Also Recognised Awards Shortlists announced and voting now open

Also Recognised Awards

Shortlists announced and voting now open

Shortlists for the third annual Also Recognised Awards have been announced by MyTheatreMates, founded by Mark Shenton and Terri Paddock. These audience-voted industry accolades celebrate talent in fields often overlooked by other award bodies. Voting is now open for all categories and closes on Sunday 26th March 2017. Cast your vote at:

The Also Recognised Awards were launched online in 2015 and include the UK’s first-ever prize for Best Musical Direction as well as other key categories, such as Best Ensemble Performance and Best Solo Performance. The Awards also uniquely put the spotlight on the creativity of digital marketing and advertising disciplines in theatre with recognition for Best Show Poster, Best Show Trailer and Best Twitter Engagement.

Terri and Mark also now work together on the annual Critics’ Circle Theatre Awards, which Mark once again hosted and Terri produced for the first time at the West End’s Prince of Wales Theatre in January. Mark is also a judge for The Offies and The Stage Awards.

Mark and Terri commented on the Also Recognised Awards, The UK has a number of theatre awards, each of which provides a unique perspective on our industry. But despite the spectrum of opinion gauged in these many prize-givings, there are still some key categories that aren’t well covered elsewhere. We founded the Also Recognised Awards to fill some of those gaps. These online awards are purely about recognising and celebrating that talent.

Nominations for the Also Recognised Awards were drawn up by Shenton, Paddock and Ian Foster, with input from Andrew Keates and Mike Dixon (the industry lobbyists who have been the driving force behind establishing creative parity for Musical Direction) and other members of the My Theatre Mates collective of independent theatre bloggers and commentators.

MyTheatreMates invites suggestions for other new award fields not already covered elsewhere. Recommendations with sufficient merit and industry backing will be introduced in future years.

Twitter @MyTheatreMates, #AlsoRecognised @ShentonStage, @TerriPaddock, @AndrewKeates, @mikedixonmusic



Murder, Margaret and Me Review

York Theatre Royal, 22 April 2017.  Reviewed by Marcus Richardson
Murder, Margaret and Me, is a ‘comical thriller’ directed by Damian Cruden. The play follows the relationship between two women Margret Rutherford and Agatha Christie, both very strong and eccentric, this gives the amazing comical essence of the show as interaction between them both is absolutely superb. It delves into the secrets they both hold and unearthing them making for the thriller side of the play.
The Acting was amazing with the cast of three, each character had their own little quirks and things that made it a believable person; it felt like I was watching Agatha and Margaret in real life, not on stage. Nichola McAuliffe played Christie in such a way that we could connect to her while also judge her as a person, for me it was her face that made the character and her laughs. Susie Blake played Margaret Rutherford an actress famous for playing Miss Marple on the silver screen, her character was very fun to watch with lots of quirks giving depth and mystery. Andrina Carroll who came rather late to the production played The Spinster who helped move the story along and giving us a back story which will fit somehow into the play.
The Set was breath taking, and definitely took the production to higher levels, with only two stage hands – you wouldn’t expect them to assemble a set on stage whilst the show is going on with such little effort, they help build and put together a rather detailed set by setting up walls to make a house and moving furniture around. This work is very typical of Damian Cruden, which I love as it gives the show another spark of creativity; this always blows the audience away.
Lighting worked very well with the set and the opening of the play proved the pinnacle of how so, with the three ladies moving around near the edge of the stage in a freeze frame as a light came upon them, in a very much Hitchcock way.
Overall the performance way very nice to watch and it is defiantly made for an older audience as some jokes I could not understand, but that should deter you from watching as I loved every second of the plot and character. The best aspect of the show was the relationship between the characters and how it evolved over time.
It is showing at York theatre royal until the 4th of March and I advise that you go and see the marvel of Murder, Margaret And Me

The Lowry announces new artist cohort for 2017

The Lowry has announced the 2017 cohort of its prestigious artist development programme.

Five companies and artists have been awarded places on The Lowry’s award-winning Developed With The Lowry programme. This year’s recipients include: Manchester-based Buddhist monk turned stand-up comedian Sam Brady; local poet-playwright Chanje Kunda; Italian contemporary dance company Igor and Moreno; London-based mask theatre company Theatre Temoin; and Berlin-based hand balancing artist Natalie Reckert.

