From Monday 11 June 2018, there will be major cast changes at the West End production of “LES MISÉRABLES” at the Queen’s Theatre, which is now in its record breaking 33rd year.

Cameron Mackintosh is delighted to announce that Dean Chisnall will star as ‘Jean Valjean’; Toby Miles as ‘Marius’; Elena Skye as ‘Eponine’; Vivien Parry as ‘Madame Thénardier’ and Amara Okereke as ‘Cosette’.

Continuing in their roles are Steven Meo as ‘Thénardier’ and Carley Stenson as ‘Fantine’.

David Thaxton continues to play the role of ‘Javert’ until Saturday 21 July, with Bradley Jaden starring as‘Javert’ from Monday 23 July.

Further casting to be announced soon.

From Monday 11 June 2018 the company will be: Tegan Bannister; Emma Barr; Adam Bayjou; Ciarán Bowling; Oliver Brenin; Dean Chisnall; Grace Farrell; Sophie-May Feek; Adam Filipe; Antony Hanson; Sam Harrison; Barnaby Hughes; James Hume; Ciaran Joyce; Katie Kerr; Rebecca Lafferty; Sarah Lark, Hannah Grace Lawson; Jessica Lee; Jo Loxton; Anna McGarahan; Steven Meo; Toby Miles; James Nicholson; Amara Okereke; Vivien Parry; Carley Stenson; Elena Skye; David Thaxton; Ben Tyler; Joe Vetch; Raymond Walsh and Andrew York.

Dean Chisnall’s most recent theatre credits include the UK tour of “Blood Brothers” “The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole Aged 13 ¾ The Musical” at the Menier Chocolate Factory; “Working” at the Southwark Playhouse; “Shrek” at the Theatre Royal Drury Lane and UK tour; “Love Never Dies” at the Adelphi Theatre; “La Cage Aux Folles” at the Playhouse Theatre and “Never Forget” at the Savoy Theatre.

Bradley Jaden is currently appearing as ‘Fiyero’ in “Wicked” at the Victoria Apollo Theatre.  He returns to “Les Misérables” at the Queen’s Theatre having originally played ‘Enjolras’ in the 30th Anniversary cast. His other theatre credits include: the UK tour of “Ghost The Musical”; “Shrek The Musical” at Theatre Royal, Drury Lane; “The Blues Brothers” at the Edinburgh Festival and Stiles and Drewe’s “Peter Pan” at the West Yorkshire Playhouse.  His TV credits include “Emmerdale” on ITV and “Sugar Rush” on Channel 4.

Toby Miles has recently graduated from Arts Educational Schools, London and will be making his professional and West End debut in the role of ‘Marius’.

Elena Skye has just finished playing the role of ‘Lauren’ in “Kinky Boots” at the Adelphi Theatre having made her West End debut in the production in 2016.

Vivien Parry’s most recent theatre credits include: “Half A Sixpence” at the Noël Coward Theatre, “A Christmas Carol”, “Twelfth Night”, A Midsummer Night’s Dream”, and “The Shoemaker’s Holiday” for the Royal Shakespeare Company; “The Girls” UK tour and “Top Hat” at the Aldwych Theatre. Other previous West End credits include: “Mamma Mia!” at the Prince of Wales Theatre; “Fame” at the Cambridge Theatre and “Blood Brothers” at the Phoenix Theatre. Her film credits include Disney’s “Beauty and the Beast” in 2017.

Amara Okereke trained at Arts Educational Schools, London and The National Youth Music Theatre.  Her theatre credits for the National Youth Music Theatre include: “The Hired Man” at The Other Palace; “West Side Story” at Manchester Warehouse and “13 The Musical” at the Apollo Theatre.

Carley Stenson’s West End credits include ‘Elle Woods’ in “Legally Blonde”, ‘Princess Fiona’ in “Shrek The Musical” and ‘Lady of the Lake’ in “Spamalot”. Carley also starred as ‘Christine Colgate’ in the tour of “Dirty Rotten Scoundrels”. She is probably best known for playing the regular role of ‘Steph Cunningham’ in Channel 4’s Hollyoaks, for which she was nominated for several awards during her 10 years with the show.

