Bat out of Hell Review

Southampton Mayflower – until 2nd July 2022

Reviewed by Lucy Hitchcock


Jim Steinman and Meatloaf’s classics have been adapted for a stage musical and what a treat it is!!

We follow the lives of Strat (Glenn Adamson) and Raven (Martha Kirby) as they fight to be together-Strat is a lost boy, frozen in time living in hiding whilst Raven is a teen Vogue model. Once the two finally meet, there is a true chemistry that fills the stage-a testament to these actors. Adamson has arguably the most challenging role in the show, as he is tasked with singing the titular ‘Bat out of Hell’. His vocals are impressive and it was so easy to be lost in his performance. He is a very skilled performer and made the songs truly his own-giving the performance of a lifetime! Martha Kirby as ‘Raven’ was also superb. She excelled during ‘It’s all Coming Back to me Now’ and had the perfect balance of a confused girl in love and the will to rebel. There wasn’t a moment when these two faltered, owing them a congratulation. 

The other two stand out performers were ‘Falco’ and ‘Sloane’ (Rob Fowler and Franziska Schuster) as ‘Raven’s parents. These two again had amazing chemistry and sang wonderfully, creating a beautiful harmony throughout every number. There is much to be said also, for the ensemble. This group of performers are incredible and made for a brilliant show. There were, at times, some points where the choreography was a little out of time with each other, but this was not a massive issue. 

Technically, this is a standout show. With camera work, flames, motorbikes and explosions, you will not have a minute where you are wanting more! Together with Steve Sidwell (orchestrator) this is a feat of a show! 

The band and cast  were exquisite and gave as close to a Meatloaf performance as you could get. We were also very lucky to be treated to the local Harley Davidson club conducting a drive by for the opening night, really making the evening special. 

I would do anything for love, but miss this show? No. I won’t do that!!!



Donmar Warehouse Artistic Director Michael Longhurst and Executive Director Henny Finch today announce casting for the UK première of Dawn King’s The Trialsdirected by Natalie Abrahami, which also goes on sale today. Elise Alexandre, Francis Dourado, Jowana El-Daouk, Will Gao, Pelumi Ibiloye, Honor Kneafsey, Joe Locke, Rue Millwood, Charlie Reid, Meréana Tomlinson, Taya Tower and Jairaj Varsani will perform as the jury, and are joined by Nigel Lindsay and Sharon Small as defendants.  This Donmar LOCAL production runs at the Donmar Warehouse from 12 August until 27 August 2022. Over 50 £10 tickets per performance will be available to audiences under 30, with a special YOUNG+FREE performance for audiences aged 16-25 on 17 August.

Michael Longhurst, Donmar Warehouse Artistic Director said “Dawn King’s explosive new play about the climate crisis demands we consider the generation most affected.  I am proud that as part of our casting process for The Trials the Donmar has created an extensive engagement programme with young Londoners from our community, opening routes into the industry and platforming the next generation of actors and activists.”

As part of the casting process, 1372 young people were engaged through schools and community groups and a further 206 young people were engaged in intensive development workshops for the play at Royal Central School of Speech and Drama (RCSSD), with support from National Youth Theatre. During this phase of the project, the participants worked with Dawn King, had sessions in voice, movement and performance skills, took part in sessions on climate activism, and devised new work on the subject of climate justice. Over half of the company will make their professional debuts at the Donmar this Summer.

Principal Lecturer and Course Leader of MA Applied Theatre at RCSSD, Professor Selina Busby, commented “This project is really exciting, the Donmar’s approach to involving local communities and young people in their work is unique and highly ambitious. We have loved partnering with them on the project and it was a vital opportunity for so many young people to be involved in theatre making at a time when cuts to school theatre provision and to the arts and youth services are reducing these opportunities.” 

Working with Julie’s Bicycleand Donmar Associate Zoë Svendsen, and with guidance from the Theatre Green Book, the creative team for The Trials is focused on minimising the impact of the production on the environment. The aim is to create a piece of theatre in which every possible element is either reused or recycled and can be returned to the theatre ecosystem for use in future productions. The team will monitor and track the decision-making process in every department, collating their learning and ultimately generating a framework for sustainable productions at the Donmar and beyond.

Junior creatives are also being recruited to shadow the creative team in roles including Junior Assistant Set & Costume and Junior Assistant Director, supported by the Backstage Trust as part of the Donmar’s ongoing commitment to talent development.

Also announced today is the release of Climate Conversationsa new podcast series bringing together Donmar directors and leading climate and social justice thinkers.

This podcast series was recorded during an 18-month research project the Donmar is currently undertaking.  Bringing together artists and staff, facilitated by Donmar Artistic Associate and Climate Dramaturg Zoë Svendsen, this research is exploring new ways of working and thinking in order to create the conditions for more climate-careful theatre-making. The first podcast will be available in July.

Tickets for The Trials are on sale to Donmar members from Wednesday 29 June, and on public sale Friday 1 July. 

Wed 29 June 10am Director’s Forum & Steel Members

Wed 29 June 2pm Copper Members

Thu 30 June 10am Friends

Fri 1 July 10am Public booking




by Dawn King

Jurors: Elise Alexandre, Francis Dourado, Jowana El-Daouk, Will Gao, Pelumi Ibiloye, Honor Kneafsey, Joe Locke, Rue Millwood, Charlie Reid, Meréana Tomlinson, Taya Tower, Jairaj Varsani

Defendants: Nigel Lindsay, Sharon Small

Director: Natalie Abrahami; DesignerGeorgia Lowe; Lighting Designer: Jai Morjaria; Sound Designer and Composer: Xana; Movement Directors: Anna Morrissey and Aaron Parsons; Video Designer: Nina Dunn; Voice Coach: Emma Woodvine; Associate Director: Joseph Hancock; Sustainability Consultants: Julie’s Bicycle; Production Dramatherapist: Wabriya King

12 August – 27 August 2022

It’s easy for you to accuse me now but you don’t understand. Everyone lived like we did! Well maybe not everyone, everyone. But…I wasn’t any worse than anyone else. 

