Following a critically acclaimed season at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe 2019 Richard Stott has announced his debut UK Tour.
“DEFINITELY ONE TO WATCH OUT FOR.”
«««« Broadway Baby
Richard was born with Poland Syndrome making him lopsided with a misshapen hand and missing pectoral muscle. Following life changing surgery he now has toes for fingers on his left hand and in this unflinchingly honest show he examines body image, mental health and being disabled in an image-obsessed world.
This fast paced romp through the taboos of being different combines anarchic storytelling and acidic punchlines learning how to roll with the hand life dealt him and draw humour from what we are told is humourless.
“A THOROUGHLY ENJOYABLE HOUR…HE’S MANAGED TO MAKE IT STAND OUT AMONGST A MYRIAD OF WEAKER SHOWS”
«««« The Skinny
Originating from Hull, Richard is an actor, comedian, voiceover artist and writer. Having gained a degree in theatre from The Arden (Awarded by Manchester University) he went on to a postgraduate in acting at Drama Studio London where he has since given workshops in show creation.
As an actor and voiceover artist, Richard has worked for Swinton Insurance and Greenwich & Lewisham Young People’s Theatre amongst others.
Richard was diagnosed with Poland Syndrome as a child and has been interviewed by BBC No Filter and London Live about his experiences of body dysmorphic disorder and mental health conditions. He recently appeared on the Nihal Arthanayke Show on BBC 5 Live and Union Jack Radio’s Minds Over Matter podcast.
“STOTT IS ADEPT AT MINING HIS EXPERIENCES FOR THEIR COMEDIC VALUE. REMINISCENT OF JONATHAN PIE…WELL WORTH YOUR TIME.”
«««« Three Weeks
Right Hand Man is supported by Arts Council England
stottcollaborateandlisten.home.blog | RichardStottComedy | @TheRStott the_rstott
1/25/2020 0 Comments
Pop on a hard hat, a lamp and go an adventure 140 m underground into England’s last deep coalmine.
Chat to charismatic former-miners as they tell the tales of their mining careers and the men, women, children, animals and equipment that worked the coal mines for centuries before them. Hear how mining lingo, hardships and dangers shape how we live our lives today...
PLUS FOR ONE NIGHT ONLY... You can experience a night shift down the pit in to raise funds to go directly to provide emergency winter fuel grants for local families suffering the harsh effects of the cold weather.
Community Foundation Wakefield District are looking for teams of people to Spend a Night Shift down the Pit with BBC Look North's Harry Gration.
Your team will go underground at 11.00pm on Wednesday 5th February before resurfacing at 1.00am.
Following a successful launch of this year’s Winter Fuel Challenge, where £16,600 was raised, you're invited to join us and Yorkshire Families to go on this adventure in aid of a great cause!
This unique event has already received support from Chadwick Lawrence, Direct Marketing, OE Electrical, Jolliffe Cork and the National Coal Mining Museum. You will be going underground with TV presenter, Harry Gration and others who are happy to start the New Year helping keep local families warm this Winter.
If you and your friends/family/colleagues are interested in taking part in the event please contact: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Alternatively, it is easy to sign up or donate via: www.justgiving.com/team/NightShift
Spend a Night Shift down the Pit Wednesday 5thFebruary 2020 11.00pm – 1.00am at National Coal Mining Museum of England.
In Spring 2020 Leeds Playhouse will present a new adaptation of Charles Dickens’ classic novel Oliver Twist.
Bold, brutal and beautiful, this brand new version of Dickens’ novel is adapted by award-winning playwright Bryony Lavery with dramaturgical support from Graeae’s Artistic Director Jenny Sealey. The play will be directed by Leeds Playhouse’s Associate Director Amy Leach.
The production opens at Leeds Playhouse in Spring 2020 ahead of visiting Birmingham Repertory Theatre, Nottingham Playhouse, Sheffield Theatres, New Wolsey Theatre Ipswich and Theatre Royal Stratford East, who are all part of the Ramps on the Moon consortium alongside Graeae, the UK’s leading disabled led theatre company.
Now in its fourth year, Ramps on the Moon is a consortium of seven major UK theatres, plus partner company Graeae, committed to putting D/deaf and disabled artists and audiences at the centre of their work. Each year, one consortium organisation becomes the lead producing partner creating a large-scale new production which champions diversity both on and off stage. Previous Ramps on the Moon productions include Our Country’s Good, The Who’s Tommy and The Government Inspector.
