Newcastle Theatre Royal – until Sunday 9 January 2021
Reviewed by Jess Bramfitt
It’s Panto time again and this year’s spectacular at the Theatre Royal Newcastle is Snow White and the Seven Dwarves – a 5 star show.
Carrying on with the long tradition and pedigree of panto at the Royal, the latest offering is packed full of brilliant costumes, wonderful dancing and lots of silliness for both kids and adults alike. I took my niece Emilia (5) to what was only her 2nd panto ever so her anticipation was massive from the moment we walked into the auditorium. The atmosphere was of high excitement and wonder; flashing wands, spinning globes and lots of candy ensured the audience (especially the younger ones) were already flying high before the curtain rose.
Headlining is the stella Joe McElderry, local lad turned singing superstar who plays the Man in the Mirror. Part narrator, part stalwart to the evil queen, Joe brings some serious superstar quality to an already impressive cast.
Ever present for the Theatre Royal pantos are double act Danny Adams and Clive Webb – this time playing Danny the court jester and Odd Job, his father. You know whenever these two are on the bill you are guaranteed lots of laughs, plenty of silliness and no small amount of double entendres; there seemed to be as much aimed at the adults as there was the kids although many of the younger audience just laughed at the parents laughing, rather than the jokes themselves. Adams takes a great, twisted, delight in trying to get the other cast members to laugh and it is a great testament to their professionalism that they manage to stay on track.
For this production we have 2 ‘dames’ – Steve Arnott playing the traditional Mrs Nelly Nightnurse complete with the usual over the top dame costumes, and Chris Hayward playing Queen Dragonella – the wicked element to the Snow White story.
The leading couple; Kirsty Ingram as Snow White and Wayne Smith as Prince William of Wallsend complete the traditional story parts save for the Magnificent Seven; Josh Bennet, Simeon Dyer, Scott English, Jamie John, Blake Lisle, Andrew Martin and Fergus Rattigan, and ensured there was time to breathe in-between the chaotic madness being served up by Messrs Adams and Webb.
How the production company, Crossroads Pantomimes and Michael Harrison manage to fit so much into this show is a feat of theatrical magic itself – there is EVERY element one could hope from a panto and so much more.
It was a cold night as we walked away from the theatre. Emilia (5) was tired but the excitement and adrenaline was still evident as she sang songs and recounted her favourite parts, still clutching her flashing wand. As she fell asleep in the car she leaned over and said, “Thank you, that was brilliant” – a perfect review of a perfect panto if ever there was one.
THE DEFINITIVE RAT PACK COMES TO LONDON’S CADOGAN HALL
“Stephen Triffitt is the best, the greatest, because he captures the soul of my father” – Frank Sinatra Jr. “If he wasn’t Mark Adams, he would be Dean Martin” – BBC “George Daniel Long is an uncannily convincing Sammy Davis Jr” – Daily Mail
What happens in Vegas goes on tour this Christmas. The rebellious, rambunctious spirit of the iconic 1960s medley crew arrives at Cadogan Hall on the 18th December 2021, as The Definitive Rat Pack brings the party to London as they embark on their festive tour.
The Rat Pack were no strangers to London: when Frank Sinatra hit the Palladium in London he performed in venues big and small until his last show at the Royal Albert Hall in 1992. Audiences are invited to rekindle their love of these iconic performers as they join The Definitive Rat Pack at Cadogan Hall.
Seasoned West End stars Stephen Triffitt, Mark Adams and George Daniel Long, star as Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin and Sammy Davis Jr. They previously starred together in The Rat Pack: Live from Las Vegas, breaking box office records and receiving a nomination for an Olivier Award, before going on to later tour globally, with two years in Vegas.
The boys will bring Vegas spirit with a touch of Tinsel Town this December, with a festive programme including the ever-popular White Christmas, Baby It’s Cold Outside, The Christmas Song and Let It Snow, plus all-time favourites including Mack the Knife, That’s Amore, Mr Bojangles and New York, New York.
Joined onstage by acclaimed West End performers The Golddiggers and the internationally renowned Manhattan Swing Orchestra, all costumes, instruments and stage setting is authentically recreated to capture the magic of a live Rat Pack concert, which promises to be the ultimate experience for any big band fan the world over.
SHOW: The Rat Pack at Christmas VENUE: Cadogan Hall DATE: 18th December 2021 TIME: 2.30pm and 7.30pm
The lives of Anne Bonny and Mary Read and the story of how they became pirates is full of fire, passion and adventure, all sadly lacking in this production.
