Saturday, 30 September 2017

REVIEW: The Woman in Black at The Fortune Theatre, London


To celebrate National Ghost Hunting Day, Raw PR invited a host of writers and bloggers to attend a special evening of ghostly fun at The Woman In Black at The Fortune Theatre in the heart of London’s West End. Seating only 432 people, it’s one of the smallest theatres in town, especially when you consider how dwarfed they are by their neighbour is the gargantuan Theatre Royal on Drury Lane which seats 2,196 people. The Fortune is a close and intimate theatre - perfect for a spooky evening of storytelling...

Learning of the tales of paranormal history within the theatre set the mood for the evening. We learned of hauntings and presences seen and felt in different areas of the theatre - onstage, back-stage and in the audience (beware if you ever sit in seat F17 of the Royal Circle in early November…!) The anticipation (and nerves) were amped up to eleven and then the show began.

Friday, 29 September 2017

REVIEW: You Forgot the Mince at Courtyard Theatre

Rose (Francesca Joy) lives in Leeds with her grandmother Lily (Ursula Mohan) and, fresh out of college, has exciting plans for the future. After the summer, she wants to move to London and go to university to become a journalist but, during the school break, she meets Nico (Prince Plockey), a door-to-door window seller who works on commission, and falls madly in love with him.

The bond between them appears immediately intense, as we see them snuggling and play-fighting in Rose's living room. With a combination of spoken word and physical performance we're projected fast forward into Rose's first year in London, when her academic achievements clash with Nico's personal failures. After being arrested, he spends 12 months in prison, whereas Rose struggles to fit her commitments whilst attempting to maintain their relationship.

When Nico is released, the couple decides to move in together, but the already tormented situation doesn't show any signs of improvement and the young man manifests a disturbed attitude that quickly escalates from verbal to physical abuse. Trapped between Nico's false promises that he'll change and ashamed to share her troubles with her grandma, Rose becomes increasingly withdrawn, eventually developing a severe psychological disorder.

Thursday, 28 September 2017

GRAHAM NORTON returns to host WEST END BARES 2017

The Make A Difference Trust is delighted to announce that following two triumphant years,Graham Norton will return as host of this year’s WEST END BARES: RUBY STRIPPERS at the Novello Theatre on Sunday 29 October at 7.00pm and 9.30pm.

The Make A Difference Trust is also thrilled to announce the first of Graham’s star co-hosts; Adam Garcia (The Exorcist, Murder on the Orient Express [2017], Confessions of a Teenage Drama Queen, Tap Dogs, Saturday Night Fever, Coyote Ugly); Summer Strallen (Young Frankenstein, Love Never Dies, The Sound of Music, Hollyoaks); Dianne Pilkington (Young Frankenstein, Mamma Mia!, Wicked, Taboo); Tom Allen (Live At The Apollo, 8 out of 10 Cats Does Countdown, Just A Minute);Celinde Schoenmaker (The Phantom of the Opera and Les Misérables) and Oliver Savile(Wicked, The Phantom of the Opera, Les Misérables, Mamma Mia!). More celebrity guest hosts and West End stars to be announced soon.

REVIEW: Wipers Times at the Richmond Theatre

As we approach the 100th anniversary of the end of the first world war, the bravery and heroism of the soldiers and the futility and stupidity of the Generals tactics in trench warfare have been told many times in fine plays and musicals such as RC Sheriff's "Journeys End", Joan Littlewood's "Oh what a lovely war" , Michael Murpugo's "War Horse" and Stephen Foulk's "Birdsong". All of them created revealing and emotional connections with the soldiers in the front line. Ian Hislop and Nick Newman have unearthed and tell the extraordinary true story of The Wipers Times produced by the soldiers on printing presses found near the front line in Ypres and occasionally written by the troops in the trenches .

While the play's appears to borrow elements from all the above plays in its settings, characters and its style , it does pay strong tribute to this remarkable tale and the unrecognised editors who put the paper together from 1916 to 1918 in Ypres and Amiens. The paper was made up of poems, stories , wry in-jokes and lampoons of the military hierarchy in a humorous tongue in cheek style that appealed to the troops and irritated some of the staff command. The style has continued in Hislop's own magazine Private Eye today.

REVIEW: The Addams Family, New Victoria Theatre, Woking

Diddly dee *click* *click*

The hottest tour on the UK circuit was welcomed with open arms last night to Woking’s New Victoria Theatre with a packed audience – eager to see what the night ahead would bring. Headlining the tour is Samantha Womack as Morticia, Cameron Blakely as Gomez and Carrie Hope Fletcher as Wednesday. Les Dennis plays Uncle Fester, but at last night’s press performance, the role was played by Scott Paige. 

“Wednesday Addams, the ultimate princess of darkness, is all grown up and has a shocking secret that only Gomez knows. She's fallen in love with a sweet young man from a respectable family. With his cherished Morticia in the dark will Gomez manage to keep his daughter’s secret until the two families meet for a fateful dinner with hilarious consequences? Join them, plus Uncle Fester, Lurch, Pugsley and more for a heart-warming story of love, family and friendship… with a twist!”

REVIEW: Book story at Little Angel Studios

Little Angel Studios are tucked away in an old community centre in a back street in Islington but like its sister venue, Little Angel Theatre, a few streets south, it offers a full programme of daytime shows aimed at small children from 5 years up. Any show that excites young children to appreciate live performance and encourages them to be creative is to be applauded.

This production from visiting company, Monstro Theatre, goes one step further and encourages children to read books and visit libraries for creative inspiration. The creative mind behind the production is Ben Glasstone who has co-written the story, composed the music and directed the show. Monstro are pioneers of puppet musicals and this production use a combination of character puppets and animated books in the hands of three puppeteers to tell the rather unimaginatively titled Book Story.

REVIEW: Le Grand Mort at Trafalgar Studios

Like the fragrant pasta alla puttanesca that Michael (Julian Clary) cooks from scratch on stage, Le Grand Mort is a mixture of flavoursome ingredients, whose unbalanced combination could easily result in a stodgy meal. With its graphic elements and piquant frontal nudes, this rich recipe of sex, religion and death might not appeal to the most delicate palates but it does indeed cater for seasoned punters who crave for some zest.

