London Theatre News

'Funny & outrageous': Everybody's Talking About Jamie transfers to West End 22 Nov 2017

Following a sold-out run at Sheffield's Crucible Theatre earlier this year, it has now been officially confirmed that the new musical Everybody's Talking About Jamie will transfer to London's West End - opening at the Apollo Theatre on Wednesday 22 November 2017, following public previews from Monday 6 November.
Jamie New is sixteen. He’s from Sheffield. And he has a secret. He doesn’t quite fit in at school. His Dad’s left home. He’s about to sit his GCSEs. The future is terrifying. But Jamie is going to be a sensation.
Written by Tom MacRae with song by Dan Gillespie Sells, the musical is based on a BBC television documentary about a boy called Jamie, who became a drag queen at 16. For the West End transfer John McCrea will be reprising his perforamance in the title role of 'Jamie'.
When this production was originally seen in Sheffield in February 2017, Ann Treneman in the Times highlighted how "John McCrea gives a career-making performance... There is the odd lapse in pace but there is also lots of fun... This show has the tingle." Dominic Cavendish in the Daily Telegraph described it as being a "funny, outrageous, touching, but oh-my-word PC flag-waving show... The show sends you out on a feelgood bubble of happiness. Think about it too much, though, and the bubble gets pricked." and in the Guardian Michael Billington explained that "the show is lively and engaging but, like its transvestite hero, demands a fair amount of padding."
Everybody's Talking About Jamie is currently booking for a five month run up to Saturday 21 April 2018.

Juliet Stevenson and Lia Williams in Mary Stuart - transfers to West End 25 January 2018

Following an acclaimed sold-out run at North London's Almeida Theatre earlier this year, it has now been officially confirmed Robert Icke's new production of Friedrich Schiller's Mary Stuart, starring Juliet Stevenson and Lia Williams, will transfer to London's West End - opening at the Duke of York's Theatre on Thursday 25 January 2018, following public previews from Saturday 13 January.
This thrilling play tells the story of Mary Queen of Scots and her cousin, Queen Elizabeth I. Mary has been held prisoner for nineteen years. Will her cousin be seen to sentence her to death? When the two women meet there is an energetic fusion of passionate main plots and counter-plots... Two queens. One in power. One in prison. It's all in the execution.
Both Juliet Stevenson and Lia Williams are reprising their roles from the Almeida Theatre - before the start of each performance they will decide by the toss of a coin which role they will play - either 'Mary Stuart, Queen of Scots' or 'Queen Elizabeth I'.
When this production opened at North London's Almeida Theatre in December 2016, Sam Marlowe in the Times hailed "Robert Icke's nerve-shreddingly intense new version of this 1800 Friedrich Schiller classic... it's fascinating theatre — fiercely pertinent, exhilaratingly potent" and Neil Norman in the Daily Express praised "the superb performances from both actresses and the ensemble around them. The concluding costume change is an extraordinarily potent coup de théâtre."
Mary Stuart will play for a limited season up to Saturday 31 March 2018.

'Robert Icke's production of Hamlet is an amazing achievement - feels like life not literature'

Following a sold-run and extended season at North London's Almeida Theatre, Robert Icke's acclaimed new production of Shakespeare's Hamlet starring Andrew Scott in the title role, opened at the Harold Pinter Theatre in London's West End on Thursday 15 June 2017.
A young man on the edge. About to be revenged. About to be damned... When this production opened at the West End's Harold Pinter Theatre, Dominic Maxwell in the Times said that "Robert Icke's production is an amazing achievement," explaining that "it feels as if Icke and company have interrogated every utterance here for every last jot of what it really means, then scuffed it up again to ensure it all feels like life not literature... Nobody can nail all of this play's rich contradictions in one go, but Icke and company come thrillingly close here." In the Daily Telegraph Ben Lawrence highlighed that "in this production, previously seen at the Almeida Theatre, Robert Icke has brought theatrical Ronseal to the rotten state of Denmark. By and large, it works magnificently - aided by leading man, Andrew Scott."
Hamlet is scheduled to run at the West End's Harold Pinter Theatre up to Saturday 2 September 2017.

