BAT OUT OF HELL REVIEW

EMPIRE THEATRE, LIVERPOOL – UNTIL SATURDAY 15TH OCTOBER 2022

REVIEWED BY MIA BOWEN

4****

Jim Steinman’s Bat Out Of Hell The Musical, literally roared into Liverpool last night, lining the street in front of the Empire Theatre with a parade of motorbikes, similar to the one featured on the front of the 1977 Bat out of Hell album. It was a wonderful tribute to not only the late, great Meat Loaf and talented composer Steinman but also set the scene for what was to be a memorable evening.

Bat Out Of Hell is a rock musical with music, lyrics and book by Steinman, based on the Bat Out Of Hell album by Meat Loaf. Steinman wrote all the songs, most of which are from the Bat Out of Hell trilogy albums. The musical premiered at the Opera House in Manchester in February 2017 and originally starred Rob Fowler (Mamma Mia, CATS, The Buddy Holly Story) as Falco and Sharon Sexton (Mamma Mia, Billy Elliot The Musical, Anything Goes) as Sloane, who performed in last night’s production.

The musical is a loose retelling of Peter Pan and follows Strat, performed by Glenn Adamson, the leader of ‘The Lost’, a group of rebellious teenagers who will forever remain 18, living underground in a dystopian setting. Strat has fallen in love with Raven, performed by Martha Kirby, daughter of Falco, the tyrannical ruler of Obsidian. This romance causes upset amongst ‘The Lost’ and Tink, performed by Killian Thomas Lefevre, seeks the same revenge as Raven’s father, Falco.

Bat Out Of Hell was always meant to be a musical and takes Steinman and Meat Loaf’s greatest hits and turns them into an exciting musical experience. All rock fans are familiar with the songs and Bat out of Hell has sold over 40 million copies, it reached its highest position in the USA Billboard chart earlier this year after Meat Loaf, Michael Lee Aday, passed away.

The cast is wondrously talented and the music sounds extremely good, giving the audience the chance to hear the songs they love, performed spectacularly. No surprise this musical has a worldwide fan base. The set design is impressive, Obsidian is brought to life, with Falco Towers standing out against the desolate and black background.

The musical ended with the audience in a standing ovation. A touching moment was when actor Rob Fowler encouraged the audience to take out their phones to record the last musical number and share it on social media, he stated that “Live theatre is back!”

Bat Out Of Hell is a ride full of adrenaline to hell and back! A must see for Meat Loaf fans!

The Color Purple Review

Royal & Derngate, Northampton – until 8th October 2022

Reviewed by Ely King

5*****

Content warning: mentions of sexual assault and abuse

This cast is overflowing with endless talent

The Color Purple is a brutally honest portrayal of what life was like for many people of colour in the past.

Based on the well-loved novel written by Alice Walker, and the movie directed by Steven Spielberg, this musical adaptation is a modern masterpiece.

The production follows the tumultuous life of Celie (Me’Sha Bryan) from a young age as she navigates the twists and turns of being a black woman in the early 1900’s – prior to the Civil Rights Movement.

By the age of fourteen, Celie has already given birth to her second child as a result of being raped by her father (KM Drew Boatend), who ‘gets rid’ of them shortly after birth.

Before she even has a chance to begin to recover, she is shirked off into the hands of a brute of a man, Mister (Ako Mitchell).

Though Celie goes willingly, accepting her role in society, her headstrong sister Nettie (Aaliyah Zhané) is defiant from the get-go, proclaiming how she will be a teacher and have her own life.

It’s this defiance, and natural beauty, that catches the eye of Mister, and upon her rejection, he shuns her from his property – Celie assumes her sister has been killed by her husband.

With no sister for support, Celie succumbs to the ruthless torment and beatings that her husband bestows on her, never once complaining or questioning the mechanics of their relationship.

Thankfully, by the end of the show, Celie is once again surrounded by people who love and care for her and is finally truly happy.

Despite the show being incredibly heavy in places, there is still a sprinkling of comedy throughout. It is enough to help lighten the show in areas, but doesn’t detract from the storyline or make light of the story being told.

This delicate balance helps the show become the success that it is.

That, and the cast.

This touring cast are some of the most talented performers out there right now.