Steven Meo’s previous theatre credits include “Pride & Prejudice” at Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre and on UK tour; “The Taming of the Shrew”, “Boeing Boeing”, “Portrait of the Artist as a Young Dog” all for Theatre Clwyd; “The Distance” for Sheffield Crucible/Orange Tree Theatre and “Flesh and Blood” for Hampstead Theatre and on tour.

David Thaxton previously played ‘Javert’ in 2014, and has also played the role of ‘Enjolras’ in “Les Misérables” at the Queen’s Theatre. His additional theatre credits include ‘Giorgio’ in “Passion” at the Donmar Warehouse, for which he won an Olivier Award for Best Actor in a Musical, ‘Pilate’ in “Jesus Christ Superstar” at Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre, ‘Raoul’ in “Love Never Dies” at the Adelphi and ‘Major John Howard’ in “Only The Brave” at Wales Millennium Centre.

Tickets for “LES MISÉRABLES” are priced £15 – £80

Currently booking until March 2019

Box Office: 0844 482 5160

Performances: Monday – Saturday at 7.30pm

Matinees – Wednesdays and Saturdays at 2.30pm



The Palace Theatre and Opera House, Manchester are set to present a diverse range of special events this May and June. From top-name comedy to music icons, there is enough variety to satisfy every cultural palate and a wealth of well-known stars.

At the Palace Theatre, fresh from his appearance on the latest Strictly Come Dancing, multi-talented performer Brian Conley brings his brand-new variety show Still The Greatest Entertainer (In His Price Range)to Manchester in June as part of a 27-date UK tour. The show will feature brand new comedy, sketches and songs, alongside some of his best-loved material from the screen and onstage. A former employee of the Palace Theatre, comedian Joe Lycett returns to his old workplace for the first time since hitting the big time with two nights of his latest tour I’m About To Lose Control And I Think Joe Lycett on 2nd and 6th June, with limited tickets still available.

TV star Jake Quickenden (Winner of Dancing on Ice 2018, I’m a Celebrity Get Me Out Of HereThe X Factor) is also set to perform at the Palace Theatre, taking to the stage on 19th June with The Dreamboys. For music fans, there’s first-class performers on show playing homage to chart-toppers including Fastlove – A Tribute to George Michael (7th June), Signed Sealed Delivered – A Tribute to Stevie Wonder (8th June) and The Carpenters Story (9th June). In addition to this, Radiohead front man Thom Yorke will play an already sold-out gig on Sunday 10th June as part of his new acoustic European tour.

Meanwhile, at the Opera House, the team behind the smash hit podcast My Dad Wrote A Porno will take to the stage on 11th May with their first live show. Watch in incredulity as Jamie Morton reads a ‘Lost Chapter’ from his dad’s notoriously brilliant Belinda Blinked saga. There’s also more on the music front, with popstars and heartthrobs Shane Filan from Westlife and Wet Wet Wet’s Marti Pellow appearing later this month as part of their first ever solo tours.

For full listings for both theatres, or to book tickets, visit


My Dad Wrote A Porno Live – Friday 11 May 2018, Opera House

Shane Filan – Love Always Tour – Saturday 12 May 2018, Opera House

Marti Pellow – The Private Collection Tour – Saturday 19 May 2018, Opera House

Brian Conley – Still The Greatest Entertainer (In His Price Range) – Friday 1 June 2018, Palace Theatre

Joe Lycett: I’m About To Lose Control And I Think Joe Lycett – Sat 2 & Wed 6 June 2018, Palace Theatre

Fastlove – A Tribute to George Michael – Thursday 7 June 2018, Palace Theatre

Signed Sealed Delivered – A Tribute to Stevie Wonder – Friday 8 June 2018, Palace Theatre

The Carpenters Story – Saturday 9 June 2018, Palace Theatre

The Dreamboys – Tuesday 19 June 2018, Palace Theatre

Palace Theatre, Manchester – 0844 871 3019
Opera House, Manchester – 0844 871 3018



The winners were today announced for theatrical charity Acting For Others’ Golden Bucket Awards 2018. The ceremony took place at the Prince of Wales Theatre and was hosted by musical theatre star, Carl Mullaney. The awards celebrate the most supportive and successful fundraisers who have helped the charity raise in excess of £390,000 in the last twelve months.