Each will receive a cash investment and production support as they make a new show that will premiere at The Lowry. They also benefit from a year-long bespoke package of professional development funding and support as they take an exciting step forward in their practice.

For some, this will focus on helping them develop new creative skills through travelling to see other productions, taking part in international residencies or private masterclasses with leading experts. Others will focus on developing new relationships with venues, learning business skills and building their national profile.

The Lowry is also delighted to welcome two new companies into its Associate Artist programme alongside dark comedy favourites Kill The Beast and verbatim theatre company LUNG. Family theatre company Colour The Clouds Theatre Company and socially engaged theatre company Art with Heart, both Salford-based, join the Associate Artist programme after taking part in Developed With The Lowry last year.

Designed to support some of the most promising companies making work in the North West, The Lowry offers its Associate Artists a home for all their productions alongside a deep and long term commitment to supporting these companies as they establish themselves on the national stage.

Julia Fawcett OBE, chief executive of The Lowry, said: “We wanted our ‘Developed With’ programme to better reflect the full breadth of talent we can support as an arts centre and our 2017 intake reflects that shift. Bringing together a cohort that includes theatre makers, dancers, poets, and circus artists with different local, national and international perspectives creates exciting new ways to work together across the industry.

“We are proud to demonstrate our commitment to local companies through our Associate Artist programme. Our role will be to help them take their work to the next level – encouraging them to take risks, be bold and push themselves creatively while building a solid foundation for their long term career.”

Previous recipients of Developed With The Lowry include the emerging comedy star Sophie Willan, physical theatre company Animikii Theatre and touring company 2Magpies Theatre. Alumni of the Associate Artist programme include Idle Motion, Monkeywood Theatre and the international ensemble Theatre Ad Infinitum.

The Girls Review

Phoenix Theatre Booking to 15 July.  Reviewed by Claire Roderick

Gary Barlow and Tim Firth have struck gold with this delightfully British musical. Based on Firth’s film and play, the addition of Gary Barlow’s music adds extra magic to an already uplifting story.

The story of members of the WI producing a nude calendar to raise funds for a settee in the relative’s room of the local hospital is one that you’d have to have been living under a rock to not know, but the moment when Annie finds out that they have raised enough funds to build an entire hospital wing will still have you welling up. And that’s the wonderful thing about The Girls, one moment you’ll be trying to stop your bottom lip quivering, and the next you’ll be roaring with laughter. This is tragedy mixed with hilarity, with some cracking tunes thrown in.

Setting up all the characters in the first song, the glorious celebratory Yorkshire, the first act deals with John’s diagnosis and treatment for cancer, mixing wonderful comedy set pieces with Annie’s growing realisation that she will lose her husband, as he keeps joking and telling her that everything will be alright. Joanna Riding breaks your heart as she sings Scarborough and Kilimanjaro, both about the challenges of dealing with life alone. John’s death is dealt with beautifully and stylishly, as the cast slowly leave the stage to carry on with their lives, leaving Annie all alone. The sunflower motif is ever-present, and the full impact is felt in the show’s unashamedly emotional finale. Not a dry eye in the house.

Best friend Chris comes up with the idea of a nude calendar, and the second act builds up to the big shoot. The shoot and the nudity are handled with warmth and charm, with a joy that brings huge cheers from the audience at every flash (from the camera!). The subplot involving Chris’ son Danny’s Head Boy campaign and his attempts at romancing Jenny while Tommo gives him awful advice are a lovely touch, showing history repeating as he falls for a girl just like the mother he disapproves of.

The cast are wonderful, with fantastic performances from the calendar models – Michelle Dotrice as Jessie is magnificent – spitting out one liners and belting out the rousing What Age Expects with such feeling and gusto that she nearly brought the house down. And she gets to do the front bottom line! Sophie-Louise Dann is a pneumatically feline Celia – loudly and proudly shaking her stuff in So I’ve Had A Little Work Done. Claire Moore as Chris is fantastic, ending Act 1 with a powerhouse performance of Sunflower, and Claire Machin and Debbie Chazen nail their roles and musical numbers with great comic skill.

