Bugsy Malone Review

Birmingham Repertory Theatre- until 14th August 2022

Reviewed by Emma Millward 

4****

As we arrived at The Rep on a busy Friday evening, we were greeted by the new addition to Centenary Square, as the giant mechanical bull used in the opening ceremony of the Commonwealth Games has taken up residence there for the next week for anybody who wants to see it while attending the show.

Set in Prohibition era 1920s and based on Alan Parker’s 1976 musical film, the show tells the story of Bugsy Malone (Gabriel Payne), a struggling boxing promoter caught up in a power struggle between rival gang leaders Fat Sam (Albie Snelson) and Dandy Dan (Desmond Cole). A lot of the action takes place at Fat Sam’s Grand Slam Speakeasy, an illegal drinking place. The set for the ‘Speakeasy’ with its bar, bright lights and drinks bottles was cleverly designed to disappear back into the wall when it needed to be hidden away. The Rep itself definitely makes for a fitting setting for Bugsy. Although it has tiered seating, it somehow still feels like it has an intimate feel about it, that definitely suits the ‘speakeasy’ setting of the musical. 

In the midst of all this warfare, Bugsy meets Blousey (Mia Lakha) an aspiring singer who wants to audition for Fat Sam. Bugsy falls for her immediately. Although he has to contend with Tallulah (Jasmine Sakyiama), Fat Sam’s girlfriend and singer who flirts shamelessly with Bugsy, much to Blousey’s disgust. Although the show is packed with show-stopping songs, one of the most well known is ‘My Name is Tallulah’, which Jasmine Sakyiama sang beautifully with just the right amount of sass and razzmatazz for this famous character. 

As in the original movie, the show uses Splurge Guns and pink ‘Angel Delight’- looking pies as weapons. This makes for many family friendly and hilarious shootouts between the rival gangs. The fact that most of the characters say “Oh Man!!” after they had been splurged definitely kept the audience amused. The added touch of Fizzy (Aidan Oti) continually mopping up where the cream and water pistols had been fired amused me more than it probably should.

The cast were all outstanding and you could easily forget just how young some of the actors are, as they all really immersed themselves in their adult roles. Although I feel a special mention should go to Gabriel Payne and Albie Snelson as Bugsy and Fat Sam respectively, who both really shone in their roles. The ensemble’s timing was impeccable during both the dancing and fighting sequences. This is especially evident during the song ‘So You Wanna Be A Boxer’, where their ducking and diving was sleek and perfectly coordinated with each other as Leroy (Mohamed Bangura) is introduced to the world of Boxing. 

All in all, it was a brilliant production of a classic film. The standing ovation and numerous ear-piercing cheers for each character/actor at the end proved this. If you are looking for a feel good, toe-tapping distraction from daily life, you should definitely go and ‘splurge’ on some tickets today!!

* please note that the main character cast rotate in this show. Meaning you may not see the performers reviewed here in those roles. 

Julius Caesar Review

Cambridge Arts Theatre, Cambridge – until Sun 31st July 2022

Reviewed by Steph Lott

4****

The Globe Theatre’s production of William Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar begins with the news that Julius Caesar has defeated Pompey. Right from the start, the audience are required to be part of the action as we are the commoners who are celebrating Julius Caesar’s triumphant return. I thought the beginning sequence, led by Omar Bynon interacting with the audience was an ingenious way to introduce the setting of the play. He had a charming energy that was infectious and charming.

Shakespeare’s epic tale of murderous conspiracy, cunning rhetoric and a divisive struggle for control has never seemed more relevant than now, troubled as we are by untrustworthy politicians.

There will be some however who will be critical of this updated version of Julius Caesar. But I’m not one of them. Shakespeare can be off-putting to those who don’t recognise themselves in the plots or the characters. However I think this production addresses that. Genders of characters have been changed. There is a same sex marriage. The script has been altered to reflect this. I think the effect of those changes is to make this production more accessible, more relevant, to an audience who otherwise may not feel Shakespeare is for them. And that is alright by me. My only comment is that I feel further work should have been done on the script to fully incorporate the necessary changes in gender. There are mentions of “men” left in that are no longer appropriate given the characters are now female.

Fearing for their beloved Rome, Cassius and Brutus, the main conspirators, are now played as and by women. Cassius is played by Charlotte Bate, who convincingly portrays Cassius’ descent from initial firm intention to despair as the conspiracy falls apart.

