Thursday, 31 July 2014

Show Boat at the Bord Gáis Energy Theatre, Dublin | Review

Based on Edna Ferber's novel the musical Showboat follows the lives of the musicians, performers and workers aboard the Cotton Blossom, a showboat sailing down the Mississippi River in the late 1880's. With music by Jerome Kern and book and lyrics by Oscar Hammerstein II Show boat is a love story set over a forty year period dealing with the difficult themes of racism, inequality and racial segregation. 

The show mainly follows the lives of two couples, the first being Julie LaVerne, the leading lady aboard the Cotton Blossom and her husband Steve. When it is revealed that Julie is mixed-race she and Steve are forced to leave the Cotton Blossom as their marriage is illegal. The second couple are Magnolia, daughter of the ship's captain who is needed to replace Julie as the ships leading lady and Gaylord Ravenal, a suave gamble who takes over as the ships leading man. The couple fall in love and are soon married but Gaylord's gambling leads to difficult and trouble times for the couple.


Peter Davison and Thusitha Jayasundera star in THE VERTICAL HOUR at the Park Theatre

With the critically acclaimed musical adaptation of the classic French novel Thérèse Raquin about to begin its run in Park200, having transferred from the Finborough Theatre, today Park Theatre Artistic Director Jez Bond announces a casting update for the first London revival of David Hare’s The Vertical Hour.

Peter Davison, probably best known for playing the fifth incarnation of The Doctor in Doctor Who and Tristan Farnon in All Creatures Great and Small, will take the part of Oliver, with Thusitha Jayasundera joining him as Nadia.  The play, which received its UK premiere at the Royal Court in 2008, will be directed by Nigel Douglas and opens on 25 September, with previews from 23 September, running until 26 October. 

The Lion King welcomes its 12 Millionth visitor!

This week, Disney’s award-winning musical THE LION KING welcomed its 12 millionth visitor at London’s Lyceum Theatre. The show will celebrate its 15th anniversary in October in London, where the show remains the West End’s best-selling stage production. Tickets are currently on sale until 29 March 2015.

Winning over 70 theatre awards worldwide, this captivating stage production follows the adventures of the young lion cub Simba, as he struggles to accept the responsibilities of adulthood and his destined role of King.

Julie Taymor’s internationally celebrated stage adaptation of Disney’s beloved animated film premiered on Broadway in 1997 and has now been seen by over 70 million people across six continents. In addition to the record-breaking productions in London and New York,The Lion King can currently be seen in Hamburg, Madrid, Tokyo, Sao Paulo, Sydney and on tours around the UK, North America and Japan. Recently announced future productions include Mexico City and Shanghai Disney Resort. 

Wednesday, 30 July 2014

FIRST LOOK: Shrek the Musical, on tour around the UK

Coming direct from London, where it was seen live on stage by nearly a million people, the UK and Ireland tour of the Theatre Royal Drury Lane production of SHREK THE MUSICAL® will star Dean Chisnall as beloved swamp-dwelling ogre ‘Shrek’, the role he previously played in the West End, Faye Brookes as damsel in distress ‘Princess Fiona’, Idriss Kargbo as Shrek’s wisecracking sidekick ‘Donkey’ and Gerard Carey as pint-sized villain ‘Lord Farquaad’.

They will be joined by a full company of fairy-tale characters played by Bronté Barbé, Nikki Bentley, Jennifer Caldwell, Candace Furbert, Steffan Harri, Will Haswell, James Lacey, Mia Lincoln, Rory Maguire, Neil Moors, Jenny O’Leary, Georgina Parkinson, Ryan Reid, Leo Roberts, Jacqui Sanchez, Oliver Tester, James Winter, Kerry Winter and Kevin Yates.

The UK and Ireland tour of SHREK THE MUSICAL® will be directed by Nigel Harman who starred as Lord Farquaad in the west end production, winning him the 2012 Laurence Olivier Award for Best Performance in a Supporting Role in a Musical. It will open at the Grand Theatre in Leeds on Wednesday 23rd July, and will then visit Bristol, Nottingham, Belfast, Dublin, Oxford, Manchester, Aberdeen, Canterbury, Newcastle, Birmingham, Glasgow, Sheffield, Norwich, Southampton, Plymouth and Milton Keynes with further venues still to be announced.

