News: keep Clowns and carry on

In which I ask WWPD (what would Patti do) and decide to honour my reviewing schedule as best as I can

“A toast to that invincible bunch”

So…what’s a Clown to do in times of Coronavirus, apart from look longingly at this amazing Patti LuPone photoshoot from Town and County Magazine? It’s hard, if not impossible, to know what the right thing to do is at an unprecedented moment like this. When the creative industries that I love and cherish so dearly are under threat of being decimated, when the day job is also wracked by uncertainty, when the act of trying to manage my own anxiety feels hard enough on its own. Heck, even the idea of staying in of an evening feels strange after a decade of intensive theatregoing.

My answer, for now, is to keep busy and to that end, I am going to be honouring my reviewing schedule as it looked for the forthcoming month. Obviously I can’t reviews shows that haven’t happened but I’m going to try to pull together mini-feature pieces for them, to collate any previews and interviews they may have done, to give you the means of staying in touch with the companies and theatres and most significantly, the ways in which any support that you can offer can be given. Obviously, the precariousness of the situation affects so many of us but any assistance that can be offered, in any shape, will surely help in the process of getting through to the other side. Do as Patti says – “everybody rise”.

 

Photos: Douglas Friedman, styled by Ryan Young

News: Casting for MUM, The Mirror and the Light and The Rise and Fall of Little Voice

© Jeremy Freedman

Francesca Moody Productions, Soho Theatre and Theatre Royal Plymouth in association with Popcorn Group have announced that Sophie Melville, Denise Black and Cat Simmons will appear in the world premiere of MUM.  This provocative and unflinching portrayal of early motherhood and mental health, written by Olivier award-winning playwright Morgan Lloyd Malcolm (Emilia, The Globe/ West End) and directed by Abigail Graham (soon to also direct Aladdin at Lyric Hammersmith) will run at Theatre Royal Plymouth from 30 September – 16 October before transferring to Soho Theatre from 20 October – 20 November.

Motherhood. No one can prepare you for it. No matter how much you tell yourself you can do it – can you?  Where’s the rush of love? When will you sleep again?  What if the thing you fear most is also the thing you crave?  All you wanted was one night of unbroken sleep, what have you done? 

Nina is a new mum and tonight is her first night off. Tonight is about pizza and wine and letting go. But Nina didn’t feel prepared for motherhood and isn’t sure she fits the job description. Nina feels like she’s losing her grip.

This thought-provoking, funny and honest new play shines a light on early motherhood, anxiety and mental health. MUM examines the pressures and complex emotions many women experience when they have a baby. At a time when mothers have been disproportionally affected by the pandemic, never has it been more pertinent to explore these issues. Continue reading “News: Casting for MUM, The Mirror and the Light and The Rise and Fall of Little Voice”

News: musicals update

© Danny Kaan

The Distance You Have Come recorded live at The Apollo Theatre will be available to stream on stream.theatre from 5th to 11th August 2021. In a song cycle of his most acclaimed works, sung by some of the best voices in the west end, award winning composer and lyricist Scott Alan leads us through a year in the intertwined lives of six people facing the joy and heartache of the human experience, as they each search for their own version of happiness – which is, after all, what it’s all about.

This phenomenal cast features Andy Coxon (West Side Story, Beautiful – The Carole King Musical); Alice Fearn (Come From Away, Wicked); Adrian Hansel (Starlight Express, Hairspray); Emma Hatton (Evita, Wicked); Dean John-Wilson (The King and I, Aladdin) and Maiya Quansah- Breed (SIX, Rent).

Orchestrations are by Scott Hayes (Rent; I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change) who will also be the Musical Director, Kirk Jameson joins as Director (I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change; Marry Me a Little; Madagascar) with Lighting Design by Andrew Ellis (Eugenius, Flashdance): Original Direction was by Scott Alan and original Production Design by Simon Daw. The production is produced by Sevans Productions and Krystal Lee.


New UK Musicals and Parkwood Theatres have announced the cast and creatives of the world premiere of new British musical Ordinary People. Supported by funding from the Farnham Maltings Our Town Project and written by Darren Clark, Ordinary People takes real life stories from the lives of the people of Maidstone in Kent and turns them into a truly British musical. At its heart the show explores the idea that there is nothing ordinary about ordinary people.

The cast features actor musicians Anne Marie Piazza (RSC’s The Day of the Living, These Trees Are Made of Blood), Jared Leathwood (Billionaire Boy), Tom Self (The Hired Man UK Tour) and Sorrel Jordan (The Juliet Letters). This new musical is directed by Jenny Longley with choreography by Lorna Thomas and musical direction by Tom Self. Ordinary People premieres at Maidstone’s Hazlitt Theatre for two performances on the 30th and 31st July.