The script and lyrics are unashamedly Northern in their humour, bringing all the high emotions and fears back to everyday things that real people would dwell on. Barlow’s music is always catchy, and here it’s as if he has written something for the mums of Take That fans. (Although the younger members of the audience leapt up just as enthusiastically as the rest of us at curtain call.) There are a fair few F-bombs in the script but, sitting surrounded by WI members on a night out, I heard no tutting, just laughter. Yes, this is an all-white vision of Britain, so some may complain, but this show is about celebrating the strength and beauty of women, especially in their last phase “their most glorious”.

The Girls is one of the best British musicals I’ve seen in years. You’ll laugh, you’ll cry, you’ll be humming the songs for days, and you’ll leave the theatre full of warmth and joy. What else could you ask for from a show? Get your ticket now. And take your mother.





The award-winning adaptation of Michael Morpurgo’s novel, Running Wild, is brought to life on the Lyceum Theatre stage from Tuesday 7 – Saturday 11 March.  This epic production, complete with spectacular life-size puppets, tells an emotional and moving story of love, loss and loyalty and of living for the moment.


Running Wild is the story is of a girl named Lilly, who, whilst on holiday with her mother in Indonesia, takes an elephant ride.  During the ride, Oona, the elephant, suddenly becomes anxious and runs from the beach deep into the jungle.  With Lilly on her back, they escape moments before the tsunami hits the island.  Miles from civilisation, at first there’s wonder, discovery and tree-top adventures with the orangutans, but, as thoughts turn to her mother left behind on the beach, and wild tigers prowl, and hunger hits, Lilly must now learn to survive the rainforest.  And then the hunters come…

Michael Morpurgo, the former children’s laureate and author of War Horse, was inspired by the real-life story of Amber Owen, who was on holiday in Phuket with her mother and stepfather in 2004, when she went on an elephant ride.  While riding Ning Nong along the beach, the eight-year-old noticed the elephant was attempting to pull away from the receding sea water.  “He ran away and, as the water came in, I was safely on his back.  He saved my life.”  When he read Amber’s story in the newspaper, Michael Morpurgo said it was the one bit of hope amid the destruction of the Boxing Day tsunami which hit South East Asia.  The production will work to support the Born Free Foundation’s global elephant conservation projects.

Running Wild comes to the Lyceum Theatre from Tuesday 7 March – Saturday 11 March.  Tickets can be purchased from Sheffield Theatres’ Box Office in-person, by phone on 0114 249 6000 or online at and are priced from £10.00 – £25.00.  Concessions and group discounts are available.







Producers of SHREK THE MUSICAL® are delighted to announce that, following the unprecedented success of the first ever UK and Ireland Tour, the larger-than-life production will be returning to a swamp near you. Opening at the Edinburgh Playhouse for the Christmas 2017/18 season from 12 December 2017 to 7 January 2018, the production will then tour to Manchester, Sunderland, Birmingham, Aberdeen, Northampton, Stoke and Blackpool, with further venues to be announced.

Glasgow Evening Times
‘A fun, fairytale spectacular fit for all the family’

Nigel Harman will return as director, having made his directorial debut on SHREK THE MUSICAL’s first UK and Ireland Tour. Best known for his television and stage work, Nigel Harmanoriginated the role of Lord Farquaad in the West End production, winning the Olivier Award for Best Performance in a Supporting Role in a Musical. Television credits include heart-throb Dennis Rickman in EastEnders, villainous valet Mr Green in Downton Abbey and Bradley in Sky’s Mount Pleasant, which aired its sixth series in Autumn 2016. Notable stage appearances include Jamie Lloyd’s production of Three Days of Rain alongside James McAvoy, Privates on Parade at the Donmar Warehouse and A Chorus of Disapproval, directed by Trevor Nunn.  

Nigel Harman says: ‘I had so much fun directing the original UK & Ireland Tour that I jumped at the chance to work on it again. Shrek the Musical has created pivotal moments in my career – firstly winning an Olivier and then my directorial debut. It’s certainly become one of the classic family musicals of all time and I’m really proud to be a part of it’.

