Rachel Kavanaugh's revival of the musical Seven Brides for Seven Brothers opened at the Open Air Theatre in Regent's Park on Thursday 23 July 2015. Set in Oregon in 1850 this musical tells the story of Adam, the eldest of seven brothers, who goes to town to get a wife. He convinces Milly to marry him that same day. It is only when Adam takes her back to his home that she discovers he has six brothers - all living in his cabin. When this production opened Claire Allfree in the Daily Telegraph explained how "Rachel Kavanaugh's revival neither glosses over the antediluvian gender politics nor attempts a revisionist resolution and if you can take it on its own terms, this is a joyful evening" while Sam Marlowe in the Times described how "the whole thing's as silly as can be, and by rights it shouldn't work at all — but dang it, it's terrific fun." Seven Brides for Seven Brothers continues up to Saturday 29 August 2015.
Racky Plews' production of the Green Day musical American Idiot opened at the Arts Theatre on Wednesday 22 July 2015. Set in a post 9/11 world, the musical tells the story of three young male friends and their struggle to find a meaning in life. The boys are torn between their safe but stifling homes in suburbia and the exhilarating freedom of the city, which leads them on an emotional journey from angry youth to jaded adulthood. When this production opened Fiona Mountford in the London Evening Standard highlighted how the musical "pulses with raw energy and rage in a manner that very few shows can muster" while Paul Taylor in the Independent praised how "Racky Plews has directed and choreographed a sharp-witted version that throbs with some of the energy of a rock gig while being shrewdly calibrated to suit the intimacy of the 350-seater Arts Theatre." American Idiot continues up to Sunday 27 September 2015.
Marking the centenary of Frank Sinatra's birth in December 1915, the major multi-media tribute concert Sinatra at the London Palladium opened at the Palladium on Monday 20 Juy 2015. Featuring a company of 20 dancers and a 24-piece orchestra, this multi-media show - which has the blessing of the Sinatra family - combines rare and original master recordings and never before seen performance footage with the latest cutting edge technology to celebrate the hugely successful career of one of the world’s greatest singers and entertainers. When this production opened Ed Potton in the Times hailed it as a "hi-tech extravaganza... slick and wholeheartedly entertaining" while Henry Hitchings in the London Evening Standard described how the "extravagant packaging is the hallmark of this glitzy evening." Sinatra at the London Palladium continues to play up to Saturday 10 October 2015.
It has been officially announced Abbey Wright's revival of Richard Bean's comedy The Mentalists, which opened at the Wyndham's Theatre on Monday 13 July 2015, will close four weeks early, on Saturday 29 August 2015 after a run of seven weeks. When this production, which stars Stephen Merchant in his West End stage debut along with Steffan Rhodri, opened in July 2015 Sarah Hemming in the Financial Times highlighted that "the play is very droll and this is beautifully worked by Merchant and Rhodri... but for all its quirky originality, the play leaves you feeling short-changed," while in the Daily Mail, Quentin Letts said the play contained "a few moments of distinctly English mirth but it is a slight offering – a half-hour skit stretched to almost two hours with interval." The Mentalists continues at the Wyndham's Theatre up to Saturday 29 August 2015.
Following a hugely successful run at the St James Theatre in London's Victoria, John Caird's production of James Phillips' new play McQueen, about the fashion designer Alexander McQueen, will transfer to the West End, opening at the Haymarket Theatre on Thursday 27 August 2015, following public previews from 13 August. James Phillips' stage play, which stars Stephen Wright in the title role, is a journey into the visionary imagination and dream world of Alexander McQueen, fashion's greatest contemporary artist. When the production was staged at the St James Theatre in May 2015, Henry Hitchings in the London Evening Standard highlighted that "John Caird’s production is visually opulent and features striking choreography by Christopher Marney" while Holly Williams in the Independent said that "Stephen Wight as McQueen is brilliant casting, not only because he looks uncannily like the designer, but also because he really digs deep into the role." This play has been especially revised and extended for this West End transfer. McQueen will play at the Haymarket Theatre for a strictly limited season up to Saturday 7 November 2015.