The near future.

The climate crisis is unfolding and our generation is being judged.

The jurors? Children. But are they delivering justice, or serving revenge?

In this searing new play by Dawn King, the next generation of talentstar alongside leading actors, directed by Natalie Abrahami.

A Donmar LOCAL Production: identifying talent of the future and proudly platforming them and the issues that matter.

The Trials received its world première at the Düsseldorfer Schauspielhaus in 2021 and was a finalist for the Susan Smith Blackburn Prize. This production is generously supported by Adam and Victoria Freudenheim. The Trials Young Assistants’ Programme is generously supported by the Backstage Trust.

With thanks to Charles Holloway, Season Supporter


Elise Alexandre plays Amelia. For theatre, her credits include The Ferryman (The Royal Court Theatre, Gielgud Theatre) and Fireworks (Performing International Plays); and for film, Radioactive.

Francis Dourado (he/him) is making his professional stage debut as Mohammad. Francis has been a member of the Boury Academy and The Hebe Foundation where he has performed in productions of Into the Woods and Romeo and Juliet.

Jowana El-Daouk (she/they) is making her professional stage debut as Gabi. Jowana has previously worked with Dream Arts, an acting group which focused on writing and performing plays. She has also performed in a school production of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat.

Will Gao plays Xander. For theatre, his work includes NYT / London Fashion Week (National Youth Theatre), A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Glyndebourne Opera) and Shakespeare 400 (Royal Festival Hall). For television, his work includes Heartstopper; and he is also in the band The Wasia Project.

Pelumi Ibiloye is making his professional stage debut as Marek. He is a member of the Pauline Quirke Academy.

Honor Kneafsey plays Ren. For theatre her work includes Evita (Bill Kenwright), The Sound of Music (Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre) and Scrooge (Bill Kenwright). For television, her work includes Sick Note, Babs, Benidorm, Sherlock, Siblings, Our Zoo, X Company and Friday Night Dinner; and film includes Napoleon, Legacy of Lies, A Christmas Prince – The Royal Baby, A Christmas Prince – The Royal Wedding, Crooked House, A Christmas Prince, The Bookshop, Butterfly Kisses, Slumbers, Miss You Already, and Wolfwalkers

Joe Locke (he/him) is making his professional stage debut as Noah. His television work includes Heartstopper.

Rue Millwood (they/them) is making their professional stage debut as Chris. Rue has been a member of the National Youth Theatre for the past year, recently performing in an NYT members play Speak Out about the experiences of young trans people, as well as the NYT Big Weekender at the Royal Court Theatre.  Rue has a keen interest in physical theatre and is part of the London Youth Circus.

Charlie Reid plays Tomaz. For theatre, his credits include Romeo & Juliet (Shakespeare for Schools Festival at The Watersmeet Theatre); and for film, The Bird Game; Boys Will Be Boys; The Most Reluctant Convert

Meréana Tomlinson is making her professional stage debut as Kako. Meréana has been a member of The South London Youth Theatre for the past two years, where she has performed in a production of Macbeth. Meréana remains an active member of the youth group. 

Taya Tower plays Zoe. For the Donmar: [BLANK]. Other theatre includes: The Hunt (Almeida Theatre). She is the winner of The Stage Debut Award 2019 for Young Performer of the Year. Radio includes: The Voyage of St Louis (BBC Radio 4). Training includes: Stages Performing Arts – Dance (iSTD Ballet, Tap and Modern, Freestyle, Street and Jazz).

Jairaj Varsani (he/him) is making his professional stage debut as Adnan. For television, his work includes Great Expectations, Foundation, Small Axe, Avenue 5 and Hetty Feather; and for film, The Personal History of David Copperfield.


Nigel Lindsay returns to the Donmar for The Trials – he previously appeared in The Same Deep Water as Me. For theatre, his work includes Faith Healer (Abbey Theatre), God of Carnage (Theatre Royal Bath), Harrogate, Sucker Punch (Royal Court Theatre), Guys and Dolls (Phoenix Theatre), Bull (Young Vic), Speed-the-Plow (Playhouse Theatre), A Small Family Business (National Theatre), Richard II (RSC), Shrek the Musical (Olivier Award nomination), Broken Glass (Tricycle Theatre – WhatsOnStage Award for Best Supporting Actor), and Under the Blue Sky (Duke of York’s Theatre). His television work includes The Chelsea Detective, Salisbury, Tin Star, Plebs, The Last Kingdom, The Capture, No Offence, Safe, White Gold, Innocent, Unforgotten, Victoria, Death in Paradise and Gifted; and for film, Six Minutes to Midnight, Dead in a Week (Or Your Money Back), Access All Areas, Alan Partridge: Alpha Papa, Breakfast with Jonny Wilkinson, Four Lions (Nomination for Best British Comedy Performance in Film), First Night, Scoop and Rogue Trader.

Sharon Small returns to the Donmar for The Trials – she previously appeared in The Threepenny Opera and Life is a Dream. For theatre, her work includes Still Alice (West Yorkshire Playhouse), The Threepenny Opera, Men Should Weep, London Cuckolds (National Theatre), Luna Gale (Hampstead Theatre), Carmen Disruption (Almeida Theatre), Arden of Faversham (RSC), Spur of the Moment (Royal Court Theatre), Lear (Sheffield Crucible Theatre), When Harry Met Sally… (Theatre Royal Haymarket) and The Nun (Greenwich Studio Theatre). Her television work includes Taggart, Roughnecks, An Independent Man, Doctor Finlay, The Bill, Hamish Macbeth, No Child of Mine, Sunburn, Glasgow Kiss, Cutting It, The Inspector, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Rebus, Nina and the Neurons, Murderland, Mistresses, Agatha Christie’s Marple, Downton Abbey, Kidnap and Ransom, New Tricks, Silent Witness, Call the Midwife, Death in Paradise, Midsomer Murders, Law & Order: UK, Stonemouth, Born to Kill, Trust Me, London Kills, Flesh and Blood and The Bay; and for film, Bumping the Odds, Bite, Driven, About a Boy, Dear Frankie, Belly Button and Last Chance Harvey.

