IN their 30th anniversary year, Helmsley Arts Centre’s resident troupe, the 1812 Theatre Company, staged a musical for the first time.
The Old Meeting House stage is not the biggest, yet still Julie Lomas’s cast could accommodate 22 players in that compact space, with the full company number Murder! Murder! being one of the highpoints for cast and choreographer Michaela Edens alike.
Lomas is an experienced directorial hand from her days at The Grange Theatre, Walsall, where she directed Frank Wildhorn and Leslie Bricusse’s Broadway musical for the Grange Players. Likewise, musical director John Atkin had filled the same role for York Musical Theatre Company in May last year.
Know-how and experience duly combined with fresh ideas to good effect in this musical retelling of Robert Louis Stevenson’s novella of love, betrayal and murder.
Two keyboards, guitar and drums took care of business with panache, Atkin and cohorts Cameron McArthur, Paul McArthur and Joe Brooks being equally at home with big ballads in the Lloyd Webber mode and the sly wickedness shared with Sondheim’s Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber Of Fleet Street.
Sue Elm, Michael Goslin and Peter Ives’s set was built on two levels, both of them busy with human traffic in the ensemble numbers but best suited to the duets and profusion of solo numbers. Dr Henry Jekyll’s laboratory had to be rather squeezed in at the back but thankfully Joe Gregory is whippet slim.
The Gothic colour scheme of red walls and black doors was particularly effective when matched by the attire of the Victorian prostitutes of the Red Rat, and the use of masks was striking too.
This was CharlesHutchPress’s first encounter with Joe Gregory, and what an impressive lead performance he gave as the handsome/devil conflation of the upstanding, urbane but obsessive Jekyll and vengeful, sadistic, deranged alter ego Hyde welled up from within, once the doctor dares to dabble in reckless scientific experimentation in the cause of research for mental illness.
No Hammer Horror histrionics to report here on the journey to the dark side and an inner struggle between good and evil, scientific learning and carnal carnage. Instead, Gregory became more forceful of voice and manner, his movements staccato, stealthy and seductive, his actions ruthless, as brisk and lean as a bull fighter beneath a cocked hat.
The contrast was greater in his singing of the largely narrative songs, where notes would be deliberately strained in Hyde’s more urgent, guttural delivery, never more so than in The Confrontation, the Act Two vocal wrestling match for control in this dangerously dual personality.
It cannot be every arts centre where the artistic director (and youth theatre director to boot) happens to be the stand-out singer and actress for the resident company too. Step forward Natasha Jones, who was a knockout as Lucy Harris, the love-struck but self-protective prostitute, at once feisty but fearful and vulnerable.
What a voice; what expressiveness. Each and every one of Lucy’s solo songs was better for her singing it, having first teased and tantalised provocatively among the saucy prostitutes in Bring On The Men.
Her duets with both Gregory’s Jekyll and Hyde fizzed with electricity and, in between, her duet with Amy Gregory’s Emma Carew, Dr Jekyll’s trusting, unknowing fiancée, was Amy’s peak moment too.
As befits a romanticist scientist, Gregory’s Dr Jekyll had chemistry with both women, one relationship tender if preoccupied, the other tactile and voracious, as the chemically altered Hyde gradually prevails, both possessed and possessive.
John Lister’s John Utterson, Kristian Gregory’s Simon Stride, Richard Noakes’s Sir Danvers Carew, Barry Whitaker’s Bishop of Basingstoke, Sarah Barker’s brothel madam, Aunt, and Esme Schofield’s Newsgirl all had their moments in a show best known for Dr Jekyll’s belter This Is The Moment.
It was enjoyable too to spot Rowntree Players’ riotous pantomime dame, Graham Smith, in a deliciously wicked cameo as Sir Archibald Proops QC, a law unto himself indeed.
JULIE Lomas directs Helmsley Arts Centre’s resident troupe, the 1812 Theatre Company, in their first ever musical production, Frank Wildhorn and Leslie Bricusse’s Jekyll & Hyde, from tomorrow.
In Robert Louis Stevenson’s story, a devoted man of science, Dr Henry Jekyll, is driven to find a chemical breakthrough that can solve some of mankind’s most challenging medical dilemmas. Indeed, he is trying to discover cures for what now would be recognised as dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.