Director Amy Leach said “Having watched all of the previous Ramps on the Moon shows, I was excited to think about stories that felt highly theatrical and sensory – that would lend themselves to thrilling and bold, visual and aural storytelling. Oliver Twist is a vivid, dark and visceral story and I am so excited to explore how adding artistic layers of creative sign language, audio description and captioning can enhance the story-telling for all audience members. OliverTwist will give an integrated ensemble cast of D/deaf, disabled and non-disabled actors the opportunity to play a brilliantly varied range of characters and showcase a wide range of talents. I can’t wait to share Bryony’s very special adaptation with audiences around the country.”
Adapter Bryony Lavery said “I've cleared my desk and I'm just about to bury myself in the country with the book of Oliver Twist, a fist full of wonderful old photographs of workhouses, and a notebook stuffed with all the brilliant ideas gleaned from the first Ramps on the Moon workshop. Led by Amy, attended by the theatre legend that is Jenny Sealey and a group of amazingly bendy, articulate, generous actors, the workshop has set me upon the road to rediscovering the text for this exciting, and daunting, writing task. I’m totally thrilled to be working with Leeds Playhouse and Ramps on the Moon on this unique project.”
Leeds Playhouse Artistic Director James Brining said “After having been part of Ramps on the Moon since the very start and having received some great shows over the previous three years, we’re excited to be taking the lead this time. The production will build on some brilliant work which Amy Leach has been developing at the Playhouse and also brings Bryony Lavery back to Leeds to create another new Dickens adaptation. The prospect of these two terrific artists, working with a fully integrated company and with embedded interpretation, will make a Leeds Playhouse / Ramps on the Moon Oliver Twist very enticing indeed."
Born and raised in a life of poverty and misfortune, orphaned Oliver Twist travels to London on a life-changing adventure. There he meets the Artful Dodger, the terrifying Bill Sykes and the kindly Nancy after joining Fagin's infamous gang.
Every performance of Oliver Twist will feature integrated creative sign language, audio description and captioning. The production plays in Leeds Playhouse’s Quarry theatre from 28 February – 21 March 2020 ahead of a UK tour.
For the list of the full cast and creative team, click here.
Oliver Twist, Quarry Theatre, Leeds Playhouse
Fri 28 Feb – Sat 21 March 2020, Press Night Wed 4 March 2020
Box office 0113 213 7700. Book online leedsplayhouse.org.uk
1/5/2020 0 Comments
I have walked past the Lawrence Batley Theatre a few times whilst exploring Huddersfield Town Centre which is home to arts, theatre, comedies and music shows. The clean and stunning courtyard is impressive and so is the building itself which is a former chapel bulit in 1819 which was the largest Methodist Chapel in Europe and could seat 1862 people.
The Methodist Chapel moved out of the building due to a decline in numbers and in 1975 the building became grade 11 listed.
Then in 1992 the venueâs conversion into a theatre begins before being opened by famous Huddersfield actor Sir Patrick Stewart OBE.
Then the theatre produced itâs first pantomime in 2016 and today they are into their third year running of Pantomimes with a production of Sleeping Beauty, which we went along to see!
SLEEPING BEAUTY: âAll the fun you could wish for this Christmas, as Lawrence Batley Theatre presents its magical family pantomime.â
The Official Lowdown:
Produced by Lawrence Batley Theatre; Director: Joyce Branagh; Writer: Andrew Pollard.
In a castle high above Huddersfield, a wicked fairy has cursed Princess Aurora to sleep for 100 years. With the Princess watched over by her nursemaid, a kind fairy sets out to find a hero who can break the spell, but who will be the one to rescue our Princess?
Spun together by director Joyce Branagh and playwright Andrew Pollard the creative team behind the hugely successful Aladdin, Jack & the Beanstalk and Cinderella, expect thigh slapping, toe tapping, rib cracking fun from this yearâs family show. Bursting with spectacular costumes, hit songs, audience participation (and in true panto tradition) itâs shaping up to be Huddersfieldâs biggest pantomime yet. (Oh, yes it is!)
