Cinderella at The Courtyard in Hereford

Hereford Times: Tim McArthur and Ellis Kerkhoven do their thing as the Ugly Sisters.

2:20pm Sunday 1st December 2013

It’s quite something to get the perfect panto recipe of magic, song and dance, comedy, cheekiness and of course that all-important audience participation, but that’s what The Courtyard seems to pull off every year, and this 15th anniversary production of Cinderella is no exception.

A dazzling Jungle Book from The Courtyard Youth Theatre

Hereford Times: A dazzling Jungle Book from The Courtyard Youth Theatre

4:58pm Monday 15th April 2013

The atmospheric jungle sounds gave way to a low humming as members of The Courtyard’s Youth Theatre took their place on the stage.  The wolves and monkeys crouched down, while the principal characters took centre stage and began the opening number.

Tedesca String Quartet sparkle at The Courtyard in Hereford

11:06am Wednesday 10th April 2013

The recent Tedesca String Quartet at The Courtyard offered a rich and varied programme, from sparkling Haydn and lyrical Mendlessohn to the Dvorak after the interval, which they imbued with exhilarating rhythmic and dynamic vigour.

Liminal Events arrives in style with My Romantic History at The Courtyard

Hereford Times: Billy Herrin & Naomi Dale Cook 6 (2)_480_Landscape.jpg

9:17am Tuesday 26th February 2013

LIMINAL Events announced their arrival on Hereford’s theatrical landscape in great style last week.

Vamos Theatre Company impress again with Finding Joy

Hereford Times: Gran and the lads

4:17pm Monday 18th February 2013

Finding Joy is the title of Vamos Theatre’s latest production, and joy is certainly one of a host of emotions anyone who catches the show is likely to experience. Along with sadness, laughter and admiration.

Paul Lewis delivers a recital of the highest class for Malvern Concert Club

10:10am Monday 18th February 2013

The composer Franz Schubert died at the tragically early age of 31 from a disease which today could have been easily cured. At his death he had already written many masterpieces and it is tempting to speculate on what else he might have composed had he survived. What he probably wouldn’t have given us, though, were the three great piano sonatas – his last – that made up Paul Lewis’s recital for the Malvern Concert Club.

The Academy of Ancient Music - 'darned good musicianship of the highest order'

Hereford Times: Academy of Ancient Music presents Bach's Orchestral Suites

4:59pm Tuesday 12th February 2013

By John Rushby-Smith

Peter Dyke brilliantly meets the challenges La Nativité du Seigneur at Hereford Cathedral.

Hereford Times: Peter Dyke plays La Nativité du Seigneur at Hereford Cathedral.

4:54pm Tuesday 12th February 2013

By John Rushby-Smith

Oddsocks pull it off again with their inimitable Robin Hood

Hereford Times: The inimitable Oddsocks return with Robin Hood and his Merry Men.

4:46pm Tuesday 12th February 2013

ODDSOCKS have long proved popular with visitors to Herefordshire.

Out of his Skin - breathtaking new work from 2Faced Dance Co

Hereford Times: Out of his Skin - breathtaking new work from 2Faced Dance Co

4:31pm Tuesday 12th February 2013

By Adam Knight HEREFORD’S 2Faced Dance Company kicked off their nationwide tour with a breathtaking performance of their new work, Out of his Skin, at The Courtyard, layering their trademark physicality with moves heavy with modern angst.

FoxFinder - a powerful new production from 4Play

Hereford Times: 4Play Theatre Company presents the darkly thrilling Foxfinder at The Courtyard

10:36am Thursday 24th January 2013

HEREFORD-based theatre company 4Play have certainly done the county’s drama lovers proud this year, as they present a powerful, thought-provoking play that attracted huge critical acclaim when first performed in London in 2011.

Ross-on-Wye Choral Society and the Musical and Amicable Society Orchestra present Handel's Messiah

9:45am Wednesday 19th December 2012

By John Rushby-Smith

Kingstone High School make history as they stage first school production of Miss Saigon

9:40am Wednesday 19th December 2012

It’s beginning to look as if there’s a secret factory hidden deep in the Golden Valley that is regularly churning out exceptional young singers and actors to perform in Kingstone High School’s acclaimed musical performances.

Dick Whittington at the Courtyard in Hereford - another storming panto success

Hereford Times: Tim McArthur as Abby Dore in Dick Whittington.

3:26pm Sunday 2nd December 2012

IT’S that time of year again - oh yes it is!