The awards were attended by nominees and friends of the charity. Presenters include Dame Maggie SmithBen ForsterHannah WaddinghamCleve SeptemberJohn Patridge, Danielle HopeTracie Bennett and Sir Derek Jacobi.



This award is for those that made the speech night after night and made a huge impact during the Bucket Collections in 2017.

Winner: Ashley Day for An American In Paris



This award goes to the theatre group or touring production that have excelled in fundraising across the country and for encouraging their companies to participate and make our all-important speech.

Winner: ATG



This award is for the most inventive way of fundraising for Acting for Others.

Winner: Sophie Simms for West End Bake Off



This award goes to someone that has gone wild on social media with selfies, images, videos, boomerangs, live streaming and always a making noise about our campaigns.

Winner: Harriet Thorpe



So many people in the industry help to ensure the theatre collections are successful and they actively promote the collections throughout their companies – they are Acting For Others’ ‘go to’.

Winner: Steve Hayes at The National Theatre



This is the award for someone that has gone above and beyond with their support for Acting for             Others.

Winners: David O’Reilly and Alex Lodge from The Book of Mormon



This is the regional theatre that raised the most in the 2017 Theatre collections.

Winner: The Wipers Times and The Yvonne Arnaud Theatre



This is the London theatre that raised the most in the 2017 Theatre collections.

Winner: The Book of Mormon raising over 40K

Ian Hislop and Nick Newman Return With New Satirical Play, Trial By Laughter





Following the sell-out success of The Wipers Times in the West End and across the country, Ian Hislop and Nick Newman have once again taken inspiration from real life events for their new play Trial by Laughter, based on their critically acclaimed original BBC Radio 4 drama of the same nameThe production will be developed with The Watermill Theatre before playing at the venue for six weeks from 17th September – 27thOctober 2018. Following this, it will be heading on a UK tour visiting Guildford, Ipswich, Cheltenham and Brighton, with further venues to be announced.

In 1817 bookseller, publisher and satirist William Hone stood trial for parodying religion, the despotic government and the libidinous monarchy. The only crime he had committed was to be funny. In 2018, the satirists Ian Hislop and Nick Newman rediscover this forgotten hero of free speech, and ask if just over two hundred years later our press has any greater freedom.

Satirist, writer and journalist Ian Hislop has been the editor of Private Eye since 1986. He has frequently appeared on Question Time (BBC One), and since 1990 has been team captain on BBC’s Have I Got News For You. At Private Eye he works alongside life-long friend Nick Newman, an award-winning cartoonist and writer, who alongside his role at Private Eye, has been pocket cartoonist for The Sunday Times since 1989. As a scriptwriting duo, Ian and Nick’s work includes five years on Spitting Image (ITV), Harry Enfield and Chums (BBC Two), and My Dad’s The Prime Minister (BBC One), as well as the film A Bunch of Amateurs and The Wipers Times, which won the Broadcast Press Guild Award for single drama, and was nominated for a BAFTATrial By Laughter is Ian and Nick’s third play to be developed with The Watermill Theatre, with an adaptation of A Bunch of Amateurs and The Wipers Times playing there in the last few years.

Ian Hislop and Nick Newman said:

“In an age of ‘fake news’ and increased censorship, free speech and press freedom are still under threat as they were 200 years ago when William Hone took on the might of Royalty and a bullying Tory government. Hone dared to ask ‘Is laughter treason?’ – raising issues which are as relevant now as they were then. It’s a tale of lawyers, lechers and libel – with added sedition and blasphemy. It is immensely exciting to bring this world to life on stage, with this funny, inspiring and true story of a satirical David versus Goliath.”