The highly anticipated tour of the Edinburgh Fringe hit Tokyo Rose has announced their all-female cast, starring Kanako Nakano (Miss Saigon, West End; Priscilla Queen of the Desert, West End). The production, winner of the coveted Les Enfant Terribles Stepladder Award, will also feature Maya Britto (Tokyo Rose, New Diorama Theatre/Edinburgh Fringe; Arabian Nights, Hoxton Hall) in the titular role, Lucy Park (Tokyo Rose, New Diorama Theatre/Edinburgh Fringe; Game Face, Q Theatre/Tristan Bates Theatre), Yuki Sutton (Tokyo Rose, New Diorama Theatre/Edinburgh Fringe; Satanic Panic ’87, Channel 4), Amy Parker (Ride, Vault Festival; Dancing By Myself, King’s Head Theatre), and Cara Baldwin (The Marathon Project, online; The Half Moon Shania, Zoo Venues/Vault Festival).

Tokyo Rose is an electrifying new musical about one of America’s most controversial trials, examining a real-life story of scaremongering and scapegoating. New Diorama Theatre and Underbelly first commissioned this exciting project as part of the Untapped Award, and its potential was realised following a sold out run at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe in 2019. From September, the tour will visit MAST Mayflower Studios, Southwark Playhouse, Curve Theatre, Leicester, The North Wall Arts Centre, Oxford, Corn Exchange Newbury, and Birmingham Hippodrome.


Michael Harrison and David Ian have announced that Adam J BernardTarinn CallenderMatt Henry and Tosh Wanogho-Maud will play The Drifters in a brand new musical also starring Beverley Knight, which tells the remarkable story of one of the world’s greatest vocal groups and the woman who made them.

The Drifters Girl will begin performances in Newcastle on Saturday 9 October 2021, playing until Saturday 23 October. Performances at the Garrick Theatre in London start on Thursday 4 November 2021.


Hamilton returns to the Victoria Palace from 19th August and has revealed its new cast. Karl Queensborough will play the title role of Alexander Hamilton with Simon-Anthony Rhoden as Aaron Burr, Ava Brennan as Angelica Schuyler, Sharon Rose as Eliza Hamilton, Trevor Dion Nicholas as George Washington, Waylon Jacobs as Marquis De Lafayette/Thomas Jefferson, Emile Ruddock as Hercules Mulligan/James Madison, Khalid Daley as John Laurens/Phillip Hamilton, Emilie Louise Israel as Peggy Schuyler/Maria Reynolds and Harry Hepple as King George. At certain performances the role of Alexander Hamilton will be played by Nuno Queimado.

The cast also comprises Jade Albertsen, Curtis Angus, Robson Broad, Matthew Caputo, Filippo Coffano, Ashley Daniels, Kelly Downing, Lydia Fraser, Jordan Frazier, Manaia Glassey-Ohlson, Jake Halsey-Jones, Olivia Kate Holding, Peter Houston, DeAngelo Jones, Nicolais-Andre Kerry, Travis Kerry, Ella Kora, Natasha Leaver, Aaron Lee Lambert, Phoebe Liberty Jones, Sinead Long, Louis Mackrodt, Jay Perry, Lindsey Tierney and Brandon Williams.

News: World Premiere of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Cinderella set for 25 August 2021

The Really Useful Group today announce that, after a period of enforced closure, the world premiere of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Cinderella will be on Wednesday 25 August. With music by Andrew Lloyd Webber, written by Academy Award winning Emerald Fennell (Best Original Screenplay Oscar in April 2021) and with lyrics from David Zippel, the brand new musical will resume performances at the Gillian Lynne Theatre on Wednesday 18 August. Previews initially began on Friday 25 June 2021, before another period of closure due to Covid-19 isolation protocols. Continue reading “News: World Premiere of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Cinderella set for 25 August 2021”

News: NT’s original film Romeo & Juliet to be screened in cinemas

The National Theatre has announced that its critically acclaimed original film Romeo & Juliet will be screened in cinemas for one night only on Tuesday 28 September. The film stars Josh O’Connor (The Crown, God’s Own Country) as Romeo and Jessie Buckley (Chernobyl, Judy) as Juliet, and will be available to screen across the UK and Ireland.

Directed by Simon Godwin (Twelfth Night, Antony and Cleopatra), this new 90-minute version was filmed in 17 days in the NT’s Lyttelton theatre in December while it was closed due the pandemic. It was adapted for screen by Emily Burns. The film premiered on television earlier this year on Sky Arts in the UK on 4 April and PBS in the US on 23 April. This is the first time the film will be available on the big screen. 

Continue reading “News: NT’s original film Romeo & Juliet to be screened in cinemas”

Review: Lava, Bush Theatre

Ronkẹ Adékoluẹjo is truly excellent in Benedict Lombe’s blistering monologue Lava at the Bush Theatre

“It is time. It has always been time”

Wigan doesn’t get mentioned in many plays it has to be said but it does pop up rather unexpectedly in Benedict Lombe’s Lava, now playing at the Bush Theatre. It is part of the journey that Her has experienced, from Congo to London, via South Africa and Ireland; a journey that Her is being forced to revisit when she applies for a new British passport.