Henry Filloux-Bennett, Chief Executive and Artistic Director of the LBT, said: âHaving seen last yearâs panto I am incredibly excited about SLEEPING BEAUTY â itâs my first pantomime since joining the Lawrence Batley Theatre and I am really looking forward to seeing packed houses full of families enjoying a fabulous, festive show full of magic and fun, throughout the run.â
âWe are delighted to welcome back Joyce and Andrew, the creative force behind some of the best pantomimes across the UK and we are very excited to see what magic they have created, together with our talented cast, for Sleeping Beauty. Iâve heard so much about our
audiencesâ fantastic reaction to previous productions and this production looks set to build and excel upon their previous triumphs.â
SLEEPING BEAUTY brings together faces old and new for this fantastic production. Robin Simpson (Aladdin, Jack & The Beanstalk) makes a welcome return as Nanny Fanny. Princess Aurora (Sleeping Beauty), will be played by talented local actor and LBT favourite, Alyce Liburd (Aladdin and Unsung). She will be wooed by handsome Sebastian Prince, ably portrayed by Thomas Cotran (Aladdin, Jack & The Beanstalk). Also making a welcome return is Nicola Jayne Ingram (Aladdin, A Tigerâs Tale) as Hester the Jester and Richard Hand (Aladdin, The Ruck, Cinderella) returns in the role of King Herbert the Hesitant. Gamely stepping in at the last minute, LBT is thrilled to welcome Esther-Grace Button as the fabulous Fairy Falalala -la-la-la-la-la, (The Sand House, Beauty & The Beast, Jack & The Beanstalk, Sleeping Beauty for CAST). Making her LBT debut is Hayley Russell (Vampires Rock (UK Theatre and Arena Tour)); and The Meat Loaf Story (UK Tour) as Belladonna Bile. Hayley is also a professional singer and has worked all over the world on cruise ships for over 17 years, supporting artists such as Billy Ocean and Gareth Gates and even had the pleasure of performing for Oasis front man Liam Gallagher. The professional cast are supported by a company of talented young performers, aged between 9 â 17 years old, from across Kirklees.
Director, Joyce Branagh, says: âWeâre very excited about Sleeping Beauty and audiences can expect to be wowed by the cast, gorgeous sets, and amazing choreography bringing to life Andrewâs cracking, comical script. Expect rousing songs, outrageous outfits and hilarious antics from the team.
âItâs a privilege to work with such a talented bunch and weâve brought back some audience favourites as well as some new faces to the exceptional cast! We have something special on order for families to enjoy and we can guarantee a great Christmas outing at LBT.â
Blog Up Northâs Review of Sleeping Beauty at the Lawrence Batley Theatre, Huddersfield:
The stunning venue steeped in history is home to a dynamic and modern theatre space which seats 477 people. The space feels intimate yet spacious. We were seated upstairs at the back and could watch the whole production with a perfect view.
On arrival to the theatre we werenât sure what to expect, but the space is beautifully kept and has a nice Courtyard bar/cafe with huge windows overlooking the actual Court Yard. Everyone is warm and friendly as we entered and the usher gave us a really warm Yorkshire welcome, which was a great introduction to this very Yorkshire production.
As soon as the show starts we are introduced to the fabulously funny Fairy Falalala -la-la-la-la-la who knits this version of Sleeping Beauty together with laugh out loud humour and brilliant skill at engaging the grown ups and children alike. She manages to keep the pace going of the modern version of this production which is on a stage with a stunning and elaborate stage set which gives the production a high-end feel.
The cast show the best of Yorkshire with a very family-friendly production which is fun and upbeat with a quirky and hilariously funny Nanny Fanny Dame.
It was great how the whole audience is involved with water pistols being squirted by characters coming upstairs into the seating area too.
We loved all the local references and Yorkshire humour which made this show the perfect and warm end to a busy festive period.
Most of the storyline happens in the first half and then the second half is full of lots of fun, music and dancing to finish off our panto season perfectlyâ¦
This theatre is soon to be a regular of ours with its handy location in between Huddersfield Train Station and Bus Station, itâs cosy setting and stunning surroundings. It really is a hidden gem, so next time youâre in the area make sure you pop into this little sanctuary.
âRead Yorkshire Families review here.
For more information on the theatre, go to: https://www.thelbt.org
12/7/2019 0 Comments
Kay Mellor’s world premiere stage adaptation of her groundbreaking 90s TV drama, Band of Gold, receives 5-star reviews as it welcomes stars of stage and screen to its press night.
