London Theatre News - July 2015

Slava's Snowshow returns for Christmas 2015 season

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.

London Theatre News - June 2015

Nick Payne's Constellations returns to West End from 9 July 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.

Britain's Got Talent's Jamie Raven stars in The Illusionists opening 16 November 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.

Aliens Love Underpants back in London from 1 to 31 August 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.

The 39 Steps to close 5 September 2015 after historic nine year run

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.

Chichester Theatre's "scintillating revival" of Guys and Dolls transfers to London 6 Jan 2016

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.

James Freedman 'Man of Steal': "an entertaining masterclass in theft and fraud"

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.

Just Jim Dale: 'ravishingly entertaining... charming, amusing, unexpectedly informative'

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.

James and Jack Fox in Dear Lupin opens 3 August 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.

Open Air Theatre's Peter Pan: 'a radically re-imagined, physically inventive production'

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.

Derren Brown's new show Miracle opens 17 November 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.

London Theatre News - May 2015

High Society: 'What a treat this show is - effervescent cast and swinging, superb band'

Maria Friedman's revival of the classic Cole Porter musical High Society opened at the Old Vic Theatre on Thursday 14 May 2015 in a production performed 'in-the-round'. Kate Fleetwood stars the Long Island socialite Tracy Lord who is planning her lavish summer wedding when her ex-husband appears to try and win her back. His unwelcome arrival threatens to disrupt proceedings. When tabloid reporter Mike Connor arrives to cover the nuptials, he too takes a shine to the bride-to-be. But which of these three suitors will she choose? When the production opened Holly Williams in the Independent exclaimed: "What a treat this show is... the in-the-round staging lends a rare intimacy for a musical of this pomp, helping the effervescent cast and swinging, superb band sweep the audience up with them." Serena Davies in the Daily Telegraph thought that it "may prove one of the hits of the summer," adding that "Maria Friedman knows a thing or two about delivering barn-storming song-and-dance." High Society continues at the Old Vic Theatre up to Saturday 22 August 2015.

RSC's Death of a Salesman: 'A spot-on production and superb drama'

Following an acclaimed run in Stratford, the Royal Shakespeare Company's production of Gregory Doran's revival of Arthur Miller's Death of a Salesman opened at London's Noel Coward Theatre on Wednesday 13 May 2015. The cast features Antony Sher as 'Willy Loman' and Harriet Walter as his wife 'Linda' who both reprise their roles for this West End transfer. When this production opened in London Fiona Mountford in the London Evening Standard hailed it as being a "spot-on production from the RSC [that] reminds us once more, in this centenary year of Arthur Miller's birth, of Salesman's greatness... superb drama" while in the Daily Express Neil Norman said "alert to the play's complexities, it reveals it to be infinitely more than a simple exposé of the fallacy of the American dream." Death of a Salesman continues to play at London's Noel Coward Theatre up to Saturday 18 July 2015.

Gareth Gates and Simon Webbe in The 3 Little Pigs from 5 August to 6 September 2015

George Stiles and Anthony Drewe's new musical for all the family The 3 Little Pigs will play at London's Palace Theatre for a strictly limited five season from Wednesday 5 August through to Sunday 6 September 2015. A very curly musical tale. He can huff and he can puff until the cows comes home, but will the Big Bad Wolf get the better of the three little superstar piglets in this brand new retelling of the classic story? Full of catchy songs, jokes and japes for little ones and parents alike, this musical promises to leave you squealing with glee and howling with laughter. The cast features Gareth Gates along with Simon Webbe and Leanne Jones. The 3 Little Pigs is only playing performances in the mornings and afternoons - the current show at the Palace Theatre, The Commitments, will continue to play in the evenings.

Felicity Kendal in Hay Fever: "hits the high comedy notes perfectly"

Lindsay Posner's revival of Noel Coward's classic comedy Hay Fever - which was seen last year at the Theatre Royal in Bath - opened at London's Duke of York's Theatre on Monday 11 May 2015 starring Felicity Kendal as 'Judith Bliss'. The Bliss family are incapable of sharing the spotlight. Unconventional, risqué and often downright rude, they are everything a respectable English family shouldn’t be. When each member of the family invites a guest to their rural retreat, the unassuming visitors are thrown into a living melodrama. When this production opened in London Sam Marlowe in the Times hailed it as being "an effervescent pleasure, with a starring performance from Felicity Kendal" that "is sheer rapture" while in the London Evening Standard Fiona Mountford noted how Felicity Kendal "hits the high comedy notes perfectly" adding that"this Hay Fever will make you sneeze with pleasure." Hay Fever continues at the Duke of York's Theatre up to Saturday 1 August 2015.