Simon Stephens' Heisenberg: The Uncertainty Principle opens 9 October 2017

Marianne Elliott's West End Premiere of Simon Stephens' play Heisenberg: The Uncertainty Principle opens at London's Wyndham's Theatre on Monday 9 October 2017, following public previews from Tuesday 3 October.
In this uncertain world, who can predict what brings people together? When two strangers meet by chance amidst the bustle of a crowded London train station, their lives are changed forever. Marianne Elliott said she was drawn to this play because "there was something incredibly beautiful about these characters who find each other just by happenstance, and through the course of six scenes, and six weeks, they affect surprising changes in each other and in themselves."
The cast for this two-hander features Anne-Marie Duff and Kenneth Cranham.
Heisenberg: The Uncertainty Principle will play at the Wyndham's Theatre for a three month season up to Saturday 6 January 2018.

The Rat Pack: Live From Las Vegas back in London from 13 December 2017

Mitch Sebastian's musical concert show The Rat Pack: Live From Las Vegas returns to London this Christmas for a special eight week season at the Haymarket Theatre from Wednesday 13 December 2017.
This musical production celebrates the singing talents of three world famous entertainers and performers - Frank Sinatra, Sammy Davis Jnr and Dean Martin - known as The Rat Pack, who all received critical acclaim in the late 50s and early 60s when they stormed the world and stayed at the top making classics of such songs as The Lady is a Tramp; Mr Bojangles; That’s Amore; I’ve Got You Under My Skin; What Kind of fool Am I; Volare; and My Way.
Since 2003, this production has played three West End seasons totalling a run of just over 3-and-a-half-years.
A special festive production of the show will run from Wednesday 13 December 2017 through to Saturday 6 January 2018 when a number seasonal classics such as Baby it's Cold Outside; Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer; Let it Snow, Let it Snow; White Christmas; and Winter Wonderland will be featured.
The Rat Pack: Live from Las Vegas will run at the Haymarket Theatre up to Saturday 3 February 2018.

Annie: "slickly staged, buoyantly performed, motored by cracking musical set pieces"

Nikolai Foster's revival of the classic musical Annie opened at London's Piccadilly Theatre on Monday 5 June 2017.
Based on the cartoon strip Little Orphan Annie this musical for all the family tells a Depression-era rags-to-riches story of an eleven-year-old orphan who yearns to escape from the orphanage run by the mean-spirited Miss Hannigan. When Daddy Warbucks decides to adopt Annie, her dream comes true! Featuring the classic songs It's The Hard-Knock Life, Easy Street and Tomorrow.
The cast features Miranda Hart - in her West End stage musical debut - as Miss Hannigan.
When this production opened Dominic Maxwell in the Times hailed that it is "slickly staged, buoyantly performed, motored by cracking musical set pieces and an expert mixture of naivety, whimsy and wit," while Neil Norman in the Daily Express praised it as being "bright and brash and thoroughly old-fashioned, with songs you can go home singing." In the Financial Times Sarah Hemming said that "Nikolai Foster’s production is smart, vivacious and boasts eye-catching casting in the shape of television favourite Miranda Hart as the gin-guzzling orphanage boss, Miss Hannigan."
Annie the Musical is currently taking bookings at the Piccadilly Theatre up to Saturday 6 January 2018.

On The Town: "this breezy, joyful navy lark is a helluva lot of fun"