Dawn King is an award-winning writer working in theatre, film, TV, VR and radio. Her work for the stage includes Foxfinder (originally produced by Papatango Theatre Company at The Finborough in 2011 and revived in a West End production at The Ambassadors in 2018 – winner of National Theatre Foundation Playwright Award 2013, Papatango New Writing Competition 2011 and Most Promising Playwright, Off West End awards 2012, and a finalist for the Susan Smith Blackburn Prize 2012 and the James Tait Black drama prize 2012, Brave New World, Ciphers and Salt. She also co-created immersive dystopian rave DYSTOPIA987 for Manchester International Festival 2019 (a collaboration with Skepta). Her short film The Karman Line won 17 awards including the BIFA for Best Short and was BAFTA nominated in 2014.

Natalie Abrahami is a theatre, opera and film director. Her forthcoming production of Antonín Dvořák’s Rusalka which she is creating with choreographer Ann Yee, premieres at the Royal Opera House in February 2023. Collaboration sits at the heart of Natalie’s practice and has done ever since she was Artistic Director of the Gate Theatre, Notting Hill with Carrie Cracknell for five years. During their tenure they were awarded the Paul Hamlyn Breakthrough Fund for Creative Entrepreneurs. Natalie moved on to join the Young Vic as Associate Director where she directed Juliet Stevenson in Happy Days and Wings,George Mackay in Ah, Wilderness! and Natalie Dormer in After Miss Julie. Natalie collaborated with Ella Hickson to create Swive [Elizabeth] for the Sam Wanamaker Playhouse at Shakespeare’s Globe, and to direct ANNA the immersive binaural sound piece created by sound designers Ben and Max Ringham at the National Theatre. Other work for theatre includes: The Meeting (Chichester Festival Theatre), Machinal (Almeida Theatre), Queen Anne (Royal Shakespeare Company and Theatre Royal Haymarket), How the Whale Became and Other Tales (Linbury, Royal Opera House), The Eleventh Capital (Royal Court Theatre), A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Headlong), Pericles (Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre), Yerma (Hull Truck), Play and Not I (Battersea Arts Centre), and for the Gate Theatre, Vanya and The Kreutzer Sonata (which later transferred to La MaMa, New York). For film, her work includes MaydayThe Roof and Life’s a Pitch.



41 Earlham Street, Seven Dials, London WC2H 9LX

Box Office: / 020 3282 3808       


Evenings Mon – Sat: 7.30pm

Matinees Thu & Sat: 2.30pm


The Trials

£45 / £32.50 / £20 / £10 standing 

£10 tickets for audiences under 30 – you may be asked to show ID on arrival at the theatre


Wednesday 17 August will be a special YOUNG + FREE performance, with free tickets for under 26-year-olds available to book via ballot. Sign up at


New tickets on sale every day at the Donmar. Allocations of tickets will be made available every day for performances 7 days later. Tickets will be available across the auditorium at every price band.


The Donmar Warehouse is fully wheelchair accessible. Guide dogs and hearing dogs are welcome in the auditorium. There is a Loop system and a Radio Frequency system fitted in the main auditorium and there are also hearing loops at all the front of house counters.


If you require a companion to attend the Donmar, their ticket will be free. To book call 020 3282 3808 or email [email protected].

For all other access enquiries or bookings call 020 3282 3808.


12 August – 27 August 2022

Captioned: Thursday 25 August 7.30pm

Audio-Described: Friday 26 August 7.30pm

British Sign Language Interpreted: Saturday 27 August 2.30pm

Principal Cast Announced for FISHERMAN’S FRIENDS: THE MUSICAL






The producers of the world premiere production of FISHERMAN’S FRIENDS: THE MUSICAL are delighted to announce principal cast members and additional tour venues for the UK & Ireland Tour, setting sail from 1 September 2022 at Theatre Royal Plymouth.

James Gaddas (Casualty (BBC One), Bad Girls (ITV), Coronation Street (ITV), The Girls, Billy Elliot, Monty Python’s Spamalot, MAMMA MIA! (All West End) will play Jim, with Parisa Shahmir (The Snow Queen (The Rose Theatre), The Last Ship (Northern Stage, UK & Ireland Tour) and MAMMA MIA! (UK Tour) will play his daughter, Alwyn. Robert Duncan (Drop the Dead Donkey (Channel 4), Casualty (BBC), Where the Heart Is (ITV) Twelve Angry Men (Garrick Theatre, UK & Ireland Tour) will play Jago with Susan Penhaligon (Bouquet of Barbed Wire (ITV), Emmerdale (ITV), A Fine Romance (ITV), Three Sisters, The Real Thing, Mr Love, The Maintenance Man, Dangerous Corner and Of Mice and Men (all West End) will play his wife, Maggie. Anton Stephans (finalist in The X Factor ITV), Blues Brothers Meet Soul Sisters (Theatre Royal, Windsor), Porgy and Bess (UK Tour), Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Starlight Express (UK Tour) Smokey Joe’s Cafe (1st UK Tour/Broadway and US Tour) will play Leadville.

Further casting to be announced.

The UK & Ireland Tour follows a highly successful, sold-out season at Hall for Cornwall, where box office records were smashed, making it the biggest selling production in Hall for Cornwall’s 25-year history. The production will also make its North American premiere in Toronto this Christmas in the Royal Alexandra Theatre.