GYPSY at the Chichester Theatre has announced the full cast

The full cast has now been announced for Gypsy at the Chichester theatre. It's as follows: Dan Burton will play Tulsa,  Jimmy Chisholm/Uncle Jocko, Jack Chissick/Mr Goldstone, Harry Dickman/Pop, Anita Louise Combe/Tessie, Roger Dipper/L.A./Farmboy, Louise Gold/Mazeppa, Clare Halse/Majorie May/Toreadorable, Tom Hodgkins/Weber / Boucheron, Kieran Jae/Angie/Farmboy, Julie Legrand/Electra / Miss Cratchitt, Danielle Morris/Geraldine / Toleadorable, Jane McMurtrie/Jaynie, Jack North/Little Rock / Farmboy, Damien Poole/Yonkers / Farmboy, Gemma Sutton/June, Natalie Woods/Agnes / Toreadorable and Lauren Varnham/Waitress / Delores / Toreadorable.

 Gypsy is now confirmed for Chichester season starring Imelda Staunton /Mama Rose with  Kevin Whately/Herbie and Lara Pulver as Louise. It is directed by Jonathan Kent with choreography by Stephen Mear. 

Imelda Staunton returns to Chichester to play the legendary Mama Rose withJonathan Kent directing her again (last time was Mrs Lovett with Michael Ball inSweeney Todd  in 2011).  


Tuesday, 29 July 2014

FIRST LOOK: Finding Neverland, starring Laura Michelle Kelly & Jeremy Jordan

Jeremy Jordan and Laura Michelle Kelly head the cast of the American Repertory Theater world-premiere musical Finding Neverland, which begins performances July 23 under the direction of Tony Award winner Diane Paulus.

Based on the 2004 Miramax film about Peter Pan playwright J.M. Barrie, the new version of the musical has a score by U.K. pop songwriters Gary Barlow and Elliot Kennedy, with a book by James Graham (This House). A previous incarnation of the musical, which featured a score by Tony nominees Scott Frankel and Michael Korie, received a 2012 U.K. premiere.

The new staging of Finding Neverland, which Paulus (Pippin, Porgy and Bess) has been developing over the past year, features choreography by Emmy Award winner Mia Michaels. Academy Award-winning producer Harvey Weinsteinis shepherding the project, which is aiming for a future Broadway life.

Simon Callow returns to the St. James Theatre to perform in JUVENALIA

Simon Callow returns to the St. James Theatre following a recent appearance in Great British Musicals in July 2014 to perform in Juvenalia, from Tuesday 26 – Saturday 30 August 2014. Juvenalia, which comes to the St. James Theatre directly from the Edinburgh Festival, is written by Juvenal, adapted by Richard Quick and directed by Simon Stokes. Set design is by Robin Don with lighting design by Chahine Lavroyan.

Simon Callow does stand-up comedy - filthy, scabrous, politically incorrect – as he lambasts foreigners, plutocrats, women, gays - as last delivered in Rome AD 100.

Juvenal was one angry white middle class male. In Juvenilia he tells it like it was. And is.

Opening Night of PORGY AND BESS at Regents Park Open Air Theatre

Last night, Monday 28 July, was the Opening Night of the Gershwins’ Porgy and Bess which runs at Regents Park Open Air Theatre until 23 AugustAfter the show, cast, creative team and invited guests enjoyed a summer drink of Canard Duchêne Champagne on the lawn of Regents Park Open Air Theatre, accompanied by Belly Pork Croquettes with Roasted Corn Cream and Lemon Cone Trees.

Celebrated as a landmark piece of American theatre with iconic songs including ‘Summertime’, ‘I Got Plenty of Nothing’‘I Loves You Porgy’ and ‘It Ain’t Necessarily So’, Porgy and Bess is directed by Regents Park Open Air Theatre’s Artistic Director Timothy Sheader, with a book adapted by Suzan-Lori Parks and a musical score adapted by Diedre L. Murray.

Drawing on talent from both sides of the Atlantic, Rufus Bonds Jr plays Porgy and Nicola Hughes plays Bess, with Phillip Boykin as Crown, Cedric Neal as Sportin’ Life and Olivier Award-winning Sharon D Clarke as Mariah.

All Star Productions to stage INTO THE WOODS

James Lapine and Stephen Sondheim take everyone's favourite storybook characters and bring them together for a timeless yet relevant piece and rare modern classic. The Tony Award-winning book and score (soon to be a Disney film) are both enchanting and touching.

The story follows a Baker and his wife who wish to have a child, Cinderella who wishes to attend the King's Festival, and Jack who wishes his cow would give milk. When the Baker and his wife learn that they cannot have a child because of a Witch's curse, the two set off on a journey to break the curse. Everyone's wish is granted, but the consequences of their actions return to haunt them later with disastrous results.

Leading the Creative Team is Tim McArthur (Director and Musical Staging) with Aaron Clingham (Musical Director and Orchestrations), who are the successful team behind last years Days of Hope, 2012's She Loves Me (4 Offie Nominations) and 2010's Follies.

