REVIEWS: Carrack and roll at Sheffield homecoming

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Our reporters have been busy reviewing what’s on across the region.

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Shows

Paul carrack, sheffield city hall

Dubbed ‘the man with the golden voice’, Paul Carrack is one of the Sheffield music scenes biggest exports, with a career that has seen him front Ace, tour with Roxy Music, Elton John, The Pretenders and the Smiths and sing with Squeeze and Mike and the Mechanics.

And in a gig back home in the Steel City, Paul definitely didn’t disappoint.

He may have been in the music business for over 40 years but unlike McCartney or Dylan, his singing just gets richer and more powerful.

How many hits would they swap now for his vocal chords?

He can belt them out – witness Good Feeling or Better Than Nothing, an eight minute stomp with him swapping from guitar to keyboards – as well as caress a ballad such as the sublime Eyes of Blue.

Ironic, isn’t it, that he wrote that one for Sean Bean’s film When Saturday Comes about Sheffield United?

With a new album to promote, Rain or Shine, he kicked off with Life’s Too Short, the single from it, followed by Good Feeling and Another Cup of Coffee from his days with Mike and the Mechanics.

New songs included Time Waits for No One, Brenda Lee’s I’m Losing You and, one which could well become a new Carrack standard, All That Matters To Me.

We got 22 numbers – enough for two albums - and the audience were on their feet for the last six. He kept them waiting for the encores, Over My Shoulder and What’s Going On?

What’s going on? Magic.

Blink, Crucible Studio

This two-handed play, beautifully written by Phil Porter, tells a bitter-sweet tale of love and loneliness in the middle of an unforgiving London.

Jonah and Sophie are two lost souls in the big city whose lives come together when he moves into the flat that she owns downstairs to her own.

Sophie (Lizzy Watts) is grieving for her father and bewildered by losing her job into the bargain.She feels that she is actually disappearing as a result.

Jonah (Thomas Pickles) has grown up cut off from the world in a religious commune.

He also suffers the loss of a parent but some money his mum leaves him sets him free to explore the world.

Sophie sends Jonah a little screen that he can see her on, the only way she can think of to feel that she is still alive, if someone watches her.

Only an accident reveals to Jonah the closeness of the woman he can’t help watching. A strange courtship ensues as he follows her but never speaks. Eventually they do get together but it doesn’t last and each is left alone again.

They tell their story direct to the audience, making clever use of simple props.

The audience therefore become voyeurs of their little worlds, too.

Although it doesn’t sound likely, the play is full of comedy and you find yourself drawn towards this oddly charming couple.

Both actors, Lizzy in particular, portray their roles beautifully, and the wistfully sad ending lingered long in the memory.

Mother Goose, Montgomery Theatre, Sheffield

If you’re looking for slick and polished, perhaps this one’s not for you.

If you’re looking for a fun, funny, heartwarming night in a traditional theatre with laughs, gaffes and singalongs get yourself a ticket for next week.

This is the Wales Panto group’s 69th annual production and a tribute to Roy Staniforth, the man who started the whole thing off in 1945 but who is too frail these days to take part.

He would have loved being part of this one.

First night creakiness aside - and there were one or two bloopers - the panto makes up in jokes, enthusiasm and a genuine love for the show what it may lack in slickness.

And there’s some talent there too.

Nick Challenger makes an excellent Mother Goose. As waspish and sarky as a dame should be but with warmth and lots of humour.

Toni Lemm and Alison Wade have voices that would grace any production in their roles as principal girl and boy. Joseph Bairstow’s theatrical exits and plummy tones are a delight as Sir Galahad and Shaun Bradley makes a convincingly boo-making Baron Goosepimple, the villain of the piece.

At some points in the production it looks as though every child in the village must be on stage and they are a delight to see - especially the little girl at the front who animatedly tied knots in her dress throughout the finale.

Cracking, traditional, thigh-slapping stuff and a tribute to the people who put in time and a lot of work to get the show on stage.

Mother Goose continues to tour around the country, check www.ents24.co.uk for more details.

- By Martin Smith

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