Theatre.London · The official home of London Theatre | News https://www.theatre.london/ Discover the best of theatre in London from West End musicals, plays, opera, dance and kids theatre. Buy cheap London theatre tickets for the latest shows. en-gb Catching Comets transfers to London after Edinburgh Fringe 2019 run https://www.theatre.london/news/catching-comets-transfers-to-london-after-edinburgh-fringe-2019-run https://www.theatre.london/news/catching-comets-transfers-to-london-after-edinburgh-fringe-2019-run Thu, 26 Aug 21 00:00:00 +0000 Catching Comets is two stories told at the same time: a disaster movie about falling in love and a rom-com about the end of the world. Following their acclaimed run at the Edinburgh Fringe 2019, Ransack Theatre now present the London premiere of this multidimensional mash-up.

A brilliantly executed one-man show, Catching Comets introduces Toby as he recounts the time he saw a comet shooting towards Earth. When nobody takes his warning seriously, he panics and transforms into a full-blown blockbuster action hero. Complete with dark glasses, helicopters and a lust for all things physical, Toby embarks on a fantasy mission to protect the world. However, intertwined and interrupting is another tale; of falling in love, of vulnerability, of coping with emotions – a reality that can’t be escaped through faux bravado.

Heart-warming, honest and intimate, Catching Comets sees Toby lay bare how difficult he finds it to fall in love, knowing that at any point the girl of his dreams may realise he is not big, strong and brave in the way he thinks she deserves. He’s not a hero. In fact, most of the time, he’s scared.

Catching Comets is a funny and engaging piece of new writing, blending theatre and cinematic license in a high-energy whirlwind on stage. This bold new work parodies the screen hero at its most extreme to interrogate its relevance to today’s cultural landscape. Millions avidly watch unrelatable screen heroes presented as the best role models, but is there more strength to be found in vulnerability?

Writer Piers Black comments, 'The show came about largely in response to the trend of rebooting and remaking big Hollywood action blockbusters. For a lot of people, the thrill that comes with that is re-living the moments of wonder and excitement from your childhood again. But, there was something quite striking about re-visiting a lot of the characters from my childhood. A lot of them are terrible role models. The world is a very different place and our attitudes and tolerance for some of the behaviour they display has moved on a long way. For a lot of young men, those people were their idols and who they wanted to be like when they grew up. The play is asking how we’re meant to be brave today if all our ideas of bravery come from this dated and unachievable source? What does strength look like for anyone who doesn’t have a six pack? And how can we fill a theatre show with a load of cinematic action pastiches but still give it a real heart?'

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Cast announced by Queen’s Theatre Hornchurch for revival of National Theatre production of Beginning https://www.theatre.london/news/cast-announced-by-queens-theatre-hornchurch-for-revival-of-national-theatre-production-of-beginning https://www.theatre.london/news/cast-announced-by-queens-theatre-hornchurch-for-revival-of-national-theatre-production-of-beginning Thu, 26 Aug 21 00:00:00 +0000 This ‘gorgeous new play’ (Independent) has been eagerly waiting in the wings since last September.

Amanda Ryan, best known for her role on Channel 4’s Shameless as Sgt. Carrie Roger, will play Laura in Beginning. Ryan’s numerous acting credentials include the BBC adaptation of Adam Kay’s This is Going to Hurt starring Ben Whishaw, Harriet Walter and Alex Jennings, due for release later this autumn; Casualty (BBC); The Forsyte Saga (Granada Television). For the big screen, Ryan has starred alongside Bob Hoskins, Anthony Head and John Shrapnel in the rom-com Sparkle and with Cate Blanchett in the Academy Award-winning film Elizabeth. Ryan has performed in many theatre productions including plays at the following prestigious London venues: the Criterion Theatre, the Playhouse Theatre, Shakespeare’s Rose Theatre and the National Theatre.

