What’s On in Yorkshire - March 2014

Scene from Carmen

Scene from Carmen - Credit: Archant

A guide to some of the best entertainment around the county this month compiled by Tony Greenway

CONCERTS

Manic Street Preachers

March 28th

Here’s a statistic that will make you feel old. The Welsh wonders formed 28 (yes, really!) years ago and their finest moment is still, arguably, their 1995 album, Everything Must Go. Never ones to shy away from long, intellectual titles which must be hell to cram into a melody, their songs include If You Tolerate This, Then Your Children Will Be Next; Small Black Flowers That Grow in the Sky; You Stole the Sun from My Heart; (It’s Not War) Just the End of Love and — my favourite — Jackie Collins Existential Question Time. Here they’ll caper through their greatest hits (so expect Design for Life, Kevin Carter, Motorcycle Emptiness), songs from their last album, and new tracks from their forthcoming CD, Futurology.

First Direct Arena, Leeds 0844 248 1585 firstdirectarena.com

Justin Timberlake

Most Read

March 30th

He sings, he acts, he produces, he records albums that are smashes all over the world and he was voted the Sexiest Man Alive - Ever. These, then, are just some of the reasons to hate Justin Timberlake. Ooh, here’s another: his live shows sell out in, like, five minutes, but if you have tickets to this one, enjoy. We have Robbie Williams. The US has Justin. Who got the better deal?

Motorpoint Arena Sheffield 0114 256 5656 motorpointarenasheffield.co.uk

Mike + The Mechanics

March 12th

Yes, incredibly, they are still going. Readers of a certain age might remember that the ‘Mike’ of the title is Mike Rutherford, formerly of Genesis — and his Mechanics used to include Paul Carrack (now doing his own thing) and the late Paul Young of Sad Cafe. During the 1980s, Mike + The Mechanics made it big with the singles All I Need is a Miracle, Silent Running, The Living Years and Over My Shoulder, but then the hits dried up and, without Carrack and Young, the band fell apart. Since its reincarnation a few years ago, Rutherford is back on the road again, with Andrew Roachford and Tim Howar on lead vocals. Special guest is Sadie and the Hotheads (featuring Downton Abbey’s Elizabeth McGovern) — and is it too much to hope that Roachford will play his 1988 rock/soul hit, Cuddly Toy?

St George’s Hall Bradford 01274 432000 bradford-theatres.co.uk

SPECIAL APPEARANCES

Stuart Maconie

March 12th

Stuart Maconie, the 6 Music DJ, music journalist and TV talking head, is a walking musical encyclopedia. He is also responsible for some terrific urban myths, thanks to a column he used to write in the New Musical Express, which po-facedly presented a series of incredible ‘rock facts’ to NME readers which were, in fact, completely made up. ‘The one that really stuck,’ Maconie told me once, ‘was when I wrote that former Blockbusters’ quiz master Bob Holness was the man who played the famous sax solo on the Gerry Rafferty song, Baker Street. People still approach me in pubs to this day and quote that back to me. And I have to tell them: No, sorry, it’s not true. And I know it’s not true, because I made it up myself.’ Ooh, and just for the record, David Bowie does not own the copyright to Connect Four (another one of Maconie’s fibs). In this one-man show, Stuart talks about his new book and epic radio series, The People’s Songs, a social history of modern Britain told through pop singles.

Crucible Sheffield 0114 249 6000 sheffieldtheatres.co.uk

Jon Ronson: Frank Talk

March 27th

He would probably say he wasn’t, but journalist, broadcaster and filmmaker Jon Ronson is now something of a player. His book The Men Who Stare at Goats was made into a Hollywood movie starring George Clooney and Ewan McGregor and his 2001 work, Them, has been reportedly optioned by a studio for feature film release. It wasn’t all glamour, though. In the 1980s, Ronson was the keyboard player for Frank Sidebottom — a singer who wore a big papier-mâché head to disguise his true identity from those outside his inner circle. Ronson, who has co-written a film called Frank (starring Michael Fassbender and Maggie Gyllenhaal), talks about his experiences in this show described as ‘part funny memoir, part movie diary’.