 Manchester Evening News
‘A perfect mixture of music, dance and performance comedy, with a sprinkling of fresh gags and slightly risqué humour to keep adults on their toes.’
(Winner of 2014 CityLife Award for Best Musical)

SHREK THE MUSICAL® is based on the story and characters from William Steig’s book Shrek! and the Oscar®-winning DreamWorks Animations feature film. Originally directed in the West End by Jason Moore and Rob Ashford, the production has book and lyrics by David Lindsay-Abaire, music by Jeanine Tesori with multi award-winning set and costume design by Tim Hatley.

Join our unlikely hero Shrek and his loyal steed Donkey as they embark on a quest to rescue the beautiful (if slightly temperamental) Princess Fiona from a fire-breathing, love-sick dragon. Add the diminutive Lord Farquaad, a gang of fairytale misfits and a biscuit with attitude, and you’ve got the biggest, brightest musical comedy around! Featuring all new songs as well as cult Shrek anthem I’m a Believer, SHREK THE MUSICAL brings over 100 much-loved fairytale characters, plus a 14 foot dragon, to life in an all-singing, all-dancing extravaganza.

Bristol Post *****
‘Simply Shrektacular – a musical extravaganza for big kids and little kids alike’

SHREK THE MUSICAL® was seen by nearly 800,000 people on its first highly acclaimed UK and Ireland tour in 2014, visiting 25 major venues over 20 months. The production was first staged in the UK at London’s Theatre Royal Drury Lane in 2011. Since opening on Broadway in 2008 SHREK THE MUSICAL®  has toured to nearly 150 cities in the USA and Canada, with productions having also played in Spain, Poland, France, Malaysia, China, Brazil, Italy, Denmark, The Netherlands, Estonia, Israel and Turkey.

The UK and Ireland tour of the original DreamWorks Production will be presented by Neal Street Productions, Playful Productions, Ron Kastner, Saracen Films, Tulchin/Bartner Productions, Gavin Kalin, Glass Half Full Productions/Just For Laughs Theatricals, Lee Menzies and Mark Cartwright.

Casting information will be announced in due course.




Tuesday 12 December 2017 – Sunday 7 January 2018
0844 871 3014

Tuesday 16 January – Sunday 28 January 2018
0844 871 3019

Wednesday 31 January – Sunday 11 February 2018
0844 871 3022

Wednesday 14 February – Sunday 25 February 2018
0844 871 3011

Wednesday 28 February – Sunday 11 March 2018
01224 641 122
(General on sale Tuesday 28 February)

Wednesday 14 March – Sunday 25 March, 2018
01604 624 811

Wednesday 2 May – Sunday 13 May 2018
0844 871 7649

Tuesday 15 May – Sunday 27 May 2018
01253 625 252



The Wild Party Review

The Other Palace 13 February – 1 April.  Reviewed by Claire Roderick

What a party! The gin, skin, sin and fun that are promised burst from the stage in this fast and frenetic show.

Based on the scandalous 1927 poem by Joseph McClure March, Michael John LaChiusa’s musical had a short run on Broadway in 2000, and is the first production at the relaunched St James Theatre, now rebranded as The Other Palace and with a mission to try out and refine new British musicals, and musicals new to the UK.

Vaudeville clown Burrs suggests throwing a party to his lover, dancer Queenie (they’re mid-fight and she has a razor to his throat at the time). Queenie’s best friend Kate brings her lover Black along, giving him permission to mooch. But Queenie and Black begin to fall in love. LaChiusa and George C Wolfe split the events into three main sections: – The Promenade of Guests, introducing each character with a hint of their backstory; The Party, sex, dancing, gin, drugs and more sex; and After Midnight Dies – where reality hits as everyone crashes after their highs and excesses of the night. With guests including a lesbian stripper and her stoned new lover, a bisexual playboy, a boxer and his white trophy wife, her 14-year-old sister, two theatre impresarios, a faded Vaudeville diva and a “brothers” double act, you can understand why the poem caused outrage when it was first published. Now, after jazz era shows like Cabaret and Chicago, some of the characters seem familiar, but The Wild Party makes Chicago look like it’s set in a convent.

