& Juliet casting update – a new Romeo in town!

Tom Francis is to play Romeo in & Juliet, as the award-winning show today announces new cast. Tom, who starred in the recent acclaimed production of Rent, will join the company next month, in the joyous musical which won 3 Olivier Awards and 6 Whatsonstage Awards.

Julius D’Silva will also join the cast as amorous Frenchman Lance, opposite Keala Settle as Nurse. Keala – internationally renowned for her starring role in the global smash hit movie The Greatest Showman in which she performed the iconic song “This Is Me” – will be making her West End debut. Continue reading “& Juliet casting update – a new Romeo in town!”

News: Keala Settle to make West End debut in & Juliet

Keala Settle – internationally renowned for her starring role in the global smash hit movie The Greatest Showman – is to make her West End debut in the award-winning & Juliet.

Keala – who shot to worldwide fame performing the iconic song “This Is Me” in the movie alongside Hugh Jackman, and is a Tony Award nominated star on Broadway – will play the role of Nurse in the joyous musical which won 3 Olivier Awards and 6 Whatsonstage Awards. Continue reading “News: Keala Settle to make West End debut in & Juliet”

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”

Award-winning West End Musical & Juliet Celebrates Second Birthday

With a generous take on arithmetic, & JULIET is celebrates its second anniversary in London’s West End with the release of brand new production photographs by Johan Persson. The award-winning musical thrilled audiences since it opened at the Shaftesbury Theatre on 2 November 2019, though the intervention of the pandemic means I’m not quite sure we can call it 2 years old!

Fabulously fresh and riotously funny, & JULIET explodes with dozens of pop anthems by legendary songwriter Max Martin, including … Baby One More TimeSince U Been GoneRoarIt’s My Life, I Want It That Way, and Can’t Stop the Feeling! mThe show also includes the brand new song One More Try, written especially for the show by Max.

Continue reading “Award-winning West End Musical & Juliet Celebrates Second Birthday”

Book Review: Dear Audience

Just a quickie for this as the book is almost sold out now, but Sophie Ross and Danny Kaan’s coffee-table book Dear Audience is such a beautiful book that I’d encourage you to go and purchase one of the few remaining copies. Striving to photographically celebrate the arts industry from a wide range of performers through producers, MDs and writers, it is a nicely high-quality publication that matches that aim. 

In the interest of fairness, I can’t pick favourites from the many many names featured here, just look at the tags to see the impressive roll-call. What really elevates the book though is the inclusion of heartfelt letters from some of the participants, adding a really personal note to the whole endeavour, reminding us of the personal cost of the pandemic alongside what it has done to the sector as a whole. Track down those last copies now.

News: & Juliet sets re-opening date and reveals new cast members

The award-winning musical & Juliet – which had been thrilling audiences before the closure of theatres last March – will return to the Shaftesbury Theatre from Friday 24 September.

Miriam-Teak Lee – who was awarded the Olivier Award for Best Actress in 2020 for her performance as Juliet – leads a cast including Cassidy Janson, who also won an Olivier Award for Best Supporting Actress for her portrayal of Anne Hathaway, Oliver Tompsett as William Shakespeare, David Bedella, who also won an Olivier Award for his performance in the show as Lance, Jordan Luke Gage as Romeo, Melanie La Barrie as Nurse, and Tim Mahendran as Francois. Alex Thomas-Smith will be joining the principal cast in the role of May. Continue reading “News: & Juliet sets re-opening date and reveals new cast members”

News: line-up for Monday Night at the Apollo #2 revealed

The star line up has been confirmed for the second concert of the series for Monday Night at the Apollo – which will be performed in front of a socially distanced audience at the Apollo Theatre on Shaftesbury Avenue on Monday 14 June, and simultaneously livestreamed to viewers at home via the theatre discovery platform Thespie, which is dedicated to bringing the best live and recorded theatre to audiences around the world.

Shan Ako (Les Miserable, Xfactor), Arthur Darvill (Once, Doctor Who), Sophie Evans (Wicked, Wizard of Oz), Sandra Marvin (Waitress, Emmerdale) and Oliver Tompsett (&Juliet, Wicked) will join on-stage for an intimate night of music and theatrical chat, featuring ovation worthy performances of songs from their favourite genres. Host Greg Barnett (Miss Littlewood, Swallows and Amazons) invites his audience behind the curtain to catch these castmates as you’ve never seen them before. Sharing their most cherished memories and experiences from their careers, alongside performances of music personal to them, West End royalty celebrate the craft and industry they’ve so dearly missed. Continue reading “News: line-up for Monday Night at the Apollo #2 revealed”

Graduates at Cadogan Hall concert #2

Round 2 of Graduates at Cadogan Hall sees a second set of 13 performers from the 2020 and 2021 graduating classes getting the chance to showcase their talents that COVID-19 so cruelly robbed them of. And as with the first concert, we’re doing things a little differently – click on an image below to read mini reviews of each and every one.

Presented by a chirpy Luke Bayer with messages of support from Bonnie Langford, Victoria Hamilton-Barritt, Oliver Tompsett and Sophie Thompson, this initiative from Ameena Hamid Productions and The Grad Fest is such a bright, uplifting thing and with plans for reopening theatreland creeping onto the schedule as well, feels full of hope.    Continue reading “Graduates at Cadogan Hall concert #2”

News: I Dare You – Charity Single To Be Released on 16 March

The Make A Difference Trust today announce the release of the charity single I Dare You. The track featuring a host of stars of the West End stage will be released on Tuesday 16 March 2021, to mark the anniversary of the day UK Theatres went dark in 2020.

With an appeal by Vanessa Williams, raising funds for the MAD Covid-19 Emergency relief Fund, singing together for the first time are Aimie Atkinson, Samantha Barks, Sharon D Clarke, Kerry Ellis, Shaun Escoffery, Shanay Holmes, Francesca Jackson, Cassidy Janson, Aisha Jawando, Tosh Wanogho-Maud, Jamie Muscato, Eva Noblezada, Natalie Paris, Jay Perry, Louise Redknapp, Oliver Tompsett, Faye Tozer, Sally Ann Triplett, Rachel Tucker, Marisha Wallace and Layton Williams. Continue reading “News: I Dare You – Charity Single To Be Released on 16 March”