London Theatre News

Imperium - "vivid... zippy... and entertaining" - transfers to London's West End 30 June 2018

Following an acclaimed run at the RSC Swan Theatre in Stratford last year, it has now been confirmed that Gregory Doran's production of Mike Poulton's two-part stage adaption of Robert Harris's Cicero trilogy - presented under the title of Imperium - will transfer to London's West End, opening at the Gielgud Theatre on Saturday 30 June 2018, following public previews from Thursday 14 June.
Imperium Part I: Conspirator: Told through the watchful eyes of Cicero’s loyal secretary, Conspirator chronicles how the great orator’s early success unwittingly paves the way for a brutal and bloody end to the Republic.
Imperium Part II: Dictator: With Rome in chaos at the beginning of Dictator, Cicero must use all his brilliance to restore the power of the Senate from the civic mob and their would-be Emperor, one Julius Caesar.
When these productions where originally seen in Stratford in December 2017, Henry Hitchings in the London Evening Standard praised the "vivid scenes... zippy fluency" and the "instructive and entertaining vision of one of history's great self-made heavyweights," while Dominic Maxwell in the Times highlighted hailed the "plain-speaking, propulsive, epic theatre" of "director Gregory Doran's poised, beautifully acted productions."
Imperium Part I: Conspirator and Imperium Part II: Dictator will run in repertory at London's Gielgud Theatre up to Satuday 8 September 2018.

The Jungle - "an important, deeply moving piece of theatre" - transfers to West End 5 July 2018

Following an acclaimed run at London's Young Vic Theatre, Stephen Daldry and Justin Martin's production of Joe Murphy and Joe Robertson's new play The Jungle will transfer to the West End's Playhouse Theatre on Thursday 5 July 2018, following public previews from Saturday 16 June.
Meet the hopeful, resilient residents of the Calais "Jungle" – Europe’s largest unofficial refugee camp, and a temporary home for more than 10,000 people at its peak. Okot wants nothing more than to get to the UK. Beth wants nothing more than to help him.
For this production the stalls and stage area has been completely re-configured to accommodate Miriam Buether's set.
When this production opened at the Young Vic Theatre in December 2017 Dominic Maxwell in the Times highlighted that "there is an urgency, vividness and wit to this show... a remarkable evening." Sarah Hemming in the Financial Times hailed "this remarkable, compassionate and urgent play," that is "flecked with wit, but also maintains a tense, simmering uneasiness... It's an important, deeply moving piece of theatre that challenges us to face this terrible, intractable crisis."
The Jungle is scheduled to play at the Playhouse Theatre in London up to Saturday 3 November 2018.

Nina Raine's "smart and viciously entertaining" Consent transfers to West End 29 May 2018

Following an acclaimed run at London's National Theatre, it has been confirmed that Roger Michell's production of Nina Raine's new play Consent will transfer to the West End's Harold Pinter Theatre on Tuesday 29 May 2018, following public previews from Friday 18 May.
Friends Ed and Matt take opposing briefs in a rape case. The key witness is a woman whose life seems a world away from theirs. At home, their own lives begin to unravel as every version of the truth is challenged. A powerful, painful and funny play that sifts the evidence from every side and puts justice in the dock. Is Justice blind, is it impartial, or is it blinkered?
When this production was originally seen at the National Theatre's Dorfman Theatre in April 2017, Dominic Cavendish in the Daily Telegraph praised it as being "a tense, entertaining modern-day tragi-comedy" that is "stylishly directed by Roger Michell." Neil Norman in the Daily Express hailed it as being "a smart and viciously entertaining evening."
Consent is curently scheduled to play at the Harold Pinter Theatre in London up to Saturday 11 August 2018.

Cirque Berserk!: "Gripping grown up fun" - returns 19 April 2018

Following two seasons at London's Peacock Theatre, Cirque Berserk! returns to London, opening at the West End's Harold Pinter Theatre on 19 April 2018 for a three week season.
Showcasing the finest in traditional circus thrills and skills, Zippo's Cirque Berserk! brings this treasured form of live entertainment bang up-to-date in a jaw-dropping spectacular created especially for the theatre in a show that combines contemporary cirque-style artistry with adrenaline-fuelled stunt action.
When this show was seen previously in London, Donald Hutera in The Times sais that "this home-grown slice of slightly new-fangled but essentially traditional contemporary circus is an all-ages commercial entertainment," adding how "the show doesn't waste time when it comes to offering blood-warming thrills and spills." Eminda Haddlesey in the Daily Express commented that, "anarchic and outrageous, this is gripping grown up fun that makes you wish you were a kid again so you could run away and join the circus. Big, brash and totally Berserkus."
Cirque Berserk! will play a strictly limited four week season at the Harold Pinter Theatre in London up to Monday 7 May 2018.

