Paul Heaton returning with operatic show at Sheffield Lyceum

Former Housemartin and Beautiful South singer Paul Heaton.
Former Housemartin and Beautiful South singer Paul Heaton.

FORMER Housemartin and Beautiful South main man Paul Heaton returns to the city where he spent his childhood to present his acclaimed soul opera, The 8th.

He is celebrating his 50th birthday by going out on tour performing two different sets each night – a first half of The 8th followed by a medley of greatest hits.

He brings to the Lyceum next week a host of special guests to perform his show created for last year’s Manchester International Festival.

A song in eight chapters, The 8th looks at the seven deadly sins through a series of scenes taking place in a single poverty-stricken neighbourhood, one where a new, thoroughly modern eighth sin is able to insinuate itself into every person’s life.

It has been given a theatrical narrative by award-winning playwright Che Walker and is directed by Paines Plough’s joint artistic director George Perrin, a former student of Sheffield University.

Each sin is sung by a different member of his cast of performers from across many musical genres – they have included Ivor Novello-winning artist Cherry Ghost, ex-Beautiful South singer Jacqui Abbott, Los Campesinos! vocalist Gareth Paisey, soul singer Wayne Gidden, Scottish singer-songwriter Kenny Anderson, aka King Creosote, The Earlies’ Christian Madden, Hull country and western singer Mike Greaves and the gospel-tinged voices of Yvonne Shelton and Steve Menzies – and finally by Heaton himself.

They are linked by a narration delivered by a firebrand preacher played by American actor Reg E Cathey, best known as political fixer Norman Wilson from the fourth and fifth series of The Wire.

His special guests will join Heaton for a rifle through his back catalogue featuring tunes from his Beautiful South, Housemartins and solo career. The 8th – the album – was released this week on Proper Records.

Paul Heaton’s The 8th and Paul Heaton & Friends – Greatest Hits set – Two Shows in One Night is at the Lyceum on Tuesday.