With very few cold hard facts to draw on, apart from the trial records of the pirate crew, writer Claire Novello could have gone to town with the narrative and created an exciting portrayal of the women’s stories. The approach taken has more of the feel of an enthusiastic teacher’s jazzed up history lesson.
The reasons behind Read’s (Justine Marie Mead) living as a man and Anne Bonny’s (Eliza Shea) deception to join her husband Calico Jack (Duncan Drury) on board his ship are explained by the women describing their childhoods and youth, and the freedom and adventure both find in the world of men is, almost, celebrated. The joy and exhilaration that both the talented actors could easily portray is muted through a stilted script and insipid lyrics. The play is written in rhyme, and this leads to torturous sentences and rhythms that begin to grate. Narrator Mark Nicolson at least adds a panto vibe to his delivery with nods and winks at the audience and tongue firmly in cheek.
Musically, Frederick Appleby’s songs all follow the same coherent theme, but this means there is no light and shade, and they all blend into one. Lyrically, they add nothing to the production, repeating or pre-empting the actors’ speeches, and all feeling at least one chorus too long. Described as a musical play, there is very little action, with most songs and scenes involving a slow saunter across the stage at most. The love songs are passionless and the all-important battle scene when the pirates are captured is very low key. A cast of four means there cannot be huge crowd scenes, but four actors can do a lot to provide dynamic visuals. Director Kenneth Michaels’ choice to have only the person speaking or singing mobile during most scenes misfires hugely. It’s all very well-meaning and educational, but there’s no heart.
These fearless women’s story should be portrayed with a defiant roar – this production whispers politely.
Wales Millennium Centre, Cardiff – until 27 November 2021
Reviewed by Rhys Payne
Grease is probably one of the most well-known movies/musicals to ever be created and so most people go into the show knowing what to expect. I myself have seen three different versions of this show three times and so I go in knowing what points in the show will be a highlight but also how much energy the performers need to do a complete run of the stage musical. One of the most impressive things about this musical is how the ensemble are able to endure the whole high-energy musical that is crammed full of energetic dance numbers without running out of energy as I know for a fact that I wouldn’t make it through the first two numbers! Every cast member managed to get through the whole musical without the standard of dance specifically always being very high!
The tour was headlined by the incredible Dan Partridge who plays the lead burger boy and iconic Danny Zuko. Dan is clearly a very talented vocalist which was a constant highlight during this portrayal of the character. His rendition of the ambitious song “How Big I’ll Be” was incredible with the emotion and fantastic stage present demonstrated throughout the number! Alongside Dan as Danny, we have Sandy who was played by Laura Jayne Fenny. This is my third time seeing a production of Grease and every time I do think that the reveal of Sandy’s new persona should be a much bigger moment instead of a normal entrance. Laura’s performance of “Hopelessly Devoted To You” was absolutely insane! The two-character work together a lot and Laura and Dan’s voice sounded beautiful when performed alongside each other!
As you would expect the high-energy dance number “Grease Lightening” was an absolute spectacle to watch with energetic choreography, a car and strangely a sort of tap section on dust bins. I can guarantee that if you play this song at any party then people will bust out the classic arm based choreography which actually did not exactly make an appearance in this production!
I liked the inclusion of Peter Andre as both the teen angel and Vince Fontaine with the latter taking up the majority of his time on stage. As Vince, Peter was wonderfully camp and Elvis inspired that was incredibly entertaining throughout where even he was not the focus of the scene I found myself focusing on him. I was absolutely amazed to watch Peter (aged forty-eight) pull out incredible jazz splits which were then made into a joke with the cast members helping him back up after this incredible stunt! The scene as the Teen Angel allowed Peter to showcase his vocal abilities where he was a lot better than I expected! I thought that the pairing of Josh Barnett as Roger and Maeve Byrne as Jan worked fantastically together. Their rendition of “Mooning” was fantastically funny with both performers giving everything into this comedic number.