A sparkling performance from the Fibonacci Sequence at Malvern Theatres

4:27pm Thursday 29th November 2012

By John Rushby-Smith

Autumn in Malvern Festival - An English Idyll

4:20pm Thursday 29th November 2012

One of the many attractive attributes of the annual Autumn in Malvern Festival is the ingenious way its founder-director Peter Smith builds high quality concert programmes around a unifying subject. Given in the Great Hall of Malvern College by the London Concertante strings, An English Idyll was a typical example. It was designed to celebrate the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee year and all the works in the cleverly designed programme were by English composers.

Autumn in Malvern Festival - Memories of the Malvern Festival 1929-1939

4:15pm Thursday 29th November 2012

By John Rushby-Smith

The Mousetrap - giving nothing away

5:11pm Tuesday 20th November 2012

AUTHOR Agatha Christie doesn’t appear to have had much faith in her magnificent creation, famously speculating that its run would probably be little more than a year.

Recent Border Voices Concert in Leominster Priory

12:18pm Monday 19th November 2012

BORDER VOICES at LEOMINSTER PRIORY The Border Voices concert last Sunday (18th November) demonstrated the consort’s consummate skill in performing early polyphonic music. The programme was woven around a performance of sections of the Missa L’homme armé by Guillaume Dufray, a very early text currently known today for its arrangement by Karl Jenkins. Leominster Priory’s glorious building created a beautiful musical experience.

Feral Productions raise a glass to pub life with Four Corners at the Spread Eagle

12:27pm Tuesday 30th October 2012

SINCE their first exciting production, the Gingerbread House, Feral Productions have proved they can be relied on to deliver thought-provoking and engaging drama with a difference. And their latest work, Four Corners, which played to packed houses last week at The Spread Eagle, was no exception.

The Coull Quartet sparkle at Leominster's Lion Ballroom

Hereford Times: The Coull Quartet

4:50pm Thursday 25th October 2012

The Coull String Quartet was on sparkling form in an Espressivo concert at Leominster's Lion Ballroom. They opened with the Schubert A minor “Rosamunde” which was given an affectionate performance with emphasis on the broad cantabile lines which we know and love. The second half of their programme consisted of two concise quartets, the premiere of Derek Smith’s Quartet No 4 in D minor and Beethoven’s last, in F major Opus 135.

Magical production of A Midsummer Night's Dream from Mappa Mundi, Torch Theatre and Theatr Mwldan

Hereford Times: Liam Tobin as Bottom and Francois Pandolfo as Puck

2:35pm Wednesday 24th October 2012

GONE is the Athenian forest, replaced with the forest on the edge of the very English village of St Athens, and gone are the Athenian weeds by which Demetrius should be identified by Puck – in their place the uniform of a GI Joe.

Inception and My Exile is in my Head at The Courtyard

5:15pm Friday 19th October 2012

A double bill of dance from South Africa, presented as part of the unique Afrovibes festival running at The Courtyard throughout the week, brought a taste of something completely different to the Hereford venue.

Circa present Wunderkammer at Wales Millennium Centre

Hereford Times: Circa present Wunderkammer at Wales Millennium Centre

4:27pm Friday 19th October 2012

VISUALLY stunning, occasionally less than comprehensible, but at moments absolutely breathtaking, Circa, which visited Wales Millennium Centre recently with Wunderkammer, showcases the physical possibilities of the human form in a unique performance.

National Dance Company Wales dazzle at The Courtyard

Hereford Times: National Dance Company Wales perform at The Courtyard

10:11am Thursday 18th October 2012

NATIONAL Dance Company Wales returned to The Courtyard and proved once again what a talented company they are.

American Idiot at WMC is a testament to American youth

4:01pm Wednesday 17th October 2012

If ever there was an anthem to disillusioned, disenchanted American youth then Green Day’s American Idiot must be a strong contender.

Mother to Mother launches the unique Afrovibes festival at The Courtyard

Hereford Times: Thembi Mtshali-Jones in Mother to Mother

1:38pm Tuesday 16th October 2012

GUN crime, poverty and civil unrest are, thankfully, issues that Herefordshire residents seldom have to contend with in their day-to-day lives.

NT Live: The Last of the Haussmans at Malvern Theatres

Hereford Times: Helen McCrory as Libby, Julie Walters as Judy and Rory Kinnear as Nick in The Last of the Haussmans.

11:54am Friday 12th October 2012

SINCE the National Theatre started broadcasting plays live from London, I’ve seen Helen Mirran as Phèdre, Derek Jacobi as Lear, and Benedict Cumberbatch as Dr Frakenstein.

