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Preview: Spike at Darlington Hippodrome





Darlington Hippodrome

Tuesday 18 - Saturday 22 October 2022


Ian Hislop and Nick Newman’s new comedy, ‘Spike’, is coming to Darlington Hippodrome with a cast including Gavin and Stacey star Robert Wilfort alongside Mischief Theatre’s Patrick Warner and Jeremy Lloyd.


Full casting has been announced for ‘Spike’ - the comedy by Ian Hislop and Nick Newman that had its world premiere at The Watermill Theatre Newbury in January, and will be touring the UK from 6 September.

Robert Wilfort (Gavin and Stacey, Bridgerton) will take over the role of ‘Spike Milligan’, Patrick Warner (‘Peter Cook’ in The Crown, One Man, Two Guvnors and Play that Goes Wrong) will also join the production to play ‘Peter Sellers’, and Jeremy Lloyd (The Comedy About a Bank Robbery, Trial by Laughter) will return to his critically acclaimed role as ‘Harry Secombe’

TV comedienne and podcaster Margaret Cabourn-Smith (Motherland, Miranda, Buffering) will reprise her role as ‘Janet’, as will James Mack (The Watermill’s The Hound of the Baskervilles, The Rivals, Macbeth and Journey’s End) as ‘Denis Main-Wilson / Peter Eton’,  Ellie Morris (The Play That Goes Wrong, Mischief Movie Night, The Comedy About A Bank Robbery for Mischief Theatre company) as ‘June’, and Robert Mountford (The Habit of Art, The Haunting of Alice Bowles for Original Theatre Company, House and Garden for The Watermill) as ‘BBC Executive’.  Peter Dukes will join the company as ‘BBC Announcer’, as will Tesni Kujore as ‘Myra’, and Sam Ducane as ‘Doctor’.

Ian Hislop and Nick Newman said, “It’s a privilege to take ‘Spike’ on tour, exploring the genius of Britain’s most inspirational and ground-breaking comedian. And of course, it’s another chance to steal all his jokes and pass them off as our own. Spike Milligan may be Goon, but he’s not forgotten.”



‘Spike’ runs at at Darlington Hippodrome from Tuesday 18 to Saturday 22 October. For full details or to book please call the Box Office on 01325 405405 or visit


News: Darlington Hippodrome Young Dancers accepted on to Pioneering Training Course

Darlington Hippodrome Young Dancers accepted on to Pioneering Training Course

Three young dancers who have been attending Darlington Hippodrome Youth Dance sessions for over two years have been accepted on to Dance City’s Centre for Advanced Training in Contemporary Dance course.

Following successful auditions, Grace Hanson, Lola Smith and Annabel Wilde will start as CAT students in the new term starting in September.

CAT Students Lola Smith, Annabel Wilde, Grace Hanson 

The Newcastle based Centre for Advanced Training is part of The Department for Education’s Music and Dance Scheme offering a contemporary dance training programme for young people from the North East region aged between 10 and 18. CATs exist to help identify and assist children with exceptional potential, regardless of their personal circumstances, to benefit from world-class training as part of a broad and balanced education. This will enable students proceed towards self-sustaining careers in music and dance.

Grace, Lola and Annabel will train for a minimum of seven hours per week, attending classes on weeknights and weekends during school term times. They will have the opportunity to take part in intensive dance sessions during school holidays, working with renowned choreographers and guest artists. They will perform at Dance City’s performance space as well as attending professional theatre performances throughout their time on the course.

Debbie Harbin who runs the Hippodrome Youth Dance session told us “It has been an absolute pleasure to teach and nurture the natural talent of these students. I have seen them progress and mature technically. They have shown drive, passion and creativity. This chance to be on the CAT provides a fantastic opportunity to access intense quality sessions and contribute to a potential career in dance. Alongside this they will have an experience and gain skills that will stay with them for life and be transferable to whatever they do in the future.” 