Monday, 28 July 2014

Bakersfield Mist, starring Kathleen Turner and Ian McDiarmid, will close on August 9th

The current West End production of Bakersfield Mist, starring Kathleen Turner and Ian McDiarmid, will end its run at the Duchess Theatre earlier than planned on 9 August.
Stephen Sachs’ play about an unemployed bartender who believes that the painting she bought for a few bucks is in fact a Jackson Pollock was originally booking until 30 August.
The production opened at the Duchess Theatre in May 2014 when it was described by Official London Theatre’s Charlotte Marshall as “a treat that speeds by, propelled by playwright Stephen Sachs’ quick fire wit and Polly Teale’s energetic direction.”

Akiya Henry | Interview

Akiya Henry is currently playing Joylene in Perseverance Drive  at the Bush Theatre. Her other theatre credits includes: Ten Women (Jackdaw at the Oval House Theatre), Cake and Congo (Theatre 503), A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Bristol Old Vic), Mottled Lines (Orange Tree Theatre), Swallows and Amazons (Vaudeville Theatre & UK Tour, Bristol Old Vic), The Colored Museum (Talawa Theatre Company), The Beggar’s Opera (Open Air Theatre Regent’s Park), Much Ado About Nothing/ Shakespeare in a Suitcase (RSC New York), Hello Dolly (Open Air Theatre Regent’s Park), The Tempest (Open Air Theatre Regent’s Park), Vajak Paw (The Opera Group), Carmen Jones (The Southbank Centre, Ramond Gubbay Ltd), Safe (West Yorkshire Playhouse), Coriolanus (Shakespeare’s Globe), The Enchanted Pig (Young Vic Theatre/Opera Group), Under the Black Flag (Shakespeare’s Globe), Coram Boy (Royal National Theatre), Once in a Lifetime (Royal National Theatre), Ain’t Misbehavin’ (Sheffield Crucible Theatre), Just So (Chichester Festival Theatre), A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Chichester Festival Theatre), Skellig (Young Vic Theatre), Anything Goes (Royal National Theatre), Bintou (Arcola Theatre), Love’s Labour’s Lost (Royal National Theatre), The Singing Group (Chelsea Theatre), Closer to Heaven (Really Useful Group), Into the Woods (NYMT). Television includes: Silent Witness, Captain Mack, Casualty, Little Britain, Doctors. Film includes: Rabbit Fever, The Best Man, Calcium Kid, De Lovely. Radio includes: One Two Zoo, Reality Check, The Ballad of Frankie Banks

You’ve recently opened in Perseverance Drive playing the role of Joylene at the Bush Theatre, how is it going so far?

You know what, it’s been going brilliantly. The audiences and critics have been wonderfully responsive and the feedback has been eye opening, in a good way. Now that the sun is shining, everyone really does feel that they are in Barbados!


FORBIDDEN BROADWAY will transfer to the Vaudeville Theatre for limited engagment

The Menier Chocolate Factory's production of Forbidden Broadway will transfer to the West End's Vaudeville Theatre for a limited 11-week run from 9 September.
Three of the cast - Damian Humbley, Anna-Jane Casey and Ben Lewis - will remain with the production, and they will be joined by YouTube star Christina Bianco.
Bianco, whose latest YouTube video of "Let It Go" has received over 5 million views, has appeared in Forbidden Broadway: Goes to Rehab in New York.

Sunday, 27 July 2014

8 of the best West End trios!

Following my Best Performances and Best Duos features, the nature thing to do next is the best trios! Here is our selection of the Best West End trios. Tweet us if you think we've missed any out! @PocketSizeBoy

Mark Umbers, Jenna Russell & Damian Humbley in Merrily We Roll Along

Robert Lindsay, Rufus Hound & Katherine Kingsley in Dirty Rotten Scoundrels


Friday, 25 July 2014

FIRST LOOK: Jodie Prenger stars as Calamity Jane

The production, which features "a cast of multi-talented actor/musicians", is directed by Nikolai Foster (Beautiful Thing, The Witches of Eastwick) and will run from 17 July to 6 September 2014 at the Watermill, Newbury prior to a national tour.
Calamity Jane, which features the songs "The Black Hills of Dakota", "The Deadwood Stage (Whip-Crack-Away)", "Just Blew in from the Windy City" and "Secret Love", is adapted for the stage by Charles K Freeman and has music by Sammy Fain with lyrics by Paul Francis Webster.
It's produced by The Watermill Theatre Newbury in association with Jamie Wilson, Paul Elliott and Duncan C Weldon. Musical arrangements and supervision will be by Catherine Jayes.

Jodie Prenger stars in the title role of ‘Calamity Jane’, Tom Lister plays ‘Wild Bill Hickok, Alex Hammond plays ‘Danny’ and Pheobe Street plays Katie Brown.


