Beyond Borders – a new mini-season at the Omnibus Theatre 13th – 25th March

Beyond Borders

A season of collaboration and conversation across an Anglo-Middle Eastern axis.

Sarah Chew & Molly Beth Morossa in association with Critical Mass are delighted to announce the launch of a new mini season, to be held at Omnibus Theatre, Clapham between 13th and 25th March.

Beyond Borders is presented by a collection of female theatre artists who care about intercultural communication and collaboration, and feel passionately about the need to address the rise in hard borders and cultural and ethnic exclusion, from a political and from a personal perspective. This year, the focus is on Britain and the Middle East.

How do we live on the safe side of a hard border, yet engage with atrocities on the other side?

Brexit, Trump’s travel bans and deportations, the global rise of the far Right;
Every day, maps are developing ever more hard lines.
Lines people cannot cross, however artfully they tread.

Beyond Borders will look at what we might do with those hard lines. And how we might hope to progress beyond them.


13th – 25th March | Omnibus Theatre



Tues 13 March, 6pm

Improbable present the Improbable Devoted and Disgruntled conference – asking “What Are We Going To Do About Borders?”



Fri 16 – Sat 17 March, 7:30pm | 4pm

Part theatre, part drag cabaret, Lipstick: a fairy tale of modern Iran is inspired by time writer/director Sarah Chew spent in Tehran during the Green Uprising of 2010.



Wed 14 March, 7.30pm

Egyptian trained belly dancer, burlesque star and academic Faustina Fahrenheit will take participants through the history and practice of Middle Eastern and Western erotic dance forms, exploring how sensuality is constructed across different cultures.



Thurs 15 March, 7pm

When a woman wears the veil she is seen as oppressed. When Salome wears seven veils she’s seen as sexy. Egyptian born artist Layla Mohammed will lead a themed life drawing class to explore our reactions to the veiled female form.



Sun 25 March, 10:30am

This unique family event will take the fairytale elements of Lipstick as a starting point to explore themes of cultural and gender integration, through storytelling, puppetry and creative play.


Full Casting announced for Thoroughly Modern Millie Tour 2018

David King for Modern Millie Ltd presents





2018 UK TOUR





Following a hugely successful tour in Spring 2017, award-winning musical Thoroughly Modern Millie will tour the UK again in 2018 opening at Richmond Theatre on Tuesday 27 March .

Hayley Tamaddon takes on the title role of Millie Dilmount, a Kansas girl determined to make it big in New York City.

Hayley is perhaps best known for her portrayal of Del Dingle in Emmerdale and Andrea Beckett in Coronation Street and for winning the fifth series of ITV1’s Dancing on Ice. Other television credits include AccusedShamelessWaterloo RoadWhere the Heart Is and The Royal. Her musical theatre roles include Roxie Hart in Chicago (UK Tour)The Lady of the Lake in Spamalot (UK tour)Janet in The Rocky Horror Show (UK Tour), Frenchie in Grease (UK Tour), Diana Morales in A Chorus Line (Sheffield Theatres), Trish in Boogie Nights (UK Tour), Carmen in Fame (UK Tour), Laura in Boyband (West End) and Lisa in Mamma Mia (West End). She has also starred in the UK tour of The Vagina Monologues and in John Godber’s play Muddy Cows (Stephen Joseph, Scarborough).

Lucas Rush returns as the evil proprietor of the Hotel Priscilla Mrs Meers, a role he made his own during the 2017 tour of Thoroughly Modern Millie.  Lucas’s other theatre credits include: St Jimmy/Resident Director in American Idiot (The Arts Theatre & UK Tour, for which he received A WhatsOnStage Award nomination for Best Supporting Actor in a Musical); Emcee in Cabaret (Arts Theatre Aberdeen); Edmund in Mark Rylance’s Sonnet Walks (The Globe); Hubert Rosenberg in Shitfaced showtime (The Old Red Lion Theatre); Tony in Saturday Night Fever (RCCL and USA); Roger in Grease (Piccadilly Theatre); Duane Jones in Bloodbath (Edinburgh Festival); Rebel Leader in We Will Rock You (Dominion Theatre); Joe Vegas in Fame (UK Tour); Benadick in Much Ado About Nothing (Italian Theatre Tour); Mickey in Blood Brothers (The Manoel Theatre Malta); Robin in The Merry Wives Of Windsor (RSC Barbican Theatre) and Gavrouche in Les Miserables (Palace Theatre) Television and Film credits include: Rowan Neville in Walking on the Moon (ITV Film, Directed by Peter Kosminsky); Apostle in Jesus Christ Superstar Arena Spectacular (Universal Pictures, Directed by Lawrence Connor) and James in the award winning short film The Definition of Lonely (Directed by Leon Lopez).

