Review: My Fair Lady, London Coliseum

Strong work from leads Harry Hadden-Paton and Amara Okereke can’t quite make this production of My Fair Lady work in the London Coliseum

“I’ll never know what made it so exciting”

For a musical considered such a classic, you don’t get many productions of Lerner and Loewe’s My Fair Lady to the pound. The National’s revival with Martine McCutcheon dates back more than 20 years now (before my theatre-blogging time) and outside of London, Sheffield Theatre’s soaring production was nearly a decade ago (I did get to see that one). Even further afield, it did reappear in New York in 2018 and it is that Lincoln Center production that has now set up home at the London Coliseum.

In some ways, it is a happy (spiritual) homecoming. In its two leading roles, director Bartlett Sher has garnered two strong performances. Harry Hadden-Paton reprises his turn as a younger-than-usual and wryly funny Henry Higgins and Amara Okereke shimmers as Eliza Doolittle, a legit soprano getting a rare chance to sing a big legit soprano role. And Catherine Zuber’s costumes and hats are magnificently outré , to the point where you’re worrying about neck support for several of the cast. Continue reading “Review: My Fair Lady, London Coliseum”

Review: 2:22 A Ghost Story, Criterion Theatre

Against all expectations, a return visit to 2:22 A Ghost Story, now at the Criterion Theatre, is hugely effective, and not just because Sam Swainsbury is in the cast

“Are you going to piss on my chips, mate?”

Sometimes, there’s real value in going back to something. I wasn’t much of a fan of 2:22 A Ghost Story the first time I saw it. But an invitation to see its new cast (including the marvellous Sam Swainsbury) at the Criterion Theatre – the show’s third West End iteration – offered an intriguing to chance to look at the show anew, fore-armed with the knowledge of what was going to happen.

And second time proved the charm, as it becomes a different kind of viewing experience, one which I found to be much more satisfying. I’m generally not a fan of horror in theatre and I think I allowed that to colour my mind too much in advance of seeing the show first time around. But mentally reconceiving it as a mystery puzzle, it holds up extremely well on repeat viewing. Continue reading “Review: 2:22 A Ghost Story, Criterion Theatre”

News: The Secret Garden in concert comes to the West End for one night only

Tony award-winning musical The Secret Garden, based on the 1911 novel of the same name, returns to the West End for a one-night-only concert celebration on 28th August at the London Palladium.

Based on the novel by Frances Hodgson Burnett with book and lyrics by Marsha Norman and music by Lucy Simon, this concert production will be directed by Nick Winston (Bonnie & Clyde, Rock of Ages, Beauty and the Beast) with music direction by Adam Hoskins (Doctor Zhivago, Camelot in Concert, Songs For A New World).  Continue reading “News: The Secret Garden in concert comes to the West End for one night only”

News: Reuben Joseph to lead new cast of Hamilton

Jeffrey Seller and Cameron Mackintosh, producers of the West End production of Lin-Manuel Miranda’s Hamilton, have announced new casting for the show. They’ll deliver their first performance at the Victoria Palace Theatre on 21st June 2022, where tickets are currently on sale to 1st October 2022.

Reuben Joseph will play the title role of Alexander Hamilton with Simon-Anthony Rhoden as Aaron Burr, Allyson Ava-Brown as Angelica Schuyler, Shan Ako as Eliza Hamilton, Roshani Abbey as Peggy Schuyler/Maria Reynolds, Trevor Dion Nicholas as George Washington, Waylon Jacobs as Marquis De Lafayette/Thomas Jefferson, Emile Ruddock as Hercules Mulligan/James Madison, Jake Halsey-Jones as John Laurens/Philip Hamilton and Joel Montague as King George III. At certain performances the role of Alexander Hamilton will be played by Alex Sawyer. Continue reading “News: Reuben Joseph to lead new cast of Hamilton”

News: Mad House reveals further casting

Ambassador Theatre Group Productions announce the full cast for the world première of Theresa Rebeck’s new play Mad House. Joining the previously announced David Harbour and Bill Pullman are Hanako Footman, Akiya Henry, Sinead Matthews, Charlie Oscar and Stephen Wight.

