News: Open air theatre casting news aplenty

St Anne Comes Home, St Pauls Church
29th-30th August

Iris Theatre’s summer season continues with this new folk musical by Jack Miles, which numbers Jordan Castle (The Light in the Piazza), Rebecca McKinnis (Dear Evan Hansen), and Mathew Craig (The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole Aged 13 3/4) in its cast.

C-o-n-t-a-c-t, outdoors in London
31st August – 10th October 

C-o-n-t-a-c-t is an immersive outdoor performance with a 3D sound design which audiences will listen to on their own headphones,The play will see performances from Charles Angiama (The ExoneratedMy Week with Marilyn),  Louis Bernard (Radieuse Vermine), Chloe Gentles (Beautiful – The Carol King Musical)Max Gold (Endeavour; Poldark), Richard Heap (Buried Child; The Summer Before Everything)Aoife Kennan (ITV’s Victoria; For Services Rendered), Katja Quist (Earthquakes In London) and Laura White (The Play That Goes Wrong). The cast will alternate between three London locations; Tower Bridge, Greenwich and Clapham Common.

Roles We’ll Never Play, Turbine Theatre
13th September

The Turbine’s summer season will feature this one-off concert with performers delving deep into their wishlists – the company includes Natalie Paris, Tom Duern, Rhianne-Louise McCaulsky, Rodney Vubya, Lauren Byrne, Bernadette Bangura, Luke Bayer, Idriss Kargbo, Courtney Bowman, Michael Mather, Matthew Croke, Kelly Agbowu, Elander Moore, Eve Norris and Pearce Barron.

The Last Five Years, Minack Theatre
14th-19th September

Omar F Okai’s production of Jason Robert Brown’s two-hander will star Emma Kingston (Evita, In The Heights) as Cathy and Waylon Jacobs (Hamilton, Memphis) as Jamie.

 

News: A Little Night Music comes to Holland Park

Stephen Sondheim’s wry and beautiful comedy of love and regret, A Little Night Music, comes to Holland Park for a single al fresco concert performance in the year of his 90th birthday. 

Presented by Quick Fantastic and Janie Dee in association with Opera Holland Park

Inspired by Ingmar Bergman’s film, Smiles of a Summer Night, and named after Mozart’s serenade, Eine kleine Nachtmusik, Sondheim’s musical weaves a tapestry of songs and waltzes as new romances begin, ex-lovers reunite, and secret passions are revealed. The night smiles three times: first on the young, second on fools, third on the old. Last seen together in the National Theatre’s celebrated production of Follies, Janie Dee and Joanna Riding lead a cast of Olivier Award-winning performers (Sharif Afifi, Hiba Elchikhe, Danielle Fiamanya, Fra Fee, Hilary Harwood, Emma Kingston, Emma Harrold, Nadim Naaman, Laura Pitt-Pulford, Ella Tronson and Kayi Ushe), directed by Alastair Knights. Alex Parker conducts an eight piece ensemble of instrumentalists in Jason Carr’s critically acclaimed orchestration of Sondheim’s score.

In accordance with current guidelines on social distancing, capacity is strictly limited to 200. Tickets go onsale on 3rd August.

Film Review: Been So Long (2018)

A fatally muddled tone means Been So Long ends up less than the sum of its parts, despite glorious lead performances from Arinzé Kene and Michaela Coel

“People don’t want inclusivity mate, they want exclusivity. And something for the gluten-intolerant”

I really wanted to like Been So Long, and can imagine it having worked well on the stage (it played the Young Vic in 2009) but something has definitely been lost in translation with this screen adaptation here. It is mildly curious as the film is written by Ché Walker, scribe of the original play and the subsequent stage musical, but maybe this was a step too far?