Trial By Laughter is a Trademark Touring and Watermill Theatre production and is directed by Caroline Leslie. Casting will be announced in due course.

The Play That Goes Wrong Jonathan Sayer interview

The Play That Goes Wrong, the West End’s Olivier Award winning box office hit, is coming to Hull as part of a major UK tour. Following the phenomenal success of its sell-out 2017 tour, The Play That Goes Wrong is now in its fourth year in the West End, whilst enjoying its new status as Broadway’s longest running play (currently!).

We spoke to one of the co-writers Jonathan Sayer ahead of the show coming to Hull.

How would you describe the show to someone who hasn’t seen it?

It’s a comedy all about a drama university group who are putting on a play and everything that could possibly go wrong…goes wrong. There’s a big cast, there’s lots of jokes and it pretty much does what it says on the tin.

Who are Mischief Theatre?

Mischief Theatre started off in 2008 as a group that specialised in improvised comedy but now we create new comedy for theatre and television. We began performing in Edinburgh and London and are now bringing our work to lots of different places all over the world!

Where did you get the idea for The Play That Goes Wrong?

There are three writers so there are a few different answers. I suppose we have all worked in theatre and have experiences of things going awry in shows we have been in. Some of my favourite moments watching theatre has been where things have gone dreadfully wrong and the actors are forced to deal with the mistake and try to keep the show on track.

On top of that a huge influence for us is a man called Michael Green who wrote The Art of Coarse Acting and actually taught one of the writers, Henry Lewis, at youth theatre. Then there’s a huge amount of physical comedy which is definitely a nod to Chaplin and Keaton.

How did you create the script?

The three of us were living together at the time in a pretty run down flat in Gunnersbury. We were all working in bars and call centres and restaurants and, in the evenings, we’d come home and we’d write until the early hours. The initial script I think took about a month to put together and we then workshopped the script with the rest of the Mischief team. Everyone’s done a lot of improv so we try and take those principles into the writing room and into rehearsal where if someone has an idea you accept it and you build on it.

We all made a pact together a long time ago that if something isn’t funny we’d just say it isn’t funny. I think writing comedy is like plumbing – if a guy comes round to fix your taps and they’re still leaking, you say it’s still leaking. He won’t be upset, it’s just a practical thing and I think you’ve got to try and approach this work in the same way. It’s subjective and you’ve got to have personal distance. As long as you’re always scrutinizing in a positive way, that’s only going to make the work better.

You can be honest. Are the unfortunate actors depicted based on anyone in real life?

Haha! Nobody is being directly spoofed! The characters were all found in rehearsal and through performing in front of an audience.

That said we’ve all been part of productions that have gone wrong and we’ve all made mistakes on stage (although hopefully nothing as catastrophic as in this play!) so there’s a lot of experience to draw on for finding who the characters are and how they respond to embarrassment.

Some of the events in the play seem like an actor’s worst nightmare! Have you had any feedback from actors themselves?

Lots of actors come up to us at the end of shows, be they professional or amateur, with some fantastic stories of things that have happened to them in different productions. I think the show has quite a cathartic effect for them. But it’s not just actors, I think the idea of making a fool of yourself in front of a huge number of people is something that everyone can relate to. Everyone has felt that feeling where they want the ground to open up and swallow them, so they get on side with the characters in the play and they really want them to get to the end of the show!

This show’s journey has been a rags to riches story. Has the success of the show surprised you?

Absolutely. I remember about six years ago performing in our improv show and there were more people on stage than there were in the audience so of course it’s a surprise! We’ve been totally blown away by the response. We’re so thrilled that people enjoy the work and the characters and that we’ve been able to make so many different people laugh. The show began in such a small way performing in a 60-seater pub theatre so for it now to be being enjoyed in huge venues all around the world is very humbling and wonderful.