Hollyoaks stars Kirsty Leigh-Porter, Ruby O’Donnell and Jessica Fox joined fellow soap actors Sam Giles, Michael Praed, Nicola Wheeler, Fiona Wade, Michelle Hardwick and Sandra Marvin ofEmmerdale on the red carpet and in the packed house, alongside Dire Straits member and composer of the original music, Hal Lindes, Downtown Abbey regular Kevin Doyle, and regional news presenters Charlotte Leeming, Keeley Donovan, Gaynor Barnes, Christine Talbot and Duncan Wood.
Running until Saturday 14 December at The Grand, BAND OFGOLD is the nail-biting thriller that tells the story of a group ofwomen - Carol, Rose, Anita and Gina - as they battle to survive whilst working in Bradford’s notorious red-light district. With a killer on the loose it’s a battle to survive!
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
‘Mellor is on fine form with this adaptation and direction of her work; the writing is sharp, colourful and richly detailed’
ONSTAGE BLOG UK
★ ★ ★ ★
‘It is a no-holds-barred production that certainly opens the eyes and tugs at the heart’
THE REVIEWS HUB
★ ★ ★ ★
‘Band of Gold is an empowering period piece that fearlessly explores a distinctly silent world…’
‘Drama at its best’
Book online at leedsgrandtheatre.com or call Box Office on 0844 848 2700
Kay Mellor OBE is a Leeds born writer, director and actress best known for her work on several successful and ground-breaking drama series, including Fat Friends, Band of Gold, The Syndicate and In The Club. She is also well known for her stage version of A Passionate Woman, which played in the West End and is still touring both nationally and internationally, and Fat Friends The Musical which premiered at Leeds Grand Theatrein November 2017. Kay most recently wrote and created Love, Lies & Records (BBC One, 2017), and wrote and directedGirlfriends (ITV,2018). Kay was also the exec-producer for Overshadowed (BBC Three).
12/4/2019 0 Comments
Most remember when Gordon Ramsay transformed a Sheffield City Centre restaurant on Great British Nightmares, but my memories of first experiencing Silversmiths was a memorable meal of fine British cuisine several years ago, following the Ramsay transformation.
A lot has happened to this Modern British restaurant and Steel City since then… So how does Silversmiths now fare under new ownership?
Silversmiths Restaurant - Review
By Sophie Mei Lan
It’s easy to hibernate on a cold and gloomy night, escaping the winter weather, but I was glad we ventured out of our homely comforts and into the welcoming atmosphere of Silversmiths.
The restaurant has a luxurious but modern feel with touches of gold and comfy yet stylish seating.
As I follow a plant-based diet the waitress checked which dishes were Vegan-friendly or could be made to be so. My dinner date however has no dietary requirements, which makes for a perfect partnership to do a review.
I opted for the Beetroot and elder tartare without the goats cheese and my guest went for the Gin and English Wasabi cured Mackerel mushroom broth.
Both dishes were presented well, the large portion of mackerel was in a beautiful ceramic bowl whereas my colourful beetroot starter was perfectly displayed on a white plate which showed off the intricacies of the dish.
I loved all the different parts of the dish which livened up my view of beetroot as something quite bland and boring. Whereas this dish showed me how delicious and exciting such an ingredient can be made to be.
Whilst my guest isn’t normally a seafood fan, he enjoyed all the different flavours which made for a filling starter.
For mains, I nearly went for the Vegan “fish and chips” but I decided to try something a little different so I opted for the Celeriac dates apple and truffle. This was delicious and a really hearty portion of Celeriac steaks with a micro herb garnish, shredded apples and a tasty crumb to add some texture. I couldn’t finish it all, but I am a Yorkshire girl so I prefer to have a big portion rather than to be left hungry!
My guest went for the Lamb rump, fondant potato, red cabbage, mint and baby leeks. He said it was “the best lamb” he’d ever eaten and it was stylishly presented on a ceramic plate with some gravy.
If we could recreate these dishes at home for Christmas dinner, we certainly would!
Whilst we were both struggling to fit in a dessert, we couldn’t resist.
I was unsure what the Vegan Coconut Banana and Tonka Bean dessert would be, but I was pleasantly surprised by the size and decadence of this interesting combination.