From start to finish, this performance is a sensational masterclass of talent.

Me’Sha Bryan and Ako Mitchell as Celie and Mister are true standouts of the performance, having the perfectly believable to-and-fro with some jaw-dropping solos.

Ako manages to even get the audience feeling sorry for him at parts of the show, which is a huge feat considering how cruel his character is portrayed.

Even though Me’Sha and Ako may be the leads, every single person in this cast has their well-deserved moment to shine.

These singers are so phenomenally talented, their vocals are borderline ethereal at times.

Two of the women who help Celie gain strength and independence are Sofia, played by Analisa Lamola, and Shug Avery played by Bree Smith. Analisa and Bree are incredibly talented, performing some show-stopping ballads effortlessly with an air of grace that commands the attention of the audience.

Whilst every single cast member deserves their own shout-out, honourable mentions have to go to Esme Laudat, Karen Mavundukure and Rosemary Annabella Nkrumah who play Jarene, Doris and Darlene respectively. The three women act like rogue narrators, stirring up gossip amongst themselves between scenes to help introduce characters and add that little bit more drama. Their characterisation is very reminiscent of The Muses from Hercules, or The Fates from Hadestown.

Although the women undoubtedly run this show, the men are no joke either.

The ensemble stars the incredible Joshua Clemetson and Ahmed Hamad (among others) who are the perfect light relief and sounding board for the women to play against.

The Color Purple is an invaluable and unforgettable piece of art and is a must-see for everyone.

The Rocky Horror Show Review

Belgrade Theatre, Coventry – until Saturday 8th October 2022

Reviewed by Amarjeet Singh

5****

The Rocky Horror Show is unlike anything you have ever experienced. For a novice like me, it was akin to walking into a magical mystery land. There were seasoned fans wearing colourful basques, stockings, high heels, suspenders, and spectacular wigs, and newbies like me looking around in wonder and anticipation as to what was about to unfurl.

This comedic musical horror tells the story of a young, innocent, and newly engaged couple, Janet (Haley Flaherty) and Brad (Richard Meek) who have a life changing encounter with some creatures of the night. When their car breaks down, they decide to go for help and stumble on a castle in the middle of nowhere. The castle just happens to belong to alien transvestite scientist Frank ‘N’ Furter from the planet ‘Transexual’. This meeting sets off an unforgettable evening of sex and murder, and the play takes on a bizarre turn when Brad and Janet realise too late that they are out of their depth and are easy game for the castle’s creatures.

Richard O’Brien’s, The Rocky Horror Show is simply spectacular. Rumbunctious, bawdy, thrilling…It’s hard not to gush when describing this brilliant production which is directed by Christopher Luscombe.

Audience participation is off the charts. Again, for those unfamiliar with this show, in terms of audience etiquette, throw the rule book out of the window. People will heckle, dance, sing, and wave lights but it all adds to the entertainment and enjoyment of the show. There is a deep respect and appreciation for all players and viewers alike. Everyone is in on it. For this reason, the Narrator, who is our guide into the murky realms of the goings on in the castle, has a key role to play. Tonight’s narrator was Stefano Guerriero, he did an amazing job. He was sharp and snappy and his narration flowed as well as his glossy locks. He completely held his own against a quick-witted audience.

Stephen Webb and Kristian Lavercombe were incredible as Frank ‘N’ Furter and Riff Raff, respectively. They relished their roles, both magnificently manipulative and masterful and wildly funny! In fact, the cast as a whole are phenomenal and deserve to be credited for their faultless performance. The vocals and dance numbers are spot on throughout.

The Rocky Horror Show defies convention. Lavishing in lust, sex and weirdness yet we must not forget that this show is revolutionary. If your idea of a great night out is throwing caution to the wind and singing and dancing with your fellow audience members, then this is the show for you! Seeing the Time Warp performed by the entire theatre is a sight to behold! Be bold and see the Rocky Horror Show. Don’t dream it, be it.

