Guide to this year's pantos around the North-East and North Yorkshire

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11:18am Thursday 20th November 2014

Steve Pratt takes readers around the main North-East and North Yorkshire 18 choices for their money when it comes to Christmas entertainment for the family this year.

Phil has lion's share of new role

The Advertiser Series: CHUCKLES OF OZ:The launch of Darlington's Panto The Chuckles of Oz today at Houndgate Townhouse, pictured Phil Corbitt as the Cowardly Lion Picture:SARAH CALDECOTT

4:06pm Thursday 20th November 2014

Viv Hardwick chats to North-East-born Phil Corbitt about joining The Chuckles Of Oz at Darlington.

'My 15-year musical stretch'

The Advertiser Series: Picture: Lorne Campbell / Guzelian
Blood Brothers play at The Alhambra Theatre, Bradord, West Yorkshire.
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4:02pm Thursday 20th November 2014

Sean Jones talks to Steve Pratt about his long association with Willy Russell’s Blood Brothers.

Mice on the menu

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3:59pm Thursday 20th November 2014

IT’S great to see village halls offering a little Christmas magic on the doorstep for local children and their families to enjoy.

Hoboken Grill, Darlington

The Advertiser Series: Eating Out review for the Darlington and Stockton Times at Hoboken Grill on Duke Street, Darlington.  Picture: CHRIS BOOTH

11:21am Thursday 20th November 2014

Chris Webber can’t claim to be cool, but he can tackle a smoke-on-site burger at Darlington’s Hoboken Grill.

Theatre Review: Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, Darlington Civic Theatre

2:29pm Wednesday 19th November 2014

THE rainbow-coloured cast of Bill Kenwright's Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat received a standing ovation after their opening performance at the Darlington Civic Theatre.

Gig Review: Bigelf, O2 Academy, Newcastle

The Advertiser Series: Damon Fox of Bigelf

12:20pm Wednesday 19th November 2014

In most bands the keyboard player is more often than not banished to the side of the stage out of harm’s way, but not so in American Prog Rock band Bigelf where Damon Fox takes centre stage imprisoned on both sides by an impressive array of vintage keyboards from Mini Moogs, Hammond Organs and the king of Prog instruments, the Mellotron.

Theatre Review: Testing Times, People's Theatre, Newcastle

12:15pm Wednesday 19th November 2014

WITH around 20,000 people in the North East affected by the HIV virus and ten per cent of those developing the full-blown AIDS virus, this is a topic as relevant today as it was back in the 1980s. Straight or gay, male or female, this horrendous disease does not recognise sexual preferences as it wrecks the lives of carriers and of those close to them.

Theatre Review: Heaven Eyes, Théâtre Sans Frontières, Phoenix Theatre, Blyth

11:43am Tuesday 18th November 2014

THIS stage adaptation of Newcastle-born David Almond’s book is a corker. From the amazing morphing set designed by Alison Ashton, to the outstanding performances, music by Ken Patterson, lighting, image projection, sound effects arranged by Kevin James, it works.

Theatre Review: Regeneration, Darlington Civic Theatre

The Advertiser Series: Stephen Boxer as Captain Rivers

3:00pm Friday 14th November 2014

NICHOLAS Wright’s stage adaptation of Pat Barker’s First World War trilogy is timed exactly right in this centenary year, with an awareness demonstrated by the number of younger people in the audience.

Theatre Review: Riverdance, Sunderland Empire

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3:00pm Friday 14th November 2014

THE standing ovation received on the opening night, really says it all. Twenty years on from that momentous seven-minute interlude during 1994’s Eurovision Song Contest, life has changed for so many young Irish dancers and performers, and changed the world’s relationship with Irish dance for ever.

Eating out: Cinnamon Club, Trimdon Village

The Advertiser Series: EATING OUT: Cinnamon Club, Trimdon Village. Picture: TOM BANKS

11:04am Thursday 13th November 2014

Lizzie Anderson is spoilt for choice at the Cinnamon Club Indian Restaurant, Trimdon Village.

Matt Corner's happy Valli

The Advertiser Series: Jersey Boys (12648189)

10:24am Thursday 13th November 2014

Conquering the falsetto voice required for the Jersey Boys has put Darlington's Matt Corner into prime position to launch the show at Sunderland, reports Steve Pratt.

