Aida Review

Bridgewater Hall, Manchester- Tuesday 4th June 2019.

Reviewed by Joseph Everton.

5*****

Opera North always bring something fresh and exciting to their productions and this spin on Verdi’s Aida, the work of designer Joanna Parker, director Annabel Arden and distinguished conductor, Sir Richard Armstrong, impresses with a number of interesting twists. The cast, including a familiar face in Rafael Rojas, delivered stellar vocals which thundered into every corner of the impressive Bridgewater Hall.

After beating back the Ethiopian army, Radames (Rafael Rojas), an Egyptian general, is confronted with the choice between love of his country or the beautiful Ethiopian, Aida (Alexandra Zabala), in one of Opera North’s new large scale works, tailored to showings in concert venues, rather than theatres. With the orchestra taking centre stage, released from the pit of a conventional theatre, and the chorus almost part of the watching crowd, Aida was a real feast for both the eyes and the ears.

Projections added depth to the performance, drawing your eyes to scenes of modern conflict and cities devastated by war splashed across a distressed changing cloth. These images, which might have been scenes from middle eastern war zones, were combined with projections of Aida’s despairing facial expressions, filmed by a cleverly-placed onstage camera.

Bridgewater Hall is a large space to fill but the exceptional vocals of the cast, combined with the excellent orchestra and the ever present chorus, playing citizens of the warring states, filled the hall with drama and wonderful sound

Annie Review

Sheffield Lyceum – until Saturday 8 June 2019

Reviewed by Lottie Davis-Browne

5*****

Every musical theatre fan has one – and for me it’s Annie. I’m talking about the musical that sparked the obsession with all things musical. Growing up as a child in the early 1980s, I have fond memories of choosing a video from the village rental store one rainy weekend, along with my older sister and having a mini meltdown because she chose the 1982 movie Annie – because it wasn’t a cartoon! Flash forward to the present day, Annie still has a special place in my heart but it wasn’t until this evening I got to experience it live on stage for the first time.

You’ll laugh when I tell you how nervous I was beforehand – it almost felt like watching your grownup daughter walk down the aisle for the first time – I wanted everything to be perfect and not taint my childhood memories of the musical.

The title role is shared by three young actresses, this evening being lead by Taziva-Faye Katsande (along with Team Chrysler forming the rest of this hard-faced, no nonsense orphans), whom despite the Hard Knock Life mantra the grimacing scowls from the young orphans faces soon to to huge grins along with foot stomping mop moving flawless choreography – it almost gives one the impression that it’s not such a hard knock life after all….well that is until we meet the cold hearted drunken Miss Hannigan (Craig Revel Horwood) who runs Hudson Street Orphanage.

Whilst not someone I’d have thought to be in the role of Miss Hannigan, anyone who has ever seen Horwood on Strictly Come Dancing – often perceived as the cold hearted judge, it sort of makes sense why he was cast. Being the “baddy” is something that comes naturally to Horwood (I mean that in the nicest way possible) so I was of course particularly excited about seeing him in this role. Whilst he certainly added a comical feel to the role, proving himself as a dancer in Easy Street (which for me was one of the highlights of this production) I actually didn’t find him scary or unlikeable enough – I remember fearing Carol Burnett in the 1982 movie – she was fierce, cruel and had me reaching for a cushion to hide behind. The orphans feared her, however these orphans seemed far too tough and independent to fear the likes of Hannigan drunken shenanigans.

Katsande (in the title role) along with the six orphans gave flawless infectious performances – at times I felt the urge to get up and dance along with their hard-as-nails attitudes – the seven young girls with their perfectly in sync high energy dance routines and sickly sweet vocals – almost feel like an up and coming girl band. I look forward to seeing their careers in theatre develop with Katsande and Orla McDonagh as cute and lovable Molly – the youngest orphan – being names I particularly look forward to seeing more of on stage in future.

There’s fine efforts across the entire cast – Richard Meek as Rooster and Jenny Gayner as Lily – the fraudsters and gold-digging duo desperate to get their mitts on the reward money – Rooster, Lily and Hannigan come together to hatch the perfect plan to fool Annie and Warbucks and claim the reward. The trio’s rendition of Easy Street was my favourite part of the performance. After waiting a few years since first seeing Carolyn Maitland in Miss Saigon, I was finally able to see her in a leading role as the lovable Grace Farrell, Secretary (and love interest) to Billionaire Oliver Warbucks and certainly wasn’t disappointed, it’s fair to say she gave a show stealing performance.

