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This didn’t hurt at all

Two days ago I was grumbling about over-enthusiastic critics and the poor quality of the play on offer at York Theatre Royal.  But perhaps it was just me becoming ever more old and grumpy. So it was with some trepidation that I set off today, in miserable weather, on the bus which takes forever, to […]

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Night fell and so did our interest

“Night Must Fall” is described by York Theatre Royal as a “psychological thriller from master playwright Emlyn Williams” which “has all the tension, atmosphere and suspicion of the best British mysteries and will leave you on the edge of your seat”. “Creepy and insinuating psychological thriller that still has the power to disturb and entertain” […]

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Witness for the Prosecution: right setting for excellent production

What a pleasure it was to see Agatha Christie’s Witness for the Prosecution in the wonderful setting of York Guildhall, a magnificent building not normally open to the public. The Council chamber, looking (at least to the untrained eye) much like a court of law, provides the perfect ambiance for this tale of the legal […]

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“I, Elizabeth”, one woman show at Helmsley Arts Centre

Actor Elizabeth Vaughan toured a one woman show based on the life of Queen Elizabeth I in 2012. The closest she came to Kirkbymoorside was Easingwold, where we saw the show, and reviewed it, saying: ‘I, Elizabeth’ (is) a one woman show written and performed by Rebecca Vaughan. Perhaps ‘compiled’ would be more accurate, as […]

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Barrie Rutter in the title role

Lear with laughs

I saw Paul Schofield as King Lear at Stratford some time in the early 1960s, and the fact that I remember it fifty odd years later means it must have been a pretty powerful performance. Then I saw Ian McKellan in the role, at Stratford again, just a couple of years ago, and that was […]

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North Country Theatre touring production of A Month in the Country

North Country Theatre made a welcome return to Helmsley Arts Centre last night with a revival of their 2002 production “A Month in the Country”, adapted from the 1980 novel of the same name by J.L. Carr. This is not the usual ‘ripping yarn’ we have some to expect from the company, but rather a […]

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Live relay of ‘Skylight’

We booked for “Skylight”, now running at the Wyndham’s Theatre in London, with just a glance at the names. Playwright David Hare, principal parts Carey Mulligan and Bill Nighy. What’s not to like? Nothing, as we expected. The official synopsis says: On a bitterly cold London evening, schoolteacher Kyra Hollis receives an unexpected visit from […]

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A Small Family Business

Since moving so close to Scarborough, home of playwright Alan Ayckbourn, I have become a little weary of his plays, which now number 78 I believe. So I might have passed on a revival of “A Small Family Business” had it been at his home base, the Stephen Joseph Theatre. However, hearing that no less […]

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The Last Train to Scarborough

I love a good detective novel, the husband is into trains, and we both like live theatre, so “The Last Train to Scarborough”, now playing at the Stephen Joseph Theatre in (of course) Scarborough, seemed tailor made for us. Railway Fireman Ray Blackburn worked the last train from York to Scarborough, stayed the night at […]

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Henry IV Part I, in Stratford and locally

Last year’s wander through medieval history with William Shakespeare as an articulate, if not always accurate, guide, left Richard II, in the person of David Tennant, dying in prison while his crown was usurped by Henry Bolingbroke, Duke of Lancaster. Henry, now crowned, returns to the Royal Shakespeare Theatre in Stratford in the current season, […]

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Brassed Off

We are used to the concept of successful play turned into film: take the same plot, and add a few outdoor scenes, flesh out some action only talked about on stage, and you probably have a hit. But I’ve just seen the first (that I am aware of) film turned into play: sprawling outdoor action […]

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“Private Lives” re-lived

The Cinemalive live showing of Noel Coward’s “Private Lives” at the Palace Cinema in Malton last week was so popular, filling all three auditoria with almost no empty seats, that a repeat showing has been scheduled for Monday March 10. The scenario of the play is contrived to say the least: a divorced couple find […]

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Richard III at York Theatre Royal

Richard something or other by Shakespeare, I hear you say, didn’t we do this a few days ago? No, this is the other Richard play, the Third, in another series, concluding what was begun by the Globe Theatre company at York Theatre Royal last summer with the three parts of Henry VI. Shakespeare’s ruthless and […]

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‘Laughton’

‘Laughton’, now playing at the Stephen Joseph Theatre in Scarborough, didn’t attract my attention when I read the autumn programme. Charles Laughton (for the information of the youngsters among you) was an actor and film star, born in Scarborough, and long since dead (1962). He had a string of Holywood film credits, and many acclaimed […]

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‘Inspector Norse’ at York Grand Opera