It was coconut in an ice lolly style, with delicious Tonka Bean mousse (which I could have eaten a tub of) and drops of banana purée. It all went perfectly together and again it was a hearty portion so I couldn’t finish it off. It was the best Vegan Dessert I’ve ever had.
My guest went for a Chocolate fondant pudding which was light and moist. And we were both niceley full by the end of the meal.
You often associate fine food with small portions and a stuffy atmosphere… but here they give you large Yorkshire portions in a cosy yet stylish setting. The perfect place to nestle away this Winter and enjoy fine food and drink.
Silversmiths history by founder Justin Rowntree:
In 2009 after a transformational visit from Gordon Ramsay, my restaurant “Silversmiths” was launched. He gave me the blueprint for a high end dining experience focussing on fresh, seasonal, Yorkshire produce. In the years to follow, with a fantastic team, I grew the restaurant to receive national acclaim, winning multiple awards and accolades. I exited Silversmiths in 2017, leaving on a high to start a new business as an independent hospitality consultant. Gordon without the swearing if you will!
In September this year, new owners took the reigns of Silversmiths with a passionate vision to take the business to new heights, and they’ve called upon me to assist with PR...
You’ll now find a beautifully refurbished interior creating a comfortable and intimate atmosphere, with loving references to the buildings historic past as a world renowned Silversmiths. There’s also a new private dining suite on the upper floor for up to 14 guests, perfect for any social or corporate events where personal service and that little extra finesse are required.
The kitchen team is led by Head Chef Ashley Bagshaw, whose culinary acceptance at the top level has been swift. At 24 he’s gained senior roles in some of the areas best kitchens up to double AA rosette standard. Ashley has brought his full energy, enthusiasm and talent to Silversmiths and with a focus on 'A Taste of Yorkshire' you’ll find classics done to perfection alongside much more challenging dishes that will surprise and delight you and your guests.
Full menus can be viewed at www.silversmiths-restaurant.com/menu
We were pleased we followed our own yellow brick road of Christmas Lights and visited the redeveloped Leeds Playhouse which lit up a dark gloomy night with its new colourful city facing entrance, complete with a festive treat of a show inside.
“There’s no place like home”
It’s apt that the new base is housing a new Christmas production this year of The Wizard of Oz.
The theatre feels spacious, modern and accessible with state-of-the-art facilities yet all still with that community friendly feel that Leeds Playhouse does so well.
The audience alone proves what great work the theatre does at reaching people near and far. And this production is professional yet inviting.
We’re immediately transported into this magical show with a strong confident Dorothy (Lucy Sherman and Agatha Meehan) and audience favourite Toto the dog easing us into this classic story.
What I love about a lot of productions at Leeds Playhouse is the fact that they have a community ensemble of local people. But not only that the show is seamless and it’s hard to tell the professionals from the new talent as we are taken on this magical journey.
All the cast are strong and nicely choreographed with comical touches which pleases all ages.
The stand out actor for me is the Lion (Marcus Ayton) who punches the right note with his own take on the character. He is closely followed by the Wicked Witch of the West (Polly Lister) who is equally as flamboyant in her own way.
Whilst the auditorium inside Leeds Playhouse feels large, the cast cut through the vastness by utilising the whole space - as they travel through the audience and make use of the impressive set. It’s gives an initimate feel to a professional production.
For me, seeing the parents and carers wait for their loved ones who performed in the show was the icing on the cake showing how this theatre has yet again opened up its stages and made us all feel at home in the often distant world of theatrical productions.
As the show is long (2hours 50 minutes) I’d say it’s mostly suitable for older children and grown ups. Otherwise it’s the perfect family festive treat for the whole family.
The official lowdown
The Wizard of Oz, the spectacular family musical, is now open at Leeds Playhouse for Christmas 2019.
Production images revealed today show the magical land of Oz, where audiences are beingwhisked away on a whirlwind adventure down the yellow brick road, through the poppy fields and into the Emerald City.
New friends Scarecrow (Eleanor Sutton), Lion (Marcus Ayton) and Tin Man (Sam Harrison) join fearless Dorothy (Lucy Sherman and Agatha Meehan) and her faithful dog Toto on their magical adventures. Along the way, they meet the Munchkins of Munchkinland, played by young people from the Leeds City Region, and escape the clutches of the vengeful Wicked Witch of the West (Polly Lister) as they traverse the yellow brick road to find the mysterious Wizard of Oz (Graham Hoadly).