Brutus is played by Anna Crichlow. She gave a rich performance as the earnest and ultimately troubled co-conspirator.

Both of the above held the stage and gave standout performances robust enough to allow us to believe that it was two women leading this conspiracy which ended in murder.

I was impressed by this cast of eight who managed to carry off a complicated performance with many more than eight roles! Special mention must be made of Omar Bynon and Cash Holland. They performed a multiple of more minor roles, in different clothes and with different voices, and it was never confusing!

If you prefer your Shakespeare to be more traditional, then this production may not be for you. However, if you would like to see how this story might be, seen through a slightly different lens then I would recommend that you go and see it.

Jersey Boys Review

Leeds Grand Theatre – until Saturday 6th August 2022.

Reviewed by Michelle Richardson

5*****

This was my second visit to this wonderful ornate theatre and the first time I’ve seen Jersey Boys on stage. Though the musical is about The Four Seasons and their music, who were at the height of their fame, at least a generation before me, I was excited at being given the opportunity to review this musical.

Jersey Boys tells the true story of how four ordinary American-Italian boys, from New Jersey, became The Four Seasons and rose to fame in the 1960’s. Starting out on the streets of New Jersey, the boys are eager escape their “wrong side of the tracks” existence, and a life of crime that seems to be their future. Tommy DeVito (Dalton Wood) starts up the band, which undergoes several name and personnel changes. The end result, along with DeVito, is lead singer Frankie Valli (Michael Pickering), Nick Massi (Lewis Griffiths) and Bob Gaudio (Blair Gibson), who wrote many of their hits.

Each member of the band directly addresses the audience, detailing the rise and fall of the band. It is a rollercoaster of a ride, with tales of crime, the mob, never ending touring, huge success and great loss, but also a story of endurance and perseverance, culminating in their induction to the Rock and Rock Music Hall of Fame.

Each of the four leads bring something different to the performance and work so well together. Woods is full of swagger, and mouthy, as the irrepressible DeVito. Griffiths is immaculate as Massi, a wink here and there to the audience, very personable, with some great witty lines. You can’t help but admiring Gibson as Gaudio. Last, but certainly not least, is Pickering. When he first sang Sherry, with his amazing falsetto, I had goosebumps. It can’t be easy singing in that unique voice, but he pulled it off and more. Their vocals as a group were really stunning to hear, and their sharp dance moves were really on point.

The ensemble and supporting cast are incredible, they work extremely hard. They all play various roles, with great vocals and dance moves, all to live music. The staging was simple, but effective. A scaffold style set with staircases on either side and a walkway overhead, with chairs, tables and beds wheeled on and off the stage.

This true story doesn’t shy away from reality, it’s informative and interesting, and left me yearning to find out more. You will be amazed at how many hits they did have, and how many more were written by the Gaudio and Crewe partnership.

Whilst this show is currently touring the UK, the one and only Frankie Valli was performing up the coast in Scarborough last month, a great feat for an 88 year old.

Jersey Boys is a treat of a show, a perfect blend of great music and story, packed full of so many fantastic hits. A sensational musical that is not to be missed. OH, WHAT A NIGHT!

MICHAEL GRANDAGE DIRECTS EMMA CORRIN AS ORLANDO IN NEIL BARTLETT’S NEW VERSION OF VIRGINIA WOOLF’S NOVEL

MICHAEL GRANDAGE DIRECTS EMMA CORRIN AS ORLANDO

IN NEIL BARTLETT’S NEW VERSION OF VIRGINIA WOOLF’S NOVEL

The Michael Grandage Company today announces that Emma Corrin will return to the London stage as the title role in Orlando, from the novel by Virginia Woolf in a new version by Neil BartlettMichael Grandage directs, reuniting him with Corrin, following their recent collaboration on the feature film My Policeman for Amazon. The production will debut in the West End in late Autumn, with full dates and theatre to be announced shortly.

Michael Grandage said today, “Neil Bartletts joyous new adaptation of Virginia Woolfs Orlando dances through time and gender, challenging us to remember that nothing really matters except the courage to be yourself. It is one of the most surprising stories in the English language, and with its inspiring vision of all bodies having equal rights to love, I’m delighted that MGC is returning to the West End with Emma Corrin to bring this timely story to a whole new audience.”

