Fantasmagorical musical is Bang on target

Fantasmagorical musical is Bang on target.

A local amateur theatre company is enjoying a successful run of the family favourite Chitty Chitty Bang Bang at Darlington Hippodrome.

Darlington Operatic Society are receiving rave reviews for their current run of the all-time family classic musical Chitty Chitty Bang Bang at Darlington Hippodrome.

Following almost a year of planning the show opened last Wednesday and runs until Saturday 3 November. With amazing costumes, a live orchestra, stunning sets and amazing special effects including, of course, the flying Chitty herself, the musical is a must for half-term family enjoyment.

Spokesman Julian Cound told us “ticket sales have exceeded all expectations – we knew demand was going to be high for this show and we have been amazed at the reaction from audiences at every performance. The clapping starts during the overture and there is a great buzz of anticipation when Chitty is about to make her grand entrance. And when she actually flies there is a wave of noise coming from the auditorium – it’s simply theatre magic.”

The stage version of Chitty Chitty Bang Bang has all of the best-loved songs from the famous movie including Toot Sweets, Me Old Bamboo, POSH and Hushabye Mountain.

The show runs at Darlington Hippodrome until Saturday 3 November with a BSL Interpreted performance on Thursday 1 November. Tickets are available by calling the Ticket Hotline on 01325 244659 or by booking online at





WICKED, the West End and Broadway musical sensation that tells the incredible untold story of the Witches of Oz, celebrated Halloween and its final return to Manchester this Christmas with an exclusive photo-shoot of Elphaba ‘Defying Gravity’ atop King Street Townhouse.

This Christmas, the spectacular touring production of WICKED will fly home to where it began, the Palace Theatre in Manchester, for one final time. The limited five-week engagement, from 4 December 2018 to 5 January 2019, will mark the end of the multi record-breaking, critically acclaimed tour.


One of the most successful productions in the Palace Theatre’s history, the tour of the West End and Broadway sensation was previously seen by almost 150,000 theatregoers during its celebrated premiere engagement in 2013. Following its sensational Manchester premiere, the production subsequently travelled across the UK and Ireland twice as well as to cities in China, the Philippines, Singapore and Switzerland. After an epic 27,000-mile journey across 5 countries, the celebrated touring production will complete its run in Manchester on 5 January 2019 having been seen by over 2.2 million theatregoers.







WICKED transports audiences to a stunningly re-imagined world of Oz and is already the 6th longest running Broadway show of all time and the 14th longest running West End show of all time. Around the world, WICKED has been seen by almost 60 million people and won more than 100 major awards, including three Tony Awards on Broadway and two Olivier Awards in the UK.

The acclaimed cast of 31 features Amy Ross as ElphabaHelen Woolf as GlindaAaron Sidwell(best known as ‘Steven Beale’ in EastEnders) as FiyeroSteven Pinder (best known as ‘Max Farnham’ in Brookside) as The Wizard & Doctor DillamondKim Ismay as Madame MorribleEmily Shaw as Nessarose and Iddon Jones as BoqNikki Bentley is Standby for Elphaba.

Based on the best-selling novel by Gregory Maguire that ingeniously re-imagines the stories and characters created by L. Frank Baum in ‘The Wonderful Wizard of Oz’, WICKED tells the incredible untold story of an unlikely but profound friendship between two sorcery students. Their extraordinary adventures in Oz will ultimately see them fulfil their destinies as Glinda The Good and the Wicked Witch of the West.

WICKED has music and lyrics by Oscar, Golden Globe, Grammy and Tony Award winner Stephen Schwartz (Godspell, Pippin; Disney’s PocahontasThe Hunchback of Notre Dame and Enchanted; DreamWorks’ The Prince of Egypt) and is based on the novel ‘Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West’ by Gregory Maguire and adapted for the stage by Winnie Holzman (My So-Called Life). Musical staging is by Wayne Cilento and the production is directed by two-time Tony Award-winner Joe Mantello.

WICKED is produced around the world by Marc PlattUniversal Stage ProductionsThe Araca GroupJon B. Platt and David Stone. Executive Producer (UK) Michael McCabe.