There has been a lot of discussion in many of the theatre-related social media pages about the lack of theatre etiquette since returning. While there are some things that are generally unacceptable such as talking during the show, answering phone calls or recording production but there is one controversial issue that is always coming up. People seem to get very annoyed by audience members who sing along during musicals and I have a bit of a strange opinion on this. I personally love a sing-song and can’t help it when one of my favourite songs is being performed! Despite this, I always keep in mind that the people around me, may not enjoy my singing so I keep it as quiet as possible. While watching the brand new production of probably one of the most well-known movies/musicals Grease I noticed that a lot of people were singing along which usually isn’t a problem. They all seemed to known the words which is great but the issue was that they didn’t seem to get either pitch or timings. People were shouting out the wrong lyrics at the wrong time or worst of all-singing during breaks in the music which caused the audience to laugh which must have been very distracting for the performers on stage. I totally understand that the majority of people know the songs from Grease inside out but it’s incredibly frustrating when the focus is taken off the actors who are literally paid to put on a show. Also, there is a mega-mix at the end of the show where everyone is encouraged to get up and dance with all their hearts out so the audience should keep participating to mostly this point! On a much more positive note a quick thank you needs to go to Wales Millennium Centre who had done everything within their power to rearrange a booking to see Grease after the shows earlier in the week were cancelled due to cast change/illness!
Overall, Grease is a musical that showcases the endurance of its ensemble members while showcasing the vocal abilities of many of the key characters. I was pleasantly surprised by the inclusion of icon Peter Andre where he showcase his singing abilities and surprising dancing skills where it was clear that he was also having a great time performing! I love any musical that contains a mega-mix at the end of the show which should be the only opportunity for the audience to get involved.
Grand Opera House York – until Friday 3rd December
Review by Zoe Giles
Elf the Musical is brought to us here in York by the producer who brought us SHREK, The Sound of Music, Ghost and many more West end and Broadway productions NiK Briggs and York stage Ltd is the director. Based on the classic festive favourite film Elf staring Will Ferrell, Elf is the story of an orphan baby who unwittingly sneaks into Santa’s bag one Christmas and gets taken back to the north pole where unaware he is actually a human Buddy is cared for and raised by Santa and the elves. As Buddy continues to grow to an enormous size and his complete inability to work and produce toys to the same quantity or quality of the elves he has to face the truth that he is actually a human, with Santa’s blessing Buddy sets of on the adventure of a life time to New York City to find his birth father and remind him of what Christmas really means and relight his Christmas spirit.
The set designers have obviously put a lot of thought into how to create a winter wonderland and in doing so have created a giant snowball giving the effect that the performers are inside a beautiful snow globe and although the props and set may not be wild or as elaborate as some other shows they certainly set the mood for each section of the story , costume design was incredible so much thought and effort had gone into them especially the “little elves”, along with music from Tony award nominees Matthew Sklar and Chad Beguelin (The Wedding Singer), with book by Tony Award Winners Thomas Meehan (Annie, The Producers, Hairspray) and Bob Martin (The Drowsy Chaperone)
Damien Poole with his wealth of stage musicals and back ground is totally believable as the lovable elf Buddy, having previously worked for over ten years in the West end in shows such as Grease, Shrek the Musical and Groundhog Day, his energy, movement, comedy and mannerism’s and of course vocals, will keep the audience engaged throughout this stage production.
Very clever and subtle adult and topical humour also pops up from time to time to keep slightly more mature members of the audience engaged and belly laughing as well as the usual Buddy the elf antics and funny moments we have all grown to love from the movie which are cleverly incorporated onto the stage.
The cast are all amazing and have wonderful stage awareness, the way in which they used all of their bodies to implement different movement, dancing, delivery of lines and of course singing, special mention to the young actor playing Buddy’s younger brother Michael who had an outstanding voice defiantly a future west end star in the making. Praise must go to all those behind the scenes such as make up, hair, sound and light technician’s and I’m sure a thousand and one other people who help to make this show truly magical and a great experience for everyone to enjoy.
If you are a fan of the movie Elf you must go and see this magical musical as it is suitable for the whole family to enjoy together it really does get you into the Christmas mood and fill you with Christmas Spirit.
As the National Theatre celebrates one year of its on-demand streaming platform National Theatre at Home, it adds 6 new productions including acclaimed Antony & Cleopatra and War Horse in time for Christmas
Available today is Antony & Cleopatra with Ralph Fiennes and Sophie Okonedo
War Horse will be on the platform for worldwide audiences for the first time, to watch anytime anywhere from 1 December.
East is East, Hedda Gabler, Saloméand 50 Years on Stage coming soon
Ahead of National Theatre at Home’s one year anniversary on 1 December, the National Theatre has today announced the next filmed productions to be added to the streaming service, which is supported by Bloomberg Philanthropies.