Director Drew McOnie keeps a Vaudeville feel, with the orchestra (led energetically by Theo Jamieson) on a balcony above the main stage, and multilevel staircases that recall both apartment blocks and backstage areas. McOnie also choreographs, brilliantly. The jazz rhythms and beats of LaChiusa’s score are evocative and captivating, matched effortlessly by McOnie’s choreography. The cast move around the stage in gloriously organised chaos, slipping into defined synchronicity in a beat. The routines around the gin-filled bath tub and bed are inspired. The energy fills the theatre, and when the hungover songs begin, you’re grateful for a few moments of calm. The dialogue has been described elsewhere as clunky, but I thought it fitted perfectly in the show – risqué Vaudeville one-liners and cheesy exposition just like 1930s film comedies.

The cast are all stunning. Everyone brings something special to their role and ensures that they are all memorable. Standouts are Genesis Lynea and Gloria Obianyo as the brothers D’Armano – moving sinuously around the stage in unison, matching gestures and totally nailing the jazz style. Tiffany Graves as Miss Madeline True is comedy gold, proclaiming her love for the nearly unconscious Sally at every opportunity. Victoria Hamilton-Barritt is a force of nature as Kate, with a voice that sounds as if she has swallowed a sack of gravel and washed it down with a barrel of whisky. Frances Ruffelle and John Owen-Jones should be given their own channel on television. I could listen to them sing all day. Queenie is a tough character to relate to – shallow and selfish, but with an air of vulnerability, and Ruffelle is perfect. Owen-Jones’ Burrs is full of simmering violence and resentment, and his solo numbers are simply amazing. Donna McKechnie steals the show as Dolores, full of one-liners and tales of faded glory, and revelling in her Mama Rose moment with When It Ends.

The Wild Party might be a bit too wild and full on for some, but LaChiusa’s musical has been brought to full blooded life in this barnstorming production. Get a ticket. It’s the party of the season.

THE PHILANTHROPIST- Directed by Simon Callow – Starring Matt Berry, Simon Bird, Lily Cole, Charlotte Ritchie & Tom Rosenthal


The Classic Hit Comedy


In a new production directed by SIMON CALLOW

Trafalgar Studios

3rd April – 22nd July, 2017

Strictly limited season


“Intellectually stimulating, touchingly sympathetic and gloriously, gloriously funny”
Sunday Times






Simon Callow directs a new production of Oscar® winner Christopher Hampton’s most celebrated play, The Philanthropist, at the Trafalgar Studios, starring Matt Berry, Simon Bird, Lily Cole,Charlotte Ritchie and Tom Rosenthal. This classic hit comedy features some of today’s best young comedic actors playing the roles at the age Christopher Hampton first intended. The Philanthropist is produced by Howard Panter for Trafalgar Entertainment Group, Simon Friend and Gavin Kalin.

The Philanthropist has been delighting audiences since its premiere at the Royal Court in 1970. A biting ‘bourgeois comedy’ and a fiendishly clever inversion of Moliere’s ‘The Misanthrope’, Simon Callow’s new production boasts some of today’s most exciting young stage and screen actors.


“I am a man of no convictions. At least I think I am.”

As central character Philip, played by Simon Bird, says.


Set in a fictitious English University town, strongly evoking Oxford or Cambridge, the play follows 24 hours in the lives of a group of young academics. The action unfolds in the rooms of Philip (Simon Bird), the university’s cosseted and floundering professor of philology, for whom solace and certitude exist in complex wordplay. Out in the ‘real world’ the Prime Minister and his cabinet have been assassinated and England’s most treasured writers are being murdered one by one!  Back in the cosy bubble of university life, the bachelor don anguishes over sex, marriage, anagrams and the meaning of life. Did someone suggest academics were ‘out of touch’?


When Philip hosts a dinner party, joined by his stylish and perceptive fiancée Celia (Charlotte Ritchie), his worldlier best friend Donald (Tom Rosenthal), the seductive Araminta (Lily Cole), and the wealthy and egomaniacal novelist Braham (Matt Berry), the evening sets off a chain of events which puncture the rarefied and cerebral world they inhabit.  The morning after, the group is left to wade through the emotional detritus and navigate the consequences of their actions.


Acclaimed director Simon Callow says: “When Christopher Hampton’s The Philanthropist first burst onto the world, he was 23; the play was really about his contemporaries, but neither then, nor ever since, has it been cast at the right age. I’m very excited, not only to be doing the play, which I think one of the funniest, sharpest plays in the English language, but to be doing it with a group of brilliantly witty and original young actors who will reveal the play as it’s never been seen before”.