The Commitments to close 1 November 2015 after two year run

It has been official confirmed today that the musical The Commitments at the Palace Theatre will close on Sunday 1 November 2015 after a run of just over two years. The musical was adapted for the stage by Roddy Doyle from his own novel and was directed by Jamie Lloyd. The story centres around Jimmy Rabbitte - a young working class music fan - who shapes an unlikely bunch of amateur musicians and friends into an amazing live act, in fact, the finest soul band Dublin has ever produced - with the musical featuring many soul classics. When this production originally opened in October 2013 Henry Hitchings in the London Evening Standard highlighted that "the show isn’t a full-blown jukebox musical - instead it feels more like a play about a struggling band who eventually serve up a rip-roaring concert" while in the Daily Telegraph Charles Spencer explained that "this is much more than a bog–standard compilation musical. The dialogue has a splendid sarky wit and the exhilaration of making music is beautifully caught." The Commitments continues up to Sunday 1 November 2015 - it has not been announced what the next production at the Palace Theatre will be yet.

'Witty and splendidly written': Bad Jews extends six weeks to 11 July 2015

Michael Longhurst's production of Joshua Harmon's new play Bad Jews - currently playing a limited season at the Arts Theatre - has announced a six week extention up to Saturday 11 July 2015. A beloved grandfather has died and a treasured family heirloom with religious significance is up for grabs. But which of the three grandchildren are most deserving of it? A cramped Manhattan apartment becomes the setting for a viciously hilarious quarrel about family, faith and legacy. When this production was originally seen at the St James Theatre in January 2015 Fiona Mountford in the London Evening Standard highlighted that "Joshua Harmon, aided by a nimblefooted production from director Michael Longhurst, offers a witty, splendidly written 100-minute attack on long-simmering family tensions" while Dominic Maxwell in the Times described it as being a "sure-footed mix of big laughs and knotty themes." Bad Jews continues at the Arts Theatre up to Saturday 11 July 2015.

'The show that delivers the goods with knock-out force": Bugsy Malone extends five weeks

Sean Holmes' stage revival of Alan Parker's musical Bugsy Malone, featuring songs by Paul Williams, at the newly refurbished Lyric Theatre in Hammersmith has extended it's 'strictly limited' season by five weeks and will now close on Saturday 5 September 2015. A spoof 1920s musical set in Prohibition New York - a world of splurge-gun toting gangsters, show-girls and dreamers. When this production opened Dominic Cavendish in the Daily Telegraph hailed it as being "a blast," adding that "the show delivers the goods with knock-out force." In the Times Dominic Maxwell praised it as being a "whomping big crowd-pleasing hit performed entirely by young people." Bugsy Malone now plays up to Saturday 5 September 2015.

Beautiful Thing cancels London season at the Arts Theatre

The return to London of Nikolai Foster's acclaimed 2013 20th Anniversary revival of Jonathan Harvey's play Beautful Thing, which had been scheduled to play at the Arts Theatre for a six week season from 3 June to 11 July 2015 has now been officially cancelled. Ticket holders are now being refunded. The production was returning to London as the culmination of a UK regional tour which, due to poor and uneven ticket sales, has been curtailed, with the knock-on effect of the London run now being sadly completely cancelled. Set on an inner city housing estate, the story focuses on the relationship between classmates and neighbours Jamie and Ste and the love story that slowly develops between them. Charlie Brooks was due to play Jamie's mum, 'Sandra'. This production had previously been staged at the Arts Theatre in April 2013. The current show at the Arts Theatre - Bad Jews - is expected to now extend its run to fill in the gap left by the cancellation of Beautiful Thing.

