News: Wicked announces 2022 London cast

Wicked, the West End and Broadway musical phenomenon that tells the incredible untold story of the Witches of Oz, is proud to announce that Lucie Jones (Elphaba), Ryan Reid (Fiyero), Sophie-Louise Dann (Madame Morrible) and Gary Wilmot (The Wizard) will lead the new London cast at the Apollo Victoria Theatre from Tuesday 1 February 2022.

They will join Helen Woolf, who returns from maternity leave to continue her acclaimed performance as Glinda, Carina Gillespie (Nessarose), Nicholas McLean (Boq), Simeon Truby (Doctor Dillamond), Amy Webb (Standby for Elphaba) and Charli Baptie* (Standby for Glinda), who all continue in their starring roles. Continue reading “News: Wicked announces 2022 London cast”

Early September theatre news

Full casting has been announced for the brand new stage adaptation of British comedy The Good Life which tours the UK this Autumn. The acclaimed cast will include actress and presenter Preeya Kalidas as ‘Margo Leadbetter’, Dominic Rowan as ‘Jerry Leadbetter’, and Sally Tatum as ‘Barbara Good’, joining the previously announced actor and comedian Rufus Hound as ‘Tom Good’. Also featured will be Nigel Betts and Tessa Churchard.

The new comedy by Jeremy Sams, is based on the classic television series by John Esmonde and Bob Larbey which entertained countless millions in the 1970s and which I have never seen an episode of. Directed by Jeremy Sams, this world premiere production will be the first time that the iconic characters of suburban neighbours the Goods and the Leadbetters will be seen on stage. The Good Life will open at Theatre Royal Bath on 7 October 2021, before dates at Cheltenham Everyman, Salford Lowry, Oxford Playhouse, Cambridge Arts Theatre, Malvern Theatres, Richmond Theatre and Chichester Festival Theatre. Continue reading “Early September theatre news”

fosterIAN awards 2014

 WinnerRunner-upOther nominees
Best Actress in a PlayGillian Anderson, A Streetcar Named Desire Chris Nietvelt & Halina Reijn, Maria Stuart (Toneelgroep Amsterdam) Linda Bassett, Visitors
Susannah Fielding, The Merchant of Venice (Almeida)
Denise Gough, Adler and Gibb
Imelda Staunton, Good People
Best Actor in a PlayCary Crankson, The Saints Jack Holden, Johnny Get Your Gun Jonathan Broadbent, My Night With Reg
Chris Connel, Wet House
Harry Melling, peddling
Mark Strong, A View From The Bridge
Best Supporting Actress in a PlayVanessa Kirby, A Streetcar Named DesirePhoebe Fox & Nicola Walker, A View From The Bridge Blythe Duff, The James Plays
Liz White, Electra
Lydia Wilson, King Charles III
Best Supporting Actor in a PlayJoe Caffrey, Wet House Hans Kesting, Maria Stuart (Toneelgroep Amsterdam) Patrick Godfrey, Donkey Heart
Julian Ovenden, My Night With Reg
Hugh Skinner, Thérèse Raquin (Theatre Royal Bath)
Geoffrey Streatfeild, My Night With Reg
Best Actress in a MusicalImelda Staunton, Gypsy Gemma Arterton, Made in Dagenham Charlotte Baptie, Free As Air
Natalie Mendoza, Here Lies Love
Christina Modestou, In The Heights
Sophie Thompson, Guys and Dolls
Best Actor in a MusicalSam Mackay, In The Heights Benjamin Scheuer, The Lion Adrian der Gregorian, Made In Dagenham
Killian Donnelly, Memphis
Jon Robyns, The Last Five Years
Jeremy Secomb, Sweeney Todd (Tooting Arts Club)
Best Supporting Actress in a MusicalJenna Russell, Urinetown Lara Pulver, Gypsy Samantha Bond, Dirty Rotten Scoundrels
Victoria Hamilton-Barritt, In The Heights
Kiara Jay, Sweeney Todd (Tooting Arts Club)
Zoe Rainey, The Return of the Soldier
Best Supporting Actor in a MusicalJason Pennycooke, Memphis Aaron Tveit, Assassins Damian Buhagiar, In The Heights
Tyrone Huntley, Memphis
Nadim Naaman, Sweeney Todd (Tooting Arts Club)
Jonathan Slinger, Urinetown

2014 Best Actress in a Play + in a Musical

Best Actress in a Play

Gillian Anderson, A Streetcar Named Desire
In what proved to be a banner year for brilliant female performances, narrowing this category down to 10 proved nigh on impossible (indeed, the 10 is actually a 11 and I can’t tell you how it killed me to miss Helen McCrory who was just on the cusp). But after much consideration, it is Gillian Anderson’s Blanche DuBois who takes the prize. Star casting it may have been but resulting in a performance of the highest wattage, Anderson’s modern-day leading lady was captivating from the moment she tottered onto the revolving stage and kept us transfixed until the bitter, bitter end as she broke everyone’s heart with the most devastating of exits.

