London Theatre News - July 2016

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 Zeller’s 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.

London Theatre News - June 2016

Nina Conti's "gut-bustingly funny show" In Your Face returns 7 to 17 September 2016

Back by public demand! Following a short season at the Criterion Theatre earlier that year, Nina Conti: In Your Face returns to the Criterion Theatre from Wednesday 7 September 2016 for a strictly limited run of just twelve performances.
Bursting with fresh and astonishing spontaneity, British comedy award winning ventriloquist Nina Conti uses face masks to turn her audience members into puppets and improvises a hilarious new show every night. No two shows are ever the same. Expect the unexpected!
When this production was last seen at the Criterion Theatre, Bruce Dessau in The London Evening Standard hailed it as being "a frequently mind-blowing mix of script and improvisation" while Chris Bennion in The Daily Telegraph hailed it as being "a gut-bustingly funny show... that's as inventive as it is hilarious."
Nina Conti: In Your Face will run from Wednesday 7 through to Saturday 17 September 2016.

The Comedy About a Bank Robbery goes on two week haitus

It has been announced that the hit new comedy The Comedy About A Bank Robbery at the Criterion Theatre will go on a two week break with no performances from Monday 5 through to Monday 19 September 2016 inclusive.
While not common in the West End, it is not unusual for a show to go on a complete performance break, for example Sweeney Todd at the Adelphi Theatre had a two week break in 2012 to avoid clashing with the London Olympics, other times it allows standard cast holidays or a change of cast such as Priscilla Queen of the Desert the Musical at the Palace Theatre in 2010 and 2011 or Tell Me On A Sunday at the Gielgud Theatre in 2003.
What is unusual this time though, is that the break will be filled with the return of Nina Conti: In Your Face for a run of twelve performances - having already played a sell-out season at the Criterion Theatre just prior to The Comedy About A Bank Robbery opening back in March 2016. The Comedy About A Bank Robbery is currently booking up to 23 April 2017.

Open Air Theatre's Henry V: "a revelatory revival"

Robert Hastie's revival of William Shakespeare's Henry V - starring Michelle Terry in the title role - opened at the Open Air Theatre in Regent's Park on Wednesday 22 June 2016.
As England triumphs at the Battle of Agincourt during her quest to win the French crown, Henry V becomes one of the great warrior kings leading 'we happy few, we band of brothers'.
When this production opened Henry Hitchings in The London Evening Standard praised how Michelle Terry gives "a lucid, fresh performance," while Michael Billington in The Guardian highlighted that "Robert Hastie’s highly intelligent production gives the casting a context." In The Daily Telegraph Dominic Cavendish hailed "Robert Hastie's revelatory revival of Henry V," saying that "the whole show delivers a vital wake-up jolt to us all in terms of reinvigorating the Shakespeare canon."
Henry V continues up to Saturday 9 July 2016.

"Stunning & Ingenious" 1984 extends to 29 October 2016

Headlong Theatre Company's acclaimed stage adapation of George Orwell's 1984, which is currently playing at the Playhouse Theatre, has announced a special eight week extension to it's West End season and will now close on Saturday 29 October 2016.
This is the production's third season in the West End since 2014. When this production was previously seen Dominic Maxwell in the Times hailed it being "stunning" saying it was "a chilling, relentlessly ingenious 100 minutes" while in The Guardian Michael Billington said it "offers a new perspective on a familiar work."
1984 will play for an extended 20 week season up to Saturday 29 October 2016.

David Baddiel's "hugely funny" My Family: Not the Sitcom opens 15 September 2016

Following a sell-out run last month at the Menier Chocolate Factory, it has been confirmed that David Baddiel's My Family: Not the Sitcom will transfer to the West End's Vaudeville Theatre on Thursday 15 September 2016, following public previews from 12 September.
David Baddiel's new solo stand-up show deals with memory, ageing, infidelity and dysfunctional relatives.
When this production was seen at the Menier Chocolate Factory Bruce Dessau in The London Evening Standard hailed it as being "a brilliant cocktail of smutty revelations, smart insights and hilarious nitpicking about grammar." Chris Bennion in The Daily Telegraph described how it "bubbles with love and unexpected joie de vivre," while in The Times Dominic Maxwell praised it as being "a hugely funny show pitched somewhere between eulogy and comedy roast... if you are going to disrespect the dead and the incapacitated, do it like this: truthfully, inventively and, finally, lovingly."
David Baddiel's My Family: Not the Sitcom will play for a strictly limited five week season up to Saturday 15 October 2016.

