Hip hip hooray!
I admire the chutzpah of Darlington Hippodrome in calling their new eatery the Hippo Lounge. The name makes it sound like the kind of all-you-can-eat buffet you find in downtown Las Vegas, frequented by lovers of unlimited ribs and bucket sized Cokes. The reality is anything but as the lounge (open from 10am from Monday to Saturday) offers a delectable selection of drinks and light bites, making it a great spot to meet up for a natter in creative surroundings. People have also been calling in to the massively refurbished theatre to walk around the gallery areas where they can learn more about the theatre and its history, exploring the building’s heritage as well as the new spaces that allow the venue to thrive as a hub for creativity and learning.
Where you will find a veritable buffet of goodies is in their 2018 programme that features everything from musical blockbusters to children’s shows, music gigs to comedy. We don’t have enough pages in the magazine to cover everything that they’ve got going on in 2018 but we can certainly pick out a few highlights.
There is plenty of stand-up in the offing including Patrick Monahan (26 January – see page 44 for more on this), Tom Allen (the debut solo tour from this sharply dressed, well-spoken, disparagingly camp son of working class Bromley – 24 February), Stewart Lee (the best British comedian working today – I’m calling it! 20 March), Ken Dodd (that newcomer with a big future – 8 April), Jason Cook (the cheeky Geordie – 28 April) and Barbara Nice (the Edinburgh Fringe’s favourite housewife – 30 May).
The blockbusting musical extravaganzas include New Jersey Nights (celebrating the music of Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons – 16-20 January), Son of a Preacher Man (featuring the songs of Dusty Springfield – 6-10 February), and Blood Brothers (Willy Russel’s evergreen classic – 20-24 February).
And I must find room to mention The Russian State Ballet of Siberia who will be performing Romeo & Juliet, Swan Lake and The Nutcracker (15, 16 & 18 February), the hilarious The Play That Goes Wrong (5-10 March) and Coronation Street and Emmerdale’s Hayley Tamaddon in Thoroughly Modern Millie (11-16 June).
Full details on all of these – and more – from their website.