Twitter: @WickedUK  |  Facebook/WickedUK  |  Instagram: @WickedUK

Trial By Laughter Review

Yvonne Arnaud Theatre – until 3rd November

Review by Heather Chalkley


Hislop and Newman take the essence of a story plucked from the tomes of political history, to produce a clever and funny piece. It reminds us that the debate around the freedom of the press is as alive today as it has always been, particularly with the advent of social media. The play highlights it’s part in ensuring the common man is heard and the people with power remain accountable. Often the language of humour is the most effective vehicle when talking to the masses.

Joseph Prowen (William Hone) gave his character nuance and inflection with great effect, warming to and performing to his audience (The Jury). Prowen showed William Hone to have all the doubts and dips in confidence of any human being thrust into the spotlight. At the same time he remains true to his strong ethics and fantastic talent for parody! George Cruikshank (Peter Losasso) in reality had a greater role in the story than that depicted, however he did shine through as the great friend, talented cartoonist and sponger!

The Prince Regent (Jeremy Lloyd) was a fantastic caricature, straight off the pages of Cruikshank and Hone’s publications. Lloyd played his part as a piece of living art! The Members of the Company were able to slip in and out of the different supporting characters with ease. I have to commend the creatives for the set. The Members of the Company were able to glide through the numerous scenery changes, providing a seamless production.

Hislop and Newman’s commentary on a piece of political history has made it accessible to every budding journalist. I am sure Hone and Cruickshank would be proud.

Rain Man Review

Leeds Grand Theatre – until Saturday 3 November 2018

Reviewed By Dawn Smallwood


Rain Man is the first ever production under the new Classic Screen to Stage Theatre Company, formerly Bill Kenwright Ltd, and is currently on a national tour. This stage adaptation is based on 1988 multi award winning film starring Tom Cruise and Dustin Hoffman.

Written for the stage by Dan Gordon, Rain Man tells the story of Charlie (Ed Speleers), a selfish and arrogant car dealer, who learns of his estranged father’s death. He and his girlfriend, Susan (Elizabeth Carter), set out to settle the estate in Ohio but only to learn that the multi-million dollar estate inheritance is left to an older brother, Raymond (Mathew Horne), whom he only just discovered. He is determined to get his half of the fortune from acquainting with Raymond who’s autistic and also ingenious with numbers and has an incredible photographic memory.

Both Charlie (Speleers) and Raymond (Horne) go on a journey of discovery across America and learn more about each other. Rain Man was written at a time, 30 years, when there wasn’t much awareness about autism and the autistic spectrum. The play certainly documents the ignorance and misunderstanding around autism then and how professionals can misinterpret, though well meaning, the needs of those people particularly fulfilling their individual unique needs, abilities, and strengths. There are human touches on their travels as to how both the relationships have changed two brothers for the better and the strengthening of a bond. Charlie gradually appreciates Raymond’s ingenuity and learnt that his brother was the imaginary “Rain Man”, a comforting figure during his troubled family life. It concludes that money it seems is no longer the motivating factor for Charlie but instead family.

The cast delivers a strong performance and the stand out performance must be from Mathew Horne who portrays Raymond perfectly – a very moving performance which allows one to get an insight into a life of someone who has autism. Horne superbly demonstrates the ingenious qualities which is associated with the condition. Morgan Large’s staging is simplistic but the spacing is used very well and compliments with the 1980’s theme.

The stage adaptation of Rain Man is done well and this is what the company will confidently continue doing following the footsteps of Bill Kenwright productions after their successful productions of films onto stage. Rain Man will continue touring around towns and cities across the country; it will no doubt be well received which is evident with the well-received applauses and standing ovations after this performance. The film at the time marked a crucial awareness about autism and as Kim Peek, who inspired Barry Morrow to write Rain Man in the first place, described that “You don’t have to be handicapped to be different. Everyone is different.” Today there is a lot more awareness and gradual shift in attitudes that everyday fulfilling lives can be lead by those who are autistic or who are on the autistic spectrum.