Mr musicals

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10:18am Thursday 13th November 2014

Steve Pratt talks to North Yorkshire director Nikolai Foster about the serious future of shows.

Theatre Review: Beauty And The Beast, Birmingham Royal Ballet, Sunderland Empire

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12:16pm Wednesday 12th November 2014

AS the programme notes say, the nights are drawing in and what better time to curl up with a good ballet. Birmingham Royal Ballet have once again brought their talent to the North-East to enchant audiences with this gothic fairy tale.

Theatre Review: Lord of the Flies, Newcastle Theatre Royal

The Advertiser Series: RE:BOURNE: Lord of the Flies

4:53pm Monday 10th November 2014

BASED on the novel by William Golding, Lord of the Flies is about a group of young boys who get trapped in an abandoned theatre (originally an island in the book), it’s a tale which starts off as innocent, but soon spirals into savagery.

The Chequers Inn, Dalton-on-Tees

The Advertiser Series: THE CHEQUERS INN: Black Pudding Stack - black pudding, sausage, croutons, poached egg and mustard sauce. Picture: STUART BOULTON. (12333725)

10:34am Friday 7th November 2014

Chris Lloyd is shocked to discover how little he's been charged at The Chequers Inn, Dalton-on-Tees.

Theatre future and wartime past

10:27am Friday 7th November 2014

York's young hopefuls produce a week of shows while Frosterley reveals tragedy from the First World War

Keeping tragedy in mind

The Advertiser Series: Paul Hunter and Edward Petherbridge in My Perfect Mind

4:45pm Thursday 6th November 2014

Steve Pratt talks to Edward Petherbridge about turning his darkest hour into a successful play.

High-flying lords of dance

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12:16pm Thursday 6th November 2014

North-East young male dancers are a-buzz with Matthew Bourne’s latest project, says Steve Pratt.

Theatre Review: The Castle Players, Journey’s End, The Witham, Barnard Castle

The Advertiser Series: ON STAGE: A scene from Journey’s End

10:29am Wednesday 5th November 2014

BACKED by the BBC Performing Arts Fund, Barnard Castle’s favourite amateur group, The Castle Players, took a brave step into serious drama. Led by first-time director Steven Bainbridge, who has acted in the players’ past productions, the arts funding enabled an experimental mentoring scheme, to encourage new directors and fresh ideas.

Theatre Review: Durham Johnston students “Gatecrash” party

3:57pm Friday 31st October 2014

Surrounded by Durham Johnston students, as part of Durham’s Festival of Culture, the audience stepped through the red door into the bustling house of number 5, putting on their wireless headphones to Gatecrash Sam’s 17th ‘small’ birthday gathering.

Theatre Review: Blind, Live Theatre, Newcastle

The Advertiser Series: SHOW STAR: Grace Savage

4:06pm Friday 31st October 2014

BEATBOXING theatre shows are pretty thin on the ground. For the uninitiated (that’s you) Human Beatboxing is ‘urban vocal percussion’, often in breathtaking combinations and at breakneck speed. In the last few decades, it has evolved with Hip Hop, but many cultures around the world have been ululating in bizarre and wonderful ways for thousands of years.

The Woodman Inn, Burneston, Bedale

The Advertiser Series: The Woodman Inn at Burneston. See Eating Out (12078888)

2:55pm Thursday 30th October 2014

WITH winter fast approaching, the nights drawing in and the weather surely about to take a turn for the worse, it's not always easy to find the energy and inclination to head out for something to eat.

Theatre Review: The Full Monty, Newcastle Theatre Royal

The Advertiser Series: MEN OF STEEL: The cast of The Full Monty

5:24pm Thursday 30th October 2014

The Full Monty is a theatre adaptation of the 1997 film of the same name; the show stars Gary Lucy, Louis Emerick, Andrew Dunn, Rupert Hill, Martin Miller and Bobby Schofield and also comes from the pen of Oscar-winning film-writer Simon Beaufoy (Slumdog Millionaire, 127 Hours).

War poets' lives on stage

The Advertiser Series: From Not About Heroes (12057109)

6:10pm Tuesday 28th October 2014

THE wartime experiences of famed poets Siegfried Sassoon and Wilfred Owen are explored in a drama coming to the North-East stage next week (Monday, November 3).

