Harrogate Theatre See’s Some Famous Faces, Suggs, Noddy Holder, Mark Radcliffe And More!!!



The lives of celebrities prove a constant fascination for us norms. How did they get famous? What drives them? What did they have for breakfast? If they were a biscuit, what biscuit would they be? From Apple entrepreneur Steve Jobs to Miss Marple made manifest Margaret Rutherford, from glam-rock royalty Noddy Holder to two-tone totem Suggs to legendary hellraiser Oliver Reed, this season Harrogate Theatre finds out more about some British (and one American) icons.

A hero to technology geeks the world over, Apple founder Steve Jobs inventions have arguably changed lives  but not just for the better. Mike Daisey international hit monologue The Agony and the Ecstasy of Steve Jobs (Harrogate Theatre, Tuesday 14 May) uncovers a less than glamorous side to Apples’s desirable gadgets: the Chinese sweatshops that handmake them. Daisey tells a fantastically good story about the appalling working conditions in the Foxconn factory in China and the consumer culture to which we’re all in thrall.

Following a rumpus regarding some of Daisey fabricated incidents in TAATEOSJ coming across as fact, Daisey has retooled his show. The awful working conditions of the Chinese workers at Foxconn were true, however, and Daisey impressive show still bangs the drum for change and consumer conscience; indeed, Apple has since addressed the low pay and abysmal state of affairs at Foxconn. Daisey has also grown, and this performance, presented by Gilded Balloon, now meditates on the nature of truth itself without ever becoming preachy.

From China to Walsall and Slade frontman Noddy Holder, who visits Harrogate Theatre (Sunday 19 May) to talk about his rise from window cleaners son to glam-rock legend in this intimate evening in conversation with BBC Radio Mark Radcliffe. Somewhat incredibly (and guaranteed to make you feel old), 2013 marks the 40th anniversary of festive classic Merry Christmas Everybody, making this the perfect year for Holder and his recollections of outlandish costumes and behaviour to go on tour.

As lead singer and guitarist with 70s and 80s chart-toppers Slade, Holder became one of the most recognisable voices and faces in pop and is now a genuine national treasure. From his early days on the West Midlands beat scene to his current position as thinking grandmother crumpet, Holder chats about his rise from skinhead stomper to international pop-star with close friend Mark Radcliffe.


Another bonafide British music icon, Madness frontman Suggs visits Harrogate Theatre the very next evening (Monday 20 May) with one-man-show Suggs: My Life Story. The Estuarine geezer is fuelled by his 50th birthday, the death of his beloved cat and an absent father in this alternately hilarious and moving journey back to his Soho childhood through the Madness years, the wilderness years then the rekindling of Madness.

Suggs: My Life Story has played to rave reviews, critics praising Suggs (real name Graham McPherson) for his engaging storytelling, bad dad-gags and behind-the-scenes tales of life at the height of nutty boy madness/Madness. Part play, part comedy show, part Music Hall turn and all heart, Suggs is a charming raconteur with some top tunes in his back catalogue.


Agatha Christie took her elderly spinster detective Miss Marple very seriously and therefore took umbrage with the casting of comic actress Margaret Rutherford as Marple in 1961 film Murder, She Said. Rutherford’s performance as Miss Jane Marple went on to make her a true movie icon, but Christie took a lot of talking round. Murder, Marple and Me (Harrogate Theatre, Friday 31 May) humorously investigates why Rutherfords role as the lady detective nearly didn’t happen and examines her growing friendship with Christie, as the author is gradually won over.

Written by Philip Meeks, directed by Stella Duffy and presented by Edinburgh Fringe marvel the Gilded Balloon, Janet Price brings the jolly and boisterous Rutherford back to life and shines a light on how a complicated rivalry between two leading ladies of their respective genres became a lifelong friendship.


Whereas Margaret Rutherford was wildly funny, Oliver Reed was just wild. His undeniable acting skill meant he got away with all sorts of bad behaviour, from disastrous (though not for ratings) drunken chat-show appearances to alcohol-fuelled adventuring with fellow boozehound Keith Moon. Reed was a celebrity before the cult of celebrity took hold, his notoriety fuelled by a voracious media that did little to mask the tragedy of a talent wasted literally wasted.

It made for riveting watching, however, and in Rob Crouch and Mike Davis hands it still does. Oliver Reed: Wild Thing (Harrogate Theatre, Wednesday 5 June) starts on the last day of Reed’s life, when he was in Malta, filming his comeback role in Ridley Scott’s  Gladiator, and works backwards to tell the remarkable trajectory of Reed’s life, featuring a tour-de-force performance from Rob Crouch as the titular wild thing.


Tickets for these events can be booked securely online at www.harrogatetheatre.co.uk or through the Harrogate Theatre Box Office on 01423 502116.

By Andy on April 3, 2013

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