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Monday, 30 December 2019

Best Understudy and Cover Stories of 2019


Standbys, understudies, alternates and swings are integral to the running of a show. They save the day on a daily bases all around the country in all kinds of shows. In a time where some shows champion their covers on social media and in the actual theatres, some shows still restrict the cast members on the publication of dates and information about their cover dates. But to prove how incredible they actually are, we looked back at the past year with our friends at @WestEndCovers and put together a list of the Best Understudy and Cover stories of 2019!  

"This year the recognition for standbys and alternates has been greater than any before. Some newer shows with smaller casts like Six, Come From Away and Dear Evan Hansen rely on their standbys (who do not perform unless on for one of their cover roles) and alternates (who weekly scheduled shows as their cover) rather than the more common understudy and swing model for shows with a larger ensemble. The difference is that understudies may be a member of the ensemble or a swing who steps up to cover a principle role and a swing steps in to cover ensemble tracks." - @WestEndCovers 

And we must mention but our beloved West End Understudies account are in their 5th Year in 2020!  Here's to the next 5 years of celebrating our fantastic covers all across the theatre industry! 

Take a look at some of these extrodinary stories and tweet us any you think we missed out! @PocketSizeBlog
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Best Shows of 2019



"This has to be one of the best things I’ve ever seen and I implore you to see this show because you will not regret it. I hope this show has more life after this run at the Union Theatre and I’m sure this won’t be your only chance to see this production but you need to go and buy a ticket now otherwise you’ve missed one of the theatrical highlights of 2019."


Emilia at the Vaudeville Theatre


"I have never come out of a show feeling the way I felt about this play. It is time to face the facts and realise the wrongs in history and change them now, our voices can be heard... This is the play of the year, if there is one story you are to be told this year, its this one."

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Saturday, 14 September 2019

REVIEW: Come From Away at the Phoenix Theatre


“On the northeast tip of North America on an island called Newfoundland there's an airport. It used to be one of the biggest airports in the world and next to it is a town called Gander…”

It’s September 11th, 2001. The people of Gander see their lives turned upside down as 38 planes are diverted to land at their airport following the horrors of the plane bombings into the World Trade Centre buildings in New York City. Almost 7000 “plane people” from all around the world find themselves frightened, exhausted and far away from home. Come From Away tells their story and how the Newfoundlanders rallied together to make them feel as close to home as they could during their stay. 

This week marked the 18th anniversary of the attacks of 9/11, so emotions were high at the Phoenix Theatre as the show began. This was my first visit to the show and I was there with very high expectations but was not once disappointed. 
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Wednesday, 15 May 2019

COME FROM AWAY extends its run in the West End into 2020


Hit musical Come From Away will extend its run in the West End until 15 February 2020. Telling the remarkable true story of 7,000 stranded air passengers during the wake of 9/11, and the small town in Newfoundland that welcomed them, the critically acclaimed production recently earned great success at the Olivier Awards, winning “Best New Musical”, “Best Theatre Choreographer”, “Best Sound Design” and “Outstanding Achievement in Music”.

This joyous new musical recounts the incredible true story of how the residents of Gander, Newfoundland welcomed the passengers of planes from around the world. Cultures clashed, and nerves ran high, but as uneasiness turned into trust, music soared into the night and gratitude grew into enduring friendships.

On 11 September 2001 the world stopped. On 12 September, their stories moved us all.

The multi award-winning musical continues sold-out, record-breaking engagements on Broadway, in Canada and on a 60-city North American Tour. An Australian production is confirmed to open this summer, and a feature film adaptation is in the works.

The cast of Come From Away in the West End includes Jenna Boyd (Beulah and others), Nathanael Campbell (Bob and others), Clive Carter (Claude and others), Mary Doherty (Bonnie and others), Robert Hands (Nick, Doug and others), Helen Hobson (Diane and others), Jonathan Andrew Hume (Kevin J, Ali and others), Harry Morrison (Oz and others), Emma Salvo (Janice and others), David Shannon (Kevin T, Garth and others), Cat Simmons (Hannah and others) and Rachel Tucker (Beverley, Annette and others) with Chiara Baronti, Mark Dugdale, Bob Harms, Kirsty Malpass, Tania Mathurin, Alexander McMorran, Brandon Lee Sears and Jennifer Tierney. 

Under the Musical Direction of Alan Berry (Keyboard/Accordion/Harmonium), the band includes Matt Bashford (Whistles/Irish Flute/Uilleann Pipes), Aoife Ní Bhriain (Fiddle), Dan Day (Drums/Percussion), Ray Fean (Bodhrán/Percussion), Joey Grant (Electric Bass/Acoustic Bass), Justin Quinn (Acoustic Guitar/Mandolins/Bazouki) and Mark Wraith (Electric, Acoustic and Nylon Guitars). 

Come From Away features a book, music and lyrics by Irene Sankoff and David Hein and is directed by Christopher Ashley, with musical staging by Kelly Devine, music supervision and arrangements by Ian Eisendrath, scenic design by Beowulf Boritt, costume design by Toni-Leslie James, lighting design by Howell Binkley, sound design by Gareth Owen, hair design by David Brian Brown, orchestrations by August Eriksmoen, and casting by Pippa Ailion CDG and Natalie Gallacher CDG.

