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”

Casts for My Fair Lady and Legally Blonde revealed

The forthcoming productions of My Fair Lady at the Palladium and Legally Blonde at the Open Air Theatre have been revealed

Producers have announced the full cast line up for Bartlett Sher’s production of My Fair Lady at the London Coliseum. Stephen K Amos will play the role of Alfred P. Doolittle. Stephen is a BAFTA award-winning comedian whose stage work includes My Night With Reg and One Flew Over The Cuckoos Nest. Malcolm Sinclair will play the role of Colonel Pickering. Malcolm has performed in more than 50 theatrical productions and was nominated for Best Supporting Actor at the 2019 Olivier Awards for his performance in Pressure at The Ambassador’s Theatre. 

They join the previously announced Amara Okereke who will star as Eliza Doolittle, Harry Hadden-Paton who reprises his performance as Henry Higgins, Dame Vanessa Redgrave who will play Mrs Higgins, Maureen Beattie who will play Mrs Pearce and Sharif Afifi who will play Freddy Eynsford-Hill. Continue reading “Casts for My Fair Lady and Legally Blonde revealed”

News: Initial casting announced for My Fair Lady

Producers are delighted to announce the first casting news for Bartlett Sher’s award-winning production of My Fair Lady at the London Coliseum. Amara Okereke will star as Eliza Doolittle. Okereke was recently seen in the Almeida’s acclaimed production of Spring Awakening and she won the Stage Debut Award for her performance as Cosette in Les Miserables.

She will be joined by Harry Hadden-Paton who reprises his performance as Henry Higgins which he originated at the Lincoln Center in New York and for which he received Tony and Grammy award nominations. Hadden-Paton has worked extensively on stage in both London and New York and is perhaps best known for his roles as Martin Charteris in The Crown (Netflix) and Bertie Pelham in Downton Abbey (ITV). Continue reading “News: Initial casting announced for My Fair Lady”

10 top theatrical moments of 2021

As distinct from my favourite shows of the year, this list celebrates the fact that sometimes the good and the not-so-good co-exist right next to each – some of my favourite moments.

For reference, here’s my 2020 list, 2019 list, 2018 list, 2017 list2016 list2015 list and 2014 list.

Helen McCrory, in memoriam
I still don’t really have the words to talk about how sad the passing of Helen McCrory is, such a favourite actor of mine for so long. But what was joyful was hearing the absolute esteem in which seemingly every one of her colleagues held her, a testament to the person as well as the performer.

Being scared, by women
After having declared that scary theatre just didn’t work for me, the Terrifying Women made me eat my words in quite some style with their Halloween special. Continue reading “10 top theatrical moments of 2021”

Review: The Theatre Channel – Episode Seven Rodgers and Hammerstein

With powerful performances from Michael Xavier, Josefina Gabrielle and more, plus a sneak peek at the forthcoming Carousel, Episode Seven of The Theatre Channel is a marvellous showcase for Rodgers and Hammerstein

“Bachelor dandies, drinkers of brandies
What do I know of those”

Episode Seven of The Theatre Channel is presented in a co-production with Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre, as it focus on the songs of Rodgers and Hammerstein allows us get a taster of their forthcoming production of Carousel. And not only that, there’s illustrative contributions throughout from Ted Chapin, former president of The Rodgers and Hammerstein Society, lending a real weight to an already entertaining episode.

For the most part, stagings are fairly straight-forward, taking advantage of the lush greenery of Regent’s Park. And when the songs are this good, there’s not much need to that much more. Josefina Gabrielle oozes class as she sashays through Allegro’s ‘The Gentleman is a Dope’ and new graduates Tavio Wright and Ethlinn Rose put the bandstand to good use in a gorgeous ‘Sixteen Going On Seventeen’, complete with ecstatic dance break. Continue reading “Review: The Theatre Channel – Episode Seven Rodgers and Hammerstein”

News: The Theatre Channel visits Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre

Adam Blanshay Productions’ renowned The Theatre Channel is back with a jam-packed Rodgers and Hammerstein special. Embracing the return of live theatre, the episode is a co-production with Regent’s Park Open AirTheatre ahead of their unique take on the classic Carousel this summer.