Beyond Bollywood: "a good-hearted, colourful, cheesy-as-hell dance musical"

Following sell-out performances in Mumbai, India, Rajeev Goswami's new dance musical Beyond Bollywood opened at the London Palladium on Monday 11 May 2015. The musical focuses on the daughter of a renowned Indian Classical Kathak dancer who goes to India to learn about her mother's art and other Indian dance forms as she tries to save her mother's theatre from collapse. When this production opened Lyndsey Winship in the London Evening Standard described it as being "a good-hearted, colourful, cheesy-as-hell dance musical" that offers "a fun night out for fans of Bollywood pop" while Donald Hutera in the Times thought that "this colourful slab of theatrical cheese lacks a sustaining charm." Beyond Bollywood contnues for a strictly limited season up to Saturday 27 June 2015.

Clive Anderson hosts Whose Line is it Anyway? live on stage from 20 June to 5 July 2015

The West End stage premiere of the classic comedy televison show Whose Line is it Anyway? opens at London's Adelphi Theatre on Saturday 20 June 2015 for a strictly limited two week season. Hosted by original TV host Clive Anderson the cast features Colin Mochrie, Josie Lawrence Greg Proops and Brad Sherwood... along with special guest stars! Created and directed for the stage by Dan Patterson and Mark Leveson who devised the original format for the Channel 4 TV series which enjoyed a 10 season run from 1988 through to 1998. Whose Line is it Anyway? on stage will play from Saturday 20 June 2015 through to Sunday 5 July 2015.

Berry Gordy's Motown the Musical opens 8 March 2016

Following a 21 month run on Broadway, Berry Gordy's Motown the Musical will open at London's Shaftesbury Theatre on Tuesday 8 March 2016, following public previews from Thursday 11 February 2016. Celebrating the legendary Motown record label live on stage, this new musical featuring a book written by the founder Berry Gordy himself, tells the story of how he started with just $800 borrowed from his family to go on to head up one of the most famous record companies of all time, discovering and launching the careers of so many musical superstars such as Diana Ross and the Supremes, Michael Jackson and the Jackson 5, Stevie Wonder, Smokey Robinson, Marvin Gaye and many more. Motown the Musical is currently booking up to Saturday 22 October 2016.

Cats the Musical returns from 23 October 2015 for 'final celebratory season'

Trevor Nunn's critically acclaimed revival of the Andrew Lloyd Webber and TS Eliot musical Cats will return by public demand for one final London Palladium season from 23 October 2015. Restaged and updated by the original creative team this production, which was originally seen at the London Palladium last December was hailed by Quentin Letts in the Daily Mail as being "a top-whisker revival of Lord Lloyd Webber’s 33-year-old musical" while in the Times Dominic Maxwell said that "Andrew Lloyd Webber's pumped-up and retweaked version of his humongous hit musical can leave even cynics purring with pleasure," adding that "the show's greatest moments come close to pure sensation." Cats will play a limited season up to Saturday 2 January 2016.

James Freedman - 'Man of Steal' - opens 29 May 2015

Following a short sell-out season last month at the Menier Chocolate Factory, the close-up sleight of hand artist and pickpocket entertainer James Freedman brings his acclaimed show Man of Steal to the West End's Trafalgar Studios opening on Friday 29 May 2015, following public previews from Tuesday 26 May. 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. James 'Man of Steal' Freedman is widely acknowledged as one of the world’s best pickpocket entertainers and expert on genuine stealth crime. He has been the 'pickpocket consultant' on a number of films and TV series as well acting as consultant with a number of British police forces and other security professionals to train officers to combat stealth crime. This really is the show you can not afford to miss! James Freedman: Man of Steal will play for a strictly limited season of just 44 performances up to Saturday 4 July 2015.

Kristin Scott Thomas in The Audience: "terrific"

Stephen Daldry's production of Peter Morgan's play The Audience opened at the Apollo Theatre on Tuesday 5 May 2015 with Kristin Scott Thomas taking over the lead role of 'Queen Elizabeth II' - the role played by Helen Mirren in the original sell-out production two year's ago. The play, which deals with the Monarchs weekly private meetings with the Prime Minister over the last sixty years, has been slightly rewritten since it was first seen and now includes Tony Blair as one of the Prime Ministers. When this production opened Henry Hitchings in the London Evening Standard highlighted that, "while Kristin Scott Thomas feels a less obvious choice to portray the Queen, she proves an entirely credible successor" and John Nathan in the London Metro described how "in almost every respect Kristin Scott Thomas has the Queen down to a tee in Stephen Daldry's elegant production," concluding that "Scott Thomas' fond portrait is terrific." The Audience continues up to Saturday 25 July 2015.