CAROLINE, OR CHANGE starts rehearsals and offers unique ticket scheme | @carolinewestend

Ambassador Theatre Group, Gavin Kalin Productions, Glass Half Full Productions and Rupert Gavin
In association with Hampstead Theatre 
The Chichester Festival Theatre Production of

Book and lyrics by TONY KUSHNER

Playhouse Theatre, London from 20 November 2018 to 6 April 2019



It is announced today that the highly anticipated West End production Caroline, Or Change will extend its booking period due to popular demand and will now run in the West End at the Playhouse Theatre from 20 November 2018 to 6 April 2019. Chichester Festival Theatre’s critically acclaimed production also enjoyed a sell-out engagement at Hampstead Theatre, and has been nominated today for Best Musical and Best Musical Performance for Sharon D. Clarke in this year’s Evening Standard Awards.

The celebrated musical is written by Tony Kushner, author of Angels in America and recent recipient of the Arthur Miller Foundation Humanitarian Award. The soaring score is by Tony Award-winning Fun Home composer, Jeanine Tesori.

A truly welcoming and joyous musical, Caroline, Or Change opens its doors to new audiences with two unique ticketing initiatives:

Chichester Festival Theatre’s highly successful Prologue scheme, which enables 16-25 year olds to purchase £5 tickets across all productions in the theatre’s Festival season has now also been applied to Caroline, Or Change in the West End. The limited number of £5 Prologue tickets can be purchased by 16-25 year olds, on the day of performance and in person from the Playhouse Theatre Box Office, where proof of age ID will be required.

‘Carolines Go Free’ is an exclusive offer to anyone named Caroline. Carolines will receive a complimentary ticket when purchasing one or more accompanying tickets. The 2 for 1 initiative will be available in person at the box office or via the telephone on 0844 871 7631.

Rehearsals are now underway for the company which is led by Olivier Award-winning actress Sharon D. Clarke in a critically acclaimed virtuoso performance as Caroline Thibodeaux. The full cast will include Naana Agyei-Ampadu, Keisha Amponsa Banson, Alastair Brookshaw, Me’sha Bryan, Angela Caesar, Dujonna Gift-Simms, Sue Kelvin, Teddy Kempner, Ako Mitchell, Abiona Omonua, Vincent Pirillo, Tanisha Spring and Lauren Ward with Cassiopeia Berkeley-Agyepong, Zalika Henry, Laura Medforth, Timothy Quinlan and Teddy Wills.

Nine young performers have been cast in the roles of Noah, Jackie and Joe. Isaac Forward, Aaron Gelkoff and Jack Meredith will alternate the role of Noah, Mark MwangiKenya Sandy and Jeremiah Waysome will alternate the role of Jackie and the role of Joe will be alternated by Josiah ChotoDavid Dube and Raphael Higgins-Hume.

Directed by Michael Longhurst, this five-star production received phenomenal critical praise when it opened with sold out engagements at Chichester Festival Theatre and again at the Hampstead Theatre.

Louisiana, 1963. Revolution is in the air, though not so much for Caroline, the poorly paid maid toiling endlessly in the sweltering basement of the Gellman household. It’s a fantastical, magical place amidst the piles of laundry and singing washing machines, especially for eight-year-old Noah Gellman who sneaks downstairs to see her whenever he can. Yet a simple gesture to leave more money in Caroline’s pocket is about to test who and how far the winds of change can ever really reach…

Winner of the 2007 Olivier Award for Best New Musical, Caroline, Or Change is a playful, funny, and deeply moving portrait of America at a time of momentous social upheaval, set to an uplifting and profound score of soul, blues, classical and traditional Jewish folk music.

Chichester Festival Theatre is committed to providing affordable tickets to world-class theatre, and particularly in reaching and growing younger audiences with the aim of encouraging independent theatregoing and kick-starting a life-long love of theatre in young people. Under the leadership of Daniel Evans (Artistic Director) and Rachel Tackley (Executive Director), the price of Prologue tickets for 16 to 25 year olds has been brought down to £5 with tickets made available for all productions in the Festival season including talks with casts and creatives, late night cabarets and other social events for young theatregoers. For further information and to sign up to the Prologue scheme, visit the Chichester Festival Theatre website.