Simon Darwen will be playing Danny in Beginning. Darwen’s TV credits include Russell T Davies’ Years and Years for BBC/HBO starring Emma Thompson, Rory Kinnear and Russell Tovey; The Bletchley Circle, Silent Witness and the BBC’s Call the Midwife. His theatre credits include Missing People (Leeds Playhouse/National Theatre Tokyo), King Lear (Theatre Royal Bath), Mad About the Boy (Young Vic), Lizzie Siddal (Arcola), Love Love Love (Paines Plough), Our Country's Good (Out of Joint) and The Merchant of Venice (RSC).

Every story starts somewhere… It’s the early hours of the morning and Danny from Upminster is the last straggler at Laura’s party. The flat’s in a mess. And so are they. One more drink?

Beginning takes a touching look at the first fragile moments of risking your heart and taking a chance.

This will be the second play of David Eldridge’s produced by Queen’s Theatre Hornchurch, with 2019’s homecoming revival of In Basildon playing to national critical acclaim. Beginning will play at Queen’s Theatre Hornchurch from 3 - 18 September 2021.

This tender and funny critically acclaimed smash hit received its world premiere at the National Theatre before transferring to the West End. It’s being revived and relaunched in Hornchurch before embarking on a national tour.

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Full cast announced for Tony & Olivier award-winning smash hit musical Jersey Boys https://www.theatre.london/news/full-cast-announced-for-tony-olivier-award-winning-smash-hit-musical-jersey-boys https://www.theatre.london/news/full-cast-announced-for-tony-olivier-award-winning-smash-hit-musical-jersey-boys Thu, 19 Aug 21 09:33:28 +0000 The producers and creative team are delighted to announce their new, young, dynamic cast for the highly anticipated return of this most beloved Tony, Grammy and Olivier Award-winning smash hit musical JERSEY BOYS.  It will be led by Ben Joyce as Frankie Valli, Adam Bailey as Bob Gaudio, Karl James Wilson as Nick Massi and Benjamin Yates as Tommy De Vito.  The musical will open at the new multi-million pound reinstated Trafalgar Theatre on 10 August 2021, following previews from 28 July.

JERSEY BOYS is written by Marshall Brickman & Rick Elice, with music by Bob Gaudio and lyrics by Bob Crewe.

Also in the cast will be Ben Irish (Bob Crewe), Mark Isherwood (Gyp de Carlo), Elliot Allinson (Swing), Koko Basigara (Lorraine), Melanie Bright (Mary Delgado), Jack Campbell (Swing), Carl Douglas (Norm/Hank), Matteo Johnson (Joe Pesci), Huon Mackley (Swing), Jacob McIntosh (Barry Belson), Bonnie Page (Swing), Andy Smith (Swing) and Helen Ternent (Francine).

Ben Joyce, having graduated from drama school this year, will be making his professional stage debut as Frankie Valli.  The creatives were very excited when this young talent was discovered during the extensive casting process and are looking forward to introducing him to the JERSEY BOYS audience. Adam Bailey made his West End debut in The Book of Mormon and played Felicia/Adam in the National Tour of Priscilla, Queen of the DesertKarl James Wilson played the role of Johnny Castle in the UK Tour of Dirty Dancing. Theatre credits also include the UK Tours of Jersey Boys and White Christmas.  Karl appeared in Hollyoaks playing the role of Wardy. Benjamin Yates played and covered Fiyero in the UK & Ireland tour of Wicked.  He also played Mungojerrie in Cats at the London Palladium and most recently played Doug/Mr Spencer in The School of Rock at the Gillian Lynne Theatre.  