I was always curious as to how it would transfer to stage from the movie (forgetting it was actually a Broadway musical prior to being adapted for screen), I won’t spoil it by saying how they’d got round certain scenes, plus several songs missing from the film replaced with “new” ones (gutted Let’s Go To The Movies was one of the missing ones), however the magic of the musical is still there and for a couple of hours I was whisked back to my childhood and my first introduction to musicals – it’s true what they say – you never forget your first!

You can bet your bottom dollar that the cast of Annie will leave you feeling well and truly fully dressed with a smile. The ultimate feel good musical for the entire family.

GREASE ROCK ‘N’ ROLLS INTO LEEDS GRAND THEATRE

GREASE ROCK ‘N’ ROLLS INTO LEEDS GRAND THEATRE

  • First new production in 25 years
  • Peter Andre and Ore Oduba to star as Teen Angel*

Summer Nights have never been such a blast as the first new production in 25 years of Grease rock ‘n’ rolls in to Leeds Grand Theatre from Wednesday 19th June to Sat 20 July 2019.

Following a highly acclaimed sold-out eight-week run at Curve Theatre in Leicester, the first new production of Jim Jacobs and Warren Casey’s iconic musical Grease is produced by Colin Ingram, directed by Nikolai Foster,choreographed by Strictly Come Dancing’s Arlene Phillips and stars Peter Andre and Ore Oduba as Teen Angel (played by Frankie Avalon in the 1978 film), Dan Partridge as Danny, Martha Kirby as Sandy, Louis Gaunt as Kenickie and Rhianne-Louise McCaulsky as Rizzo.

Director Nikolai Foster said: “Jim Jacobs and Warren Casey’s musical is an electrifying celebration of the birth of cool and teenage culture. It provides a gripping snapshot of a country on the cusp of social change, all set to one of the greatest rock ‘n’ roll scores ever written.

“This cast are going to blow audiences’ minds with their edge, life-force and sheer exuberance. Just as the 1950s kids who heralded the birth of the teenage movement, these talented young people will breathe new life into this terrific musical.”

The 1978 film adaptation starring John Travolta and Olivia Newton John is the fourth highest-grossing live action musical of all time and celebrated its 40th anniversary in 2018. The musical features beloved songs, including Summer NightsGreased Lightnin’Hopelessly Devoted To You and You’re The One That I Want.

Choreographer Arlene Philips said, “I’m so thrilled to have the opportunity to choreograph a new production of Grease. This production is going to be edgy, vibrant and certainly takes a new look at this very exciting musical.” 

Grease is at Leeds Grand Theatre from Wednesday 19 June – Saturday 20 July 2019

Book online at leedsgrandtheatre.com or call Box Office on 0844 848 2700

Photos of John Malkovich & full cast in rehearsal for Mamet’s Bitter Wheat released today

REHEARSAL PHOTOS OF

BITTER WHEAT RELEASED TODAY

David Mamet’s new play Bitter Wheat begins previews at the Garrick Theatre in London this Friday 7 June 2019. 

John Malkovich plays Barney Fein, Doon Mackichan plays Sondra and Ioanna Kimbook plays Yung Kim Li withAlexander Arnold as Roberto, Teddy Kempner as Doctor Wald, Matthew Pidgeon as The Writer and Zephryn Taitte as Charles Arthur Brown. 

Malkovich, one of the world’s most revered actors, is best known for his many films including Dangerous LiaisonsBeing John MalkovichCon Air and Mulholland Drive. He recently received widespread critical acclaim playing Hercule Poirot in a new BBC TV Agatha Christie adaptation. 

The Pulitzer prize winning David Mamet has written some of the most iconic plays of the last 50 years includingSexual Perversity in Chicago, American Buffalo, Glengarry Glen Ross, Speed-the-Plow, and Oleanna.

Doon Mackichan, who is well known for her extensive TV work which includes creating and starring in the hit comedy series Smack the Pony for Channel 4, Knowing Me, Knowing You with Alan Partridge, Plebs for ITV2 andTwo Doors Down for the BBC, will play Barney Fein’s assistant, Sondra.         

Ioanna Kimbook makes her debut West End performance in Bitter Wheat.  Ioanna recently filmed an episode of the BBC comedy, Inside No. 9.

Alexander Arnold’s recent theatre credits include Shopping and F***ing at the Lyric Hammersmith, Crushed Shells and Mud at Southwark Playhouse, and Luna Gale and Four Minutes Twelve Seconds at Hampstead Theatre.  For film, he will appear in Danny Boyle’s Yesterday and is in the TV BAFTA nominated and RTS Award-winning drama series, Save Me for Sky Atlantic. Further television credits include E4’s Skins and A Mother’s Son.