American Idiot starring X Factor's Amelia Lily opens 22 July 2015

A major production of the Green Day musical American Idiot starring The X Factor finalist Amelia Lily opens at the Arts Theatre on Wednesday 22 July 2015 following public previews from Friday 17 July. 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. Directed and choreographed by Racky Plews, this brand new production features Amelia Lily as 'Whatsername'. American Idiot will play a Tuesday to Sunday performance schedule for a two month season up to Sunday 27 September 2015.

Bugsy Malone: "a blast - the show delivers the goods with knock-out force"

Sean Holmes' stage revival of Alan Parker's musical Bugsy Malone, featuring songs by Paul Williams, opened at the newly refurbished Lyric Theatre in Hammersmith on Tuesday 28 April 2015. A spoof 1920s musical set in Prohibition New York - a world of splurge-gun toting gangsters, show-girls and dreamers. When this production opened Dominic Cavendish in the Daily Telegraph hailed it as being "a blast," adding that "the show delivers the goods with knock-out force." In the Guardian, Michael Billington highlighted that "it is all staged by Sean Holmes with great elan, the cast is highly talented, and the audience went wild with delight. The Lyric clearly has a hit on its hands." Bugsy Malone continues for a strictly limited season up to Saturday 1 August 2015.

Magic show Impossible from 24 July to 29 August 2015

The new magic show Impossible opens at the Wyndham's Theatre on Friday 24 July 2015 for a five week season. This all-new specially created stage show will fuse dazzling grand stage illusions, up-close-and-personal magic, cutting-edge technological tricks and death-defying escapology together in a fast-paced, breath-taking spectacular. The show will bring together eight world-leading performers live on-stage for the very first time and features a stunning range of magical artistry, from astonishing acts of epic proportions through to dumbfounding up-close sleight of hand. The cast currently confirmed so far are: Jonathan Goodwin, Chris Cox, Katherine Mills, Ben Hart and Jamie Allan with three more to be announced. Impossible will play for a strictly limited five week season up to Saturday 29 August 2015.

American Buffalo: "great to see three superb actors trading off each other"

Daniel Evans' revival of David Mamet's American Buffalo opened at the Wyndham's Theatre on Monday 27 April 2015. Starring Damien Lewis, John Goodman and Tom Sturridge, as three small-time crooks who plan one big-time heist. But then a tragedy of errors turns this darkly funny play into a blistering account of divided loyalties, insatiable greed and a coveted Buffalo nickel. When this production opened Sarah Hemming in the Financial Times praised the "beautifully detailed, astutely observed performances in a staging full of nuanced psychological insights" and Neil Norman in the Daily Express highlighted how it's "great to see three superb actors trading off each other and its last moments are very moving." American Buffalo continues for a strictly limited season up to Saturday 27 June 2015.

Jackie Mason is 'Ready to Rumble' from 1 to 6 June 2015

He's back! Jackie Mason brings his latest show Ready to Rumble to London's Adelphi Theatre for a strictly limited run of just six performances from Monday 1 June 2015. Jackie Mason's last West End show Fearless played to sell-out audiences for five weeks at the Wyndham's Theatre in 2012. Those performances were due to be his farewell UK shows, but Jackie Mason says: "At my age I'm supposed to have passed away a year and a half ago already, but since I'm still here I need to keep busy." Jackie Mason's Ready to Rumble wil run for six performances ony up to Saturday 6 June 2015.