FISHERMAN’S FRIENDS: THE MUSICAL is based on the true story of the Cornish singing sensations, Fisherman’s Friends, and the hit 2019 film about their life.  When a group of Cornish fishermen came together to sing the traditional working songs they’d sung for generations, they hoped to raise a few quid for charity.  Nobody, least of all the fishermen, expected their story to end on the Pyramid stage of Glastonbury.  Packed with sea shanties, FISHERMAN’S FRIENDS is a feelgood voyage about friendship, community and music.

Featuring hit shanties made famous by the band including Keep Haulin’Nelson’s BloodNo Hopers Jokers & Rogues and many more.

FISHERMAN’S FRIENDS: THE MUSICAL is directed by James Grieve and written by Amanda Whittington with choreography by Matt Cole, musical direction by James Findlay, set and costume design by Lucy Osborne, musical supervision and arrangements by David White, sound design by Dan Samson, lighting design by Johanna Town and casting by Jim Arnold.  

The hit 2019 FISHERMAN’S FRIENDS movie, with a screenplay by Nick Moorcroft, Meg Leonard and Piers Ashworth delighted fans across the world with the sequel film, Fisherman’s Friends: One and All, set to be released in the UK on 19 August 2022. 

FISHERMAN’S FRIENDS: THE MUSICAL is produced by ROYO, Flying Fish Productions, Mighty Village, with Island Records, David Mirvish and Cornwall Playhouse Productions.


Facebook: @FFonstage

Twitter: @FFonstage

Instagram: @FFonstage 


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Boeing Boeing Review

Yvonne Arnaud – until 2nd July 2022

Reviewed by Heather Chalkley


Boing Boing Press photos © Sheila Burnett

Director Michael Cabot and the Designer Bek Palmer have captured the era in this delicious farce perfectly, delivering a much acclaimed play that has had success all over the world since it was written in 1962. This is not just a funny show it also poses a question – is it possible for a man to dupe three strong, independent women before things fall apart and can he be forgiven?

An apartment in 1960’s Paris with chic style and architecture draws the audience in straight away, the many doors giving you a clue to how this is going to play out. Bernard (John Dorney) begins as a strong, confident man, pleased with the way he perfectly timetables his 3 air hostess fiancés, coming and going from their journeys around the world. He ends up an exhausted quivering heap, not knowing who is going to come through the door next. His physical performance his hilarious, often standing in tortured poses that are meant to look relaxed. His old school friend Robert (Paul Sandys) is an innocent from the provinces, what we would call a country bumpkin. His emotional journey takes him from doubt and incredulity, through the need to protect his old friend, to considering this life for himself. Sandys comic timing and facial expression is faultless. Every farce needs an orchestrator to oil the cogs. In this case it is the maid, Bertha (Jo Castleton). Her acerbic humour and disdain keep you laughing throughout.

The three air hostesses are fantastic caricatures, portraying the stereotypical passion associated with their different countries. Although duped at the beginning, it becomes apparent they are no fools, commanding attention and tying Bernard, Robert and Bertha in knots in just a few words. Gabriella (Nathalie Barclay), Gloria (Isabel Della-Porta), Gretchen (Jessica Dennis), are a great trio making grand entrances and exits, with a laugh out loud reaction from the audience. The whole cast make the comedic timing look easy with a slick performance by all.

The question posed has an answer in the end with everyone miraculously getting what they want! A great jaunt well worth the watch.

Singin’ In The Rain Review

New Wimbledon Theatre – until 2nd July 2022

Reviewed by Alun Hood


Previously seen at Chichester, in the West End, in Japan, and last year in a triumphant post-Covid reopening season at Sadlers Wells, Jonathan Church’s glossy stage version of the classic movie musical continues to splash it’s way around the country. This national tour dispenses bucketloads of escapist happiness, powered by Andrew Wright’s elegant but rousing choreography, and a couple of lead performances that manage to improve upon their stage predecessors. This is one of those uncommon occasions where the touring edition is actually better than the original.

The new male leads Sam Lips and Ross McLaren may not have the name recognition of Adam Cooper and Kevin Clifton who played, respectively, screen idol Don Lockwood and his all round good guy sidekick Cosmo when this production was last in London, but give exquisitely judged performances of real charm and dynamism: they both shine like stars. Broadway veteran Lips is so good looking one could imagine him lighting up a cinema screen, which indeed he does in some of the highly entertaining pre-filmed sections, but he also dances with an entrancing muscularity and athleticism, and has a rich, expressive singing voice. Gene Kelly was unforgettable in this role originally, but you’re unlikely to miss him much here.

McLaren’s deeply lovable Cosmo, infused with a kookie, irresistible joke de vivre, has the oddly touching demeanour of a true clown, and dances like a dream. The male leads have great chemistry and the flashback sequences showing the men at the outset of their career fizz delightfully. They’re a cracking double act.

In last year’s Sadlers Wells season, Charlotte Gooch, as the struggling actress who captures Don’s heart, looked and sounded so much like a star from the get-go, that the story was robbed of some of it’s will they-won’t they tension. She’s still stunning but has since acquired a welcome vulnerability that gives the character a more satisfying arc. Sandra Dickinson, Dale Rapley and Michael Matus are wonderfully funny and vivid as a variety of stock Hollywood yesteryear types, and the tightly drilled ensemble are exhilarating to watch, with Harriet Samuel-Gray as an astonishing solo dancer.

The show-stealing performance however, in an absolute gift of a part, comes from Jenny Gayner as Lina Lamont, the silent movie star with a vowel-mangling voice like nails scraping down a blackboard; she’s as spiteful as she’s soignée, and, despite the inconvenient (for her) arrival of the Talkies, determined to cling onto her stardom with every last grasp of her elegantly manicured hands. Gayner is a knockout: appropriately glamorous, screamingly funny but, crucially, finding the woman’s humanity, which makes for a completely rounded performance in a role that too often gets reduced to a great wardrobe and a funny voice. Her “What’s Wrong With Me?” solo, where Lina ponders why romantic matters aren’t necessarily going her way, is a masterclass in musical comedy playing. She’s practically luminous, and, however nasty she is, you miss her when she’s not onstage.

