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What’s On in Yorkshire during February 2019

PUBLISHED: 10:36 31 January 2019 | UPDATED: 10:36 31 January 2019

Mark Williams as Doctor Doolittle with Sophie the Seal in Doctor Doolittle Photo: Alastair Muir

Mark Williams as Doctor Doolittle with Sophie the Seal in Doctor Doolittle Photo: Alastair Muir

©ALASTAIR MUIR CONTACT alastair@alastairmuir.com

Events and entertainment around the county chosen for you by Tony Greenway

MUSICALS

February 4th-9th

Club Tropicana

You’ll never guess which era this show focuses on. Or maybe you will, because it features music from ABC, Cyndi Lauper, Frankie Goes to Hollywood, a-ha, and Culture Club, among others (I haven’t seen it, but presumably it must include the title song by Wham! too). Also coming to Sheffield and York in March, and Hull in April. Joe McElderry, Kate Robbins and, er, a former Sugababe star.

Alhambra, Bradford 01274 432000 bradford-theatres.co.uk

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February 18th-23rd

Rocky Horror Show

Let’s do the Time Warp again: another outing for Richard O’Brien’s brilliantly bizarre musical comedy horror. It’s just a jump to the left.

Lyceum, Sheffield 0114 249 6000 sheffieldtheatres.co.uk

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February 19th-March 23rd

Matilda

The RSC-produced musical, based on the Roald Dahl tale and with songs by Tim Minchin, has been a smash hit in London (it’s won over 85 awards). Now it’s going on a UK tour – and Bradford is one of the stops. The show is still playing to packed houses in the West End but if you can’t get there, don’t miss this Yorkshire appearance.

Alhambra, Bradford 01274 432000 bradford-theatres.co.uk

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February 26th–March 9th

Doctor Dolittle the Musical

Even if you’ve never heard of Leslie Bricusse, you’ll know his songs. This acclaimed British composer wrote or co-wrote Pure Imagination and The Candy Man from Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory; Thank You Very Much from Scrooge and What Kind Of Fool Am I? from Stop the World I Want to Get Off. He also provided the lyrics to a couple of the best Bond themes, namely Goldfinger and You Only Live Twice. Bricusse’s mantelpiece has been groaning under the strain of various awards because across his long career he’s been given two Oscars, a Grammy and eight Ivor Novellos.

Dr Doolittle, another of his big musical successes, pops up on stage from time to time. Phillip Schofield starred in a West End version 20 years ago, for instance but it’s the 1967 film with Rex Harrison speak-singing If I Could Talk to the Animals that everybody knows best. Now here’s a new stage production featuring Mark Williams from The Fast Show and the Harry Potter movies in the title role, and co-starring Brian Capron and Vicky Entwistle (both from Coronation Street).

Now 87 years old, Bricusse is looking forward to introducing the good doctor to a new generation. ‘Every time it comes around again you take a slightly different attitude to it,’ he says. ‘This time we have dealt more with the environment around the animals and the protection of the animals, which gives a new insight into Doctor Dolittle. It is more prevalent in public thinking as well.’ The show will be coming to Sheffield in April and Bradford in May.

Hull New Theatre 01482 300306 hulltheatres.co.uk

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February 26th-March 2nd

Madagascar: The Musical

They’ll turn any kiddy-friendly film into a family musical these days, won’t they? The Lion King, Shrek, Aladdin, Beauty and the Beast, Sister Act and even The Little Mermaid... you name it, a theatrical impresario will have pitched the idea to investors and put it on a stage somewhere. Making a musical out of the movie Madagascar is more of a surprise, though. Don’t get me wrong: it’s a perfectly serviceable and entertaining film but one that you forget about almost immediately after the credits have rolled. It’s a good excuse for everyone to get up and dance to I Like to Move It, though. Matt Terry, who won X Factor in 2016 (yes, I’d forgotten about that too), stars as Alex the lion.

York Theatre Royal 01904 623568, yorktheatreroyal.co.uk

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THEATRE

February 4th-16th

Random

Back to the pop-up theatre at Leeds Playhouse, that is standing in for the main auditorium while renovation work is ongoing. Random is a 55-minute, one-woman drama about knife crime, written in 2008 by debbie tucker green (a playwright who deliberately spells her name in lowercase letters) and adapted for TV in 2011. It’s still horribly resonant today.

Leeds Playhouse 0113 213 7700 leedsplayhouse.org.uk

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February 5th-16th

Bouncers

John Godber’s world-beating comedy is back on the stage in Hull. This time, though, it’s been tweaked for ‘the 21st century’ with ‘an updated script’ and ‘contemporary music’.

Hull Truck 01482 323638 hulltruck.co.uk

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February 8th-23rd

Rutherford and Son

Six years ago (yes, it really was that long ago), Northern Broadsides staged a production of Githa Sowerby’s play, and got Jonathan Miller in to direct it. Now here’s a new production from Sheffield Theatres, directed by Caroline Steinbeis.

Crucible Theatre, Sheffield 
0114 249 6000

sheffieldtheatres.co.uk

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February 11th-16th

The Mousetrap

A great granddaddy of a play which has been running for 66 years in London’s West End. This means that when it started the Queen was still six months away from her coronation. Audiences are always asked not to reveal the identity of the killer – but, breaking with tradition, I can reveal that it is... Are you kidding? Definitely no spoilers here.

Lyceum, Sheffield 0114 249 6000, sheffieldtheatres.co.uk

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February 12th-16th

Romeo and Juliet

A chance to see the RSC in all its glory with a production that has had a successful run at Stratford-upon-Avon and in London. ‘A fresh, fleet, blade-sharp revival’ – Daily Telegraph.