Headlong Theatre's "dazzlingly theatrical" 1984 returns 18 June 2015

Headlong Theatre Company's acclaimed stage adaptation of George Orwell's 1984 returns to London's Playhouse Theatre on Thursday 18 June 2015, following public previews from Friday 12 June. Adapted and created for the stage by Robert Icke and Duncan Macmillan from the classic George Orwell novel, this production was originally seen in London at the Almeida Theatre before it transferred to the Playhouse Theatre for a 16 week season last year. April, 1984. 13:00. Comrade 6079, Winston Smith, thinks a thought, starts a diary, and falls in love. This major stage production explores the world inside Winston Smith's head, as well as the world without, and catches the euphoria and bliss buried deep underneath the cold face of Big Brother. In an age of mass surveillance, 'total' policing and GPS tracking, Nineteen Eighty-Four is as relevant now as it ever has been. When this production was seen last year, Neil Norman in the Daily Express hailed as being "dazzlingly theatrical" while Fiona Mountford in the London Evening Standard praised as being a "stylish and sophisticated adaptation." 1984 will run for a strictly limited 12 week run up to Saturday 5 September 2015, prior to starting a major UK tour.

London Theatre News - April 2015

Nicole Kidman in Photograph 51 opens 14 September 2015

Nicole Kidman makes her eagerly awaited return to the West End stage in Anna Ziegler's new play Photograph 51 which opens at the Noel Coward Theatre on Monday 14 September 2015, following public previews from Saturday 5 September. Based on true events during the early 1950s Anna Ziegler's award-winning play looks at the woman who cracked DNA and asks what is sacrificed in the pursuit of science, love and a place in history. Does Rosalind Franklin know how precious her photograph is? In the race to unlock the secret life it could be the one to hold the key. But with rival scientists looking everywhere for the answer, who will be the first to see it and more importantly, understand it? Nicole Kidman stars as 'Rosalind Franklin' and the production is directed by Michael Grandage. Photograph 51 will play for a limited season up to Saturday 21 November 2015.

Dawn French in 30 Million Minutes from 11 November to 5 December 2015

Following a hugely successful sell-out six-month UK tour last year, Dawn French brings her acclaimed solo-stand-up comedy show 30 Million Minutes to London's Vaudeville Theatre opening on Tuesday 17 November 2015, following public previews from Wednesday 11 November, for a strictly limited four week season. In this solo-show, based on her life and career, Dawn takes audiences through the various lessons life has taught her, and the things she knows for sure. - Dawn knows that the clock is ticking and, at '30 Million Minutes' old, or 56 years, she realises that she is over halfway through her life and this show promises to be full of various delights and riches, with the odd irksome tribulation thrown in. When the show was seen on tour Dominic Cavendish in the Daily Telegraph hailed Dawn French as being an "enduring, life–affirming phenomenon" and Neil Norman in the Daily Express praised it as being both "energised and engaging." Dawn French: 30 Million Minutes will run up to Saturday 5 December 2015.

Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown to close 23 May 2015

It has been announced that the stage musical adaptation of Pedro Almodóvar's Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown at the Playhouse Theatre will close on Saturday 23 May 2015 after a run of 19 weeks. Although it had been originally advertised as playing only for a limited season up to 9 May 2015, the production had just recently announced a three month extension up to 22 August 2015 - but evidently ticket sales for this early summer period had not lived up to the producer's expections, and hence the closure notice. Especially reconceived and re-imagined from the musical's 2010 Broadway staging for the West End stage this production opened in January to generally positive notices: Neil Norman in the Daily Express praised how this "stage version detaches itself from Pedro Almodóvar's 1988 film but it retains the comic delirium and the title's premise... Funny, frantic and vivacious" and Sarah Hemming in the Financial Times commented that the staging "becomes a joyous evening: an affectionate, poignant and defiant tribute to female resilience." Interestingly that original 2010 Broadway production, also directed by Bartlett Sher, had only managed a run of nine weeks - so this West End staging will have had the kudos of running twice as long.

Matthew Warchus announces first three shows as new Artistic Director of the Old Vic Theatre

Matthew Warchus, who has taken over as the new Artisitic Director of the Old Vic Theatre, has announced his first three new productions which will run from September 2015 through to January 2016. The first production will be a new play by Tamsin Oglesby called Future Conditional about the education system. It will be directed by Matthew Warchus and will feature Rob Brydon and a cast of 23 young performers and it will run from 1 September to 3 October 2015. Next will be a revival of Eugene O'Neill The Hairy Ape directed by Richard Jones from 17 October to 21 November 2015. This will then be followed by the final show of the year, David Greig's stage adaption of the children's book Dr. Seuss’s The Lorax. Running over the Christmas season from 2 December 2015 to 16 January 2016, it promises to blend theatrical invention, songs and zany humour in a show recommended for those aged six and above. Booking for all three shows will open on Tuesday 12 May 2015.