This brand new partnership will feature an exclusive sneak peek into the making of the upcoming production of Carousel, including behind-the scenes rehearsal footage with Natasha May Thomas and choreographer Drew McOnie. This al fresco hit tells a tragic tale with songs that will stay with you for a lifetime. Continue reading “News: The Theatre Channel visits Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre”

News: Almeida 2021 season announcement

First up in June is the World Premiere of and breathe… by Yomi ode, a theatrical adaptation of poems from his forthcoming collection Manorism. Directed by Olivier Award-winning director Miranda Cromwell, featuring David Jonsson.

From July Lolita Chakrabarti’s Hymn will be performed to live in-person audiences for the first time following a string of sold-out live stream performances earlier this year. Adrian Lester and Danny Sapani reprise their roles, and Blanche McIntyre directs. Continue reading “News: Almeida 2021 season announcement”

Review: A Killer Party

An online bite-sized musical murder mystery? A Killer Party boasts a strong cast if not quite the killer instinct

Did you always want to work as a traffic warden?’
Did you always want to work in an unviable industry?'”

A Killer Party is a curious thing. A murder mystery musical broken up into 9 episodes which can be watched at your own pace, it wears its lockdown origins a little too closely given how far the quality of digital theatre offerings have come over the last few months.

Written by Rachel Axler and Kait Kerrigan (book), Jason Howland (music), and Nathan Tysen (lyrics) and adapted for British audiences following its US-centric debut last years, we follow the case of Varthur McArthur, the artistic director of Blackpool’s
smallest regional theatre who is offed during a read-through for his latest production. Who’s your suspect? Take your pick from any of the theatrical stereotypes on offer. Continue reading “Review: A Killer Party”

Musical news aplenty

Following its opening at the Watermill Theatre, a critically acclaimed sell-out tour in 2019, a highly successful Christmas season at The Other Palace in 2019, a Grammy nomination and 3 Olivier Award nominations, Amélie The Musical arrives in the heart of the West End this summer. Following the government roadmap announcement, tickets are on sale now for a socially distanced audience at the Criterion Theatre from Thursday 20 May. Olivier-nominee Audrey Brisson (The Elephantom, Pinocchio and Pericles (National Theatre), The Flying Lovers of Vitebsk (Kneehigh), and The Grinning Man
(Bristol Old Vic)), will return to the role of ‘Amélie’.

The five–time Oscar®-nominated film will be brought to life once again by a cast of actor-musicians and set to a critically acclaimed re-orchestrated score. With music by Hem’s Daniel Messé, lyrics by Nathan Tysen and Daniel Messé and book by Craig Lucas, Amélie The Musical is directed by Michael Fentiman. The full cast includes Sioned Saunders as Gina, Flora Spencer-Longhurst as Georgette, Rachel Dawson as Amandine/Philomene, Oliver Grant as Lucien/Mysterious Man, Chris Jared as Nino Quincampoix, Caolan McCarthy as Hippolito/Elton John, Samuel Morgan-Grahame as Joseph/Fluffy, Kate Robson-Stuart as Suzanne, Jack Quarton as Blind Beggar, Jez Unwin as Raphael/Bretodeau and Johnson Willis as Collignon/Dufayel. Nuwan Hugh Perera, Miiya Alexandra, Robyn Sinclair and Matthew James Hinchliffe complete the ensemble. Continue reading “Musical news aplenty”

News: Tristram Kenton’s stage archive – the musicals edition

Since it is the season of goodwill to all men, I’m not going to belabour the point that it is a shame that ‘musicals’ have been lumped together as a category here, whereas the likes of Pinter and Kane got their own specials, whither Sondheim, Herman and Tesori. Still, it’s lovely as ever to stretch back over years of musical theatre productions to see some of Tristram Kenton’s most iconic shots for the Guardian:
https://www.theguardian.com/stage/gallery/2020/dec/02/musicals-on-stage-in-pictures-tristram-kenton

Photos: Tristram Kenton