Darlington Hippodrome’s Youth Dance and Youth Theatre sessions are suitable for ages 7+. For further information call the Box Office on 01325 405405 or visit 

Preview: Sleepover at Edinburgh Fringe Festival

 Cambridge University Musical Theatre Society presents:


Edinburgh Fringe Festival

Just the Tonic at The Caves,

Thursday 4 - Sunday 28 August 2022

Written by Laura Chan 

Four immigrant teens. Twelve hours. One suspicious box teeming with questions about sex. 

Sleepover is a coming-of-age comedy musical about self-discovery (and self-pleasure!). Join Jenny, Anita, Nina and Ruth as they dive into the world of sex - discussing everything from monogamy to masturbation, dating preferences to penises. Top-class comedy delivered to you with a side of well-rapped bars in this spectacular piece of new writing. From the people who brought you Six, the Musical. Don’t forget your toothbrush! 

Sleepover, from the company behind SIX, is brought to you by an entirely female/non-binary team of students, and covers ‘every question you had when you were 11 (or 21) that you didn’t know how to ask your 40-year-old science teacher … except here they’re set to Caribbean and Chinese music’. The show aims to create a ‘light-hearted, funny, sex musical’ with a focus on BAME experiences.

The cast includes: Laura Chan (Jenny), Regina Agard-Brathwaite (Anita), Michelle Zhang (Nina), Mia Grant (Ruth) 

The creative team includes: Mia Urwin (Director), Elaina Ough (Producer), Tungsten Tang (Lighting Designer), Mia Grant (Assistant Director) and Shreya Ganesh Kumar (Associate Director). 

On The Web:  

Instagram - @sleepover.edfringe 

Facebook – Cumts: Sleepover

TikTok - @sleepover.edfringe  

Twitter - @sleepover2022


Sleepover will be playing a full run at Just the Tonic at The Caves, 4th-28th August (except 15th) in  Just the Big Room at 16:30. Tickets are £7 or PWYW and can be purchased from the Fringe box  office - 0131 226 0000 / or from Just the Tonic -  

News: More New Shows Announced At Newcastle Theatre Royal


More New Shows Announced At Newcastle Theatre Royal


A musical phenomenon, a Strictly favourite and a one of Britain’s most popular comics are amongst those making a welcome return to Newcastle Theatre Royal as more new shows are announced for the coming seasons.

Buddy - The Buddy Holly Story

Following a sell-out run in 2021, Everybody’s Talking About Jamie will return Tue 16 – 20 Jan 2024. Inspired by a true story, the sensational West End musical tells the coming of age story of 16-year-old Jamie New growing up in Sheffield.

Another musical set to be loved by audiences is Buddy – The Buddy Holly Story (Mon 28 Aug – Sat 2 Sep 2023). The multi-award winning musical charts the drama, passion and excitement of Buddy Holly’s Texas rockabilly beginnings to international stardom and legendary final performance before his tragic death aged just 22.

Johannes Radebe in FREEDOM, Photo: Zac Cooke

Stewart Lee – a firm Newcastle Theatre Royal favourite – returns with a three night run of his brand new show, Basic Lee (Thu 13 – Sat 15 Apr 2023).  Hot on his heels will be Strictly Come Dancing sensation Johannes Radebe who will be hosting a party like no other when he brings his electrifying new show Freedom – Unleashed to the stage on Sun 30 Apr 2023.

The trail-blazing work of Gilbert & Sullivan is showcased in a perfect antidote to the mid-Autumn blues. A Gala Celebration of Gilbert & Sullivan (Sun 9 Oct 2022) will be performed by singers from Scottish Opera, Welsh National Opera, Opera North, Garsington, Carl Rosa and D’Oyly Carte accompanied by a 26 piece orchestra. Featuring favourites from The Mikado, The Pirates of Penzance, HMS Pinafore, Yeomen, Gondoliers and Iolanthe, plus some sparkling gems that may be less familiar, this gala concert performance will delight both Gilbert & Sullivan aficionados and newcomers alike.