Angela Griffin completes cast of Breeders at St James Theatre

Angela Griffin completes the cast of Ben Ockrent’s Breeders, a new play premiering on Wednesday 3 September 2014 at St. James Theatre. Griffin will play Caroline, who wants to start a family with her wife Andrea.  In their quest to have a child that shares both of their DNA, Andrea seeks her brother Jimmy’s help.   Griffin will be joined by Tamzin Outhwaite as spouse Andrea, Nicholas Burns as Jimmy and Jemima Rooper as Jimmy’s girlfriend, Sharon. Directed by Tamara Harvey, the play is inspired by Ockrent’s real-life experience and offers a new perspective on how and why we make babies. 

Angela Griffin was most recently seen onstage in One Man, Two Guvnors and her numerous television credits include Coronation Street, Lewis, Mount Pleasant, Hustle and Waterloo Road. Tamzin Outhwaite returns to the stage after recent roles in Hampstead Theatre’s Raving and Di, Viv and Rose. Nicholas Burns, best known as Channel 4’s Nathan Barley, takes the role of Jimmy. Jemima Rooper will play Jimmy’s girlfriend, Sharon. Jemima was last seen onstage in Blithe Spirit at the Gielgud Theatre opposite Angela Lansbury.

MAMMA MIA! Breaks Box Office History in Blackpool

International smash hit musical MAMMA MIA! has broken box office history with more than £2million in ticket sales in just six weeks.
The figure, released today, makes MAMMA MIA! Blackpool’s highest ever grossing show.
It is more than 10 years since Blackpool hosted a full Summer Season but with the MAMMA MIA! International Tour in the town for a 12-week run, theatre bosses at the Winter Gardens are confident this is a bright new start for the resort.
Michael Williams, Managing Director of the Winter Gardens, said he is delighted with ticket sales so far and is looking forward to seeing the continued success of the Summer Season.
He said, “When we announced last year that MAMMA MIA! was coming to Blackpool for a whole Summer Season we were quietly confident that it would be a success but you never know what is going to happen. We are now thrilled to announce that ticket sales have reached more than £2million in the first six weeks of the run. This is absolute proof that MAMMA MIA! is right for Blackpool and that Blackpool is more than capable of attracting such a show and the audiences to support it.

London Wonderground returns for a third year at South Bank of London

London Wonderground returns for a third year, bringing a piece of Coney Island to the South Bank of London. Underbelly and the Southbank Centre present a summer long festival of the world’s best cabaret, circus and sideshows from the 25 July.

The current site will expand once the Udderbelly Cow moves to Edinburgh and will embrace the world of the unusual and unique to become the capitals playground. The Wonderground offers live entertainment, fairground rides and outdoor bars, creating an amusement ground to be enjoyed by all on the transformed coach park between the Royal Festival Hall and the London Eye. London Wonderground is the brainchild of Underbelly and Southbank Centre.

Highlights include:

This critically acclaimed show is a heady mix of circus, acrobatics, live music and dance which has been thrilling audiences since May.Directed by Scott Maidment, and set to Sxip Shirey's thrilling live score of brass, electronics, hip-hop and club beats, take your seats ringside in the magnificent 1920s inspired Spiegeltent for the hottest party ever between heaven and hell.  


Liam Mower will return to BILLY ELLIOT for one night only as Older Billy for live broadcast

Original Billy Elliot Liam Mower will return to the hit musical for one night only on 28 September 2014, this time as older Billy.
Mower, who since leaving the show in 2006 has trained at Rambert and appeared in several productions, will join the cast on the night thatBilly Elliot is broadcast live to cinemas across the UK and internationally.
Elton John's musical, based on the 2000 film starring Jamie Bell and Julie Walters, is the story of a young boy from a mining town who discovers a passion for dance.

Wednesday, 23 July 2014

FIRST LOOK: Gershwins’ Porgy and Bess at Regents Park Open Air Theatre

Gershwins’ Porgy and Bess runs at Regents Park Open Air Theatre from 17 July to 23 August with Opening Night for press on 28 July. Celebrated as a landmark piece of American theatre with iconic songs including‘Summertime’, ‘I Got Plenty of Nothing’‘I Loves You Porgy’ and ‘It Ain’t Necessarily So’, Porgy and Bess will be directed by Regents Park Open Air Theatre’s Artistic Director Timothy Sheader, with a book adapted by Suzan-Lori Parks and a musical score adapted byDiedre L. Murray.