Go behind the music and inside the story of Frankie Valli and The Four Seasons in the Tony and Olivier Award-winning, true-life phenomenon, JERSEY BOYS. They were just four guys from New Jersey, until they sang their very first note. They had a sound nobody had ever heard… and the radio just couldn’t get enough of. But while their harmonies were perfect onstage, off stage it was a very different story—a story that has made them an international sensation all over again. From the streets of New Jersey to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, this is the musical that’s too good to be true.  The show is packed with their hits, including Beggin’, Sherry, Walk Like A Man, December, 1963 (Oh What a Night), Big Girls Don’t Cry, My Eyes Adored You, Let’s Hang On (To What We’ve Got), Bye Bye Baby, Can’t Take My Eyes Off You, Working My Way Back to You, Fallen Angel, Rag Doll and Who Loves You.   

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St John Ambulance volunteers get to see a sneak peek of Andrew Lloyd Webber new musical, Cinderella https://www.theatre.london/news/st-john-ambulance-volunteers-get-to-see-a-sneak-peek-of-andrew-lloyd-webber-new-musical-cinderella https://www.theatre.london/news/st-john-ambulance-volunteers-get-to-see-a-sneak-peek-of-andrew-lloyd-webber-new-musical-cinderella Wed, 18 Aug 21 00:00:00 +0000 Andrew Lloyd Webber has publicly thanked hundreds of St John Ambulance volunteers with a sneak peek of his new musical, Cinderella, at the Gillian Lynne Theatre. The exclusive invited dress rehearsal, for key workers and volunteers who have gone above and beyond throughout the pandemic, took place on Tuesday night, ahead of the production’s full reopening on Wednesday 18th August. This performance was one of the very first times Cinderella was performed to a full capacity audience.   

This invitation comes with special recognition of the vital role of St. John Ambulance volunteers in the rollout of the nationwide vaccination programme, without which many theatrical and entertainment productions would be impossible. 

Of the one million-plus hours of service provided by St John volunteers, so far, 60% of the time has been on the NHS COVID-19 vaccination programme, with emergency ambulance crews, hospital volunteering, community projects, and making sure events such as live music and sporting fixtures can happen in a safe, COVID-secure way, making up the rest.

The charity’s work continues, with tens of thousands more hours delivered on the frontline every week and the invitation to be part of the exclusive Cinderella performance is in recognition of that.

Madeleine Lloyd Webber, a trained St John volunteer vaccinator, said: “Having been a St John Ambulance volunteer vaccinator, I can vouch first-hand that this is an extraordinary organisation.

“It is often taken for granted and left an unsung hero. It is amazing to see that St John volunteers have put in over one million hours into easing pressure on the NHS, including via the vaccination effort, with vital first aid training, incredible logistics and planning and the dedicated army of skilled volunteers. 

“I’m thrilled that we can help recognise their enormous contribution to this country in our time of need. Without the work of organisations like St John Ambulance, this opening of Cinderella, and so much else, would never have been possible.”

Madeleine is one of more than 30,000 volunteers who went through a rigorous recruitment process with the health and first aid charity, and were given extensive training to deliver jabs safely and skilfully.

Martin Houghton-Brown, CEO, St John Ambulance, added: “This is such a wonderful opportunity for our amazing volunteers to get the recognition they deserve for their tireless efforts over the past 17 months.

“We are thrilled that the Lloyd Webbers have taken it upon themselves to extend a personal thank-you, with this special performance.

“We are as delighted as he is that live events with large crowds can resume safely so that we can get back to providing first aid cover, alongside supporting the nation’s health through the pandemic.”

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Future Spotlight Productions and KidZania announce the launch of Alice's Adventures in Wonderland https://www.theatre.london/news/future-spotlight-productions-and-kidzania-announce-the-launch-of-alices-adventures-in-wonderland https://www.theatre.london/news/future-spotlight-productions-and-kidzania-announce-the-launch-of-alices-adventures-in-wonderland Fri, 06 Aug 21 00:00:00 +0000 Future Spotlight Productions in collaboration with KidZania London today announce that their interactive family show Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland will be available on Stream.Theatre from 6 August for a limited run until 31 August. Based on Lewis Carroll’s classic stories and filmed earlier this year at KidZania London, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderlandfeatures a cast of much-loved characters, interactive moments and toe-tapping performances. 

