Knights of the Rose – West End musical

Romance of the Rose Productions presents:
A New West End Classic Rock Musical created by Jennifer Marsden
29th June – 26th August, 2018
On sale – 23rd March
The Arts Theatre
6-7 Great Newport St, London WC2H 7JB
Romance of the Rose Productions are delighted to announce the world premiere of a new West End musical created by Jennifer Marsden, Knights of the Rose, an epic medieval tale featuring a timeless playlist of classic rock songs. Headlined by five unforgettable Bon Jovi masterpieces and accompanied by much loved songs from Bonnie Tyler, Meatloaf, No Doubt and more, Knights of the Rose finds court at The Arts Theatre from Friday 29th June – Sunday 26th August.
In this epic tale of betrayal, love, bloodshed and redemption, the noble Knights of the Rose must defend their House and their honour. Even as the chivalrous knights return from a glorious victory, a greater threat against the kingdom stirs. As they face the greatest battle of the age and betrayal threatens to tear them apart, can true love and honour triumph?
With rich interwoven literature from Marlowe, Shakespeare and Chaucer mixed with legendary classic rock music; Knights of the Rose is a glorious fusion of popular culture, evocative of ‘Game of Thrones’ and ‘Bat out of Hell’. This high-voltage musical of Shakespearean proportions charges its way into the heart of London on 29th June, for 9 weeks only.
Blaze Of Glory – Bon Jovi // Blood On Blood – Bon Jovi // Always – Bon Jovi // Bed Of Roses – Bon Jovi // This Is Love, This Is Life – Bon Jovi // Changes – Black Sabbath // Holding Out For A Hero – Bonnie Tyler // Total Eclipse Of The Heart – Bonnie Tyler // Hero – Enrique Iglesias // King Arthur: Third Act – Henry Purcell // The Parting Glass – Irish Folk Song // Is Nothing Sacred – Meatloaf // Marriage Of Figaro: Part 1V – Mozart // Don’t Speak – No Doubt // Addicted To Love – Robert Palmer // Hard Times Of Old England – Steeleye Span // Wherever You Will Go – The Calling // He Ain’t Heavy He’s My Brother – The Hollies // Pilgrim – Uriah Heep
LOCATION: Arts Theatre – 6-7 Great Newport St, London WC2H 7JB
DATES: 29th June – 26th August, 2018
PREVIEWS: 29th June – 4th July
Monday – 7.30pm
Tuesday – Off
Wednesday – 7.30pm
Thursday – 3pm/7.30pm
Friday – 7.30pm
Saturday – 3pm/ 7.30pm
Sunday – 4pm
On sale – 23rd March
Wednesday, Thursday Matinee, Thursday Evening, Sunday and Monday                               
£55 // £45// £33.50 // £22.50 // £15
Friday, Saturday Matinee, Saturday Evening
£65 // £49.50 // £38.50 // £25 // £20
Box Office: 020 7836 8463 //

David Walliams show searching for local dancer

David Walliams’ Stage Show in search for Local Dancer

Producers seek dancer for Hull New Theatre production of Gangsta Granny

Birmingham Stage Company, one of the world’s leading producers of family friendly theatre, is searching for a local dancer to appear in the hit David Walliams play Gangsta Granny when it comes to Hull New Theatre later this year.

The award-winning production tells the story of Ben, a young boy who spends every Friday night with his ‘boring’ Granny, being served cabbage soup, cabbage pie and cabbage cake. What Ben doesn’t know is that Granny has a secret and Friday nights are about to get a whole lot more exciting.

Producers are looking for an 18 year-old female to play the role of an 11/12 year old girl in the show when it arrives in Hull in July.

To enter, dancers will need to email a video of themselves performing a short modern or disco piece to stating they are from the Hull area.

Whoever is successful will be sent a video of the two minute dance she will be performing in the show so that she can learn the choreography.

The dancer will be expected to appear in all performances of Gangsta Granny at Hull New Theatre from 5 – 8 July 2018 and will be paid £21.38 per show.