The Milk Train Doesn’t Stop Here Anymore Review

Charing Cross Theatre, London – until 22nd October 2022

Reviewed by Celia Armand Smith

2**

When a play is described as “rarely performed”, you have to wonder why. Tennessee Williams’ The Milk Train Doesn’t Stop Here Anymore has had a rocky past on stage and screen despite being one of his most passionate projects, reflecting a time of personal grief and sorrow. It’s been revived numerous times and rewritten, but it’s always stumbled, never managing to compare to his other, more notable works.

Set on the Amalfi Coast in 1962, a wealthy four time widow, Sissy Goforth (Linda Marlowe), is dictating her colourful memoirs to her assistant Miss Black (Lucie Shorthouse). Aware that the end is nigh, she vaguely reminisces about her multiple husbands and the life she’s lived. That is until a mysterious young poet arrives at her door. Christopher Flanders (Sanee Raval), known locally as ‘The Angel of Death’ because of his propensity for turning up just as wealthy, elderly women are about to die, comes to see Mrs Goforth, and we see if he will live up to his title. She is also visited by a high spirited old friend known as the ‘Witch of Capri’ (Sara Kestelman) which creates some light relief, however her part is over way too soon.

If this play was written now, someone would make a meme about how it could have been an email. It is more an essay about Tennessee Williams’ thoughts on death and the meaning of life. The director, Robert Chevara, is an expert in Tennessee Williams, and though there are some gestures made to stay truthful to the setting, there are some strange choices. Mobile phones and some characters wearing more modern clothing butt heads with more period dress and anecdotes about Truman Capote.

The production design by Nicolai Hart-Hansen is simple and used to great effect by the cast. Utilising different parts of the theatre including the balcony and the stairs, you felt like you were in the house with the characters.

The Milk Train Doesn’t Stop Here Anymore makes for interesting viewing if you are a Tennessee Williams completist, and covers some big topics. However, I think that maybe this play should be, like the elderly “victims” of Christopher Flanders, laid to rest.

The Importance of Being Earnest Review

Northern Stage Newcastle – until 8th October 2022

Reviewed by Sandra Little

4****

This classic romantic farce, written by Oscar Wilde, has been given a lighthearted approach by director Denzel Westley-Sanderson. However, it also questions assumptions we might have about Victorian England and is performed by an all black cast.

The play begins in the home of Algernon Moncrieff ( Abiola Owokoniran) with some flamboyant teasing between Algernon and his friend John Worthing ( Justice Ritchie ) about a name on a cigarette case. It becomes clear that John uses the name Ernest when in London and Jack when in the country. Algernon then introduces John to the notion of bunburying which can be defined as deception, fiction and escapism. He also uses the word Bunbury to describe his fictional friend.

As the narrative moves on two characters arrive at Algernon’s home for afternoon tea; they are Gwendolen (Adele James), Algernon’s cousin, and his aunt ( Gwendolen’s mother), Lady Bracknell (Daniel Jacob/Vinegar Strokes ). John intends to propose to Gwendolen during their visit but things do not go according to plan!

In act ll John goes to his country estate to visit Cecily ( Phoebe Campbell ) who he is guardian to. He is seen wearing a very flamboyant and rather comical costume and seeks to convince those around him that his brother Ernest has died. There is much confusion at this point as Cecily thinks Algernon is John’s brother Ernest and has agreed to become engaged to him.

In Act lll all of the main characters are on stage and there is much farcical confusion around names, identity, death and proposals of marriage! Eventually Algernon proposes to Cecily, John proposes to Gwendolen and Miss Prism ( Joanne Henry) who is Cecily’s governess, finally reveals John’s true identity.

I absolutely loved this slightly unconventional interpretation of, “The Importance of Being Earnest.” Lady Bracknell (think part pantomime dame and part Miss Trunchbull from Matilda) played a great part; she was intimidating and larger than life in every respect! Her costumes were superb and gave her an incredible sense of presence on stage. The rector, Dr Chasuble ( Anita Reynolds) was clearly female and had quite a comedic role. Her interest in Miss Prism was subtle but nevertheless quite obvious. Both Cecily and Gwendolen wore immaculate period costumes and they demonstrated amusing, rebellious aspects to their characters alongside quite shallow characteristics. Their frivolous dialogue and over reaction served to highlight more serious issues. Cecily for example, states that she could never love a man called Algernon!