Gypsy announces 19 week extension - 'must close' 28 November 2015

It has been announced that Jonathan Kent's acclaimed revival of the Stephen Sondheim and Jule Styne musical Gypsy at the Savoy Theatre which was expected to close on 18 July 2015, has now had its run extended by 19 weeks - and will now close on Saturday 28 November 2015. The cast features Imelda Staunton as 'Rose' and Lara Pulver as 'Gypsy Rose Louise' in this story based during the dying days of the vaudeville circuit in America. When this production opened last week in London Dominic Maxwell in the Times hailed it as being a "stunning revival" while Dominic Cavendish in the Daily Telegraph praised "Jonathan Kent's thrilling account of this Broadway classic [that] offers the unrepeatable chance to witness Imelda Staunton give one of the performances of her career as the manically driven Rose." Gypsy continues up to Saturday 28 November 2015.

Kenneth Branagh in The Entertainer opens 30 August 2016

Rob Ashford's revival of John Osborne's The Entertainer starring Kenneth Branagh opens at the Garrick Theatre on Tuesday 30 August 2016, following public previews from Saturday 20 August. Set against the backdrop of post-war Britain, John Osborne's modern classic conjures the seedy glamour of the old music halls for an explosive examination of public masks and private torment. Presented as part of the Kenneth Branagh's Theatre Company's Plays at the Garrick, the cast features Kenneth Branagh as Archie Rice. The Entertainer will play for a 12 week season up to Saturday 12 November 2016.

Romeo and Juliet starring Lily James and Richard Madden opens 25 May 2016

Kenneth Branagh's new production of Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet opens at the Garrick Theatre on Wednesday 25 May 2016, following public previews from Thursday 12 May. Presented as part of the Kenneth Branagh's Theatre Company's Plays at the Garrick, the cast reunites the stars of his live-action film of Cinderella, Kenneth Branagh directs Richard Madden and Lily James who play the title roles in Shakespeare's heartbreaking tale of forbidden love.. Romeo and Juliet will play for a 12 week season up to Saturday 13 August 2016.

Kenneth Branagh and Rob Brydon in The Painkiller opens 17 March 2016

The West End premiere of Sean Foley's English adaptation of Francis Veber's comedy The Painkiller opens at the Garrick Theatre on Thursday 17 March 2016, following public previews from Saturday 5 March. Two men. Two hotel rooms. Brian Dudley's wife has just left him and he decides there is only one escape from his pain. Ralph Smith is a smooth easy going hitman, who is in the business of 'pain removal'. When the two men cross paths through an adjoining door between their two hotel rooms chaos ensues. One of them is a killer. One of them wants to die. What could possibly go wrong? Presented as part of the Kenneth Branagh's Theatre Company's Plays at the Garrick, the cast features Kenneth Branagh and Rob Brydon. The Painkiller will play for a strictly limited season up to Saturday 30 April 2016.

Terence Rattigan's The Harlequinade opens 7 November 2015

Kenneth Branagh and Rob Ashford's revival of Terence Rattigan's 'back-stage' comedy The Harlequinade opens at the Garrick Theatre on Saturday 7 November 2015, following public previews from Saturday 24 October. A classical theatre company attempts to produce The Winter’s Tale and Romeo and Juliet, while the intrigues and dalliances of the company members are accidently revealed with increasingly chaotic and hysterical consequences, particularly the superannuated, theatrical duo who are rehearsing Romeo and Juliet for the umpteenth time and trying to keep real life at a safe, stagy distance. Presented as part of the Kenneth Branagh's Theatre Company's Plays at the Garrick, the cast features Kenneth Branagh and it will run in repertory with Shakespeare's The Winter's Tale. The Harlequinade will play for a strictly limited season up to Wednesday 13 January 2016.