In addition to winning 4 Olivier Awards (London) including “Best New Musical”, Come From Away has scooped multiple awards all across North America: the Tony Award for “Best Direction of a Musical”, 5 Outer Critics Circle Awards (NYC) including “Outstanding New Broadway Musical”, 3 Drama Desk Awards (NYC) including “Outstanding Musical”, 4 Helen Hayes Awards (Washington DC) including “Outstanding Production of a Musical”, 4 Los Angeles Drama Critics’ Circle Awards, 4 Gypsy Rose Lee Awards (Seattle) including “Excellence in Production of a Musical”, 6 San Diego Critics Circle Awards including “Outstanding New Musical”, 3 Toronto Theatre Critics Awards including “Best New Musical”, 3 Dora Awards (Toronto) including “Outstanding New Musical/Opera” and “Outstanding Production”, and the 2017 Jon Kaplan Audience Choice Award (Toronto).

Come From Away was originally co-produced in 2015 by La Jolla Playhouse and Seattle Repertory Theatre, and presented in 2016 by Ford’s Theatre in Washington DC and Mirvish Productions at the Royal Alexandra Theatre in Toronto, Canada, all in partnership with Junkyard Dog Productions. Come From Away (NAMT Festival 2013) was originally developed at the Canadian Music Theatre Project, Michael Rubinoff Producer, Sheridan College in Oakville, Ontario, Canada, and was further developed at Goodspeed Musicals’ Festival of New Artists, in East Haddam CT. The Canada Council for the Arts, the Ontario Arts Council and the 5th Avenue Theatre in Seattle WA also provided development support. 

Come From Away is produced in the UK by Junkyard Dog Productions and Smith & Brant Theatricals. The European premiere of Come From Away was co-produced with the Abbey Theatre, Ireland’s National Theatre.

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Tuesday, 19 February 2019

REVIEW: Come From Away at the Phoenix Theatre



In the midst of the ‘Casting stars in lead roles’ era, there is nothing more refreshing than seeing a piece of theatre that is jam packed with incredible, hard working actors at the top of their game and telling a beautiful story as a unified company. 

I’m about to make a BIG statement here, but I’m pretty certain that anybody who has witnessed this masterpiece will completely back me up; Come From Away is, by a clear mile, the best piece of theatre to hit the West End for as long as I have been around. Yes; it’s even better than Hamilton. 

‘Award-winning musical Come From Away arrives in the West End following critical acclaim on Broadway. Playing at London’s Phoenix Theatre, Come From Away is the moving musical that brings to life the true stories of the 7,000 stranded passengers and the small town in Newfoundland that brought them in. With tensions running high, uneasiness transforms into music that soars through the night, and life-long friendships are created. With musical numbers including “Welcome to the Rock”, “Me and the Sky” and “Something’s Missing”, this Drama Desk Award-winning production is created by Irene Sankoff and David Hein, and is directed by Tony Award-winner Christopher Ashley. A thrilling, emotive and uplifting new musical, Come From Away runs at the Phoenix Theatre.’
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Thursday, 27 December 2018

Pocket Size Theatre | Whats opening in 2019


There's a lot of things going on next year in the world of theatre; revivals of much loved shows, Broadway transfers, UK transfers, returns of shows previously in London, new writing and so much more! So here's our guide to the theatrical highlights of 2019! Get your diaries out... 

Aspects of Love | Southwark Playhouse | 7th January 



Six the Musical | Arts Theatre | Opens 16th January



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Tuesday, 9 October 2018

What is closing in the West End in January?

Kinky Boots | Final Performance on the 12th January 


After almost 3 and a half years in London's West End, Kinky Boots closes its doors at the Adelphi Theatre on the 12th January to make way for the Broadway transfer of Waitress. But do not fear, Kinky Boots is currently strutting around the UK on tour so its not saying goodbye just yet! 

Bat Out of Hell | Final Performance on the 5th January 



After runs at the Manchester Opera House, the London Coliseum, Toronto and finally the West Ends Dominion Theatre, Bat Out of Hell will rock out for the last time on the 5th January. To make way for what I hear you ask? Well you'll have to wait and see. 

The Inheritance | Final Performance on the 19th January 



Playing a sold out run at the Young Vic earlier this year, this play has won the hearts of the theatre going public and has been monumental for gay writing. The closure of this play is to make room for the production of All About Eve before the much waited Broadway transfer of Dear Evan Hanson. 

Chicago | Final Performance on the 5th January 



Making this the fourth West End venue the musical has played (After the Adelphi, the Cambridge and the Garrick) we say goodbye to the musical again on the 5th January at the Phoenix Theatre to make way for the Broadway transfer of Come From Away. 

Dreamgirls | Final Performance on the 12th January 



After over two years in the West End, the Dreamgirls will be saying goodbye on the 12th January. There will be a soul spaced hole in the West End after its closure but will be replaced by the long over due production of 9 to 5. Turns out, Dreamgirls do leave you! 

42nd Street | Final Performance on the 5th January 



Just shy of two full years in one of the West Ends biggest houses, this production of 42nd Street will close on the 5th January to make way for some much needed refurbishment in the Theatre. What will replace it? Well, we here it might get a little colder in there! Lets hope they install some central heating. 

Snow White | Final Performance on the 13th January 



Now this show hasn't even opened yet, but we are so pumped to get into the Christmas mood so had to include this! Opening on the 12th December with a star cast, this show closes almost exactly a month later on the 13th January at the London Palladium. 


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