Rebuffed by the powers that be, he decides to make himself the subject of his own experimental treatments, accidentally unleashing his inner demons along with the man the world would come to know as Mr Hyde.
1812’s cast features husband and wife Joe and Amy Gregory in the lead roles of Jekyll/Hyde and Emma Carew. John Atkin is the musical director; Michaela Edens, the choreographer.
Here Julie discusses 1812 Theatre Company’s 30th anniversary production with CharlesHutchPress.
How did you land this directing gig? Were you head-hunted or did you pitch for it?
“An 1812 Theatre Company member suggested that the company should do a musical at the annual general meeting. Apparently, others had been talking about wanting to do it for some time.
“The committee discussed this and I said that if they would like to go ahead, I had experience as a director in musical theatre and would love to do it.”
What attracted you to directing Jekyll & Hyde The Musical?
“I love musicals that dramatic enough to ‘move’ an audience emotionally. There are not many of these that are available for amateurs to perform. I feel that there are several opportunities for this in Jekyll and Hyde.
“With its dramatic strengths and less choreographic content, it is a suitable choice as a first musical for this company.
“Plus, I’ve directed it before for the Grange Players in Walsall. This actually made me think very carefully as I prefer not to repeat anything, but this was a musical that I was driven to do again. My concept this time is different, a contemporary treatment but still in a Victorian setting.”
What is your directing background?
“Having performed in several plays for The Grange Theatre, Walsall, I was asked if I would like to direct. My first play was Kindertransport by Diane Samuels, and after that I never looked back.
“I directed several plays there, including Rebecca, Accrington Pals and The End Of The Affair but my favourite by a long way was Peter Schaffer’s Amadeus.
“I think it was being able to bring together my love of music, fabulous period costume, make-up and wigs plus the wonderful tragic plot line and enigmatic characters. I was fortunate enough to win a regional NODA (National Operatic and Dramatic Association) award for that production, which I treasure.
“I moved into directing a musical there and then directed one professionally for Brownhills Musical Theatre Company, Sweet Charity.”
Do you now specialise in musical theatre?
“I’m keento embrace many types of theatrical productions. I’ve been a soloist singer since the age of eight and have been lucky enough to have had many fantastic principal roles in musical theatre. My favourites were Mrs Lovett in Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber Of Fleet Street, Dorothy Brock in 42nd Street and Sally Bowles in Cabaret.
“So, although I cannot say that I specialise in musical theatre, there’s absolutely nothing that compares with the feeling of being part of a musical, as a performer, director or crew member.”
What brought you to Helmsley?
“I moved to North Yorkshire to be geographically close to my son and his wife and see more of my grandchildren. My eldest son and his family live in Sheffield, so I can commute there too.
“However, it’s a great place to live in its own right, the peaceful countryside around here is a sheer delight and Helmsley is the prettiest town in which to rehearse and perform! I was looking for a theatre company that would feel like ‘home’ to me and I felt welcomed from the start. The theatre itself is lovely, providing an intimate theatre space, modern studio bar and leafy courtyard.
“I live in Westow, a village just outside the Howardian Hills area. I now consider the Helmsley Arts Centre to be my base. In a few years, even with the lockdown, I have already performed there, worked backstage for a production and I’m also a member of the management committee.”
Any thoughts on why 1812 Theatre Company has not staged a musical in its 30 years until now?
“I would imagine it’s because when the company was set up, the idea was for members to perform plays. However, it’s so much more diverse now. In the past 12 months alone we’ve performed plays, a rehearsed reading, an indoor/outdoor production in Helmsley Walled Garden, a hugely successful pantomime and now a musical!
“We’re hoping that this variety will both entice new members, who are always welcome, and encourage retention of existing members.
“The other more sombre answer is that to produce a musical is expensive and we’re hoping to have good audiences, not only to see the amazing performances, but also from a financial perspective.”
What are the strengths of Bricusse and Wildhorn’s songs?
“As we’re repeatedly told by our musical director, John Atkin, this is not an easy musical score. However, it’s such a beautiful one with melodies that linger long after the show is over.
“It allows performers to do just that: perform the music, rather than just sing it, and we have worked hard to bring that to the stage. It provides a tour de force for the eponymous actor, Jekyll, which climaxes with him singing a duet with himself, as Hyde. Joe [Gregory] has excelled in the role and I’m sure audiences will appreciate his performance.”