Theatre Review: Cinderella, Newcastle Theatre Royal

11:54am Friday 24th October 2014

IT IS easy to understand why Northern Ballet has just been named Best Company at the inaugural Taglioni European Ballet Awards in Berlin. The quality of their dancing, their creativity in launching new ballets each year and the sheer wow-factor of their productions, will have overwhelmed the opposition from such august companies as The Paris Opera and The Hamburg Ballet. They should be extremely proud of themselves.

Hope and clarity

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5:21pm Thursday 23rd October 2014

THE first time Danielle Hope played the Narrator in the musical Joseph And the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat she was 13 and appearing in a school production.

Panto anything but Pointless

The Advertiser Series: PANTOMIME LAUNCH: Cast member Andrew Agnew (Muddles) attends the launch of the Sunderland Empire's pantomime Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. Picture: DAVID WOOD (11708420)

5:18pm Thursday 23rd October 2014

Viv Hardwick discovers that Andrew Agnew, alias PC Plum, and actress Victoria Serra are all prepared for Snow White at Sunderland.

Theatre Review: Darlington Operatic Society's Sister Act, Darlington Civic Theatre

The Advertiser Series: DOUBLE TAKE: Rhiannon Walker, left and Claire Wilmer who have both landed the lead in Sister Act at Darlington.         Picture: ANDY LAMB (7036843)

4:01pm Thursday 23rd October 2014

REJOICE! DOS is here again, this time featuring the ladies in an entertaining story about a well-meaning would-be diva, Deloris van Cartier, who sees her gangster boyfriend commit a murder and, until she can testify against him, is hidden in a local convent.

Watching Brief: Collector of Tears

The Advertiser Series: Madeleine MacMahon

12:10pm Tuesday 21st October 2014

COLLECTOR of Tears is a new love story told by Madeleine MacMahon, who makes her North-East debut as Tanya Sealt. The play is written by Sean Burn, the founder member of Tyneside theatre company, Gobscure.

Watching Brief: Theatre Sans Frontières in Heaven Eyes

The Advertiser Series: Maria Lindh playing the role of Heaven Eyes and Paddy Burton as Grampa

12:06pm Tuesday 21st October 2014

THE award-winning touring theatre company, Théâtre Sans Frontières (TSF), is touring its latest production, Heaven Eyes, to venues in the North this autumn.

The Wyvill Arms, Constable Burton

The Advertiser Series: Wyvill Arms, Constable Burton. Restaurant (11466276)

6:11pm Thursday 16th October 2014

AS a lover of racing, I'm the sort who likes to rely on a favourite with previous form, rather than take a punt on an unknown outsider.

Summer's hot for tango time

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5:39pm Thursday 16th October 2014

Viv Hardwick discovers that the world premiere of Flying Into Daylight in Newcastle is providing challenges for West End stars Summer Strallen and Jos Vantyler.

Film Review: The Judge

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5:42pm Thursday 16th October 2014

THE law is an ass and the people who administer it bigger asses in David Dobkin’s courtroom drama about an estranged family reunited under the testing conditions of a murder trial. The Judge takes its sweet time going through the legal motions, grafting on a superfluous romantic subplot to the revelations in the dock.

'I said The Woman In Black wouldn't work'

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4:59pm Thursday 16th October 2014

Steve Pratt talks to Susan Hill about her latest ghost story, The Small Hand, to be adapted for the stage.

From Benidorm to old Peking

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4:59pm Thursday 16th October 2014

JAKE CANUSO is the man who turned down Kylie Minogue. The dancer-turned-actor, who plays barman Matteo in ITV's comedy hit Benidorm, toured the world performing with the likes of Take That, the Spice Girls and Prince.

Jim Davidson - a controversial road back to the top of entertainment

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4:56pm Thursday 16th October 2014

THE larger-than-life antics of Jim Davidson have split opinion about his appeal as a performer over the years, but his latest comedy tour, based on his book No Further Action, is about to take audiences through the worst 12 months of his life before victory in last year's Celebrity Big Brother turned his fortunes around.