Continuing their commitment to accessible ticket prices across their productions, MGC will have £10 tickets available across the run.

To sign up for advance information and access to priority booking for the production, please register your interest at https://www.michaelgrandagecompany.com/productions/theatre/orlando.

MGC presents

EMMA CORRIN

in

ORLANDO

FROM THE NOVEL BY VIRGINIA WOOLF

ADAPTED BY NEIL BARTLETT

DIRECTED BY MICHAEL GRANDAGE

“Nothing is ever longer one thing”

Emma Corrin returns to the stage to play Orlando, following their Olivier Award nominated performance in Anna X (Harold Pinter Theatre).For television, their credits include playing Lady Diana Spencer in the award-winning The Crown -for which they won a Golden Globe and Critics Choice Award, as well as receiving a SAG and Emmy nomination. Emma will go on to star in the upcoming films My Policeman and Lady Chatterly’s Lover and limited-series Retreat.

Neil Bartlett‘s vividly theatrical adaptations, translations and  plays have been staged by the National Theatre (Berenice, The Game of Love and Chance, In Extremis and Or You Could Kiss Me, his collaboration with Handspring Theatre Company, the creators of Warhorse), theRSC ( The Dispute, The Prince of Homburg), the Abbey in Dublin ( The Picture of Dorian Gray), the Royal Exchange, Manchester (Everybody Loves A Winner, Twenty-Four Hours of Peace), Bristol Old Vic (Great Expectations)and the Lyric Hammersmith (Oliver Twist and A Christmas Carol)He has also made work for, amongst others, the Drill Hall, the Glasgow Citizens, the Royal Court Theatre and the Royal Vauxhall Tavern. From 1994 to 2005 Bartlett was Artistic Director of the Lyric Hammersmith, and his work there earned him both an OBE (in 2003) and a nomination for an Olivier Award for Outstanding Theatrical Achievement (in 2000).  In 2008 he was an awarded an honorary degree by Brookes University Oxford in recognition of his pioneering and longstanding commitment to gay culture and civil rights; this year, his fifth and most recent novel, Address Book, has just been longlisted for the Polari Prize. www.neil-bartlett.com

Michael Grandage is Artistic Director of the Michael Grandage Company (MGC) where he most recently directed the film My Policeman (2022) starring Harry Styles, Emma Corrin, Gina McKee, Linus Roache, David Dawson and Rupert Everett which will be released on 21 October 2022. Previously, his other film work for MGC included Genius (2016) starring Colin Firth, Jude Law, Nicole Kidman, and Laura Linney which premiered at the Berlin Film Festival. For MGC in the theatre he has directed Ian McDiarmid in The Lemon Table (UK Tour), Aidan Turner in The Lieutenant of Inishmore (Noël Coward Theatre), Alfred Molina and Alfred Enoch in Re(Wyndham’s Theatre), Nicole Kidman in Photograph 51 (Noël Coward Theatre), Dawn French: 30 Million Minutes (national and international tour and West End), Jude Law in Henry V, David Walliams and Sheridan Smith in A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Daniel Radcliffe in The Cripple of Inishmaan, Judi Dench and Ben Whishaw in Peter and Alice and Simon Russell Beale in Privates on Parade as part of the season at the Noël Coward Theatre. In September he directs Dawn French’s new show Dawn French Is A Huge Twat.

His opera work includes Madama Butterfly for Houston Grand Opera and Chicago Lyric Opera, Le Nozzi de Figaro for Glyndebourne and Houston, Don Giovanni for the Met and Billy Budd for San Francisco, Glyndebourne and BAM in New York. He was Artistic Director of the Donmar Warehouse (2002–2012) and Sheffield Theatres (2000-2005) where his work included Chiwetel Ejiofor in Othello, Frank Langella and Michael Sheen in Frost/Nixon, Derek Jacobi in King Lear, Eddie Redmayne and Alfred Molina in Red (Tony Award for Best Director), Jude Law in Hamlet and Kenneth Branagh in Ivanov. He won three Olivier Awards for his musical productions of Guys and Dolls, Merrily We Roll Along and Grand Hotel. He is President of the Royal Central School of Speech and Drama. He was appointed CBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honors 2011. His book, A Decade At The Donmar, was published by Constable & Robins in 2012. His charity, set up to help young theatre makers, can be found at www.mgcfutures.com