Alhambra, Bradford 01274 432000 bradford-theatres.co.uk

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February 19th & 20th

Miles Jupp: The Life I Lead

You get two posh comic actors for the price of one in this new comedy written by James Kettle. Well, sort of. The excellent Miles Jupp (host of Radio 4’s News Quiz) stars in a show about David Tomlinson, the actor best known as Mr Banks from Mary Poppins and Mr Browne from Bedknobs and Broomsticks. The blurb points out that ‘Tomlinson built a career playing a certain type of Englishman – stiff, formal and a bit of a silly ass’ yet his real life was every bit as fascinating as the characters he played on screen. Also appearing at CAST, Doncaster (February 27th & 28th).

Stephen Joseph Theatre, Scarborough 01723 370541

sjt.uk.com

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COMEDY

February 26th

Luca Rutherford’s Political Party

British politics are in a particularly depressing place at the moment. Indeed, solo performer Luca Rutherford says she ‘reached a point where thinking about politics made (me) want to lie down on the pavement and not get up’. So, to redress the balance, she’s throwing a party: a political party, where ‘there will be drinks, dancing and eggs’. Also appearing at Theatre in the Mill at the University of Bradford (February 5th).

Hull Truck 01482 323638 hulltruck.co.uk

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February 28th

Lee Nelson

When Theresa May was given a P45 during her disastrous 2017 conference speech – the one where she had a coughing fit before letters started falling off the wall behind the podium – it was Lee Nelson who handed it to her (he stepped out of the audience and said: ‘Boris asked me to give this to you’). Or, rather, it was practical joker Simon Brodkin, who created the ‘well good’ Nelson character and who, five seconds later, was bundled unceremoniously out of the building and arrested by Greater Manchester police, but later released without charge. Brodkin/Nelson is on top form in this stand-up show which – he says, tongue firmly in cheek – has been extended ‘primarily to fund the Theresa May stunt legal fees’. Also at Hull Truck in March.

Kings Hall, Ilkley 01274 432000 bradford-theatres.co.uk

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February 22nd

Andrew Doyle: Friendly Fire

Actor Tom Walker has struck gold playing ranting broadcast journalist Jonathan Pie – a phenomenally popular spoof character on YouTube. Walker can’t take all the credit for the spittle-flecked Pie, though. His co-writer is stand-up star Andrew Doyle, who steps into the spotlight for this, his seventh solo show.

Lawrence Batley Theatre, Huddersfield 01484 430528 thelbt.org

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OPERA

February 2nd, 9th, 21st & 27th

Katya Kabanova

Apparently, this tale of temptation, passion and guilt was inspired by Leoš Janáek’s own unrequited love for a married woman. Conductor Sian Edwards makes her Opera North debut and Stephanie Corley and Harold Meers sing the lead roles.

Leeds Grand Theatre 0844 848 2720 operanorth.co.uk

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February 16th, 23rd & 28th (& March 2nd)

The Rite of Spring/Gianni Schicchi

When Stravinsky’s The Rite of Spring premiered in 1913, it almost caused a riot. Reports as to why vary: some say the provocative, dissonant music outraged the audience; others blamed the jerky choreography (by a certain Vaslav Nijinsky). Either way, Stravinsky was so fed up by the response that he left the auditorium in a huff and went to help out back stage. Choreographer Jeanguy Saintus re-imagines the dance in the first-ever collaboration between Opera North and Phoenix Dance Theatre. As a bonus, audiences also get Gianni Schicchi, an operatic short from Puccini.

Leeds Grand Theatre 0844 848 2720 operanorth.co.uk

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CLASSICAL MUSIC

February 7th

Royal Philharmonic Orchestra

The mighty RPO open this concert with Schumann’s Genoveva Overture, while violinist Yury Revich is the soloist for Mendelssohn’s Violin Concerto. Also at Leeds Town Hall (February 9th).

Hull New Theatre 01482 300306 hulltheatres.co.uk

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February 23rd

The Magical Music of Harry Potter

The Halle goes to the movies, and specifically ones featuring a bespectacled boy wizard. Music includes John Williams’ famous HP theme and Nicholas Hooper’s frenetic, folk-influenced Weasley Stomp.

Leeds Town Hall 0113 376 0318 leedstownhall.co.uk

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SPECIAL APPEARANCES

February 9th

An Audience with Vinnie Jones

Currently, there’s a fashion for actors and TV personalities to appear on stage and tell various dinner party anecdotes about their careers. This month a tsunami of celebs are doing just that including MICHAEL PARKINSON at Harrogate Theatres (February 15th) and York’s Grand Opera House (February 19th); JOAN COLLINS, also at York’s Grand Opera House (February 26th) and JASON DONOVAN at Pocklington Arts Centre (February 4th) and Leeds City Varieties (February 26th).

Then there’s footballing hardman-turned-actor Vinnie Jones, who appears at Sheffield City Hall to ‘tell all about his tales on and off the pitch, as well as his recent rise to stardom in America’. How successful have Jones’ latest movies been? You may need reminding, because they include Gridlocked, Kill Kane, The Midnight Man and Decommissioned. Or to put it another way: video stores don’t exist anymore but if they did, you’d have to bend down to a fairly low shelf for those ones. Sky Sports’ Geoff Shreeves will be Jones’ inquisitor for the evening. u

Sheffield City Hall 0114 278 9789 sheffieldcityhall.co.uk

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