Lava is a ferocious piece of writing, matched perfectly in Anthony Simpson-Pike’s production here with the fabulous talent that is Ronkẹ Adékoluẹjo, a true star-in-the-making. From the crackling energy of the opening moments of the show, this is monologue as masterclass, as she confidently owns the auditorium and invites us to bear witness to the story being told. Continue reading “Review: Lava, Bush Theatre”

Review: Dorian A Rock Musical, stream.theatre

A strong lead performance from Bart Lambert impresses in this streaming Oscar Wilde adaptation, but Dorian A Rock Musical lacks a real sense of identity

“Music is what I want now”

In a development that may well have made Oscar Wilde chuckle, daptations of The Picture of Dorian Gray are never too far from our stages and screens. We’ve had a streamed reinterpretation already this year but as its name might suggest, Dorian A Rock Musical also modernises the text but puts a musical spin onto the tale.

In some ways, Dorian A Rock Musical is a bit of a misnomer, Joe Evans’ score draws its influences from a much wider musical palette than solely rock and that’s probably to its advantage. Although undoubtedly gothic to its very soul, there’s an appealing openness to much of the music here with its plentiful harmonies, which marries well with lyrics that wittily incorporate the occasional Wildean bon motContinue reading “Review: Dorian A Rock Musical, stream.theatre”

News: National Theatre On Sale, July 2021 – January 2022

The National Theatre will return to performances with full capacity audiences from later this month. Additional seating will now be available for performances of After Life from 27 July alongside the previously-announced productions Rockets and Blue Lights in the Dorfman theatre and Paradise in the Olivier theatre, with extra tickets going on sale to the public from Monday 19 July.  

Tickets for The Normal Heart, East is East, Manor and Hex on sale to the public from Friday 30 July. Continue reading “News: National Theatre On Sale, July 2021 – January 2022”

Review: Two Worlds No Family, Lion and Unicorn Theatre

The Lion and Unicorn Theatre hosts Draft99 Theatre and their production of Ben Reid’s new LGBTQ+ play Two Worlds No Family

“Ollie, sort your shit out”

There’s something admirably bold about the vision behind Ben Reid’s Two Worlds No Family, a new play forefronting queer narratives and employing a visual language that suggests promise. His production for Draft99 Theatre slots into the black box of the Lion and Unicorn Theatre well though there’s no denying the subject matter can get a little brutal.

Ollie does indeed have a lot of shit to sort out. He’s a bit too keen on Tina Turner’s ‘Private Dancer’ for one, but he’s also out of work with bills are mounting up. So when a chance encounter with a handsome silver fox bearing party drugs presents a way out, it seems too good to be true. And of course it is, as a scarily slippery route to sexual exploitation is revealed, something made worse by Ollie’s deep unwillingness to talk about his problems, even with his best pals Tyler and Kat. Continue reading “Review: Two Worlds No Family, Lion and Unicorn Theatre”

Review: Louisa & Jo (& Me), Golden Goose Theatre

At Camberwell’s Golden Goose Theatre, Louisa & Jo (& Me) continues a rich vein of form for Out of the Forest Theatre 

“It’s been incredibly hard to write things this past year”

I didn’t think I ever needed to hear ‘Teenage Dirtbag’ ever again but serenaded by an acoustic folksy duet version as I walked into the Golden Goose Theatre for Louisa & Jo (& Me), I did begin to question my life choices. But then I shouldn’t have been surprised, as Out of the Forest Theatre have truly beguiled me with cracking shows like Call Me Fury and Bury the Hatchet over the last few years.

This is a first outing for Sasha Wilson’s Louisa & Jo (& Me) but even as a work-in-progress directed here by Hannah Hauer-King, it bears many of the hallmarks of an archetypal …Forest show – think an almost enchanting level of multi-layered storytelling sprinkled with folk music interludes – and looks set to maintain their impressive hit rate. Continue reading “Review: Louisa & Jo (& Me), Golden Goose Theatre”

News: James Purefoy leads all-star cast for the Jermyn Street’s epic Odyssey

Jermyn Street Theatre has announced casting for its marathon performance of Homer’s The Odyssey, translated by Emily Wilson.

James Purefoy (RomeFisherman’s FriendsChurchill) stars as Odysseus, the Greek hero whose ten-year journey home from Troy is the heart of Homer’s epic poem. Purefoy is joined by Susannah Harker (Pride and PrejudiceHouse of Cards) as his wife Penelope, new graduate Chirag Benedict Lobo as his son Telemachus, renowned Shakespearean actor Michael Pennington as his father Laertes, Clare Perkins (EmiliaSweat) as Athena, the goddess who guides his journey, and Marion Bailey (The CrownMr TurnerVera Drake) as his devoted nurse Eurycleia. The ensemble cast is completed by Jim FindleySam CrerarDavid Sturzaker and Robert Mountford, all returning to Jermyn Street Theatre. Continue reading “News: James Purefoy leads all-star cast for the Jermyn Street’s epic Odyssey”