Slick, timeless joy is the name of the game here, from the beautifully choreographed opening which sees the company magically conjure out of thin air Grauman’s Chinese Theatre in LA on a movie premiere night in 1927, to a familiar, yet still irresistibly fresh, title number where Lips’s Lockwood joyfully kicks and bowls real water into the front Stalls. The filmed sections, demonstrating the technical issues that the advent of Talking Pictures brought (unwanted background noise, inaudibility at key moments), remain great fun, and Nacio Herb Brown and Arthur Freed’s songs still enchant.

It is all highly entertaining, and if it appeals more to the eye and ear than to the heart that’s probably because this was never supposed to be a stage property. Still, this is a superb production: Simon Higlett’s sets and costumes, Tim Mitchell’s lighting and Gareth Owen’s especially good sound design hit all the major sweet spots.

Most people will come to Singin In The Rain for glamorous escapism and feel-good nostalgia, and they won’t be disappointed: this lavish spectacle, and this glorious cast, deliver those in spades. Lovely stuff.

The Play What I Wrote Review

York Theatre Royal, York – until 2 July 2022

Reviewed by Kirsty Thomson


The Play What I Wrote was a hilarious show that had the whole audience laughing from start to finish. Written by Hamish McColl, Sean Foley and Eddie Braben, this play follows a failing double-act, Dennis (Dennis Herdman) and Thom (Thom Tuck) as they land a gig as a Morecombe and Wise tribute act. Dennis is portrayed as ‘the funny one’ while Thom is ‘the straight one’ with a dream to write and perform his own plays. He is tricked into the Morecombe and Wise tribute act by Dennis and Arthur (Mitesh Soni) who pretends to be many other characters including David Pugh – the glittering West End star producer.

Mitesh Soni really stole the show as Arthur and all of the characters that Arthur pretends to be right from the moment he came up on stage from within the audience, pretending to be a member of the public watching the show. His ability to portray so many characters so effectively must be applauded.

The second act consisted of ‘The Play What I Wrote’ which was Thom’s script that Dennis finally agreed to perform. It was a fast-paced, energetic, slapstick show filled with many comical gags and amusing costumes. This second act always contains a mystery celebrity guest, who Thom and Dennis at first do not believe to be real and they ask to be removed from the stage. Our celebrity guest was Sue Holderness who is most famously known for her role of Marlene Boyce in Only Fools and Horses. She was excellent and really gelled with the other actors on stage.

Director Sean Foley, designer Alice Power and choreographer Ian West put together a seamless evening of endless laughs and I couldn’t recommend this show enough. A hilarious masterpiece!




Birmingham Stage Company today announces David Walliams’ Demon Dentist will make its London première at the Bloomsbury Theatre this Christmas – running from 15 December 2022 until 8 January 2023. The Actor/Manager of Birmingham Stage Company Neal Foster directs Emily Harrigan (Miss Root), Sam Varley (Alfie), Georgia Grant-Anderson (Gabz), James Mitchell (Dad), Zain Abrahams (Raj), Misha Malcolm (Winnie), Ben Eagle (PC Plank), Aaron Patel and Mia Overfield (ensemble). Demon Dentist is adapted and directed by Neal Foster, designed by Jacqueline Trousdale, lighting by Jason Taylor, music by Jak Poore, sound by Nick Sagar, with choreography by Paul Chantry and Rae Piper.

David Walliams said today, “The Birmingham Stage Company has created three amazing adaptations of my books, so I can’t wait to see their new production of Demon Dentist! It’s going to be jaw-dropping!”

This world premiere production launches in September to coincide with the Birmingham Stage Company’s 30th anniversary. The company has previously been nominated for Olivier Awards for its productions of David Walliams’ Billionaire Boy and Gangsta Granny.

Birmingham Stage Company presents

David Walliams’ DEMON DENTIST

Adapted by Neal Foster

Bloomsbury Theatre

15 December 2022 – 8 January 2023

Strange things are happening in Alfie’s town! Children are leaving their teeth for the tooth fairy and waking up to find horrible things under their pillow. Alfie and his friend Gabz are determined to get to the bottom of the mystery – but no-one could have dreamed what they’ll discover, when they come face to face with the demon dentist herself!

Don’t miss this electrifying tale from the West End producers of David Walliams’ Gangsta Granny and Billionaire Boy – it promises to be the most thrilling and hilarious adventure yet!

David Walliams has revolutionised reading for children and has become one of the most influential children’s writers today. Since the publication of his ground-breaking first novel, The Boy in the Dress (2008), Walliams has seen unprecedented growth with global sales exceeding 50 million copies, and his books translated into 54 languages across 34 titles, including two charity, releases Blob (World Book Day 2017) and The Queen’s Orang-utan (Comic Relief 2015). Collectively across his titles, David has celebrated 76 weeks (non-consecutive) at number one in the overall book charts and more than 200 weeks (non-consecutive) at number one in the Children’s charts – an achievement no other children’s writer has reached. In 2021, David Walliams released two fiction titles, Megamonster and Gangsta Granny Strikes Again, David’s first-ever sequel to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the iconic, fan favourite Gangsta Granny. Both titles went straight to number one in the children’s and overall bestseller charts with Megamonster securing the coveted top-selling children’s book of the year position. David’s picture book portfolio has sold over 1.1 million copies in the UK alone with Adam Stower most recently appointed as the new illustrator for The World of David Walliams publishing brand, joining legendary illustrators Sir Quentin Blake and Tony Ross. In 2022 David is yet again at the top of the charts with the sixth instalment in The World’s Worst series, The World’s Worst Pets and the brand new novel for autumn Spaceboy will publish this September. 