Honourable mention: Halina Reijn/Chris Nietvelt, Maria Stuart (Toneelgroep Amsterdam)
When rounding up a year’s worth of theatre, it can be difficult to avoid focusing on the shows seen more recently but even though Maria Stuart was one of the last things I saw this December, I left the theatre in Amsterdam utterly convinced I’d seen one of the best productions of the year and in Halina Reijn’s Mary and Chris Nietvelt’s Elizabeth, two of the fiercest, most impassioned portrayals on women on the stage. Wrestling with the duties of statehood, the practicalities of being a woman in a man’s world, the very nature of power itself, these two actors inhabited the very substance of Schiller’s text and brought it to extraordinary life.

Linda Bassett, Visitors
Susannah Fielding, The Merchant of Venice (Almeida)
Denise Gough, Adler and Gibb
Imelda Staunton, Good People

7-10
Lisa Diveney, Donkey Heart; Sophie Gråbøl, The James Plays; Marieke Heebink, Medea (Toneelgroep Amsterdam); Sinéad Matthews, Pests


Best Actress in a Musical

Imelda Staunton, Gypsy
We knew this was going to be good, but I don’t think anyone dared dream it would be this good. Destined to be one of the hottest tickets in town when the London transfer opens at the Savoy, better experienced than written about!

Honourable mention: Gemma Arterton, Made In Dagenham
One of the most sweet-natured performances lies at the heart of one of the most sweet-natured shows currently in the West End and I think it is fair to say that Gemma Arterton surprised many of us by anchoring Made in Dagenham to such delightful success. A mother, a machinist, an unexpected feminist hero, she’s a wonderfully warm presence and one that I hope can help the show to continue to succeed.

Charlotte Baptie, Free As Air
Natalie Mendoza, Here Lies Love
Christina Modestou, In The Heights
Sophie Thompson, Guys and Dolls

7-10
Madalena Alberto, Evita; Clare Foster, Guys and Dolls; Nicola Hughes, Porgy and Bess; Siobhan McCarthy, Sweeney Todd (Tooting Arts Club)

Review: Free As Air, Finborough Theatre

“A man’s life is longer if he lazes,
Make time last by wandering through the daisies”
 

Discovering the unalloyed joy of Salad Days through Tête-à-Tête’s recent Riverside Studios production has to be one of my all-time favourite theatrical moments so the marking of its 60th anniversary with a production of a rarely seen show by the same writers was right up my street. Dorothy Reynolds and Julian Slade’s Free As Air hasn’t been seen professionally since 1974 but in the sure hands of Katy Lipson for Aria Entertainments and Neil McPherson’s Finborough Theatre, director/choreographer Stewart Nicholls makes a compelling case for its revival.

Much of the joy of these musicals that the Finborough has resuscitated with their ‘Celebrating British Music Theatre’ series comes from the thrill of unamplified ensembles filling this most intimate of theatres with the joy of song. And with a cast of 17 here, Nicholls and musical director Ben Stock pitch it just right, capturing the endearing glee that comes from something so determinedly old-fashioned yet utterly sincere in its delivery – it would be easy to bandy the word ‘twee’ about but there’s a real emotional honesty to the playing here. Continue reading “Review: Free As Air, Finborough Theatre”

Review: West Side Story, New Wimbledon Theatre

“There’s a place for us”

For me, West Side Story occupies that most special of places in that I can’t remember life without it. It’s a film I’ve loved to watch and a score I’ve loved to listen to since I was kneehigh to the proverbial and it is a love that has remained undiminished. I saw the last international tour of the show twice at Sadler’s Wells and so had thought I’d give this one a miss as it was more or less the same production, but the casting news for the extensive UK tour that followed meant I couldn’t resist a cheeky trip to the New Wimbledon to see it on its way.

Joey McKneely’s excellent production is well-contained within Paul Gallis’ brooding set design which forms the perfect backdrop for showcasing Jerome Robbins’ inimitable choreography which feels as fresh as it has ever done, not least because of the sheer timelessness of the gorgeous songs. ‘Somewhere’, ‘Tonight’, ‘Maria’, ‘I Feel Pretty’, ‘America’…the list goes on and given the huge enthusiasm from the fresh young ensemble gathered here, one can see the magic continuing to go on for generations of potential musical-lovers to come.  Continue reading “Review: West Side Story, New Wimbledon Theatre”