Drawing on talent from both sides of the Atlantic, Rufus Bonds Jr plays Porgy and Nicola Hughes plays Bess, with Phillip Boykin as Crown, Cedric Neal as Sportin’ Life and Olivier Award-winning Sharon D Clarke as Mariah.
The full cast of Porgy and Bess also includes David Albury, Angela Caesar, Jade Ewen, Alex GianniniOwain GwynnTyrone Huntley, George Ikediashi, Claudia Kariuki, Arthur Kyeyune, Oliver Lidert, Leon LopezJay Marsh, Tania Mathurin, Ellen O’Grady, Golda RosheuvelYemie Sonuga and Marvin Springer.


SWEENEY TODD at the Twickenham Theatre announces cast, David Bedella & Sarah Ingram star

Olivier Award winner David Bedella will play razor-wielding madman Sweeney Todd and Sarah Ingram his pie-making partner in crime, Mrs Lovett, in an intimate new production of the Tony Award and Olivier Award-winning musical, Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street.

Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street, with music and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim, book by Hugh Wheeler, will kick-off the autumn season at Twickenham Theatre in West London. It will start previews on Wednesday 10 September and runs to Saturday 4 October.

Press night is Tuesday 16 September at 7.45pm.

The new venue’s first in-house show is a co-production with West End producer David Adkin.


Regent Park Open Air Theatre’s TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD casting announced, Daniel Betts stars

Casting for Regent Park Open Air Theatre’s production of To Kill A Mockingbird was announced today. Daniel Betts will play Atticus Finch alongside Zackary Momoh as Tom Robinson, Christopher Akrill as Boo Radley. Original cast member and composer Phil King will reprise his role.

Daniel Betts is an accomplished stage actor whose previous theatre credits include Skylight (National Theatre), The Winter’s Tale (Royal Shakespeare Company), Dial M for Murder (UK Tour), Sweet Bird of Youth (Old Vic), The Great Game (Tricycle, NYC & US Tour) and The King’s Speech (Wyndham’s Theatre). Daniel’s previous television roles include Criminal JusticeLaw and Order and A Touch of Frost.

PHANTOM OF THE OPERA announces new cast from September 1st

There will be a number of key cast changes in the smash hit Andrew Lloyd Webber musical “THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA” at Her Majesty’s Theatre in the West End.

From Monday 1 September 2014, Liam Tamne will star as ‘Raoul’, and making their West End debuts: John Ellis as ‘Piangi’ and Alicia Beck as ‘Meg. “THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA” will continue to star Gerónimo Rauch as ‘The Phantom’ and Harriet Jones as ‘Christine’. Also from Monday 1 September, Emmi Christensson, will alternate the role of ‘Christine’.

Continuing their roles are: Andy Hockley as ‘Monsieur Firmin’; Martin Ball as ‘Monsieur Andre’; Lara Martins as ‘Carlotta’ and Jacinta Mulcahy as ‘Madame Giry’.

THE BODYGUARD UK tour dates confirmed, to open at the Mayflower Theatre, Southampton

Michael Harrison and David Ian are delighted to announce the UK and Ireland tour dates for Thea Sharrock’s hit production of the West End musical THE BODYGUARD. The tour will open at the Mayflower Theatre, Southampton on Thursday 12 February 2015 before embarking on a two year UK and Ireland tour.  Schedule below with further dates to be announced.

Based on Lawrence Kasdan’s 1992 Oscar nominated Warner Bros. film, THE BODYGUARD has a book by Alex Dinelaris and opened at the Adelphi Theatre in London’s West End in December 2012, where it continues to play to packed houses and standing ovations. It was nominated for four Laurence Olivier Awards including Best New Musical and Best Set Design. 

Revival of GRAND GUIGNOL will return to The Drum before heading to Southwark Playhouse

Directed by Theatre Royal Plymouth’s Artistic Director, Simon Stokes, the revival of Grand Guignol will return to The Drum from 9 – 18 October before heading to Southwark Playhouse where the acclaimed production will run for five weeks from 23 October – 22 November 2014. 

1903, in the back streets of Montmartre, the Theatre du Grand Guignol opens its doors to an unsuspecting public. The plays performed, rife with madness and murders, are sold out every night.  A psychiatrist obsessed with the playwright’s gruesome dramas ingratiates his way into the company.  But when he starts to unpick the author’s mind, the boundaries between theatre and truth begin to blur…

Brush Up Your Sondheim - Two-day event including Q&A with Stephen Sondheim

This weekend, the Stephen Sondheim Society are delighted to present Brush Up Your Sondheim 2014, a two-day celebration of the work of Stephen Sondheim, on Saturday 26 and Sunday 27 July at the Royal Academy of Music.

For aficionados of Stephen Sondheim, the weekend will offer an extraordinary opportunity to meet fellow Sondheim lovers, and to learn and understand more about Stephen Sondheim through the insight and understanding gained by recognised Sondheim practitioners. And perhaps most thrillingly of all, there will be an opportunity to put questions to the great man himself.

