Austentatious: a folly universally acknowledged

A lithe ensemble cast consisting of comedy stars one can readily summon on YouTube takes the stage at the Grand Opera House York to present the West End smash hit improvised “lost Jane Austen novel” in Austentatious, as part of the Great Yorkshire Fringe. Continue reading

Twelfth Night at Shakespeare’s Rose Theatre: clowns in love

If Hamlet is the prince of the domestic Scandi thriller, Twelfth Night is the king and queen of the upper-class rom-com. Finishing off Shakespeare’s Rose Theatre press run with a bang, the Gala night performance of this classic comedy of mistaken identities plays to a house full of bodies, beer and hormones. Following a heartfelt speech about the project in its entirety from originator James Cundall MBE, the evening sets off on its raucous voyage. Continue reading

Henry V at Shakespeare’s Rose Theatre: we happy few

Directed by Gemma Fairlie (New Vic, Circomedia, Lyric Hammersmith) and starring Maggie Bain (Black Mirror, The End of the F*****g World), the third press performance at Shakespeare’s Rose Theatre is famous history play Henry V. Fairlie quotes of Jonathan Bate in her director’s note: “national identity is shaped by defining moments, usually involving bloodshed.” And it is our complicated relationship to patriotism that defines this simple, potent retelling. Continue reading

The Tempest at Shakespeare’s Rose Theatre: Do you love me, master?

Directed by Philip Franks (The Darling Buds of May), The Tempest at Shakespeare’s Rose Theatre is a bright, blustery pageant in which playful spectacle is winds ahead of the meandering story. Surrounding the incredibly dark and uncomfortable anti-hero of the abusive slave-master Prospero (played surprisingly by the soft-eyed Sam Callis) is a flurry of soft-dappled light affecting romantic underwater magic, (designed by Paul Pyant) and rousing punk folk music that Gogol Bordello would enjoy (composition by Christopher Madin). Completed with colourful costume by Adrian Linford and movement direction by Simeon John-Wake, the production serves as a showcase for its delightfully talented ensemble cast. Continue reading

Hamlet at Shakespeare’s Rose Theatre: One may smile, and smile, and be a villain

We all know this solemn tale of revenge guest starring the skull of “Poor Yorick” back to front, right? And yet somehow, the production team behind Shakespeare’s Rose Theatre manage to bring fresh mischief and flair to the most quoted and studied play ever written. It’s so easy to misread Hamlet as a dry, drawn tale of woe and dwelling, to stuff these clever “words, words, words” into a dusty artefact in your mind’s eye and leave them there for academics to fuss over. But that would be doing yourself, and the play, a great disservice. Continue reading

Ian McKellen On Stage: Because You Would Like It

Defying the wealth of classics quoted and recreated with unearthly perfection upon York’s Grand Opera House stage, words cannot serve what it is to be in the company of Sir Ian McKellen. Opening with a casual reading from Lord of the Rings, he scoops up the full house into a warm embrace immediately, establishing the tone for the evening’s loving, playful ode to theatre. Continue reading

Photons and Phantoms: A York Tour

ot-off-the-press Science Communication company Theatre of Science presents their debut production, Photons and Phantoms: A York Tour. A perfectly paced promenade between several spots in the city centre – “where possible, avoiding both tourists and the smell of wee” – company founder and teacher-performer Lara Stafford leads a growing crowd of curious minds of all ages through the streets, illuminating secret historical facts and anecdotes to delight and inspire the whole family. Continue reading

The Rocky Horror Show: Car trouble? Make a pit stop at Frankenstein’s Place

Since its first appearance at The Royal Court Theatre in June 1973, Richard O’Brien’s The Rocky Horror Show has become the world’s favourite rock ‘n’ roll musical. It has been performed worldwide in over thirty countries in every continent and has been translated into more than twenty languages. To celebrate the fortieth anniversary, Director Christopher Luscombe created a brand new production for a year-long UK National Tour. Continue reading

Little Miss Sunshine: musical review

A musical adaptation is inevitably a big departure from the raw dramedy of the original Little Miss Sunshine, Michael Arndt’s touching film of 2006 that deals with grief, loss and self-love. Chasing away the ghosts in the corners of the Hoover family, James Lapine and William Finn’s (Book, Music & Lyrics, and Music & Lyrics, respectively) new version of the story shakes off the poignant nuance in favour of a camp showpiece that keeps you at arm’s length, but has the audience in uproarious laughter. Continue reading

A Midsummer Night’s Mischief: mischief managed

Warming the hearts of children and adults alike, Hoglets Theatre is back with a summer smash hit that brings all the magic of William Shakespeare to life for all the family. Just skimming the back end of the recent York International Shakespeare Festival 2019, this cheeky remix of A Midsummer Night’s Dream provides the perfect half-term entertainment. Continue reading