Film Review: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 3D (12A)

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5:47pm Thursday 16th October 2014

THE adventures of turtle brothers Donatello, Leonardo, Michelangelo and Raphael began life in the mid-1980s as an irreverent comic book and rapidly spawned an animated TV series, a trilogy of films and a dizzying array of merchandise.

Theatre Review: Jeeves & Wooster, Newcastle Theatre Royal

The Advertiser Series: John Gordon Sinclair (Jeeves) and James Lance (Bertie Wooster) in Jeeves and Wooster in Perfect Nonsense.

4:48pm Thursday 16th October 2014

JEEVES & Wooster in Perfect Nonsense is based on the short stories (in particular The Code of the Woosters) written by PG Wodehouse; it stars John Gordon Sinclair as Jeeves, James Lance as Wooster and is written by the Goodale Brothers.

Theatre Review: April in Paris, Darlington Civic Theatre

10:46am Wednesday 15th October 2014

APRIL in Paris is centred on a tumultuous relationship between Al (Joe McGann) and Bet (Shobna Gulati).

Theatre Review: Antigone, Northern Stage, Newcastle

The Advertiser Series: Antigone - a Pilot Theatre, Derby Theatre and Theatre Royal Stratford East Production

2:35pm Monday 13th October 2014

TURNING Greek Mythology into a British street gang drama, writer Roy Williams has produced a play for our time that eavesdrops on Sophocles’ original story – his characters, ghosts from another era.

Theatre Review: The Crucible, West Yorkshire Playhouse, Leeds

The Advertiser Series: Kate Phillips and Martin Marquez in The Crucible

2:35pm Monday 13th October 2014

DIRECTOR James Brining’s revival is epic in its staging. Not just the length (a gripping three hours plus but every minute counts) or the look (designer Colin Richmond uses the wide open spaces of the Quarry Theatre to great effect) but in its no-holds-barred emotional content.

Fireman Sam - Ocean Rescue

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8:41pm Friday 10th October 2014

EVERYONE loves a fireman and they don’t come much more popular than Fireman Sam.

Theatre Review: Disney On Ice, Metro Radio Arena, Newcastle

The Advertiser Series: Mickey and Minnie of Disney On Ice

8:58am Friday 10th October 2014

WHERE are the princesses? That was the constant chirp of my almost-four-year-old daughter from the moment she and new-school-starter best friend were surprised with tickets for Disney on Ice.

Film Review: Annabelle

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5:06pm Thursday 9th October 2014

ACCORDING to the opening credits of Annabelle, dolls have frequently been used as conduits of evil. Modern filmmakers have had great fun transforming inanimate figures into demonic vessels.

Film Review: Effie Gray

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5:03pm Thursday 9th October 2014

OSCAR-WINNING actor and screenwriter Emma Thompson returns to the stifled emotions and rigorous social etiquettes of 19th Century English society for her script based on the real-life marital woes of Victorian art critic John Ruskin and his teenage bride, Euphemia Gray.

Film Review: The Maze Runner

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4:59pm Thursday 9th October 2014

BASED on the bestselling novel by James Dashner, The Maze Runner is a testosterone-fuelled survival thriller cast from the same robust mould as The Hunger Games and Divergent.

Serious Chuckles

The Advertiser Series: CHUCKLES OF OZ:The launch of Darlington's Panto The Chuckles of Oz today at Houndgate Townhouse, pictured Phil Corbitt as The Cowardly Lion, Danny Potts as The Tin Man, The Chuckle Brothers, Adam Booth as The Scarecrow and Beth Stobbart as Glinda the

3:59pm Thursday 9th October 2014

Viv Hardwick has a chat about Rotherham and celebrity witch hunts with The Chuckle Brothers, who are on much happier ground when it comes to The Chuckles of Oz.

Craig's always got Tyne for Riverdance

The Advertiser Series: NO REPRO FEE. 26/06/2012. RIVERDANCE 9th Consecutive Summer Season. Pictured is Craig Mason from High Heaton, Newcastle, England danced in the Riverdance World Tour before becoming part of PRODIJIG, the winner of Sky 1 talent show GOT TO DANCE. Craig is n

3:57pm Thursday 9th October 2014

Viv Hardwick talks to North-East dancer Craig Mason about how his granny got him into international dance.


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