London Theatre News

"Exhilarating" Kite Runner opens in London 10 January 2017

Following a couple of successful regional tours, Giles Croft's stage production of Khaled Hosseini's best-selling novel The Kite Runner opens in the West End at the Wundham's Theatre on Tuesday 10 January 2017, following public preview from Wednesday 21 December.
For childhood friends, Amir and Hassan, it's a beautiful afternoon in Kabul, Afghanistan. The skies are full of the excitement and joy of a kite-flying tournament. But neither boy can foresee what will happen that afternoon - an event that is to shatter both their lives. Adapted for the stage by Matthew Spangler, this production features Ben Turner as 'Amir'.
When seen on tour Patrick Marmion in The Daily Mail said that, "as the hero and narrator Amir, Ben Turner is outstanding" and Sam Marlowe in The Times highlighted that, although "Giles Croft's production sometimes feels rushed and lacking in weight... where it captures the book's soaring hope and compassion it is exhilarating."
The Kite Runner will play a strictly limited 11 week season up to Saturday 11 March 2017.

"Rollicking good fun" Half a Sixpence transfers to London 17 November 2016

It has been officially confirmed that Rachel Kavanaugh's acclaimed revival of the musical Half a Sixpence, a hit at the Chichester Festival Theatre earlier this year, will transfer to London's Noel Coward Theatre on Thursday 17 November 2016, following public previews from Saturday 29 October.
The musical - best known for the show-stopping 'Flash, Bang, Wallop' song - is about Arthur Kipps, an orphan who works as a draper's assistant in Folkestone, at the turn of the last century - but then he unexpectedly inherits a fortune that propels him into high society.
'Arthur Kipps' was origianlly played by Tommy Steele in the 1963 staging and the 1967 film. In this, the show's first West End revival, it will be played by Charlie Stemp who is reprising his role from the Chichester Festival Theatre season which was hailed by Sam Marlowe in The Times as being "rollicking good fun" and by Gary Shipton in The i Newspaper as being "a genuine masterpiece... a triumph."
Half a Sixpence is currently booking up to Saturday 11 February 2017.

Kenneth Branagh in The Entertainer "is never less than thoroughly arresting"

Rob Ashford's revival of John Osborne's The Entertainer starring Kenneth Branagh as 'Archie Rice' opened at the Garrick Theatre on Tuesday 30 August 2016.
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. The cast also features Gawn Grainger and Greta Scacchi.
When this production opened Paul Taylor in The i Newspaper highlighted how "Kenneth Branagh rises to the occasion with a performance that is never less than thoroughly arresting," while in The Guardian Michael Billington noted that, "while Kenneth Branagh is never less than fascinating to watch," adding how director Rob Ashford "gives us a razzle-dazzle show but, for all Branagh's skill, it is not quite the one John Osborne intended." The Entertainer continues up to Saturday 12 November 2016.

Vincent Simone & Flavia Cacace in The Last Tango opens 28 September 2016

Acclaimed Argentine Tango Champion dancers Vincent Simone and Flavia Cacace present their brand new show The Last Tango in London opening at the Phoenix Theatre on Wednesday 28 September 2016, following public previews from Thursday 22 September.
After twenty amazing years of dancing together Vincent Simone and Flavia Cacace have finally decided to say goodbye to the stage in this thrilling, new, live performance - yes, it's time for The Last Tango.
This is the couple's third West End and it comes into London's West End following a hugely successful UK and Ireland tour.
The Last Tango will play a strictly limited 11 week season up to Saturday 3 December 2016.

42nd Street revival returns to Drury Lane on 4 April 2017

Having wowed London audiences for over 3,500 performances in the late 1980's - it has now been confirmed that the West End's first major revival of the classic 'tap-dancing' musical 42nd Street will return to it's original London - the Theatre Royal Drury Lane - on Tuesday 4 April 2017, following public previews from Monday 20 March.
This timeless, inspiring tale of small town Peggy Sawyer's rise from chorus line to Broadway star is a backstage musical set to get you tpping your feet away to such songs as We're in the Money, Lullaby of Broadway, Shuffle Off To Buffalo, Keep Young and Beautiful, I Only Have Eyes For You and, of course, the spectacular title number.
This eagerly awaited brand new production is directed by the musical's book writer Mark Bramble and features choreography by Randy Skinner. 42nd Street at the Theatre Royal Drury Lane is currently booking up to Saturday 22 July 2017.

Guys and Dolls to close 21 August 2016 after eight month run

It has been confirmed that the musical Guys and Dolls at the Phoenix Theatre will close after a run of eight months on Saturday 21 August 2016.
Gordon Greenberg's revival of Guys and Dolls, featuring choreography by Carlos Acosta and Andrew Wright, was originally seen at the Chichester Festival Theatre in West Sussex before it transferred last December to the Savoy Theatre to critical acclaim with Quentin Letts in the Daily Mail hailing it as a "blistering production... with inventive choreography and extensive use of dry ice and blue lighting, there is no shortage of spectacle" and Sarah Hemming in The Financial Times saying that "Gordon Greenberg's revival is irresistible... this is a warm-hearted, effervescent show, sprinkled with scintillating choreography." The production transferred to the Phoenix Theatre to continue it's West End run, but that has now been cut four months short of it's current booking period. The closure also coincides with the depart of the show's current star: Rebel Wilson as 'Miss Adelaide'.

