
Alhambra Theatre, Bradford

Disney Theatrical Productions

*****

One of the most spectacular shows ever to hit provincial theatres. Stampede down to your nearest venue!

4th April, 2014
Grand Theatre, Leeds

MJE Productions et al.

****

More real and much funnier than Lerner and Loewe’s musical take. One to miss? Not blooming likely.

3rd April, 2014
Carriageworks, Leeds

Townsend Productions

*****

An engrossing roller coaster of a show finely balancing fun and pathos - history is rarely this entertaining.

28th March, 2014
City Varieties, Leeds

City Varieties

****

A funny, lively and hugely entertaining look back at a bygone era.

21st March, 2014
Grand Theatre, Leeds

Leeds Amateur Operatic Society

****

Another spectacular musical treat from LAOS.

19th March, 2014
S&A Burton Theatre, Leeds

T42dance projects

***

A stark, dark and moody but genuinely absorbing example of dance theatre.

6th March, 2014
Alhambra Theatre, Bradford

Touring Consortium Theatre et al.

****

Full of human spirit, 'Brassed Off' is a grim story offset by plenty of belly laughs and some truly stirring music.

6th March, 2014
Grand Theatre, Leeds

Northern Ballet

*****

The overall effect is a stunning ballet that in true Northern Ballet fashion beautifully captures all of the drama of the classic story.

28th February, 2014
Alhambra Theatre, Bradford

Music & Lyrics and Mayflower Theatre

****

A moving, and energetic production successfully balancing warmth and fun with genuine pathos.

21st February, 2014
Town Hall, Batley

Acorn Theatre Company

****

Bawdry, tawdry, licentious and very funny. A well presented performance of the northern cult classic.

13th February, 2014
City Varieties, Leeds

Shappi Khorsandi

*****

Shappi Khorsandi plays an audience like no other and delivers an evening of sharply incisive comedy gossip.

7th February, 2014
Alhambra Theatre, Bradford

Robin Cousins

***

High on technicality but low on danger and excitement. Enjoyable entertainment but lacks the wow factor.

4th February, 2014
WY Playhouse, Leeds

Tristan Baker, Charlie Parsons et al.

*****

A virtuoso performance of a gripping new one-woman musical play.

31st January, 2014
City Varieties, Leeds

Miles Jupp

****

Intelligent, incisive and very funny - stinging comedy with an upper crust accent.

25th January, 2014
WY Playhouse, Leeds

Steve Punt and Hugh Dennis

***

Hilarious in parts, a little jaded in others, and fails to deliver on topicality, but still funny enough to be worth an outing.

17th January, 2014
Theatre Royal, Wakefield

Wakefield Little Theatre

***

Steptoe and Son return for a very funny conclusion to their life story. A must-see for Steptoe fans.

13th January, 2014
St. George's Hall, Bradford

Moscow City Ballet

*****

A joyful and energetic production of Minkus populr slapstick ballet - a rare treat.

12th January, 2014
St. George's Hall, Bradford

Moscow City Ballet

*****

At times sublime and deeply moving, at others colourful and thrilling - a production sure to enchant balletomanes and novices alike.

3rd January, 2014
Grand Theatre, Leeds

Northern Ballet

****

A visually stunning and innovative new take on a ballet classic. Fails to fully satisfy emotionally but compensates in fun and wonderment.


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