BAFTA award winning writer, actor and musician Matt Berry is best known for his roles in comedy hits The IT Crowd, The Mighty Boosh (BBC3), and as star and writer of sitcom Toast of London(Channel 4). Berry most recently appeared in the feature length drama The Last Dragonslayer (SKY 1).


Simon Bird is best known for his star-making turn in the hugely successful, BAFTA winning The Inbetweeners (E4) which ran for three series, and its two globally successful movies (The Inbetweeners Movie still holds the record for highest grossing UK opening weekend for any comedy film), as well as Friday Night Dinner (Channel 4), which to date has run for four series.


Lily Cole’s screen credits include St Trinian’s, Ab Fab: The Movie, and Snow White and The Huntsman. Cole has amassed theatre credits including The Last Days of Troy (Royal Exchange, Manchester), and The Old Vic’s 24 hour plays, for which she performed alongside an all-star cast.


Tom Rosenthal has established himself as one of the UK’s foremost stand-up and screen comedians, known for his roles in hit comedies Friday Night Dinner (Channel 4), alongside his The Philanthropist co-star Simon Bird, and the British Comedy Award winning series Plebs (ITV2). He also featured in the second series of the award-winning crime drama Broadchurch (ITV).  Rosenthal performed in the critically acclaimed Chicken Soup with Barley at The Royal Court, directed by Dominic Cooke.


Completing the cast is Charlotte Ritchie, best known as Nurse Barbara Gilbert in the much lauded drama series Call the Midwife (BBC 1). Ritchie has also showcased her comedic skills in hit comedies Fresh Meat (Channel 4) and Siblings (BBC3). Her theatre credits include One Night in November and the recent successful production of Private Lives.


Christopher Hampton’s other works for the stage include Les Liaisons Dangereuses (recently revived to great acclaim) and Treats. He has also recently received significant acclaim for his translations of three of the internationally acclaimed French dramatist Florian Zeller’s plays; the award-winning smash hit The Father (“translated with venomous flare”) as well as The Mother andThe Truth. The Old Vic has also just presented a major re-staging of his translation of Art. Among Christopher’s many screen adaptations are Les Liaisons Dangereuses and Atonement for which he received an Oscar® and an Oscar® nomination respectively.


Simon Callow has directed over 30 shows, including the multi award-winning musical Carmen Jones, the West End and Broadway productions of Shirley Valentine and the award-winning Single Spies by Alan Bennett at the National Theatre and in the West End. Most recently, he has published his second Wagner biography, Being Wagner: The Triumph of the Will (Cole Williams).


Critical praise for The Philanthropist:


“Christopher Hampton’s finest play”
Evening Standard


“The play begins with a wickedly funny coup de theatre”
The Times


“One of the most delightful and subtle comedies of the last century”
The Stage


“A clever, witty inversion of Molière’s great comedy ‘The Misanthrope’”
The Independent

Dates:                                   Monday 3 April – Saturday 22 July

Press night:                        Thursday 20 April: 7.00 pm

Performances:                  Monday to Saturday: 7.30pm, matinees Thursday and Saturday: 2.30pm

Tickets:                                 From £19:50

Box Office:                 / 0844 871 7632



Will Power Review

Theatre N16 19 – 22 February.  Reviewed by Claire Roderick

“We are all trying to find that little ounce of joy that makes you want to wake up the next day” – so says Will as he takes us through his day. Will’s brothers William, Willie and Jambo (family tradition to call all sons William) are introduced as complete losers, while his disengaged and bullying father (Bill) and ineffectual mother watch on. His drive to work, sanity saved only by the music of Swedish Death Candy and the unwanted attentions of awkward and fawning Charlie play out to great comic effect. Everyone except Will is a caricature, and the events that play out – especially his brothers dying are played for laughs. In between, Will addresses the audience with his ideas about happiness and what his life is all about, but he can never quite finish that last part. It’s all flippant cod philosophy that we hear spouted on daytime television, but Will seems to be clinging to it desperately.

After the death of his last brother, Will finally comes clean about everything being a lie. The truth about his life, his guilt and unhappiness pours out as he admits that he is just trying to find something to blame for how he is. He can’t, so takes drastic measures in a very abrupt ending that the audience wasn’t sure was an ending. It left you feeling slightly cheated, thinking there should have been more to come – but that was hopefully the intent, considering Will’s fate.