The newly announced shows follow a host of a number of performances confirming runs at Newcastle Theatre Royal; these include the classic tale of teatime mayhem The Tiger Who Came to Tea (Wed 28 Sep – Sun 2 Oct 2022), the comedy sensation direct from London’s West End, Pride & Prejudice* (*sort of) playing Mon 23 – Sat 28 Jan 2023 and half term fun in David Walliams’ Demon Dentist (Wed 22 – Sat 25 Feb 2023).

The company of the Everybody's Talking About Jamie Tour. Photo: Matt Crockett

The new season also features family favourite musical Annie (Tue 7 – Sat 11 Mar 2023), a new Peter James thriller – Wish You Were Dead (Mon 13 – Sat 18 Mar 2023), musical comedy Rock of Ages (Tue 13 – Sat 17 Jun 2023), the royal return of SIX (Tue 4 – Sat 8 Jul 2023) and National Theatre’s major new stage adaptation of The Ocean at the End of the Lane (Tue 11 – Sat 22 July 2023).



Tickets for all shows can be purchased at or from the Theatre Royal Box Office on 0191 232 7010.

REVIEW: Your Aunt Fanny + Lauren Stone at Newcastle Cumberland Arms

Your Aunt Fanny ★★★ + Lauren Stone ★★★★

Newcastle Cumberland Arms

Thursday 28 July 2022

The North East has a wonderful comedy scene with a rich variety. This show featured two very different acts that had the crowd laughing. 

Lauren Stone keeps popping up at shows - even when we went to a comedy night in Leeds! As one of the hard working acts in the region, Lauren is developing into a fine comic. Her style is nothing like anything that you see on television, but she harnesses her strengths to create something that is refreshingly different.  Tonight delivered the best set that we have witnessed to date.

Whereas we keep tripping over Lauren, Your Aunt Fanny have been elusive for us. Since their early beginnings at Live Theatre we keep wanting to see them in action but something happens every time. Even last weekends show at Live Theatre continued that bad run for us. Thus, when we saw that they were going to do a couple more Newcastle show we were keen to book tickets.

Your Aunt Fanny is a comedy troupe with seven talented members. Their new show 'Muff Said' is a sketch show in which each member gets an equal share of the time in the spotlight. The sketches are well crafted and flow nicely. There is clever word play, skillful acting and sharp observation. From the first sketch about the letters to a teen agony aunt through to the final skit, there are funny observations.

The sketches work as the audience recognise the point been made, from the token woman in the discussion panel getting limited opportunity to talk through to hen nights and office politics. 

I'm glad that we finally got to see them in action. I'm sure that they have the potential to do well in the future. Not only are they an exciting prospect for the future, they are also well worth checking out now.

Review: Stephen Oliver

Your Aunt Fanny will be taking the show to Edinburgh Fringe - appearing on Aug 4-14, 17-27 at Edinburgh Assembly Rooms: 


Preview: Buddy – The Buddy Holly Story at Darlington Hippodrome



Buddy – The Buddy Holly Story

Darlington Hippodrome

Tuesday 28 February - Saturday 4 March, 2023.


On the back of an incredibly successful 30th anniversary tour, smash hit rock & roll musical Buddy – The Buddy Holly Story is back in the UK for 2023 and visits Darlington Hippodrome from Tuesday 28 February to Saturday 4 March, 2023.

Loved by critics and audiences alike, Buddy tells the enduring story of the musical icon’s meteoric rise from his Southern rockabilly beginnings to international stardom and his legendary final performance at the Surf Ballroom in Clear Lake, Iowa, before his tragic and untimely death at the age of just 22. In 18 short months the bespectacled boy from Lubbock, Texas, revolutionised the face of contemporary music, and would influence everyone from The Beatles to Bruce Springsteen and the Rolling Stones.

Boasting a multi-talented cast of actor-musicians, Buddy presents two terrific hours of music with over 20 of his greatest hits, including the timeless classics That’ll Be The Day, Peggy Sue, Oh Boy, Everyday and Rave On. With the Big Bopper’s Chantilly Lace and Ritchie ValensLa Bamba, and rip-roaring versions of Shout and Johnny B. Goode completing a stellar musical line-up, Buddy is a not to be missed evening of family entertainment.