Directed by Moritz von Stuelpnagel, the production opens on 26 June at the Ambassadors Theatre, with previews from 15 June, and runs until 4 September. Continue reading “News: Mad House reveals further casting”

Finalists for 14th annual Stephen Sondheim Society Student Performer of the Year 2022 competition

The 12 finalists have been revealed for the 14th Stephen Sondheim Society Student Performer of the Year competition – affectionately known as SSSSPOTY.

The gala final of this year’s competition – the first since the passing of legendary composer Stephen Sondheim – will be held, fittingly, in the Sondheim Theatre, on 30 May, 2022. This year, The Stephen Sondheim Society (a charitable trust founded in 1993) elected to open the field up to every student of musical theatre, and asked for auditions to be made via video.

More than 300 submissions were received, and the final 12, plus 3 reserves, were selected by critic and broadcaster Edward Seckerson (Chair of the Judges) and Musical Director Nigel Lilley (Follies, National Theatre; Fun Home, Young Vic). Continue reading “Finalists for 14th annual Stephen Sondheim Society Student Performer of the Year 2022 competition”

News: cast announced for A Journey to the Past

Bray Productions Ltd have announced principal and supporting cast members that will be joining Olivier Award winner Maria Friedman in A Journey to the Past, a West End celebration of the works of the Tony Award-winning and world-renowned musical theatre writing team Ahrens & Flaherty. 

The musical celebration, directed by Maria Friedman, will feature a selection of music from the writing duo’s most beloved works, including Maria Friedman reprising her Olivier Award-winning performance of ‘Back to Before’ from Ragtime.  Continue reading “News: cast announced for A Journey to the Past”

Review: Prima Facie, Harold Pinter Theatre

Jodie Comer makes an astonishing stage debut at the Harold Pinter Theatre in Prima Facie, a play that doesn’t quite match up to her 

“The law on sexual assault spins on the wrong axis”

The entire run of Prima Facie has been sold out for a quite a while now, a testament to the pull of star Jodie Comer who has swung effortlessly from supporting in Doctor Foster to co-leading Killing Eve and then onto Hollywood. So it’s actually kinda cool that we’re getting to see her tread the boards as she makes her stage debut here at the Harold Pinter Theatre.

Prima Facie is a bold choice too, a one-woman show by Suzie Miller about the experience of sexual assault victims in the legal system. Comer plays Tessa, a confident young barrister revelling in being someone who defends men against sexual harassment claims. But when the tables are turned and she is assaulted by a colleague, she gets a bitter taste of what it’s like on the other side. Continue reading “Review: Prima Facie, Harold Pinter Theatre”

News: Sondheim’s Old Friends confirmed

The uber-exclusive (and exclusively priced) Stephen Sondheim’s Old Friends – A Celebration  has set its company now, with an astounding rollcall gathering to celebrate Sondheim’s legacy at the West End theatre that now bears his name. A one-night only affair on 3rd May, the show will be staged by Matthew Bourne and Maria Friedman with choreography by Stephen Mear and a 26-piece orchestra conducted by Alfonso Casado Trigo.

All profits from the evening will go to the Stephen Sondheim Foundation. Continue reading “News: Sondheim’s Old Friends confirmed”

News: full cast announced for The Jamie Lloyd Company’s The Seagull

With Cyrano de Bergerac opening at Brooklyn Academy of Music in New York, The Jamie Lloyd Company has announced the full cast for its production of Anton Chekhov’s The Seagull, in a version by Anya Reiss directed by Jamie Lloyd.

Joining the cast alongside the previously announced Emilia Clarke (Nina), Tom Rhys Harries (Trigorin), Daniel Monks (Konstantin), Indira Varma (Arkadina) and Sophie Wu (Masha) are Jason Barnett (Shamrayev), Robert Glenister (Sorin), Mika Onyx Johnson (Medvedenko), Gerald Kyd (Dorn) and Sara Powell (Polina), with understudies Katie BuchholzTina HarrisJoseph Langdon and David Lee-Jones. The production opens at the Harold Pinter Theatre on 7 July, with previews from 29 June, and runs until 10 September 2022. Continue reading “News: full cast announced for The Jamie Lloyd Company’s The Seagull”