Tickets for Gangsta Granny at Hull New Theatre are on sale now priced from £15.50. To book visit the Hull City Hall Box Office, call 01482 300 306 or visit our new website

Turn of the Screw Review

West Yorkshire Playhouse, Leeds – Until 24th March 2018.  Reviewed By Dawn Smallwood


Henry James’ classic ghost story comes alive on stage for a week at the West Yorkshire Playhouse in Leeds. Tim Luscombe’s adaptation tells the story about a young Governess (Carli Norris) who comes to Bly to look after Flora (Annabel Smith) and Miles (Michael Hanratty), two orphaned children, and the place appears peaceful and perfect. Soon after the Governess settles in things become unsettled and the household including Mrs Grose (Maggie McCarthy) has additional company, ghosts of a troubled past. The events make the Governess more determined to protect the two children even at all costs.

The play, under the direction of Dermot McLaughlin, opens with both the Governess and Flora who, a number of years later, confront each other with past events at Bly and both uncomfortably narrate what actually happened. During their conversations there are past flashbacks of events when the young Governess looked after the children and the decisions and emotions have been relived amid a dark and sinister setting.

Sara Perks’ staging is excellent and creates the atmospheric ambience for the nature of the play with the use of lighting, music and soundscapes, courtesy of Matt Leventhall and John Chambers, being applied for ghostly and scary touches of the story. The four person cast do a stellar performance with some doubling up as two characters and their accounts are articulately portrayed.

Turn of the Screw is more than a ghost story as it explores the characters thoroughly with touches of suspense, supernatural and obscurities of fantasy and reality. The audience is encouraged to think of the underlying themes raised for each of the characters, particularly the Governess, which are never shared except for suggestive texts and innuendo’s.

It is certainly a thought provoking play with a scope for personal interpretation of events and its circumstances that happened at Bly when The Governess took care of the children. This production is currently touring and is recommendable to go and see.

The Importance of Being Earnest Review

Salisbury Playhouse – until 24 March 2018.  Reviewed by Jo Gordon


The Importance of Being Earnest is Oscar Wilde’s most well known play, a satirical take on Victorian high society and their ideals. Set around two friends; Jack Worthing (Peter Sandys-Clarke) and Algernon Moncrieff (Thomas Howes)  are both leading double lives. When Jack heads into London from the country he is known as Earnest and when in the country he is known as Jack referring to Earnest as his younger reprobate brother, and Algernon using Bunbury to be able to escape any tedious commitments that may be place upon him. Both men learn of the other ones double life. Jack has fallen in love with Algernons cousin Gwendoline Fairfax (Hannah louise Howell) and wishes to propose marriage and of course she accepts she always wished to marry an Earnest. Gwendoline’s Mother, the snobbish yet hilarious lady Bracknell (Gwen Taylor) soon puts a stop to this after learning that earnest was adopted after being found in a handbag within Victoria station.

Intrigued by the sound of Jack’s ward, Cecily (Louise Coulthard), Algernon heads to the country under the guise of Jack’s brother Earnest, and is welcomed into the home by Cecily who instantly falls in love with him and he her, again having a love for the name Earnest. Meanwhile Jack has decided to abandon his double life, returning home in full mourning suit declaring Earnest’s demise from a chill in Paris… awkward! Gwendoline then arrives to complicate matters further as she has absconded from home with Lady Bracknell hot in pursuit. In case you are a rarity like myself in not really knowing much about the story I will not go any further with the spoilers! Having only ever touching base with Oscar Wilde in my school days a 100 years ago, I will admit I was pretty adamant this would not be something that would fill me with enjoyment, how wrong I was! Maybe all the years that have passed since and maturity (some would argue that’s yet to come) has changed my opinion.

The set design was fantastic, portraying the country house, London pad and the country garden beautifully and transitioning you to each space effortlessly.