Matthew Bourne's revival of his award-winning full-length dance show The Car Man opened at Sadler's Wells Theatre on Friday 17 July 2015. Loosely based on Bizet's popular opera Carmen, the familiar 19th Century Spanish cigarette factory is now re-imagined as a greasy garage-diner in 1960s America, where the dreams and passions of a small-town are shattered by the arrival of a handsome stranger. The original production won the Evening Standard Award for 'Musical Event of the Year'. When this revival opened Rachel Ward in the Daily Telegraph hailed the production as being "a joyride of sweat, seduction and murder" and "a masterful piece of storytelling," adding that, "coupled with Lez Brotherston's dynamic set design, it's unforgettable." In the Independent Zoe Anderson praised it as being a "terrific revival." The Car Man continues at Sadler's Wells Theatre up to Sunday 9 August 2015.
Abbey Wright's revival of Richard Bean's comedy The Mentalists starring Stephen Merchant and Steffan Rhodri opened at the Wyndham's Theatre on Monday 13 July 2015. Holed up in a faceless Finsbury Park hotel room middle-aged fleet manager Ted and Morrie are forced to confront the darker side of their unique relationship. Things unravel as the pressure mounts in this hilarious and touching tale of friendship and utopian visions gone awry in this darkly funny play. When this production opened, John Nathan in the London Metro described it as "brimming with well-crafted gags" while in the Times Dominic Maxwell said it makes "for an entertaining and unusual evening" that is "full of dark wit and, finally, tenderness too." The Mentalists continues at the Wyndham's Theatre up to Saturday 26 September 2015.
Kyle Riabko and David Lane Seltzer's musical What's It All About?, subtitled Burt Bacharach Reimagined, opened at the Menier Chocolate Factory on Wednesday 15 July 2015. Kyle Riabko leads a talented group of young performers through new interpretations of Burt Bacharach's classic melodies, blending nostalgia and innovation, where generations old and new can revel in the joy of the Bacharach catalogue as if for the very first time. When this production opened Neil Norman in the Daily Express highlighted that "in an age of jerry-built jukebox musicals this show is a little gem," adding that "it is an achingly hip musical evening performed by some of the coolest guys in town." In the Daily Mail Quentin Letts said it is "ferociously clever and will get a new generation hooked on Bacharach's melodies." What's It All About? continues to play at the Menier Chocolate Factory up to Saturday 5 September 2015.
Following a successful two month regional tour, Michael Longhurst's production of Nick Payne's play Constellations returned to London's West End, when it opened at the Trafalgar Studios 1 on Tuesday 14 July 2015. A story of love, honey, and a quantum multiverse. Moment by moment, can everything you've ever and never done exist in the same vortex of reality? Elegant and playful yet profoundly moving Nick Payne's play blends the everyday and the ethereal, the actual and the imaginable, revealing that every outcome may only be the first link in a chain of cosmic consequences - an explosive new play about free will and friendship. The cast for this touring version features Louise Brealey and Joe Armstrong and when it opened Chris Bennion in the Daily Telegraph said that "happily the two-hander still shines... Constellations remains superb" while Sam Marlowe in the Times highlighted that "Michael Longhurst’s absorbing production... returns to London fresh from a national tour." Constellations continues at the Trafalgar Studio 1 up to Saturday 1 August 2015.