This review would not be complete if I failed to mention some of the classic one liners that were an integral part of the play. Near the beginning we are informed that the lower order have no sense of moral responsibility and on another occasion the opinion is expressed that literary criticism is for people who have not been to university! A favourite of mine was, “education has no effect whatsoever!”

Watching this play was like drinking a lovely glass of champagne; it was light and frivolous but with some interesting undertones. Issues around class, identity, race, relationships and marriage were all

explored and from the reaction of the audience many of these issues were as relevant today as they were when the play was written by Oscar Wilde.

Rosemary Ashe Stars in Adorable Dora

WEST END DIVA ROSEMARY ASHE PLAYS TRIBUTE

TO DORA BRYAN IN TOUR OF ADORABLE DORA

‘Tarts and barmaids. I just took whatever came along!’ – Dora Bryan

West End Diva Rosemary Ashe pays tribute to national treasure Dora Bryan in a tour of Adorable Dora. opening at the Lighthouse Theatre, Poole on 19 October before visiting Guildford, Bromley, Bingley, Bracknell, Surbiton and Hastings.

Over nearly eight decades Dora did it all, from pantomime and Carry On to Shakespeare, from Last of the Summer Wine and Ab Fab to Dinner Ladies, and perhaps most importantly her iconic and BAFTA Award winning performance in the film A Taste Of Honey. She earned the title national treasure in so many ways.

Now that legend is being brought to the life by West End star and Olivier Award nominee Rosemary Ashe (The Phantom of the Opera, The Witches of Eastwick, Mary Poppins) and Paul Knight (42nd Street, Forbidden Broadway) Who will take you on a fascinating musical voyage through Dora’s life. Expect fun, music & laughter with excerpts from Hello DollyThe Water Gypsies and many more. The show tells the tale of Dora’s often turbulent life and recreates some of Dora’s best known and best loved theatrical creations.

Adorable Dora is written by Rosemary Ashe who says “I’ve always been a huge fan or Dora and during a clear out in Lockdown I discovered an old cassette of hers which inspired me to write the show.  After months of research into Dora’s life and speaking with many people who had known and worked with her Adorable Dora was born.  It’s a privilege to play her and to keep her spirit alive on stage”

Produced in association with DMP Theatre Limited. Adorable Dora, directed by Ben Stock with Musical Direction from Paul Knigh,t has recently played the Fringe, Above the Stag, The Pheasantry and Jermyn Street Theatre to the delight of critics and audience members alike .

“Not only does Rosie look and sound like her, she manages to convey the very essence, fun, eccentricity and flamboyance of this wonderful, wonderful actress. I urge everyone to beg, steal or borrow a ticket.” – Christopher Biggins (long-time friend of Dora)

“you close your eyes, you hear Dora”  – Brian Butler Brighton Fringe

“Ashe’s characterisation is perfect, the gamut of voices superbly nuanced, and the show itself, whilst light, points up the darkness with a few telling songs”  Fringe On Line

Don’t miss your chance to see this extraordinary tribute to one the comedy greats this Autumn book direct at venue websites.

LISTINGS

ADORABLE DORA

Wednesday 19 October 7pm Studio, Lighthouse Poole   –  www.lighthousepoole.co.uk   

Friday 28 October 7.45pm, Mill Studio, Yvonne Arnaud Theatre, Guildford  –  www.yvonne-arnaud.co.uk   

Sunday 30 October 1pm & 4.30pm Studio Theatre Churchill Theatre Bromley –  www.churchilltheatre.co.uk  

Friday 4 November 7.00pm.  Little Theatre Bingley –  www.bingleyartscentre.co.uk    

Sunday 6 November 5.00pm   Wilde Theatre, South Hill Pk, Bracknell –  www.southhillpark.org.uk  

Friday 18 November 7.30.   The Cornerhouse, Surbiton www.ticketsource.co.uk/whats-on/surbiton/the-cornerhouse-community-arts-centre   

Saturday 19 November 7.30pm.   The Stables, Hastings www.stablestheatre.co.uk    

CHEEK BY JOWL ANNOUNCES TOUR DATES AND CAST FOR THEIR FIRST SPANISH-LANGUAGE PRODUCTION LIFE IS A DREAM (LA VIDA ES SUEÑO) AS PART OF THE BARBICAN’S 2023 SEASON