A brilliant cast that left me in awe of how strong they were in delivering such large pieces of dialogue effortlessly.  Peter Sandys-Clarkes stiff, serious demeanour as Jack balanced well with the bumbling, bouncy childlike presence of Algernon. Gwen Taylor’s Lady Bracknell had me loving her and disliking her in the same breath, utterly frustrating with her elitism but delivering her opinions and thoughts with impeccable comic timing and amusing quips.

I think this play has as much place in today’s world than when it first opened on 14 February 1895 as many people now seem to have a double life, the life they actually live and then the life they wish people to perceive they have as they share it with the world on social media . Maybe we should take heed of Jacks revelation of realising the importance of being earnest in life.

The Band Review

Grand Theatre, Leeds – until 31 March 2018.  


From the moment you enter the auditorium – to be greeted by the giant TV showing pages from Ceefax in 1993 – to the curtain down at the end, this show is nothing short of a phenomenon. The Band celebrates how music soundtracks our lives – and powerfully brings back memories while making plenty of new ones too.  Bursting with emotion, laughter and some of the most loved pop songs ever written. Laugh out loud jokes mixed with some heart-rending and tear-jerking moments, it takes the audience on a roller-coaster of emotions from the opening scene to the very last.

Written by Tim Firth and co produced by David Pugh, Dafydd Rogers, Gary Barlow, Howard Donald, Mark Owen and Robbie Williams – The Band revolves around five teenagers who adore “The Band” and win tickets to a concert of their heroes.  After the most perfect night of their 16 year old lives tragedy strikes and 25 years later the women meet up again after winning tickets to a concert again.

Whilst some “jukebox” musicals have songs shoehorned in and very little in the way of story, The Band is different.  The music of Take That is secondary to the piece, it doesn’t drive the show and its fits perfectly into the story.  Firth has woven a tight script around a simple premise of schoolgirl crushes and the pains of love and loss across a narrative that spans over 25 years.  The simplicity of which means that we can really connect with the characters

It would feel wrong to single out one member of the cast for praise as they were all outstanding, all playing their parts superbly.  The younger group of friends Faye Christall (Rachel), Debbie (Rachelle Diedericks), Heather (Katy Clayton), Claire (Sarah Kate Howarth) and Zoe (Lauren Jacobs) show great chemistry on stage together.  The older group of Rachel Lumberg, Emily Joyce, Alison Fitzjohn and Jayne McKenna are fierce, funny and wonderful. The casting is superb with the scenes in which they appear together showing how similar they all are. Back For Good sung by the teenagers to their adult selves was particularly moving.  It takes no imagination to believe they could be a younger and older version of the same person.  For these are real people, totally identifiable. And you will sit looking at your 16 year old self and recognising the 40 plus year old woman you have become

To “The Band” themselves, Gary Barlow’s TV talent show, Let it Shine, found the perfect line up of boys to play the part of the productions boy band Five to Five (A J Bentley, Yazdan Qafouri, Curtis T Johns, Sario Solomon and Nick Carsberg) who perfectly fit the bill.  The boys are the backing singers and musical interludes to the leading ladies, acting as cleaners, air port staff and statues amongst others to provide comedic, and sometimes more sombre, moments to the plot

We must also mention Rachel’s partner Jeff (Martin Miller) who has some fabulous one liners and Andy Williams who played Every Dave – including the bus driver, the Czech policeman, the cleaner and the caretaker, who has you laughing in every scene

Directors Kim Gavin and Jack Ryder ensure the production is as slick and sharp as possible which is helped by clever and immersive staged set-pieces with likeable attention to detail and brilliant special effects which really brought the room to life – be it in a fountain in Prague, on a hilltop outside Manchester, or in the middle of a concert.  With set design by Jon Bausor, alongside a lighting design from Patrick Woodroffe. And the live on stage band John Donovan, Richard Beesley, Tim Sandiford, Stu Roberts and John McKenzie

The Band knows that most people are there to hear the music of Take That, but the music doesn’t detract from a story that wears its heart loudly and proudly on its sleeve, for this is a musical love letter that makes you laugh, cry and want to sing at the top of your lungs.  With a message about the fragility of life making you ensure you live every moment as fully as possible. A nostalgic journey back in time for anyone who grew up loving a boy band 

This is a show that is fun and larger than life, and you don’t have to be a Take That fan to get enjoyment from.  I left the theatre completely worn out from the emotion, and made sure I told my life long trio of best friends just how much I loved them whilst trying to work out exactly when I can get to see the show again.