With a relevant change in lighting, the intimate Trafalgar Studio Two alternates between the bar where Michael and Tim (James Nelson-Joyce) first meet and the former's kitchen, where he prepares a delicious dinner for two. Whilst cooking – as if talking to himself – he mentions a series of famous characters whose passing has been enveloped in such a plethora of anecdotes to generate a sort of pornography of death. Marilyn Monroe, Lady Diana and Rasputin are amongst the names mentioned, whilst Christ on the cross is described as a huge phallic symbol. As in this case, the mix is often disturbing and the words inevitably take centre stage in a piece where the action feels manufactured and patchy.

Tuesday, 26 September 2017

WICKED announces full cast for UK & Ireland Tour

WICKED, the West End and Broadway musical phenomenon that tells the incredible untold story of the Witches of Oz, is delighted to announce that Amy Ross (Elphaba), Helen Woolf(Glinda), Steven Pinder (The Wizard and Doctor Dillamond), Kim Ismay (Madame Morrible), Emily Shaw (Nessarose), Iddon Jones (Boq) and Nikki Bentley (Standby for Elphaba) will join the previously announced Aaron Sidwell (Fiyero) to lead the cast of the forthcoming return engagement of the spectacular, critically acclaimed and multi record-breaking UK & Ireland Tour in 2018.

Amy Ross (Elphaba) has most recently been starring as ‘Nicola’ in the hit musical Kinky Bootsin the West End. She previously appeared in Sunny Afternoon, playing ‘Joyce’, at both the Hampstead Theatre and in the West End; Helen Woolf (Glinda) has most recently been appearing in the London production of WICKED and was also part of the original 2013 UK & Ireland Tour company. She has played the role of ‘Glinda’ on many occasions; Aaron Sidwell(Fiyero) has just finished playing ‘Steven Beale’ in the BBC’s EastEnders, a role he originally played in 2007/08. His many acclaimed musical theatre appearances include Grey Gardens(Southwark Playhouse), American Idiot (Arts Theatre, London) and the leading role of ‘Michael Dork’ in Loserville The Musical (West Yorkshire Playhouse and in the West End); still best remembered as ‘Max Farnham’ in BrooksideSteven Pinder (The Wizard and Doctor Dillamond) starred in the UK & Ireland Tour (joining in 2014) and on the International Tour of WICKED. He also played Doctor Dillamond in the West End. Kim Ismay (Madame Morrible), Emily Shaw (Nessarose) and Iddon Jones (Boq) all recently starred in the International Tour of WICKEDNikki Bentley (Standby for Elphaba) has recently appeared in the Asian Tour ofGhost The Musical, the UK & Ireland Tour of Shrek the Musical and in Monty Python’s Spamalot in the West End. 

REVIEW: Mack and Mabel at the Hackney Empire with the London Musical Theatre Orchestra

After a truly sensational concert production of Candide at London’s Cadogan Hall, I had exceptionally high expectations for LMTO’s version of Mack and Mabel. Starring David Badella, Natasha J Barnes and Tiffany Graves, this production was the most entertaining, witty and emotionally-rousing night at the theatre I’ve had this year. 

LMTO’s founder, Freddie Tapner radiates passion and enthusiasm for his art and it is felt throughout the auditorium. Even whilst conducting his orchestra with his back is turned to the audience, we can still see and feel the love of his music. I have pondered for hours about what makes LMTO so special and I think it must just be that this ship is captained by a modern-day musical genius in Tapner. The spectacle of the LMTO on stage in all their glory is a wonderful thing to see so clearly and I can’t imagine I’ll ever tire of it. 

Sunday, 24 September 2017

REVIEW: Fever Pitch - the Opera at the Union Chapel

Fever Pitch, the book was rightly acclaimed as a brilliant sport book when published in 1992 and all football fans will understand and the identify with the obsession, passion, commitment and despair that football fans feel for their club . The book covers a period from 1968 to 1992 using 75 matches (mainly Arsenal games) to link to author Nick Hornby's life peaking with May 1989, when Arsenal won the league for the first time in 18 years and made him, a born again member of the church of latter day championship believer. So the challenge was how to compress this into a coherent opera set in a Church?

Composer, Scott Stroman , artistic director of Highbury Opera Theatre, and librettist Tamsin Collison took on the challenge and added the constraints that shaped the production. The venue, the Union Chapel in Highbury is a grand Victorian church with wooden pews and a temporary stage around the large pulpit and is home of HOT. The enthusiastic twenty seven local community adult choir and two children's chorus of twenty are integral to the production. The structure of two forty five minute halves under the huge Highbury clock that marks out the passing of time. Then edited the selection of matches down to a handful of key ones - Gooners first game (in 68) , league cup defeat (in 69), the double winning team ( of 71) , a local derby ( in 81) and the league winning game (in 89).

Friday, 22 September 2017

REVIEW: Legally Blonde at the Churchill Theatre in Bromley

OMIGOD OMIGOD YOU GUYS! Lucie Jones should win a prize for staring as Elle Woods in the National Tour of Legally Blonde: written by Heather Hatch and music from the man who brought us Batboy and Heathers, Laurence O’Keefe. The energy in the theatre tonight was electric with what was sure to be a high octane journey through Harvard Law School, I was wearing pink and ready to click along with the sorority girls of UCLA’s Delta Nu. 

From the get go the energy bar is set pretty high, girls riding on spin bikes and talking on the phone (Pre-emptively) celebrating Elle Woods and Warner Huntingdon the Thirds’ engagement. Which quickly spirals down hill when he breaks up with her. This set her on a new path, one that will challenge her Disney expectation of the power of love. Through trials (excuse the pun) and tribulations she realises it’s actually a good thing she is doing, practicing law and becomes the serious type of girl Warner laments about at the beginning of the first act. By the end there is cheering, and whooping and a mega mix (why?). Directed and choreographed by Anthony Williams the the use of set is very effective yet minimalistic, just what you need for a tour. 