The Wizard of Oz, directed by Leeds Playhouse’s Artistic Director James Brining, is playing in Leeds Playhouse’s Quarry Theatre, which has reopened in time for Christmas following the building’s dramatic £15.8m redevelopment.
Audiences now enjoy improved access into and around the building, comfortable contemporary seating in the Quarry, new hospitality areas and a dramatic new city-facing entrance opposite Leeds City Bus Station.
As part of its first season of Christmas celebrations in its new look home, Leeds Playhouse is hosting a sensational sing-along performance of The Wizard of Oz on Friday 13 December, inviting audiences to dress up, sing loudly (and proudly) and join in the fabulous festive fun.
The Wizard of Oz, Leeds Playhouse’s Quarry Theatre
20 November 2019 – 25 January 2020. Press Night Tue 26 November 2019, 7pm
Box office 0113 213 7700. Book online leedsplayhouse.org.uk
11/13/2019 0 Comments
Leeds Playhouse in partnership with City of Sanctuary will host the inaugural networking meeting for theatres from across the country working to support Refugees and Asylum Seekers, this week in West Yorkshire.
The network is an opportunity for organisations to work together sharing best practice and responding to different political or world situations. The Refugee Council will be in attendance to offer support and context for participants. Venues attending include Sheffield Theatres, Oxford Playhouse and Sherman Theatre.
Head of Creative Engagement Ruth Hannant said: “Leeds Playhouse has led the way in becoming the first Theatre of Sanctuary in the UK, following our commitment to supporting and working with Refugee and Asylum Seekers. It is fantastic to be partnering with City of Sanctuary to share ideas and opportunities on a national scale with other organisations.
“Here in Leeds we have seen first-hand the benefits to those who are accessing the various Theatre of Sanctuary programmes at the Playhouseand it has been fantastic to see those individuals grow and develop skills that are benefiting them in all areas of their life
“This network aims to look at how theatres and theatre companies can work together on a national scale to join up best practice, share resources and jointly respond to different political or world situations.
“We are incredibly proud of the work we have done and continue to do as a Theatre of Sanctuary, and look forward to sharing this learning with our colleagues from other venues, as well as learning about the excellent work being delivered around the country.”
Leeds Playhouse became the first Theatre of Sanctuary in 2014, offering support and a welcoming environment to refugees and asylum seekers through a range of creative and practical projects. This dedicated programme of work includes; a weekly women’s singing group Asmarina Voices including a creative play session for pre-school children; and Hearts a young person’s group in partnership with the Children’s Society; Conversation Cafe run with volunteers from our Older People’s programme Heydays, using creative activities to enable people to practice their conversational English.
11/9/2019 0 Comments
By Sophie Mei Lan
It’s easy to hibernate at home as the cold weather and dark nights loom in, but I was glad we ventured out into the rain to find a stylish yet cosy pub, an Oasis on a main road in West Yorkshire.
The warm outdoor lighting of The Castle pub on Barnsley Road in Wakefield glowed in the dark, immediately drawing us in.
Not only has the pub, now my new local, received a stunning refurbishment, but there’s a full Vegan menu as well as the normal pub menu to choose from. There’s also an array of drinks, cocktails and hot drinks to select. Better still, you can drink and/or dine now in the comfort of a modern and welcoming establishment.
On arrival, the manager Mat gave us a warm welcome and showed us around the pub-cum-restaurant. The venue’s interior is an instagrammer’s dream with touches of gold, feature walls, pictures and different themed areas. It has been done up stylishly and you could tell the staff were proud to show us around. This gave us the perfect sense of a ‘homely’ pub feel with splashes of grandeur.
To start with we ordered drinks at the bar. I couldn’t resist an orange infused gin cocktail and my friend ordered a Peroni. We then took our seats at one of the tables in the dining area. It was nice that the tables were spaced out, rather than being too close together, they were nicely set out so you have adequate space to enjoy your food and drink with your friends and family.
Food and Drink
I was excited to see a full Vegan menu with a good range of exciting dishes. Whilst my friend scoured the standard menu.
I’m not used to having so much choice as a Vegetarian and it was great to see such a variety of dishes from a Superfood Salad to Spiced coconut Curry, Mezze Platter and Moroccan-Inspired Cauliflower Tart.