The Best Man: "Slick, pacy and packed with great dialogue"

Simon Evans' West End Premiere of Gore Vidal's 1960 political thriller The Best Man opened at London's Playhouse Theatre on Monday 5 March 2018.
How far would you go to be the most powerful man in the world? Two opposing presidential party candidates are neck and neck in an unscrupulous battle for the nomination. The only thing that separates the ex-Secretary of State and his populist opponent is an endorsement from a respected ex-President. But where does compromise end and corruption begin? And who in the end will be proved to be 'The Best Man'?
The cast features Martin Shaw and Jeff Fahey as the two candidates, with Jack Shepherd, Glynis Barber, Honeysuckle Weeks and Maureen Lipman.
When this production opened Neil Norman in the Daily Express praised it as being "slick, pacy and packed with great dialogue, this is dirty tricks a gogo on an elevated level" and Ann Treneman in the Times hailed how "Martin Shaw is perfectly cast... Jack Shepherd is superb... but Maureen Lipman almost steals the show as the Democratic grande dame Mrs Gamadge."
The Best Man continues at the Playhouse Theatre in London up to Saturday 12 May 2018.

Fanny and Alexander: "Delivers high-grade character acting"

Max Webster's production of Ingmar Bergman's Fanny and Alexander, adapted for the stage by Stephen Beresford, opened at London's Old Vic Theatre on Thursday 1 March 2018.
Sweden in the 1900s. Sister and brother, Fanny and Alexander's world is suddently turned upside down when their widowed mother remarries the iron-willed local bishop. As creative freedom and rigid orthodoxy clash, a war ensues between imagination and austerity in this magical study of childhood, family and love.
The cast features Penelope Wilton and Michael Pennington with Jonathan Slinger, Catherine Walker and Kevin Doyle.
When this production opened Quentin Letts in the Daily Mail highlighted how "Max Webster’s production has tableaux to ravish the eye and enough quirks to keep the clock ticking along so the evening’s three-and-a-half hours (or more) seldom seem to lag... The ensemble delivers high-grade character acting," while Neil Norman in the Daily Express described how "there are some banal and even boring scenes which prevent the production from achieving greatness. But beautiful performances compensate for the occasional lacklustre sequences."
Fanny and Alexander continues at the Old Vic Theatre in London up to Saturday 14 April 2018.

Frozen: "Suranne Jones is simply terrific - Jason Watkins is astonishing"

Jonathan Munby's revival of Bryony Lavery's play Frozen opened at London's Haymarket Theatre on Tuesday 20 February 2018.
One sunny evening, 10-year-old Rhoda goes missing. Her mother, Nancy, retreats into a state of frozen hope. Agnetha, an American academic comes to England to research a thesis Serial Killing - a forgivable act? Then there's Ralph, a loner with a bit of previous who's looking for some distraction...
The cast features Suranne Jones, Jason Watkins and Nina Sosanya.
When this production opened Michael Billington in the Guardian highlighted that, "first seen 20 years ago, Bryony Lavery's play has lost none of its power to shock... An astute production by Jonathan Munby and a highly accomplished cast ensures that we look beyond the immediate horror of the situation to ask questions about society’s, and our own, instinctive hunger for retribution." Neil Norman in the Daily Express said that "Suranne Jones is simply terrific as the mother... Nina Sosanya does what she can with Agnetha, which is a lot... Jason Watkins is astonishing."
Frozen continues at the Haymarket Theatre in London up to Saturday 5 May 2018.

All or Nothing transfers to Ambassadors Theatre 28 March 2018

It has been announced that, due to popular demand, Carol Harrison's production of the 'Small Faces' musical All Or Nothing - which is currently playing at London's Arts Theatre up to 11 March 2018 - will transfer to the Ambassadors Theatre from Wednesday 28 March 2018.
Described as the 'Mod Musical', Carol Harrison's All Or Nothing follows the rise and fall of the 1960s English pop band Small Faces.
The cast features Chris Simmons and Carol Harrison as 'Steve and Kay Marriott'.
All or Nothing is scheduled to play a ten-week season at the London's Ambassadors Theatre up to Saturday 2 June 2018.

