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Wanted review at West Yorkshire Playhouse, Leeds – ‘triumphant’

Scene from Wanted at West Yorkshire Playhouse, Leeds. Photo: Richard Davenport Scene from Wanted at West Yorkshire Playhouse, Leeds. Photo: Richard Davenport
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No city is simple. Leeds has as rich a history as any. Chris Goode and Company’s Wanted is an attempt to put Leeds onstage, and rather than taking the easy way out and delivering a ‘reading’ of the city, Goode has taken a more literal approach.

Wanted is the headline show of Transform 16, newly fledged from West Yorkshire Playhouse. It’s a festival with a self-described ‘local and global outlook’, the local aspect of which Wanted delivers in spades. 24 groups and individuals are given three minutes of stage time to make whatever they want happen. All of these atomised moments together create something that is both wholly honest and wholly Leeds – the performances range from simple storytelling to a drag queen performing acrobatics; a group of schoolchildren come on dressed as superheroes. There’s a real-life rabbit.

This is a portrait of a city painted by its inhabitants and broad as it is – for every scene we see before us there are hundreds of possible others – it’s also only a mouthful.

Wanted is bold in its ambition and awing in its execution. Death, life and international politics fall within its scope. As lead artist, Goode, says “With Wanted, we wanted to find out what audiences really wanted to see, if they were allowed to want anything at all.” The result is a city’s communities onstage in all their diversity, vindicated.

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Triumphant. heartfelt exercise in community theatre