The desserts looked dreamy too with a Salted Caramel Billionaires Bar and Blackcurrant mousse just a couple of things on the Vegan menu alone.
The seasonal main menu has a huge range of steaks and rotisserie chicken from the grill to freshly made pizza and gourmet sandwiches.
My friend chose the SMOKED SALMON & KING PRAWN POT topped with Devon crab crème fraîche, served with ciabatta.
I had the Vegan Mezze platter to start which was as tasty as it is colourful with Tzatziki, Aubergines, Lebanese Salad, beetroot hummus and falafal with flatbread.
For mains, I opted for the Vegan Coconut Curry which was lightly spiced with some delicious aubergines and rice to accompany it. I couldn’t finish it as the starters were so filling but it was delicious. My friend had the 10 oz Rib-Eye Steak which is served with twice-cooked chunky chips, a roasted mushroom, confit tomato and parsley butter.
We both enjoyed the freshly made food which was tasty and filling… pub grub portions but at a quality restaurant standard.
There’s also a wide range of sides available to order from Halloumi Fries to Dauphinoise potatoes.
For desserts we had the THE HOUSE SHARER which is Vegetarian friendly. This included Home-baked chocolate brownie, white chocolate & blackcurrant cheesecake tower, Belgian chocolate & hazelnut mousse (which I could have eaten all night long) and a Bourbon vanilla ice cream cookie sandwich. It was a lovely way to finish off a decadent meal and a good way to try a few desserts. We definitely want to return to try THE AMBASSADOR'S MELTING CHOCOLATE & HAZELNUT BOMB: Rich chocolate ganache, hazelnut, crisp wafer and vanilla ice cream, encased in a dark chocolate sphere, melted with hot white chocolate sauce. And the Vegan WARM BLUEBERRY & ALMOND POLENTA CAKE with Herefordshire blackcurrants and soya vanilla custard or vegan vanilla ice cream.
The Castle in Wakefield is the perfect setting for business lunches, romantic meals out and an evening with friends. It’s stylish yet cosy, the perfect place to hibernate and be treated over Winter. Whilst the decor and food was brilliant, what really stood out for me, was the staff. From the moment we entered we were warmly greeted and shown around. The team couldn’t do enough for us from helping us select food and drink (with a good knowledge of all the menu) to making sure we were happy with everything. You could sense their true pride of the pub as if they were welcoming us into their own home.
This public house is definitely going to be our new local… and before now I would have said that I wasn’t really a “pub-goer” but if pubs are like this… I’m a convert.
The official lowdown:
The Castle in Wakefield has received a stunning refurbishment, re-opening to guests with a new look on Saturday 9th November.
The Castle, located on Barnsley Road, has undergone a significant makeover that has given the much-loved eating and drinking spot a modernised, stylish and contemporary feel.
Serving a top-quality, seasonal menu, guests can enjoy a broad range of premium grill dishes, including three premium steaks cuts from selected British & Irish farms – hand-cut by skilled butchers and expertly aged for superb tenderness and flavour – four-bone lamb rack with chorizo, chimi churri and butternut squash, or maple glazed pork belly with pig cheek. With fresh fish delivered daily, there's seared wild Atlantic scallops with cauliflower two ways, king prawn gratin in a creamy garlic, white wine & leek sauce and sea bass fillets in a vermouth velouté.
Still offering fantastic value, the fixed price Monday-Friday lunch menu includes a broad range of dishes under 650 calories, freshly made pizzas and gourmet sandwiches.
General Manager, Mat, who has 15 years’ hospitality experience, said: “The Castle is a hugely popular pub and provides a hub for the local community so we’re really excited to be part of the team as it begins its next chapter.
“We have made some stunning changes that have allowed us to create a modern, open and stylish look and feel to the pub – making it the ideal spot for friends and family to get together. We have loved unveiling the brand-new pub to guests!”
Its team has also grown with several new people hired to fill various roles. Head Chef Jodie Reed is leading the team, and has over 10 years industry experience.
As part of the refurbishment, the pub has received a full makeover, opening up the restaurant area and bringing new energy to The Castle. The pub also boasts a private beer garden, where guests can watch the local bowls club play during the season. A private dining area is also available for reservations, perfect for celebrations and private parties.
Its new improved décor is a top to tail transformation, taking inspiration from the UK’s most luxurious dining and drinking hotspots. The sophisticated décor combines dark purples, creams and greys with bold patterned wallpaper and sophisticated lighting throughout. The smooth leather finishes create an authentic and cosy feel to the historic pub, named after nearby Sandal Castle.