The cast is completed by Michael Colbourne (Jimmy Smith), Richard Meek (Trevor Graydon), Nicola Blackman (Muzzy van Hossmere), Lisa Bridge (Miss Dorothy), Guy Salim (Ching Ho), Patrick Jeremy (Bun Foo), Natalie Spriggs (Miss Flannery), Laura EllisAnnie GuyEmma LloydMillie O’ConnellPatrick GeorgeScott Norton and Tom Summers.

Winner of six Tony Awards including Best Musical, Thoroughly Modern Millie is based on the 1967 Academy Award-winning film. Taking you back to the height of the Jazz Age in 1920s New York City, when ‘moderns’ including a flapper named Millie Dillmount, were bobbing their hair, raising their hemlines, entering the workforce and rewriting the rules of love.

From explosive tap numbers to a ‘Fred and Ginger’ dance routine on a window ledge, and featuring hit songs including Gimme Gimme and Not for the Life of Me, Thoroughly Modern Millie is a brilliantly funny and entertaining show for all the family.

Tickets for Thoroughly Modern Millie are on sale now.






Book by Richard Morris and Dick Scanlan

New Music by Jeanine Tesori

New Lyrics by Dick Scanlan

Original Story and Screenplay by Richard Morris for the Universal Pictures Film

Presented by arrangement with

Music Theatre International (Europe) Limited

Director and Choreographer Racky Plews

Musical Director Rob Wicks

Executive Producer David King

Casting Director Sue Talbert

Executive Director Graham King




Tuesday 27 – Saturday 31 March                                               Box Office: 0844 871 7651

Richmond Theatre                                                                           Website:

Tuesday 3 – Saturday 7 April                                                        Box Office: 01323 412000 ON SALE SOON

Devonshire Park Theatre, Eastbourne                                     Website:

Tuesday 10 – Saturday 14 April                                                   Box Office: 0844 871 3022

Sunderland Empire                                                                          Website:

Tuesday 1 – Saturday 5 May                                                        Box Office: 0844 871 3020

Oxford New Theatre                                                                       Website:

Tuesday 8 – Saturday 12 May                                                     Box Office: 0844 871 3023

The Princess Theatre, Torquay                                                   Website:

Tuesday 15 – Saturday 19 May                                                   Box Office: 01202 280000 ON SALE SOON

Poole Lighthouse                                                                             Website:

Tuesday 22 – Saturday 26 May                                                   Box Office: 0844 871 7649

Regent Theatre , Stoke on Trent                                                Website:

Tuesday 29 May – Saturday 2 June                                           Box Office: 01225 448844

Theatre Royal, Bath                                                                         Website:

Tuesday 5 – Saturday 9 June                                                       Box Office: 01274 432000

Bradford Alhambra                                                                          Website:

Monday 11 – Saturday 16 June                                                  Box Office: 01325 486555

Darlington Hippodrome                                                                Website:

Tuesday 19 – Saturday 23 June                                                  Box Office: 01702 351135

Cliffs Pavilion, Southend                                                                               Website:

Tuesday 26 – Saturday 30 June                                                  Box Office: 01902 429212

Grand Theatre, Wolverhampton                                                Website:

Tuesday 17 – Saturday 21 July                                                    Box Office: 01903 206206

Worthing Pavilion                                                                            Website:

Tuesday 31 July – Saturday 5 August                                        Box Office: 01534 511115

Jersey Opera House                                                                        Website:


New on-sale shows unveiled at the Pleasance for the 2018 Edinburgh Festival

The Pleasance bring a Vanishing Elephant and a Globe of Death to the Edinburgh Festival Fringe

The return of Mr. Swallow and circus-theatre spectacular Cirque Berserk! are amongst the latest shows to be announced in the Pleasance’s ever-growing festival programme, along with a host of Fringe favourites on sale from 1st March.

An hour of magic, music and elephants awaits in one of the most hotly anticipated highlights of the Pleasance’s 2018 programme as Nick Mohammed’s alter-ego Mr. Swallow returns in Mr. Swallow and the Vanishing Elephant. “After much speculation, I have finally (temporarily) replaced Mr. Goldsworth and Jonathan with an actual real-life elephant called Hayley. God help us all!” (Mr. Swallow).

The show marks Mr. Swallow’s first treading of the boards since the smash-hit runs of Mr. Swallow: Houdini at the 2016 Fringe and at Soho Theatre in 2017, with Nick Mohammed recently racking up credits in the BBC / Netflix series Collateral, Ridley Scott’s The Martian, Bridget Jones’s Baby, Ab Fab The Movie, The Sense of an Ending and Disney’s Christopher Robin.