Harrogate Theatre 01423 502116 harrogatetheatre.co.uk

COMEDY

Miranda

March 21st & 22nd

That’s Miranda Hart to you, who has gone from co-star to comedy superstar in a few short years, thanks to her eponomymous sitcom and appearances in Call the Midwife. Hart used to be a stand-up comic, but TV has taken her away from all of that recently; so do be gentle with her as she — ooh, cheeky (as Miranda would say) — beds herself back in. As she says herself in the blurb for this show: ‘Expect galloping, attempts at song and dance, and simply - such fun!’ She’s also appearing at Sheffield Motorpoint next month (5th & 6th).

First Direct Arena Leeds 0844 248 1585 firstdirectarena.com

Jack Whitehall

March 13th

If you like posh comedian Jack Whitehall, you are living through a Golden Age. He’s in practically every show on TV, he won King of Comedy at the British Comedy Awards last year, and his stand-up tour is selling out across the country. Mind you, if you don’t like him, life must be hell right now. My advice: keep your TV turned off and read a book instead. And don’t buy a ticket for this show. Obviously.

Motorpoint Arena Sheffield 0114 256 5656 motorpointarenasheffield.co.uk

Barry Humphries: The Farewell Tour

February 25th- March 1st

Is this really the final bow for Dame Edna Everage, Housewife Superstar? Her manager, Barry Humphries, seems to think so, because he is himself retiring (and where he goes, Edna goes too, for some reason); so yes, possums, this is farewell. It also means the end of Australian cultural attaché Sir Les Patterson, although for the people flecked with his spittle in the first three rows, it may be no bad thing. Humphries is, of course, a comedy genius and he and his grotesquely lovable creations will be missed. Let’s hope he ‘does a Sinatra’, changes his mind and brings them back again. Soon.

Harrogate Theatre 01423 502116 harrogatetheatre.co.uk

David Baddiel: Fame – Not the Musical

March 16th

In the 1990s, with his then comedy partner Rob Newman, David Baddiel fronted a stand-up show which sold out Wembley arena. Now Baddiel isn’t quite as well-known as he once was, he steps back to take a look at fame in his first show for 15 years. It’s funny and truthful – and it obviously still rankles that Andrew Lloyd Webber can’t tell him apart from Ben Elton.

Leeds Grand Theatre 0844 848 2700 leedsgrandtheatre.com

David O’Doherty

March 11th

If you’ve seen David O’Doherty — winner of the 2008 Edinburgh Comedy Award — on shows such as QI, Have I Got News For You and Room 101 you’ll have thought he was a tad eccentric. Funny, of course. But eccentric. And you’d have been right.

Harrogate Theatre 01423 502116 harrogatetheatre.co.uk

CLASSICAL

Russell Watson

March 19th

Not many people have songs written epecially for them by Claude-Michel Schönberg and Alain Boublil, the writers of Les Misérables and Miss Saigon. But then many people aren’t Russell Watson, who has won four Classical BRIT Awards, sold over eight million records worldwide and is the first artist to hold simultaneous number ones in the USA and the UK. Here he features songs from his new album, Only One Man.

Sheffield City Hall 0114 278 9789 sheffieldcityhall.co.uk

Nigel Kennedy: Bach & More

March 4th

Kennedy has never been one to conform to classical world expectations. Take tonight, for instance, he might step out on stage in formal-wear (although it’s unlikely) then again, he might be sporting an Aston Villa football shirt (which would be a brave thing to do in the home of Bradford City). He will almost certainly say ‘Monster!’ and ‘Cool!’ a lot. His programme here includes the music of Bach as well as other composers who have been an influence on his life and career.