Joining the platform today is Simon Godwin’s critically acclaimed 2018 production of Antony & Cleopatra in the Olivier theatre, with Ralph Fiennes and Sophie Okonedo playing Shakespeare’s famous fated couple. Then the iconic and multi-award-winning production of War Horse, based on the novel by Michael Morpurgo, will be available from 1 December until 31 January 2022 on demand internationally for the first time since its premiere 14 years ago. It will be available with British Sign Language, audio description and captions.
Coming soon to the platform will be the recent Birmingham Rep co-production of East is East in the Lyttelton theatre following the much-loved film; Yaël Farber’s 2017 play Salomé; Ivo van Hove’s production of Hedda Gabler with Ruth Wilson and Rafe Spall and 50 Years on Stage – a filmed on-stage celebration of 50 years of the NT from 2013 which features Britain’s greatest actors including Dame Judi Dench, Derek Jacobi, Simon Russell Beale, Dame Helen Mirren, Benedict Cumberbatch, Adrian Lester among many more.
Over the last year, new productions have been added each month and there are now 41 productions available to stream on the platform, including newly filmed shows from the NT’s stages and classics from the archives. It has been nearly a year since the platform launched and, in that time, National Theatre at Home has been streamed in 130 countries for over 17 million minutes and gifted 7,300 times.
Available to watch online anywhere in the world at any time, all productions are available with captions and 23 have audio description.
Emma Keith, Director of Digital Media for the National Theatre, said: “We are delighted and proud to be celebrating a whole year of our on-demand international streaming platform National Theatre at Home. It has been an honour to provide audiences with some of these much-loved titles from National Theatre Live and our Archive and to see the audience responses. We’ve heard from audiences who are sharing the experience with loved ones in separate homes or countries, or those who have gathered together in person. Some audiences returning to a forgotten favourite they watched live or in the cinema, some discovering productions afresh. In a year we have managed to make over 41 productions available and look forward to working with our creative teams, co-producers and casts to keep building the library even further. There are lots of exciting titles still to come this Christmas and into the new year!”
Jemma Read, Global Head of Corporate Philanthropy at Bloomberg L.P, said: “At Bloomberg, we believe in the power of art and performance to inspire creativity and spark collaboration. We’re immensely proud that through our partnership with the NT on National Theatre at Home, communities across the globe are able to access world-leading productions and can deepen their engagement through the National Theatre guide on the Bloomberg Connects app.”
National Theatre at Home is available now at ntathome.com, with single titles available from £5.99 – £8.99, a monthly subscription for £9.99 or a yearly subscription for £99.99.
Gift subscriptions are available for anything between 1 month and 12 months.
National Theatre at Home is supported by Bloomberg Philanthropies.
National Theatre at Home is also supported by The Linbury Trust.
Antony & Cleopatra
Ralph Fiennes and Sophie Okonedo play Shakespeare’s famous fated couple in his great tragedy of politics, passion and power. Directed by Simon Godwin (Romeo & Juliet, Hansard).
Caesar and his assassins are dead. General Mark Antony now rules alongside his fellow defenders of Rome. But at the fringes of war-torn empire the Egyptian Queen Cleopatra and Mark Antony have fallen fiercely in love. In a tragic fight between devotion and duty, obsession becomes a catalyst for war.
Directed by Simon Godwin, set design by Hildegard Bechtler, costume design by Evie Gurney, lighting design by Tim Lutkin, music by Michael Bruce, movement direction by Johnathan Goddard and Shelley Maxwell, sound design by Christopher Shutt, video design by Luke Halls and fight direction by Kev McCurdy.
With Ralph Fiennes as Antony and Sophie Okonedo as Cleopatra, the cast also includes Tunji Kasim, Katy Stephens, Fisayo Akinade, Gloria Obianyo, Georgia Landers, Hiba Elchikhe, Tim McMullan, Ben Wiggins, Shazia Nicholls, Nicholas Le Prevost, Sam Woolf, Sargon Yelda, Gerald Gyimah, Waleed Hammad, Nick Sampson, Hannah Morrish, Alan Turkington, Alexander Cobb, Henry Everett, Samuel Arnold and Catherine Deevy.
Filmed by National Theatre Live, a production from the National Theatre.
Available at least until 26 November 2022.