REVIEW: Story Jam at Albany Theatre in Deptford

A teacher reminded me this week of how distracted we are, how so many things demand our attention from the moment we wake up to when we walk out the door and travel someplace. Story Jam, an event happening once a month until Christmas at the Albany Theatre Deptford and Canada Water Theatre, demands our total attention, as its performers take us through songs about stories and stories about songs. The attention that one storyteller receives is quite magical if you listen to how silent the room becomes, all while offering a fun, scary, surprising and sensual experience.

Our imaginations are also evolving in this new digital century: images are all around us and definitely inform how we imagine things. That is why I loved the amount of details that the storytellers gave us during their stories about faraway lands. From the smell of sheets to the noise that a branch makes, and from the beat of a heart to the image of a bloody hand, we are totally there. Performer Sarah Liisa Wilkinson, the first of the evening, was my favourite as she took us through a first story about womanhood in Romania, and then to Finland with a woman looking for her warrior son. The soothing element is that these stories end well.


REVIEW: The Test at White Bear Theatre

If I hadn't known some of Ian Dixon Potter's previous works, I'd be tempted to be more critical towards his most recent play The Test. 

His strong interest for the extreme boundaries of science has already featured in Tiresia, in which he mentions the processes used by the human body to store knowledge and memory. Another common factor in his plays is the introduction of big ethical questions, which in Boy Stroke Girl focuses on the relative role of gender identification and in Tiresia on the implications of a brain transplant. The Test, instead, elaborates on the controversial influence of Artificial Intelligence on human dynamics. 

In this short but language-heavy performance, the main character is Dora (Natasha Killam), an ambitious female scientist, author of the first AI system provided with an autonomous consciousness. Contravening the instructions of her direct superior (Zara Banks), Dora decides to submit her device, called Mother, to the Turing test, which aims to establish its ability to respond to stimuli following the same behavioural pattern of a human. To do so, she needs free access to the whole internet and, for this purpose, she hires Josh (Duncan Mason), a computer hacker fresh out from prison.

Thursday, 21 September 2017

REVIEW: Five Guys Names Moe at the Marble Arch Theatre

Five Guys Named Moe has been seen in London several times, most recently in 2012 back where it began at Stratford East. This new production of Clarke Peters’ musical based on the music of jazz crossover star Louis Jordan, now helmed by its creator, finds a fantastic home in Underbelly's popular spiegeltent recently relocated and rechristened the Marble Arch Theatre. 

It must be said that the plot of this classic juke box musical is light on the ground; the central character Nomax (Edward Baruwa) has ‘woman troubles’, and has turned to drink to deal with his shortcomings. In an alcohol induced miasma, five Moes – Four-Eyed, Little, Know, Big and Eat Moe – pop out of Nomax’s radio to counsel, encourage and school him in life and love. There isn't much more depth to it than that but in this intimate set up it feels easy to accept this show for what it is; more upbeat concert than storytelling.

REVIEW: Picture of Dorian Gray at the Watermill Theatre in Newbury

Oscar Wilde's only book , a Picture of Dorian Gray was first published in 1890 and was criticised for being indecent and subjected to censorship as it dealt with Dorian's pursuit of an immoral life having wished his portrait aged rather than himself . It is a book about a Victorian male aristocratic dominated society with only two female characters, Sybil Vane, an actress from a poor background who commits suicide when Dorian finishes with her and Mrs Vane , her mother. 

The book , a gothic horror , is now on the school's curriculum and therefore seems a natural follow on to last year's Watermill school tour production of Frankenstein . This production stages a version of the book with just three female actresses and is created within the constraints of a school tour budget by Phoebe Eclair - Powell , daughter of comedian Jenny Eclair. She and director Owen Horsley have done a brilliant job translating the tale to the stage and have great fun with the form of the play and turn the budget limitations to clever advantage . A simple illuminated frame is used to create the settings and present the picture itself .

Sunday, 17 September 2017

Carolyn Maitland brings SONGS CHOSEN BY YOU Live at Zédel

Carolyn Maitland shares "Songs chosen by you" Live at Zédel, Saturday 28th October 2017, 9.15pm

Join West End leading lady and songstress, Carolyn Maitland, as she creates an evening inspired by engaging with others.

A cabaret with a difference... A social media concert creation... Not one song has been chosen by Maitland herself!

Using Twitter, Instagram and other social media platforms, the general public were encouraged to request a song they would like Maitland to sing (or reinvent) followed by the hashtag #SongsChosenByYou...

Expect to hear a variety of musical theatre pop and maybe even a hint of jazz. Collaborated into some familiar arrangements and some not so familiar, with brand-new twists.

REVIEW: Grand Finale at Sadler's Wells

Recalling flickering flames or dead leaves in a whirlwind, ten bodies appear on stage immersed in mist, entangled or scattered like a fickle substance. Huge slabs, similar to imposing gravestones, are pushed around, creating different shapes and casting long, menacing shadows on the floor. The pace is relentless and often jars with the eerie melody executed live on stage by the six-strong orchestra. 

In Hofesh Shechter's apocalyptic masterpiece, life and death coexist and are translated into a thundering compound of sound and movement. Putting physical force at the centre of the work, the choreographies are raw, intense and impeccably executed by the diverse ensemble of performers, cherry picked from all over the world.

REVIEW: Dolphins and Sharks at Finborough Theatre

Marking James Anthony Tyler's professional debut, Dolphins and Sharks is a play about power conflicts between colleagues, set against a background of racial discrimination, pay inequality and ruthless capitalism.

We are in a copy shop in Harlem, New York, where African American Isabel (Shyko Ammos) and Dominican descendant Xiomara (Rachel Handshaw) have been working together for many years, becoming good friends and allies against the white exploiter company owner Mr. Timmons. When Xiomara is promoted as a shop manager, though, the balances suddenly change, as she dutifully bends to the requests of the absent Mr. Timmons, imposing unreasonable policies to her co-workers. 