Teddy Kempner’s extensive theatre work includes Caroline, or Change at the Playhouse, Hampstead Theatre and Chichester Festival Theatre, A Month in the Country and Six Pictures of Lee Miller in Chichester and The Merry Wives of Windsor, Three Sisters and Nicholas Nickleby for the RSC.  His films include Truly Madly Deeplyand Yentl.

Matthew Pidgeon’s theatre credits include Local Hero and The Glass Menagerie at the Lyceum Theatre, Edinburgh;  This House in Chichester West End and on tour,  Wolf Hall and Bring up the Bodies for the RSC andThe James Plays for the National Theatre of Scotland.  Films include Mary Queen of Scots,  State and Main andA Shot of Glory.

Zephryn Taitte has just completed a major tour of Glengarry Glen Ross.  Other theatre includes Trust at the Gate Theatre, Result at the Pleasance Theatre, The Tempest and Romeo and Juliet at Oval House and Talawa’s production of The Crucible.  His films include No Shade, Dirty Money, Run it Off and White.  TV credits includeCall the Midwife, Urban Myths, The Hour and Brothers With No Game.

David Mamet directs Bitter Wheat, with designs by Christopher Oram and lighting by Neil Austin.

Bitter Wheat is produced by Jeffrey RichardsSteve Traxler and Smith & Brant Theatricals.

For more information

LISTINGS INFORMATION


BITTER WHEAT

Written and directed by David Mamet

Set & Costume Design by Christopher Oram

Lighting by Neil Austin

Casting by Amy Ball CDG

GARRICK THEATRE

Charing Cross Road

London

WC2H 0HH

TICKETS

Box Office:   0330 333 4811

Group booking line: 0330 333 4817/ groups@nimaxtheatres.com

Access booking line: 0330 333 4815/ access@nimaxtheatres.com

Group rates & concessions apply

Ticket prices start from £15

Audio Described performance  Wednesday 21st August

Captioned performance Wednesday 28th August

BOOKING ONLINE

www.nimaxtheatres.com

SEASON DATES

Friday 7 June  – Saturday 21 September 2019

PERFORMANCE TIMES

Mondays – Saturdays: 7:30pm 

Thursday & Saturday matinees: 2:30pm

SOCIAL MEDIA

Website: www.bitterwheatplay.com

Facebook: @bitterwheatplay

Twitter: @bitterwheatplay

Ore Oduba and Carley Stenson to join Jason Manford in CURTAINS UK Tour

DAN LOONEY, ADAM PAULDEN AND JASON HAIGH-ELLERY FOR DLAP ENTERTAINMENT

ARE DELGHTED TO ANNOUNCE THE FULL CASTING FOR

      THE BRAND-NEW UK TOUR OF

THE TONY AWARD WINNING MUSICAL

“CURTAINS”

Music by John Kander, Lyrics by Fred Ebb

Book by Rupert Holmes

Original Book and Concept by Peter Stone

Additional Lyrics by John Kander & Rupert Holmes

Directed by Paul Foster

Originally Produced on Broadway by Roger Berlind Roger Horchow, Daryl Roth, Jane Bergere, Ted Hartley and Center Theatre Group. American Premiere Produced at The Ahmanson Theatre by Center Theatre Group, LA’s Theatre Company.

OPENING AT CHURCHILL THEATRE BROMLEY ON 4 OCTOBER 2019

Dan Looney, Adam Paulden and Jason Haigh-Ellery for DLAP Entertainment are delighted to announce full casting for the UK tour of the Tony award winning musical “CURTAINS” which stars the previously announced Jason Manford as Detective ‘Frank Cioffi’.

Joining Jason will be television presenter and ‘Strictly Come Dancing’ star Ore Oduba who will play ‘Aaron Fox’ in selected venues, full details below.

Completing the cast is musical theatre actress Carley Stenson as ‘Georgia Hendriks’, Rebecca Lock as ‘Carmen’, Samuel Holmes as ‘Christopher Belling’, Leah West as ‘Niki Harris’ and Alan Burkitt as ‘Bobby’.

Ore is best known for winning the 14th series of BBC One’s ‘Strictly Come Dancing’ and has now become a familiar face on primetime and daytime television. His presenting credits include BBC One’s, ‘The One Show’ and ITV’s ‘This Morning’. Ore previously appeared as a host on stage for the “Strictly Come Dancing Live Tour” and will be making his theatrical debut as ‘Teen Angel’ in the UK Tour of “Grease” later this month.

Carley is currently starring as ‘Fantine’ in “Les Misérables”, at the Queens Theatre in London’s West End. Her other West End credits include ‘Elle Woods’ in “Legally Blonde” at The Savoy Theatre, ‘Princess Fiona’ in “Shrek the Musical” at Theatre Royal Dury Lane and ‘Lady of the Lake’ in “Spamalot” at The Playhouse Theatre. She has also played ‘Christine Colgate’ in the UK Tour of “Dirty Rotten Scoundrels”. Carley is probably best known for her television work and playing ‘Steph Cunningham’ in Channel Four’s “Hollyoaks”.

