‘Big Society! A Music Hall Comedy’

Last night we went to the newly renovated City Varieties in Leeds to see Phill Jupitus in a new show called ‘Big Society! A Music Hall Comedy’.  It’s a production by the Red Ladder Theatre Company, in collaboration with Chumbawamba.

I wasn’t too sure about it initially – it sounded a bit ‘political’…but we like Mr Jupitus so thought ‘what the heck!’ and booked.

Here’s an exerpt from the Big Society! programme:

Origins of the Show

Flyer for 'Big Society A Music Hall Comedy'

Big Society! was written in response to a huge wave of government cuts to public services, healthcare,arts and pensions.  Leeds City Varieties, newly-refurbished, was celebrating over 150 years as a venue for usic hall entertainment, and it seemed apt to set the show in the Britain of 1910 – when the country was run by ex-public schoolboys and boasted an anachronistic ruling class of monarchy, aristocracy and nobility.  Over 100 years later and very little seemed to have changed’

The show starts with the ‘Big Society Band’ – all the characters from the show – walking through the dress circle and down through the stalls singing the theme of the show – and from the second they emerged I was absolutely hooked!  I got that mixture of butterflies and giddiness in my tummy usually reserved for exciting holidays, or special occasions.

All the music is specially written for the show and it’s catchy.  If you’ve ever been to the City Varieties you’ll know that the working area of the stage is…what’s the phrase…’compact and bijou’ – yeah, that’s it…!  They made extremely clever use of it though and we loved the main set of their shared dressing room.

The City Varieties renovation is fantastic!  Heritage Lottery monies well spent indeed!  Over the years we’ve been to see (amongst others) Judie Tzuke and Brian Kennedy there – I’ve even performed there on the stage – so it was great to go back and see it lovingly restored.

I could wax lyrical (ok more so…) but I’m not going to – I’m trying write shorter posts after all!

Suffice it to say, we loved it and it might make us ‘take a chance’ more in the future!

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