Following an acclaimed run in Bath and at London's Tricycle Theatre, James Macdonald's production of Florian Zeller new black comedy The Father will transfer to the West End's Wyndham's Theatre on Monday 5 October 2015, following public previews from Wednesday 30 September. Now 80 years old, Andre was once a tap dancer. He lives with his daughter Anne and her husband Antoine. Or was he an engineer whose daughter Anne lives in London with her new lover, Pierre? The thing is, he is still wearing his pyjamas, and he can’t find his watch. He is starting to wonder if he's losing control. The cast features Kenneth Cranham as 'Andre' and Claire Skinner as 'Anne'. When this production was seen at the Tricycle Theatre in May 2015 Henry Hitchings in the London Evening Standard praised it as being "perfectly measured, with enough wit not to seem exhaustingly desolate" while in the Independent Holly Williams highlighted that "Kenneth Cranham gives a terrific performance," and "Claire Skinner also excels as his wearied, worried daughter Anne who must decide how best to care for him." The Father will play a strictly limited season up to Saturday 21 November 2015.
Adrian Noble's revival of Oscar Wilde's classic comedy The Importance Of Being Earnest - starring David Suchet as 'Lady Bracknell' - opened at the Vaudeville Theatre on Wednesday 1 July 2015. Prim-and-proper Jack Worthing is in love with the equally prim-and-proper Gwendolyn Fairfax. His friend, Algernon Moncrieff, is in love with Cecily Cardew. But both Gwendolyn and Cecily are in love with Ernest. Add the magnificently imposing Lady Bracknell, a nanny with a dubious story about a handbag and the result is a delightful entertainment bursting with Oscar Wilde's trademark one-liners. When the production opened Paul Taylor in the Independent hailed it as being a "highly entertaining production" while in the Guardian Michael Billington praised how David Suchet "gives a majestically funny performance." The Importance Of Being Earnest continues up to Saturday 7 November 2015.
Following a successful season last Christmas, Arthur Pita's children's dance theatre show The Little Match Girl returns to London's Lillian Baylis Theatre at Sadler's Wells from Saturday 12 December 2015 for a three week season of morning, afternoon and early evening performances. Based on Hans Christian Andersen's classic story, this touching tale of an impoverished young street girl's hopes and dreams is told through a mixture of dance, song and music. Adapted, directed and choreographed by Arthur Pita with music by Frank Moon this production is recommended for childen aged five and above, along with their families. When it was seen last year Lyndsey Winship in the London Evening Standard praised as being "a very enjoyable flight of the imagination" while in the Financial Times Louise Levene hailed it as being "an inventive and absorbing piece of family theatre." The Little Match Girl will play for a limited Christmas season up to Sunday 3 January 2016.
Street dance theatre company ZooNation return to London with a newly revamped remixed version of their show Into the Hoods which opens at the Peacock Theatre on Friday 23 October 2015 for a strictly limited run of just 26 performances. Set in the ‘Ruff Endz Estate’, the story follows two lost school children who have been tasked to find an iPod touch as white as milk, trainers as pure as gold, a hoodie as red as blood and some weave as yellow as corn. Along the way, they meet DJ Spinderella, wannabe singer Lil Red, vivacious rapper Rap On Zel, budding music producer Jaxx and a whole world of surprises! Into the Hoods: Remixed is the newly revamped version of the acclaimed production which played for an extended five month season at the Novello Theatre in 2008. Now, for 2015, the show's original director and choreography Kate Prince has updated it with new choreography, a remixed soundtrack and fresh designs while still retaining all the wit and charm of the original. Into the Hoods Remixed will play up to 14 November 2015.
The stage dance version of Raymond Briggs' well-loved book The Snowman returns to the Peacock Theatre for a six week Christmas season from Wednesday 25 November 2015. When a boy's Snowman comes to life on Christmas Eve, the two friends set off and a night-time quest for adventure when they meet dancing penguins, reindeer and crowds of the Snowman's friends before the Snowman soars through the night sky, escaping the clutches of the evil Jack Frost, to return home for Christmas morning. With a score that features the haunting 'Walking in the Air', this production is suitable for all children aged two and upwards. It provides a mix of dance, stagecraft and music and is therefore the perfect introduction to dance for the very young - the show has proved so popular that it has been staged at London's Peacock Theatre each Christmas 1998! The Snowman will play a variety of morning, afternoon and early evening performances up to Sunday 3 January 2016.