Drew McOnie's revival of the Leonard Bernstein, Betty Comden and Adolph Green dance-musical On The Town opened at London's Open Air Theatre in Regent's Park on Wednesday 31 May 2017.
New York, New York, it’s a helluva town! Written in 1944 as an expansion of Leonard Bernstein's jazzy ballet score Fancy Free which he wrote for Jerome Robbins, the story concerns three sailors who are on 24-hour shore leave in New York City and the women they meet along the way - the cast features Danny Mac as one of the sailors, 'Gabey'.
When this production opened Lyn Gardner in the Guardian highlighted that "Drew McOnie's choreography nods to Jerome Robbins' original moves, but it has a freshly minted zing of its own that captures the youthful, glad-to-be-alive exuberance of its protagonists... As everyone sings, New York is 'a helluva town', and this breezy, joyful navy lark is a helluva lot of fun," while Paul Taylor in the i newspaper praised Drew McOnie's "terrific revival, adding that "McOnie's triumphant choreography captures the hectic silliness and brings out the underlying melancholy... 'Helluva town?' Yes, and this deserves to be a helluva hit."
On The Town continues at the Open Air Theatre in Regent's Park up to Saturday 1 July 2017.

Jim Steinman's Bat Out Of Hell extends two week to 5 August 2017

It has been announced that Jay Scheib's stage production of the Jim Steinman and Meat Loaf musical Bat Out Of Hell - which opens at the London Coliseum on Tuesday 20 June 2017, following public previews from Monday 5 June - has had its limited season extended by two weeks, and will now close on Saturday 5 August 2017.
Join the eternally young Strat and his wild gang, The Lost, as they roam the streets of post-apocalyptic Obsidian, ruled by the tyrannical Falco. When Strat falls in love with Falco’s daughter, Raven, he sets out to rescue her in a full throttle tale of teenage love, youthful rebellion and living the rock‘n’roll dream.
This brand new stage musical features Meat Loaf's greatest hits including I’d Do Anything for Love; Paradise by the Dashboard Light; Dead Ringer For Love; Two Out of Three Ain't Bad; and Bat Out of Hell.
Bat Out Of Hell will play at the London Coliseum for an extended nine week season up to Saturday 5 August 2017.

John Boyega in Woyzeck: "a very fine and distressingly good performance"

Joe Murphy's production of Georg Büchner Woyzeck - in a new version by Jack Thorne - opened at London's Old Vic Theatre on Tuesday 23 June 2017.
Set in 1980s Berlin. The Cold War rages on and the world sits at a crossroads between Capitalism and Communism. On the border between East and West, the young soldier Woyzeck and the love of his life, Marie, are desperately trying to build a better future for their child. But the cost of escaping poverty is high in this searing tale of the people society leaves behind.
The cast features John Boyega as 'Woyzeck' and Sarah Greene as 'Marie' with Ben Batt, Nancy Carroll, Steffan Rhodri and Darrell D'Silva.
When this production opened Ann Treneman in the Times highlighted that "it's a searing experience, watching a man go mad, especially if that man is being played by John Boyega who turns in a very fine and distressingly good performance here in the title role," and in the London Evening Standard Fiona Mountford wrote that "John Boyega and Sarah Greene make a fine central pairing. Impecunious but convincingly happy at the start, their love crumbles under the force of external circumstance... This isn't an easy watch, but it certainly rewards audience effort."
Woyzeck plays for a strictly limited season at London's Old Vic Theatre up to Saturday 24 June 2017.

Gary Barlow's The Girls to close after five month run on 15 July 2017

Although it had just recently opened up booking to the end of September 2017 - it has now been confirmed that the Gary Barlow and Tim Firth stage musical The Girls at London's Phoenix Theatre will close early on Saturday 15 July 2017 after a run of just five months.
A group of extraordinary women, members of a very ordinary Yorkshire Women's Institute or WI, spark a global phenomenon by persuading one another to pose for a charity calendar with a difference! At first glance it should look like your classic WI calendar. Jams, cakes, sewing and all that. Except for one tiny thing... no, the ladies aren't 'naked', they're 'nude'. But as interest mounts they find themselves revealing more about themselves than they'd ever planned.
When the production originally opened in February 2017, Ann Treneman in the Times noted how "this production has a lot going for it. The music is catchy and soulful, the lyrics often hilarious. The story is pure gold," while Fiona Mountford in the London Evening Standard thought that "it's certainly agreeable, but definitely from the cosy rather than groundbreaking school of theatre."
Following its closure in London's West End this production is expected to embark on a major regional tour.
The Girls continues at the Phoenix Theatre up to Saturday 15 July 2017 - the next production at the Aldwych Theatre has not been announced yet.