On tour around the UK for at least the next year I’m sure there will be plenty of chances for many more people to fall in love with this 5*, flawless, production.

Grotty | The Bunker | 1 May – 26 May

Presented by Damsel Productions
The Bunker, 53A Southwark Street London SE1 1RU
Tuesday 1st May – Saturday 26th May 2018

No one goes to the circus to get laid, do they? I do

Following the success of Brute at Soho Theatre, Damsel Productions teams up again with award-winning writer Izzy Tennyson to present Grotty, a semi-autobiographical piece centred on East London’s lesbian scene. The play is a provocative, satirical and at times grotesque exploration of intergenerational tension in the lesbian community, as well as struggles with mental health, identity and grief.

Izzy Tennyson who will be playing Rigby, won the Ideastap/Underbelly award with the debut show Brute (Edinburgh fringe festival 2015). Tennyson will be starring alongside Grace Chilton (Father Brown, BBC; Humans, Channel 4; Pride & Prejudice, Sheffield Crucible; Macbeth, National Youth Theatre Rep Company) who will be playing Witch/Elliot, Rebekah Hinds (Shameless, Channel 4; Humble Boy, Orange Tree; Billy Liar, Manchester Royal Exchange; Around The World, Mint Theater Company, New York) playing Toad/Kate and Anita-Joy Uwajeh (Twelfth Night, Shakespeare’s Globe; Fury, Soho Theatre; Girls, Soho Theatre) who will be playing Josie/Natty/Dr Alexandra.

Grotty is not a sentimentalised view of the London lesbian scene and is certainly not for the faint hearted. Told through the eyes of a young and reckless Rigby, a series of flashbacks expose Rigby’s taste for self-destruction and girlfriends with nice flats. Rigby doesn’t just fall down the rabbit hole, she hits the very bottom of it – mind games with no logic, laddish girls with a ‘fuck them and leave them’ attitude, desperate nesting 30-somethings and fetish club outcasts who, if they were men, would probably be on some sort of list.

Director, Hannah Hauer-King comments, Damsel is thrilled to bring this new, provocative and caustically funny play by Izzy Tennyson to our recent venue of residence, the Bunker Theatre. There is a dearth of stories focused on the queer female experience, and Grotty is a fantastic exploration of this underrepresented part of the community, and ultimately a compelling piece that will engage a diverse audience.

The Bunker’s Spring Season sees the venue truly celebrate its place as a playground for ambitious and adventurous audiences, just over a year after it first opened its doors. The exciting season highlights the venue’s commitment to work with brilliant playwrights, both established and emerging.











3Women, the debut play by the award-winning comedian and writer Katy Brand, will premiere at Trafalgar Studios 2, starring the celebrated screen and stage actress Anita Dobson (Eleanor), alongside Debbie Chazen (Suzanne), Maisie Richardson-Sellers (Laurie), and Oliver Greenall(Waiter). Running from 15 May to 9 June 2018, with press night on 18 May, 3Women explores the relationships between three generations of the same family, brought together in one hotel room, in a darkly comic and pertinent exploration of what it means to be a woman.


Katy Brand said, “3Women is a play I have been hoping to write for several years, but now that feminism and women’s rights are at the very forefront of the global conversation, I wanted to really explore those issues from the point of view of three generations of women, and how they interact and intersect within the same family. These movements are not so straightforward as the media would sometimes have us believe but wrapped up in the chaotic and all-too-human lived experiences of real women, from the Suffragettes to those who currently campaign for trans-gender rights.  We are all simply trying our best to be ‘modern women’ (whatever that means), making mistakes, and blundering on as best we can!”

Raise a glass to female family bonding and buried resentment!