Ambassador Theatre Group, Gavin Kalin Productions, Glass Half Full Productions and Rupert Gavin, in association with Hampstead Theatre, present the Chichester Festival Theatre production of Caroline, Or ChangeBook and lyrics by Tony Kushner, music by Jeanine Tesori and is directed by Michael Longhurst, with designs by Fly Davis, choreography by Ann Yee, musical direction by Nigel Lilley, lighting by Jack Knowles, sound by Paul Arditti, casting by Charlotte Sutton CDG and children’s casting by Debbie O’Brien.



Book and lyrics by TONY KUSHNER

Playhouse Theatre
Northumberland Ave, London WC2N 5DE | @carolinewestend

Performance schedule:

First performance: 20 November 2018
Press Night: 17 December 2019, 7pm
Final performance: 6 April 2019

Monday to Saturday performances at 7.30pm
Thursday and Saturday matinee performances at 2.30pm

Running time: 2 hours and 35 minutes including one interval

Box office details:

Telephone: 0844 871 7631
Prices from £20

Northern Broadsides & New Vic Theatre to stage Much Ado About Nothing featuring Reece Dinsdale – Opening at New Vic Theatre in Feb 2019 then touring

Northern Broadsides and New Vic Theatre, Newcastle-under-Lyme, Co-produce


Much Ado About Nothing

By William Shakespeare


Directed by Conrad Nelson                      

Designed by Lis Evans

Lighting by Daniella Beattie

Musical director Rebekah Hughes

Featuring Reece Dinsdale

Opening venue: 8 February–2 March 2019 , New Vic Theatre, Newcastle-under-Lyme

National tour: 5 March-25 May 2019

“I do love nothing in the world so well as you- is not that strange?”

Northern Broadsides will once again join forces with the award-winning New Vic Theatre, Newcastle-under-Lyme and warm the hearts of theatregoers this Spring when they stage William Shakespeare’s glorious tale of antagonistic romance and chaotic comedy – Much Ado About Nothing.

Featuring Reece Dinsdale (This House, The National Theatre and The Absence of War, Headlong Theatre Company) in the role of Benedick  and directed by Northern Broadsides’ Artistic Director Conrad Nelson, Much Ado About Nothing will open at the New Vic, Newcastle-under-Lyme from 8 February – 2 March and then tour until 25 May.

Six long years of war are finally over. Returning soldiers swap the booming battlefield for a landscape of love, masked balls and much-needed laughter. Two young dreamers (Hero and Claudio) fall head over heels, while two others (Benedick and Beatrice) resume their combative courtship.


As faithful friends plot romance and a vengeful brother plans destruction, can true love conquer all, or will whispers and rumour win out? Told in true Northern Broadsides style and set at the end of World War II, this production of Shakespeare’s glorious romantic comedy, which was last performed by the company in 2000, is sure to capture your hearts this Spring!


Director Conrad Nelson said:

“27 years ago, I was offered a job with Kenneth Branagh’s Renaissance Theatre Company.  At the end of run I was thrilled to be asked to play Hugh Oatcake in his joyous film version of Much Ado. You won’t find the part high on the list of Dramatis Persona, in fact you may not find it all, but I was there on location for 8 weeks in the glorious Tuscan sunshine. It was the place to fall in love and a perfect setting for Shakespeare’s romantic comedy.  


In 2000  I played Benedick opposite my future wife, Deborah McAndrew for Northern Broadsides – the last time the company performed the play. The hills of Tuscany gave way to the mill rooms and settings of the industrial North, but I still fell in love again. The play’s the thing… I know a little bit more about love now and a little bit more about drama and it is a privilege to bring this feel good masterpiece to life again. Thank you Mr Branagh for that wonderful summer.”