Direct from the fabled Shaolin Temple, the birthplace of Kung Fu, in the foothills of the Song Shang mountain range in China’s Henan province, the Shaolin Monks return to London's West End with their new show simply titled Shaolin which opens at the Peacock Theatre on Tuesday 29 September 2015 for a strictly limited three week season. The show will take audiences on a journey through the history, philosophy and story of the Shaolin Monks in an authentic and spectacular performance of this ancient martial art and demonstrate the beautiful movements of Chi with spectacular weapons and combat demonstrations that promises to vividly illustrate the rarely seen Kung Fu masters' feats of agility strength and skill. This production marks the return of the Shaolin Monks who last performed at the Peacock Theatre in 2007. The Shaolin Monks' Shaolin will play up to Saturday 17 October 2015.
It has been confirmed that, once again, Slava's Snowshow will return to London's Royal Festival Hall for a strictly limited run of just 27 performances from Wednesday 16 December 2015. The multi-award winning international sensation has delighted and thrilled audiences in over 80 cities around the globe, including in London's West End when it won the 1998 Olivier Award for 'Best Entertainment'. Loved by children and adults this live stage show is a combination of theatrical clowning and stunning spectacle performed by the internationally renowned company of clowns under the direction of Slava Polunin. Now Slava's Snowshow returns to the Royal Festival Hall for its fifth annual Christmas season which will run up to Sunday 3 January 2015.
Following a successful two month regional tour, Michael Longhurst's production of Nick Payne's play Constellations will return to London's West End for a short four week run, opening at the Trafalgar Studios 1 on Tuesday 14 July 2015, following public previews from Thursday 9 July. A story of love, honey, and a quantum multiverse. Moment by moment, can everything you've ever and never done exist in the same vortex of reality? Elegant and playful yet profoundly moving Nick Payne's play blends the everyday and the ethereal, the actual and the imaginable, revealing that every outcome may only be the first link in a chain of cosmic consequences - an explosive new play about free will and friendship. The cast for this touring version features Louise Brealey and Joe Armstrong. Constellations will run at the Trafalgar Studio 1 up to Saturday 1 August 2015.
The world stage premiere of the new British stage musical Bend It Like Beckham opened at the Phoenix Theatre on Wednesday 24 June 2015. When the talented teenage girl footballer Jess is spotted playing football in Southall, a world of opportunities opens up before her. But as the day of her sister's traditional Indian wedding approaches, Jess needs to pick sides. Based on the popular British film, this stage musical version has been co-adapted and directed for the stage by the film's original co-writer and director, Gurinder Chadha. "This is a joyous feelgood show," hailed Henry Hitchings in the London Evening Standard when the show opeend, adding that" you don't need to have seen the movie, or even be keen on football, to appreciate its warmth and freshness." Dominic Maxwell in the Times highlighted how Gurinder Chadha " converts the 2002 film that made her name into a winning stage musical." Bend It Like Beckham is currently booking up to Saturday 24 October 2015.
The world's best-selling touring magic show The Illusionists - Witness the Impossible comes to London's West End when it opens at the Shaftesbury Theatre on Monday 16 November 2015, following public previews from Saturday 14 November. A fast-paced and entertaining show that features seven of the world's greatest magicians, this live stage show is packed full of hilarious magic tricks and death-defying stunts which promise to mesmerise audiences of all ages. This production has not only became the most successful magic show in Broadway's history when it played a four week season at the Marquis Theatre in New York during December 2014, but has also became the world's best-selling touring magic show, selling out in 71 cities across 17 countries. This West End staging will feature as special guest star magician Jamie Raven - runner-up in ITV's Britain's Got Talent 2015, in his West End stage debut. The Illusionists - Witness the Impossible will play over the Christmas and New Year season, closing on Sunday 3 January 2016.