At glittering West End venue Pleasance at EICC, Britain’s biggest theatre-circus spectacular Cirque Beserk! makes its eagerly anticipated Edinburgh Fringe debut. Combining contemporary cirque-style artistry with adrenaline-fuelled stunt action, the show features an astoundingly talented international troupe of over thirty acrobats, aerialists, dancers, drummers and daredevil stuntmen. Among the jaw-dropping action is the world’s most hair-raising circus act – the legendary motorcycle ‘Globe of Death’.

At the Pleasance Grand, familiar favourites make a welcome return. After storming into America and being seen by 51 million people online, Comedy Award winning TAPE FACE premieres brand new The TAPE FACE Show. Edinburgh Comedy Award winner Tim Key arrives back at Pleasance with Megadate – a brand new 70 minute show, blending poeticals, talking, standing, spotlights, cables, Kronenburg, foot-stamping and old school wistfulness. And Paul Merton’s Impro Chums – including Suki Webster, Richard Vranch, Lee Simpson and Mike McShane – play ten shows only from 9th – 18th August.

On Wednesday 22nd August, Jayde Adams and Kiri Pritchard-McLean host the comedy world’s celebration of all things West End in the triumphant return of Amusical, as comedians perform their favourite songs from the musicals. Plus, The Tartan Ribbon Comedy Benefit returns to the Grand on Tuesday 14th August with another top line-up of some of the finest names in comedy. The Pleasance will once again be supporting the work of Waverley Care, Scotland’s leading HIV and Hepatitis C charity, with the proceeds of these two one-off, sure to sell-out spectaculars being donated to their important services.

After being cluster-bombed with yoghurt on Taskmaster, half-killed on The Island and selling out all previous shows from 2014-17, Mark Watson presents his new show The Infinite Show at Pleasance Forth at 7pm. In Bunker Two – which last year played host to Edinburgh Comedy Awards Best Newcomer winner Natalie Palamides – rising star Catherine Bohart will debut her first solo hour Immaculate after appearing as part of the Pleasance Comedy Reserve in 2017.

The first acts in the much beloved Cabaret Bar venue have also been announced: former ’80s pop star turned vicar and broadcaster Reverend Richard Coles (seen recently on Strictly Come Dancing) joins the Pleasance line-up for an hour of candid chat with special guests, and lunchtime compilation show Best of Edinburgh Showcase Show features a daily-changing line-up of the best and brightest comedians.

Elsewhere at the Pleasance Dome, TV magician Ben Hanlin – seen on Tricked, Celebrity Juice and Live at The Palladium to name a few – takes to the KingDome stage with new show 50. Also coming to the stage at Pleasance at EICC is the wickedly subversive Scots comedian Craig Hill, who promises an hour of “Balls-out” comedy in C’mon the Lads!

An entire festival in itself, the Pleasance’s programme offers some of the biggest names in entertainment, with much-loved returning acts and exciting newcomers over three sites. These newly announced shows join an exciting line-up already revealed in February, which included Reginald D Hunter, Colin Cloud and Showstoppers! The Improvised Musical.

With over 200 shows still to be announced, including comedy, theatre, circus, magic, dance, kid’s shows and much more still to come, alongside support for some of the most innovative newcomers through artist development strand Pleasance Futures, there’s surely no better place to be this August.

Patricia Hodge, Matt Lucas & Tracy-Ann Oberman join Chichester’s Festival 2018 company

Latest casting for Festival 2018 at Chichester Festival Theatre


Patricia Hodge, Matt Lucas and Tracy-Ann Oberman join the company

Further lead casting is announced today for Festival 2018 at Chichester Festival Theatre. Matt Lucas makes his Chichester debut as Bill Snibson, the Cockney barrow boy who discovers he’s an Earl, in Daniel Evans’s new production of ME AND MY GIRLTracy-Ann Oberman returns to the Festival Theatre as Monica in Noel Coward’s PRESENT LAUGHTER; while Patricia Hodge also makes a welcome return as Margrethe Bohr in Michael Frayn’s COPENHAGEN. Public booking for all Festival productions opens this Saturday, 3 March.

Daniel Evans, Chichester’s Artistic Director, says: ‘We’re really delighted to welcome such excellent actors to Chichester this summer. Our audiences will be familiar with Tracy-Ann Oberman from our production of Fiddler On The Roof  last summer and Patricia Hodge from Travels With My Aunt in the 2016 season. It’s also wonderful to be able to introduce our audiences to faces that are new to West Sussex and I’m particularly excited to be directing Matt Lucas in Me and My Girl.