By the end of 2017, 35 countries worldwide had performed a Mischief Production. We went to Budapest and watched a replica of The Play That Goes Wrong where everything was exactly the same other than it was being performed in Hungarian. So many things have been born out of this very tiny thing, and that’s amazing.

The Play That Goes Wrong is at Hull New Theatre from 21 – 26 May, 2018. Tickets on sale now. Book at the City Hall Box Office, call 01482 300 306 or visit our website

Maeve Binchy novel brought to life on stage for first time tours to The Lowry

Maeve Binchy novel brought to life on stage for first time tours to The Lowry

Minding Frankie
Tue 19 – Sat 23 June

Breda Cashe Productions presents the world premiere production of Maeve Binchy’s Minding Frankie, adapted for the stage by Shay Linehan and directed by Peter Sheridan.

Minding Frankie is a family love story by one of Ireland’s most popular writers. Full of Maeve Binchy’s trademark wisdom, warmth, and humour, the hugely popular novel has now been adapted for the stage. Directed by Peter Sheridan and starring Steve Blount and Clare Barrett, ‘Minding Frankie’ is at The Lowry Tue 19 – Sat 23 June.

Noel Lynch is struggling with an alcohol addiction, when he gets a call from Stella, a girlfriend with whom he shared a drunken weekend. Stella is having Noel’s child; she is also dying from cancer. Noel must raise their daughter, Frankie. Social worker, Moira Tierney, has other ideas, and is prepared to do battle for custody of the child. In order to prevail, Noel must prove that he can fill a woman’s shoes, break all the stereotypes, and become the best mother than he can be. Along the way, he discovers that it takes a village to rear a child, or at least a street.

Maeve Binchy is one of those rare writers – like Dickens, Wilde, Shaw, Behan – whose work springs from their larger-than-life personalities. More so than other writers, their unique voices are captured in their work. This production of ‘Minding Frankie’ once again makes Maeve’s voice available to all those who love her, and to those who will come to love her.


Liz Pichon’s best-selling series TOM GATES comes alive on stage for the first time!


The award-winning series of books TOM GATES will receive its world stage premiere at the Capitol Theatre, Horsham on 14 February 2019 followed by a year-long UK tour. The producers behind the Olivier award nominated Gangsta Granny and the celebrated Horrible Histories stage shows have teamed up with acclaimed author and illustrator Liz Pichon to create a brand new story exclusively for the stage.


The show follows Tom as he tries to keep out of trouble while things go increasingly wrong at home and school. It features favourite characters from the stories including Tom’s best friends Derek and Norman and their band Dogzombies. It’s not easy to impress Amy Porter and moany Marcus Meldew is doing his best to disrupt things while their teacher Mr Fullerman keeps his beady eye on them all. Things aren’t made easier when his grandparents – The Fossils – announce a big surprise and his Mum, Dad and sister Delia are doing everything to make his life difficult, which means Tom will need all the help he can get to save the day!


With 14 books in the Tom Gates series so far, Liz Pichon is a multiple number one bestselling children’s author and illustrator. Over 5 million copies of Tom Gates books have sold in the UK and abroad and the Tom Gates series has been translated into 43 languages. Liz has won over 20 awards including the Roald Dahl Funny Prize, Waterstones Children’s Book Prize for ‘Best Fiction for 5 to 12 year olds’, multiple Specsaver Bestseller Awards and a Blue Peter Book Award – and badge! In 2017, Liz was the World Book Day illustrator.


The Birmingham Stage Company, which is celebrating its 25th anniversary year, is the award-winning producers of David Walliams’ Gangsta Granny and Awful Auntie. The company produce all the Horrible Histories shows live on stage including the West End productions of Barmy Britain. The company also performs internationally, including David Almond’s Skellig on Broadway and Horrible Histories at The Sydney Opera House.


Tom Gates is an amazing adventure for all the family, especially for children from 5 to 12.