From generation to generation, Mother to Daughter, this female-led play explores what it means to be a woman in the 21st Century and the consequences of the generational gap on our attitudes, cultural expectations and family dynamic. From wedding celebrations to relationship disillusionment, 3Women is razor-sharp, funny and caustically irresistible.


This hilariously frank and original debut brings our three women and their own very different identities and opinions into one hotel suite for a single night of redemption. What will be revealed?


3Women is directed by Michael Yale, with designs by Zahra Mansouri, lighting by Nic Farman, and is produced by Stage Traffic Productions

Manchester actor Chris Jack stars in gang war play ‘Brighton Rock’ at The Lowry

Manchester actor Chris Jack stars in gang war play ‘Brighton Rock’ at The Lowry

Brighton Rock co-commissioned by Week 53 festival
Tue 22 – Sat 26 May

Manchester Actor Chris Jack will star in a new adaption of Brighton Rock as part of The Lowry’s Week 53 festival Tue 22 – Sat 26 May.

Tony-Award Nominee 
Bryony Lavery’s new adaptation of Graham Greene’siconic 1938 novel of sin and redemption Brighton Rock, follows two seventeen year olds Pinkie and Rose as they become involved in a vicious gang war.

Directed by Pilot Theatre’s new artistic director 
Esther Richardson and featuring a soundtrack composed by the acclaimed singer, musician and composer Hannah PeelBrighton Rock will take audiences on a path where one brutal murder leads to the next. The police are impassive – but the courageous and life embracing Ida Arnold wants the truth. Nothing scares her. Whatever the cost, she’ll see justice is done.

Written in 1938, 
Graham Greene’s classic novel of good and evil was first adapted for the stage at the Garrick Theatre with Richard Attenborough playing Pinkie, a role he resumed in the iconic 1947 film version. In 2010 Greene’s novel was remade, setting it in 1964, with Sam Riley, Andrea Riseborough and Helen Mirren. In 1993 Vicky Featherstone directed David Hurlock’s stage adaptation of the novel at West Yorkshire Playhouse and in 2004 John Barry and Don Black wrote a musical version which ran at the Almeida Theatre

Bryony Lavery is a playwright whose play Frozen, commissioned by Birmingham Repertory Theatre, won the TMA Best Play Award and was then produced on Broadway where it was nominated for four Tony Awards. Fitting the Week 53 festival theme of ‘coming of age’ she said about her new adaptation, “In the poisoned relationship between Pinkie and Rose, there is one of the best accounts ever of what it is like to be 16 and 17 years’ old in a terrible, violent, adolescence.”

Brighton Rock is designed by Sara Perks (American Idiot, Arts Theatre and Sweeny Todd, Mercury Theatre) with lighting by Aideene Malone (Peter Pan and Jane Eyre, National Theatre). The production will feature a specially composed soundtrack by the Northern Irish artist, singer and electronic composer and member of The Magnetic North, Hannah Peel.

Brighton Rock is co-commissioned by The Lowry for Week 53 festival and presented by special arrangement with STUDIOCANAL

There will be a limited allocation of Pay What You Decide tickets for all Week 53 productions, more details to be announced

Listings Information

Brighton Rock 
Date: Tue 22 – Sat 26 May

Time: 7.30pm. Wed & Sat 2.30pm

Tickets: £20. PWYD limited capacity


CHICAGO Extends Booking Period in London







Even before previews have begun, the producers of the Kander & Ebb musical CHICAGO, winner of six Tony Awards, two Olivier Awards and a Grammy, have extended the booking period at the Phoenix Theatre in London until 6 October 2018.  Following a successful UK and international tour, and after a 5½-year absence from London, the musical will open on Wednesday 11 April 2018, following previews from 26 March.


Casting for the new booking period will be announced nearer the time.