Beautiful: The Carole King Musical to close 5 August 2017

It has been officially announced that, after a run of two-and-a-half-year, Beautiful: The Carole King Musical will close at London's Aldwych Theatre on Saturday 5 August 2017 - the production had been booking up to Saturday 4 November 2017.
When this production originally opened at the Aldwych Theatre on Wednesday 25 February 2015 Dominic Maxwell in the Times praised it as being a "terrifically tuneful show" and Henry Hitchings in the London Evening Standard described it as being "slick and witty." Michael Billington in the Guardian highlighted that, although "it's good to hear some of the old songs again and to be reminded of groups like the Righteous Brothers and the Shirelles - the attempt to link the songs to the life feels strained" adding that "the show lacks the drama that some of us still hunger for in a musical." Dominic Cavendish in the Daily Telegraph thought it was a "stylishly presented, efficiently crafted account of how Carole King went from being one half of a romantic and productive song-writing partnership with Gerry Goffin to a sensation in her own right after they split."
Beautiful: The Carole King Musical continues at the Aldwych Theatre up to Saturday 5 August 2017 - the next production at the Aldwych Theatre has not been announced yet.

Martin Freeman and Sarah Lancashire in Labour of Love opens 25 September 2017

Jeremy Herrin's World Premiere of James Graham's new comedy Labour of Love opens at London's Noel Coward Theatre on Monday 25 September 2017, following public previews from Friday 15 September.
The Labour MP David Lyons cares about modernisation and what he says is 'electability' while his constituency agent, Jean Whittaker, cares about principles and her community. Set in the Labour Party's traditional northern heartlands, away from the Central London 'Westminster Bubble' - the scene is set for a clash of philosophy, culture and class against the backdrop of the past 25 years when the Labour Party has moved on from Neil Kinnock through Tony Blair into Jeremy Corbyn... and beyond?
The cast features Martin Freeman and Sarah Lancashire and is presented in London's West End as a co-production between the Michael Grandage Company and Headlong.
Labour of Love is currently scheduled to play at the Noel Coward Theatre from Friday15 September through to Saturday 2 December 2017.

Our Ladies of Perpetual Succour: "gloriously foul-mouthed and yet angelically tuneful"

Following acclaimed seasons in Edinburgh and London over the last two years, Vicky Featherstone's production of Lee Hall's musical Our Ladies of Perpetual Succour opened at the West End's Duke of York's Theatre on Monday 15 May 2017.
Adapted from Lee Hall from Alan Warner's novel The Sopranos, Our Ladies of Perpetual Succour is the story of six Catholic choir girls from Oban who are let loose in Edinburgh for one day only.
When this production in May 2017 Fiona Mountford in the London Evening Standard hailed it as being "fizzingly vivacious, gloriously foul-mouthed and yet angelically tuneful... joyous," adding that "Vicky Featherstone offers a production of all-round perfect pitch." Ann Treneman in the Times said that "the plot hardly classifies as one: think ladettes on tour with breakout karaoke moments," explaining that "this musical is a series of predictable skits that are embellished by some greatest hits and luscious harmonies... it had its moments but, mostly, it all just seemed a bit dated."
Our Ladies of Perpetual Succour continues to play at the Duke of York's Theatre up to Saturday 2 September 2017.

F Murray Abraham in The Mentor opens 4 July 2017

Following a run at the Theatre Royal Bath's Ustinov Studio earlier this year, Laurence Boswell's production of Daniel Kehlmann's comedy The Mentor - in a translation by Christopher Hampton - will open at the West End's Vaudeville Theatre on Tuesday 4 July 2017, following public previews from Saturday 24 June.
Two egotistical writers who are forced together in a villa in the German countryside. Benjamin Rubin, a cantankerous old writer and whiskey aficionado who is still basking in the reflected glory of a long-ago success, is forced to mentor Martin Wegner, a rising literary star who is hailed as the ‘voice of his generation’. A comedy about art and artists and the legacy of fame.
The cast features F Murray Abraham as 'Benjamin Rubin' and Daniel Weyman as 'Martin Wegner' with Naomi Frederick and Jonathan Cullen - who are all reprising their roles from the Theatre Royal Bath season.
The Mentor is currently scheduled to play a two month season at the Vaudeville Theatre up to Saturday 2 September 2017.