CHEEK BY JOWL ANNOUNCES TOUR DATES AND CAST FOR

THEIR FIRST SPANISH-LANGUAGE PRODUCTION LIFE IS A DREAM (LA VIDA ES SUEÑO) AS PART OF THE BARBICAN’S 2023 SEASON

Cheek by Jowl, led by Artistic Directors Declan Donnellan and Nick Ormerod, today announce tour dates and cast for their first Spanish-language production Life is a Dream (La Vida Es Sueño) by Pedro Calderón de la Barca. One of the most famous plays of the Spanish Golden Age, this production has its première at Teatro Lope de Vega in Seville, before touring to Girona, Valladolid, Valencia, Madrid and Albi (France) in its first season. The production will then return to the Barbican where the company are Artistic Associates, for its UK premiere from 13 April to 16 April 2023, with further dates to be announced.

Performed by an ensemble of Spanish actors, Donnellan directs Ernesto AriasPrince EzeanyimDavid LuqueManuel MoyaRebeca MatellánAlfredo NovalGoizalde NúñezAntonio Prieto and Irene Serrano.

The production is a co-production with Spain’s foremost classical theatre, the Compañía Nacional de Teatro Clásico in Madrid, under the Artistic Direction of Lluís Homar and LAZONA Productions.

Declan Donnellan today commented: “It is great to be working with this wonderful company of Spanish actors – and on this play, arguably the greatest achievement of the Spanish Golden Age. We performed in Spain before we ever performed in London, in the autumn of 1984. That was with Pericles which subsequently toured widely across the UK, Europe and beyond. In the spirit of that odyssey and adventure, we look forward to bringing our new production of Life is a Dream home to the Barbican and sharing it with audiences far and wide in the coming season…. We are very grateful to our partners in Spain, France and the UK who helped us to make this Dream a reality

Co-produced by Cheek by Jowl, Compañía Nacional de Teatro Clásico (CNTC Madrid) and LAZONA; in collaboration with the Barbican, London and Scène Nationale d’Albi, France.

LIFE IS A DREAM (LA VIDA ES SUEÑO)

Written by Pedro Calderón de la Barca

In a version by Declan Donnellan and Nick Ormerod

Cast: Ernesto AriasPrince EzeanyimDavid LuqueRebeca Matellán, Manuel MoyaAlfredo NovalGoizalde NúñezAntonio Prieto and Irene Serrano.

Director: Declan Donnellan; Designer: Nick Ormerod; Assistant Director: Josete Corral; Lighting: Ganecha Gil; Sound Design and Composer: Fernando Epelde; Movement Director: Amaya Galeote; Dramaturgy Advisor: Pedro Villora; Assistant Designer: Alessio Meloni; Lighting Assistant:

Javier Hernandez; Costume Assistant: Elena Colmenar; Sound Assistant: Gastón Horischnik; Interpreter: Juan Ollero; Publicity Design: Javier Naval; Executive Producer (LAZONA):

Miguel Cuerdo; Company Manager (LAZONA): Elisa Fernández

European Tour (see listings below)

14 October 2022 – April 2023

A prince chained in a mountain. A young woman disguised as a man, in search of vengeance. Revolution, love and murder – but in Life is a Dream, is the real truly real or is it all just a dream?

Written in verse in 1635, Life is a Dream is one of Spanish dramatist Pedro Calderón de la Barca’s best-known and most studied works and was listed as one of the 40 greatest plays of all time by The Independent.

LA VIDA ES SUEÑO

LISTINGS

Teatro Lope de Vega, Seville, Spain

14-16 October 2022

https://icas.sevilla.org/espacios/teatro-lope-de-vega/agenda/la-vida-es-sueno-calderon-de-la-barca-declan-donnellan-compania-nacional-de-teatro-clasico-lazona-y-cheek-by-jowl