Is this the first time you have worked with musical director John Atkin?
“It is, and I’m hoping it will not be the last. As soon as I met him, I knew the production was in safe hands. He’s an extremely talented musician and wonderful to work with.”
A husband and wife, Joe and Amy Gregory, will lead your cast as Jekyll/Hyde and Emma Carew. What does their personal relationship bring to their stage partnership?
“It’s rare for there to be such chemistry between the two romantic leads – even if they do happen to be married! Joe and Amy have such a special relationship, and in their case, this comes across immediately.
“They’re also both lovely people and in all my time directing, I have genuinely never met anyone more joyous to work with. They are committed, passionate performers who will work hard to deliver what you’re aiming for as a director yet also contribute actively to the creative process.”
What is the message of Jekyll & Hyde in our 21st century world, where tampering with science may well have led to Covid?
“Good question. I suppose the message is that research does not always deliver the desired results. Sometimes though, even the unexpected results can turn out to be beneficial. There are many drugs that are used for things for which they were not intended in development.
“As a hospital pharmacist by profession, I was interested in this angle of drug research in psychiatry with Dr Jekyll. Even today, we still know comparatively little about the causes of mental illness and effective drug therapy is limited.
“Also, if you consider the possible effects of hallucinogenic drugs, the concept of a ‘Dr Jekyll’ and ‘Mr Hyde’ characterisation after injection is not so far-fetched.”
What will be your next theatrical project?
“My next project for 1812 Theatre Company is to mentor a first-time director, Sarah Barker, as she directs ’The Kitchen Sink [Hull playwright Tom Wells’s tender comedy of big dreams and small changes in a Withernsea, East Yorkshire family].
“We like to encourage members to consider directing and have a few people that are interested, but it’s important that they have someone to support them through the process.
“I think the big question is, will I ever direct another musical for 1812. Who knows? This production has consumed every moment of my life for the past six months, and a fair few moments in the months before that.
“I’d like to think so. What I do know, though, is that my passion for musicals will never die, unlike a number of Jekyll’s victims!”
1812 Theatre Company in Jekyll & Hyde The Musical, Helmsley Arts Centre, July 5 to 9, 7.30pm. Tickets: £15, under 18s, £7.50, from the arts centre, on 01439 771700 or helmsleyarts.co.uk. Age guidance: Suitable for 13 plus.
York Musical Theatre Company in Jekyll & Hyde The Musical, York Musical Theatre Company, Joseph Rowntree Theatre, York, 7.30pm tonight; 2.30pm and 7.30pm tomorrow. Box office: 01904 501935 or at josephrowntreetheatre.co.uk.
ON the only previous time CharlesHutchPress encountered Leslie Bricusse and Frank Wildhorn’s Broadway musical, at Leeds Grand Theatre in July 2011, this was his verdict.
“In a nutshell, it is a very good performance of a not particularly good musical adaptation of Robert Louis Stevenson’s novella that has but one memorable song, This Is The Moment,” he wrote, before concluding: “A deliciously wicked way to spend tonight or tomorrow awaits you”.
Eleven years on, This Is The Moment continues to stand out, but once more, Jekyll & Hyde The Musical’s story of love, betrayal and murder hits the mark in performance, this time under the gothic-inspired direction of Matthew Clare.
The aforementioned 2011 touring production relied on the handsome pop star chops of Marti Pellow in the dual role of upstanding, if obsessive Dr Henry Jekyll and his vengeful, sadistic, chemically altered alter ego, Mr Edward Hyde.
Clare goes with freelance actor, singer and voice actor Steven Jobson, whose love of performing was triggered by witnessing The Phantom Of The Opera at the age of 14, another show that ventures deep into the dark side.
Jobson can certainly act; he sings Jekyll & Hyde’s difficult, impassioned, narrative-driven songs adroitly too, and you can hear why he is a voice actor as he switches between the urbane, educated, tenor airs of the romantic scientist Jekyll and the guttural bass growl of Hyde, ably retaining the distinction in song.
In one early moment, his agitated singing voice for Hyde becomes muffled in the sound mix, but let’s put that down to this being the first night.
Jobson is equally convincing in his physical transformations, never straying into Hammer Horror melodrama. His monstrous madman always lurks within, those inner demons brought to the surface by reckless scientific brio as much as by his experiments.