The show is adapted by Liz Pichon and Neal Foster with music by Mark Flannery, directed by Neal Foster, designed by Jackie Trousdale, lighting by Jason Taylor and sound by Nick Sagar.

Tour dates currently on sale are:

Capitol Theatre, Horsham                                   14 – 17 Feb 2019

Bristol Hippodrome                                               20 – 23 Feb 2019

Lyceum Theatre, Crewe                                       27 Feb – 2 Mar 2019

Darlington Hippodrome                                       6 – 9 Mar 2019

New Alexandra Theatre, Birmingham             13 – 16 Mar 2019

Richmond Theatre                                                 20 – 24 Mar 2019

King’s Theatre, Southsea                                     27 – 31 Mar 2019

Guild Hall, Preston                                                 10 – 14 Apr 2019

Liverpool Empire                                                    17 – 21 Apr 2019

New Theatre, Hull                                                  1 – 5 May 2019

Milton Keynes Theatre                                         8 – 11 May 2019

Swan Theatre, High Wycombe                           5 – 9 Jun 2019

Playhouse, Weston Super Mare                        12 – 16 Jun 2019

More dates on sale soon…





Cambridge Arts Theatre and Lee Dean in association with Salisbury Playhouse present


By Helene Hanff, adapted by James Roose-Evans

Director: Richard Beecham; Designer: Norman Coates; Lighting Designer: Chris Davey; Sound Designer: Chris Warner; Composer and Musical Director: Rebecca Applin

On tour:

23 May – 30 June

Cambridge Arts Theatre today announce full casting for James Roose-Evans’ adaptation of Helene Hanff’s novel 84 Charing Cross Road, in collaboration with Lee Dean and Salisbury Playhouse. Joining the previously announced Stefanie Powers (Helene Hanff) and Clive Francis (Frank Doel) are Fiona Bruce (Mrs Todd), Loren O’Dair (Megan/Maxine), William Oxborrow (Mr Martin), Samantha Sutherland (Cecily Farr) and Ben Tolley(Bill Humphries/Alvin). The production opens at Darlington Hippodrome on Wednesday 23 May before touring to Wolverhampton, Malvern, Richmond, Oxford and finishing at Cambridge Arts Theatre on 30 June. 

A tender and heart-warming tale of transatlantic friendship, 84 Charing Cross Road is a bittersweet comedy based on the extraordinary true story of the remarkable relationship that developed over 20 years between a vivacious New York writer and a London bookseller. Through their exchange of humorous and often intimate correspondence a snapshot of Britain from the post-war 1940s to the swinging 60s is revealed, alongside a touching human story that still resonates today.

Helene Hanff (1916-1997) was an American novelist and screenwriter whose principal works include 84 Charing Cross Road, Q’s Legacy, The Duchess of Bloomsbury Street and Underfoot in Show Business.

James Roose-Evans founded the Hampstead Theatre in London and The Bleddfa Centre for the Creative Spirit. His numerous credits also include a landmark adaptation of Laurie Lee’s Cider with Rosie; and directing Sir John Gielgud’s last appearance on the London stage. He is the first British theatre director to be ordained a non-stipendiary priest, and has preached in Westminster Abbey, Winchester, Chichester, Gloucester, and Norwich cathedrals. 

Fiona Bruce plays Mrs Todd. Recent theatre credits include Scrooge! (Pitlochry Festival Theatre), The Snow Queen (Theatre by the Lake, Keswick), Once (Phoenix Theatre and Seoul , South Korea), Mother Courage and Her Children (Watford Palace Theatre), The Waltz (West Yorkshire Playhouse), The Threepenny Opera (London Bubble Theatre), The Mayor of Casterbridge (Cheltenham Everyman), and Playing for Time (Salisbury Playhouse). For television, her credits include Last of The Summer Wine, The Royal; and for film, Brothers of War.