Louis Rayneau directs Erin Bell (Birdie/Dance Captain), Kyle Birch (Cheshire Cat), Edward Court (Caterpillar), Jack Dargen (Card/Featured Ensemble), Josh Harrison-Yellop (Dodo/March Hare/Card), Ashleigh Harvey (Duchess/Queen of Hearts), Beccy Lane (Alice), Louis Rayneau (The White Rabbit), Luke Street (Mouse/Mad Hatter), Natalie Thorn (Duck/Dormouse) and Jason Leigh Winter (Eagle/Guard/Featured Ensemble). 

Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland is the Queen of all productions and perfect for a dose of family fun! Children can follow Alice on her own adventure through Wonderland and cheer her along as she meets an abundance of weird and wonderful characters.

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Both Barrels Theatre presents Small Changes By Peter Gill https://www.theatre.london/news/both-barrels-theatre-presents-small-changes-by-peter-gill https://www.theatre.london/news/both-barrels-theatre-presents-small-changes-by-peter-gill Thu, 05 Aug 21 00:00:00 +0000 ‘It’s not only pictures of the past that invented me, but the literal past.

Things happened that couldn’t be changed.’

Peter Gills’ powerful memory play, set on the east side of Cardiff in the 1950s and the 1970s, about boyhood, the complex love between mothers and sons and a search for the truth is revived by George Richmond-Scott.

Last performed in London in 2008, this poetic exploration of the human condition centres around Gerard, a troubled man at the end of youth, trapped by his past. He relives his vibrant childhood in search for the moment that defined him. Gill’s story and its close examination of the truth and beauty in the ordinary and mundane, is widely regarded as one of his finest works.

Small Change will be George Richmond-Scott’s second play at Omnibus Theatre and follows his double 2018 OFFIE nominated adaptation of Lorca’s Blood Wedding. He says of Gill’s work: “I was drawn to his incredible vivid language and his gift for evoking place and childhood. At the heart of this play is a powerful examination of parent, child and love. It’s a story that looks at how we deal with the past and old wounds in our quest for reconciliation and peace.”

George is associate director on Everybody’s Talking About Jamie and newly appointed Head of Performance at ALRA South. He launched his new production company, Both Barrels Theatre in 2020 as a not-for-profit organisation. The creative team also includes movement director Rachel Wise (WELSH NATIONAL OPERA, ORANGE TREE THEATRE) lighting designer Ali Hunter (SOHO THEATRE, JERMYN STREET THEATRE, THEATRE 503) and sound designer Lex Kosanke (HAMPSTEAD THEATRE, PARK THEATRE, ARCOLA).  The Small Change set and costumes will be designed by Liam Bunster (The Taming of the Shrew, WANAMAKER PLAYHOUSE, Yokes Night, THEATRE ROYAL STRATFORD, Macbeth, RSC).

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Casting announced for new drama Invisible Me https://www.theatre.london/news/casting-announced-for-new-drama-invisible-me https://www.theatre.london/news/casting-announced-for-new-drama-invisible-me Thu, 05 Aug 21 00:00:00 +0000 Casting has been announced for new dramatic comedy Invisible Me by Bren Gosling (Moment of Grace, The Actors Centre; PROUD, Studio at New Wimbledon Theatre) which will play at New Wimbledon Theatre’s Studio. The production will bring together the talents of Debbie Christie (Bette and Joan, Wokingham Theatre; Mogg’s War, Old Red Lion Theatre), Andrew Fettes (The Red Lion, The Capitol Horsham; Death and the Maiden, tour) and Philip Gill (Red Skies, East Anglia tour; Sketches, Union Theatre) to tell the story of three sexually adventurous sexagenarians.