One of the main problems for me is that crucial issue of tone. As a love story set in contemporary Camden, and in which Camden plays a central role, there’s a tendency towards gritty naturalism, particularly in showing the home lives of its protagonists, new ex-con Raymond (Arinzé Kene) and single mum of a disabled daughter Simone (Michaela Coel). Continue reading “Film Review: Been So Long (2018)”

News: Kings of Broadway 2020 concert announced

The works of Jule Styne, Jerry Herman and Stephen Sondheim will be celebrated in a concert to support NHS Charities Together and Acting for Others

Participating remotely in the suitably testosteroney entitled Kings of Broadway 2020 will be Liz Callaway, Michael Colbourne, Deborah Crowe, Jordan Lee Davies, Louise Dearman, Janie Dee, Fra Fee, Rob Houchen, Damian Humbley, Ramin Karimloo, Claudia Kariuki, Emma Kingston, L Morgan Lee, Rebecca Lock, Nadim Naaman, Anna O’Byrne, Fiona O’Carroll, Jamie Parker, Laura Pitt-Pulford, Clive Rowe, Jenna Russell, Lucy Schaufer, Celinde Schoenmaker, Caroline Sheen, Samantha Spiro, Laura Tebbutt, Michael Xavier and Alex Young.

Creatively, the evening will feature musical direction from Alex Parker, it will be mixed by Jack Blume, edited by Ben Hewis and will have additional mixing and editing support from Martin Higgins.

Not a bad line-up eh? You can watch the show on Quick Fantastic’s YouTube channel at 7pm on Sunday 31st May and though it is billed as free, please think about making a donation, however small you think it might be, every little helps.

Lockdown treat: Rob Houchen and Emma Kingston sing ‘Tonight’

Courtesy of Alex Parker, Rob Houchen and Emma Kingston sing ‘Tonight’ from West Side Story, and it is just gorgeous

 

News: line-up for the first week of Leave A Light On

Lambert Jackson Productions and the Theatre Café have announced the line-up for the first week of their Leave A Light On series. The series of intimate, piano vocal concerts streamed live from The Theatre Café will feature performances from Blake Patrick AndersonAimie AtkinsonChristopher CameronAlice FearnVictoria Hamilton-BarrittEvelyn HoskinsDavid HunterCassidy JansonLucie JonesBradley Judge and Harry Cooper-MillarEmma KingstonSarah O’ConnorSteph ParryDanielle Steers, and Layton Williams.

For a fee of £7.50, significantly less than a ticket to a show, audiences around the country will be able to access a live concert from their favourite West End performer from the best seat in the house – their own home! Continue reading “News: line-up for the first week of Leave A Light On”

February news round-up

Lots to catch up on so here’s a quick round-up of some upcoming concerts and events that could well be worth your time

If you’re looking for the more social side of things to go along with your theatregoing, then have a look here. Getgo Club is like a book club for theatre. Each month they take members to amazing London theatre & host a pre-show mingle, followed by a post-show discussion. The event is curated and hosted by working artists who will  ensure that discussions take place in a safe, fun, & open environment. Members also receive extra goodies such as discounts on tickets & drinks. All for £5!

Getgo Club is a great way to join a community of arts lovers, and head to a variety of theatre as a group. It has  and The first meet-up is at the end of February and I hear they have very limited spaces left so why not find out more here or even just apply directly for a membership here.


The visibility of mental health support has never felt more important and so it is good to see events raising awareness and much-needed funds popping up. Simply Live is a cabaret in aid of Industry Minds, who provide free and low cost mental health support to anyone in the creative arts through therapy, seminars and other useful tools.

Takiig place at Bunga Bunga Covent Garden, on Sunday 15th March, they have already announced a promising line-up which includes Grace Mouat, Cameron Burt, Tom Gill, Hannah-Grace Lawson, Vanity von Glow, and Claire O’Leary. Follow the event on Twitter or Instagram and then book your places here to support this great organisation.


Ahead of a revival at the Hope Mill next month, Zorro the Musical revisits London with a one-off concert recital at Cadogan Hall with London Musical Theatre Orchestra & Chorus and a tip-top cast including the glorious Emma Williams reprising her original role and therefore singing the beautiful song ‘Falling’.    

The full cast is Ricardo Afonso (Zorro/Diego), Emma Williams (Luisa), Lesli Margherita (Inez), Robert Tripolino (Ramon) and Zubin Varla (Don Alejandro). Also appearing will be Catarina Amaral, Daniel Amity, Charlotte Clitherow, Richard James-King, Danny Lane, James Leeman, Lauren Lockley, Matthew McDonald, Mia Michaud, Grace Mouat, Rebecca Ridout, Justine Saville, Margarida Silva, Joe Thompson-Oubari, Richard Upton and Enrico Volpi.