Set in a bathroom, with the bath acting as car, bed and goalposts, and other bathroom paraphernalia being used as props, there are whopping signposts to the ending all along, but the energy of the cast, dancing, chanting and insulting each other, keeps you hoping for a cheery ending. The quietest moments are the most interesting, especially the long pub sequence – narrated by Willie, and the only time Will is off stage. After describing Will sitting alone drinking his pint, the cast sit and chat just out of earshot, and an audience member is pulled up to dance, again chatting incoherently, transferring the isolation and confusion Will feels to the audience.

The impact of seemingly harmless lads’ banter, parental attitudes and self-judgement are treated with a light touch. The stereotypical male need to find a cause and a cure rather than accepting and learning how to cope with mental health problems was handled well, although the comic potential of Will trying to talk things through with someone he trusted was missed.

Toby Boutall’s entertaining and thought provoking debut play has great potential. Well worth a look.

Full cast joining Samantha Barks and Arthur Darvill in UK premiere of musical Honeymoon in Vegas concert

The full cast joining Samantha Barks and Arthur Darvill for the London Musical Theatre Orchestra’s concert of Honeymoon in Vegas has been announced. Simon Lipkin, who hosted this year’s WhatsOnStage Awards, will appear as Buddy alongside Maxwell Caulfield (Tommy), Rosemary Ashe (Bea) and Nicolas Colicos (Johnny). The supporting roles will be played by Daniel Amity, Maisey Bawden and Hywell Dowsell. 

Samantha Barks and Arthur Darvill are to star in UK premiere of the musicalHoneymoon in Vegas concert at the London Palladium at 7:30 pm on Sunday 12th March.

They will be accompanied by the 30 piece  London Musical Theatre Orchestra, conducted by Jason Robert Brown who composed the piece.

Samantha Barks is to take on the role of Betsy and Arthur Darvill will play Jack. The musical is based on the 1992 hit film which starred Sarah Jessica Parker and Nicholas Cage. It is the story of tells the story of mild-mannered Brooklynite, Jack, who haunted by the fear of a promise to his dying mother never to get married, avoids proposing to his new girlfriend Betsy. He finally summons the nerve and takes Betsy to Las Vegas only to have his plans compromised by a dashing gambler with an eye for luxury and Jack’s new fiancée.
Barks is best known for playing Eponine in Les Miserables, in the West End, the 25th Anniversary Concerts at the O2, and in the 2012 film adaptation. Recent theatre credits include Cathy- Last Five Years (St James Theatre); the title role in the world premiere of Amelie – A New Musical (Berkeley Repertory Theatre), Mallory/Avril in City of Angels (Donmar Warehouse), Velma Kelly in Chicago (Hollywood Bowl) and Sally Bowles in Cabaret (UK Tour). Recent film credits include Interlude in Prague (Stillking Films), Bitter Harvest (Devil’s Harvest Productions), The Canary (Pioneer Pictures), the voice of Miss Acacia in Jack & The Cuckoo-Clock Heart (EuropaCorp) and The Christmas Candle (Pinewood Studios). Samantha also recently toured launching  with her debut album.
Darvill  has had a wide and varied career. Theatre includes: Treasure Island (National Theatre), Once (NYC and UK), Our Boys (Duchess Theatre), Soft Cops (RSC), Doctor Faustus (Shakespeare’s Globe), Been So Long (Young Vic), Swimming With Sharks (Vaudeville), Terre Haute (Trafalgar Studios, National Tour), Stacey (Arcola), Terre Haute (Edinburgh). Television and Film Includes: Legends of Tomorrow (Berlanti Productions), Danny and The Human Zoo (BBC), Broadchurch ( ITV), The White Queen (BBC), The Paradise (BBC), Doctor Who (BBC), Little Dorritt (BBC), He Kills Coppers (Ecosse), The Verdict (RDF), Untitled Robin Hood (Imagine Entertainment), Sex, Drugs, Rock N Roll (Lipsync Productions), Pelican Blood (Ecosse). Other work: He is also Artistic Associate and musican/writer in residence of The Bush Theatre and founding member of Fuego’s Men Theatre Company