www.michaelgrandagecompany.com

Twitter: @michaelgrandage

Facebook/Michael-Grandage-Company

Instagram: michaelgrandagecompany

FLUTE THEATRE PRESENT THE TEMPEST FOR AUTISTIC INDIVIDUALS AND THEIR FAMILIES AT RIVERSIDE STUDIOS, 15 – 19 AUGUST 2022

FLUTE THEATRE PRESENT

THE TEMPEST FOR AUTISTIC INDIVIDUALS AND THEIR FAMILIES

AT RIVERSIDE STUDIOS, 15 – 19 AUGUST 2022

Flute Theatre today announce The Tempest for autistic individuals and their families, runs at Riverside Studios, 15 – 19 August 2022. Adaptedby Flute Theatre’s Artistic Director Kelly Hunter MBE using the award-winning Hunter Heartbeat method,a series of sensory drama games, which allow autistic individuals to share how it feels to be alive and celebrate their identity, created by autistic individuals and Hunter over the last twenty years.

Created with RNI Films app. Preset ‘Kodachrome 50’s’

Up to twelve autistic individuals become the participants for each performance, playing with six actors in a circle on stage. The actors invite the participants to help them unravel Shakespeare’s story of wizards, magic and monsters through sensory games which everyone plays together. Each performance is adapted to the specific needs of the participants, however complex they may be. Their families or carers can join the circle to play or sit just behind to watch.

Kelly Hunter MBE, Artistic Director of Flute Theatre, said today, “The brave new world of our Tempest is a space where autistic individuals and their families are completely accepted for who they are, a magical island where everyone becomes free.”

The Tempestwas the first production for autistic individuals created by Flute Theatre in 2014 as a partnership with RSC and Ohio State University. It has since toured around the world including the US, Spain and Japan. During the pandemic Flute Theatre adapted the production for online, delivering 976 online performances for the international autistic community across four continents and three languages.

THE TEMPEST

LISTINGS

Riverside Studios, 101 Queen Caroline Street, Hammersmith, London W6 9BN

Box Office: 0208 237 1000 (No online bookings)

Tickets

£5 per family

All participants and their families are welcome to join the cast for 30 minutes tea and biscuits after the performance in the foyer.

Performance schedule

Ages 4 – 10:

Tuesday 16 – Friday 19 August at 10.30am

Ages 11+:

Monday 15 – Friday 19 August at 2pm

Fame at The Alexandra Birmingham from 25 August (Stage Experience)

THE ALEXANDRA BIRMINGHAM PRESENTS STAGE EXPERIENCE 2022

LONG-AWAITED STAGE EXPERIENCE RETURNS FOR IT’S 17TH YEAR!

OVER 60 YOUNG TALENTED INDIVIDUALS FROM THE MIDLANDS PARTICIPATE IN THE ALEXANDRA BIRMINGHAM’S ANNUAL ‘STAGE EXPERIENCE’ PRODUCTION

FOUR PERFORMANCES AT BIRMINGHAM’S ALEXANDRA

FROM THURSDAY 25 – SATURDAY 27 AUGUST

The Alexandra, Birmingham is delighted to announce the return of Stage Experience 2022 featuring the full-scale production of smash-hit musical Fame. Based on the 1980 phenomenal pop culture film, the story follows the final class of New York City’s celebrated High School for the Performing Arts through their struggles, fears and triumph as they navigate the worlds of music, drama and dance.

The Alexandra’s annual Stage Experience is open to anyone aged 9 – 24 who is interested in developing performing arts skills or a career behind the scenes in lighting, sound, stage management and wardrobe. The Alexandra, Birmingham is delighted to welcome back Director and Choreographer of Stage Experience, Pollyann Tanner, who holds a wealth of theatrical experience, including the launch of her own musical company, Empire Theatre Production.

During August, over 60 young talented performers and 10 young technicians from the Midlands will be intensively rehearsing, memorizing lines and practicing lyrics to a score of unforgettable songs including Out Here On My Own, These Are My Children, Let’s Play A Love Scene and of course the famous theme song Fame.

Playing the lead role of Iris Kelly is Jasmine Gill from Birmingham, a returning Stage Experience participant, who said;

“The skills and opportunities that we will gain from Stage Experience will help us in every aspect of life, not just in performing arts. To have the confidence to get up on stage, have a named role and be part of a show that is put together in just two weeks takes dedication, commitment and so much effort and I believe these are qualities that you can apply to any area of your life. Stage Experience has also allowed me to make friends for life. I started Stage Experience in my early teens and I am still friends with everyone I started with!”