Playing the role of Benedick will be Reece Dinsdale who has performed extensively in theatres across the country. Most recently he played Walter Harrison in This House at The National Theatre, George Jones in The Absence of War for Headlong Theatre Company and the title roles in Richard III and The Master Builder at Leeds Playhouse. He won a Yorkshire Award for his contribution to Arts and Entertainment after playing Alan Bennett in Untold Stories (also Leeds Playhouse). Dinsdale won the Special Jury Prize at the Geneva Film Festival for his portrayal of John Brandon in the feature film I.D. and played Guildenstern (to Tim Spall’s Rosencrantz) in Kenneth Branagh’s highly acclaimed feature film Hamlet. As well as his stage and big screen performances, Reece has also starred in many high-profile TV dramas ranging from leading roles in the BAFTA award winning Threads and Jim Henson’s Storyteller, through Spooks, Life on Mars, to Joe McIntyre in Coronation Street and the hugely popular comedy series Home to Roost opposite the late John Thaw. Further casting will be announced in the coming weeks.

Co-producing with Staffordshire’s New Vic Theatre, the production’s fine creative team includes Lis Evans (An August Bank Holiday Lark) with lighting by Daniella Beattie, and musical direction by Rebekah Hughes. Regulars at the New Vic Theatre, this will be Northern Broadsides tenth co-production with the venue. Previous co-productions have included The Tempest (2007), The Canterbury Tales (2010), Love’s Labour’s Lost (2012), the award-winning An August Bank Holiday Lark (2014), The Merry Wives (2016) and Cyrano (2017).

Much Ado About Nothing will open at the New Vic Theatre, Newcastle-under-Lyme from 8 February – 2 March and will then tour to The Dukes Lancaster (5-9 March); Stephen Joseph Theatre, Scarborough (12-16 March); Salisbury Playhouse (19-23 March); Derby Theatre (26-30 March); Theatre Royal Bury St Edmunds (2-6 April); Lawrence Batley Theatre, Huddersfield (16-20 Apr), Viaduct Theatre, Halifax (25 Apr-4 May), The Lowry Salford (7-11 May); York Theatre Royal (14-18 May) and Harrogate Theatre (21-25 May).

For more information visit and

Fri 8 February – Sat 2 March – New Vic Theatre, Newcastle-under-Lyme

Box Office 01782 717962 or



Tue 5-Sat 9 March- The Dukes Lancaster

Box Office: 01524 598500 /

Tue 12– Sat 16 March -Stephen Joseph Theatre, Scarborough

Box Office: 01723 370541  /

Tue 19-Sat 23 March -Salisbury Playhouse

Box Office: 01722 320333 /

Tue 26-Sat 30 March -Derby Theatre

Box Office: 01332 593939 / 

Tue 2-Sat 6 April -Theatre Royal Bury St Edmunds

Box Office: 01284 769505 /

Tue  16-Sat 20 April – Lawrwence Batley Theatre, Huddersfield

Box Office: 01484 430528 /

Wed 25 April – Sat 4 May – Viaduct Theatre, Halifax

Box Office: 01422 255266 /

Tue 7-Sat 11 May -The Lowry, Salford

Box Office: 08432086000 /

Tue 14 – Sat 18 May -York Theatre Royal

Box Office 01904 623568 / or

Tue 21-Sat 25 May-Harrogate Theatre

Box Office: 01423 502116





Ben Lockwood, Rupert Henderson and Oliver Kaderbhai present


Inspired by The Little Matchgirl by Hans Christian Andersen

Book music and lyrics by Brendan Milburn and Valerie Vigoda

Book and lyrics by Rachel Sheinkin

Directed by Oliver Kaderbhai; Designer: Natalie Johnson; Lighting Designer: Alex Lewer

Union Theatre

28 November – 23 December 2018

Ben Lockwood, Rupert Henderson and Oliver Kaderbhai today announce acclaimed Off-Broadway musical, Striking 12 at the Union Theatre this Christmas. The production, inspired by the short story by Hans Christian Andersen, The Little Match Girl, is directed by Oliver Kaderbhai, opening on 3 December, with previews from 28 November and runs until 23 December.


It’s New Years’ Eve and Brendan is done. His fiancée has left him, he’s going to lose his job and his boss is making him work late. The last thing he wants to do is celebrate. A chance encounter with a lightbulb seller changes everything.


Springing to life with a punchy score of pop, rock, jazz and more, Striking 12 is the perfect way to see out 2018. Where will you be when the clock strikes 12?