Rebecca Lock most recently starred in “Heathers The Musical” at the Haymarket Theatre in London. Her other West End credits include “MAMMA MIA!” at The Novello Theatre, “The Phantom of the Opera” at Her Majesty’s Theatre, and “Cats” at New London Theatre. Rebecca also starred as ‘Mrs Banks’ in the national tour of “Mary Poppins”.

Samuel Holmes most recently starred in the UK tour of “The Wedding Singer”. Samuel’s West End credits include “Mrs Henderson Presents” at Noël Coward Theatre and “Spamalot” at Playhouse Theatre.

Leah West previously starred in Disney’s Film ‘Beauty and the Beast’ and ITV drama ‘Unforgotten’. Her previous theatre credits include “Grand Hotel” and “Allegro” both at Southwark Playhouse and the UK Tour of “The Smallest Show On Earth”.

Alan Burkitt was in the original West End Cast of “Top Hat” at the Aldwych Theatre and then went on to play the lead role of ‘Jerry’ in the UK national tour. Alan’s other theatre credits include, “We Will Rock You” at the Dominion Theatre “Singin’ in the Rain” and ‪”42nd Street” both at Chichester Festival Theatre.

They are all joined by Emma Caffrey as ‘Bambi’, Adam Rhys-Charles as ‘Daryl Grady’, Martin Callaghan as ‘Oscar Shapiro’, Minal Petal as ‘Johnny Harmon’ and Mark Sangster as ‘Sidney’.

Joining them in the ensemble is, Kathryn Barnes, Pamela Blair, Charlie Johnson, Kate Ivory Jordan, Robin Kent, Thomas Lee-Kid, Ben Mundy, Gleanne Purcell-Brown, J.R. Ballantyne and Samuel John-Humphreys.

From the Tony Award-winning creators of ‘Cabaret’ and ‘Chicago’, this production tells the story of Jessica Cranshaw, star of the new Broadway-bound musical Robbin Hood, who has been murdered on stage on opening night! The entire cast and crew are suspects. Time to call in the local detective, Frank Cioffi, who just happens to be a huge musical theatre fan. With a nose for crime and an ear for music, Frank has his work cut out trying to find the killer whilst giving the show a lifeline.

The producing team is made up of Dan LooneyAdam Paulden and Jason Haigh-Ellery for DLAP Entertainment. The production was originally produced on Broadway by Roger Berlind, Roger Horchow, Daryl Roth, Jane Bergere, Ted Hartley and Center Theatre Group. The American Premiere was produced at The Ahmanson Theatre by Center Theatre GroupLA’s Theatre Company.

Music is by John Kander, lyrics by Fred Ebb (“Cabaret” and “Chicago”), book by Rupert Holmes, original book and concept by Peter Stone with additional lyrics by John Kander and Rupert Holmes.

The production will be directed by Paul Foster (“Kiss Me Kate” and “Annie Get Your Gun” for Sheffield Crucible), choreographer is Alistair David (“Ghost” West End and UK tour and “Seven Brides for Seven Brothers” and “The Sound of Music” both for Regent’s Park Open Air), Musical Supervisor & Arrangements are by Sarah Travis(Curve Associate Artist, “Sweeney Todd”, “Sister Act”), Set Design by David Woodhead, Costume Design byGabriella Slade, Lighting Design by Tim Mitchell, Sound Design is by Tom Marshall and Casting Director isJim Arnold CDG.

Suitable for ages 12+.

Tour details 2019:

Friday 4 – Sunday 6 October

Bromley Churchill Theatre

https://churchilltheatre.co.uk

020 3285 6000

*Ore Oduba will be performing as ‘Aaron Fox’

Tuesday 8 – Saturday 12 October

Manchester Palace Theatre

www.atgtickets.com/manchester

0844 871 3018

*Ore Oduba will be performing as ‘Aaron Fox’

Monday 14 – Saturday 19 October

Cardiff New Theatre

www.newtheatrecardiff.co.uk

029 2087 8889

*Ore Oduba will be performing as ‘Aaron Fox’

Tuesday 29 October – Saturday 2 November

Sheffield Lyceum

www.sheffieldtheatres.co.uk

0114 249 6000

*Ore Oduba will be performing as ‘Aaron Fox’

