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Star of Phoenix Nights frontlines Stagefright Comedy

Ilkley Playhouse gets ready for its next production, Glorious!, but before there the music of John Denver and Stagefright Comedy Club with Justin Moorhouse, as Caroline Mutton reviews.


We are delighted to welcome back Chris Bannister who will be performing the music of John Denver on Friday 14th June. Chris’ distinctive vocal style has always led to him being compared to the great American singer, but from the very start he was determined not to copy the visual aspect of John’s performances but to maintain his own identity. Enjoy John Denver classics Annie’s Song, Take Me Home Country Roads, Calypso and Leaving On A Jet Plane. Chris has played to sold out audiences across Europe and is recognised as one of the best performers of John Denver’s music across the world.


Stagefright Comedy Club returns to Ilkley Playhouse on Saturday 15th June. The evening will be frontlined by Justin Moorhouse where he will be previewing his Edinburgh Festival show ‘The Greatest Performance Of My Life.’ Justin played Young Kenny with the tiger-striped face on Phoenix Nights, he has performed at Live At The Apollo, in 8 Out of 10 Cats, QI, Michael McIntyre's Comedy Roadshow, Dave's One Night Stand, Coronation Street and his own acclaimed Radio 4 show Everyone Quite Likes Justin. Jimmy Carr describes him as 'easily my favourite comedian’. Joining him on the night is Karl Porter. Karl’s slow motion goal celebration routine went globally viral. He is a brilliant, natural born gagster hailing from the North West of England. You can’t help but love his cheeky and unique self -deprecation, laced with tall tales and hilarious observations. ‘Jaw droppingly good physical comedy’ (BBC online). Also performing is Sunny Shine. 'His DIY routine was very good and Sunny built up the momentum....he closed his performance on a high' (Notts Comedy Review). This will all be brilliantly compered by Anthony J Brown who has ‘more stings in the tail than a scorpion with a migraine' (Leeds Guide).


Opening on Thursday 20th June is our next Wharfeside Theatre production, Peter Quilter’s Glorious! The play is a delightfully uplifting and enchanting piece of theatre, based on the true story of Florence Foster Jenkins, a soprano singer in 1940s New York who whose pitch was far from perfect, but who was the performer that everyone wanted to see. This is a hilarious and heart-warming comedy and an affectionate tribute to the eccentric, courageous and joyously happy Florence Foster Jenkins, who paid little attention to her critics as she screeched her way through the evening to an audience who mostly fell about with laughter. The play, which premiered at the Birmingham Rep in 2005 and transferred to the West End, ran for over two hundred performances. The play spins from Florence’s charity recitals and extravagant balls, through to her bizarre recording sessions and an ultimate triumph at the iconic Carnegie Hall in New York in 1944, where she played to a packed house of three thousand people. Florence’s story teaches us about the power of self-belief and the beauty of pursuing our passions with enthusiasm. Her resilience in the face of criticism reminds us that true greatness lies not in perfection, but in embracing who we are. You are sure to leave the theatre feeling joyful, uplifted and with a warm glow in your heart. The play runs until Saturday 29th June.


As part of National Refugee Week, Amnesty International is delighted to be screening the 2023 Ken Loach film The Old Oak in the Wharfeside Theatre on Sunday 23rd June at 7.30pm. The Old Oak pub is the only remaining public space where people can meet in a once-thriving mining community in North-East England. The Landlord is hanging on to the pub by a thread but his hold becomes increasingly endangered when the pub becomes contested territory after the arrival of Syrian refugees. Following the screening there will be a discussion about the film in the bar and information will be available from the local Amnesty International branch.


Prepare to be transported on a remarkable musical journey as Fleetwood Shack makes its debut performance at Ilkley Playhouse on Friday 5th July. Featuring an impressive repertoire of the biggest and most beloved Fleetwood Mac hits, such as ‘Don’t Stop’, ‘Go Your Own Way’, ‘Little Lies’, ‘Everywhere’, ‘Landslide’ and many more, this show guarantees to immerse you in a captivating, nostalgic and unforgettable experience.


The following evening, Saturday 6th July, Lee Newsome performs Elvis ‘Up Close and Personal’. Lee has been performing his tribute to the King for four years and currently tours the UK in various theatres and clubs. Lee’s stunning powerhouse vocals and attention to detail, with suits made by the person who made Elvis’ suits, are simply second to none. The show is an unforgettable, jaw-dropping experience from start to finish, with customised projection visuals and indoor special effects.


To book tickets for all our plays and events visit www.ilkleyplayhouse.co.uk or contact Ilkley Playhouse box office on 01943 609539.

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