Loren O’Dair plays Maxine/Megan. Theatre credits include The Grinning ManCelebrity Night at Café Red(Trafalgar Studios), King Lear (Shakespeare’s Globe), Still Waiting (Vault Festival and Battersea Arts Centre),Made in Dagenham (Queens Theatre Hornchurch and New Wolsey Ipswich), The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes (US tour), Once (Phoenix Theatre), The Jungle Book (Citizens Theatre, Glasgow) and Sexing The Cherry(Southbank Centre). For television her credits include Rellik.

William Oxborrow plays Mr Martin. Theatre credits include I Happen To Like New York (The Orange Tree Theatre), Saving Jason (Park Theatre), Guys and Dolls (Savoy Theatre and UK tour), As You Like It(Shakespeare’s Globe and UK tour) The Tempest (Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre), Boyband (Gielgud Theatre), The Deep Blue Sea (Royal Exchange, Manchester) The Picture of Dorian Gray (Gate Theatre, Dublin), The Clandestine Marriage (Queen’s Theatre), The Madness of George III (National Theatre), A Clockwork Orange, The Silent Woman, Romeo and Juliet, and Hamlet (RSC). For television, his credits includeRosemary and Thyme, Spooks and The Mrs Bradley Mysteries; and for film, Muppets Most Wanted, Sweeney Todd and All the King’s Ladies.

Samantha Sutherland plays Cecily Farr. Her theatre credits include The Recruiting Officer (Salisbury Playhouse), Beauty and the Beast (Tobacco Factory), The Paper Dolls (Polka Theatre) and Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland (Les Enfants Terribles). For television, her credits include The Green Green Grass.

Ben Tolley plays Bill Humphries/Alvin. His theatre credits include Dusty (Charing Cross Theatre), As You Like It, Macbeth, The Changeling and Beauty and the Beast (Tobacco Factory), Dickens and The Great Operatic Disaster (Nuffield Southampton Theatres), Dick Whittington (Gatehouse Theatre, Stafford), Dreamboats and Petticoats (UK tour) and Matilda and Duffy’s Stupendous Space Adventure and Pinafore Swing (The Watermill Theatre, Newbury). His television credits include The Jury II and The Great Escape – The Untold Journey. 

Richard Beecham directs.  His theatre credits include Broken Glass (Watford Palace Theatre), Driving Miss Daisy (Theatre Royal Bath and UK tour), Rose (Home, Manchester) Playing for Time (Sheffield Theatres),Dancing at LughnasaIn Praise of Love, Humble Boy (Royal & Derngate, Northampton), Rutherford & Son(Northern Stage), Red Light Winter, In A Garden, Henry IV Part 1 (Theatre Royal Bath), The Invention of Love, The School for Scandal, The Miser, Side by Side by Sondheim (Salisbury Playhouse), A Taste of Honey, Neville’s Island, How The Other Half Loves (Watford Palace Theatre), The Two Gentlemen of Verona, Private Lives, Charley’s Aunt, Black Comedy/Real Inspector Hound (Northcott Theatre Exeter) and Entertaining Mr Sloane, Early One Morning (Octagon Theatre Bolton). Beecham also curates large cultural events including theNational Commemorative Event for Holocaust Memorial Day (Newcastle Theatre Royal), and The Human Cost(Young Vic London). He is an Associate Artist of HighTide Festival Theatre. For film, his work includes The Guitar. 

84 CHARING CROSS ROAD                                                                                                                                Listings                                                                                  

Darlington Hippodrome
23 – 26 May 2018
Box Office: 01325 405405

Wolverhampton Grand Theatre
29 May – 2 June 2018

Box Office: 01902 429 212

Malvern Festival Theatre
4 – 9 June 2018

Box Office: 01684 892277

Richmond Theatre
11 – 16 June 2018

Box Office: 0844 871 7651

Oxford Playhouse
18 – 23 June 2018

Box Office: 01865 305305 

Cambridge Arts Theatre
26 – 30 June 2018

Box Office: 01223 503333 

Why is the Sky Blue? Review

Southwark Playhouse – until 19 May

Reviewed by Claire Roderick


This remarkable show is the result of speaking with 10,000 children and young people aged between 6 and 22 from all around the UK to find out about the impact of pornography on their lives.