Stunning recital from Sofya Gulyak for Autumn in Malvern Festival

11:51am Wednesday 3rd October 2012

After her triumphant appearance in the Malvern Autumn Festival a couple of years ago, the young Russian pianist Sofya Gulyak, winner of the 2009 Leeds Piano Competition, returned to opened this year’s Festival in equally impressive style.

A performance of great depth from the Endellion Quartet for Malvern Concert Club

10:57am Monday 24th September 2012

By John Rusby-Smith

Bouncers at Malvern Theatres

Hereford Times: Bouncers, John Godber's modern classic, heads for Malvern Theatres

11:48am Wednesday 19th September 2012

THE action never flags in John Godber’s Bouncers, running at Malvern Theatres until Saturday, but while it’s never less than engaging and laugh-out loud funny, the updated script has an odd awkwardness that comes from shoehorning in contemporary references.

The Selfish Giant by Sea Legs Puppet Theatre at Hereford's Courtyard

Hereford Times: Sea Legs Puppet Theatre presents The Selfish Giant at The Courtyard

9:48pm Sunday 16th September 2012

AS technology continues to hurtle forward and our children demonstrate an innate ability to operate computer games with barely a second thought while devouring a smorgasbord of visual entertainment, it’s easy to forget the ancient magic of the puppet theatre and its power to fix our attention and fire the imagination.

Presteigne's 30th anniversary festival a triumph

1:54pm Monday 3rd September 2012

By John Rushby-Smith

Disco Inferno hits the spot at Malvern Theatres

5:30pm Thursday 23rd August 2012

Sometimes a thing just hits the spot.

Pretty and pink - Legally Blonde the Musical at Wales Millennium Centre

Hereford Times: Faye Brooks stars as Elle in Legally Blonde - The Musical

10:34am Friday 17th August 2012

Pretty and pink it may be, but the high-energy, frothy feel-good Legally Blonde, running at Wales Millennium Centre until August 25, has a serious, if obvious, point to make.

Oddsocks Julius Caesar impresses at Whitbourne Hall

9:10am Thursday 2nd August 2012

By Peter Diamond

Three Choirs Festival 2012 - Roderick Williams recital

7:00am Thursday 2nd August 2012

By John Rushby-Smith It would be difficult to imagine a better song recital than that given in Shire Hall by the renowned baritone Roderick Williams. Suavely good-looking and brilliantly accompanied by Susie Allan, he presented his programme of English song with such warmth and charm and depth of understanding that he held the audience spellbound.

Three Choirs Festival 2012 - Philharmonia Orchestra with Julian Lloyd Webber

7:00am Thursday 2nd August 2012

BJohn Rushby-Smith

Three Choirs Festival 2012 - National Youth Orchestra of Wales

6:40am Thursday 2nd August 2012

By John Rushby-Smith

Three Choirs Festival 2012 - A Sea Symphony

6:30am Thursday 2nd August 2012

By John Rushby-Smith

Three Choirs Festival 2012 - The King's Singers

6:30am Thursday 2nd August 2012

By John Rushby-Smith

Three Choirs Festival 2012 - I Fagiolini

6:30am Thursday 2nd August 2012

By John Rushby-Smith With the polished precision of the King’s Singers still ringing in the ears from the previous afternoon it was interesting to hear another celebrated a capella group, I Fagiolini, in a programme that contained enough similar material to allow comparison. The six all-male King’s Singers aim for, and generally achieve, a perfect blend, with each singer serving the whole. Under their director Robert Hollingworth (a former Hereford cathedral chorister) I Fagiolini also go for absolute precision, but the eight singers (which include three girls) are granted more leeway to express their vocal individuality. This worked especially well in the earlier, English repertoire whose multi-linear counterpoint created the impression of a loquacious social gathering. Likewise in composer-priest Janequin’s Le chant des oyseaulx - a hilariously gossipy portrayal of human failings, which was performed complete with actions. In the largely chordal writing of four wonderfully plangent madrigals by Monteverdi blend was impeccable and the singing was nothing short of ravishing. Things were less happy, though, when the group’s attention turned to more modern fare. Poulenc’s Sept Chansons are delicate pieces that rely for their effect on Poulenc’s characteristic interplay of subtle harmonies. For this to work it is essential that the voices balance and that tone is never forced, and in the Shire Hall performance there was far too much projection of individual lines. It was stylistically wrong. Un-French. Un-Poulenc. As for Roderick Williams’s Damnalot which ended the concert, this was a mistake in the context. Full of not terribly funny musical in-jokes about Faustian pacts, it was the sort of send-up that might go down well at an end-of-term student review. Here it was a waste of space. Pity.