"Beautiful Funny Impossible" La Soirée returns to London 11 November 2016

The hit cabaret show La Soirée returns to London this Christmas, opening at The Spiegeltent located in Leicester Square on Friday 11 November 2016.
Returning to London for it's fifth season since 2010, this show promises to once again amaze audiences with it's heady cocktail of cabaret, new burlesque, circus sideshow and contemporary variety in an inspirational night of live entertainment.
When this production was originally seen at the Southbank's Big Top Tent in October 2010 Brian Logan in The Guardian exclaimed: "Beautiful. Funny. Impossible. La Soiree's triumph is that there's not a single moment when one, two or all three of those terms don't apply." In The Daily Telegraph Charles Spencer wrote that "frankly, good nights out don't come much better than La Soiree... mixing good humour and glamour with a thrilling frisson of danger."
La Soirée plays for a limited eight week season up to Sunday 8 January 2017.

Scooby-Doo Live! Musical Mysteries from 18 to 21 August 2016

A new musical stage version of Scooby-Doo Live! Musical Mysteries is being presented at the London Palladium from Thursday 18 through to Saturday 21 August 2016.
Based on the popular children's cartoon series, in this brand new family show Scooby-Doo gang have been called upon to help solve an epic mystery - there's a trouble-making ghost haunting a West End theatre, but don't worry, Shaggy, Fred, Daphne, Velma and, of course, Scooby-Doo are on their way and bringing the Mystery Machine with them to crack this spooky and theatrical case.
Featuring the original Scooby-Doo TV show theme – 'Scooby-Doo, Where Are You?' – along with brand new songs created just for this stage show. Scooby-Doo Live! Musical Mysteries will have a strictly limited four day run, with three performances daily in the morning, lunchtime and afternoon.

How the Other Half Loves extends run by moving theatres

It has been confirmed that Alan Strachan's acclaimed revival of Alan Ayckbourn's comedy How The Other Half Loves which closes at the Haymarket Theatre on Saturday 25 June 2016 following a three month run, will keep playing by transferring to the Duke of York's Theatre from Thursday 7 July 2016.
When this production originally opened in March 2016 Dominic Maxwell in The Times praised "Alan Strachan's expert revival" which,", after a slow first half-hour in which it establishes its bold theatrical conceit - you soon find yourself in the midst of one of the funniest shows in town... laugh builds on laugh, tension on tension, till the bittersweet end." Dominic Cavendish in The Daily Telegraph hailed it as a "delightful revival" while in The Daily Mail Quentin Letts said that that although "things take a while to get going... the acting is so good, and the characters sufficiently timeless, that the show eventually soars... thoroughly jolly revival."
How the Other Half Loves will play for a three month run at the Duke of York's Theatre up to Saturday 1 October 2016.

The Railway Children to shutter 8 January 2017

It has been confirmed that Damian Cruden's 'site-specific' production of Mike Kenny's stage adaptation of Edith Nesbit's novel The Railway Children will close at the especially built Kings Cross Theatre at the end of its current booking period, on Sunday 8 January 2017, after a run of two years - and a total London run of three years, including two previous six month seasons at the former Eurostar terminus at Waterloo in 2010 and 2011.
The moving story of Bobby, Peter and Phyllis - three children whose lives change dramatically when their father is mysteriously taken away. They move from London to a cottage in rural Yorkshire with their mother where they befriend the local railway porter and embark on a magical journey of discovery, friendship and adventure.
When this production opened at the King's Cross Theatre in January 2015, Ben Lawrence in the Daily Telegraph highlighted that "the staging is magnificent, and director Damian Cruden skilfully weaves the haphazard plot through a complex sequence of moving stages," while William Moore in the London Evening Standard praised "Damian Cruden's delightful production."
The Railway Children at the Kings Cross Station Theatre continues up to Sunday 8 January 2017.

Disney's Aladdin: "breathtaking special effects"

The West End transfer of Disney's new Broadway musical Aladdin opened at London's Prince Edward Theatre on Wednesday 15 June 2016.
Featuring the timeless songs from the classic Disney animated film including A Whole New World, Friend Like Me and Arabian Nights along with new music especially written for this live stage production that promises to take audiences into a world filled with beauty, comedy and breath-taking spectacle.
When this production opened Paul Taylor in The i Newspaper hailed the "breathtaking special effects" while Ann Treneman in The Times described it as, "not so much a musical as a spectacle."
Disney's Aladdin is currently booking up to 11 February 2017.