Alexandra Mather vowed to make Jekyll’s trusting, unknowing fiancée, Emma Carew, more three-dimensional than on the page, and she delivers on that promise in her characterisation, while her pure, operatic voice wholly suits the score.
Director Clare has decided to split the role of love-struck but fearful prostitute Lucy Harris between York musical theatre regular and radio presenter Claire Pulpher (next performance, Saturday matinee) and Scarborough professional Nicola Holliday in her YMTC debut. Holliday was on duty on Wednesday, growing into her performance the more she sang, conveying both Lucy’s untrusting, self-protective nature and quest for love.
Strong support comes from Anthon Gardner’s lawyer John Utterson and Nick Sephton’s Sir Danvers Carew, and the ensemble relishes Bring On The Men, choreographed sassily by Hannah Wakelam.
John Atkin’s band is in good order throughout, steering the path between big balladry in the Lloyd Webber mode and a sly wickedness more in keeping with Sondheim’s Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber Of Fleet Street.
Costumes and wigs serve the primary role in evoking the Victorian era; the plain set design, by comparison, is a modern construction of metal stairways and a mezzanine level, more in keeping with a pop concert, but the use of blue lighting to denote Jekyll and red for Hyde is effective. Everyone stands, no-one sits, such is the restless, unrelenting, unnerving progression from Jekyll to hellish Hyde.
Director Clare had called Jekyll & Hyde a “niche musical”, but he has successfully brought it out of the shadows, and in Steven Jobson he has found just the man for the job.
POLITICS, the weather, monsters, Sixties and Eighties’ favourites, comedy songs and a north eastern tornado all are talking points for Charles Hutchinson for the week ahead.
Children’s show of the week: Tall Stories in The Gruffalo, Grand Opera House, York, today, 1pm and 3pm; tomorrow, 11am and 2pm
JOIN Mouse on a daring adventure through the deep, dark wood in Tall Stories’ magical, musical, monstrous adaptation of Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler’s picture book, suitable for children aged three upwards.
Searching for hazelnuts, Mouse meets cunning Fox, eccentric old Owl and high-spirited Snake. Will the story of the terrifying Gruffalo save Mouse from becoming dinner for these hungry woodland creatures? After all, there is no such thing as a Gruffalo – or is there? Box office: 0844 871 7615 or atgtickets.com/York.
Eighties’ nostalgia of the week: Tony Hadley, York Barbican, Sunday, 7.30pm
I KNOW this much is true: smooth London crooner Tony Hadley is celebrating 40 years in the music business with a 2022 tour that focuses on both his Spandau Ballet and solo years.
Once at the forefront of the New Romantic pop movement, Islington-born Hadley, 61, is the velvet voice of hits such as True, Gold, Chant No. 1, Instinction and Paint Me Down and solo numbers Lost In Your Love and Tonight Belongs To Us. Box office: yorkbarbican.co.uk.
Comedy songs of the week: Fladam & Friends, Let’s Do It Again!, Theatre@41, Monkgate, York, today at 2.30pm and 7.30pm
YORK musical comedy duo Fladam, alias Florence Poskitt and piano-playing partner Adam Sowter, vowed to return after last year’s Hootenanny, and return they will this weekend. But can they really “do it again?”, they ask. Is a sequel ever as good?
Mixing comic classics from Victoria Wood with fabulous Fladam originals, plus a sneak peak of this summer’s Edinburgh Fringe debut, this new show will “either be the Empire Strikes Back of musical comedy sequels or another case of Grease 2”. Tickets to find out which one: tickets.41monkgate.co.uk.
Whatever the weather, nothing stops Mikron Theatre Company in Red Sky At Night, Scarcroft Allotments, York, Sunday, 2pm
HAYLEY’S sunny, beloved dad was the nation’s favourite weatherman. Now, she is following in his footsteps, joining the ranks of the forecasting fraternity, or at least local shoestring teatime telly.
When the pressure drops and dark clouds gather, Hayley melts faster than a lonely snowflake. She may be the future’s forecast, but will anyone listen in Lindsay Rodden’s premiere, toured by Marsden company Mikron’s 50th anniversary troupe of James Mclean, Hannah Bainbridge, Alice McKenna and Thomas Cotran. No tickets are required; a Pay What You Feel collection will be taken after the show.
