Spring is in the air with quality programme of productions

The cast of Avenue Q. Photo Credit Darren Bell (2)
The cast of Avenue Q. Photo Credit Darren Bell (2)

Although we’re still in the dark days of January, theatres in the region are busily announcing their spring seasons.

Highlights at Doncaster’s performance venue Cast include comedy Avenue Q, straight from the West End, fairy tales from a Monty Python member and Easter family treats.

The smash-hit musical Forever Young (February 24-8) is set in a nursing for actors, where a group of aged panto performers are determined to prove it’s not all behind them!

Susan Hill, author of The Woman in Black, has another scary story in The Mist in the Mirror (March 24-8).

The modern fairy tale Nicobobinus (February 19) written by Terry Jones, features dragons, original songs and plenty of Monty Python-esque wit.

Jazz and variety include the Big Chris Barber Band (January 31), The Good Old Days of Variety featuring Anita Harris (April 14) and The Ronnie Scott’s All Stars Quintet (April 25).

Avenue Q has performed to sell out shows in the West End and worldwide for over five years and is packed with mischief, bad behaviour, political incorrectness – and puppets.

Cast continues to bring leading dance companies to Doncaster with Northern Ballet’s double bill of Madame Butterfly with Perpetuum Mobile (May 21-3). Ultima Vez perform What The Body Does Not Remember (March 10) in their only Yorkshire date.

Easter treats are Dr Seuss’ The Cat in the Hat (April 2-4) and the Emergency Story Penguin, who will be ready to deploy whenever a story’s urgently needed (April 6-10).

Box office: 01302 303 959 or go to castindoncaster.com.

At Barnsley Civic, United We Stand (January 30) takes a humorous look at the 1972 fight by building workers to beat dangerous working conditions and poor wages with national strike action.

That enraged the construction industry and government and culminated in the arrest of 24 builders in North Wales. Three were jailed, including Ricky Tomlinson of The Royal Family fame, who was then a building worker.

Box office: visit www.barnsleycivic.co.uk or call 01226 327000.

The spring play season at the Pomegranate Theatre, Chesterfield will take place from Tuesday January 20 to Saturday February 7.

TABS Productions present Willy Russell’s comedy drama One for the Road (January 20-24) and Simon Gray’s Stage Struck and Rumpus Theatre Company present Parlour Song by Jez Butterworth.

One for the Road is set in the 1980s on a bungalow estate. Pauline has invited friends round to help celebrate husband Dennis’s birthday, but secretly he’s determined to escape the Richard Clayderman LPs, the Tupperware parties and the black forest gateau.

Stage Struck (January 27-31) is about Robert Simon who, in his younger days, was a theatre stage-manager. Now he is thoroughly happy keeping house for his West End actress wife, until the clumsy intervention of a psychiatrist ruins his happiness and his marriage. He plans a hideous revenge using all his old talents.

In Parlour Song (February 3-7, unconfident Ned is often away on business, blowing up buildings in his job as a demolition expert, while his wife Joy indulges in erotic games of Scrabble with their streetwise neighbour Dale.

There’s a three for two ticket deal on the season. Box office: call 01246 345 222 ro go to chesterfieldtheatres.co.uk.

The Buxton Opera House drama offerings include The Ghost Train (February 5–7), Dad’s Army star Arnold Ridley’s famous comedy thriller starring Jeffrey Holland (Hi-de-Hi!) and Judy Buxton (General Hospital).

Will passengers stranded in the waiting room heed the station master’s warnings of death to anyone who sets eyes on the ghostly train that haunts the line?

A critically-acclaimed version of Sebastian Faulks’ Birdsong will be on stage from February 17 to 21 . The rollercoaster story tells of the enduring love between Englishman Stephen Wraysford and Isabelle Azaire separated during the First World War.

Alan Ayckbourn’s Table Manners will take place from February 26 to 28. The hilarious play is about six strangers who spend the weekend together in a country manor house.

Music highlights include Rick Wakeman (January 25), The British Philharmonic Concert Orchestra (March 8), Aled Jones (19 March), The Bootleg Beatles (March 20) and Paul Carrack (March 21).

Comedy offerings include Omid Djalili (January 18) and Andrew Lawrence (January 25). Box office: www.buxtonoperahouse.org.uk.