BULLETS OVER BROADWAY, starring Zach Braff and Marin Mazzie, closes on August 24

Bullets Over Broadway, which stars Zach Braff and Marin Mazzie, will shutter on the Great White Way on August 24. The world premiere of the musical adaptation of Woody Allen and Douglas McGrath’s 1994 film began performances on March 11 and officially opened on April 10 at the St. James Theatre. At time of closing, the tuner will have played 33 previews and 156 regular performances.

Directed and choreographed by Susan Stroman, Bullets Over Broadway tells the story of an aspiring playwright in 1920s New York who is forced to cast a mobster’s talentless girlfriend in his new show in order to have it produced on Broadway. The tuner features existing hits from the 1920s with a new, adapted book by Allen. Although the production was nominated for six Tonys, it did not pick up any awards at the ceremony.

Tuesday, 22 July 2014

Mummenschanz - Musicians of Silence: Theatre Review

Mummenschanz was founded over 40 years ago by its artistic directors Floriana Frassetto and Bernie Schürch. It's work is an incredible hybrid of dance, improvisation, mime and even influences of commedia dell'arte that has toured across the globe with its groundbreaking visual theatre. The company itself is probably one if the most unique, with a cast older than a large proportion of its audience. Not implying that it's shows appeal solely to our younger audience, quite the opposite in fact. The result of this theatrical chimera is truly universal.

This particular incarnation of Mummenschanz is 'The musicians of silence' and the only sound produced on stage is exactly that: silence (with the exception of occasional percussive sound of movement and props etc). It's structure is rather like that of a sketch show, with 30 small individual scenes that are completely unrelated to each other. There are four performers dressed entirely in black like performing cat burglars and the props and costumes range from a pair of oversized foam hands to flexible duct pipes from a tumble dryer and even rolls of toilet paper! The result is truly a smorgasbord.

CELIA IMRIE one woman show, Laughing Matters, come to St. James Studio

A shining star in her weird and wonderful new cabaret act…’ Michael Coveney, WhatsOnStage

The St. James Studio is eagerly anticipating Celia Imrie’s one woman cabaret/ revue show, Laughing Matters, running from Wednesday 13 – Sunday 17 August 2014. The show is directed by Fidelis Morgan with Andy Massey as Musical Director and on piano. Press are invited to attend the performance on Wednesday 13 or Thursday 14 August.Laughing Matters first ran at the Crazy Coqs in September 2013 and has been revised and updated for its St. James Studio run.


Clive Rowe to star in Hackney Empire 2014 pantomime Mother Goose

Celebrated grande dame of pantomime Clive Rowe will make his much-anticipated return to Hackney Empire this Christmas in Mother Goose. Rowe will star in the title role, for which he received an Olivier Award-nomination in 2008.  
Olivier Award-winning actress Sharon D Clarke will play the good enchantress Charity opposite Rowe in this glittering celebration of inner beauty.  

Both Rowe and Clarke return to Hackney Empire after starring in the critically acclaimed Blues In the Night here earlier this year. They will appear in London’s number one pantomime following previous starring roles; Rowe was last seen in a  Hackney Pantomime as Dame Daisy in Jack and the Beanstalk in 2010 and Clarke returns after 2013’s Puss in BootsMother Goose will again be directed by the theatre’s Artistic Director Susie McKenna with music by Steven Edis. The production will run at Hackney Empire from 22 November 2014 to 4 January 2015.

Monday, 21 July 2014

Joe Pasquale, Bonnie Langford and Todd Carty to star in SPAMALOT UK Tour

Following the Pythons' incredible 10 night sell-out run at London's O2 Arena, it is announced today that Monty Python's Spamalot will gallop back out on tour from January next year, to bring the West End production to theatres across the land (to the sound of banging coconut shells). Joe Pasquale will reprise his much loved role of King Arthur alongside Bonnie Langford as The Lady of The Lake and Todd Carty as Patsy, (making up the Spamalot Dream Team). Joe Pasquale, Bonnie Langford and Todd Carty will appear in the Spamalot 2015 UK Tour up to and including the Woking dates at The New Victoria Theatre. Further casting and tour venue announcements to be made soon.
Having first played King Arthur for a successful West End run last summer, comedian Joe Pasquale is pleased as punch to be back in the role (he would be pleased as Holy Grail Ale, but it's not really got the same ring to it). He will star alongside West End legend Bonnie Langford, who played The Lady of The Lake previously on the previous UK tour and then during the show's hugely successful West End run at The Harold Pinter Theatre and The PlayhouseTheatre. They will be joined by Todd Carty, who starred as Patsy from the very start of this production both on tour and in the West End run.