The winner of more than 25 international awards, including the Tony Award for Best Play on Broadway, War Horse, which has been seen by eight million people worldwide, is directed by Marianne Elliott and Tom Morris. Nick Stafford’s adaptation of Michael Morpurgo’s remarkable story of courage, loyalty and friendship tells the story of a young boy called Albert and his horse Joey, set against the backdrop of the First World War. This powerfully moving and imaginative drama is a show of phenomenal inventiveness, filled with stirring music and songs, featuring ground-breaking puppetry work by South Africa’s Handspring Puppet Company, which brings breathing, galloping horses to life on stage. At the outbreak of World War One, Albert’s beloved horse, Joey, is sold to the Cavalry and shipped to France. Though still not old enough to enlist he embarks on a treacherous mission to find him and bring him home.
War Horse is designed by Rae Smith, with puppet direction, design and fabrication by Basil Jones and Adrian Kohler for Handspring Puppet Company, lighting by Paule Constable, and movement and horse choreography by Toby Sedgwick, with video design by Leo Warner and Mark Grimmer for 59 Productions, songmaker John Tams, music by Adrian Sutton and sound by Christopher Shutt.
Filmed by National Theatre Live, a production from the National Theatre.
Available from 1 December 2021 until 31 January 2022.
Dirty Dancing – The Classic Story On Stage announces West End run and celebrates 35th anniversary of iconic film Dominion Theatre, London Wednesday 2nd February – Saturday 16th April 2022
Producer Karl Sydow is delighted to announce the West End return of a dazzlingly renewed version of Dirty Dancing – The Classic Story On Stage, following a sell-out 2021 UK and Ireland tour. The iconic story of Baby and Johnny, featuring the hit songs ‘Hungry Eyes’, ‘Hey! Baby’, ‘Do You Love Me?’ and the heart stopping ‘(I’ve Had) The Time Of My Life’, returns to London following two blockbuster West End runs, four hit UK tours, and multiple sensational international productions.
Dirty Dancing is back! Exploding with heart-pounding music, breath-taking emotion and sensationally sexy dancing, see the hit film come to life before your eyes with this fantastic, emotional and triumphant live stage show
Seen by millions across the globe, this worldwide smash tells the classic story of Baby and Johnny, two fiercely independent young spirits from different worlds, who come together in what will be the most challenging and triumphant summer of their lives.
Producer Karl Sydow said, We can’t wait to bring this amazing show back to the West End, after dazzling audiences across the UK and Ireland. Now more than ever, theatre needs the excitement and joy that Dirty Dancing brings – you’ll have the time of your life!
Featuring the original 1987 script by Eleanor Bergstein and directed by Federico Bellone (West Side Story, Milan; Sunset Boulevard, Milan), the creative team are completed by lighting designer Valerio Tiberi (Ghost the Musical, Italian national tour), sound designer Armando Vertullo (Jersey Boys, Italian national tour), supervising musical director Richard John (Legally Blonde, Savoy Theatre; Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, Savoy Theatre), choreographer Austin Wilks (Dirty Dancing – The Classic Story on Stage, Piccadilly Theatre) and costume designer Jennifer Irwin (Royal New Zealand Ballet, Opening and Closing Ceremonies of the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games).
THE BEST EXOTIC MARIGOLD HOTEL, ADAPTED FOR THE STAGE, TO TOUR THE UK FOR THE FIRST TIME IN 2022
PRIOR TO THE WEST END
Deborah Moggach’s feel-good tale of love, adventure and starting-over, makes its stage debut next year, directed by Lucy Bailey.
Simon Friend Entertainment is today delighted to announce that a brand-new stage adaptation of The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel is set to be a major new theatre production. Written by Deborah Moggach, adapted from her bestselling novel which inspired the BAFTA and Golden Globe-nominated film, and directed by Lucy Bailey, the cherished story will be brought to life on stage when it opens at the Richmond Theatre on Tuesday, 30th August 2022.
The tour then visits Lyceum Theatre,Sheffield; Theatre Royal, Brighton; Theatre Royal, Glasgow; Theatre Royal, Newcastle; Hall for Cornwall, Truro; Churchill Theatre, Bromley; Theatre Royal, Norwich; Curve, Leicester; The Lowry, Salford and the New Victoria Theatre, Woking before concluding at Theatre Royal, Bath next December. Further dates in 2023 are to be announced.