Teatro Municipal, Girona, Spain

22-23 October 2022

https://www.girona.cat/teatremunicipal/cat/programacio_fitxa.php?id=3482

Teatro Calderón, Valladolid, Spain

12-13 November 2022

Institut Valencia de Cultura, Valencia, Spain

19-20 November 2022

https://taquilla.ivc.gva.es/janto/main.php?Nivel=Evento&idEvento=VLCLAVIDA

Teatro ClásicoMadrid, Spain

15 December – 26 February 2023

https://teatroclasico.mcu.es/https://teatroclasico.mcu.es/2022/06/16/la-vida-es-sueno-9/

Scène Nationale d’Albi, France

9-10 March 2023

http://www.sn-albi.fr/spectacle.php?id_spectacle=1282

Barbican, London

13-16 April 2023

www.barbican.org.uk

imitating the dog theatre company to premiere audacious new retelling of William Shakespeare’s MACBETH – Touring from 21 Feb – 6 May 2023

An imitating the dog  production

MACBETH

By William Shakespeare

Retold and directed by Andrew Quick and Pete Brooks

Set and Video Design by Simon Wainwright

Lighting Design by Andrew Crofts

Original music composed by James Hamilton

Touring from 21 February – 6 May 2023

imitating the dog to premiere daring new production of Macbeth  

From imitating the dog, the creators of the critically acclaimed production of Dracula: The Untold Story (the UK Theatre Award nominee for Best Design) and the unique shot-for-shot stage recreation of George A. Romero’s classic 1968 zombie movie – Night of The Living Dead ™ –  Remix,comes Macbeth, an audacious and dazzling new retelling of William Shakespeare’s tale of ambition, betrayal, and downfall.

Fusing live action with striking video technology, for which imitating the dog are renowned, Macbeth will open at CAST, Doncaster from 21-22 February and then tour till 6 May.

Three mysterious figures enter the stage. They talk of the hurly-burly, of thunder and lightning, and of a young couple who believe they can overthrow the old regime. They conjure the Macbeths, placing them in a dangerous new world where paranoia, betrayal, and brutality rule.

imitating the dog’s daring retelling of Macbeth is a neon noir thriller where Shakespeare’s original language collides with startling new scenes, stunning visuals, and a powder-keg intensity.

Andrew Quick, Co-Director and Artistic Director of imitating the dog said:

“Macbeth is such an extraordinary play. Shakespeare’s exploration of power, ambition, violence, and love seems so relevant to today.  We’re bringing a unique take to the original, while being true to the spirit of all those amazing words and scenes.  It will be a Macbeth as you’ve never seen before – but it’s still Shakespeare.”

imitating the dog have been making ground-breaking work for theatres and other spaces for 23 years. Their work, which fuses live performance with digital technology, has been seen by hundreds of thousands of people in venues, outdoor festivals, and events across the world. Past productions have included Hotel MethuselahA Farewell to Arms, Heart of Darkness, Night of The Living Dead ™ –  Remix,  Dr Blood’s Old Travelling Show and most recently Dracula – The Untold Story . Earlier this year the company staged Cinema Inferno, a ground-breaking new show for the Parisian haute couture house Maison Margiela, based on an original concept by creative director John Galliano, for Maison Margiela’s Artisanal 2022 collection, presented on the official Paris Haute Couture Calendar.

Macbeth will open at CAST, Doncaster from 21-22 February then will tour to Harrogate Theatre (24-25 Feb), The Dukes, Lancaster (28 Feb – 4 March); The Lowry, Salford Quays (8-11 March); Gala, Durham (16-17 March); Mercury Theatre Colchester (18-19 April); Liverpool Playhouse (25-29 April) and Lawrence Batley Theatre, Huddersfield (3-6 May). The production will also be touring Switzerland from 21-25 March.

For more information on the imitating the dog production of Macbeth visit www.imitatingthedog.co.uk

Tour Announcement: the premiere of Wodehouse in Wonderland, starring Robert Daws, written by William Humble, directed by Robin Herford

Cahoots Theatre Company Ltd  

in association with Jamie Clark Theatre 

presents the premiere of 

Wodehouse in Wonderland 

Starring Robert Daws 

Written by William Humble 

Directed by Robin Herford 

Tour opening at Malvern Theatres on 26 January 2023 

Cahoots Theatre Company Ltd in association with Jamie Clark Theatre presents the UK premiere of William Humble’s play Wodehouse in Wonderland, starring Robert Daws and directed by Robin Herford, on a UK Tour which opens at Malvern Theatres on 26 January 2023.  