London Theatre News - July 2016

Beverley Knight in The Bodyguard "is astounding"

Having already enjoyed a near two year run in the West End in 2012, Thea Sharrock's stage musical The Bodyguard - adapted from the 1992 film - returned to London when it opened at the Dominion Theatre on Thursday 21 July 2016 for a strictly limited six month season.
Beverley Knight plays the role of 'Rachel Marron', made famous in the film version by Whitney Houston. When this production opened Lucinda Everett in The Daily Telegraph highlighted how Beverley Knight powers "through the hits with vocal acrobatics that (almost) live up to Whitney Houston's, she is astounding to watch. With Knight at its head, this fun, if flawed, show could be one of this year's most successful revivals." In The Times, Ann Treneman hailed "Beverley Knight's stage-storming confidence... her voice, singing some of Whitney's best songs, wraps round the evening and, more than once, it sent shivers down my spine... she really is queen of that stage." The Bodyguard continues up to Saturday 7 January 2017.

Mark Rylance in Nice Fish opens 25 November 2016

It has been announced that the West End premiere of Louis Jenkins and Mark Rylance's new comedy Nice Fish will take place at the Harold Pinter Theatre on Friday 25 November 2016, following previews from Tuesday 15 November.
Written for the stage by Mark Rylance and Louis Jenkins from the writings of Louis Jenkins, ice Fish is set on a frozen Minnesota lake at the end of the 'season' when the ice is beginning to creak and groan. Two men are out on the ice angling for answers to life's larger questions.
Claire van Kampen's acclaimed New York staging - presented at St Ann's Warehouse in Brooklyn during February and March 2016 - comes to the West End with the entire New York cast of Mark Rylance, Jim Lichtscheidl, Kayli Carter, Bob Davis and Raye Birk.
Nice Fish will play a limited eight week season up to Saturday 21 February 2016.

The Truth: "Brilliant - 90 minutes zinging with wit"

Following a run at the Menier Chocolate Factory, Lindsay Posner's acclaimed staging of Florian Zellerís play The Truth opened at the West End's Wyndham's Theatre on Monday 27 June 2016.
A tale of two couples that explores friendship, deceit and suspicion. The cast features Alexander Hanson, Tanya Franks, Robert Portal and Frances O'Connor who are all reprising their roles from the original March 2016 Menier Chocolate Factory staging.
When this production opened at the Wyndham's Theatre John Nathan in The London Metro praised it as "a brilliant European comedy that lifts the layers of lies shrouding many a marriage." Neil Norman in The Daily Express praised how the "quartet of terrific actors keeps the 90 minutes zinging with wit and cavalier intimacy... this is a stinging boulevard comedy that combines Pinter with Moliere and leaves you wanting more."
The Truth is playing for a limited ten week season up to Saturday 3 September 2016.

Bugsy Malone is back - "completely glorious"

Following an acclaimed and extended season laast year, Sean Holmes' stage revival of Alan Parker's musical Bugsy Malone returned to the Lyric Theatre in Hammersmith on Friday 24 June 2016 for a 'strictly limited' twelve week season.
A spoof 1920s musical set in Prohibition New York - a world of splurge-gun toting gangsters, show-girls and dreamers.
When this production opened last week Claire Allfree in The Daily Telegraph hailed it as being "completely glorious," Fiona Mountford in The London Evening Standard said that "this delightful show deserves enthusiastic audiences of all ages," and Kate Maltby in The Times thought that "this Bugsy Malone retains the joyous collectivity of a village barn dance... gloriously good, clean fun."
Bugsy Malone continues up to Sunday 4 September 2016.

Today in 1994

The Queen and I: "the incapacity of the privileged in an alien environment"

Following a run at London's Royal Court Theatre, Out of Joint's inaugural production of Max Stafford-Clark's stage presentation of Sue Townsend's novel The Queen and I transferred to the West End's Vaudeville Theatre on 19 October.
Following the election of a republican party, the Royal Family are sent to live on a Leicester council estate. The cast for this West End transfer is lead by Paula Wilcox as 'The Queen' and David Horovitch as 'Prince Philip'.
When the production opened Michael Billington in The Guardian explained that "it deals with the incapacity of the privileged in an alien environment. And it is at its satirical best when the royals are exposed to the same daily humiliations as their former subjects... Admittedly the inversion-joke runs out of steam in the second act and Sue Townsend leaves you unclear whether she thinks the monarchy should be abolished or drastically altered," while Jeremy Kingston in The Times thought that "any sour feelings at the end will not be at our country's downfall but at the play's failure to make a better dramatic impact from it."
Notable for being one of the very first 'legitimate' West End plays to depict living Royalty on stage, The Queen and I, which had already enjoyed a good run at the Royal Court Theatre, run in the West End for a very respectable three-and-a-half months before closing on 28 January.