David’s publishing has evolved into one of the biggest multi-media entertainment brands in the UK today, engaging and delighting children across a multitude of platforms. The world beyond the books includes licensed product, TV adaptations, theatre productions, arena tours, and an attraction based on David’s perennial bestselling novel Gangsta Granny at Alton Towers resort.

Neal Foster is Actor/Manager of Birmingham Stage Company which since its foundation in 1992 has staged over one hundred productions. The company has become one of the world’s leading producers of theatre for children and their families, including Horrible Histories Live on Stage for seventeen years in the UK, Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Qatar, Bahrain, Hong Kong, Singapore, New Zealand and Australia. Foster has written and directed all of the most recent Horrible Histories shows including Barmy Britain – Parts One, Two, Three, Four and Five (Garrick Theatre, Apollo Theatre and Sydney Opera House); Groovy Greeks and Incredible Invaders for a national tour and Wicked Warwick at Warwick Castle. His first fictional adaptations were David Walliams’ Gangsta Granny and Billionaire Boy, both of which transferred to the Garrick Theatre and have been nominated for an Olivier Award.

Emily Harrigan plays Miss Root.Her theatre work includes Six the Musical (NCL), Nerds (MT Fest – The Other Palace), Beauty and the Beast (The Malthouse), West Side Story (BBC Proms) and Let’s Face the Music (Royal Albert Hall); and on screen, The Storm Drain.

Sam Varley plays Alfie. His theatre work includes Peter Pan (UK Productions), Heaven on Earth the Musical, Priscilla: Queen of the Desert, Lord of the Flies (UK tours), and Matilda the Musical (Cambridge Theatre). For television his work includes Mummy’s Boys, and One Night at the Palladium with Robbie Williams; and for film, Pan.

Georgia Grant-Atkinson plays Gabz. Her theatre credits include Beauty and the Beast (Lighthouse, Poole), Chelsea’s Choice (UK tour), Mogadishu and Cabaret (Act Theatre Kingston). Her television credits include Secret Life of Boys.

James Mitchell plays Dad. His theatre credits include Journey’s End (MESH Theatre), This Little Relic (Belgrade Theatre, Coventry), Thomas and FriendsBrainiac Live, Treasure Island, Wind In the Willows, The Three Musketeers (Boxtree Productions), Around the World in 80 days (Saudi Arabia Tour) The Grimmest of Grimm Tales (Avva Laff Productions), Don’t Dribble on the Dragon (People’s Theatre Company), Moonfleet (Angel Exit Theatre), The Ramayna (Vital Stages Theatre Company), Cbeebies Live (UK tour), The Time Machine (Oz Theatre, Paris), The Merry Wives of Windsor, The Two Gentlemen of Verona (Theatre Set-Up), Alice in Wonderland (Polka Theatre), The Phoenix and the Carpet (Chalkfoot Theatre), The King of Cabbage Castle (Scat Theatre Co) and Romeo and Juliet (White Horse Theatre)

Zain Abrahams plays Raj. His theatre credits include Peter Pan (QE2, Dubai), Time Traveller’s Ball (The Buzz), Robin Hood (Italy tour) and One Man, Two Guvnors (MADD College). He has also featured in a variety of commercial campaigns such as Barclays, Canon and Nando’s.

Misha Malcolm plays Winnie. Her theatre credits include Aladdin (Carriageworks Theatre), Puss in Boots (Millfield Theatre), Aladdin (Albert Halls, Bolton), This Is Elvis (UK tour), College Girl in Allegro (Bridewell Theatre), Career Officer in Our House (Redgrave Theatre, Bristol), The Vagina Monologues, Olivier! (Bristol Old Vic Studios), Daisy Pulls It Off (Crucible Theatre, Sheffield) and The Wiz (University of Sheffield). She also has experience as Production Vocalist for Costa Cruise Line (Costa Fortuna) and Lead Vocalist in Productions Shows (Cricket St Thomas, Warner Leisure Hotels).

Ben Eagle plays PC Plank. His theatre credits include Horrible Histories: Terrible ThamesThe Incident Room (New Diorama), Hamlet (US tour), Measure For Measure (US Tour), Neighbourhood Watch (Gordon Craig), King ArthurAladdinRobin Hood, Dick Whittington, Sleeping Beauty (Tewkesbury Roses Theatre), Falstaff in The Merry Wives of Windsor (Theatre N16), Much Ado About Nothing (Theatre N16), This Was The World and I Was King (Arts Theatre), Robin Hood (Chipping Norton), The M Word (Leicester Square Theatre), The Eighth Wonder of the World (Brunel Tunnel Shaft), Animal Farm, 1984 (National Media Museum), Much Ado About Nothing, Twelfth NightWaiting For Godot and A Christmas Carol (Paper Zoo).

Aaron Patel joins the ensemble.He is a recent graduate of The UCLan Acting Course. For theatre, his credits include First Bites Playreadings: India Pale Ale (Bolton Octogon).

Mia Overfield joins the ensemble for her professional debut. Recently graduating from the Arden School of Theatre, her credits in training include Little WomenThe Wild Party and Putting it Together.

Twitter and Instagram: @BSCWalliams

Facebook /birminghamstage



Bloomsbury Theatre
15 Gordon Street, London WC1H 0AH

Box Office: 020 3108 1000

Tickets from £22

15 December 2022 – 8 January 2023

Running time: 2 hours 10 minutes

Age guidance: 5+












Richaerd Coyle sat on stage of the Gielgud Theatre in London’s West End for the cast announcement of To Kill A Mockingbird produced by Sonia Friedman, adaptation written by Aaron Sorkin.

