London Theatre News - March 2017

An American in Paris: "gobsmackingly brilliant"

Christopher Wheeldon's stage production of the dance musical An American in Paris opened at London's Dominion Theatre on Tuesday 21 March 2017.
Based on the classic 1951 Gershwin Oscar-winning film, now reimagined for the stage - a young American GI pursues his dream to make it as a painter in Paris in the aftermath of war - but then he has a chance encounter with a beautiful young dancer...
When this production opened Sarah Hemming in the Financial Times praised "Christopher Wheeldon's witty choreography," while Neil Norman in the Daily Express hailed it as being "gobsmackingly brilliant." Henry Hitchings in the London Evening Standard highlighed how "this lavish, romantic show blends ballet and musical theatre — to frequently gorgeous effect... this is a glorious experience."
An American in Paris in currently booking up to Saturday 30 September 2017.

Terrance Rattigan's Love in Idleness transfers to West End 18 May 2017

It has been announced that, following an acclaimed sold-out season at the fringe Menier Chocolate Factory Theatre, Trevor Nunn's production of Terrance Rattigan's Love in Idleness will transfer to the West End Apollo Theatre on Thursday 18 May 2017, following public previews from Thursday 11 May - for a strictly limited season of just 50 performances.
Returning from Canada after a four-year absence during the war, eighteen-year-old Michael is full of youthful ideology and leftist leanings. But he is shocked to find his widowed mother Olivia is now the mistress of cabinet minister Sir John Fletcher, enjoying a comfortable society life. When Michael and John clash, sparks fly and relationships are tested as everyone learns some difficult lessons in love.
Terence Rattigan radically revised his play Less Than Kind, retitling it Love in Idleness - in this new revival production Trevor Nunn has used a mixture of both of these texts. The cast features Eve Best as 'Olivia' and Anthony Head as 'Sir John' with Edward Bluemel as 'Michael'. Love in Idleness will play up to Saturday 1 July 2017.

The Kite Runner: "an enthralling tale beautifully told" - returns 8 June 2017

It has been announced that Giles Croft's stage production of Khaled Hosseini's The Kite Runner, which has just finished a two month Christmas season at the Wyndham's Theatre, will return to the West End from Thursday 8 June 2017 at the Playhouse Theatre.
Afghanistan - a divided country on the verge of war. But for childhood friends, Amir and Hassan, it's a beautiful afternoon in Kabul. 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. Their experiences as they grow up reflect the country's tumultuous history, through the Soviet invasion and the rise of the Taliban.
When this production played at the Wyndham's Theatre earlier this year, Dominic Cavendish in the Daily Telegraph described it as being "an enthralling tale beautifully told, at once topical and emotionally resonant," while Neil Norman in the Daily Express commented that "the staging is overly simplistic given that kite flying is a metaphor for the quest for freedom in Afghanistan," adding that "it is the story rather than the production that moves you to tears."
The Kite Runner will play a seven week season at the Playhouse Theatre up to Saturday 29 July 2017.

Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead extends one week

David Leveaux's revival of Tom Stoppard's Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead, which opened at London's Old Vic Theatre on 7 March 2017 has announced a special one week extension up to Saturday 6 May 2017.
This revival stars Daniel Radcliffe as 'Rosencrantz' and Joshua McGuire as 'Guildenstern' with David Haig as 'The Player'. When it opened Henry Hitchings in the London Evening Standard highlighted how, "fifty years on from its London premiere at the Old Vic Theatre, Tom Stoppard's breakthrough play returns there and still has a witty vitality." In the Times Ann Treneman praised how "Daniel Radcliffe and Joshua McGuire bounce off each other like Spacehoppers on a day out. McGuire is hyper, Radcliffe beset with permanent anxiety." Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead continues up to Saturday 6 May 2017.