William Dodd also returns to Stage Experience. William is from Cannock in the West Midlands and is playing the role of Mr. Sheinkopf and he agreed;

“The skills and opportunities that we will gain from Stage Experience will help us to make new friends, experience the ‘family’ atmosphere again and help us to be more experienced performers.  This is really important to me because I want a career in musical theatre.”

Theatre Manager and Stage Experience producer, Becky Peers, commented on why this is such a rewarding experience

“Stage Experience is a highlight of the year for us at The Alexandra because it is completely different from our touring productions during the rest of the year. The young people who make up our performers and technical participants work really hard and always end up with something amazing to show for it. Many of our alumnis, both performers and technical participants, have gone on to work professionally in the theatre industry and have been hugely successful”.

The theatre industry is acknowledged as a hard career to break into and the Stage Experience programme is an invaluable opportunity to kick-start a performing or technical theatre career. Previous Stage Experience stars include Liam Doyle who has since toured across the UK for Mamma Mia, Hairspray, Heathers and Wicked, and Sam Buttery and Grace Wylde who both toured earlier this year to The Alexandra in The Lion, the Witch and the Wardobe. Additionally, since his technical placement for Stage Experience, Harry Preece is now a senior technician for The Alexandra, Birmingham.

See the stars of the future light up the sky like a flame this summer! Tickets are available for the local community to support the Midlands-based stars of tomorrow in FAME at atgtickets.com/Birmingham.

OMNIBUS THEATRE ANNOUNCE WORLD PREMIÈRE REVIVAL OF FIJI AT EDINBURGH FESTIVAL FRINGE

OMNIBUS THEATRE ANNOUNCE WORLD PREMIÈRE REVIVAL OF

FIJI

AT EDINBURGH FESTIVAL FRINGE

Omnibus Theatre today announce the world première revival of Fiji, co-written by Eddie Loodmer-Elliott, Pedro Leandro and Evan Lordan, which originally ran at Omnibus Theatre to critical acclaim. Fiji will run at the Pleasance Upstairs at the Pleasance Courtyard,8 – 29 August at 1.55pm. There will be a preview at Omnibus Theatre on 2 August. In this complete re-working of the production, Evan Lordan directs Sam Henderson (Sam)and Eddie Loodmer-Elliott (Nick).

PLEASANCE UPSTAIRS AT THE PLEASANCE COURTYARD

Clay Party, Conflicted Theatre, Omnibus Theatre and Cacimbado Productions and present

FIJI
by Eddie Loodmer-Elliott, Pedro Leandro and Evan Lordan

Directed by Evan Lordan; Cast: Sam Henderson and Eddie Loodmer-Elliott

8 – 29 August 2022, 1.55pm

Inspired by shocking real-life events, Fiji is a captivating rom com that blends true crimewith First Dates to deliver a delectable two-hander as hilarious and warm as it is fascinatingly twisted.

Nick is cooking for Sam at his place and, if all goes to plan, this will be their first and last meeting. So what exactly is on the menu? Well, they say the best way to a man’s heart is through his stomach…

This is the biting brainchild of Pleasance Futures Company and “modern masterpiece” makers Clay Party and the “vividly stark” Conflicted Theatre. Co-produced by London’s award-winning Omnibus Theatre, this is a story about a deliciously unfathomable relationship – one you may have only ever heard about on the news.

Sam Henderson plays Sam. He is an actor, musician and full time creative. Since graduating from Bristol Old Vic Theatre School he has performed at Sheffield Crucible, Southwark Playhouse and Bristol Old Vic. His television credits include work with ITV, BBC, Channel 4 and Britbox.

Eddie Loodmer-Elliott plays Nick. He is the founder of Clay Party, and his writing credits include Outside (Pleasance Theatre). As an actor, his theatre credits include The Inheritance (Young Vic/Noel Coward Theatre), The Funeral Director (UK tour), Mothercare (Southwark Playhouse), All Quiet On The Western Front (Soho Theatre) and Buoy (Bloomsbury Theatre). His television and film credits include work with Channel 4 and Immanuel (currently in development).