Judi Dench and Kenneth Branagh in The Winter's Tale opens 7 November 2015

Rob Ashford and Kenneth Branagh's 'reimagined' version of Shakespeare's The Winter's Tale starring Judi Dench and Kenneth Branagh will open at the Garrick Theatre on Saturday 7 November 2015, following public previews from Saturday 17 October 2015. Shakespeare's rich tragicomedy is a magical testament to the follies of hasty judgement and the force of love as a means of reconciliation. Presented as part of the Kenneth Branagh's Theatre Company's Plays at the Garrick, the cast will feature Judi Dench as 'Paulina' and Kenneth Branagh as 'Leontes' and will play in repertory with Terrance Rattigan's Harlequinade. The Winter's Tale will play for a strictly limited season of just 52 performances up to Saturday 16 January 2016.

Gypsy: "a stunning revival of one of the greatest Broadway musicals"

After a sell-out run at the Chichester Festival Theatre, Jonathan Kent's acclaimed revival of the Stephen Sondheim and Jule Styne musical Gypsy starring Imelda Staunton opened at London's Savoy Theatre on Wednesday 15 April 2015. The cast features Imelda Staunton as 'Rose' and Lara Pulver as 'Gypsy Rose Louise' who are both reprising their roles in this story based during the dying days of the vaudeville circuit in America. When this production opened in London Dominic Maxwell in the Times hailed it as being a "stunning revival of one of the greatest Broadway musicals" and Dominic Cavendish in the Daily Telegraph praised "Jonathan Kent's thrilling account of this Broadway classic [that] offers the unrepeatable chance to witness Imelda Staunton give one of the performances of her career as the manically driven Rose." Gypsy will play for a strictly limited season up to Saturday 18 July 2015.

RSC's Death of a Salesman transfers to London 13 May 2015

Following an acclaimed run at their base in Stratford-upon-Avon, the Royal Shakespeare Company's production of Gregory Doran's revival of Arthur Miller's Death of a Salesman will transfer to London's Noel Coward Theatre on Wednesday 13 May 2015, following previews from Saturday 9 May. After a life of honest hard work, it is salesman Willy Loman's birth right to retire with his loving wife whilst his sons continue his legacy. Yet as old age and retirement approaches Willy struggles to reconcile his long cherished dream with the life he has actually lived. The cast features Antony Sher as 'Willy Loman' and Harriet Walter as his wife 'Linda' who both reprise their roles for this West End transfer. When the production opeend in Stratford Paul Taylor in the Independent praised "Antony Sher's piercing performance [that] pulls off the feat of making you cringe and tearing at your heart simultaneously" and Dominic Cavendish in the Daily Telegraph hailed it as being a "superlative revival." Death of a Salesman will play for a strictly limited ten week season up to Saturday 18 July 2015.

Dusty - the multi-media Dustry Springfield musical - opens 3 June 2015

Dusty is a new multi-media musical celebration of the life and music of Dusty Springfield featuring special 3-D technology and digital media along with rare film footage that has only very recently been discovered will open at the Charing Cross Theatre on Wednesday 3 June 2015, following public previews from Monday 25 May 2015. Following the highs and lows of Dusty's rise to fame from middle class suburban London though to the recording of her seminal album Dusty in Memphis, the story is told through the eyes of Nancy Jones, one of Dusty's childhood friends, as well as other key people who featured in her raise to fame. Written by Kim Weild and Duncan Sibbald with direction by Chris Cowey, Dusty will play for a 15 week summer season up to Saturday 22 August 2015.

RSC's Oppenheimer: "staged with theatrical flair"

Following its well received premiere in Stratford, the Royal Shakespeare Company's production of Tom Morton-Smith's new play Oppenheimer, directed by Angus Jackson, transferred to London's West End Vaudeville Theatre on Tuesday 31 March 2015 with John Heffernan reprising his role as 'J Robert Oppenheimer'. Berkeley, California, 1939. The ambitious and charismatic Oppenheimer finds himself uniquely placed to spearhead the largest scientific undertaking in all of human history as he finds himself thrust into a position of power, racing to create a weapon so devastating that it would bring about an end not just to the Second World War, but to all war. When this production transferred to London Fiona Mountford in the London Evening Standard hailed it as being "outstanding" and Kate Bassett in the Times praised how "Angus Jackson's high-energy then quietly mournful production is staged with theatrical flair." Oppenheimer continues for a strictly limited eight week season up to Saturday 23 May 2015.