Tuesday 5 – Saturday 9 November

BIRMINGHAM The Alexandra 

www.atgtickets.com/birmingham

0844 871 3011

Tuesday 12 – Saturday 16 November                    

DARLINGTON Hippodrome

www.darlingtonhippodrome.co.uk

01325 405405

Tuesday 19 – Saturday 23 November

BELFAST Grand Opera House

www.goh.co.uk

028 9024 1919

Tuesday 26 – Saturday 30 November                    

DARTFORD Orchard Theatre

https://orchardtheatre.co.uk/

01322 220000

Tuesday 3 – Saturday 7 December                         

Stoke-On-Trent Regent Theatre

www.atgtickets.com/stoke

0844 871 7649

Tour details 2020:

Tuesday 14 – Saturday 18 January                           

LONDON New Wimbledon Theatre 

www.atgtickets.com/wimbledon

0844 871 7646

*Ore Oduba will be performing as ‘Aaron Fox’

Tuesday 21 – Saturday 25 January                      

SUNDERLAND Empire

www.atgtickets.com/sunderland

0844 871 3022

*Ore Oduba will be performing as ‘Aaron Fox’

Tuesday 28 January – Saturday 1 February                 

LIVERPOOL Empire  

www.atgtickets.com/liverpool

08448 713017

*Ore Oduba will be performing as ‘Aaron Fox’

Tuesday 11 – Saturday 15 February

NORWICH Theatre Royal

www.theatreroyalnorwich.co.uk

01603 630 000

*ON SALE SOON

*Ore Oduba will be performing as ‘Aaron Fox’

Tuesday 25 – Saturday 29 February

NORTHAMPTON Royal & Derngate

www.royalandderngate.co.uk

*Ore Oduba will be performing as ‘Aaron Fox’

Tuesday 3 – Saturday 7 March

BLACKPOOL Opera House

www.wintergardensblackpool.co.uk/our-venues/opera-house

*ON SALE 7 JUNE

*Ore Oduba will be performing as ‘Aaron Fox’

Tuesday 10 – Saturday 14 March                    

GLASGOW King’s Theatre 

www.atgtickets.com/glasgow

0844 871 7647

*Ore Oduba will be performing as ‘Aaron Fox’

Monday 16 – Saturday 21 March                    

LEICESTER Haymarket Theatre

www.haytheatre.com

0116 296 1236

Tuesday 31 March – Saturday 4 April                 

WOLVERHAMPTON Grand Theatre  

www.grandtheatre.co.uk

01902 42 92 12

*Ore Oduba will be performing as ‘Aaron Fox’

Tuesday 6 April – Saturday 11 April

SOUTHAMPTON Mayflower

www.mayflower.org.uk

02380 711 811

*ON SALE SOON

*Ore Oduba will be performing as ‘Aaron Fox’

Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat Review

Leeds Grand Theatre – until 15th June 2019

Reviewed by Dawn Smallwood

4****

Tim Rice and Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat has been entertaining and captivating audiences since it opened in London’s West End in the 1970s. Since then the musical has gone from strength from strength with West End revivals and many international and national tours. Joseph has been reputed as a colourful and family friendly show.

Set to Rice’s lyrics and Lloyd Webber’s music, the musical is based on the biblical story of Joseph (Jaymi Hensley) and tied with the “coat of many colours”, a garment Joseph was given to by his father, Jacob (Henry Metcalfe). The musical retells the story of Joseph and his eleven brothers and how the plight of his coat and dreams leads him to slavery in Egypt and how his interpretation of dreams results in rank and fortune. Those events have an influential impact on his brothers whose jealous actions in the first place have initiated the predicaments.

The musical is predominately song based and the performance is sung through from beginning to end with the backing of a children’s choir who are assembled on stage throughout. The narrator (Trina Hill) begins sharing the story of Joseph with the children where she encourages them to dream like him. She subsequently interacts at key stages in the story and serves as a mediator/mentor to Joseph (Hensley) especially during his captivity.

Joseph over the years certainly keeps afresh with the times and with catchy familiar musical styles including Rock and Roll, Pop, Country, Calypso, Parisian and Cabaret forming the songs. Many know the infamous Any Dream Will Do and the emotive Close Every Door. The outstanding musical numbers must be from Andrew Geater’s portrayal of Elvis like Pharaoh with Song of the King and Judah (Mikey Jay-Heath) and the brothers’ Benjamin Calypso.

Outstanding are the excellent and captivating portrayals from Hill as the narrator and Hensley (a member of Union J, a London based boy band) as Joseph. The lead performers are supported by an incredible and a talented cast who entertains and engages the audience with song and dance and no doubt aspire many to dream like Joseph. The “Joseph Megamix Reprises” is certainly the showstopper highlight with a medley of musical numbers which the musical is well known and loved for and the finale certainly guarantees maximum interaction from the well receiving and appreciative audience.