New cast of MATILDA announced, CRAIGE ELS stars as Miss Trunchbull

Capturing the imagination of young and old alike, the Royal Shakespeare Company’s production of Roald Dahl’s Matilda The Musical continues to play to packed houses at the Cambridge Theatre in London. Matilda has now been seen by almost 1.5million people since it transferred to the West End in October 2011. The production was commissioned by the RSC and played to sold-out audiences at the RSC’s The Courtyard Theatre in Stratford-upon-Avon for twelve weeks from November 2010 to January 2011. Tickets are now on sale until Sunday 24 May 2015.

Craige Els will join the company as Miss Trunchbull from September, playing alongside James Clyde (Mr Wormwood), Haley Flaherty (Miss Honey) and Kay Murphy (Mrs Wormwood).

Sunday, 20 July 2014

15 of the Best Tony Award Performances

Unlike the Olivier Awards, the Tony Awards have been aired on national TV for over 45 years. Over those years we've been treated to some of the most incredible performances. Pocket takes a look back at some of the best and most memorable...

Jennifer Holiday | And I'm Telling you I'm not going
Won Best Actress in a Musical for her performance


Friday, 18 July 2014

SHAKESPEARE IN LOVE | Trailer for this new production at the Noel Coward Theatre

Produced by Disney and Sonia Friedman Productions and based on the Academy Award®-winning screenplay by Marc Norman and Tom StoppardShakespeare in Love has been adapted for the stage by Lee Hall (Billy Elliot). Featuring a company of 28 actors and musicians, one of the largest companies ever assembled for a play in the West End, plus a dog, this new play will be directed by Declan Donnellan and designed by Nick Ormerod, the driving force behind the world-renowned theatre company, Cheek by Jowl.

Tickets for Shakespeare in Love at the Noël Coward Theatre are now on sale online at or by calling the box office on 0844 482 5141.  

FIRST LOOK: Medea at the National Theatre

Medea is a wife and a mother. For the sake of her husband, Jason, she’s left her home and borne two sons in exile. But when he abandons his family for a new life, Medea faces banishment and separation from her children. Cornered, she begs for one day’s grace. It’s time enough. She exacts an appalling revenge and destroys everything she holds dear.
I choose to take back my life. My life.
Helen McCrory returns to the National to take the title role in Euripides’ powerful tragedy, in a new version by Ben Power with music written by Will Gregory and Alison Goldfrapp.
Terrible things breed in broken hearts.
Medea will be broadcast live to cinemas around the world on Thursday 4 September. To find your nearest venue visit

Casting announced for LITTLE REVOLUTION at the Almeida Theatre

Casting is announced for the world premiere of Alecky Blythe’s new play inspired by the 2011 London riots, directed by Joe Hill-Gibbins. This is Alecky’s first new London production after the success of London Road at the National Theatre.

The cast will include Ronni Ancona, Melanie Ash, Alecky Blythe, Bayo Gbadamosi, Lloyd Hutchinson, Rez Kempton, Barry McCarthy, Lucian Msamati, Clare Perkins, Michael Shaeffer, Imogen Stubbs and Rufus Wright.  The company includes a community chorus of Islington and Hackney locals brought together by the Almeida Projects team.

In the summer of 2011, London was burning. Alecky took her Dictaphone to the streets. From the helicopters circling overhead to the burnt out buildings on the street, Little Revolution records the voices and stories of a community as the riots happened to their present-day aftermath.

THE MOUSETRAP tour will continue through to December 2014

Agatha Christie’s The Mousetrap has been the world’s longest running stage production at its London home for more than 55 years. The 60th Anniversary - and first ever - UK tour of this beloved murder mystery has now been seen by over 600,000 people across more than 600 performances and has broken box office records in Southampton, Barnstaple, Dublin and Aberdeen.

The tour started in September 2012 at the Canterbury Marlowe Theatre and now will continue through to December 2014. For a full list of tour dates up to December 2014, please see the Notes to Editors below.

The cast for the 2014 Autumn leg of the tour is Helen Clapp as Mollie Ralston, Michael Fenner (Doctors, Footballer’s Wives) as MrParavicini, Anne Kavanagh (Chichester Festival Theatre’s Goodnight Mr Tom, August: Osage County at the National Theatre) as Mrs Boyle, Charlotte Latham as Miss Casewell and Stephen Yeo as Christopher Wren - all reprising their roles from the production in London’s West End alongside: Christopher Gilling (ITV’s Law and Order, BBC1’s Silk) as Major Metcalf, Henry Luxemburg (Hollyoaks, Hotel Babylon) as Giles Ralston and Luke Jenkins (Scenes from an Execution, Unicorn Theatre) as Sgt Trotter.

