What’s On in Yorkshire - February 2014

Viking Festival

Viking Festival - Credit: Archant

A guide to the best entertainment around the county chosen by Tony Greenway

THEATRE

February 13th – March 8th

Translations

Irish dramatist Brian Friel, who wrote Translations (a favourite on the A-Level curriculum), says that it’s ‘a play about language and only language’. Set in 1833 with the British Army arriving in Ireland to translate Gaelic place names into English, it focuses on a young farm girl torn between the affections of the local school teacher and the love of a British soldier. Cue an intriguing clash of cultures.

Crucible

Sheffield

Most Read

0114 249 6000

sheffieldtheatres.co.uk

February 28th – March 29th

Of Mice and Men

This month-long production of John Steinbeck’s tragic Depression era-set drama (about migrant ranch workers George and Lennie) features a haunting, melodic live score by avant-Americana musician Heather Christian. It’s directed by the WYP’s new associate director Mark Rosenblatt.

West Yorkshire Playhouse

Leeds

0113 213 7700

wyp.org.uk

February 14th – March 1st

Brassed Off

This engaging comedy drama about unemployed miners who escape from reality by playing in a local brass band, started life as a hit film. Based on the screenplay by Mark Herman, it’s presented here to coincide with the 30th anniversary of the miners’ strike.

York Theatre Royal

01904 623568

yorktheatreroyal.co.uk

February 25th – March 8th

Bedroom Farce

Eek. Alan Ayckbourn’s comic and sad exploration of private relationships in middle-class suburbia is now -whisper it -39 years old. This production is directed by Robin ‘The Woman in Black’ Herford.

Harrogate Theatre

01423 502116

harrogatetheatre.co.uk

February 27th – March 8th

My Romantic History

A winning play from Scottish writer DC Jackson which premiered in 2010 and asks if people can really ‘get past’ their past romantic histories. The Guardian called it ‘a skewed not-quite-romcom’.

Harrogate Theatre

01423 502116

harrogatetheatre.co.uk

February 6th – 8th

We Will Be Free

Townsend Productions, the company behind the acclaimed Ragged Trousered Philanthropists, recounts the tale of the Tolpuddle Martyrs using live music, new and original songs, political cartoons and puppetry.

Harrogate Studio Theatre

01423 502116

harrogatetheatre.co.uk

MUSICALS

February 25th – March 1st

Fiddler on the Roof

A young Paul Michael-Glaser (from Starsky and Hutch, US cop show fans) was in the 1971 movie version of this hugely famous Jerry Bock-Sheldon Harnick musical. You’ll have to look fairly closely for him, though, because it was just a small role. Topol, meanwhile, played the scene-stealing lead, as poor milkman Tevye, living in Tsarist Russia and arranging marriages for his reluctant daughters. Forty-three years later, this touring stage version, directed by Strictly’s Craig Revel Horwood, features Glaser in the Tevye role. Maybe it’s ripe for a movie remake?

Alhambra Theatre

Bradford

01422 375447

bradford-theatres.co.uk

February 10th - 15th

Seven Brides for Seven Brothers

Backwoods man Adam thinks it’s time he found himself a gal to wed — but then his six brothers decide to do the same. Tcha. Copycats. Set in Oregon in 1850, this exuberant Western musical features a Johnny Mercer-Gene de Paul-Saul Chaplin score (standout songs include Bless Your Beautiful Hide, Sobbin’ Women and Goin’ Courtin’) plus Sam Attwater from EastEnders in the lead.

Lyceum

Sheffield

0114 249 6000

sheffieldtheatres.co.uk

February 17th – 22nd

Happy Days

You might be forgiven for thinking that we’ve all been blasted back into the Seventies, because Paul Michael Glaser (aka Starsky) is in Bradford for Fiddler on the Roof while, down the road in Sheffield, a musical version of US telly classic Happy Days is in town, not starring Henry Winkler as the Fonz. Come on. He’s too old, so that job falls to, er, Emmerdale’s Ben Freeman. But Winkler is billed as creative consultant on this production while Cheryl Baker from Bucks Fizz and former Sugababe Heidi Range (a great name for a star of musical theatre) also feature. Channel 4’s The Sound of Musicals charted the sometimes troubled genesis of the show.

Lyceum

Sheffield

0114 249 6000

sheffieldtheatres.co.uk

CONCERTS

February 28th

The Australian Pink Floyd Show

Let’s face it. This is about as close as you’ll get to seeing Pink Floyd in concert, these days. Unlike Monty Python, the remaining members of the real Pink Floyd aren’t hugely likely to get back together on a stage again — ever. So it’s left to APFS to lovingly recreate the Pink Floyd sound, and this show, I am told, draws heavily on the Dark Side Of The Moon, Wish You Were Here and (strangely) The Division Bell; although at certain points the audience can choose the material the band plays, so it must be a given that music from The Wall will pop up then. Surely?

First Direct Arena

Leeds

0844 248 1585

firstdirectarena.com

February 16th

Beth Nielsen Chapman

Chapman is, if you know your country songs, a star performer back in the good ole US of A. But arguably she’s had most success as a songwriter for the likes of Faith Hill, Willie Nelson, Trisha Yearwood, Crystal Gale, Tanya Tucker and Bette Midler. Chapman’s latest album, UnCovered, features songs she’s written for others but never recorded herself. Most were top 10 smashes, seven of which topped the charts at number one. Grab a ticket for this gig while you can.