"Affectionate and affecting": The Wipers Times returns to London 18 October 2018

Following a two month run last year, it has now been confirmed that Caroline Leslie's production of Ian Hislop and Nick Newman's 'First World War' play The Wipers Times will return to London's Arts Theatre, opening on Thursday 18 October 2018, following public previews from Monday 15 October.
In a bombed out building during the First World War in the Belgian town of Ypres (mis-pronounced Wipers by British soldiers), two officers discover a printing press and create a newspaper for the troops. The true and extraordinary story of the satirical newspaper - The Wipers Times - created in the mud and mayhem of the Somme.
When the production was seen in London last year Sam Marlowe in the Times said that "it's a bright, bouncy comic strip of a show that raises a sincere salute to the soldiers for whom laughter was a vital psychological defence against the horrors and privations of the conflict... the play has a respect for its subject matter that is deadly serious, and decidedly affecting," and Sarah Hemming in the Financial Times explained that "the result is an affectionate and affecting celebration of the British capacity for waggishness in the face of disaster."
The Wipers Times is scheduled to play a seven-week season up to Saturday 1 December 2018.

Long Day's Journey Into Night: "Shatteringly good... unmissable"

Richard Eyre's revival of Eugene O'Neill's play Long Day's Journey into Night opened at London's Wyndham's Theatre on 6 February 2018.
Set in August 1912, Eugene O'Neill's masterpiece unfolds over one long summer's day in the life of the troubled Tyrone family - James and Mary Tyrone and their sons, Jamie and Edmund. An extraordinary psychological epic, centring around the Mother's painful decline into morphine addiction, with all four family members battle their demons, their pasts, and one another in four extraordinary personal struggles as the family disintegrates into physical and spiritual ruin.
The cast stars Jeremy Irons and Lesley Manville as the parents 'James and Mary, with Matthew Beard and Rory Keenan as their two sons.
When this production opened Henry Hitchings in the London Evening Standard praised this "magnetic revival" that "has a naked emotional power that's genuinely absorbing," while Paul Taylor in the i newspaper hailed how "Richard Eyre's revival is shatteringly good... an unmissable masterpiece."
Long Day's Journey into Night continues to play at the Wyndham's Theatre in London up to Saturday 7 April 2018.

Jonathan Pryce and Eileen Atkins in The Height of the Storm opens 9 October 2018

It has been confirmed that Jonathan Kent's production of Florian Zeller's new play The Height of the Storm will open at London's Wyndham's Theatre on Tuesday 9 October 2018, following public previews from 2 October.
André and Madeleine have been in love for over fifty years. This weekend, as their daughters visit, something feels unusual. A bunch of flowers arrives, but who sent them? A woman from the past turns up, but who is she? And why does André feel like he isn’t there at all?
Translated and adapted Christopher Hampton, this production stars Jonathan Pryce and Eileen Atkins in the two lead roles.
The Height of the Storm is scheduled to play a limited two month at the Wyndham's Theatre in London, up to Saturday 1 December 2018.

Ian McKellen as King Lear: 'A Truimph' - transfers to London 25 July 2018

Following an acclaimed season last year at the Chichester Festival Theatre's Minerva Theatre, Jonathan Munby's revival of Shakespeare's King Lear - starring Ian McKellen in the title role - transfers to London's West End, opening at the Duke of York's Theatre on Wednesday 25 July 2018, following public previews from Wednesday 11 July.
Old King Lear resolves to share the British kingdom between his three daughters on the condition that they declare their love for him unconditionally. Cordelia, his youngest daughter, refuses to do so, is banished and the kingdom is divided between his two elder daughters. The two sisters divest Lear of his remaining power and eventually turn him out into a stormy night.
Featuring an intimate staging, this contemporary, dystopian production places audiences at the centre of the storm as family and state are plunged into a violent power struggle with shocking ends.
When this production was originally seen at the Chichester Festival Theatre's Minerva Theatre in September 2017 Henry Hitchings in the London Evening Standard highlighted that "it is Ian McKellen's detailed performance that's the production's triumph" while in the Daily Express Neil Norman said that "director Jonathan Munby maintains the momentum of a political thriller," adding that "Ian McKellen is never less than astonishing, underplaying Lear's descent to create a portrait of a pitiful, broken old man that is moving beyond belief... Don't miss."
King Lear will play a strictly limited 15-week season of six-peformances-a-week up to Saturday 3 November 2018.

Martin Shaw and Maureen Lipman in Gore Vidal's The Best Man - opens 5 March 2018

Simon Evans's West End Premiere of Gore Vidal's 1960 American political thriller The Best Man opens at the Playhouse Theatre on Monday 5 March 2018, following previews from Saturday 24 February.
How far would you go to be the most powerful man in the world? Two opposing presidential party candidates are neck and neck in an unscrupulous battle for the nomination. The only thing that separates the ex-Secretary of State and his populist opponent is an endorsement from a respected ex-President. But where does compromise end and corruption begin? And who in the end will be proved to be 'The Best Man'?
The cast features Martin Shaw, Glynis Barber, Jeff Fahey, Honeysuckle Weeks, Jack Shepherd and Maureen Lipman.
The Best Man will play a nine-week season up to Saturday 12 May 2018.