Based on the Sunday Times bestseller which inspired one of this century’s most treasured films, The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel takes us on a journey to India with an eclectic group of British retirees as they embark on a new life. The luxury residence is far from the opulence they were promised, but as their lives begin to intertwine and they embrace the vibrancy of modern-day India, they are charmed in unexpected and life-changing ways.
The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel is a joyous, feel-good comedy about taking risks, finding love and embracing second chances, even in the most surprising of places.
Based on Deborah Moggach’s 2004 novel These Foolish Things, the film The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel (directed by John Madden) saw its UK theatrical release in 2012. Within two weeks of its cinematic distribution, the film had topped the UK Box Office and went on to become a hit internationally performing as one of the highest-grossing films of 2012 in Australia and New Zealand as well as the United Kingdom.
The interlinked stories of the film’s stellar ensemble, which included Judi Dench, Bill Nighy, Maggie Smith, Penelope Wilson, Tom Wilkinson, Celie Imrie and Ronald Pickup – with Dev Patel as the put-upon owner of a past-it-best hotel for ‘the elderly and beautiful’ – shone a light on issues such as the outsourcing of care and NHS treatments, the complexity of family relationships around the world, love, compassion and companionship in our twilight years.
Deborah Moggach says of today’s announcement:
“I’m so thrilled that my characters are stepping into a new life on the stage. They’ve been waiting impatiently for the curtain to rise, and none of them is getting any younger. So welcome again to the Marigold Hotel! We’re assembling an amazing cast, so I hope they bring you plenty of laughs and some warm sparks of recognition.”
Producer Simon Friend continues:
“I have been a huge fan of Deborah Moggach’s writing for years, so it’s an honour to work with her on this exciting new adaptation of her beloved story, which I feel has always called out to be experienced as live theatre.“
Deborah Moggach has written 20 novels including These Foolish Things which became The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, directed by John Madden. Deborah’s screenplay for the 2005 Working Title movie of Pride and Prejudice, starring Keira Knightley and Matthew McFadyen, was nominated for a BAFTA. Adaptations of other writers’ work include Nancy Mitford’s Love in a Cold Climate, The Diary of Anne Frank and Anne Fine’s Goggle-Eyes, which won the Writers’ Guild Award for Best Adapted TV Serial. The movie, Tulip Fever, based on her novel of the same name starred Christoph Waltz and Judi Dench. Deborah has adapted some of her other novels for television: Seesaw, Close Relations, Stolen and Final Demand.Double Take, Deborah’s first original stage play was produced at the Minerva Theatre, Chichester.
Lucy Bailey directs the new production.Lucy studied English at Oxford University where she directed the world premiere of Lessness by Samuel Beckett. Recent productions include: David Mamet’s Oleanna (UK Tour & West End); Gaslight (UK Tour); Witness for the Prosecution (London’s County Hall); Ghosts (Royal & Derngate, Northampton); Switzerland (Bath Ustinov / West End); Cave (a site specific opera for London Sinfonietta and Royal Opera House, at the Print Works, London); Comus, A Masque in Honour of Chastity (Sam Wanamaker Playhouse, Globe); Kenny Morgan (Arcola, London).
The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel is produced by Simon Friend.
Birmingham Rep is delighted to welcome back to its stage the enchanting production of The Snowman running for a limited season from Thursday 6 – Sunday 9 January 2022.
‘Irresistible piece of nostalgia’ ★★★★ Sunday Express
The much-loved magical, live stage show, created at The REP in 1993, tells the story of a young boy’s adventures when his snowman comes miraculously to life on Christmas Eve. Featuring a dazzling array of colourful characters including dancing penguins, a beautiful snow princess, wicked Jack Frost and of course, Father Christmas himself, The Snowman is a treat for all the family and a perfect introduction to theatre and dance for the very young.
The production, which features the music of Howard Blake who wrote the show’s additional music whilst backstage at the theatre, is the longest running Christmas show in English theatre history and has delighted audiences of all ages for over 25 years.
‘Sheer theatrical magic. Go see The Snowman and melt’ The Times
This enchanting production features a total of 60 stunning costumes made by hand by The Rep’s wardrobe department with each of the 11 snowman costumes taking 1 week to make from more than 11 miles of white net.
Inspired by the film directed by Dianne Jackson and produced by John Coates, The Rep’s production of The Snowman features virtuoso choreography by Robert North, direction by Bill Alexander, design by Ruari Murchison, lighting by Tim Mitchell and unforgettable music and lyrics by Howard Blake – including the timeless ‘Walking in the Air’.