Pedro Leandro’s writing credits include We Were Having a Perfectly Nice Time (Omnibus Theatre/Pleasance) and Dogsitting (Golden Goose Theatre). As an actor, his theatre credits include A View from the Bride (York Theatre Royal/Royal and Derngate) and Fiji (Omnibus Theatre). His television credits include Domina and The Liberator;and for film, Wonder Woman 1984.

Evan Lordan directs. He is the Artistic Director of Conflicted Theatre Company creating new work at spaces such as disused warehouses, office buildings, elevators and private dining clubs. As an Associate Director, his work includes Touching the Void (Duke of York’s Theatre).

Running time: 55 minutes

Age guidance: 14+, this show contains references to sexual violence.

LISTINGS

FIJI

LONDON

Omnibus Theatre

Tuesday 2 August, 7pm

www.omnibus-clapham.org/fiji-edinburgh-preview/

Tickets: £9 / £7

Box Office: www.omnibus-clapham.org / 0207 498 4699

EDINBURGH

Pleasance Upstairs at the Pleasance Courtyard

60 Pleasance, Edinburgh, Scotland, EH8 9TJ

8 – 29 August 2022, 1.55pm

www.pleasance.co.uk/event/fiji#overview

Tickets: £10 – £13

Box Office: www.pleasance.co.uk/ / 020 7609 1800 / info@pleasance.co.uk

FULL CASTING ANNOUNCED FOR OSCAR WILDE’S THE IMPORTANCE OF BEING EARNEST DIRECTED BY DENZEL WESTLEY-SANDERSON

FULL CASTING ANNOUNCED FOR OSCAR WILDE’S

THE IMPORTANCE OF BEING EARNEST

DIRECTED BY DENZEL WESTLEY-SANDERSON

ETT (English Touring Theatre)Leeds Playhouse and Rose Theatre today announce the cast for Oscar Wilde’s The Importance of Being Earnestdirected by Denzel Westley-Sanderson. The cast includes Phoebe Campbell (Cecily), Valentine Hanson (Merriman/Lane), Joanne Henry (Miss Prism), Daniel Jacob (Lady Bracknell), Adele James (Gwendolen), Abiola Owokoniran (Algernon Moncrieff), Anita Reynolds (Dr. Chasuble) and Justice Ritchie (John Worthing). The production opens at Leeds Playhouse on 8 September, with previews from 5 September, and runs until 17 September, before touring to Cambridge Arts Theatre, New Wolsey Theatre, Northern Stage and Liverpool Playhouse before culminating at Rose Theatre on 12 November. 

An ETT, Leeds Playhouse and Rose Theatre Production

THE IMPORTANCE OF BEING EARNEST
by Oscar Wilde
Supported by a grant from the Royal Theatrical Support Trust

Cast: Phoebe Campbell, Valentine Hanson, Joanne HenryDaniel JacobAdele JamesAbiola OwokoniranAnita Reynolds and Justice Ritchie

Directed by Denzel Westley-Sanderson; Designed by Lily Arnold; Lighting Design by Zoe Spurr; Sound Design by Beth Duke; Movement Direction by Tinovimbanashe Sibanda; Assistant Direction from Becca Chadder; Dramaturg Phillippe Cato; Casting Director Bryony Jarvis Taylor

5 September – 12 November 2022

Oscar Wilde’s genius humour meets contemporary culture in a theatrical rollercoaster packed with shade, wit and plenty of gags. 

2021 RTST Sir Peter Hall Director Award-winner, Denzel Westley-Sanderson breathes fresh new life into Wilde’s sharpest and wittiest comedy: The Importance of Being Earnest.  

This is a classic satire, vibrantly retold about dysfunctional families, class, gender and sexuality.

Phoebe Campbell plays Cecily. Their television credits include House of The Dragon. The Importance of Being Earnest is their professional theatre debut. 