Sixties’ nostalgia of the week: The Hollies, 60th Anniversary Tour, York Barbican, Monday, 7.30pm
MOVED from September 2021, with tickets still valid, this 60th anniversary celebration of the Manchester band features a line-up of two original members, drummer Bobby Elliott and lead guitarist Tony Hicks, joined by lead singer Peter Howarth, bassist Ray Stiles, keyboardist Ian Parker and rhythm guitarist Steve Lauri.
Expect He Ain’t Heavy, He’s My Brother, I Can’t Let Go, Just One Look, Bus Stop, I’m Alive, Carrie Anne, On A Carousel, Jennifer Eccles, Sorry Suzanne, The Air That I Breathe and more besides. Box office: yorkbarbican.co.uk.
A bit of politics of the week: Northern Stage in Red Ellen, York Theatre Royal, Tuesday to Saturday, 7.30pm; 2pm, Thursday; 2.30pm, Saturday
CAROLINE Bird’s new play turns the overdue spotlight on “Mighty Atom” Ellen Wilkinson, the crusading Labour MP cast forever on the right side of history, but the wrong side of life.
Caught between revolutionary and parliamentary politics, Ellen fights with an unstoppable, reckless energy for a better world, whether battling to save Jewish refugees in Nazi Germany; leading 200 workers on the Jarrow Crusade; serving in Churchill’s war cabinet or becoming the first female Minister for Education. Yet somehow she still finds herself on the outside looking in. Box office: 01904 623568 or at yorktheatreroyal.co.uk.
Musical of the week: York Musical Theatre Company in Jekyll & Hyde The Musical, Joseph Rowntree Theatre, York, Wednesday to Saturday, 7.30pm; 2.30pm, Saturday matinee
BE immersed in the myth and mystery of London’s fog-bound streets where love, betrayal and murder lurk at every chilling twist and turn in Matthew Clare’s production of Frank Wildhorn and Leslie Bricusse’s musical adaptation of Robert Louis Stevenson’s epic struggle between good and evil.
Steven Jobson plays the dual role of Dr Henry Jekyll and Mr Edward Hyde in the evocative tale of two men – one, a doctor, passionate and romantic; the other, a terrifying madman – and two women – one, beautiful and trusting; the other, beautiful and trusting only herself– both women in love with the same man and both unaware of his dark secret. Box office: 01904 501935 or josephrowntreetheatre.co.uk.
Award winner of the week: Sam Fender, Scarborough Open Air Theatre, May 27, gates open at 6pm
WINNER earlier this week of the Ivor Novello Award for Best Song Musically and Lyrically for his Seventeen Going Under single, North Shields singer-songwriter Sam Fender opens the 2022 Scarborough Open Air Theatre summer season next Friday.
Already Fender, 28, has the 2022 Brit Award for Best British Alternative/Rock Act in his bag as he heads down the coast to perform his frank, intensely personal, high-octane songs from 2019’s Hypersonic Missiles and 2021’s Seventeen Going Under. Box office: scarboroughopenairtheatre.com.
YORK Musical Theatre Company are marking their 120th anniversary with a new staging of Jekyll & Hyde The Musical.
Directed by Matthew Clare, York’s longest-running amateur theatre company are presenting Robert Louis Stevenson’s story of love, betrayal and murder from May 25 to 28, when the epic struggle between good and evil comes to life to the pop-rock score of Grammy and Tony Award-nominated Frank Wildhorn and double Oscar and Grammy-winning Leslie Bricusse.
Jekyll & Hyde has been described as a “niche musical”, prompting Matthew to say: “It was first done in Texas in the 1990s and it’s true it’s not been done commonly. Maybe its subject matter is off-putting to those who want something more family orientated: Annie comes without seven murders, doesn’t it – and I once did 17 productions of Annie in one year!
“But given that the music is phenomenal, we stood the chance of getting a really good cast, doing some music nights with musical director John Atkin going through some of the score, and we ended up with a really good turnout for the auditions.”
Among those auditionees was Glyndebourne Academy alumna Alexandra Mather, who will play Emma Carew. “The music has some operatic elements and strong musical theatre ones too,” she says.
“So, the show has that crossover appeal between the populism of Lloyd Webber and the sophistication of Sondheim. It’s Phantom meets Sweeney Todd, with the big power ballads for the Lloyd Webber factor and the interplay of Sondheim in the ensemble scenes.”