Stepping Out: "a glorious production"

Maria Friedman's revival of Richard Harris' tap dance comedy Stepping Out opened at London's Vaudeville Theatre on Tuesday 14 March 2017.
Set in a in a low-rent dance studio where we meet seven women and one man attempting to tap their troubles away at a weekly dancing class. Over the course of several months we meet the group, and all of them have a story to tell. Mavis, a former professional chorus girl, tries her hardest to teach them some basic tap moves - but then they are asked to take part in a charity gala...
The cast features Amanda Holden as 'Vera' along with Natalie Casey and Tracy-Ann Oberman.
When this revival opened Neil Norman in the Daily Express exclaimed: "Bring on the dancing girls! While it may be mired stickily in the 1980s, Richard Harris’ play Stepping Out is on the road to classic status. And Maria Friedman’s glorious production will undoubtedly help it on its way." In the Daily Telegraph Dominic Cavendish highlighted that, set in the mid-1980's, "much of the charm of this slight, schematic fairytale about the joy of amateur hoofing resides in its capturing of a historical moment."
Stepping Out continues to play up to Saturday 17 June 2017.

The Miser: "a pumped-up evening that at times feels like an exhausting onslaught of mirth"

Sean Foley's revival of Moliere's The Miser, starring Griff Rhys Jones, opened at the Garrick Theatre on Monday 13 March 2017.
Fanatical about protecting his wealth, the paranoid Harpagon suspects all of trying to flinch his fortune and will go to any length to protect it. As true feelings and identities are revealed will Harpagon allow his children to follow their heart, or will his love of gold prove all-consuming?
Freely adapted adapted by Sean Foley and Phil Porter, this revival stars Griff Rhys Jones in the title role of 'Harpagon' along with Lee Mack and Mathew Horne.
When this production opened Dominic Maxwell in the Times highlighted that "the jokes are plentiful and well executed enough that if you don't like one bit of wordplay or slapstick or song, there's a fair chance you will like the next." Fiona Mountford in the London Evening Standard noted that "'Freely adapted': these are the key words. Sean Foley and Phil Porter have taken beaucoup de liberté avec Molière's nearly 350-year-old comedy to provide a pumped-up evening that at times feels like an exhausting onslaught of mirth... Griff Rhys Jones and Lee Mack, seasoned performers both, revel in the grandstanding opportunities."
The Miser continues at the Garrick Theatre up to Saturday 3 June 2017.

Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?: "a superlative revival"

James Macdonald's revival of Edward Albee's Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? opened at London's Harold Pinter Theatre on Thursday 9 March 2017.
On a particularly bitter night Nick a good-looking young biology professor and his wife Honey arrive for a nightcap at George and Martha's house, but they soon become blood sport during the booze-drenched evening. Written in 1962, this Tony Award winning play is a brittle, darkly comic look at marriage and relationships.
The cast for this major revival features Imelda Staunton as 'Martha' and Conleth Hill as 'George' with Luke Treadaway as 'Nick' and Imogen Poots as 'Honey'.
When this revival opened Dominic Cavendish in the Daily Telegraph hailed "James McDonald's superlative revival," while Sarah Hemming in the Financial Times said that in "James Macdonald’s blistering production... Imelda Staunton and Conleth Hill are superb." In the London Evening Standard Henry Hitchings praised how this "finely-balanced production ensures this modern classic still feels lethal - the humour is merciless and the pain exquisite."
Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? continues up to Saturday 27 May 2017.

Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead: "David Leveaux’s brilliant anniversary revival"

David Leveaux's revival of Tom Stoppard's Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead opened at the Old Vic Theatre on 7 March 2017 - a '50th Anniversary' production that marks 50 years since it was first presented in London's West End at the Old Vic Theatre in April 1967.
Tom Stoppard retells Shakespeare's Hamlet through the eyes of two of its minor characters - vaguely conscious that they are bit parts in a much bigger story of which they have no direct knowledge, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern hilariously and poignantly inhabit a world completely beyond their grasp.
The cast features Daniel Radcliffe as 'Rosencrantz' and Joshua McGuire as 'Guildenstern' with David Haig as 'The Player'.
When this revival opened Michael Billington in the Guardian said that "David Leveaux’s production is nimble and inventive," and Paul Taylor in the i newspaper hailed "David Leveaux’s brilliant anniversary revival of the play... which is terrifically well-judged in all departments." Dominic Cavendish in the Daily Telegraph praised how "David Leveaux's cast serve the highbrow antics and music-hall larks, the nods to Beckett and the hints of Beyond the Fringe brilliantly... The pacing is fleet, the timing slick, and memorable moments are in sufficiently plentiful supply." Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead continues up to Saturday 29 April 2017.