Based on the life and writings of P.G. WodehouseWodehouse in Wonderland takes place in P.G. Wodehouse’s New York State home in the 1950’s. Plum, as he is known to family and friends, is working away at the latest adventures of Bertie Wooster but is interrupted by a young would-be biographer, his adored wife, daughter Snorkles, and his two Pekingese. He shares stories about how Jeeves entered his life, how he became addicted to American soap operas and why he wrote books that were ‘like musical comedies without music’. He sings songs composed by Broadway legends with lyrics written by himself, and entertains the audience with characters such as Bertie Wooster, Jeeves, Lord Emsworth, Gussie Fink-Nottle and the squashily romantic Madeline Bassett…but there’s also a darker story beneath the fun. 

Wodehouse in Wonderland features songs byJerome Kern, George Gershwin, Cole Porter and Ivor Novello.   

The production is performed by arrangement with the Wodehouse Estate. 

The 2023 Tour will visit Malvern Theatres (26-28 Jan), Yvonne Arnaud Theatre, Guildford (2-4 Feb), Theatre Severn, Shrewsbury (6-8 Feb), Theatre Royal Windsor (9-11 Feb), Derby Theatre (13-15 Feb), Key Theatre, Peterborough (16-18 Feb), Exeter Northcott Theatre (24-25 Feb), The Haymarket, Basingstoke (2-4 Mar), Churchill Theatre, Bromley (9-11 Mar), Everyman Theatre, Cheltenham (13-14 Mar), New Wolsey Theatre, Ipswich (16-18 Mar), Tivoli Theatre, Aberdeen (22-24 Mar), Queen’s Theatre, Barnstable (6-8 Apr), Alnwick Playhouse (13-15 Apr), Chelmsford Civic (17-19 Apr), York Theatre Royal (20-22 Apr), Octagon Theatre, Yeovil (25-27 Apr) and The Albany Theatre, Coventry (28-29 April). 

Robert Daws is well known for his work in television including leading roles in Jeeves and Wooster; John Sullivan’s Roger Roger and Rock and Chips; the British Comedy Award winning Outside EdgeCasualtyMidsomer MurdersDeath in ParadisePoldarkSick NoteFather Brown, Agatha Raisin and eight series of The Royal as well as the BBC’s murder mystery series, Sister Boniface. With countless stage credits to his name, Robert has most recently been playing Pischik in The Cherry Orchard with Ian McKellen and directed by Sean Mathias. His many BBC Radio portrayals include Chief Inspector Trueman in Trueman and Riley, the long-running police detective series he co-created with writer Brian B Thompson (available on Kobo and Audible). Robert is the author of the best-selling Rock detective novels set in Gibraltar and Spain. He co-presents the popular crime fiction podcast Partners in Crime

William Humble has written a number of highly-acclaimed films for BBC TV, including the Emmy-Award winning On Giant’s Shoulders, with Judi Dench, the BAFTA-nominated Hancock, with Alfred Molina as Tony Hancock, and Frances Barber, and Virtuoso, about the concert pianist John Ogdon, also with Alfred Molina, and Alison Steadman. Other BBC films include Ex, starring Griff Rhys Jones and Geraldine James and Royal Celebration, with Minnie Driver, Leslie Phillips and Rupert Graves. For ITV, William wrote Too Good To Be True, a two-part psychological thriller with Niamh Cusack and Peter Davison and the film Whatever Love Means with Laurence Fox, Olivia Poulet and Richard Johnson. He dramatised Rosie Thomas’s novel Every Woman Knows A Secret, P.D. James’s An Unsuitable Job For A Woman as a six-part series with Helen Baxendale and Annette Crosbie, P.D. James’s The Black Tower as a series with Roy Marsden and Pauline Collins, and Mary Wesley’s The Vacillations of Poppy Carew with Tara Fitzgerald and Joseph Fiennes. William’s stage plays include What A Performance, with David Suchet as comedian Sid Field, on tour and at the Queen’s Theatre Shaftesbury Avenue, Facades, with Frances de la Tour as Edith Sitwell and directed by Simon Callow at the Lyric Hammersmith, Fly Away Home with Hywel Bennett, Diana Quick and Roger Lloyd-Pack at the Lyric Hammersmith, Talk To Me with Alan Dobie and Robert Daws at the New End Theatre Hampstead, and Virtuoso with Oliver Ford Davies at the Wolsey Theatre Ipswich. In 2021, William’s one-person stage play The Performer, starring Stephen Fry, was successfully broadcast on Radio 4. He has written several radio plays and two comic novels.  

