From panto fun to pounding drums, there's plenty to enjoy...
Robin Hood, Stratton Upper School, Biggleswade, February 21 to 23
Biggleswade Amateur Theatrical Society presents this year’s pantomime, Robin Hood. This will be the 32nd panto for BATS and will include a ‘relaxed’ performance interpreted with British Sign Language on the opening night. The cast features some new faces along with a few familiar favourites. Robin Hood will be played by Katy Gardiner, Maid Marion by Lizzie Harknett and the Sheriff of Nottingham by Lucas Wilcox. Matt Evans, Thomas Warriner, Kelvin West and Paul Riddy join BATS for the first time as Will Scarlet, The Captain, Lord Gregory and Little Joan. Dave Gauge, one of the founding members of BATS in 1984, revives the role of Friar Tuck and the witches are played by Natasha Leftwich, Louise Connolly, Jessie Fox and Hannah Ridley. Kay Young takes the helm as director again this year, with Gareth Griffith as assistant director and Melanie Wilcox as producer and stage manager. Both BATS 2018 performances were nominated for Best Panto (Cinderella) and Best Drama (Steel Magnolias) in the annual NODA Awards, with this year’s panto written by Darren Edwards.
The Pirates of Penzance, St Christopher’s School Theatre, Letchworth, February 21 to 23
This year is the 40th anniversary of the founding of Young Arcadians of Letchworth – and they are celebrating the landmark by presenting Gilbert & Sullivan’s classic The Pirates of Penzance. The group first performed the show in 1990 and three of the original cast members are returning to take part – two of them reviving their original roles. Simon Latter was 15 years old when he took on the challenging role of The Major General. Now a regular performer with the senior society, Simon is enjoying his return to where it all started. Robert Driver, a founding member of Arcadians Junior Theatre Club, is once again working with the young cast in his supporting role as The Sergeant of Police. The Young Arcadians have a membership age of 10 to 18 and have been working hard to put the challenging show together. The cast includes James Newland as the Pirate King, Shay Lowden as Frederic and Lucy Cook-Allen as Mabel. For this anniversary production there are a small number of senior Arcadians who are joining the company to support them in this show. Among them is Gilly Mackilligan, nee Gilly Gough, who also performed in the show 29 years ago as both a pirate and a policeman, and will be reprising both roles. The show is directed by Mary Driver, who directed the same show in 1990, and the musical director is Heather Kynnersley, another former Young Arcadian. To celebrate their 40th anniversary, Young Arcadians will be holding a drinks reception for any ex-members after the show on Friday, February 22.
Details: Call 07511 519387 or visit www.ticketsource.co.uk/letchworth-arcadians
Yamato: the Drummers of Japan, Milton Keynes Theatre, February 16
Back by popular demand following the success of their 2017 tour, Yamato will present the UK premiere of Jhonetsu (Passion), combining traditional Taiko drumming with spectacle and athleticism. In this new show, the drummers will challenge themselves to their limits both musically and physically. With a show designed to instil audiences with the exhilarating and explosive energy of Taiko, this promises to be their most ambitious and spectacular show to date. Since 1993, the Yamato drummers have performed to seven million people in more than 54 countries across the globe. Yamato are recognised as trailblazers in the Taiko world having broken from the male-dominated confines of the style by including female drummers in the troupe from its inception.
Fastlove – A Tribute to George Michael, The Concert Hall - Stevenage Arts and Leisure, February 15
The show is packed with crowd pleasing anthems, from the Wham! classics of the new pop revival to the chart-topping success of the ‘80s album Faith, plus the big tunes of the ‘90s and ‘00s. The show features Careless Whisper, Freedom, Faith, Father Figure and more.