Barry Diller and Sonia Friedman announced today that acclaimed stage and screen actor Richard Coyle will return to the West End to play the iconic role of Atticus Finch in the critically acclaimed production of Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird – a new play by Aaron Sorkin, directed by Bartlett Sher.  Coyle was last on the West End stage in the Olivier Award nominated hit play, Ink.  Niall Buggy (Olivier and Drama Desk Award-winner) will alsojoin the production as Judge Taylor. Coyle and Buggy will join the original London company and begin performances from 15 August for the current booking period until 19 November at the Gielgud Theatre.  Rafe Spall and Jim Norton, who are currently playing Atticus Finch and Judge Taylor respectively, will have their final performances on 13 August.




The Harper Lee adaptation has been one of the major hits of this year’s West End season, playing to full houses at the Gielgud Theatre since its opening in March.

Richard Coyle (Atticus Finch) and Niall Buggy (Judge Taylor) join Harry Attwell (Mr Cunningham/Boo Radley), Amanda Boxer (Mrs Henry Dubose), Poppy Lee Friar (Mayella Ewell), John Hastings (Bailiff), Simon Hepworth (Mr Roscoe/Dr Reynolds), Laura Howard (Miss Stephanie/Dill’s Mother), Lloyd Hutchinson (Link Deas), Gwyneth Keyworth (Scout Finch), Tom Mannion (Sheriff Heck Tate), David Moorst (Dill Harris), Pamela Nomvete (Calpurnia), Jim Norton (Judge Taylor), Patrick O’Kane (Bob Ewell), Jude Owusu (Tom Robinson), Harry Redding (Jem Finch), David Sturzaker (Horace Gilmer) and Natasha Williams (Mrs Dubose’s Maid), with Helen BelbinLaurence BelcherPaul BirchardRyan Ellsworth, Rebecca HayesDanny Hetherington, Matthew JureAnna Munden, Tiwai Muza, Oyin Orija and Itoya Osagiede making up the ensemble and understudies, with Candida Caldicot on organ and Ciyo Brown and Jack Benjamin on guitar, to complete the company.

Set in Maycomb, Alabama in 1934, To Kill a Mockingbird has provided American literature with some of its most indelible characters: lawyer Atticus Finch, the tragically wronged Tom Robinson, Atticus’ daughter Scout, her brother Jem, their housekeeper and caretaker Calpurnia and the reclusive Arthur “Boo” Radley. For the past six decades and for every generation, this story, its characters and portrait of small-town America have helped to, and continue to, inspire conversation and change.

Harper Lee’s enduring story of racial injustice and childhood innocence has sold more than 45 million copies of the novel worldwide. 2020 marked the 60th anniversary of its publication. 

Richard Coyle returns to the stage to play Atticus Finch – he most recently starred as Larry Lamb in the critically acclaimed smash hit Ink by James Graham(Almeida Theatre/Duke of York’s Theatre). For theatre, his other work includes, Macbeth (Park Avenue Armory), The Lover & The Collection (Harold Pinter Theatre), Don Carlos (Sheffield Theatres and Gielgud Theatre), Look Back in Anger (Theatre Royal Bath), After Miss Julie, Proof, Polar Bears (Donmar Warehouse), and The York Realist (Royal Court Theatre / Novello Theatre). A familiar face on screen, Coyle is perhaps best known as series regular Jeff Murdock in Coupling, and as Father Faustus Blackwood in Chilling Adventures of Sabrina; and most recently he appeared in the latest film in the Fantastic Beasts series – Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore. For television, his other work includes Six-Four, Then You Run, Hard Sun, Born To Kill, The Fall, The Collection, A.D. The Bible Continues, Crossbones, Life of Crime, Covert Affairs, Going Postal, Whistleblowers, The History of Mr. Polly, Cracker, The Best Man, Gunpowder, Treason and Plot, Strange, Othello, Sword of Honour, Lorna Doone, Hearts and Bones, Up Rising, Wives and Daughters, and Macbeth; and for film, The Food Guide to Love, Pusher, Grabbers, W.E, 5 Days of War, Prince of Persia, Franklyn, A Good Year, The Libertine, Happy Now, Topsy Turvy and Human Traffic. 

Niall Buggy plays Judge Taylor. His theatre credits include Krapp’s Last Tape (Tron Theatre, Leeds Playhouse), The Old Tune (Jermyn Street Theatre), Furniture (Druid Theatre), The Plough and The Stars (Lyric Hammersmith), St Joan (Donmar Warehouse), On Blueberry Hill (Origin 1st Irish Theatre Award Best Actor – Trafalgar Studios, Dublin Theatre Festival, New York), The Importance of Being Earnest (Harold Pinter Theatre), Translations (Sheffield Theatres / Rose Theatre), The Hanging Gardens (Abbey Theatre), DruidMurphy (Druid Theatre, Hampstead Theatre and Washington), The Weir (Royal Court Theatre, Duke of York’s Theatre, New York), Haunted (Sydney/Royal Exchange/New York), Penelope (Druid Theatre/Hampstead Theatre/Edinburgh/New York/Washington), John Bull’s Other Island (Tricycle Theatre), After Play (Gate Dublin, Edinburgh, New York, Sydney), Uncle Vanya (Irish Times Best Actor- Gate Dublin), A Kind of Alaska (Gate Dublin). Dead Funny (Olivier Award, Best Actor – Hampstead / Vaudeville Theatre), Juno and The Paycock (TMA Award – Albery Theatre), Rough Crossing, Love for Love, The Threepenny Opera, The School for Scandal (National Theatre), and Aristocrats (Clarence Derwent Award, Time Out Award, Drama Desk Award, OBIE Award – Hampstead Theatre /New York). For television, his work includes Cobra, Will, My Mother and Other Strangers, Malice Aforethought, Grease Monkeys, The Cruise, Lucy Sullivan is Getting Married, Upwardly Mobile, Agony Too, Father Ted, and The Citadel; and film includes, As Luck Would Have It, The Duel, Mr Turner, Sleeping with the Fishes, Rufus Stone, Mamma Mia!, The Libertine, Sweeney Todd, Anna Karenina, and Cruise of the Gods. 