Stevenson’s tale of two men – one, a doctor, passionate and romantic; the other, a terrifying madman – and two women – one, beautiful and trusting; the other, beautiful and trusting only herself – finds both women in love with the same man and both unaware of his dark secret.
A devoted man of science, Dr Henry Jekyll is driven to find a chemical breakthrough that can solve the most challenging of medical dilemmas. Rebuffed by the powers-that-be, he decides to make himself the subject of his own experimental treatments, accidentally unleashing his inner demons, along with the man that the world would come to know as Mr Hyde.
“It’s a really powerful story rooted in Dr Jekyll looking for a cure for his father’s dementia,” says Matthew. “Most people can probably sympathise with that emotion, that desire, but the issue is that he becomes obsessed with it.”
Alexandra adds: “Jekyll doesn’t have a way to pursue this through the proper channels because it’s a one-man crusade and he ends up having to push Emma away because of what he’s doing.”
Anthony Gardner, cast as lawyer John Utterson, joins in: “Hyde is a diminished part of Jekyll. He’s juxtaposed with Utterson, who has all the correct moral values and represents stability.”
Matthew notes how Hyde is the only honest character in the story. “That’s a really weird thing to say about your villain, who’s always within Jekyll.”
How we might behave in any given situation depends on where we are in our lives, suggests Alexandra. “We are not constant,” she says. “Depending on where we are, it can bring out that other side.”
Anthony is playing “one of the more relatable characters”. “Utterson is Jekyll’s best friend but he’s also someone who steps out of the story and becomes a narrator, so as such his voice is one of the ones you can trust,” he says.
“He’s desperate to save his friend but he’s also blind to his faults so he’s always one step behind.”
Anthony has been “knocking around I don’t know how many companies all these years”, from York Light Opera Company to York Opera, the Bev Jones Music Company to York Musical Theatre Company. “But the draw to Jekyll & Hyde for me was very specific,” he says.
“I met my fiancée doing an abridged version at the ROSS Musical Theatre Performance School at Lancaster: a 45-minute version that still had all the murders and the full story.
“I had to play two characters: my first take on Utterson, a role suited to my style, and Spider; my now fiancée was playing Lucy Harris, the prostitute, and now she’s playing Lady Savage next week.
“We’re due to get married next year. We got engaged over lockdown, and we’ll be getting married on Kirkgate at York Castle Museum, where, as it happens, we did the photocall for Jekyll & Hyde.”
Anthony’s bride-to-be is Elizabeth Vile. “No, she will not be keeping her maiden name! I had always thought I would go double-barrelled when marrying, but ‘Vile Gardner’ doesn’t quite work, does it?!”
Should you be seeking further reasons to be “immersed in the myth and mystery of 19th century London’s fog-bound streets” in Jekyll & Hyde, here are two more from director Matthew.
“Because of Covid, York Musical Theatre Company haven’t had a full-scale production for two years since Jesus Christ Superstar, just a couple of online concerts, so it’s great to be back,” he says.
“It’s also very interesting to have two performers playing Lucy – Nicola Holliday on Wednesday, Friday and Saturday evening; Claire Pulpher on Thursday and at the Saturday matinee – and seeing how they play her in their different ways.”
York Musical Theatre Company in Jekyll & Hyde The Musical, Joseph Rowntree Theatre, York, May 25 to 28, 7.30pm and 2.30pm Saturday matinee. Box office: 01904 501935 or at josephrowntreetheatre.co.uk.
YORK Musical Theatre Company & Friends present A Concert For Ukraine on Saturday at Our Lady’s Church, Cornlands Road, York, at 7pm.
Organiser Sophie Urquhart says: “As we’ve all been so horrified by the tragic images on the news every night from Ukraine, I felt determined to do something, however small to help.
“As a member of York Musical Theatre Company (YMTC), it seemed an ideal solution to put on a concert for people to enjoy and to raise funds at the same time.
“The rest of the company couldn’t have been more enthusiastic, and once our musical director, John Atkin, was on board, the whole plan came together, inviting members from other local theatre companies to join us.
Saturday’s programme features multiple show tunes from West End musicals past and present, ranging from old favourites from Les Miserables, The Phantom Of The Opera and Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber Of Fleet Street to a couple from YMTC’s next show, Jekyll & Hyde The Musical, now in rehearsal for a May 25 to 28 run at the Joseph Rowntree Theatre.