‘The most important ingredient for a successful musical, it has long been acknowledged, is a first-rate score, and this one is terrific.’ – Charles Isherwood, The New York Times.


Brendan Milburn and Valerie Vigoda (co-founders of GrooveLily). Their credits include Striking 12 (Off- Broadway 2006, Lucille Lortel Nomination for Outstanding Musical, Bay Area Theatre Critic’s Choice Award), Toy Story The Musical (Disney Cruise Line), Sleeping Beauty Wakes (Deaf West Theatre/Center Theatre Group/McCarter Theatre, two 2007 Ovation Awards, including World Premiere Musical), Long Story Short (City Theatre of Pittsburgh/TheatreWorks Palo Alto/San Diego Rep), A Midsummer Night’s Dream (McCarter Theatre/Paper Mill Playhouse) Ernest Shackleton Loves Me (La Jolla Playhouse/TheatreWorks Palo Alto); and the upcoming Wheelhouse. Together, Milburn and Vigoda are 2009 winners of the ASCAP Foundation Richard Rodgers New Horizons Award, as well as a two-time winners of the Jonathan Larson Award for Excellence in Writing for the Theatre.

Rachel Sheinkin is a frequent collaborator with GrooveLily. Other musical theatre collaborations include The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee (Circle in the Square), for which she won the 2005 Tony Award for Best Book for a Musical, Blood Drive (O’Neill National Music Theatre Conference) and Serenade (Baryshnikov Arts Center). She has been a Manhattan Theatre Club playwriting fellow and is currently an adjunct faculty member at NYU’s Graduate Musical Theatre Writing Program. Future projects on the horizon include two more musicals with GrooveLily.


Oliver Kaderbhai directs. He is Artistic Director of theatre company Delirium, established in 2009. Credits as Director include Peter Pan (Chichester Festival Theatre), Songs of Abdulkarim (59 Productions/JACC), One Minute (The Vaults) Your Nation Loves You (Pegasus Theatre) Go To Your God Like A Soldier (Courtyard Theatre), From Where I’m Standing (Edinburgh Festival). Credits as Associate & Movement Director include Killer Joe (Trafalgar Studios), Bug and The Dazzle(Found111) and Guys and Dolls (Playmakers Rep). Credits as Assistant Director include Jesus Christ Superstar and Running Wild (Regents Park Open Air Theatre). Credits as an Actor include The Best Man (Playhouse Theatre) Hatch (Polka Theatre/Royal Opera House), Jumping on my Shadow(Lakeside Arts/Dragon Breath) Go To Your God Like a Soldier (Old Vic Tunnels), From Where I’m Standing (Pegasus Theatre), The Provok’d Wife (Go People), One Minute (The Vaults) and Scar Tissue(Frantic Assembly).


Ben Lockwood completed an MA Creative Producing from the Royal Central School of Speech and Drama, and previously a BA English Literature and Language from King’s College, London. After he worked for Cameron Mackintosh Ltd, Sonia Friedman Productions, and Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre. Most recently he was Professional Licensing Manager for Theatrical Rights Worldwide.


Rupert Henderson is an actor and producer, trained at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama, from where he graduated in 2017. He recently completed a run in Harry Potter and the Cursed Child(Palace Theatre) in the West End. Prior to training, he worked with the National Youth Theatre and National Youth Music Theatre and was in the West End cast of Billy Elliot The Musical (Victoria Palace Theatre).




Union Theatre

Old Union Arches, 229 Union Street, London, SE1 0LR


28 November – 23 December 2018


Box Office020 7261 9876


Twitter: @striking12_UK

Instagram: @striking12_UK


Tuesday-Saturday 7.30pm

Thursday, Saturday, Sunday 3pm


Previews: £15

Standard price: £25

Concessions: £20





Following their latest national tour of Gurpreet Kaur Bhatti’s Dishoom, Rifco Theatre Company have appointed actor and director Ameet Chana as Associate Director.