Directed by Su Gilroy (Moment of Grace, Bloomsbury Festival; Gaslight, Wolverhampton Grand Theatre), Invisible Me is a thought-provoking insight into the human condition and our need for connection, highlighting how we entwine with others on an emotional and physical level. Opening the door on singledom in your sixties, the production shines a light on the under-represented stories of older singles dating in London.

Three very different individuals are united by sex: Lynn, a hotel cleaner, lives alone in her mother’s house; Jack, an HIV+ recent widower, struggles with the concept of digital dating; and Alec, a divorcee with an identity crisis, clutches at his youth. But despite their hardships there’s a prevailing message of optimism to be found in the most unlikely of situations.

Director Su Gilroy comments, I’m looking forward to bringing these vibrant characters and Bren’s text to life on stage with such an incredibly talented cast. It’s a powerful play with an inspired message that I’m sure will resonate with audiences today – you’re never too old to start seizing the day!

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Organic Theatre presents Flanker Origami https://www.theatre.london/news/organic-theatre-presents-flanker-origami https://www.theatre.london/news/organic-theatre-presents-flanker-origami Thu, 05 Aug 21 00:00:00 +0000 An artistic couple expose their daily rituals and lockdown coping routines, digitally unleashing two eccentric performance personas bent on transforming their Edinburgh home into a glittery alternative reality. Through dressing up, dancing, disembodied animations, forced karaoke, and improbable ASMR storytelling, they are on a quest to enhance their own wellbeing, and yours! Stranded on Zoom, their relationship reveals a tender and funny, if slightly disturbing, world of online intimacy on the edge of misunderstanding and manipulation. Award winning Organic Theatre returns to the Fringe, for a digital world premiere. Flanker Origami will be available to livestream online from 23-30 August 2021 as part of the Edinburgh Festival Fringe 2021 digital programme. 

Organic Theatre is an intercultural performance laboratory created by Bianca Mastrominico and John Dean in 2002. They make, play, disrupt and make again. They sleep on it, dream of what comes next, they are dissatisfied, and they continue being curious. They are collectors of creative intuitions coming from their lives and times. They learn from their own processes, from others, they network, they pass it on.

‘A searing experience for meat and nerves’ Total Theatre on Sheepskin

For John and Bianca, Flanker Origami is a way to test the ground for this year’s hybrid Fringe model; with live productions in physical spaces coming back but with a good number of online shows programmed as well, encountering audiences through the digital medium it is a bit of an anthropological experiment for them.

“The challenge for us is to be devising work which is so close to who we are – a couple of performers forced to create in digital captivity from their own home – and spectacularising our domestic environment, as the private and the public are so blurred at this moment. It’s a bit fuzzy at times, but at least it forces us to tidy up the house regularly! We hope we can talk about our experience of creativity in a post-pandemic world in a way that brings a smile as well as a recognition of the human cracks which we have all suffered, despite being brave and resilient in the face of adversity. It is a bit of our own story but heightened into a tender, funny, intimate and slightly disturbing interaction between Flanker and Origami, our performance personas.” Bianca & John.

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Live Theatre reopens with acclaimed production Shine by rapper and actor Kema Sikazwe https://www.theatre.london/news/live-theatre-reopens-with-acclaimed-production-shine-by-rapper-and-actor-kema-sikazwe https://www.theatre.london/news/live-theatre-reopens-with-acclaimed-production-shine-by-rapper-and-actor-kema-sikazwe Thu, 05 Aug 21 00:00:00 +0000 The highly acclaimed debut production Shine by actor, rapper and rising star Kema Sikazwe (I, Daniel Blake) has been updated with new songs and content for 2021 and is returning to Live Theatre as part of their reopening autumn season, Back to Live. Written by Sikazwe, with a collection of songs composed especially for the show, Shine is a bittersweet exploration of growing up in a world that doesn’t always accept you.