Stockard Channing in Apologia opens 3 August 2017

Jamie Lloyd's production of Alexi Kaye Campbell's play Apologia opens at London's Trafalgar Studios on Thursday 3 August 2017, following public previews from Saturday 29 July.
Kristin Miller is a firebrand liberal matriarch and eminent art historian. But then a birthday gathering that should be a cause for celebration brings cracks in her family relationships to the surface with the recent publication of her memoir which detail a background of left-wing Sixties politics, and European intellectual bohemia, but fails to mention her children. When her son decides to challenge her version of their lives, the cost of her devotion to art and to her principles starts to emerge. A witty, topical and passionate play about generations, secrets, and warring perspectives.
The cast features Stockard Channing as 'Kristin Miller'.
Apologia is scheduled to play at the Trafalgar Studio 1 Theatre from Saturday 29 July through to Saturday 18 November 2017.

Cirque du Soleil's OVO opens 7 January 2018

Cirque du Soleil return to London with their show OVO which will be staged at the Royal Albert Hall from Sunday 7 January 2018.
OVO, meaning 'egg' in Portuguese, is a headlong rush into a colourful ecosystem teeming with life, where insects work, eat, crawl, flutter, play, fight and look for love in a non-stop riot of energy and movement. When a mysterious egg appears in their midst, the insects are awestruck and intensely curious about this iconic object that represents the enigma and cycles of their lives.
The cast of OVO is comprised of 50 performing artists from 12 countries specializing in many acrobatic acts.
Cirque du Soleil's OVO will run at the Royal Albert Hall from Sunday 7 January through to Sunday 11 February 2018.

Sandra Dickinson in I Loved Lucy opens 24 July 2017

Following two season's last year at the Jermyn Street Theatre, Anthony Biggs' production of Lee Tannen's play I Loved Lucy will open at London's Arts Theatre on Monday 24 July 2017, following pubic previews from 19 July. A personal, funny, bittersweet play charting Lee Tannen's 10-year relationship with TV comedy legend Lucille Ball of I Love Lucy fame. Although Lucy's public persona as an iconic comedic entertainer is all too well known. Out of the spotlight. What was she really like? And how did she choose to live at the end of her life? The cast featured Sandra Dickinson reprising her role as 'Lucy' with Matthew Scott joining her as 'Lee'. I Loved Lucy plays at the Arts Theatre for an eight week season up to Saturday 2 September 2017.

Natalie Dormer in David Ives' Venus in Fur opens 17 October 2017

Patrick Marber's new production of David Ives' dark comedy Venus in Fur opens at London's Haymarket Theatre on Tuesday 17 October 2017, following public previews from Friday 6 October.
"You don't have to tell me about sadomasochism. I'm in the theatre." Enigmatic actress Vanda Jordan appears unannounced for an audition with director Thomas Novachek. She’s determined to land the leading role in his new production – despite seeming wrong for the part. Over one evening in downtown Manhattan their charged meeting becomes a seductive dance to the end. A dark comedy about desire, fantasy.... and the love of fur.
The London West End cast for this 'two-hander' features Natalie Dormer - from The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - and David Oakes.
Venus in Fur was a hit on Broadway in 2012 where it enjoyed an eight month run, with the actress playing the role of 'Vanda' winning the Tony Award for 'Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role in a Play'.
Venus in Fur will play at the Haymarket Theatre for a strictly limited eleven week season up to Saturday 9 December 2017.