Comedy duo Maggie Fox and Sue Ryding, aka Lip Service, have been delighting audiences with their literary madness for – well, perhaps in deference to them, we’d better not say*.  But you might remember ‘Jane Bond’, or ‘Very Little Women’ or ‘Withering Looks’…. Now the girls are back, with their latest take on current media […]

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Othello, live or broadcast

Shakespeare’s ‘Othello’, now showing at the National Theatre in London, will be broadcast live on various dates at the end of the month. From the moment the play opens, you know this is not a conventional production. Iago and Roderigo spill out of a noisy pub, pint in one hand and cigarette in the other, […]

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Henry VI, sequel and prequel

If you enjoyed one or more of the three parts of Henry VI brought to York Theatre Royal recently by the London Globe theatre, you can pick up the story in the autumn with a production by the Theatre Royal itself of Shakespeare’s Richard III. Richard, Duke of Gloucester, you will recall, has helped his […]

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Henry VI

English history in the late Middle Ages is a largely unmemorable quagmire of ‘battle, murder and sudden death’. The so-called Hundred Years War with France rumbled on from 1337 to 1453, while the English civil war, the Wars of the Roses, led to a dozen battles between 1455 and 1485. Shakespeare’s three plays on Henry […]

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NT Live: The Audience

“The Audience” by Peter Morgan, in which Helen Mirren reprises on stage her role as the Queen that she performed to such great effect on screen in – of course – “The Queen”, is the latest offering in live broadcasts from the National Theatre, and showed recently to a packed audience at the Helmsley Arts […]

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Yet more Shakespeare

Earlier in the year, a glut of Shakespeare was threatened with Winter’s Tale at the York Opera House and the three parts of Henry VI coming up at York Theatre Royal. And that was before the news that the next two shows to be broadcast under the National Theatre Live scheme will be Othello on […]

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“This House” on NT Live

“This House”, by James Graham, is about THE house, that is the House of Commons, but not as you will see it on televised debate, nor as you might imagine it shaping national policy in closed committee. Instead we are taken into the dark cramped world of ‘the engine room’, the offices of the Government […]

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The Mousetrap

“There are six of you in this room, and one of you is a killer.” What can I say about “The Mousetrap”? Everyone has heard of it, you’ve either seen it or been resisting it for 60 years – yes, truly 60 years, it opened in 1952, and has been running ever since, breaking all […]

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Rutherford and Son

Northern Broadsides are now reckoned to be one of the best touring theatre companies in the country, and they certainly proved their standing by tempting the near legendary Sir Jonathan Miller out of semi retirement ‘to work in a damp cellar in Halifax’ (as the Guardian reviewer put it) and direct their current production, Rutherford […]

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Mud, Maples and Memories

Today there is very little to see of Wombleton airfield; a few buildings remain and a memorial stone stands as a remainder to all those who lost their lives. However it is difficult to imagine this rural village being host to Canadian and British airmen who were based there from 1943 with Halifax and Lancaster bombers. This interesting […]

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People

“People”, a new play by Alan Bennett, has been running at the National Theatre in London for some months now, and last night it went international with a live broadcast to theatres all over the world, including the Helmsley Arts Centre. Eccentric Lady Dorothy Stacpoole and her companion, Iris, live alone in a vast crumbling […]

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The Winter’s Tale

There are bits of Shakespeare in many people’s heads without them necessarily being aware of the source.  I have often considered myself ‘a snapper up of unconsidered trifles’, collecting miscellaneous bits of useless information, including what is probably the only one of Shakespeare’s stage directions that anyone recalls: “Exit, pursued by a bear”.  I discovered […]

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The 39 Steps

“The 39 Steps” is another of those theatrical events that has been around a long time.  Before it hit the West End some years ago, it started life as a book, by John Buchan (1915) ,and went through no less than three films versions with Robert Donat (1935), Kenneth More (1959), and Robert Powell (1978) […]

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Not one but two treats for Shakespeare fans

To see really first class Shakespeare, you expect to have to travel to London or Stratford.  Feast or famine, 2013 brings a production from each of those places to our very doorstep, well to York, which is near enough. The Royal Shakespeare Company is making its first ever visit to York, with one of this […]

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Kirkbymoorside Friday Orchestra

The Friday Orchestra – a wonderful evening of music

On Friday 7 December, the Friday Rehearsal Orchestra held an open rehearsal in the Memorial Hall. The audience were treated to a varied programme which began with the dramatic theme music from the film “633 Squadron”. This was followed by an overture by Wagner and then the well known overture from “West Side Story” by […]

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The Woman in Black

Celebrating its 25th birthday, the unanimously acclaimed production of The Woman in Black returns to Scarborough, where it first premiered back in 1987, as part of a major national tour.  It’s claimed that seven million people have seen this play; if you are not one of them and you want something other than pantomime in […]

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