I came up here with Carol and Julie to watch Chris Ash' Wasted at the West Yorkshire Playhouse. It was essentially the presentation of a work in progress. The first half was semi-staged, and the second was a little freer. The show is mostly written, and will probably go through a few more drafts before it hits the stage for a proper run, but my GOD it was good.
It tells the story of the Brontë siblings, which sounds twee and a bit naff, but it's told in angry rock music. It's alluring, daring, intriguing, jarring, stirring, moving, evocative. The music is actually brilliant. It's restless, continually changing tempo and key. Some of it was breathtakingly beautiful. Emily Brontë is portrayed as a sort of gothic-cum-flower child. Her big number in Act II was written as a sort of Indian raga. It was delicate and touching. The next moment the four siblings are stamping their feet and head-banging like the cast of Spring Awakening on acid. This show has to be seen. It has to be developed. It is as innovative a British musical as London Road... The only succinct thing I can think of to say about how good it is, is that it's made me want to raise my own game as a writer. It is rare that a work of musical theatre has that effect on me.
It's good to be in Leeds again. The hotel's a bit shit. In fact, I had to change rooms because the first room they put me in literally smelt of shit! But the view from my room is spectacular. I can see for miles; from the River Aire right up to Headingley. I'm on the eighth floor, so the cars circling on the roads below me look like tiny lit up Tonka Toys.
We got here just after lunch and slowly made our way to the Corn Exchange, which looks like it's finally found its feet. I've popped into that building on many occasions over the last ten years, and it's always been a beautiful empty chasm. Today it was bustling. There's a lovely cafe in the middle and lots of interesting shops in the little rooms around the edge including quite a number which are obviously catering to Leeds' metrosexual men. There's a painfully trendy barbers', a drum shop, a guitar emporium and a tattoo parlour. All the men passing through the building seemed to be incredibly hipster-like wth spectacular hair... and designer tats!