Half-a-Sixpence posts closing notices for 2 September 2017

It has been officially confirmed that - after a run of just over nine months - Rachel Kavanaugh's acclaimed revival of the classic British 1960s musical Half-a-Sixpence will close on Saturday 2 September 2017.
Arthur Kipps - an over-worked draper's assistant at Shalford's Bazaar in Folkestone - is a charming but ordinary young man who dreams of a better and more fulfilling world, but he likes his fun just like any other, except not quite. When Kipps unexpectedly inherits a fortune that propels him into high society, it confuses everything he thought he knew about life. With the help of his friends, Arthur learns that if you want to have the chance of living the right life, you need to make the right choices.
When this production opened in London Neil Norman in the Daily Express praised how, "after a triumphant run at Chichester Festival Theatre, Rachel Kavanaugh's production of Half A Sixpence has been refreshed and rebooted for the West End... Solid gold entertainment." Ann Treneman in the Times highlighted that "Andrew Wright's choreography is sharp throughout but on the best numbers it is extraordinary - absolutely stonking."
Half-a-Sixpence continues at the Noel Coward Theatre up to Saturday 2 September 2017.

Waiting for Godot opens 7 September 2017

Peter Reid's revival of Samuel Beckett's play Waiting For Godot opens at London's Arts Theatre on Thursday 7 September 2017, following public previews from Tuesday 5 September.
Two tramps clown around, joking and arguing, repeating themselves, as they wait through one day and then another, waiting for the mysterious Godot.
Originally staged in London at the Arts Theatre in 1955 - it shocked as many people as it delighted. There had never been a play like it. The combination of music hall, poetry and tension redefined what is possible in theatre.
The cast for this revival features Patrick O'Donnell as 'Estragon (Gogo)' and Nick Devlin as 'Vladimir (Didi)' with Paul Kealyn as 'Pozzo' and Conor Donelan as 'Lucky'.
Waiting For Godot will play a strictly limited three week season at the Arts Theatre up to Saturday 23 September 2017.

Broadway's Oslo transfers to London's West End from 2 October 2017

Bartlett Sher's Broadway production of J.T. Rogers' new play Oslo transfers to the West End's Harold Pinter Theatre from Monday 2 October 2017.
In 1993, in front of the world’s press, the leaders of Israel and Palestine shook hands on the lawn of the White House. Few watching would have guessed that the negotiations leading up to this iconic moment started secretly in a castle in the middle of a forest outside Oslo. This new play tells the true story of two maverick Norwegian diplomats who coordinated the top-secret talks and inspired seemingly impossible friendships between Israeli, Palestinian, Norwegian and American people. Their quiet heroics led to the ground-breaking Oslo Peace Accords.
Prior to the West End, the production will be staged for a limited three week run at London's National Theatre from 5 to 23 September 2017.
Oslo will play at the West End's Harold Pinter Theatre for a limited season up to Saturday 30 December 2017.

Simon Bird as The Philanthropist: 'strucks gold and delivers the goods'

Simon Callow's revival of Christopher Hampton's play The Philanthropist opened at the Trafalgar Studios on 20 April 2017 starring Simon Bird in the title role with Matt Berry, Lily Cole, Charlotte Ritchie and Tom Rosenthal.
The Prime Minister and his cabinet have been assassinated and England's most treasured writers are being murdered one by one. Back at the university, a bachelor don tries hard to please his academic friends as he anguishes over sex, marriage, anagrams and the meaning of life. Written by Christopher Hampton as a response to Moliere's The Misanthrope and described as a 'bourgeois comedy' that examines the empty, insular lives of college intellectuals.
When this revival opened Dominic Cavendish in the Daily Telegraph described it as being a "cool, crisp, English appropriation, rendered with a keen eye for period dress-sense by director Simon Callow," adding that "Callow has certainly struck gold with leading man Simon Bird... he delivers the goods by subtle incremental means... for those who've not seen the play before, it's a treat." Quentin Letts in the Daily Mail highlighted that "trendy casting and weak direction are the undoing of a revival of Christopher Hampton’s 1971 comedy The Philanthropist... No doubt this cast will improve as the three-month run unfolds" while Neil Norman in the Daily Express simply complained that it was "unremittingly tedious."
The Philanthropist continues at the Trafalgar Studios up to Saturday 22 July 2017.