The team of Sean Cavanagh, Nick Richings and Dan Samson have created modern, colourful and kaleidoscopic staging for this production which echoes the spirit of the story and in tuned with the modern times. Although the account of Joseph is ancient it is felt that the telling of this story, under the direction of Bill Kenwright, definitely fits nicely in the 21st Century.

A musical of many colours and a very enjoyable evening out!

Vaudeville of the Vulva Review

Bread and Roses Theatre – until 8th June 2019

Reviewed by Heather Chalkley

3***

Laura-Doe sets out to educate through entertainment, labelling it edutainment. Walking us through the mechanics of female genitalia, she encourages audience participation in a way I guarantee you have not experienced before! All this without any nudity and using biologically correct Vulva cushions and a puppet theatre!

She cleverly dispels myths and provides the real facts, including how to pleasure yourself or your female partner. Through several characters and adopting a variety of accents, we are taken through the perspectives of different cultures and their attitudes to the Vulva. There are no doubt awkward moments for most people with an English sensibility and Doe’s humour gets you through this. The relationship between education and entertainment is a little clunky, as Doe clearly wants to get her message across. More passion in the humour would balance this out.

The Creatives use of pre-recorded voices and backing tracks is delivered without fault and keeps the momentum going, allowing the Vulva cushions to speak! Using familiar songs and rewriting the words is a great way to engage the audience.

It is impressive the ease with which Doe uses ‘taboo’ language, that we do not usually include in open conversation. Doe is a gutsy lady with a real belief in what she is doing. You are encouraged to join the Vulvalation! Go along and expect the unexpected, including laughing and learning together.

Like most comedy, there is an underlying serious note. In this case FGM. Go to Doe’s website http://www.vaudevilleofthevulva.com for more information about the work of the Desert Flower Foundation and where you can see her important, relevant, funny show.

Royal Exchange Theatre Autumn Winter 2019 Season Announcement

AN AUTUNM/WINTER SEASON THAT REFLECTS SARAH FRANKCOM’S TIME AS ARTSICTIC DIRECTOR

Under Sarah Frankcom’s Artistic Directorship the Royal Exchange Theatre has been redefined, reimagined and reframed. It has explored classic texts in new and radical ways, celebrated the vitality and significance of new writing, embraced new ways to talk to audiences and engage communities and supported theatre makers to challenge their own practice.

This Autumn/Winter season celebrates her tenure which comes to an end in October, it brings together elements of her work and embraces a strong female narrative throughout. The season opens with MACBETH in which Lucy Ellinson takes on the title role, Sarah directs LIGHT FALLS a new play from long-time collaborator Simon Stephens with original music by Jarvis Cocker. Emily Brontë’s WUTHERING HEIGHTS is stripped back to its essence in a radical version of this classic novel directed by Associate Artistic Director Bryony Shanahan and Director Jo Davies explores the complex mother/daughter relationship in GYPSY. Associate Artists RashDash and former Resident Director Nickie Miles-Wildin make new work for the Studio and a unique 24 hour long free performance sees the theatre remain open all night on Remembrance Sunday.

• Dark, dangerous and action-packed this contemporary version of MACBETH, from Director Christopher Haydon, pulls the audience into the unsettling world of Macbeth as her desire and lust for power become all consuming. Lucy Ellinson takes on the title role in this highly-charged political thriller where individual aspiration spirals out of control with violent, bloody and devastating consequences for all. She is joined by Ony Uhiara as Lady Macbeth. The production runs in the Theatre from 13 September until 19 October.

• LIGHT FALLS reunites Sarah Frankcom and award-winning playwright Simon Stephens for her final production as Royal Exchange Theatre Artistic Director. In this extraordinary new play a family is drawn back together following a single, devastating and unpredictable event. An intricate observation of people and places LIGHT FALLS is a powerful allegory to the North. This production features original music by Jarvis Cocker and can been seen in the Theatre from 24 October – 16 November

• Acclaimed Writer and Director Neil Bartlett is using the words of a hundred contemporary peace workers to create a marathon artwork entitled 24 HOURS OF PEACE – a twenty-four-hour-long performance dedicated to the work of peace taking place on Remembrance Sunday (10 November 2019). This unique event begins at 11am with the performers and audience joining together for two minutes of silence. This moment marks the 100th anniversary of the very first Remembrance Sunday silence, the performance continues uninterrupted for a whole day and night. The event is free and will be broadcast live on national radio station Resonance FM.