Three Choirs Festival 2012 - Emma Johnson and John Lenehan

6:30am Thursday 2nd August 2012

EMMA JOHNSON & JOHN LENEHAN SHIRE HALL, HEREFORD 11.00am, Tuesday, 24 July 2012.

Three Choirs Festival 2012 - The Canterbury Pilgrims

6:30am Thursday 2nd August 2012

By John Rushby-Smith

Three Choirs Orchestral Concert includes breathtaking Debussy and hair-raising Ravel

12:41pm Monday 23rd July 2012

Given before a capacity audience, the Philharmonia Orchestra’s Sunday evening concert was devoted to four contemporary composers.

GZA delivers awesome Jailhouse night

Hereford Times: Wu-Tang Clan's GZA heads for The Jailhouse

10:12am Friday 20th July 2012

Hereford couldn’t quite believe its luck last week when the platinum-selling hip-hop artist, GZA, a founding branch of the legendary Wu-Tang Clan tree brought massive energy to the Wednesday night Jailhouse crowd, delivering an evening that exceeded all expectations.

An evening of flute and piano music at Hellens, Much Marcle

12:30pm Thursday 19th July 2012

An Evening of Flute & Piano Music Sarah Newbold (flute) Hellens, Much Marcle Michael Blackmore (piano) Thursday 12th July 2012 Mozart’s Flute Sonata in F, K13 was a delightful opening to this recital. The sensitive balance between Sarah Newbold (flute) and Michael Blackmore (piano) as they delivered quick runs alongside legato melody within the Allegro, an easy lilt and beautiful tone for Andante and precisely balanced descending chromatic phrases of Menuetto made it seem inconceivable that this composition was that of a young lad aged 8! French music featured widely and the four portraits reflected in ‘Joueurs de Flûte' Op.27 by Roussel gave Sarah scope to show many features of her flute playing. Pan was flexible as she soared to some very high pitched notes, Michael meanwhile syncopated; Tityre was lively and humorous and the disembodied haunting mood of Krishna was decorated with long flute trills. Monsieur de la Péjaudie was lively, rhythmic and somewhat pedantic. Continuing with the Greek myth theme we heard Derek Smith’s ‘Orphean Escapade’ (2009) which tells the story in visionary sound language. Inherent were the strong bass figures and quick flute snippets and the piano’s squelchy discords. Eurydice’s Lament was especially telling as the slow flute melody jumped and the piano chords wandered lost and disconsolate. The finale erupted with an ear-splitting call by the flute, a bit of boogie-woogie from the pianist’s bass and complex scrabbling around at high pitch. Tempo changes were effective and tonal colour superb. Sarah performed a poignant solo, ‘Syrinx’ by Debussy, eloquent and pellucid as she flowed freely. By the same composer, Michael gave a fine interpretation of ‘Danseuses de Delphes’ as he created warmth of sound with the high register of Hellens' superb Steinway resonant. In Gluck’s ‘Dance of the Blessed Spirits’ and ‘Sicilienne’ by Fauré further evidence of the empathy between Sarah and Michael was heard. Derek Smith’s ‘Aubade’ (2011) was given its première. This was not representative of anything in particular but a most pleasing work to enjoy. Opening with bravura staccato piano episodes and rapid flute phrases the music gave way to a lyrical section of pianist’s reverie. The music grew in stature until we came to a reprise of the opening, ending up with a coquettish flourish! In conclusion we heard one of the great sonatas for flute and piano, Poulenc’s. The Allegretto glowed as both musicians flowed in glorious rhapsodic melody. Cantilena’s cantabile long phrases of the flute in partnership with the piano were brilliant and the pianist’s precision combined with a virtuoso performance from the flautist culminated in the Presto’s stunning final crescendo. During the interval delicious strawberries and cream with wine had been served.

Oddsocks' Julius Caesar fails to dodge the assassins in Hereford, but did sidestep the weather ...

Hereford Times: Brutus gets a helping hand as he sees off Caesar

12:18pm Monday 16th July 2012

IN this sodden summer, few events are more at the mercy of the weather than outdoor theatre.

Reduced to tears of laughter by the Reduced Shakespeare Company

3:41pm Friday 6th July 2012

If small really is beautiful then the distilled delights of the Reduced Shakespeare Company must be the fairest in the land.

Wonderful Town - a feast of music, dance and performance at Wales Millennium Centre

3:28pm Friday 6th July 2012

Despite being penned 30 years before she was born Leonard Bernstein’s Wonderful Town could have been written with Connie Fisher in mind.



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