What’s on in Yorkshire - November 2013

Northrn Ballet A Christmas Carol

Northrn Ballet A Christmas Carol - Credit: Archant

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


November 12th – 16th


George Orwell’s 20th century fantasy about state surveillance, love and betrayal has become our 21st century reality, with cameras on every street corner, Big Brother really is watching us (although, ironically, fewer of us are watching Big Brother since it went to Channel 5). Headlong (‘The country’s most exciting touring company’ — The Telegraph) promises a radical new staging of Orwell’s Dystopian masterpiece.

West Yorkshire Playhouse 0113 213 7700 wyp.org.uk

November 5th-9th

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To Sir With Love

Remember the film way back in 1967 starring Sidney Poitier and featuring a song made famous by Lulu? Probably not, you’re far too young. This new stage adaptation is peppered with the songs and dance of the late 1940s; a time of austerity where love, inspiration and hope win through against all the odds. Matthew Kelly plays Florian. And just to remind you Kelly is a Best Actor Olivier Award winner for the Touring Consortium’s production of Of Mice and Men and is acclaimed for television and theatre performances including Waiting for Godot with Ian McKellen, Troilus and Cressida at The Globe and his performance in the TV drama Cold Blood. He joins Ansu Kabia as Ricky.

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

October 30th – November 2nd

Charlie and Lola’s Extremely New Play

Never heard of Charlie and Lola? Then you almost certainly don’t have pre-school kids and CBeebies isn’t blaring out every day in YOUR house. Basically the set up is this: Charlie has this little sister, Lola, who is small and very funny. After that, anything can happen, and usually does. Based on Lauren Child’s magical books, Charlie and Lola’s Extremely New Play is a mix of puppets, live action and music.

West Yorkshire Playhouse 0113 213 7700 wyp.org.uk

November 30th – January 18th

The Jungle Book

This is the big Christmas show at the WYP, based on Rudyard Kipling’s stories and cleverly mixing live music with puppetry. It’s directed by Liam Steel, whose recent work includes the musical staging and choreography for the film version of Les Miserables. Don’t go expecting songs from the Disney version — but do prepare yourself for what promises to be a magical night at the theatre.

West Yorkshire Playhouse 0113 213 7700 wyp.org.uk


November 15th

Paul Merton: Impro Chums

It’s too easy to think of Paul Merton as that bloke from Have I Got News For You? Actually, he’s also a superb improv-performer and has been since the 1980s (remember that other TV programme ending with a questionmark, Whose Line is it Anyway?). He appears here with arch-improvisors Mike McShane, Lee Simpson, Richard Vranch and Suki Webster (aka Mrs Paul Merton) who’ll take suggestions from the audience (keep it clean) and make the comedy up as they go along...

Leeds Grand Theatre 0844 848 2700 leedsgrandtheatre.com

November 1st

Barry Cryer’s Twitter Titters

Barry is, of course, a comedy legend — a 78-year-old one — from Leeds, no less. If you started listing all of his achievements here, we’d fill the entire magazine. He’s written for everyone from David Frost, the Two Ronnies, Morecambe and Wise and Danny La Rue to Bob Hope, Jack Benny, Phil Silvers, Phyllis Diller and Richard Pryor. As a performer he’s appeared on classic radio shows such as I’m Sorry I Haven’t a Clue and Just a Minute. ‘National treasure’ is a very overused title these days (as Private Eye points out, most editions) but it does rather suit Barry. Michael Palin put it best: ‘As far as I know,’ he said, ‘everyone in the world loves Barry Cryer.’

Stephen Joseph Theatre, Scarborough, 01723 370541 sjt.uk.com

November 1st

Alan Davies: Life is Pain

Before he went all Jonathan Creek and QI on us, this was what Alan Davies did for a living, live stand-up comedy. Has he still got what it takes, though? Can he cut the funny mustard? His 2011 tour of Australia suggests he can: ‘A well-rounded and hilarious show... a wonderful return to stand-up from Davies,’ said Chortle, Australia and New Zealand. Time Out, meanwhile, called Life is Pain ‘terrifically poignant’.