• Following her acclaimed production of TWELFTH NIGHT Director Jo Davies returns to the Royal Exchange at Christmas with GYPSY, a Broadway smash-hit that celebrates the highest-highs and the lowest-lows of show business. Momma Rose puts everything she has into her girls, her desire, her grit and her frustrated ambition, stopping at nothing to make her daughters the star she never was. The production follows hot on the heels of the Christmas smash-hits GUYS AND DOLLS and THE PRODUCERS. It opens on 30 November and runs until 25 January 2020.  

• Associate Artistic Director Bryony Shanahan and Bruntwood Prize winning writer Andrew Sheridan explore the extraordinary imagination of Emily Brontë in a gripping new adaptation of WUTHERING HEIGHTS. This startling novel unleashes a love that is raw and uncontained, visceral, brutal and all-consuming. As unpredictable as the moors Cathy and Heathcliff are seen afresh in this bold and powerful production. The show will run in the Theatre from 7 February – 7 March 2020.

• Following their sold-out smash-hit THREE SISTERS RashDash return to the Studio with their latest show OH MOTHER, where alongside their own mums they explore Motherhood. There will be songs. There will be dancing. There will be breastfeeding. The show runs from 26 September – 12 October in the Studio.

• Charlene James’ award-winning CUTTIN’ IT will have a new production in the Exchange’s Studio directed by former Royal Exchange Assistant Director Nickie Miles-Wildin. This urgent and sharply funny play follows Muna and Iqra – two teenage girls, both born in Somalia, both living in Manchester, both hiding a traumatic secret. Exploring the physical and mental impact of FGM in the UK this stunning contemporary play runs from 9 January – 1 February 2020.

• Throughout the Autumn, the Exchange is also developing several major new commissions for 2020 and beyond continuing its commitment to supporting a wide range of voices making work for the main stage. Commissions in development include: ROCKETS AND BLUE LIGHTS by Winsome Pinnock, which recently won the Alfred Fagon Award, the leading award for Black British playwrights; a new play by Zodwa Nyoni about the 1945 Pan-African National Congress in Manchester, co-commissioned with Talawa Theatre Company; and a new musical being developed by Maxine Peake and Seiriol Davies. In addition, Testament joins us as Channel 4 Playwright in Residence to develop a major new play.

Artistic Director Sarah Frankcom said …

Simon Stephens was the first writer I commissioned for the Royal Exchange so it seems apt that my final production as Artistic Director should be his richly layered new play about the North. Together we made a journey to northern towns, from Blackpool to Durham, talking and meeting new people on the way. This is the backbone of this new production and I can’t wait for us to get into the rehearsal room.

I’m proud of the work we have made and the stories we have told in the last five years here at the Exchange, and this season feels very reflective of that. We have always advocated for the stories of radical and powerful women, celebrated their imaginations and put outstanding female actors, directors and theatre makers centre stage. Supporting new writing remains vital so I’m thrilled that we have two new plays in this season and have exciting commissions from Winsome Pinnock, Zodwa Nyoni and Maxine and Seiriol lined up for 2020. I’m looking forward to sharing all this work with our incredible audiences here at the Exchange.

Top London theatre shows announced for Kids Week 2019

TOP LONDON SHOWS OFFER FREE TICKETS FOR KIDS WEEK 2019

  • Kids Week returns with London shows offering free children’s theatre tickets throughout August
  • Tickets on sale from 10am on 11 June via Official London Theatre
  • Exclusive activities for Kids Week ticket-holders including backstage tours, Q&As and choreography workshops

Kids Week, the annual London theatre initiative run by Society of London Theatre (SOLT), returns in August 2019, with hit shows in the West End and beyond offering free tickets for children throughout the month. Tickets for performances throughout August will be released through the Official London Theatre website at 10am on 11 June.

The scheme, founded to encourage more young people and families to experience the magic of live theatre, offers a free ticket to every child aged 16 or under accompanied by a full paying adult. Half price tickets can also be purchased for two additional children in the same group. There are no booking, postage or transaction fees.

Alongside the performances, children are given the chance to get involved in free workshops and activities, with participating shows offering everything from choreography and magic workshops to cast Q&As and backstage tours. Kids Week ticket holders can also take advantage of ‘Kids Go Free’ deals on dining and hotels.

Kids Week is one of the biggest, longest-running audience development initiatives in the world, engaging around 1.6 million children and families since it began in 1998.

For more information on tickets, activities and offers, visit officiallondontheatre.com/kids-week  

List of shows taking part in Kids Week 2019:

9 To 5 The Musical

Disney’s Aladdin

Aliens Love Underpants

Brainiac Live

Come From Away

The Comedy About A Bank Robbery

Dinosaur World Live

Everybody’s Talking About Jamie

The Falcon’s Malteser

Fiddler On The Roof

The Girl On The Train

The Gruffalo

Horrible Histories: Barmy Britain – Part Four

The Illusionists

Joseph And The Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat

Legend Trippers

Disney’s The Lion King

Little Baby Bum Live

Mamma Mia!