Matthew Dunster's revival of Anton Chekhov's The Seagull opened at the Open AIr Theatre in Regent's Park on Wednesday 24 June 2015. Anton Chekhov's masterpiece entwines both comic and tragic situations in the lives of a famous actress, her son and their lovers. As the young strive for fulfilment, their older counterparts look back to youthful dreams that remain unfulfilled. The cast features Janie Dee as the actress ,'Irina Arkadina', and Matthew Tennyson as her son, 'Konstantin Trepliov'. When this production opened Dominic Cavendish in the Daily Telegraph described how "Matthew Dunster’s superbly acted revival of Anton Chekhov's first masterpiece for the theatre achieves the near-impossible: it jolts its audience awake with its dream-like action" while Fiona Mountford in the London Evening Standard highlighted that this is "a lively new version of a classic." The Seagull continues to play up to Saturday 11 June 2015.
The zany and hilarious children's stage show Aliens Love Underpants returns to London this summer when it opens at the Dominion Theatre on Saturday 1 August 2015 for a month-long season of special morning and afternoon performances. Recommended for families with children aged 3 and up, the best-selling children's book by Claire Freedman and Ben Cort's best-selling children's book has been brought to life on stage in an adaptation by Adam Bampton-Smith that features stunning effects, madcap action, original music and lots of aliens of course! When the production was seen in London last year, Neil Norman in the Daily Express praised the show saying that "for sheer energy and unadulterated laughs Aliens Love Underpants takes some beating" while Miriam Gillinson in the Guardian hailed it as being "one hour of pure, unadulterated silliness. It is children's TV in theatre form; loud, energetic and absurdly upbeat. There are fluffy puppets, charming performances and plenty of singing and dancing. And pants – lots and lots of pants." Aliens Love Underpants will run up to Monday 31 August 2015.
It has been officially announced that the long running comedy The 39 Steps at the Criterion Theatre will close after a run of just under nine years on Saturday 5 September 2015 - making the show the fifth longest running play or comedy in West End history, and the longest running show at the Criterion Theatre. Maria Aitken's stage production of John Buchan's The 39 Steps is based on the Alfred Hitchcock film and uses just four actors to play all 150 roles in a production that won the Olivier Award for 'Best New Comedy' when it opened at the Criterion Theatre on 20 September 2006. It has not been announced yet what the next production at the Criterion Theatre will be.
It has been confirmed that Gordon Greenberg's acclaimed 2014 Chichester Festival Theatre revival of Frank Loesser's classic musical comedy Guys and Dolls will transfer to London's West End - opening on Wednesday 6 January 2016 at the Savoy Theatre, following public previews from Thursday 10 December 2015. Based on Damon Runyon's tales of New York City, the cast for this revival features Sophie Thompson as 'Miss Adelaide' and Jamie Parker as 'Sky Masterson' who are both reprising their roles. When this staging was originally seen in Chichester, Sarah Hemming in the Financial Times hailed it as being a "scintillating revival" that's "an effervescent delight" while Charles Spencer in the Daily Telegraph hailed it as being "one hell of an enchanted evening... I left the theatre walking on air and with a grin of pure happiness." Guys and Dolls will play a limited season at London's Savoy Theatre up to Saturday 12 March 2016.
Following a short sell-out season at the Menier Chocolate Factory, the close-up sleight of hand artist and pickpocket entertainer James Freedman transferred his acclaimed show Man of Steal to the West End's Trafalgar Studios on Friday 29 May 2015. Funny and fast-fingered, James Freedman's unique and extraordinary show exposes how the bad guys really work, sharing a life-time spent studying hustlers, pickpockets, street criminals and con-men. When this production opened at the Trafalgar Studios Dominic Maxwell in the Times described how "this entertaining masterclass in theft and fraud is like the best training lecture you've ever been to rather than a consistently top-calibre magic show. At his best, though, James Freedman is jaw-dropping." Fiona Mountford in the London Evening Standard highlighted that while "James Freedman is extremely good at nicking stuff from people... The major problem, however, is that this piece lacks the all-important wow factor." James Freedman: Man of Steal continues at the Trafalgar Studios up to Saturday 4 July 2015.