Hull City Hall hullcc.gov.uk/hullcityhall 01482 300300 Also November 2nd York Barbican 0844 854 2757 yorkbarbican.co.uk


November 19th – December 7th


Surely Tommy Steele doesn’t need to do eight shows a week, plus matinees? But here he is, just in time for Christmas, being alternately miserly/joyous and belting out the Oscar-nominated hit Thank You Very Much as though his very career depended on it. We guess the only possible reason for knocking himself out in every show like this is because Tommy, now 76, has the theatre in his blood and has no more intention of retiring than, well, Barry Cryer. Mr Showbiz is back.

Leeds Grand Theatre 0844 848 2700 leedsgrandtheatre.com

November 12th-16th

Our House

Jukebox musicals can be really good (think Mamma Mia!) or, um, not quite so good (think We Will Rock You). This one, featuring the music of north London nutty boys Madness, was written by Tim Firth (Calendar Girls) and had a successful and critically acclaimed run in London’s West End, winning the Olivier award for Best New Musical in 2003. The title track, which has a strange melancholy air beneath its jauntiness, was always one of Madness’ best tunes.

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

November 29th – January 25th


How do you follow a hit like My Fair Lady, which played at the Crucible in this slot last year? Hmm, difficult. It did star Dominic West for starters. This time, director Daniel Evans has decided to stage Lionel Bart’s Oliver! which has the bonus of being stuffed full of fabulous, immediately recognisable songs: Consider Yourself, You’ve Got To Pick A Pocket or Two, Oom-pah-pah! and Food Glorious Food.

Crucible, Sheffield 0114 249 6000 sheffieldtheatres.co.uk


November 3rd

Festival of Remembrance

A special concert a week before Remembrance Day, featuring the Band of the Heavy Cavalry and Cambrai Band, The York Philharmonic Male Voice Choir, Main St Ladies Barbershop Singers and the York Military Wives Choir, plus children from Rufforth Primary School.

York Barbican 0844 854 2757 yorkbarbican.co.uk


November 9th

Brighouse and Rastrick Band

Ey-up. The Brighouse and Rastrick Band — joined on stage by Malsis School Choir from Keighley — play a selection of brass band favourites, classical music, jazz and contemporary. One of the most consistent and successful brass bands in the world, the B&R were national champions in 2010 and 2011 and runners-up in 2012. But they don’t need us to tell you how good they are. They can blow their own trumpet.

Ilkley’s King’s Hall and Winter Gardens 01422 375447 bradford-theatres.co.uk

November 24th

Andrea Bocelli

The Italian tenor is the first classical star booked by the new Leeds Arena, but he won’t be the last. Bocelli has sold 80 million records worldwide and won numerous classical Brit Awards, including International Artist of the Year. And his latest album? Well, it includes duets with Nelly Furtado and J-Lo, no less. We think that’s what is known as ‘crossover’.

First Direct Arena Leeds 0844 248 1585 firstdirectarena.com

November 15th


The Welsh wonders, with gravel-voiced Kelly Jones on vocals, have been together for 20 years, and Graffiti on a Train is their latest album. The problem for the band (although it’s a nice one to have) is that their earlier work was so hooky and memorable — think Have a Nice Day, Pick a Part That’s New, Local Boy in the Photograph, I Wouldn’t Believe Your Wireless Radio — that it must be supremely difficult to top. Graffiti on a Train, though, has been well-received and this Arena gig will showcase tracks from it.

First Direct Arena Leeds 0844 248 1585 firstdirectarena.com

November 7th

Bryan Ferry

Bryan Ferry has always oozed confident style. Even when Roxy Music played Virginia Plain on Top of the Pops in 1972, with a big-haired Ferry wearing what looked like a black sequinned jumpsuit, mascara and lip-gloss, he was the epitome of cool. There aren’t many men who can pull off the glam-rock look and escape with their dignity intact, but somehow, amazingly, he managed it. Ten years later, in the video for More Than This, Ferry escaped ridicule all over again: he wore — call the fashion police! — a dress shirt and bow-tie with a leather jacket, and danced to that long instrumental bit at the end like a geography teacher at a school disco (by the way both clips are now horrifically available on You Tube, should you care to check them out).

His clothes have altered (thankfully) but his singing style hasn’t changed one iota. He still delivers his distinctive vocals with a facial grimace that’s halfway between a smile and a sneer, but he’s more than up to the task of live performance, despite being (gasp!) 67 years old. This tour features his usual band and the Bryan Ferry Orchestra (who recorded his instrumental album The Jazz Age); and the set-list promises an ‘eclectic selection of songs chosen from across his whole career to celebrate his 40 years as a singer and songwriter’.

