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”

News: Anything Goes reveals new leads for 2022

New star casting has been announced for Anything Goes, the smash hit ‘show of the year’ which is sailing back to the Barbican for a return residency following its sold out run in summer 2021.

The new cast includes: WhatOnStage Award Winner Kerry Ellis (Wicked/We Will Rock You) as Reno Sweeney and Olivier Award Winner Denis Lawson (Bleak House/New Tricks) as Moonface Martin. Joining them on board is Olivier Award Winner Simon Callow (Four Weddings & A Funeral/Amadeus) as Elisha Whitney and Musical Theatre Royalty Bonnie Langford (EastEnders/9 to 5) as Evangeline Harcourt. As well as its triumphant return to the Barbican, this glorious musical will also be visiting theatres in Bristol, Liverpool, Edinburgh, Canterbury and Manchester. Continue reading “News: Anything Goes reveals new leads for 2022”

News: Whodunnit [Unrehearsed] 2 guest performers revealed

Park Theatre has announced the full line up of almost 40 celebrities who will take to the Park200 stage this February and March – completely unrehearsed – to play the Inspector in a farcical whodunnit. Each night will see a different actor, presenter, musician or comedian having their lines fed to them via earpiece as they attempt to crack the case of a stolen diamond. First announced in November, the initial line up has been expanded to include Simon Callow, Ian McKellen, Mark Gatiss and Emma Thompson amongst others. Who will perform in Whodunnit [Unrehearsed] 2 on any given night is a closely guarded secret and will only be revealed when the curtain goes up. Continue reading “News: Whodunnit [Unrehearsed] 2 guest performers revealed”

TV Review: The Amazing Mr Blunden

The Amazing Mr Blunden is a nice bit of undemanding, traditional, festive fare with Simon Callow doing what Simon Callow does best

“Time is not a straight line, it’s more like a vast wheel on which we stand at different points, rarely meeting”

I’m not normally one for much convention but I do like a bit of traditional festive family fare in this downtime period between Christmas and New Year but despite the preponderance of content and platforms, there doesn’t seem to be much of it around, not least that is new. So credit to Sky and their new adaptation of The Amazing Mr Blunden for scratching that itch for me.

Based on Antonia Barber’s 1969 book The Ghosts which was also filmed in 1972, Mark Gatiss leads this version as writer and director, and also as star since, you know, he can. And it is a refreshingly different take on the ghost story as it takes place in both 1821 and the modern day, reconfiguring what we know as ghosts as time travellers instead, depending on your perspective. Continue reading “TV Review: The Amazing Mr Blunden”

News: Exeunt – The Stage Door Project book announced

In 2020, for the first time in centuries, heavy red curtains swept closed on stages across the West End; all theatres were closed. Two actors – Lloyd McDonagh and Salvatore Scarpa- keenly feeling the loss of their theatre homes, turned to a form of art that could still thrive over the following months, and set about photographing the stage doors of the deserted city.

An extraordinary collaborative project almost two years in the making, Exeunt – The Stage Door Project collects together these moving images, alongside anecdotes from some of the world’s leading luminaries who have trodden the boards of the pictured theatres. Continue reading “News: Exeunt – The Stage Door Project book announced”

News update for Christmas theatre in London

Regions across the UK were hoping to win the lottery but with the news of Tier 2 (for now) for London, here’s some Christmas theatre news 

The Donmar Warehouse announces today that it will present a special concert online to mark the festive season. LOOKING A LOT LIKE CHRISTMAS will be performed in the beautiful setting of St Paul’s Church (affectionately known as The Actors’ Church), in the heart of Covent Garden and premiere online for free on the Donmar’s YouTube channel on Wednesday 16 December, 7.30pm. The concert will be captioned, and an audio introduction will be available in partnership with Vocaleyes.

This hour-long concert of musical numbers, sketches and seasonal poetry will be directed by Simon Evans (Staged, The Resistible Rise of Arturo Ui) with musical direction by Nigel Lilley (Piaf, Caroline, or Change) and production design by Grace Smart (My Beautiful Laundrette, One Night in Miami). Continue reading “News update for Christmas theatre in London”

News: star-studded Agatha Christie readings to support the Theatre Support Fund and Acting for Others

A pair of star-studded staged readings of Agatha Christie thrillers will support the Theatre Support Fund+ and Acting for Others.

Agatha Christie’s Spider’s Web – 9th December, 7.30pm

Clarissa, wife of a diplomat, is adept at spinning tales of adventure but when a murder takes place in her own drawing room she finds live drama much harder to cope with. 

Desperate to dispose of the body before her husband arrives with an important politician, she enlists the help of her guests. Hilarity ensues when they are interrupted by the arrival of wry detective, Inspector Lord. 

Starring: Nari Blair-Mangat | Nick Blakeley | Brian BovellRichard Clifford | Adam Gillen | Jessica Hynes | Sir Derek Jacobi | Matthew Kelley | Gerard McCarthy | Helen Monks | Gloria Onitiri | Stephanie Siadatan


Agatha Christie’s The Hollow – 10th December, 7.30pm

An unhappy game of romantic follow-the-leader explodes into murder one weekend at The Hollow, home of Sir Henry and Lucy Angkatell. Dr. Cristow, the Harley Street lothario, is at the centre of the trouble when, assembled in one place, we find his dull but devoted wife Gerda, his mistress and prominent sculptor Henrietta, and his former lover and Hollywood film star Veronica. As the list of romantic associations grows so does the list of potential suspects when someone is shot dead. 

Nearly everyone has a motive but only one of them did the deed. 

Starring: Samantha Bond | Simon Callow | James Dreyfus | Kathryn Drysdale | Richard Fleeshman | Beth Granville | Angela Griffin | Laura Haddock | Tom Hughes | Adam James | Valentine Olukoga | Nina Sosanya | Nia Towle 

Trailer released for A Merry Little Christmas Celebration

Chichester Festival Theatre’s A Merry Little Christmas Celebration has released an enticing teaser of what’s to come in their festive celebration that runs from 3rd-5th December, with the show on the 4th being live-streamed. 

The show features marvellous singers Rebecca Trehearn, Emmanuel Kojo and the divine Rebecca Caine with CFT Artistic Director Daniel Evans and a special surprise guest each evening, plus Simon Callow giving a selection of Christmas readings.

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

Perhaps inevitably, famous names getting more clicks than bona fide theatrical talent remains as true as ever as Tristram Kenton’s before-they-were-famous photo montage and its sequel are now followed up by a full-out Hollywood edition. Interesting to see the people who’ve trodden the boards over the years but for me, this is a less interesting selection of productions than we’ve previously seen, not much FOMO envy here at all:
https://www.theguardian.com/stage/gallery/2020/nov/18/nicole-kidman-orlando-bloom-hollywood-stars-west-end-stage-in-pictures

Photos: Tristram Kenton