At three years old, Kema, whose name means ‘one who shines’ in one of the Zambian languages, moved with his family from Zambia to Newcastle’s West End. This multi-disciplinary production is a unique and personal coming of age story that follows a family who find themselves in new surroundings, and what happens when that new life begins to fall apart. With an electrifying soundtrack and moving dialogue, Shine asks what makes us who we are and whether the choices in our lives determine who we become – are we in control of our own story, or is it in our DNA?

Drawing on his experiences growing up in Newcastle, dealing with bullying and mental health problems, Kema explores his story and struggles through music, spoken word and acting. Inspired by his mother’s singing while growing up, Kema’s songs delve into his own journey and aim to inspire others to believe in themselves in the face of hardship.

Directed by Live Theatre’s own Interim Executive Producer Graeme Thompson (Gutter Weeds; Skeletons in Cullercoats; The Terminal Velocity of Snowflakes), Shine is brought to life with design by Emma Bailey and an energetic and heartfelt performance by Live Theatre Associate Artist Kema Sikawze, also known as Kema Kay. The production, which had its world premiere at Live Theatre in 2019, returns to reopen this beloved Newcastle theatre, which has been closed since March 2020.

Kema Sikawze says, 'Bringing Shine back is important as I don’t think we finished telling the story back in 2019, and it feels so much more relevant now. It’s about celebrating difference and keeping your head when your world is exploding around you – something everyone can relate to right now.'

Director Graeme Thompson comments, 'This is Kema’s story and experience, but it’s also a story for our times and for us all. It’s a story of extraordinary challenge but with a positive message. We don’t have enough of those in the world right now.'

The unmitigated joy of seeing Sikawze telling it how things are is something to be savoured (Herald, Scotland).

Sharply observed cross-cultural coming-of-age story elevated by a charismatic performance… Undeniably uplifting (The Stage).

Live Theatre’s Autumn season Back to Live opens with Kema Sikawze’s Shine, followed by Your Voice: North East, a double bill of Braids and Cheer Up Slug, Lewis Jobson’s Redcoat, Janice Okoh’s adaptation of The Offing and Bonnie & Fanny’s Christmas Spectacular.

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The Wardrobe Ensemble launches new festival: The Theatre on the Downs https://www.theatre.london/news/the-wardrobe-ensemble-launches-new-festival-the-theatre-on-the-downs https://www.theatre.london/news/the-wardrobe-ensemble-launches-new-festival-the-theatre-on-the-downs Wed, 04 Aug 21 00:00:00 +0000 The Wardrobe Ensemble will celebrate their 10th anniversary with an ambitious new theatre festival running from August to October. Pop-up venue The Mix, designed by Studio Three Sixty, will become The Theatre on the Downs at Breaking Bread on The Downs. This new venue in Bristol will celebrate the local theatre scene as The Wardrobe Ensemble strive to create opportunities for South West artists and provide a community-focused hub in the city for audiences to enjoy after a year inside. The first shows are now on-sale with more theatre, circus, poetry, family shows to be announced!

Kicking off the festival will be world premiere of The Wardrobe Ensemble’s WINNERS. In their own inimitable style, this exciting new show explores capitalism and tracks the shift of labour in the history of food from farming to fast food. Directed by Jesse Jones (Death Drop, West End) and Helena Middleton (Education, Education, Education, West End), WINNERS is a rollicking and fantastical look at manipulation, monopoly and money, capitalism and currency.

The Wardrobe Ensemble comments, 'We started talking about this idea at the end of last summer as we imagined what might come next for theatre. We knew that the thing we wanted to do the most was to make a new show and perform it to live audiences, and we thought that other companies in the South West might want that too. So, we created this very ambitious project which has had many different permutations along the way as we tried to wrangle it into being. We are so excited (and a little bit scared) to finally announce it and make it happen. This is the biggest thing The Wardrobe Ensemble has ever tried to pull off and we still need help. Please do get in touch if you feel able to support us. And if you are a South West artist with something that you think might work at The Theatre on the Downs, let us know - we are still programming the space and want to fill it with as much exciting work as possible!'

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