Kink's musical Sunny Afternoon to shutter 29 October 2016

It has been announced that the musical Sunny Afternoon will close at the end of it's current booking period on Saturday 29 October 2016 after a run of two in the West End.
The production transferred to the West End in October 2014 following a critically acclaimed run at the Hampstead Theatre in North London. Based on the music of Ray Davies and The Kinks, the musical exploring their rise to stardom, set against the back-drop of a Britain caught mid-swing between the conservative 50s and riotous 60s, and showing both the euphoric highs and agonising lows of one of Britain’s most iconic bands and the irresistible music that influenced generations.
Quentin Letts in the Daily Mail hailed it as being "a blaster of a show - it's a guitar-riffing, amp-smashing drum-whacker of a night," and Ian Shuttleworth in the Financial Times said the musical "works fantastically well."
Sunny Afternoon continues at the Harold Pinter Theatre up to 29 October 2016.

Hobson's Choice: "a handsome & enjoyable production"

Following a successful regional tour, Jonathan Church's revival of Harold Brighouse's Hobson's Choice opened at London's Vaudeville Theatre on Tuesday 14 June 2016.
The cast for this story about shoe shop owner Henry Horatio Hobson and his unmarried daughters features Martin Shaw in the title role with Christopher Timothy as 'Jim Heeler'.
When this production opened in London Claire Allfree in The Daily Telegraph highlighted how "Martin Shaw is on fine form as Hobson," while in The Financial Times Sarah Hemming said that in "Jonathan Church’s handsome, enjoyable production... the staging finds its backbone in two excellent performances from Naomi Frederick as Maggie and Bryan Dick as Willie." Henry Hitchings in The London Evening Standard described it as being "a gently enjoyable interpretation — its preference for cosiness rather than grittiness apparent in Simon Higlett’s richly detailed period design."
Hobson's Choice will play up to Saturday 10 September 2016.

Hamilton comes to London from October 2017

Fresh from winning 11 Tony Awards - including for Best Musical - it has now been confirmed that the new smash hit Broadway musical Hamilton will transfer to London's West End, with performances at the Victoria Palace Theatre expected to begin in October 2017.
Written by Lin-Manuel Miranda, the musical is based on Ron Chernow's biography of American 'Founding Father' Alexander Hamilton with a score that blends rap, hip-hop, pop, blues and jazz. The musical has played to standing room only on Broadway since it opened in August 2015 following a completely sold out Off-Broadway run in February 2015.
Hamilton will be the first production to re-open the Victoria Palace Thetre which is undergoing a major refurbishment following the closure of the theatre's last show, Billy Elliot in March this year. Further details about Hamilton are expected to be announced shortly.

20th Anniversary Rent opens 13 December 2016

Bruce Guthrie's revival of Jonathan Larson's Tony Award and Pulitzer Prizing winning musical Rent opens at London's St James Theatre on Tuesday 13 December 2016, following public previews from Thursday 8 December.
Inspired by Puccini's classic opera La Boheme this landmark musical tells the story of a group of impoverished young artists struggling to survive in New York City's East Village. This production marks the 20th Anniversary of the show's Broadway opening in 1996.
Rent the Musical will play for a limited seven weekseason up to Saturday 28 January 2017.

The Go Between: "enthralling & beautifully textured"

The new stage musical adaptation of LP Hartley's The Go Between starring Michael Crawford opened at the Apollo Theatre on Tuesday 7 June 2016.
When this production opened Paul Taylor in The i Newspaper described it as an "enthralling, beautifully textured chamber-musical, which, "while faithful to the original, has a striking imaginative integrity in its own right." Quentin Letts in The Daily Mail commented that "this complex evening will not suit all tastes but you leave the theatre touched by the beauty of lost promise," while in The Daily Express Neil Norman said that "veteran entertainer Michael Crawford makes a quietly triumphant return to the stage after a five-year absence," adding that "the score by Richard Taylor and David Wood is superb with beautifully crafted shifts in tone."
The Go Between is playing for a limited four month season up to Saturday 15 October 2016.

The Spoils: "genuinely funny and intelligent"

Scott Elliott's European premiere of Jesse Eisenberg's new comedy The Spoils opened at London's Trafalgar Studios on Thursday 2 June 2016 with cast that features Jesse Eisenberg, Kunal Nayyar, Alfie Allen.
When this production opened Dominic Cavendish in The Daily Telegraph said it was "the most compulsive slice of American neurotica I've seen in a long while... as light as paper but with satisfyingly sharp edges, a hoot and, I expect, a summer hit." Paul Taylor in The i Newspaper thought, "while not perfect, it’s a genuinely funny and intelligent study of the corrosive penalties of American privilege and sense of entitlement... recommended," while in The Guardian Michael Billington highlighted that "Jesse Eisenberg is compelling to watch."
The Spoils continues up to Saturday 13 August 2016.