With the luring promise of a pay rise, Xiomara gains the connivance of the newly-employed Yusuf (Ammar Duffus), whose current salary is below legal minimum and doesn't even enables him to pay his rent, after a degree in Philosophy has left him jobless.

Wednesday, 13 September 2017

REVIEW: The Knowledge at Charing Cross Theatre

Originally written as a screenplay by the late Jack Rosenthal, The Knowledge is one of Britain's most beloved films and, in 1980, was also nominated for a Bafta award for the Best Single Play. 

In this adaptation for the stage, the author's vividly human portrayals are perfectly translated by Simon Block and devotedly preserved by Maureen Lipman, as a director and Rosenthal's wife of over thirty years.

Studying for one of the most difficult examinations in the world, four aspiring black cab drivers are followed in their personal and professional struggles, whilst they attempt to obtain the prestigious green badge of the trade. For them, the long preparation for The Knowledge of London becomes a real journey, at the end of which their lives won't come out unscathed. 

Casting has been announced for the first London revival of METROPOLIS

Casting has been announced for the first London revival of METROPOLIS by All Star Productions at Ye Olde Rose and Crown Theatre. 

Cast includes Rob Heron (Steven), Miiya Alexandra (Maria / Futura), Gareth James (Freeman), Kitty Whitelaw (Warner), Michael Levi (George), Alex Ely (Jeremiah) and Marc Mackinnon (Groat). Ensemble includes Annabel Edwards, Kieran Wynne, Tami Stone, Michael Larcombe, Laura Hyde, Mikey Wooster, Natalie Jayne Hall, Tom Blackmore, Freya Tilly and Shannon Kavanagh. 

Based on the 1927 Fritz Lang silent film, METROPOLIS opened at the Piccadilly Theatre in 1989 with a cast that included Brian Blessed, Judy Kuhn and Graham Bickely. 

Set in 2026 METROPOLIS is the last city in the world where all natural resources have been extinguished. The city relies on slave workers labour to keep running. The workers are locked up in an Underground city where they are forced to work at machines and not even allowed to see the sun whilst the wealthy industrialists reign in high rise buildings above.

Monday, 11 September 2017

INTERVIEW: Joe McElderry, currently playing there title tole in Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat on tour around the UK

Joe McElderry won the X factor back in 2009 and has since gone on to have a great career both in singing and musical theatre. After appearing in Popstar to Opera star back in 2011, he has gone on to tour many solo shows around the UK and play the title roles in both The Who's Tommy and Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat. He returns to play Joseph once again on tour, we talk to Joe after opening the new leg of this tour last week... 

How does it feel returning to this musical?
Its brilliant to be back, it has been such a fun and wonderful experience and to finish of the year in this show is a great way to end an incredible year.

Joseph is a show that most people are exposed to quite early on, do you remember your first theatre experiences?
My first theatre experience was going to our local pantomime and I always remember being so excited about the lights and costumes and always wanted to go backstage and see what it was all about. 

The National Theatre announce full cast for the world-premiere of Lee Hall’s NETWORK

This autumn the National Theatre will stage the world-premiere of Network, Lee Hall’s new adaptation of the Oscar-winning film by Paddy Chayefsky. 

Directed by Ivo van Hove, the cast includes Bryan Cranston as Howard Beale, Michelle Dockery as Diana Christenson and Douglas Henshall as Max Schumaker.

Howard Beale, news anchor-man, isn’t pulling in the viewers. In his final broadcast he unravels live on screen. But when the ratings soar, the network seizes on their new found populist prophet, and Howard becomes the biggest thing on TV. 

Network depicts a dystopian media landscape where opinion trumps fact. Hilarious and horrifying by turns, the iconic film by Paddy Chayefsky won four Academy Awards in 1976. Now, Lee Hall (Billy Elliot, Our Ladies of Perpetual Succour) and director Ivo van Hove(Hedda Gabler) bring his masterwork to the stage for the first time, with Bryan Cranston (All the Way, for which he won the Tony for Best Actor, Breaking Bad and Trumbo for which he was nominated for an Oscar) in the role of Howard Beale. 

THE WIND IN THE WILLOWS at the London Palladium announces Cinema and Online release

West End musical THE WIND IN THE WILLOWS which recently ended its strictly limited summer season at the London Palladium has been filmed for cinematic, television and online releases. Based on Kenneth Grahame’s treasured novel, the production opened on 29 June, brought to the stage by producer Jamie Hendry in a new adaptation with book by Academy Award-winning screenwriter and Downton Abbey creator Julian Fellowesand Olivier Award-winning composer and lyricist duo George Stiles and Anthony Drewe.

The filmed version stars Rufus Hound as the amazing Mr Toad, Simon Lipkin as Ratty,Craig Mather as Mole, Neil McDermott as Chief Weasel, Denise Welch as Mrs Otter, Gary Wilmot as Badger and the entire West End company. 

The Wind in the Willows is produced for the screen by Jamie Hendry, Austin Shaw and Gavin Kalin alongside executive producers BroadwayHD who will release the film on their online platform. It is directed by Tim van Someren.


The Other Palace is set to do a concert-style workshop performances of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s musical STARLIGHT EXPRESS, in The Theatre at The Other Palace.

Members of the original creative team of STARLIGHT EXPRESS will collaborate again, along with a group of carefully chosen actors and musicians to explore the piece. Focussing on the score and lyrics, and working for a week before the public showings, Andrew and the team will continue to work on the show in the daytime before evening performances, responding to audience reaction and feedback as they navigate the exciting process of revisiting this classic work.

The cast includes Christina Bennington (Pearl), George Ure (Rusty), Oliver Tompsett (Greaseball), Liam Tamne (Electra), Patrick Sullivan (Caboose), Natalie McQeen (Dinah) Sabrina Aloueche (Belle), Laila Zaidi (Tassita), Mica Paris (Mamma, formerly Papa), Anthony Selwyn, Michael James Stewart, Parisa Shahmir, Jamal Andreas, Carl Man & Divine Cresswell with Jude Harper-Wrobel as Control.