Go to: www.facebook.com/thecastlewakefield/ and: https://www.thecastlewakefield.co.uk/ for more details.
DISCLAIMER: We received this experience free of charge for the purpose of this review.
11/2/2019 0 Comments
I’d never seen The King and I let alone read the book Anna and The King of Siam but thankfully I rode the waves of this musical masterpiece at Leeds Grand Theatre.
Following its critically acclaimed Broadway smash hit run and a sold-out record-breaking season at the London Palladium, the multi Tony Award-winning production of The King and I has landed at Leeds Grand Theatre and is playing until Saturday 9 November 2019.
The King and I at Leeds Grand Theatre - Review
We are immediately transported to Thailand with Anna Leonowens and her son who arrive on a ship to teach the King of Siam’s many wives and children.
There were echoes of my own grandmother’s journey when she arrived in the Far East after a three week journey to live with my grandfather in Malaysia.
Anna and her son’s accents and attire immediately stand out in stark contrast to those living inside the kings Bangkok based palace.
Anna is in many ways a strong feminist who takes us all under her wing as she challenges the treatment of women as subservients.
Anna, played by Annalene Beechey, seamlessly embodies a feisty but loveable character who conforms just enough to win the king over and yet she still manages to stand her ground between what she believes to be right and wrong.
The King, played brilliantly by Jose Llana, who first appears ruthless but throughout the show he draws us in with his comical facial expressions and his willingness to take on Anna’s “guesses” i.e, advice about what he should do to woo the West who had dubbed him a “barbarian.”
Interestingly, the King had actually employed Anna to help modernise his kingdom. Whilst he's a polygamist, he is not necessarily barbaric.
Anna and the king begin to bond as they prepare to put on a western style greeting for a British envoy who come to assess the situation in Siam. Part of this is dressing the King's wives in large circle skirts which shows a clash of cultures as the women struggle to move in such clothing.
At times you feel uncomfortable as westernising everything about the East isn’t necessarily making it more “civilised” just more western.
But this contrast evolves into a fusion of two cultures. Anna and the King's relationship starts to blossom as they work together to impress the envoy.
Part of the visit is a show by servant Tuptim who is involved in her own secret love story. She manages to put on a play called the Small House of Uncle Thomas. It's a brilliantly choreographed piece of narrated dance with stunning costumes.
Whilst the show impresses the guests, the king is furious at Tuptim as the show tells the story of a servant fleeing a King and Buddha saves them but melts the river so the King drowns.
Tuptim then flees to be with her own lover.
Anna and the King continue to bond but refuse to admit their love, even as the King requests Anna to show him how to dance.
But the pair then dramatically clash as Tuptim is captured and brought back to the palace to be whipped whilst her lover is found to be dead.
Anna vows to leave Siam and prepares to board a ship leaving Siam with her son. But she is stopped in her tracks as she receives a letter from the King who is dying.
The pair reconcile in a touching yet comical way as the King communicates with Anna from his death bed. His last wishes are for his son to take the role of King and Anna to stay to help him.
The ending offers hope for the future and shows the kingdom's willingness to change.
The show is beautifully choreographed and the live Orchestra adds to the richness of this endearing show. Make sure you head to Leeds Grand Theatre before it departs.
The official lowdown
Directed by Bartlett Sher and produced by the celebrated creative team that brought the production to the Palladium.
Performing as Anna, fresh from her West End success, is Annalene Beechey, and reprising his critically acclaimed Broadway performance as The King is Jose Llana. The two stars have been wowing audiences since the musical embarked on its international tour earlier this year. Annalene said: “I absolutely love playing Anna, she is a dream role for any actress. I’m delighted to bring this wonderful production and our glorious King to Yorkshire!”
Set in 1860s Bangkok, the musical boasts one of the finest scores ever written, including Whistle a Happy Tune, Getting to Know You and Shall We Dance, and features a company of over 50 world-class performers with full-scale orchestra; The King and I is a testament to the lavish heritage of gloriously romantic musical theatre.
The King and I is at Leeds Grand Theatre from Tuesday 29 October to Saturday 9 November 2019
Book online at leedsgrandtheatre.com or call Box Office on 0844 848 2700
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