Sheffield City Hall

01142 789789

sheffieldcityhall.co.uk

Also

February 13th

Royal Hall

Harrogate

01423 502116

EVENTS

February 4th - 9th

Robin Cousins’ Ice

Robin Cousins isn’t JUST the head judge on ITV’s Dancing on Ice, of course (now going through the motions with a final series). Anyone under the age of 30 may be surprised to learn that Cousins was also the foremost figure skater of his generation, winning 16 major international titles (including Olympic champion, European Champion and three-time World medallist). He’s also choreographed and directed 10 productions for the world renowned Holiday on Ice, skated on stage at the Radio City Music Hall and starred as Billy Flynn in the London production of Chicago. Here, he’s handpicked the world’s best skaters for an ice dance spectacular. Next month, the show slides into Hull New Theatre (March 11th-15th).

Alhambra Theatre

Bradford

01422 375447

bradford-theatres.co.uk

February 13th

Blofeld and Baxter: Memories of Test Match Special

No, not Ernst Stavro and Biddy: we’re talking Henry Blofeld and Peter Baxter, cricket commentators extraordinaire. ‘Find out what made Brian Johnston laugh, how John Arlott marinated that voice, how good a cricketer Geoffrey Boycott’s mother is and what the Queen thought of it all.’ There’s an invitation you can’t refuse.

Harrogate Theatre

01423 502116

harrogatetheatre.co.uk

OPERA

February 9th

La Boheme

A new Ellen Kent production of the romantic Puccini opera, featuring the arias Your Tiny Hand is Frozen, They Call Me Mimi and Muzetta’s Waltz.

Sheffield City Hall

01142 789789

sheffieldcityhall.co.uk

January 21st – February 21st

The Girl of the Golden West

The first Opera North’s production of Puccini’s opera for 30 years sees Alwyn Mellor return to the company as Minnie, one of the composer’s most demanding soprano roles.

Leeds Grand Theatre

February 7th – 22nd

0844 848 2700

leedsgrandtheatre.com

February 7th – 22nd

Macbeth

This is Verdi’s take on the bloody Shakespeare play, with music that channels the gripping darkness of the original as Macbeth’s vaulting ambition sends him spiralling into murder and madness. And that wife of his doesn’t help things, does she?

Leeds Grand Theatre

0844 848 2700

leedsgrandtheatre.com

JAZZ

February 8th

Kit Downes Quintet

One of the best British jazz pianists of his generation, and man inspired by artists as diverse as Bill Frisell, Bartok, Skip James, Paul Bley and Bjork, as well as folk singer- songwriters Elliot Smith and Nick Drake.

Assembly Room

Barnsley Civic

Barnsley

01226 327 000

barnsleycivic.co.uk

FILM

February 25th

Mary Poppins (1964)

A half-term treat which turns up on TV every five minutes these days – but there’s nothing quite like seeing it in its full glory on the big screen, so here’s your chance. You know the story: a magical nanny (Julie Andrews) comes to the rescue of two Edwardian kiddywinks who have been neglected by their aloof and overworked dad, while chimneysweep Dick Van Dyke employs the worst Cockney accent in the entire history of Cockney accents. The musical score is fit to burst: Spoonful of Sugar, Jolly Holiday, Step in Time, Feed the Birds, Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious and Chim-Chim-Cheree.

Assembly Room

Barnsley Civic

Barnsley

01226 327 000

barnsleycivic.co.uk

CHILDREN

February 15th

Comedy Club 4 Kids

Yep, a comedy club for kids with top comedians from the professional circuit making six year olds and over laugh (but doing so without any blue jokes, so don’t worry). The Guardian said this gives children ‘a taste of some of the biggest names in comedy with the fun, rowdy feel of a real comedy club.’ Earlier on in the day there’s a comedy workshop where kids can find out how to write and perform comedy with help from the professionals.

Stephen Joseph Theatre

Scarborough

01723 370541

sjt.uk.com

February 20th - 22nd

The Taming of the Shrew

Now this is a great way to introduce kids to Shakespeare: an RSC touring production of the feisty Shakespeare comedy, with gold-digging Petruchio trying his best to ‘woo’ the fiery Katharine. This production — part of the RSC’s First Encounter series — features much cross-dressing ‘to tell the story of two people’s crazy journey towards becoming the perfect match’. Using a distilled version of the original text it creates the perfect first experience of the Bard for anyone aged eight or above. Think they won’t love Shakespeare? Think again.

St George’s Hall

Bradford

01422 375447

bradford-theatres.co.uk

FESTIVALS

February 15th – 23rd

Jorvik Viking Festival

It’s a case of Look Norse when the annual Viking Festival rolls into York, bringing over 40,000 visitors with it. This is the 30th festival, so expect an extra celebratory mood alongside the falconry, archery, re-enactments, activities for children, dramatic performances and guided visits. Highlights include Beowulf by Candlelight (20th), a retelling of the classic Norse saga performed by Peter Carrington-Porter; a Viking Banquet at York Minster (21st) and the Strongest Viking Competition (22nd). Oh, by the way, the end of the festival coincides with the beginning of Ragnarok, the Viking apocalypse. Yes, apparently the Vikings predicted that the world would end on February, 22nd 2014, so we hope the news of impending global doom doesn’t spoil your enjoyment of the festival too much. Tell you what, though, I reckon that even if the planet is sent tail spinning into a fiery ball of death, York Council will still send out attendants to check tickets have been bought for late night parking.

Various venues

York

jorvik-viking-centre.co.uk

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