REVIEW: ISHQ at Sadler's Wells

'Ishq' is a word commonly used in the Muslim world to express passion and the most intense kind of love. In this case it is the title of the first Anglo Sufi musical, written by Mushfiq Murshed to commemorate the 70th anniversary of Pakistan's independence and celebrate the cultural fusion between this country and Britain.

Inspired to the Panjabi legend of Heer Ranjha, ISHQ narrates the story of a young couple, whose mutual passion is bound to kill them. Considered as the Romeo and Juliet of the East, Heer (Rasheeda Ali) and Ranjha (Ahsan Khan) meet accidentally when the charming boy is disowned by his family because of his insistent dedication to music. 

Immediately falling in love with him, Heer convinces her wealthy father to hire him as a cowherd but the burning romance is uncovered when Heer's jealous uncle Kaido (Adnan Jaffar) reports the pair's affectionate encounters to the maiden's father. Opposed to the match, Heer's father removes the young man from his employment and rushes an arranged marriage between his daughter and another man. 

REVIEW: Doubt, A Parable at Southwark Playhouse

There is a self-referential flavour in Doubt, A Parable, which will let you return home with a puzzled mind.

Sister James is a young teacher at St. Nicholas Church School, in the Bronx, who, after a meeting with the school's principal Sister Aloysius, is deeply affected by the woman's assertiveness and lack of empathy for her pupils. 

Sister Aloysius's unsympathetic attitude extends also to her collaborators and, in particular, towards Father Brendan Flynn's, whose innovative preaching matters and progressive didactic approaches encounter her disapproval.

When Sister James mentions to her superior a one-on-one meeting between Father Flynn and the school's only African-American student, Donald Muller, Sister Aloysius opens a personal investigation on the priest, suspecting him of sexual misconduct. According to Sister James' report, after this private conversation the boy's breath smelled of wine and this fact could either incriminate or exonerate the priest. For Sister Aloysius, in fact, this is the ultimate proof that Father Flynn corrupted the boy, whereas the priest insists that he called a private meeting with Muller after discovering he had drunk some altar wine.

Full cast for the world première production of Stephanie Martin’s JOY at Theatre Royal Stratford East

Clamour Theatre Company today announces the full cast for the world première production of Stephanie Martin’s Joy. A coming of age story about a young woman with Down’s syndrome, exploring family, friendship, control and freedom, performed by a company of seven featuring three actors with learning disabilities. A play to expose the limitations placed upon those with learning disabilities and, more importantly to celebrate and demand the right of everyone to have the life they want. Imogen Roberts who will lead the company in the role of Joy and, making their professional stage debuts, are Deen Hallissey in the role of Paul and Stephanie Newman as Mabel. Joining them on stage will be Rachael Bright (Mary), Kate Lynn Evans (Sue), EJ Martin (Maud) and Danny Scheinnman (John). The production opens in Gerry’s Studio at Theatre Royal Stratford East on 26 October, with previews from 24 October, and runs until 4 November.

“I’m so bored of people telling me what to do. I’m okay on my own. Everyone wants to wrap me up and tell me what to do and how to feel. I’m either a pet or I’m ignored. You know how people look at me in the street. Or don’t look at me. You know what I hate the most? I open my mouth to say something and before I’ve even said anything I can see people ready to say “no”, to shake their heads. Disability is a shit word, I’m not using it anymore. So, I’ve decided, I am not a pet. I am just me. And I love being me.”

UK Tour and full casting announced for Jessica Swales THE JUNGLE BOOK

Children’s Touring Partnership and Royal & Derngate, Northampton are delighted to announce a new adaptation of Rudyard Kipling’s family classic, “THE JUNGLE BOOK”. The production will premiere at Royal & Derngate, Northampton from Tuesday 28 November until Sunday 31 December 2017 and will then embark on a UK national tour from Thursday 25 January 2018 beginning at Chichester Festival Theatre.

Originally written in 1894, Kipling’s beloved tale will be reimagined with a brand new score and script, exploring the universal themes of family, belonging and identity. 

“THE JUNGLE BOOK” tells of Mowgli the man cub who battles for survival in this heart-warming coming-of-age story about a boy raised by wolves in the jungle. With the help of his animal friends, including Bagheera the panther, Balloo the bear and Kaa the python, Mowgli outwits the cruel and powerful tiger, Shere Khan, and learns the law of the jungle.

Natasha J Barnes to star in the first London revival for 20 years of the thriller TRYST

Natasha J Barnes, who famously took over to rave reviews from Sheridan Smith in Funny Girl in the West End will get her first starring role in a new production of Tryst by Karoline Leach.

Based on a true story, this tense drama tells of serial fraudster, George Love, who encounters a naïve and vulnerable shop-girl, Adelaide Pinchin. Seduced by his charm and elaborate stories of a life she’s never known, Adelaide agrees to run away with him in a secret tryst. What ensues shocks them both as their plans begin to unravel in frightening and unpredictable ways. The story begins as a romantic drama but soon evolves into a riveting thriller with a startling climax. Tryst is a tense, passion fuelled thriller which will stay with you long after the curtain comes down.

Natasha J Barnes said: “I read, or devoured, Tryst in one sitting and knew straight away I wanted to be a part of it. After learning so much taking over the lead in Funny Girl at The Savoy, I knew I would want my next project to be something really challenging. I’m not frightened of making myself vulnerable and I feel a straight play with such a small cast will be so different to what I’ve been doing recently and so exciting. I am a massive advocate for seeing the work of more female directors and I can’t wait to see what Phoebe will bring to the piece.”

SHREK announces full cast for UK and Ireland Tour

Believe all ‘ogre’ again! SHREK THE MUSICAL® today announces casting for the major nationwide tour. Following the unprecedented success of the first UK and Ireland tour, the original production team reunites to bring the hit musical to a swamp near you. Opening at Edinburgh Playhouse for the festive season this year from 12 December, the production will then tour throughout the country in 2018.