This new role for Rifco Theatre Company will expand their current programme of work with a particular focus on their Studio and Digital programmes as well as their vital artist development work through the Rifco Associates scheme. It has been made possible through additional investment from Arts Council England NPO funding 2018-22.

Ameet Chana, best known for his roles in Bend It Like Beckham and EastEnders, alongside his work on Sunrise Radio’s weekend breakfast show, has had a varied stage and screen career including working directly with Rifco Theatre Company both as an actor and Assistant Director.

Alongside directing Rifco Theatre Company’s next Studio production in Autumn 2019, Chana will also support Artistic Director, Pravesh Kumar, on the company’s support of emerging British Asian artists and the development of new digital projects.

On his new role Chana comments; “I have had a very close working with relationship with Rifco since its inception 18 years ago. Having worked as an actor in a number of Rifco Theatre Company’s shows, supported Pravesh Kumar as Assistant Director on Laila – The Musical and co-curated the British Asian Festival in 2016 – it seems the natural path for me to become a more regular fixture within the dedicated team of Rifco Theatre Company.

This new role will be an exciting challenge but also a huge responsibility. I am driven to produce and champion British Asian voices and to ensure we keep fighting for inclusion across the sector, advocating for more artists from diverse backgrounds to be in decision- making and leadership roles within the arts, particularly theatre.”

Chana will also be heading up the development of Rifco Theatre Company’s digital arm, Rifco Digital, which most recently commissioned Vidhu Sharma’s ‘I am British Asian’ to celebrate the opening of their British Asian Festival 2018.

Artistic Director, Pravesh Kumar commented, “This is a very exciting announcement and I am thrilled that Ameet Chana officially now joins our team as Associate Director. He has a long history of working with the company and has made a huge contribution to our success. I am genuinely committed to giving real, practical opportunities to diverse artists in the sector so that they can influence and lead programming. Leadership at the top of regional theatre has to change and this role will be integral in developing a new top table.”

Find out more about Rifco Theatre Company’s upcoming programme of work and Associates programme at





Amélie The Musical, an adaptation of the much-loved 2001 award-winning film Amélie, will have its UK stage premiere at the Watermill Theatre in Newbury from 11 April to 18 May, and then embark on an extensive UK tour from 20 May. With music by Hem’s Daniel Messé, lyrics by Nathan Tysen and Daniel Messé and book by Craig Lucas, this new musical adaptation of the five-time Oscar®-nominated film written by Jean-Pierre Jeunet and Guillaume Laurant, will be directed by Michael Fentiman, with star casting to be announced.

Amélie is the story of an astonishing young woman who lives quietly in the world, but loudly in her mind. She secretly improvises small, but extraordinary acts of kindness that bring happiness to those around her. But when a chance at love comes her way, Amélie realises that to find her own contentment she’ll have to risk everything and say what’s in her heart. Although times are hard for dreamers, Amélie is someone to believe in…

Michael Fentiman said, “As a theatre maker, staging Amélie as a musical is one of those exciting, terrifying challenges, that you absolutely cannot turn down. It is a gentle, magical and uncynically joyous piece – that takes its audience on a surreal flight of fancy, into the mind of an extraordinary young woman, Amélie Poulain. It’s going to be a huge pleasure to open the show at the beautiful Watermill Theatre before then taking our extremely talented actor musician cast around the UK.

The original film, Le Fabuleux Destin D’Amélie Poulain, was released in 2001, starring Audrey Tatou and Matthieu Kassovitz. Taking over $33 million in a limited theatrical release, it is to date the highest-grossing French-language film released in the United States, and one of the biggest international successes for a French film. Amélie won Best Film at the European Film Awards, four César Awards in 2002 (including Best Film and Best Director), two BAFTA Awards (including Best Original Screenplay), and was nominated for five Academy Awards, including best foreign language film.

Amélie The Musical was first staged in California in 2015 and was described as an ‘enchanting act of theatrical reinvention’ (The Los Angeles Times).

When the UK tour concludes in August 2019, Amélie The Musical will tour internationally, with dates to be announced.

