Some more musicals casting news for March

Just as I published one set of casting news for forthcoming musicals, then a whole lot more is announced! 101 Dalmatians, Sister Act the Musical and the return of Anything Goes join the pile of things to book for


Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre have announced full casting for their forthcoming production of 101 Dalmatians (12 Jul – 28 Aug), a newly commissioned musical written by Douglas Hodge (music and lyrics) and Johnny McKnight (book), from a stage adaptation by Zinnie Harris. Based on the book by Dodie Smith, leading the cast as the iconic villain Cruella de Vil is Olivier and Tony Award nominee Kate Fleetwood. Dalmatians Pongo and Perdi are puppeteered by Danny Collins (Pongo Voice), Emma Lucia (Perdi Voice), Yana Penrose (Perdi Head) and Ben Thompson (Pongo Head).

© Oliver Rosser and Feast Creative

Also joining the cast are: Jamil Abbasi (Ensemble), Stuart Angell (Captain Head), George Bukhari (Jasper), Sonya Cullingford (Ensemble), Jade Davies (Swing), Karen Fishwick (Danielle), Joseph Fletcher (Ensemble), Taofique Folarin (Swing), Courtney George (Ensemble), Tash Holway (Swing and Dance Captain), CJ Johnson (Ensemble), Kody Mortimer (Ensemble), Simon Oskarsson (Swing), Tom Peters (Captain Voice), Eric Stroud (Dominic), Jonny Weldon (Casper), and Grace Wylde (Madam Doué). Continue reading “Some more musicals casting news for March”

TV Review: Silent Witness Series 8

Amanda Burton’s departure is smoothly managed as Series 8 of Silent Witness heralds a major new age for the show 

“Hard act to follow…the blessed Sam”

Given that the first 7 series of Silent Witness featured Amanda Burton’s name above the title, it is impressive that the show’s transition to life without her is effected so smoothly here. She leaves after the first story of Series 8 with a return to Northern Ireland and some long held secrets from the past and if her departure comes a little as a surprise, it’s slightly less so given how the first part of that story finishes on quite the cliffhanger.

Harry and Leo then get one story to themselves and their petty rivalries until Emilia Fox’s effervescent Dr Nikki Alexander is introduced to the team. She comes as a forensic anthropologist, focusing on Iron Age facial reconstructions but is soon co-opted into the Lyell Centre’s ways (“Why are they still involved? They’re pathologists”) in a dicey tale of horse racing and helicopters and then a truly harrowing tale of the aftermath of a train crash, stirringly written by Michael Crompton. Continue reading “TV Review: Silent Witness Series 8”

News: One year of National Theatre at Home – New titles added

Ahead of National Theatre at Home’s one year anniversary on 1 December, the National Theatre has today announced the next filmed productions to be added to the streaming service, which is supported by Bloomberg Philanthropies.

Joining the platform today is Simon Godwin’s critically acclaimed 2018 production of Antony & Cleopatra in the Olivier theatre, with Ralph Fiennes and Sophie Okonedo playing Shakespeare’s famous fated couple. Then the iconic and multi-award-winning production of War Horsebased on the novel by Michael Morpurgo, will be available from 1 December until 31 January 2022 on demand internationally for the first time since its premiere 14 years ago. It will be available with British Sign Language, audio description and captions. Continue reading “News: One year of National Theatre at Home – New titles added”

Book review: Time To Act – Simon Annand

Simon Annand’s Time To Act is a beautiful book of photos capturing actors in the minutes before they go on stage

Tackling the constraints of the pandemic in its own way, Simon Annand’s fantastic new book of photos Time To Act has launched a virtual exhibition of some of the photographs which has now been extended to until Christmas. It’s an ingenious way of sharing some of the hundreds of images from the book and should surely whet the appetite for either just buying it now or putting on your list for Santa to collect soon.

Continue reading “Book review: Time To Act – Simon Annand”

TV Review: Waking the Dead Series 8

Alas poor Stella. Series 8 of Waking the Dead shakes up the team once again but its real strength comes from some god-tier guest casting

“Your evidence is based solely on the deluded ravings of a paranoid schizophrenic and the manipulative whisperings of a serial killing psychopath”

In all honesty, I’d forgotten that they killed off Stella in Series 8 of Waking the Dead and the rather low-key way in which she was dispatched seems to indicate the writers wanted it that way. I think Félicité Du Jeu did well to try and assimilate into the team but she rarely got much of a shot in terms of characterisation aside from being their dogsbody. Alors…

So we’re given a new junior – Stacey Roca as Detective Sergeant Katrina Howard – but once again there’s so little attention paid to developing her character that it is little surprise she only lasts for this one series. And whilst I’m being critical, the lack of follow-through from the traumatic events for Boyd at the end of the last series is a dereliction of duty IMHO. Continue reading “TV Review: Waking the Dead Series 8”

TV Review: Harlots Series 2

Season 2 of Harlots maintains an impressive run for this excellent series

“You let women do this to you?”

I loved the first series of Harlots when I finally got round to catching up with it recently, so I was keen not to let too pass to tackle Series 2. Inspired by Hallie Rubenhold’s The Covent Garden Ladies, creators Alison Newman and Moira Buffini have done a marvellous job of conjuring and maintaining a richly detailed world that puts women’s experiences front and centre.

The heart of the show has been the burning rivalry between competing madams Lydia Quigley and Margaret Wells, and Lesley Manville and Samantha Morton remain a titanic force as they do battle with each other while simultaneously battling a corrupt patriarchy that would abuse them and their power for a guinea a time. And with its new additions, this second series widens out that focus to incorporate the experiences of other women. Continue reading “TV Review: Harlots Series 2”

TV Review: Harlots Series 1

The best TV show you haven’t heard about? Harlots just might be it!

“When the time comes, I hope your quim splits”

I suppose that it is good that we have so many more options for good television to be made these days. The flipside to that is that it can be harder to keep track of it all. Harlots is fricking fantastic, a hugely enjoyable and high quality drama but airing on ITV Encore (and Hulu in the US),  it has languished in the doldrums of the unfairly unheralded.

A glance at the castlist shows you how much of a waste this is. Samantha Morton and Lesley Manville at the head, Jessica Brown Findlay, Hugh Skinner and Dorothy Atkinson among the supporting, Fenella Woolgar, Danny Sapani and Kate Fleetwood popping up now and again too. This is luxury stuff and yet criminally few know about it. Continue reading “TV Review: Harlots Series 1”