Also working the one-off concert vibe on Sunday is The Pirate Queen, as Boublil And Schönberg’s musical is revived for a charity gala at the London Coliseum with proceeds going to Leukaemia UK. Most exciting for me is the return of Hannah Waddingham to a stage

Main cast
Rachel Tucker (Grace O’Malley), Hannah Waddingham (Queen Elizabeth I), Steph Parry (Majella), Emma Norman (Evleen), Earl Carpenter (Dubhdara), Daniel Boys (Lord Bingham), ‘Britain’s Got Talent’ winner Jai McDowall (Tiernan) and Matthew Pagan (Donal) from Collabro.

Featured ensemble
Pearce Barron, Jamie Birkett, Trudi Camilleri, Sabrina Carter, Shaun Dalton, Adam Dawson, Callum Heinrich, Jade Johnson, Harry Mills, Charlotte Payne, Sophie Reeves, and Jak Skelly

Ensemble
Skye Adams, Thomas Ball, Jeremy Batt, Mary-Jean Caldwell, Sinead O’Callaghan, Christopher Cameron, Jordan Castle, Alfie Doohan, Charlie Ellerton,  Judicel Eslao, Nicola Espallardo, Amy Everett, Lois Morgan Gay, Aidan Harkins, Siwan Henderson, Hannah-Grace Lawson, James Mateo-Salt, Scarlett Maltman, Ethan Tanner, Harry Winchester,  and Cristian Zaccarini.


There’s also a concert version of The Secret Garden (not taking place on Sunday, it’s the 4th April for this one) which is aiming to fill the London Palladium with its lead cast of Lucie Jones, Ramin Karimloo and Jac Yarrow.

Also appearing in the show will be Sarah Bakker (Rose), Bianca Baykara (Alice), Adam J Bernard (Ben Weatherstaff), Lucy Drever (Narrator), Louise Ellard-Turnbull (Mrs Winthrop), Ben Forster (Neville Craven), Sejal Keshwala (Ayah), Melanie La Barrie (Mrs Medlock), Johndeep More (Fakir), Michael Riseley (Captain Albert Lennox), Celinde Schoenmaker (Lily), and sharing the roles of Colin Craven are Finley Glasgow and Isaac Lancel Watkinson, and of Mary are Aoife Hughes and Darcy Jacobs, with Trinity Laban Musical Theatre forming the ensemble.


With Mean Girls due to arrive in the West End in Spring 2021, the folks at Official Theatre managed to get our hands on the Plastics latest Burn Book and it’s full of burns and gossip about some of the West End’s favourite characters! No one escapes the wrath of Regina and Co, from the characters of Wicked and & Juliet, to James McAvoy’s Cyrano de Bergerac and even Henry VIII from SIX (well, sort of).

Take a look at the full West End Burn Book here. Could you do better? They’re looking for the best ‘burns‘ for some of the other characters in London theatre and you might even get added into the book itself.

News: casting for MTFestUK 2020

It’s like the Superbowl, but for fans of musical theatre. Book your tickets at the Turbine Theatre here.

Jet Set Go! (3rd-5th February)

This show about a transatlantic cabin crew has been bopping around since 2008 so its interesting to see how it gets refreshed more than a decade late. Appearing in it this time round will be Siubhan Harrison, Lizzy Connolly, Michael Mather, Tyrone Huntley and Simon Bailey.

Jet Set Go! is directed by & Juliet’s Luke Sheppard with music, book and lyrics by Adrian Mole’s Pippa Cleary and Jake Brunger. Continue reading “News: casting for MTFestUK 2020”

10 of my top moments of the decade

Ever behind the curve, I present 10 of my top moments in a theatre over the last ten years (plus a few bonus extra ones because whittling down this list was hard, and it will probably be different tomorrow anyway!)

© James Bellorini

Extraordinary Public Acts for a National Theatre

The establishment of the Public Acts programme at the National Theatre offered up something sensational in Pericles, an initiative designed to connect grassroot community organisations with major theatres, resulting in a production that swept over 200 non-professional performers onto the stage of the Olivier to create something that moved me more than 99% of professional productions.  A truly joyous and momentous occasion. 

Honourable mention: this year’s musical take on As You Like It proved just as heart-swellingly beautiful over at the Queen’s Theatre Hornchurch. Continue reading “10 of my top moments of the decade”