“We’ll also have a wonderful and inspirational lady called Victoria from the Ukraine opening our concert, reminding us why we are all there,” says Sophie.
Tickets cost a minimum of £5, either on the door or through reservations on 07806 487695, with all proceeds going to the DEC Ukraine Humanitarian Appeal run by Action Aid.
“For those that can’t attend, but would still like to donate, there’s a JustGiving page set up,” says Sophie.
FROM Holding Out For A Hero to Search For The Hero, Charles Hutchinson is on a quest to find heroic deeds and much else to entertain you.
Musical of the week: Footloose at York Theatre Royal, Tuesday to Saturday
DANCING On Ice champ Jake Quickenden rides into York as cowboy Willard and musicals stalwart Darren Day plays Reverend Moore in Racky Plews’s touring production of Footloose The Musical.
Reprising the 1984 film’s storyline, teenage city boy Ren is forced to move to the rural American backwater of Bomont, where dancing and rock music are banned. Taking matters into his own hands, soon he has all hell breaking loose around him and the whole town on its feet.
The set design, by the way, is by Sara Perks, who designed York Theatre Royal’s open-air show Around The World In 80 Days last summer and Shakespeare’s Rose Theatre productions in York. Box office: 01904 623568 or at yorktheatreroyal.co.uk.
Thriller of the week: Looking Good Dead, Grand Opera House, York, Tuesday to Saturday
AFTER playing bickering husband and wife Ian and Jane Beale in EastEnders for years and years, Adam Woodyatt and Laurie Brett are re-uniting, this time on stage in Shaun McKenna’s stage adaptation of Peter James’s thriller Looking Good Dead.
No good deed goes unpunished in this story of Woodyatt’s Tom Bryce inadvertently witnessing a vicious murder, only hours after finding a discarded USB memory stick.
Reporting the crime to the police has disastrous consequences, placing him and his family in grave danger. When Detective Superintendent Roy Grace becomes involved, he has his own demons to face while he tries to crack the case in time to save the Bryces’ lives. Box office: 0844 871 7615 or atgtickets.com/York.
Festival event of the week: York Literature Festival presents Europe’s 100 Best Cathedrals with Simon Jenkins, St Peter’s School, Clifton, York, tonight, 7pm
FOR Europe’s 100 Best Cathedrals, former editor of the Evening Standard and The Times Simon Jenkins has travelled the continent, from Chartres to York, Cologne to Florence, Toledo to Moscow, to illuminate old favourites and highlight new discoveries.
Tonight he discusses the book’s exploration of Europe’s history, the central role of cathedrals in the European imagination and the stories behind these wonders. Box office: yorkliteraturefestival.co.uk.
Exhibition of the week: Navigators Art in Moving Pictures, City Screen Picturehouse café and first-floor gallery, until April 15
FROM December’s ashes of the Piccadilly Pop Up Collective studios and gallery in the old York tax office, Navigators Art have re-emerged for a spring exhibition at City Screen.
For their first post-lockdown project, founder Navigators Steve Beadle and Richard Kitchen have invited fellow artist and teacher Timothy Morrison to join them for Moving Pictures: From Fan Art To Fine Art.
“The title is deliberately ambiguous, and we’ve responded to it accordingly,” says Richard. “There are works that relate to cinema and other media but also many of which interpret ‘Moving’ in other ways.”
Rearranged York gig of the week: BC Camplight, supported by Wesley Gonzales, The Crescent, York, Thursday, 7.30pm
MOVED from March 10, BC Camplight’s gig in York highlights the final chapter of his “Manchester trilogy”, Shortly After Takeoff.
“This is an examination of madness and loss,” says BC, full name Brian Christinzio. “I hope it starts a long overdue conversation.”
Fired by his ongoing battle with mental illness, Shortly After Takeoff follows 2018’s Deportation Blues and 2015’s How To Die In The North in responding to BC’s move from his native Philadelphian to Manchester. Cue singer-songwriter classicism, gnarly synth-pop and Fifties’ rock’n’roll. Box office: thecrescentyork.com.
York premiere of the week: Pick Me Up Theatre in Shakespeare In Love, Theatre@41, Monkgate, York, April 1 to 9
LEE Hall’s 2014 stage adaptation of Shakespeare In Love, the Oscar-winning film written by Tom Stoppard and Marc Norman, celebrates the joys of theatre in Pick Me Up’s first show of 2022.