Leading the cast as beloved swamp-dwelling ogre ‘Shrek’ will be Steffan Harri, having previously starred in the original UK tour of SHREK THE MUSICAL®, and Call the Midwife star Laura Main as ‘Princess Fiona’. Due to filming commitments Laura will be performing at selected venues throughout the tour, with full list of dates below*. Also joining the cast will be Marcus Ayton as Shrek’s wisecracking sidekick ‘Donkey’ and Samuel Holmes as pint-sized villain ‘Lord Farquaad’. Further casting to be announced.

The company of fairy-tale characters will include Adam Baker, Ethan Bradshaw, Michael Carolan, Joseph Dockree, Will Hawksworth, Sarah-Louise Jones, Reece Kerridge, Thomas Lee Kidd, Amy Oxley, Jemma Revell, Lucinda Shaw, Sam Stones, Adam Taylor, Jennifer Tierney, Sophie Wallis, Francesca Williams, Laura Wilson and Kevin Yates.

Sunday, 10 September 2017

DREAM CASTING: The Devil Wears Prada the musical!

Today (noticeable nay anyone with snapchat!), The Devil Wears Prada celebrates its 11th Anniversary. We have heard rumours of a possible musical adaptation and we would LOVE to see it in London and this got us thinking who our dream casting would be! Who would be yours?! Tweets us your ideas! @PocketSizeBlog

Andrea (Andy) Sachs

Lauren Samuels

Miranda Priestly

Harriet Thorpe

Friday, 8 September 2017

INTERVIEW: James Byng, currently starring in The Woman in Black at the Fortune Theatre

James Byng is currently playing the Actor in the West End production of The Woman in Black, He was also most recently seen playing Toulouse-Lautrec in the Secret Cinema's production of Moulin Rouge! His other theatre credit include: Edgar Rychenkov in Noël (National Opera House, Ireland); Philip Pullman’s Grimm Tales (Bargehouse, South Bank); Nick Willow in Carrie’s War (Novel Productions UK Tour); Posner in The History Boys (West Yorkshire Playhouse/Theatre Royal Bath UK Tour); Frodo in The Lord of the Rings (Theatre Royal Drury Lane); Peter Pan: A Musical Adventure (West Yorkshire Playhouse); Les Misérables (Palace Theatre); Oliver! (London Palladium); Hey! Mr Producer(Lyceum); Oliver! (Theatre Royal Plymouth).

We chat to James after his opening night in his new role...

Is the love of music and theatre something which runs in the family?
Not particularly, though my sister and I starred together as kids in Les Misérables at the Palace Theatre in the 90s, and my brother is a talented musician, and I suppose my grandfather was a bit of a crooner - oh alright, scrap that, I suppose it does, yes.

Where did you train and how has this helped you build your career in the arts?
I didn’t. It hasn’t. I was lucky, I fell into acting at an early age and carried on!
I’m not quite sure what ‘building a career in the arts’ means these days really. It’s all too easy to feel as though one’s building something and then… bam! You’re flat on your backside again. It can happen to any actor, however prominent. It’s an extremely fickle industry and I’m very glad and grateful to be working!

FAT FRIENDS the Musical announce full casting

The first image of the the Musical family has today been released, as full casting for Kay Mellor’s new musical is unveiled. Fat Friends the Musical will premiere at Leeds Grand this November with an extensive UK tour to follow in 2018. Joining the previously announced cast, Natasha Hamilton (Atomic Kitten) will take on the role of Julia, Kevin Kennedy (Coronation Street) stars as Fergus and Rachael Wooding (We Will Rock You) appears as Joanne, alongside Jonathan Halliwell (Let It Shine) as Paul and Chloe Hart (Hairspray) as Val. Alan will be played by Neil Hurst, one of dozens of Yorkshiremen who applied for the role through an open audition call.

Also newly announced, What’s On Stage Award nominee Joel Montague, who recently starred alongside Sheridan Smith in Funny Girl, will share the role of Kevin with Andrew ‘Freddie’ Flintoff. Freddie will appear in Leeds, Southampton, Sheffield, Manchester, Birmingham, Bradford and Blackpool with Joel completing the remaining tour dates. 

Futher cast includes: Craig Armstrong, Lizzie Bea, Paul Brangan, Emma Crossley, Ellie Leah, Laura Mansell and Ryan Pidgen. As previously announced, the cast is completed by Jodie Prenger and Natalie Anderson with Sam Bailey and Elaine C. Smith sharing the role of Betty.

HAMILTON postpones opening in West End, full casting announced

HAMILTON will re-open the brand-new Victoria Palace Theatre with previews now beginning on 6 December 2017 rather than 21 November 2017 as originally announced. Following a multi-million pound expansion and restoration to the listed building, the Victoria Palace Theatre will open two weeks later than previously announced, with the need to reschedule 16 performances. 

Customers who have purchased tickets via official HAMILTON channels for the performances affected by the rescheduled previews will be contacted directly by Ticketmaster in order to be re-seated. All seats that were put on sale for the first booking period to June 2018 have now sold out, however, a large numbers of seats were held in reserve to be released at the time the building was nearing completion which will allow affected patrons to be re-seated early in the run with a minimum of inconvenience. Once the reseating has been completed, the remaining tickets for this first booking period will be put on sale in October.

The official opening night will now take place on 21 December 2017. HAMILTON is currently booking at the Victoria Palace Theatre to 30 June 2018, with a new booking period to be announced by the end of this year.

Shakespeare’s Globe announces full casting for Emma Rice's new musical Romantics Anonymous

Shakespeare’s Globe is delighted to announce the full cast of Romantics Anonymous, a new musical in the Sam Wanamaker Playhouse directed by Emma Rice, with book written by Emma Rice, lyrics by Christopher Dimond, and music by Michael Kooman, presented by special arrangement with Radio Mouse Entertainment. 

This funny, charming and awkward love story is adapted from the French-Belgian film Les Émotifs Anonymes written by Jean-Pierre Améris and Philippe Blasband. The musical follows Angélique, a gifted chocolate maker inhibited by social anxiety, and Jean-René, the awkward boss of a struggling chocolate factory, in an unusual and tender love story about finding the courage to be happy. Romantics Anonymous will be the final new production directed by Emma Rice as Artistic Director of the Globe. 