St George’s Hall Bradford 01422 375447 bradford-theatres.co.uk

BALLET

Cleopatra

March 6th - 15th

A Northern Ballet production which has been pulling in the punters since its premier in 2011, it features music composed by Golden Globe and Academy Award nominated Claude-Michel Schönberg, played live by Northern Ballet Sinfonia, and choreography from Northern Ballet’s artistic director David Nixon OBE.

Leeds Grand Theatre 0844 848 2700 leedsgrandtheatre.com also March 25th - 29th Lyceum, Sheffield 0114 249 6000 sheffieldtheatres.co.uk

OPERA

Carmen

March 4th

The Russian State Ballet and Opera House performs Bizet’s crowd-pleaser, featuring an impressive cast accompanied by a large live orchestra. The plot - Don Jose, a naïve soldier, is seduced by Carmen, a free spirited femme fatale - is well known through the Toreador Song, one of the opera’s best known arias. Six children from Stagecoach Singing and Dancing Company in Halifax sing in the production. ‘Our long-term project is to try hard to involve more local choirs and to integrate them in our future productions,’ says producer Alexej Ignatow.

Victoria Theatre, Halifax 01422 351158 calderdale.gov.uk/victoria

THEATRE

How to Occupy an Oil Rig

March 25th

Daniel Bye’s funny and sad show is for everyone who ever wanted to change anything (although occupying an oil rig is a rather full-on way to do it). You also get to play with plasticine.

Harrogate Studio Theatre 01423 502116 harrogatetheatre.co.uk also March 29th Barnsley Civic 01226 327 000 barnsleycivic.co.uk

Spring Awakening

March 7th - 22nd

Frank Wedekind’s controversial play is strong stuff and caused youth riots when it premiered 98 years ago. Now playwright Anya Reiss and director Ben Kidd have updated it to examine ‘the exuberance, intensity and confusion of teenage life today’ while asking ‘important and pressing questions about how young people are shaped for their future by a generation that doesn’t understand them’. The production contains scenes of a sexual and violent nature and ‘is not for the feint-hearted’. Yikes.

West Yorkshire Playhouse Leeds 0113 213 7700 wyp.org.uk

Birdsong

March 24th - 29th

Sebastian Faulkes’ novel has been adapted by Rachel Wagstaff into an emotionally-charged hit play and here it is, in York in 2014, to mark the centenary of the Great War. A young Englishman embarks on an affair in pre-war France, just before he is sent to the trenches.

York Theatre Royal 01904 623568 yorktheatreroyal.co.uk

FESTIVALS

Huddersfield Literature Festival

March 6th - 16th

Spring has sprung (or is on the way, at any rate) and, with it, comes a new crop of Yorkshire festivals. First up, it’s over to Huddersfield where novelists Kate Adie, Joanne Harris and Jim Crace among others are appearing at the prestigious literature festival. There’s also a chance to find out more about publishing from two respected industry stalwarts: Antonia Hodgson, editor-in-chief of Little, Brown Publishers and Jenny Savill, senior literary agent at Andrew Nurnberg Associates.

Various venues 01484 430228 litfest.org.uk

York Literature Festival

March 20th -31st

For such a young event (it only began seven years ago), the York Literature Festival enjoys pulling in big names. This year it features Germaine Greer, Robert Winston, John Humphrys, Alan Johnson and Roger McGough, for example. Visit the website to download the whole impressive line-up.

info@yorkliteraturefestival.co.uk yorkliteraturefestival.co.uk

Bradford International Film Festival

March 27th - April 6th

At the time of writing, BIFF’s full programme had yet to be announced. But this festival (celebrating its 20th birthday this year) is one of the best in the country, and this year’s line-up includes the UK premiere of Gabe Klinger’s Double Play: James Benning, Richard Linklater, which won the Best Documentary in the Venice Classics section at La Biennale di Venezia 2013.

0844 856 3797 nationalmediamuseum.org.uk