Amélie The Musical, is produced by Hartshorn – Hook Productions, Selladoor Productions, The Watermill Theatre and Broadway Asia

Website: Facebook: @AmelieMusicalUK Twitter: @AmelieMusicalUK


The Watermill Theatre

Dates: Thursday 11 April to Saturday 18 May 2019

Interpreted performances: Audio Described on Sat 11 May at 2.30pm, Touch Tour at 1pm.

Performances: Monday – Saturday 7.30pm, Thursday & Saturday 2.30pm

Last Saturday performances at 1.30pm and 6.30pm

Tickets: from £16 – £29. £10 tickets for those aged 16 to 25 (subject to availability).

Box Office: 01635 46044 |


22 – 25 May Box Office: 0844 871 7646 New Wimbledon Theatre Website: https://new-wimbledon-theatre/

3 – 8 June Box Office: 01392 726363 Exeter Northcott Theatre Website:

10 – 15 June Box Office: 01494 512000 Wycombe Swan Theatre Website:

17 – 22 June Box Office: 0844 871 3020 New Theatre, Oxford Website: https://new-theatre-oxford/

24 – 29 June Box Office: 0131 529 6000 King’s Theatre, Edinburgh Website: https://kings-theatre-edinburgh/

1 – 6 July Box Office: 01274 432000 Alhambra Theatre, Bradford Website: https://the-alhambra-theatre

8 – 13 July Box Office: 0116 296 1236 Haymarket Theatre, Leicester Website:

22 – 27 July Box Office: 0844 871 3011 Alexandra Theatre, Birmingham Website: https://alexandra-theatre-birmingham/

19 – 24 August Box Office: 0844 871 7648 King’s Theatre, Glasgow Website: https://kings-theatre-glasgow/

26 – 31 August Box Office: 0844 871 7645 Victoria Theatre, Woking Website: https://new-victoria-theatre/

Brendan Cole All Night Long Review

Kings Theatre Southsea

Review by Nicky Wyatt


Strictly’s bad boy Brendan may not be on our screens on a Saturday night anymore, he is however touring the country with his fabulous show. It’s like an up close and personal masterclass in all things strictly with lots more thrown in.

The show opens with its title song All Night Long for a Samba which is danced by Brendan and his partner Fay Huddlestone along with six other dancers it is the ultimate opener to create the party vibe. With a superb band directed by Barry Robinson with singers Jenna Lee James and Iain Mackenzie. It was clear from this first dance that we were in for a treat.

Whether you are a Latin on Ballroom fan you can’t fail to be impressed with the choreography of this dance marathon. 14 dances in all with some seriously quick costume changes keep you totally enthralled. At times it’s hard to know where to look first , is it the costumes, the amazing footwork, the expressions especially Brendan’s?! For me it’s the feet first, I find it mesmerising to watch. Do keep an eye on the brass section of the band though, they have their own routines and are entertaining to watch.

There are a great mix of dances and dancers in this show. I’m.not a huge fan of contemporary dance but on this occasion my mind was changed by Nancy Xu tonight not only did she look amazing the dance was just wow. I always love the romance of a waltz, this one is different danced to a Buble song At This Moment it depicts an affair it’s quite beautiful.

The Argentine Tango is meant to he a sultry dance. This one danced by Faye was just that, it’s sultry, erotic and fuelled with passion totally immersive and transports you to a smoky cocktail bar with subdued lighting in Argentina, pure theatre.

The master of the dance showcased his many talents with a dynamic Paso. The posturing and cape work done in perfect unison by Brendan with the 3 other guys Gary, Alberto and Moreno is just fantastic .

The voice of Jenna Lee James as she sang Defying Gravity from Wicked is just spellbinding.

Mixed in amongst this fantastic night of dance there are some really funny moments as Brendan interacts with the audience. He’s a funny guy! He banters about Strictly and has a little gossip and snipe. When he came out in to the audience I thought my friend beside me was going to burst as he was so close. He gave birthday kisses out, amazing how many women had a birthday today! He also sang and played guitar doing a medley of Ed Sheerans Evergreen. He is not only a fantastic dancer but a great host and compere too a great showman.

If you like glitz, glamour and sparkles you will absolutely love this show. Ammaazzzing Da’hling