Much of Robin Herford’s early career was involved with Sir Alan Ayckbourn and the Stephen Joseph Theatre in Scarborough, first solely as an actor, then also as Associate Director, and finally as Artistic Director from 1986-88. By that time, he had appeared in the original production of more Ayckbourn plays than any other actor. Robin’s most successful production The Woman in Black, which he commissioned and directed in 1987, has now been running in the West End for over 30 years, and has completed 12 UK tours. Directing, and occasionally performing in this play, has taken him around the world. Most recently, Robin directed Barefoot in the Park at The Mill at Sonning. He and Robert Daws have known each other for many years. Robin first directed Robert as Dr Watson in The Secret of Sherlock Holmes at the Duchess Theatre, and most recently playing the lead in a national tour of Ayckbourn’s Ten Times Table. A shared passion for P.G. Wodehouse makes this an irresistible project for them both. 

2023 TOUR LISTINGS 

26-28 January             Malvern Theatres (on sale now) 

2-4 February               Yvonne Arnaud Theatre, Guildford (on sale now) 

6-8 February               Theatre Severn, Shrewsbury (on sale now) 

9-11 February             Theatre Royal Windsor (on sale soon) 

13-15 February           Derby Theatre (on sale soon) 

16-18 February           Key Theatre, Peterborough (on sale now) 

23-25 February           Exeter Northcott Theatre (on sale soon) 

2-4 March                   The Haymarket, Basingstoke (on sale now) 

9-11 March                 Churchill Theatre, Bromley (on sale soon) 

13-14 March               Everyman Theatre, Cheltenham (on sale now) 

16-18 March               New Wolsey Theatre, Ipswich (on sale soon) 

22-24 March               Tivoli Theatre, Aberdeen (on sale now) 

6-8 April                      Queen’s Theatre, Barnstable (on sale now) 

13-15 April                  Alnwick Playhouse (on sale now) 

17-19 April                  Chelmsford Civic (on sale now) 

20-22 April                  York Theatre Royal (on sale soon) 

25-27 April                  Octagon Theatre, Yeovil (on sale now) 

28-29 April                  The Albany Theatre, Coventry (on sale soon) 

A GOLDEN LINE-UP FOR DICK WHITTINGTON

A GOLDEN LINE-UP FOR DICK WHITTINGTON

‘Dick Whittington’ – Birmingham Hippodrome. 3 October 2022. Picture by Simon Hadley/ www.simonhadley.co.uk

Dick Whittington cast members came together for the first time this week (3 October), to launch this year’s spectacular pantomime at Birmingham Hippodrome.

The UK’s biggest regional panto features an all-star cast with Marti Pellow as The Ratman, Matt Slack as Dick Whittington, Dr Ranj as Spirit of the Bells, Suzanne Shaw as Alice, Doreen Tipton as Doreen the Cat and Andrew Ryan as Felicity Fitzwarren.

Later on in the day Birmingham Hippodrome opened its doors to Hippodrome Friends for an exclusive event which included an audience Q&A as well as an opportunity to meet cast members ahead of December’s production.

The production follows Dick Whittington and his trusty cat as he seeks fame, fortune, and happiness journeying to become the Lord Mayor in an action-packed adventure full of laughter, music and dance.

Featuring sets and costumes from The London Palladium, spectacular special effects and plenty of audience participation, Dick Whittington is the perfect chance for audiences to come together and share the magic of live theatre.

Dick Whittington will run at Birmingham Hippodrome from Saturday 17 December 2022 and will play until Sunday 29 January 2023.

Tickets for Dick Whittington can be booked at www.birminghamhippodrome.com or by calling 0844 338 5000*

 *0844 calls will cost you 4.5p per minute plus your phone company’s access charge.