Mary Stuart: "Electric... the play crackles with energy and intensity"

Following an acclaimed sold-out run at North London's Almeida Theatre earlier this year, Robert Icke's new production of Friedrich Schiller's Mary Stuart transferred to the West End's Duke of York's Theatre on Thursday 25 January 2018.
This thrilling play tells the story of Mary Queen of Scots and her cousin, Queen Elizabeth I. Mary has been held prisoner for nineteen years. Will her cousin be seen to sentence her to death? When the two women meet there is an energetic fusion of passionate main plots and counter-plots... Two queens. One in power. One in prison. It's all in the execution.
Both Juliet Stevenson and Lia Williams are reprising their roles from the Almeida Theatre - before the start of each performance they will decide by the toss of a coin which role they will play - either 'Mary Stuart, Queen of Scots' or 'Queen Elizabeth I'.
When this production opened at the Duke of York's Theatre Fiona Mountford in the London Evening Standard hailed this "fluid and thrilling modern-dress adaptation," adding that both Juliet Stevenson and Lia Williams "are outstanding," while Ann Treneman in the Times praised how, "when the two queens meet it becomes electric," and "the play crackles with energy and intensity as the two sides fight it out."
Mary Stuart continues at the Duke of York's Theatre in London up to Saturday 31 March 2018.

Beginning: "Beautifully observed - wise, tender and funny"

Following an acclaimed run at the National Theatre's Dorfman Theatre last year, Polly Findlay's production of David Eldridge's new play Beginning transferred to the West End's Ambassadors Theatre on Tuesday 23 January 2018.
Every story starts somewhere. It's the early hours of the morning and Danny's the last straggler at Laura's party. The flat's in a mess. And so are they. One more drink?... A tender and funny look at the first fragile moments of risking your heart and taking a chance.
The cast for this two-hander features Justine Mitchell and Sam Troughton who are both reprising their roles from the National Theatre staging.
When this production opened at the Ambassadors Theatre in January 2018 Henry Hitchings in the London Evening Standard praised this "beautifully observed portrait of lonely people navigating the awkwardness of lust and longing. It's wise, tender and funny... Justine Mitchell perfectly captures the conflict in Laura", and "as Danny, Sam Troughton has a slightly richer role, and he's superb", while in the Times Chris Bennion explained how "David Eldridge's bruising, painfully real rom-com two-hander takes the everyday and makes it extraordinary."
Beginning continues at the Ambassadors Theatre in London up to Saturday 24 March 2018.

Lady Windermere's Fan: "A roster of excellent performances"

Kathy Burke's revival of Oscar Wilde's comedy Lady Windermere's Fan opened at London's Vaudeville Theatre on Monday 22 January 2018.
On the day of her Birthday Ball the tactless Duchess of Berwick let's slip to Lady Windermere what the whole of London society had been gossiping about for many weeks - that her husband has been calling on the notorious and mysterious Mrs Erlynee - Oscar Wilde combines intrigue and humour in this witty and funny comedy of Victorian manners and morals.
The cast features Jennifer Saunders as 'Duchess of Berwick', Samantha Spiro as 'Mrs Erlynne', Grace Molony as 'Lady Windermere', Joshua James as 'Lord Windermere', Kevin Bishop as 'Lord Darlington'.
When this production opened Ann Treneman in the Times highlighted that "the real star is the play and it has been improved by the director Kathy Burke's skilful editing", adding that Grace Molony "is terrific", Jennifer Saunders is "stonkingly good", and Kevin Bishop is "dashingly funny", with Quentin Letts in the Daily Mail saying that Samantha Spiro is "excellent". Neil Norman in the Daily Express praised how "the youthful cast delivers Oscar Wilde's sparkling dialogue with speed and clarity... Jennifer Saunders' bottled snob is a joy and she is surrounded by a roster of excellent performances".
Lady Windermere's Fan continues at the Vaudeville Theatre in London up to Saturday 7 April 2018.

Jason Gardiner and Tracie Bennett in Ruthless! the Musical - opens 27 March 2018

Richard Fitch's production of the comedy spoof Ruthless the Musical will open at London's Arts Theatre on Tuesday 27 March 2018, following public previews from Friday 16 March.
The beautiful and talented 8 year old Tina Denmark has a thirst for stardom and is desperate to land the lead role in her school play... and she's willing to go to any lengths to undercut the competition...
This comedy musical spoofs such classic Broadway shows as Gypsy and Mame alongside classic Hollywood films like All About Eve. The cast for this production stars Jason Gardiner, Tracie Bennett and Harriet Thorpe.
Ruthless the Musical is scheduled to play a three month season up to Saturday 23 June 2018.