Matilda The Musical

Monstersaurus

The Mousetrap

On Your Feet!

Peter Pan

The Phantom Of The Opera

The Play That Goes Wrong

School Of Rock – The Musical

The Secret Diary Of Adrian Mole Aged 13¾ The Musical

Six

Thriller Live

Twirlywoos Live!

The Very Hungry Caterpillar Show

Waitress

Where Is Peter Rabbit?

Wicked

Witness For The Prosecution

The Woman In Black

The Worst Witch

Zog

officiallondontheatre.com/kids-week  

@KidsWeek #KidsWeek

FULL CASTING ANNOUNCED FOR THE BARN THEATRE¹S PRODUCTION OF THE CLASSIC COMIC THRILLER THE 39 STEPS ADAPTED FROM JOHN BUCHAN¹S ORIGINAL NOVEL FROM 10 JULY – 10 AUGUST 2019

FULL CASTING ANNOUNCED FOR THE BARN THEATRE’S

PRODUCTION OF THE CLASSIC COMIC THRILLER

THE 39 STEPS

ADAPTED FROM JOHN BUCHAN’S ORIGINAL NOVEL

FROM 10 JULY – 10 AUGUST 2019

Full casting has been announced for The Barn Theatre’s (Best Fringe Theatre  – The Stage Awards 2019) upcoming production of The 39 Steps, directed by Joseph O’Malley, and running from 10 July – 10 August 2019. The cast comprises of: Tricia Adele-Turner, Jonathan Bourne, Colin Elmer and Max Hutchinson.

The cast of four will deftly take on the Alfred Hitchcock classic in a wonderfully inventive comic thriller parody adaptation of John Buchan’s 1915 novel. This much loved spy thriller has been adapted for the stage by Patrick Barlow,with designs by Mike Leopold, lighting by Sam Rowcliffe Tanner and sound by Chris Cleal.

The 39 Steps follows the incredible adventures of our handsome hero Richard Hannay, complete with stiff-upper-lip and British gung-ho spirit as he encounters dastardly murders, double-crossing secret agents, and devastatingly beautiful women. The show is a frantic farce, jam-packed with slapstick humour, a barrage of accents and hat-swaps culminating in chaos and calamity.

This wonderfully inventive and gripping comedy thriller features four fearless actors, playing 139 roles in 100 minutes of fast-paced fun, thrilling action and a colossal number of costume changes. Madcap hilarity for all the family!

As previously announced, The 39 Steps will then transfer to the Theatre Royal Windsor from 12-17 August 2019, as a part of the Built By Barn initiative, transferring shows from the venue across the UK.

The 39 Steps is part of The Barn’s 2019 season of in-house productions. The season includes four other productions: William Shakespeare’s classic history, Henry V, directed by Hal Chambers and starring Aaron Sidwell and Lauren Samuels, which runs until 22 June; the award-winning musicalDaddy Long Legs, running from 2 October – 2 November; a reimagining of Charles Dickens’ festive masterpiece, A Christmas Carol, from 27 November – 4 January; and Michael Morpurgo’s The Butterfly Lion, directed by Jessica Daniels, which completed it’s critically acclaimed run in May 2019.

THE BARN THEATRE, CIRENCESTER LISTINGS

THE 39 STEPS

Presented by arrangement with Edward Snape for Fiery Angel Ltd.

Wednesday 10 July – Saturday 10 August 2019

The Barn Theatre, Cirencester

Written by John Buchan

Adapted by Patrick Barlow

From an original concept by Simon Noble and Nobby Dimon

Directed by Joseph O’Malley

Address: The Barn Theatre, 5 Beeches Road, Cirencester, GL7 1BN

Box Office: 01285 648 255

Ticket Prices: From £8

Performances: Mon-Sat 7:30pm, Thurs & Sat 2:30pm

Website: barntheatre.org.uk

Twitter: @thebarntheatre

Facebook & Instagram: @thebarntheatrecirencester

THEATRE ROYAL, WINDSOR LISTINGS

THE 39 STEPS

Monday 12 August – Saturday 17 August 2019

Theatre Royal, Windsor

Address: Theatre Royal Windsor, 32 Thames Street, Windsor, SL4 1PS

Box Office: 01753 853 888

Ticket Prices: From £19.50

Performances: Mon-Sat 8pm, Thurs 2.30pm, Sat 4.45pm

Website: www.theatreroyalwindsor.co.uk

Twitter/Facebook/Instagram: @TheatreWindsor