‘The musical is rooted firmly in the British music hall tradition and the part of Bill Snibson, our working class hero, requires an actor with funny bones, effortless wit and an innate charm.  Matt has these in spades. I can’t wait to see how his unique, inventive comedic talent lights up our main stage this summer at CFT.’

Patricia Hodge joins Charles Edwards and Paul Jesson in Michael Frayn’s award-winning three-hander, COPENHAGEN (17 August – 22 September). Her most recent Chichester appearance was in Travels with My Aunt (2016); her many television credits include Miranda and Downton Abbey. Her extensive West End and UK theatre work includes Frayn’s Noises OffSummerfolk and Money (Olivier Award) at the National Theatre.


Matt Lucas will lead the cast of the uproarious musical comedy ME AND MY GIRL (2 July – 25 August) alongside Caroline Quentin, who plays the Duchess. Known to a television audience of millions for the smash hit TV series Little Britain, his theatre work includes the role of Thenardier in Les Misérables in the West End. His recent screen credits include Doctor Who, Alice in Wonderland, Paddington and Bridesmaids.

Tracy-Ann Oberman will play Monica in Coward’s glittering comedy PRESENT LAUGHTER (20 April – 12 May), joining Rufus Hound as Gary Essendine. She played Golde in the hit production of Fiddler On The Roof at Chichester last summer; her stage credits also include Boeing-Boeing and Stepping Out in the West End, while extensive TV work includes New Tricks, EastEnders and Friday Night Dinner.


Public booking opens:

Saturday 3 March (online only)

Tuesday 6 March (phone and in person)

Box Office 01243 781312


Tickets from £10


Prologue: £5 tickets for 16 – 25s

10,000 £5 tickets are available for 16 to 25 year-olds for all productions throughout Festival 2017; sign up for free at  Members also have access to a range of exclusive events.


Twitter @ChichesterFT 

Facebook ChichesterFestivalTheatre

Instagram ChichesterFT

YouTube ChichesterTheatre


Awful Auntie Review

Darlington Hippodrome – until 3 March 2018.  Reviewed by Andy Bramfitt


Braving the awful weather, we trekked off, through the snow and frozen roads, and made for the latest incarnation of David Walliams’ darkly funny sense of humour, and boy were we glad we did. Awful Auntie is a brilliant piece of classic storytelling, very reminiscent of Roald Dahl, and, using some pretty unique set design, brings an almost animated feel of special effects which really brings the pages and illustrations to life.

The story is one of young Stella Saxby (the wonderful Georgina Leonidas), who, after recovering from a tragic car accident in which her parents are both killed, realises that her Auntie Alberta (the scarily familiar Timothy Speyer) is not the benevolent soul she purports to be. Aided by a ghostly chimney sweep Soot (Ashley Cousins) she sets to to try and unravel the lies Auntie has been feeding her and to protect her inheritance of the family mansion.

This has all the hallmarks of a David Walliams story – it is packed with over-the-top characterisations, threat, dark humour and no shortage of action, with a morale undertale which never risks overpowering the story but is still sat, ever present on the shoulder of the fun. Georgina runs the story, everything is told through her and she manages to keep the energy levels high and the feeling of peril constant, making for riveting viewing. Ashley Cousins, is very reminiscent of a young Tommy Steele (a la Half a Sixpence) – whether this was by design or just a reflection of Ashley’s own persona is up for debate but what is unquestioned is that he creates a loveable sidekick, aide and confidante and gives the kids in the audience a hero to root for.

Of course, the titular Auntie deserves special mention – deliciously eccentric and obsessively self centred, Timothy Speyer would give Mr Walliams a run for his money in his portrayal and is very familiar, especially to fans of Little Britain.

Additional comic slapstick is provided by Gibbon – the loony butler and house-servant who seems to be constantly in a world of his own, while the house trained Mountain Owl Wagner (and his handler Roberta Bellekom) create the twist needed to underpin the ‘good will win’ out’ finale.

The set design by Jacqueline Trousdale is ingenious; simplistic in appearance yet clearly the product of hundreds of hours of design, planning and creation. She has managed to portray 4 floors of a sprawling manor house, the grounds, the garage and the roof tops all in front of your eyes and yet totally immersive.

As said, it was a snowy day, most kids had been off school and as such the atmosphere before the show began was of excitement and an excess of energy, not usually the ingredients for having a young audience sit still and concentrate, but from the first scene onward there was a hushed concentration which never waived – always the sign of a great story and brilliant story telling.

If you have any children who may be getting a bit stir crazy from having to stay in and watch the weather, then this would be a perfect way to escape the cold and snow – just be careful if they have Aunties of their own as you may find them making comparisons.