Following an acclaimed season in New York, the Tony Award-winning actor and entertainer Jim Dale opened in his one-man show Just Jim Dale at London's Vaudeville Theatre on Thursday 28 May 2015. Jim Dale gives a hilarious and heartwarming performance through his career in theatre and film with a myriad of showbiz tales, songs and performances proving he is one of the most masterful entertainers of his generation. When this production opened Dominic Maxwell in the Times described it as being a "ravishingly entertaining look back on [Jim Dale's] 62 years in showbusiness" while in the Daily Mail Quentin Letts highlighted that "the evening is charming, amusing, unexpectedly informative. Mr Dale has packed a lot into his four-score years and he shows no sign of stopping." Just Jim Dale plays at the Vaudeville Theatre up to Saturday 20 June 2015.
Michael Simkins' stage adaption of Roger Mortimer and Charlie Mortimer's novel Dear Lupin opens at the Apollo Theatre on Monday 3 August 2015, following public previews from Thursday 30 July. Adapted from the best-selling Sunday Times Humour Book of the Year: "Dear Lupin, Letters to a Wayward Son" which chronicles the hilarious, often touching and always generous letters that the journalist and author Roger Mortimer wrote to his rather unruly son Charlie - this stage production stars real-life father-and-son actors James Fox and Jack Fox. Michael Simkins' stage adaptation also promises to reveal fresh and undocumented stories of Charlie's life and his relationship with his father. Dear Lupin will play a limited season at the Apollo Theatre up to Saturday 19 September 2015.
Scott Ellis' acclaimed Broadway revival of Bernard Pomerance's play The Elephant Man - starring Bradley Cooper in the title role - opened at London's Haymarket Theatre Royal on Tuesday 26 May 2015. Set in Victorian London. John Merrick, due to the extreme deformity of his body, becomes known as 'The Elephant Man' and is the star of the traveling freak show circuit... but then the renowned Dr Treves takes Merrick under his care. When this production opened in London, Neil Norman in the Daily Express highlighted that "Bradley Cooper emerges triumphant in the role of Joseph 'John' Merrick... [in] this compassionate and intelligent play" and Ben Lawrence in the Daily Telegraph described how "Bradley Cooper is touching and unshowy in the title role and, together with co-star Alessandro Nivola, completely carries Scott Ellis' sluggishly directed production." The Elephant Man continues for a strictly limited 12 week season up to Saturday 8 August 2015.
The first production in the Open Air Theatre's 2015 Season, a 'rediscovery' JM Barrie's original play Peter Pan opened on Thursday 21 May 2015. Staged by the directors Timothy Sheader and Liam Steel, who rediscover JM Barrie's original Never Land where danger stalks dreams and adventure breeds mischief. When this production opened Henry Hitchings in the London Evening Standard highlighted how "the story of Peter Pan, so often rendered in a cloyingly saccharine style, is radically re-imagined here" in "this physically inventive production." In the Financial Times Sarah Hemming hailed it as being "a heart-rending staging of JM Barrie's story... it's sprightly, imaginative and terrific fun, but it is also immensely poignant... a cracker." Peter Pan continues at the Open Air Theatre in Regent's Park up to Sunday 14 June 2015.
Following a short regional tour, Derren Brown's 7th brand new show Miracle opens at the Palace Theatre on Tuesday 17 November 2015, following public previews from Wednesday 11 November. Derren Brown, the multi-award winning acknowledged master of psychological illusion, returns to London with this brand new one-man show. Having confessed that performing live on stage gives him the greatest pleasure, Derren Brown is, once again, looking forward to the challenge that comes with being acknowledged as one of the world's most renowned live performers; a dark manipulator of magic and mind control. He will tell you nothing about what is in store for you, other than he is at his best live... Derren Brown Miracle will play at the Palace Theatre for a strictly limited season up to Saturday 16 January 2016.