Pornography is a lot easier to access for the young nowadays, they don’t even have to actively search for it, with ads popping up on their devices. Whereas adults can go into panic mode at the thought of children accessing porn, Why is the Sky Blue? tackles the issue with careful thought, heart and understanding.

Abbey Wright, Shireen Mula and Matt Regan have collated the interviews and created a mix of comedy, interviews and songs that the talented cast, aged between 6 and 22, perform with a delightful confidence and light touch. The message isn’t preachy, it just presents the reality of the situation and the effect porn can have on young lives.

Masturbation, porn addiction, the representation of minorities and women in porn are all discussed with endearing but hard-hitting honesty; either through witty songs or monologues, or in interviews between 2 of the cast. The older female cast sing about porn being produced for the male viewer, and have a very uncomfortable conversation (for the audience) about whether you can trust a boy who watches porn, and the question of consent. The teenage boys compare porn to junk food, and the underlying message of porn not actually filling the need for human contact and real love is beautifully realised in a song about connections where the love and touch of a mother is celebrated.

Why is the Sky Blue? is uncomfortable to watch at times, but the content is so important and presented in such an accessible, humorous and entertaining way that you can’t help but love it and admire the cast. This is a show that needs to travel around the country to let young people know that they aren’t alone in their fears and worries, and one which will hopefully start many important conversations between the generations.

The Rat Pack, Live From Las Vegas Review

Lyceum Theatre, Sheffield – until 5th May 2018.

Reviewed by Sophie Dodworth


For the majority, when thinking of The Rat Pack; images of Frank Sinatra and his buddies, smoking and drinking on stage, glamorous ladies with beautiful voices will spring to mind. That is pretty much what you find during the two act Live From Las Vegas, West End production. This is not just a touring tribute act. This is almost a carbon copy of the performances that the Rat Pack used to give their audiences in times gone by.

You are transported back in time to the luxurious Sands Hotel to see Sinatra, Sammy Davis Junior and Dean Martin lead the show. Vocals are backed by the wonderful Burelli sisters trio who also provide well choreographed routines. Special guest Ella Fitzgerald appears during the second half.

The stage is set and one by one we meet the popular singers…lots of dialog and banter between the main three acts. The personalities of each of the artists are well replicated and instantly you are most drawn to Dean Martin, played by Nigel Casey. Martin is the charming and tipsy comic that he was. Casey has the best voice out of the three main male acts, smooth, clear and evidently well trained.

Stephen Triffett playing Frank Sinatra, had all the Sinatra charm but lacked on the vocals somewhat due to poor diction in parts and just missing the absolute perfect edge that Franks voice had. Triffett sang some of the most famous out of the catalogue including ‘My Way’ and ‘New York, New York’.

David Hayes as Sammy Davis-Junior was full of energy, charisma and charm. Some fine dancing moves coming from his quick tapping feet and very similar in personality and voice to the original.

The Burelli Sister Trio, supplied the most harmonious backing vocals and also had a little stint on their own as their introduction which was spot on. The costumes that the glam three wear are a great depiction of the era and inject the necessary glamour, style and colour in to the show.

The star of the show that should have been centre stage for much more than she was, was Nicola Emmanuelle. What a voice, she was powerful and clear and filled every inch of the auditorium with her jazzy tones. The audience loved her portrayal of Ella Fitzgerald, applause galore.

The 11 piece band kept the stage alive at times and really ploughed energy in to the atmosphere throughout. Conducted by Martin Freeman.

This show is full of authenticities and if you look hard enough you will notice little touches like the fact that no actor has an individual body microphone and they just have the use of lead microphones at all times. Cigarettes are smoked on stage and of course the stage is set with the old school, typically cabaret, light up steps.

If you are a fan of this music then this would be the show you should make the effort to attend. You will be taken back in time and treat to some of the most famous songs from the Rat Pack era.