Wednesday, 16 July 2014

London première of Robert Holman’s JONAH AND OTTO to run at the Park Theatre

Today Park Theatre Artistic Director Jez Bond announces the London première of Robert Holman’s Jonah and Otto which will run in Park 200 – the production opens on 29 October, with a preview on 28 October, and plays until 23 November.  Jonah and Otto reunites playwright Robert Holman with director Tim Stark who previously directed Rafts and Dreams as part of the Holman season at the Manchester Royal Exchange in 2003, and acted in the original RSC production of Across Oka

“God doesn’t care about you. Why should I?”

Over the course of a single day two men share their solitude and unfold their secrets. They disagree with each about women, about lust and about guilt. They question the power of magic, of redemption and the price of freedom, each seeing himself more clearly through the eyes of the other. 

Casting announced for THE APPLE TREE at Ye Olde Rose and Crown Theatre

Casting has been announced for The Apple Tree at Ye Olde Rose and Crown Theatre. 

It features Rafe Watts as Adam, Catriona Mackenzie as Eve, Daniel Donskoy as Snake, Rosie Gloppop as Princess Barbara, Luke Wilson as Sanjar, Lauren Austin as Nadjira, Daniel Holmes as King Arik, Michaela Cartmell as Ella, Xandy Champken as Flip and Adam Corrigan as Producer.


Casting announces for Frantic Assembly's OTHELLO

Mark Ebulue, recently of the RSC and a former kickboxer, will play the title role in Frantic Assembly’s acclaimed and award-winning production of Othello by William Shakespeare – a co-production with Theatre Royal Plymouth.

The role of Iago will be played by Steven Miller, known for his four-year stint as Lenny Lyons in Casualty (BBC TV), with Kirsty Oswald (The Judas Kiss, The Winter’s Tale) as Desdemona. Frantic Assembly’s Othello is being revived for a UK tour beginning in October 2014, culminating in a four-week London run at the Lyric Hammersmith in January 2015.


ROCKY on Broadway will play its final performance next month

The Broadway musical of Rocky will play its final performance at the Winter Garden Theatre on Sunday, August 17th after 28 previews and 188 regular performances. Stage Entertainment is currently exploring future productions across the U.S. as well as internationally.

ROCKY received its world premiere in fall 2012 in Hamburg, Germany, where it continues to play to packed houses. The musical opened on Broadway on March, 13, 2014 at the historic Winter Garden theatre. The show features an original score by the Tony Award-winning team Stephen Flaherty and Lynn Ahrens (Ragtime, Once on This Island), with a book by multiple Tony Award-winner Thomas Meehan (The Producers, Hairspray, Annie) and Sylvester Stallone, who was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay for the 1976 Oscar-winning Best Picture, Rocky. The production is directed by Tony nominee Alex Timbers (Bloody, Bloody Andrew Jackson), and features choreography by Tony nominees Steven Hoggett (Once) and Kelly Devine (Rock of Ages).

Monday, 14 July 2014

Willemijn Verkaik to leave WICKED on the 19th July 2014, Kerry Ellis to return

Willemijn Verkaik will play her final performance as Elphaba this Saturday 19 July 2014 at 7.30pm, as she departs the production in order to have surgery to address an ongoing back condition. Kerry Ellis, who will recreate her celebrated performance from Monday 4 August until Saturday 25 October 2014*. 

Willemijn said: “To be given the chance to play Elphaba in four different countries is something I am incredibly grateful for. Now I have to cut my West End run short and it’s absolutely devastating to me. I’ve been fighting this injury for a few months but was determined not to let anything get in the way of my West End debut and certainly not wanting to disappoint the audiences. But I have to face the facts. I thank producers David Stone and Michael McCabe and our General Managers, Playful Productions, the cast and crew and all of you so much for all your support in this difficult time. I promise I’ll be back on stage soon, in better shape than ever!”


NEW CAST announced for The Book of Mormon

From 28 July 2014, the cast of the Olivier Award-winning The Book of Mormon, at the Prince of Wales Theatre, London, will be led by Billy Harrigan Tighe as Elder Price and A.J. Holmes as Elder Cunningham.

The full cast continues to include Alexia Khadime, Stephen Ashfield, Kevin Harvey, Hugo Harold Harrison, and Chris Jarman with Mark Anderson, Benjamin Brook, Daniel Clift, Christopher Copeland, Ashley Day, Keisha T Fraser, Patrick George, Nadine Higgin, Evan James, Aisha Jawando, Michael Kent, Sia Kiwa, Joshua Liburd, Daniel MacKinlay, David McMullan, Felix Mosse, Tanya Nicole-Edwards, Terel Nugent, David O’Reilly, Lucy St. Louis, Ashley Samuels, Rhys Taylor, Kayi Ushe, Michael Vinsen and Tosh Wanogho-Maud.            

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