Carly Bawden will play the role of Angélique, having just appeared on The Globe stage as Maria in Emma Rice’s Twelfth Night earlier this summer. Carly’s other recent theatre credits include the role of Alice in (National Theatre), McQueen (Theatre Royal Haymarket), Assassins, Pippin (Menier Chocolate Factory), Dead Dog in a Suitcase and Other Love Songs, Tristan & Yseult, The Umbrellas of Cherbourg (Kneehigh) and My Fair Lady (Sheffield Crucible). Television includes Close to the Enemy (BBC). 

Thursday, 7 September 2017

International tour of THE PRODUCERS announces full casting

Selladoor Worldwide is delighted to announce that they will tour a brand-new production of The Producers this Autumn. The laugh-out-loud musical spectacle opens at Shanghai Culture Square, prior to a 14 week tour of China. This tour marks Selladoor Worldwide’s 8th International tour since 2014 as part of an ongoing international strategy.

Based on Mel Brooks' much -loved Academy Award winning movie The Producers tells the comedic tale of Max Bialystock, the one­time producing tycoon of Broadway who desperately wants to make his fortune, together with Leo Bloom, an innocent but ambitious accountant, who has his own visions of becoming a successful Broadway producer. Together they discover that their fortunes may lie in producing a flop rather than a hit and begin the hunt for the worst show, worst director, and worst actors of all time. Unfortunately for them, their dismal new production, Springtime for Hitler, ends up being a box office smash hit sensation throwing their lives and all their fool proof plans into disarray.

The original film won an Oscar for Best Writing, Story, and Screenplay in 1969. Gene Wilder was nominated for an Oscar for Best Supporting Actor. The musical debuted on Broadway in 2001 and garnered 15 Tony nominations winning 12 of them.

REVIEW: Dirty Dancing at the New Victoria Theatre in Woking

“Nobody puts Baby in the corner”

It’s been 30 years since the film Dirty Dancing hit screens for the first time, and since then it has become nothing short of iconic. Whether you think of watermelons, dancing on a bridge or being lifted high into the air in a lake, Dirty Dancing is a classic and is much loved by audiences of all ages.

Seen by millions across the globe this worldwide smash hit tells the classic story of Baby and Johnny, two fiercely independent young spirits from different worlds, who come together in what will be the most challenging and triumphant summer of their lives.

This UK Tour is filled to the brim with electrifying energy and fantastic routines throughout.

Wednesday, 6 September 2017

REVIEW: Dante’s Divine Comedy at the Barons Court Theatre

Theatre company So it goes has just started a run at the Barons Court Theatre with Dante’s Divine Comedy, showing until 30 September. It was my first time visiting this theatre, which is small but has very good acoustics and provides great intimacy. Somehow, the audience feels it is watching something hidden, unique, and the space also fits very well with Dante Alighieri’s epic poem taking us through inferno, purgatory and heaven, hopefully to find his true love Beatrice as well as himself. 

The stage’s back wall is lit by the image of a broken screen as the audience enters, and during the show, it often becomes to background for Dante’s ascent during his quest, showing shadows of terrifying creatures and elements gone wild (played as a magnificent ensemble of five female actresses). I very much enjoyed the use of lighting and the animations by Matthew Kirke and Douglas Baker, which gave me a cave-like feeling and truly took me to where Dante was. One of the last kaleidoscopic moving images of Dante’s face was particularly strong. 

INTERVIEW: Ria Jones, about to star as Norma Desmond in Sunset Boulevard on tour around the UK

Ria Jones is a theatre legend in her own right, she created the role of Norma Desmond almost 30 years ago in a workshop and is now returning to play he role full time after understudying Glenn Close at the London Coliseum in this new production which tours around the UK. Her other credits include Eva Peron in Evita (Opera House Manchester), Fantine in Les Miserables (National Tour & Palace Theatre), Grizabella in Cats (New London Theatre), Liz Imbrie in High Society (Shaftesbury Theatre & UK Tour), Reno Sweeney in Anything Goes (UK Tour), Alexander Spoffard in The Witches of Eastwick (UK tour) and Dorothy Brock in 42nd Street (Leicester Curve Theatre & Theatre Du Chatelet). 

We chat to her in rehearsals of this new production of Sunset Boulevard...

You have played some of the most iconic female roles in Musical Theatre history (Evita, Fantine, Norma, Grizabella, Reno to name a few!). What has been your favourite role to play so far and why?

As much as I loved play Eva Peron and Reno Sweeney I absolutely adored playing Mrs. Overal in “Acorn Antiques The Musical” as it was so far away from anything else that I had ever done. It was a real challenge which I loved and I also adore comedy.

What was your first ever job as an actress? And if you went back in time, what advice would you give yourself on your first day of rehearsals? 
That’s a long time ago; 35 years! It was the role of Robin in “Godspell”. My advice would be to know your lines as best you can.

If you had to re-live one show you have done in the past, which one would it be?
“Evita” – It was my first time on as Eva Peron – I was only 19 years old!

Tuesday, 5 September 2017

CAROLINE, OR CHANGE to transfer to the Hampstead Theatre with UK premiere of Sarah Burgess’ DRY POWDER

The UK premiere of Sarah Burgess’ breathtakingly witty Dry Powder will be directed by Anna Ledwich. 

Tony Kushner’s and Jeanine Tesori’s celebrated musical Caroline, or Change transfers to Hampstead following its critically acclaimed sell-out run at Chichester Festival Theatre with Sharon D. Clarke reprising her role as Caroline Thibodeaux.

Artistic Director Edward Hall comments, 

‘We’re delighted that Sarah Burgess will make her UK debut at Hampstead with her new play Dry Powder. As the recipient of The Laurents/Hatcher award, one of America’s largest grants for new writing, Sarah is clearly making waves in the US, and we’re proud to introduce this bold new voice to British audiences. Anna Ledwich will direct following her critically acclaimed production of Beth Steel’s Labyrinth last autumn. Tony Kushner’s work continues to enthral audiences around the world and we are thrilled that he will be returning to Hampstead after iHO with his musical collaborator Jeanine Tesori and their multi-award winning musical. Partnering up with our friends at Chichester, this will be our first musical offering since Sunny Afternoon and I know it will be a special experience hearing Jeanine’s score in our intimate Theatre as the phenomenal Sharon D. Clarke makes her Hampstead Theatre debut.’