Directed by Mark Hird, it recounts the love story of struggling young playwright Will Shakespeare (George Stagnell) and feisty, free-thinking noblewoman Viola de Lesseps (Sanna Jeppsson), who helps him overcome writer’s block and becomes his muse.
Against a bustling background of mistaken identity, ruthless scheming and backstage theatrics, Will’s love for Viola blossoms, inspiring him to write Romeo And Juliet. Box office: tickets.41monkgate.co.uk.
Voice of the week: Heather Small, York Barbican, April 2, 7.30pm
BILLED as “The voice of M People”, soul singer Heather Small will be combining songs from her Nineties’ Manchester band with selections from her two solo albums.
As part of M People, she chalked up hits and awards with Moving On Up, One Night In Heaven and Search For The Hero and the albums Elegant Slumming, Bizarre Fruit and Fresco. The title track of her Proud album has since become a staple at multiple ceremonies.
At 57, she will never be one to rest on her laurels: “If you got the feeling I do when I sing, you’d understand,” she reasons. Box office: yorkbarbican.co.uk.
Book early for: York Musical Theatre Company in Jekyll & Hyde The Musical, Joseph Rowntree Theatre, York, May 25 to 28
FLOOR rehearsals are well under way for York Musical Theatre Company’s spring production under the direction of Matthew Clare, who is delighted by how the cast is responding and supporting each other.
The epic struggle between good and evil in Jekyll & Hyde, Robert Louis Stevenson’s tale of myth and mystery on London’s fog-bound streets, comes to stage life in Frank Wildhorn and Leslie Bricusse’s pop-rock musical, where love, betrayal and murder lurk at every chilling twist and turn.
YMTC are running an early bird discount ticket offer with the promo code of JEKYLL22HYDE when booking at josephrowntreetheatre.co.uk by April 10.
REHEARSALS are underway for York Musical Theatre Company’s May staging of Jekyll & Hyde The Musical.
“The production team were blown away by the high standard of talent that attended the two days of auditions in January, resulting in a very tough task in the casting of roles,” says company stalwart Mick Liversidge. “In fact, deliberation went on to the early hours of the morning after the final auditionee had left on the second day.
“YMTC feel that the resulting cast will deliver a fantastic show, worthy of marking the company’s 120th year. Rehearsals began on Monday and the cast couldn’t wait to get stuck into the sumptuous music of this fabulous show.”
Based on Robert Louis Stevenson’s classic story, the epic struggle between good and evil comes to life on stage to the thrilling pop-rock score of Grammy and Tony Award-nominated Frank Wildhorn and double Oscar and Grammy-winning Leslie Bricusse.
An evocative tale of two men – one, a doctor, passionate and romantic; the other, a terrifying madman – and two women – one, beautiful and trusting; the other, beautiful and trusting only herself – finds both women in love with the same man and both unaware of his dark secret.
A devoted man of science, Dr Henry Jekyll is driven to find a chemical breakthrough that can solve the most challenging of medical dilemmas. Rebuffed by the powers-that-be, he decides to make himself the subject of his own experimental treatments, accidentally unleashing his inner demons, along with the man that the world would come to know as Mr Hyde.
York Musical Theatre Company invite audiences to “be immersed in the myth and mystery of 19th century London’s fog-bound streets, where love, betrayal and murder lurk at every chilling turn and twist” in the May 25 to 28 run at the Joseph Rowntree Theatre, York.
Tickets are on sale on 01904 501935 or at josephrowntreetheatre.co.uk. For the Early Bird discount of £2 off each ticket, use the promo code JEKYLL22HYDE when booking online.
Jekyll & Hyde cast:
Dr Henry Jekyll/Mr Edward Hyde: Steven Jobson Emma Carew: Alexandra Mather Lucy Harris: Nicola Holliday & Claire Pulpher (shared role) John Utterson: Anthony Gardner Sir Danvers Carew: Nick Sephton Simon Stride: Matthew Ainsworth Lady Beaconsfield: Helen Spencer Lady Savage: Elizabeth Vile Archibald Proops: Ryan Stocks General Glossop: Rob Davies Bishop of Basingstoke: Ryan Richardson Spider: Ben Caswell Nellie: Erin Keogh