Writer/Producer Alan Janes says: “We are so excited to be back on tour and to see our audiences – aged 8 to 80 – dance in the aisles every night to our story of a young man whose musical career spanned an all-too-brief period, but whose music will be remembered forever.”

Since its inception, Buddy has inspired a generation of multi-million selling jukebox musicals including Mamma Mia and We Will Rock You yet remains the true original and a musical phenomenon. Seen by more than 22 million theatregoers since it opened in London’s West End in 1989, Buddy speaks an international language and continues to have audiences rockin’ in the aisles across the globe!


Buddy – The Buddy Holly Story runs at at Darlington Hippodrome from Tuesday 28 February to Saturday 4 March 2023. Tickets are on sale now. For full details or to book please call the Box Office on 01325 405405 or visit


News: New autumn season at the Queen’s Hall in Hexham to include a magical new retelling of family favourite, The Wind in the Willows

New autumn season at the Queen’s Hall in Hexham to include a magical new retelling of family favourite, The Wind in the Willows

The Queen’s Hall Arts Centre in Hexham has announced its Autumn season, including a magical new retelling of family favourite The Wind in the Willows which will premiere in Hexham in December before being performed at The Alnwick Garden next summer. 

Artistic Director Katy Taylor said, “It’s been a joy to reconnect with our local community at live events since we reopened. We’ve been listening to our audiences and we’ve lined up an autumn season we hope they’ll love, packed with North East talent and stories alongside some of the UK’s best touring theatre companies, live music, stand up comedy and family shows. Plus, there’ll be lots of things for people to get involved in, including an opportunity for young people to perform in our main stage Christmas production for the first time.

Charlotte Ryder as Meggie Magicia Photo: Matt Jamie

“During lockdown we worked hard to make our building more accessible, so it’s a real pleasure to present shows like Icarus Theatre’s The Lesson which uses new Creative Captioning technology for deaf and hard of hearing audiences, and to welcome the Lawnmowers to Hexham for the first time, a brilliant North East theatre company run by and for people with learning difficulties.

Theatre highlights include new productions made in the North East alongside acclaimed touring companies, plus a brand new Christmas show for Northumberland audiences, co-produced by Queen’s Hall Arts, Alnwick Playhouse and Alnwick Gardens. 

The Wind in the Willows - design by Lisa Kirkbride

Adapted by award-winning playwright Mike Kenny and directed by Alnwick Playhouse Artistic Director Damian Cruden, The Wind in the Willows will premiere at the Queen’s Hall from 10-31 December before being performed at The Alnwick Garden in Summer 2023. This magical retelling of a family favourite combines all the joy and mystery of Kenneth Grahame's much-loved classic with the lightness of touch and playful theatricality that playwright Mike Kenny is best known for. With music by acclaimed composer for stage and screen Christopher Madin, this journey through the seasons to the great battle for Toad Hall is a Christmas treat for all ages. Alnwick Playhouse Artistic Director Damien Cruden said, “It's great to be working alongside the Queen’s Hall and The Alnwick Garden to create this fantastic new version of The Wind In The Willows. Drawing on the creativity of the region, a young people's company of stoats and weasels will help us to create a memorable trip to the theatre for the whole family.”

Mark Steel - Photo: Matt Crockett

Caroline Burrows’ one-woman poetry show Turning Pedals Into Poems which she’s touring to rural locations sustainably by bike comes to Hexham on 13 September. And staying in the great outdoors, These Hills Are Ours by award-winning theatre maker Daniel Bye and Chumbawamba founding member Boff Whalley brings together story and song in a collaboration about escaping it all by running to wild places on 14 September, produced by ARC Stockton.

Daniel Bye and Boff Whalley - These Hills Are Ours

Taking back films made about learning disabled people made without learning disabled actors, Gateshead’s Lawnmowers Theatre Ensemble - a theatre company run by and for people with learning difficulties - question Hollywood’s casting in their empowering new show Retake, Remake on 20 September.

