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Autumn cultural picks

Expect a lorrra lorrra laughs and tears from Cilla The Musical, on at Curve, Leicester (9-13 October). The story follows the life of a young teenager and amazing but rocky rise to fame. It’s a brilliant musical adaptation of the ITV mini-series about the sixties singing sensation and television darling, Cilla Black, created by BAFTA award winner, Jeff Pope (Philomena, Little Boy Blue).

The following month catch Cameron Mackintosh’s UK and Ireland tour of his acclaimed production of the Boublil and Schönberg musical Les Miserables (3 Nov – 24 Nov). After nearly a decade, the musical is still going strong and those rowdy French revolutionaries are still marching strong while dressed in amazing costumes and singing their hearts out. The production features scenery inspired by the paintings of Victor Hugo and you can expect an epic musical about passion, revenge, poverty and of course, hope all set against the French revolution with lots of singing including songs like I Dreamed a DreamOn My OwnBring Him Home and more. Joining the cast at Curve for the musical is Mary-Jean Caldwell, who was previously a member of Curve’s Young Company (CYC) and appeared in a number of productions at the theatre including Annie (2014), Oliver! (2012) and Sweeney Todd (2013).

With a career spanning over 50 years, Bob Dylan is one of rock music’s greatest icons. If you’re a fan, book your ticket to the live concert celebration at Century Theatre and enjoy some of the most memorable songs ever written. Now Bob and “The Band” (5 Oct) transport you back to the Nobel prize winner’s glory days with a truly authentic show.

Speaking of icons, the Queen of Pop, Madonna turned 60 this year and I’m super excited about Haymarket Theatre showing Material Girl – The Music of Madonna show (23 Nov). Her Greatest Hits was the first ever album I bought (on cassette BTW) so I can’t wait of this one. You can obvs expect some of her greatest songs including Vogue, Crazy  for  You,  Into  The  Groove, Like  A  Prayer, and many  more – and seriously, who doesn’t know all the words to Like a Virgin? You can be sure of incredible vocals and amazing dancers as you’re taken on a journey through her life – chaos and controversy included!

If you need to entrain the mudlets, take them to watch Disney Jungle Book at Melton Theatre (3-4 Nov). Performed by a young cast from the local stage school, Performing Stars Academy, follow the man cub Mowgli as he journeys through the jungle and learns what it means to be human. Expect loveable and colourful characters including King Louis and Baloo the Bear and fave songs from the Disney movie.

Lots of comedy over at Loughborough Town Hall this season with Ross Noble (13 Oct) Chris Ramsey (12 Oct) and Sean Walsh (27 Sept) all making an appearance. If that’s not your thing, perhaps Jason Donovan and his Amazing Midlife Crisis Tour (10 Oct) will float your boat? He’s celebrating his 50th birthday and with it, revealing some hilarious stories about  Neighbours, Kylie, Joseph, I’m A Celebrity, Strictly and much more.

Watch the star students of Uppingham School as they put together their stage version of  Legally Blonde The Musical (28 Nov – 1 Dec) at Uppingham Theatre. Based on the much-loved movie about Elle Woods who bags herself a place at the prestigious Harvard Law School to try and win her ex-boyfriend back, you can expect cute costumes, great music and brilliant performances from this young cast.

Moving away from theatre, the much-loved Loogabarooga Festival (18-23 Oct) is back and is definitely not to be missed. This year, the Festival is celebrating 80 years of the iconic comic, The Beano and is honoured to host an Exhibition of Comic Art by John Patrick Reynolds at the Charnwood Museum. There’s so much going on from cartooning workshops, an Imagination Station, Beartastic Tales, a Willy Wonka Workshop, pottery classes and gosh, so so much more, I’m sure you and the kids will love it!

Meanwhile at Leicester’s New Walk Museum, I’m liking the sound of the Silent Disco. An over 18 event, this  ‘after-school club for grown-ups’ is a chance to unleash your inner child and enjoy the school trip of your dreams… but at night, with music and of course no disco would be complete without a bar. So leave the kids at home and get ready to party!


As for films, Kerry Potter gives us the lowdown here:

It’s already been made into a film several times and a musical, but it seems there’s life in A Star Is Born yet, with this latest version (out 5 Oct) directed by and starring Bradley Cooper. He plays a washed-up country singer who takes a shy newbie with a giant voice, played by Lady Gaga (unrecognizable when not wearing a dress made of meat or a lobster as a hat), under his wing. Another story we’ve all heard before gets a refresh in the guise of First Man (out 12 Oct). La La Land director Damien Chazelle’s biopic of Neil Armstrong, the first man in the moon, has Ryan Gosling (be still my beating heart) playing the legendary astronaut and Claire Foy, last seen as The Queen in The Crown, as his wife, Janet.

Did someone say “wife”? Glenn Close plays one not to be messed with in – wait for it – The Wife. A career-best performance no less, according to one reviewer, Close is the supportive spouse of a pompous writer in this black comedy (out 28 Sep). He becomes even more unbearable when he wins the Nobel prize… but is she quite as supportive as she seems? Widows, meanwhile, does away with husbands altogether – the menfolk are criminals who die during a botched robbery, so their partners join forces and take over the firm. Sound familiar? It’s a remake of Lynda LaPlante’s hammy, ‘80s TV show. With Viola Davis, Michelle Rodriguez and Elizabeth Debicki starring, it looks like a lot of fun (out 6 Nov).

And finally, fancy something a bit silly? Juliet, Naked (out 2 Nov) is a rom-com based on a Nick Hornby novel. Ethan Hawke plays a reclusive US ‘90s rock star called Tucker Crowe who strikes up an unlikely friendship with a bored British woman, played by Rose Byrne, whose boring boyfriend (Chris O’Dowd) is an obsessed fanboy of… Tucker Crowe. It’s a somewhat unlikely love triangle but the leads are eminently watchable. Bring on the Butterkist.

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