To Kill a Mockingbird is running the All Rise ticket scheme in an exclusive partnership with TodayTix, offering £15 seats for every performance across the run. The initiative provides access at affordable prices to as wide an audience as possible. More than 1,400 tickets will be released each month. So far more than 6000 tickets have been sold via the scheme with a further 6000 being made available through to November starting from next week. In addition to the All Rise initiative, there is an opportunity to purchase £15 tickets via Today Tix daily rush – where a limited number of additional seats will be available on each performance day via the app. The TodayTix app can be downloaded onto iOs or Android devices for free via the app store; or you can access online via

Sher and the original Broadway creative team – Miriam Buether (Set), Ann Roth (Costume), Jennifer Tipton (Lighting), Scott Lehrer (Sound), Adam Guettel (Original Score), Kimberly Grigsby (Music Supervision) and Campbell Young Associates (Hair & Wigs) – are joined by Serena Hill as Casting Director, Hazel Holder as Voice & Dialect Coach, Titas Halder as Associate Director, Candida Caldicot as Musical Director, Tavia Rivée Jefferson as Cultural Coordinator and Rasheka Christie-Carter as Assistant Director.

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Darlington Hippodrome supporting Pride month


This year marks the 50th anniversary of the first Pride march in the UK – a day when hundreds of LGBTQ+ people and their supporters arrived in London to protest a society where they were not safe to be themselves.

Today, we live in a society where LGBTQ+ people can live openly and free, where LGBTQ+ lives and history are taught in schools to the next generation.

Darlington Hippodrome will always be an inclusive venue and is proud to show support for the Pride movement. Inclusive workplaces and venues play a huge part in making sure LGBTQ+ people can feel safe and fulfil their potential.

Andrew Hutchinson-Clish, Senior House manager told us “‘Pride is important today, more than ever and we take pride at Darlington Hippodrome as being an inclusive venue that welcomes all of our customers. Arts venues have always been a safe place for the LGBT+ community and we will always ensure we are a welcoming venue where people are free to be their authentic selves. We have actively invested in our front of house teams to receive dedicated training to raise awareness and increase confidence in using inclusive language.’

To help celebrate the 50th anniversary of Pride, a special art film is currently being created. Called Opening The Closet Doors this is a socially engaged art project facilitated by artist Sarah Li. Sarah has been working with local LGBTQ+ people to create a film exploring LGBTQ+ themes, histories or inspirations in the Darlington Hippodrome archive.

Sarah said “LGBTQ+ histories have been erased, ignored or lost due to historic policies, societal perceptions and ongoing issues affecting the community. With this project, we hope to start to change that a little by bringing some of these histories to the fore in a creative, explorative way and acknowledging the gaps or difficulties in uncovering these histories”.

“Building on the amazing work of the artists in the Hippodrome’s archive, we are also planning a special legacy exhibition. This exhibition will celebrate the role of principal boys in Pantomime and showcase the host of famous faces who have played this unique role at the Hippodrome over the last 100 years”.

The Hippodrome’s Programming and Development Director Heather Tarran-Jones said “The Hippodrome prides itself on creating an open and inclusive atmosphere for our audience, visiting theatre companies and the theatre team. We’re always proud to support Pride month but just as importantly we are focused on offering a safe and welcoming environment for the LGBTQ+ community every day of the year. Opening the Closet Doors offers an exciting glance into the hidden LGBTQ+ stories of the theatre’s past, and we’re delighted to be supporting such a valuable Arts Council funded project and celebrating the findings through the upcoming screening and exhibition.

Opening The Closet Doors will be screened at Darlington Hippodrome on Thursday 11 August at 7.30pm on a ‘pay wat you can’ basis. For more information or to book call the Box Office on 01325 405405 or visit

Everybody’s Talking About Jamie returns to The Lowry in September 2023


Best New Musical

Whats On Stage Awards, London

Everybody’s Talking About Jamie at The Lowry….Again!

Hit musical returns to Salford – Wednesday 7th to Saturday 17th September 2023

Following a record-breaking three-year West End residency, sold-out UK & Ireland Tour and Amazon studios award-winning film, the smash-hit and critically acclaimed musical Everybody’s Talking About Jamie RETURNS to The Lowry, Salford, from Wednesday 7th to Saturday 17th September 2023.

Jamie New is sixteen and lives on a council estate in Sheffield. Jamie doesn’t quite fit in. Jamie is terrified about the future. Jamie is going to be a sensation. Supported by his brilliant loving mum and surrounded by his friends, Jamie overcomes prejudice, beats the bullies and steps out of the darkness, into the spotlight.

This ‘Funny, outrageous, touching’ (Daily Telegraph), musical sensation is to be experienced by all the family and not to be missed!

With an original score of catchy pop tunes that will ‘blow the roof of the Theatre’ (Mail on Sunday) by lead singer-songwriter of The Feeling, Dan Gillespie Sells and writer Tom MacRae (Doctor Who), this ‘Sparking coming-of-age musical’ (The Times) will have everybody talking about Jamie for years to come.

Sixteen: the edge of possibility. Time to make your dreams come true.

Casting to be announced.

Steve Cowton, Head of Theatres at The Lowry, said: “Everybody’s Talking About Jamie was one of the first shows we presented when we emerged from Lockdown and it was wonderful to see audiences returning and having such a brilliant time. This is very much a story of our time – a show that speaks about diversity, inclusivity and understanding. It’s also a great night out for all ages – and I’m absolutely delighted that following sell out performances, we will be welcoming the show back to The Lowry.”  

For information and to book visit

Music by Dan Gillespie Sells

Book and Lyrics by Tom MacRae

From an idea by Jonathan Butterell

Directed by Jonathan Butterell

Design by Anna Fleischle

Choreography by Kate Prince

Lighting design by Lucy Carter

Sound design by Paul Groothuis

Casting by Will Burton

Musical Supervisor Theo Jamieson

Video Design Luke Halls