The cast for the first booking period, from 26 March to 30 June 2018, is led by Cuba Gooding Jr, Sarah Soetaert, Josefina Gabriell, Ruthie Henshall and Paul Rider.  This cast will also feature Alan Richardson, Michelle Antrobus, Natalie Bennyworth, Nicola Coates, Frances Dee, Zoe Gappy, Emma Harris, Chelsea Labadini, Joanna Rennie, Abramo Ciullo, Francis Foreman, Luke Jarvis, Matt Krzan, Charles Ruhrmund, Todd Talbot, Callum Macdonald, Chris Warner Drake and Matthew Wesley.


CHICAGO originally ran in London for 15 years, making it the West End’s longest running revival.  It first opened at the Adelphi Theatre on 18 November 1997 to rave reviews and immediately became a sell-out hit.  CHICAGO won the 1998 Laurence Olivier Award for ‘Outstanding Musical Production’ as well as the 1998 Critics Circle Drama Award for ‘Best Musical’.  CHICAGO transferred from the Adelphi Theatre to the Cambridge Theatre in April 2006, where it ran for five years until 27 August 2011.  The show then opened at the Garrick Theatre on 7 November 2011, where it ran until 1 September 2012.


Since it opened in New York in 1996, CHICAGO has played in 36 countries worldwide, and been performed in English, Dutch, German, Swedish, Spanish, Portuguese, Russian, Italian, French, Danish, Japanese and Korean.  It has grossed over $1.5 billion worldwide and has played over 32,500 performances worldwide, with an estimated 31 million people around the world having seen CHICAGO. 

CHICAGO continues to play on Broadway, where it recently celebrated its 21st birthday, and around the world in multiple languages.  It is the world’s longest running American musical.


CHICAGO, which is based on the play by Maurine Dallas Watkins, has a book by Fred Ebb and Bob Fosse, music by John Kander and lyrics by Fred Ebb.  The 1996 Broadway revival of CHICAGO was choreographed by Ann Reinking in the style of Bob Fosse, directed by Walter Bobbie, and produced by Barry and Fran Weissler.




Phoenix Theatre
110 Charing Cross Road
London WC2H 0JP

Box Office: 0844 871 7629 /

Ticket Prices: From £20.00

Performances: Monday-Saturday 8pm, Wednesday & Saturday 3pm

Booking Period:  Currently Booking Until 6 October 2018

Running Time:  2 hours, 25 minutes (with interval)

Twitter: @ChicagoOnStage





Mousetrap Theatre Projects (MTP) celebrated its 21st Anniversary on Sunday night with a star-studded Gala at the Prince of Wales Theatre hosted by Christopher Biggins and Harriet Thorpe with performances from cast members of The Lion King, Mamma Mia!, Kiss Me Kate, The Royal Ballet and Dreamgirls. The show also featured star turns from Beau Dermott, Patricia Hodge, Tyrone Huntley, Samantha Spiro, David Suchet, Rachel Tucker and Michael Xavier.  The show was followed by an after party at Café de Paris with performances from Janie Dee and Clive Rowe.

The evening was hugely successful in raising funds for the charity and will help support MTP in its aims to bring the magic of theatre into the lives of disadvantaged young people and young people with special needs.

Susan Whiddington, Director of Mousetrap Theatre Projects said today, “We had a fantastic evening celebrating the last 21 years of MTP. We are so grateful to everyone involved with the event and are thrilled to have raised significant funds to further the charity and its aims. It’s been an incredible 21 years for MTP and we are incredibly thankful for all the support that we’ve received in this time from individuals, the theatre industry and trusts and foundations.  We are looking forward to the years to come.”

In the last 21 years, nearly 200,000 disadvantaged children and young people have taken part in projects run by Mousetrap Theatre Projects.  The charity has worked with 76% of mainstream state secondary schools in and 80% of secondary special schools in London.  10,000 families on low-incomes or in other challenging circumstances have participated in its Family First Nights theatregoing programme which will celebrate a 20thanniversary this summer. 

MTP also works with a huge range of marginalised young people in youth clubs and community settings offering workshops that develop skills, broaden horizons and raise aspirations.  The remit of the charity is to open the magical world of theatre to young people who would otherwise not have access to it.