Schools Performances: Thursday 6 January and Friday 7 January. Relaxed performance Saturday 8 January. Audio Described Performance Sunday 9 January.
‘The Rolls-Royce of children’s entertainment’ Evening Standard
In line with current Government regulations, The Rep is now open to full capacity, but we continue to take a number of carefully managed steps and precautions to help audiences feel safe and enjoy their chosen performance. The wearing of masks is encouraged throughout the building and additional cleaning will continue.
Digital Theatre+ partners with Sonia Friedman Productions to Provide Education Platform for Uncle Vanya
From Thursday 25th November, Schools, universities, and educational institutions all over the world will be able to see Conor McPherson’s stunning adaptation of Chekov’s masterpiece Uncle Vanya thanks to a partnership with producers Sonia Friedman Productions and Digital Theatre+, Digital Theatre’s education platform.
The original run of Sonia Friedman Production’s sold-out stage production of Uncle Vanya at the Harold Pinter Theatre was cut short due to the COVID-19 pandemic. In the midst of the first lockdown Sonia Friedman Productions and Angelica Films, in association with BBC Arts, commissioned a film of the stage production, which received critical acclaim and went onto win the Theatre Award at the South Bank Sky Arts Awards 2021.
Now this award-winning filmwill be made available alongside a suite of educational resources produced by Digital Theatre+ designed to support teachers and educators in inspiring and engaging students studying the play.
The collaboration between Digital Theatre + and Sonia Friedman Productions follows earlier successful collaborations on Funny Girl (with Sky) and Ghosts (with the Almeida) and is among a number of partnerships Digital Theatre+ has with theatres and producers worldwide to capture and share original content with the education sector. Educational support packages are tailored to fit each production and can include including biographies, documentaries, essays, lectures, workshops, study guides, and interviews alongside other learning aids.
The two-hour film of Uncle Vanya is directed by Olivier Award-nominated Ian Rickson and features a superlative cast including Toby Jones, Richard Armitage, Rosalind Eleazar, Aimee Lou Wood, Anna Calder-Marshall, Dearbhla Molloy, Peter Wight and Roger Allam, and is directed for screen by Ross MacGibbon.
Sonia Friedman said: “One of the most important roles of a producer is to develop audiences of the future and to do everything possible to make theatre accessible for all. It’s a responsibility we take very seriously at Sonia Friedman Productions, and something we seek to promote across all our work. As such, we’re thrilled to partner with Digital Theatre Plus to make our award-winning production of Uncle Vanya available to students across the UK.
The original run of Ian Rickson’s critically acclaimed, sold out, truly mesmeric production was cut short in March 2020 due to the pandemic. In a new version by Conor McPherson, this production had such a profound impact on audiences, that once we realised it would be impossible to bring the company back together to complete our run, we knew we had to find a way to preserve this work. So, together with our partners at Angelica Films and the BBC we were able, in the midst of strict lockdown, to produce a film of this work specifically for cinema and television.
In the empty Harold Pinter Theatre in July 2020, we were the first company to reunite to create and commit work to film. The production lost none of its beauty and power on screen, with Ross MacGibbon’s screen direction enabling Ian’s and my vision so perfectly. It was such a moment of hope in a very bleak time for the theatre industry, and I believe set a new standard for filmed theatre.”
Ian Rickson, director of the celebrated work said ‘I am delighted that Digital Theatre are able to share ‘Uncle Vanya’ on its education platform. It’s one of the great plays, which speaks to every generation in a deeply profound way. Its concerns about inheritance, equality and the environment feel so contemporary, and the performances are richly alive.’
Neelay Patel, CEO of Digital Theatre+ said “We are delighted that Digital Theatre+ will provide access to this powerful new adaptation of Uncle Vanya to students around the world. Chekhov is a key playwright on many global curricula, and Conor McPherson’s adaptation of this seminal play will be an important addition to our educational platform.”.
Digital Theatre+ is a global educational platform focused on the teaching of English and Performing Arts. The company works with all levels of education from age 11 up to Higher Education. Digital Theatre+ partners with the theatre industry, sharing captured and original content globally with educators and students from companies such as Frantic Assembly, Royal Shakespeare Company, Gecko, Complicite and the Lincoln Centre. DT+ works with theatre professionals to support their commitment to education, and to help instil a passion for theatre in young people that will help create the theatre goers of tomorrow.