Elysium Theatre A Doll's House

Award-winning Durham-based Elysium Theatre Company bring Ibsen's landmark drama about marriage, love and the need to be true to yourself to Hexham on 28-29 September in a new production of A Doll’s HouseTheir fifth production for Queen’s Hall Arts, the show reunites the cast for Miss Julie, which won Best Revival In The North East in the British Theatre Guide in 2019.

My Voice Was Heard But It Was Ignored (6 October) is an urgent interrogation of racial identity from acclaimed national touring theatre company, Red Ladder.

Lawnmowers Theatre Retake Remake

Following sold out shows and an international tour, Icarus Theatre’s blistering and award-winning dark comedy The Lesson comes to Hexham on 9 November, with a dynamic projection design that features exciting new Creative Captioning technology to ensure that every performance is accessible for deaf and hard of hearing audiences.

Alnwick Playhouse and Elysium Theatre Company present Steve Byron’s Reiver - Tales from the Borders on 30 November, an evening of theatre steeped in the folklore and history of the North East starring Micky Cochrane (add show), Steven Stobbs (add show) and Karen Traynor (add show). 

India Electric Co

There’s live music from Northumberland’s The Unthanks (23 October) with their live 11 piece band, to mark the autumn release of their new album, Sorrows Away; award-winning Teesside folk duo Megson (24 October) bring their brand new album Unknown Waters; from Leeds, The Belgrave House Band (17 November) reimagine classic albums, taking on one of the most critically acclaimed, highest grossing albums of all time, Rumours by Fleetwood Mac; and described by BBC Radio 3 as “a veritable musical magpie’s nest”, India Electric Company (29 November) been blend traditional instruments, folk melodies and subtle electronic influences.

Milton Jones

For comedy fans, fresh on the heels of his critically acclaimed memoirs, Nailing ItRich Hall comes to the Queen’s Hall on 17 September with new rants, knife-edge observations, thrilling musical interludes and a formidable knack for laughs on the fly. There’s a double whammy of stand-up comedy on 1 October when Britain’s favourite French comedian Marcel Lucont brings his award-winning comedy gameshow for kids Les Enfants Terrible to the Queen’s Hall at 2pm followed by his greatest oeuvres from the last decade at 7.30pm in Le Best Of, feating a live band.  A regular on Have I Got News for You and QIMark Steel brings his fresh new stand up show to Hexham on 14 October.  Expect the absurd in Milton: Impossible on 10 November, when Milton Jones reveals the truth about being an international spy before being given a disappointing new identity which forced him to appear on Mock the Week and Live at the Apollo

Family shows include Meggie Magicia (5 November) - a magical show for 5- 8 year olds, and their families, by North East playwright Wendy Errington. Captain Calamity’s Halloween Spectactular (25 October) is a phantom-tastic family show from Guinness World Record Breaking Captain Calamity featuring magical mayhem, spooky science, beastly balloons and bursting bubbles that’s ideal for families and children of all ages. And North East theatre company Kitchen Zoo are back with a festive show especially for under sixes and their grown ups, The Three Bears at Christmas (14-24 December) - an adventure into the woods with original live music, puppetry and a tale you thought you knew.

The Queen’s Hall continues to have Covid safety measures in place to keep audiences, artists and staff safe including encouraging face coverings, hand sanitiser stations, extra cleaning and e-tickets to avoid congestion at the box office.


For more information or to book tickets visit or call the box office on 01434 652 477.

NEWS: Final Globe Free Tickets Winners Take Exclusive Look Behind The Scenes At Stockton Globe


Final Globe Free Tickets Winners Take Exclusive Look Behind The Scenes At Stockton Globe

Excitement grew this week after winners from the final Globe Free Tickets Draw got the chance to go behind the scenes at the Stockton Globe.

Winners were invited to the newly restored art-deco venue to take an immersive tour of the historic building and see the spectacular restoration for themselves.