Sheffield City Hall 0114 2 789789 sheffieldcityhall.co.uk Also November 14th York Barbican 0844 854 2757 yorkbarbican.co.uk

November 2nd

Arctic Monkeys

It’s been a busy few months for the Sheffield superstars (can you still call them an indie band after all they’ve achieved?). First they headlined Glastonbury, name-checking their home town mid-song (‘Good evening everybody, we are the Arctic Monkeys from High Green, Sheffield — hello!’); then they released their new album to much acclaim and vast sales; plus there was that flirty business with frontman Alex Turner and Susanna Reid on BBC Breakfast in September which had the Daily Mail in a right old lather. Critics say their live shows still lack a certain oomph, but we disagree, because Turner — even with the quiff and the strange patter that makes him sound like a DJ from a 1960s holiday camp — knows how to work a crowd. And a crowd there will most certainly be for this concert. Expect old songs plus tracks from their latest number one, critically acclaimed album, AM.

Motorpoint Arena Sheffield 0114 256 5656 motorpointarenasheffield.co.uk

November 6th

Steve Harley & Cockney Rebel

Of course, if you’re a really, really big fan of Steve Harley and Cockney Rebel, or just irritatingly smug and pedantic, you’ll know that their number one hit song wasn’t called Come Up and See Me, Make Me Smile. It was called Make Me Smile (Come Up and See Me). We’ll get our coat. But it’s good to see them back again.

Royal Hall Harrogate 01423 500500 royalhall.co.uk

November 21st

Jools Holland and His Rhythm and Blues Orchestra

Mr Boogie Woogie gets behind his keys again, bringing out his big, big band (naturally) and some big gun vocal talents namely Melanie C (you know, she was in that girl band that had a few hits in the 1990s) and the wondrous Ruby Turner. Crowd-pleasing, dancing in the aisles business as usual, then.

York Barbican 0844 854 2757 yorkbarbican.co.uk Also November 24th Sheffield City Hall 01142 789789 sheffieldcityhall.co.uk

November 26th

Steeleye Span

Folk rock pioneers, pop stars, an inspiration to generations - Steeleye Span return to Bradford. Maddy Prior - the voice of Steeleye for 38 years - back at the helm of a line-up featuring band stalwart and fiddler extraordinaire Peter Knight, Rick Kemp on bass, Peter Zorn and Julian Littman on Guitars and Liam Genockey on the drum stool.

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


October 31st – November 2nd

English Touring Opera Baroque Opera from Venice Mini-season

The English Touring Opera performs productions of Cavalli’s Jason (October 31st), Monteverdi’s The Coronation of Poppea (November 1st) and Handel’s Agrippina (November 2nd). All the operas were written to be performed during Venice’s annual carnival, and are sung in English, in full costume.

Harrogate Theatre 01423 502116 harrogatetheatre.co.uk


November 22nd – January 12th

Sleeping Beauty

Hello boys and girls. It really is that time of year again (oh yes it is and do try to be more enthusiastic). In Harrogate, that means Phil Lowe and David Bown teaming up for Harrogate Theatre’s perfectly traditional seasonal family panto.

Harrogate Theatre 01423 502116 harrogatetheatre.co.uk


November 8th & 9th

The Russian State Ballet and Opera House

The Russian State Ballet and Opera House with productions of The Nutcracker and Romeo and Juliet, featuring an impressive cast and accompanied by an orchestra with over 30 musicians.

Victoria Theatre Halifax 01422 351158 calderdale.gov.uk/victoria Also November 25th Scarborough Spa Centre 01723 821 888 scarboroughspa.co.uk

November 13th-16th

Northern Ballet - A Christmas Carol

Christmas comes early this year as Northern Ballet’s heart-warming and hugely popular adaptation of Charles Dickens’ classic tale returns to the stage. Colourful sets and costumes by Olivier Award winning Lez Brotherston (Northern Ballet’s Romeo & Juliet, Matthew Bourne’s Sleeping Beauty, Swan Lake, Edward Scissorhands) conjure up a traditional Victorian Christmas, while Carl Davis’ festive score blends classical music with traditional Christmas Carols, played live by Northern Ballet Sinfonia.

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