Joe Pasquale, Sarah Earnshaw & Susie Blake to star in Some Mothers Do ‘Ave ‘Em

Joe Pasquale will star as the loveable but accident-prone Frank Spencer in the first ever stage production of the classic 1970s TV comedy, Some Mothers Do ‘Ave ‘Em. Sarah Earnshaw will play his long-suffering wife Betty and Susie Blake his disapproving mother-in-law, Mrs Fisher. The stage adaptation has been written by Guy Unsworth, based on the original TV series by Raymond Allen. Guy Unsworth will also be directing, with design by Simon Higlett.

The UK Tour of Some Mothers Do ‘Ave ‘Em will open at the Wyvern Theatre, Swindon on Wednesday 21 February 2018. 

Comedian Joe Pasquale has delighted audiences with his live stand-up tours for over 20 years and made his theatrical debut in 1999 in Larry Shue’s The Nerd, followed by the touring productions of Tom Stoppard’s Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead, Mel Brooks’s The Producers, The Wizard of Oz and, more recently, the West End and touring productions of Spamalot, as King Arthur. In addition, Joe was crowned ‘King of the Jungle’ in ITV’s I’m a Celebrity… Get Me Out of Here! in 2004, and hosted the long-running television series The Price is Right for ITV.

Monday, 4 September 2017

FIRST LOOK: Folles at the National Theatre

1971, New York. There’s a party on the stage of the Weissman Theatre. Tomorrow the iconic building will be demolished. Thirty years after their final performance, the Follies girls gather to have a few drinks, sing a few songs and lie about themselves. Including such classic songs as Broadway Baby, I’m Still Here and Losing My Mind, Stephen Sondheim’s legendary musical is staged for the first time at the NT. Tracie Bennett, Janie Dee and Imelda Staunton play the magnificent Follies in this dazzling new production. Featuring a cast of 37 and an orchestra of 21, the production is directed by Dominic Cooke (Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom). 

Winner of Academy, Tony, Grammy and Olivier awards, Sondheim’s previous work at the NT includes A Little Night Music, Sweeney Todd and Sunday in the Park with George.

REVIEW: 9 to 5 at Upstairs at the Gatehouse

Eight years since the original Broadway production, 9 to 5 makes its UK Fringe premiere with a new production directed by Joseph Hodges. 

The story highlights the problems with equality in the work place, something we still are battling now. Perhaps not in the same way but it is still prominent in our society today. 

Patricia Resnicks book is hilarious, filled with dry humour and fluidity within the story it is a perfect match for the brilliant and fun score by Dolly Parton. I forgot how good this show actually is but by revisiting the material in this new production, it brought back all those memories of when I used to listen to the soundtrack on repeat!

Unfortunately this production fails to deliver any kind of interesting or new take on the show.

Alistair McGowan to Play Lead Role in UNDER MILK WOOD at The Watermill Theatre

'It is spring, moonless night in the small town, starless and bible-black, the cobbled streets silent…'

The Watermill Theatre announces the cast for Dylan Thomas’ comic masterpiece, Under Milk Wood, A Play for Voices…, which runs from 25 October to 4 November. Alistair McGowan (West End, RSC, Lyric, TV, Radio 4) will lead the company in a production which forms part of the theatre’s 50th anniversary programme. Under Milk Woodwas The Watermill’s first professional production in 1967 with a cast that included David Jason.

Directed by Brendan O'Hea, McGowan will be the First Voice in a company playing multiple roles that includes Steffan Cennydd (Reverend Eli Jenkins), Ross Ford (Mr. Pugh), Lynn Hunter (Captain Cat), Charlotte O’Leary(Mrs Ogmore-Pritchard) and Caroline Sheen (Polly Garter), who appeared as Polly Baker in The Watermill’s 2016 production of Crazy For You.

Megan Hilty cancels London concerts due to ill health

Star of Wicked and Smash!, Megan Hilty has had to cancel her London concerts. 

Hilty was due to perform at Club 11 at the Hippodrome Casino in London, Leicester Square on the 6th, 7th, 8th and 9th September. 

Hilty tweeted "I am deeply saddened that on doctors orders I have to cancel my trip to London this week. I have been looking forward to these shows for such a long time but unfortunately due to serious health issues my doctor has advised me to focus on my vocal health, and therefore I am unable to perform next week. I'm hoping to reschedule these concerts at a time where I can give you 100%. I apologize from the bottom of my heart for the many inconveniences this will cause you but I am so grateful for your understanding and I can't wait to get healthy and come sing for you in the near future."

Ticket buyers are advised to contact their point of sale.

Sunday, 3 September 2017

REVIEW: Talk Radio at Old Red Lion Theatre

When Eric Bogosian wrote Talk Radio, thirty years ago, social media wasn't even on the radar, and yet, he managed to give an insight into a reality that, nowadays, we're all very familiar with. 

Hosting a show where random people can call to express their opinions, Barry Champlain (Matthew Jure) is the king of WTLK radio. His Cleveland-based program is about to go national and, because of its popularity, it inevitably attracts all sorts of time-wasters. Countless men and women phone in every night to discuss their views on society, politics, environment and many other issues that they feel strongly about. 

Downing bottles of whisky and snorting cocaine from his desk, Barry handles these conversations with heartless arrogance, often cutting them off after seconds for their supposed narrow-minded or unoriginal views. Hot topics from the 80s, like pollution, animal rights, AIDS, African underdevelopment, antisemitism, abortion, nuclear arming and disability get thrown into this mixed bag and quickly slayed by the high-strung host, who seems more inclined to discuss baseball scores and listen to the sound of his own voice. 
Blog Design Created by pipdig