The Globe Free Tickets Draw, sponsored by Stockton-on-Tees Borough Council and Ambassador Theatre Group (ATG), ran for 12 months and saw more than 500 tickets given away to residents across Stockton-on-Tees. In May, residents were given one final chance to win sought-after tickets to Stockton Globe with an extra special final prize.

The final ticket giveaway saw 10 winners receive 5 pairs of tickets each, to a range of upcoming shows including: Fontaines DC, Katherine Ryan: Missus, Jools Holland And His Rhythm & Blues Orchestra, Jurassic Live, and Sir Ranulph Fiennes: Living Dangerously.

As a final thank you, the selection of winners were invited to visit the Stockton venue earlier this week to take part in a behind the scenes tour of the Grade II listed building. The tour provided a unique insight into areas of the theatre usually off limits to the public. From backstage spaces to dressing rooms and not forgetting the famous Globe stage, where once stood iconic performers such as The Beatles and The Rolling Stones.

Winners were welcomed inside by Councillor Steve Nelson, the Council's Cabinet Member for Health, Leisure and Culture, who said: “The hundreds of lucky ticket draw winners have been able to enjoy a range of exciting performances over the last year and it was a pleasure to welcome the final draw winners to the Globe.

“It’s a stunning venue steeped in history and I’m sure the draw winners enjoyed their exclusive look around.

“And it’s been a great first year for the newly-restored Globe, with lots of top acts like Paloma Faith, Ronan Keating and Jason Manford performing in our Borough and lots more to come in the next few months.”

Winner Anne Cowan, from Fairfield, Stockton-on-Tees, said: “I was delighted to find out I had won the final Globe Free Tickets Draw! I’m most excited to come and see Jools Holland in November.”

Me and my sister thoroughly enjoyed our excellent tour of The Globe. It was lovely to see all aspects of the building and behind the scenes. The venue is beautiful. Our tour guide Josh was an absolute wealth of information which made it all the more interesting and enjoyable.”

Where can I find out about the other shows that are coming to Stockton Globe?

To buy tickets for any of the Globe shows visit

Like Stockton Globe’s Facebook page to get the latest news in your feed. You can also follow Stockton Globe on Twitter and Instagram.


REVIEW: Priscilla Queen Of The Desert at Newcastle Tyne Theatre

The Adventures of Priscilla Queen Of The Desert

Newcastle Tyne Theatre and Opera House

Until Sunday 30th July 2022

Priscilla, the bus, is back on stage at the Tyne Theatre. This is a jukebox musical which has many great one liners in the script and is filled with many classic feel good songs largely from the disco era.

I have seen both professional and amateur versions of the show in the past. It is one show that, when done well, is better than the film.

Tick (David Ducasse) is a drag artist having a tough time in Sydney, Australia. In a phone call his wife Marion (Byrony De Souza) it is proposed that he should see his son and put on a show at the local casino in Alice Springs. Thus it turns into a road trip using a primary school bus called Priscilla. Accompanying Tick along for the ride and eventual show are old timer Bernadette (Keith Wigham) and relative carefree youngster Felicia (Matt Charlton). This sets up three generations of performers sharing a small space for a number of days. There were bound to be clashes along the way between the members of the group.

So the highlights of the show include Charles Doherty as Bob, a laid back mechanic. Charles only gets a brief chance to show how well he can sing which is a shame.
There are three lads on rotation playing Benji and the lad on the matinee show did not put a foot wrong.
The three Divas (Nicola Hewett, Backy Lakin and Jessica Treacy) had a number of chances to show off their vocal talents during the show.
Finally, there was good chemistry and acting between the three principles on stage.

The Tyne Theatre is an amazing venue with wonderful acoustics so I was surprised how loud the show was. The high frequencies at times were painful. This is a shame as I love to see a talented band working in harmony with the on stage singers. Despite the volume my companion was struggling to decipher some of the dialogue and some of the lyrics.

The performance was, at times, nervous with hats and glasses falling off and actors missing their cue.  Sometmes the view of the action during key moments, from our seats, was blocked by the cast at the front of the stage. This was the first public performance. Hopefully the show will find its flow later in the run.

Review: Stephen Oliver.