Valentine Hanson plays Merriman/Lane. For theatre, his work includes The Emperor’s New Clothes (Small Truth Theatre), Orpheus Descending (Theatr Clwyd), Orpheus Descending (Menier Chocolate Factory), We Anchor In Hope (The Bunker/ W14 Productions), Handfast (Nutshell Theatre), The Sisterhood (Belgrade Theatre), Hector (Eden Court/Mull Theatre), Cuming And Going (Boom at the Bush Theatre), Stopsearch (Catford Broadway Theatre), For One Night Only/Footprints In The Sand, Letting Go/Footprints In The Sand (Pursued By A Bear), Festen (Lyric Hammersmith Theatre), G.I. Burns (Forest Forge Theatre Company), The Tempest (Orange Tree Theatre), Cat on a Hot Tin Roof (Bill Kenwright Limited), Come With Me (Roundabout/Nottingham Playhouse), After The End Of The World (Red Ladder Theatre Company), Positive Mental Attitude (Theatre Centre), The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (Classic Theatre) and Racine’s Andromache (Grassy Knoll). For television, his work includes The Friday Night Project and Casualty; and for film, London Voodoo and Crucifixion Island.

Joanne Henry plays Miss Prism. For theatre, her work includes The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time (National Theatre/UK & Ireland Tour), Jane Eyre (Chapterhouse Theatre/UK & Ireland Tour), Lost For Words (Outside Edge/UK Tour), Love Moved Him to Die (Jasperian Theatre Company/UK Tour), The King and I (Newtown Abbey and Aberystwyth Rep), Sweet Charity (The Crucible, Sheffield), Raoul (New & Abused Theatre Company), Westside Story (West End & UK Tour), Oklahoma! (Grange Park Opera) and Joseph & The Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat (The Really Useful Group). For television, her work includes Bridgerton, Vera, Pennyworth, The Salisbury Poisonings, Trigonometry and Roadkill; and for film, Wonder Woman, Last Christmas and Dogwood.

Daniel Jacob plays Lady Bracknell. Daniel has gained international recognition as his Drag Queen alter ego Vinegar Strokes, for which he has appeared on RuPaul’s Drag Race UK, Eastenders, Dinner With My Ex and Drag Karaoke Club. For theatre, his work includes Death Drop (West End & UK Tour), The Pirates of Treasure Island (Stag Theatre), Begæret Mysterier (Royal Danish Theatre), Eurobeat (Turbine Theatre), Everybody’s Talking About Jamie (Apollo Theatre), Testosterone (Edinburgh Festival Fringe), Charming Dick (Royal Vauxhall Tavern), The Macbeths (Pleasance Theatre), Angelina Ballerina (UK Tour), Aladdin (Hazlitt Theatre), Bugsy Malone (Secret Cinema), Ragtime The Musical (Landor Theatre), Elegies for Angels, Punks & Raging Queens (Theatro Technis) and Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat (UK Tour & Dubai).

Adele James plays Gwendolen. For theatre, her work includes Much Ado About Nothing (The New English Shakespeare Company), The Picture of Dorian Gray (UK Tour), Nine Night (Trafalgar Studios), #Hashtag Lightie (Arcola), Stopcock (Southwark Playhouse), Meatman (Theatre503), In The Pink (Courtyard Theatre) and Expectations (Theatre N16). For television, her work includes African QueensCasualty, Doctors and Red Light; and for film, Acceptable Damage.

Abiola Owokoniran plays Algernon Moncrieff. The Importance of Being Earnest is Abiola’s professional debut.

Anita Reynolds plays Dr. Chasuble. For theatre, her work includesA Monster Calls (Old Vic- UK/US Tour), Bartholomew Fair, The Merry Wives Of Windsor (Shakespeare’s Globe), ear for eye (Royal Court), Absolute Hell (National), hang (The Other Room), The Lion the Witch & the Wardrobe, Arabian Nights, Horrible Histories, Romeo & Juliet, Measure for Measure (Sherman), Speechless (Shared Experience), The Move (Made in Wales), Carers (Turning Point), Cinderella (Unicorn), Forbidden Fruit (Nottingham Playhouse), Wishful Thinking (Hijinx), Dealing with Feelings (London Bubble), How High is Up, Mirror Mirror (Theatre Centre). For television, her work includes The Birth Of Daniel F HarrisIn My Skin, Relik, Keeping Faith, Casualty, Stella, Holby City, Gwaith Cartef, Talking to the Dead, Being Human, Caerdydd, Belonging, Dau Dy A Ni, Nice Day for a Welsh Wedding, Doctors, The Story of Tracy Beaker, Bay College, Nuts and Bolts, Pobol Y Cwm, The Bench and The Hull Project; and for film, I Used To Be Famous, Telling Tales, Sweet 16, Rain and Paradise Grove

Justice Ritchie plays John Worthing. For theatre, his work includes Human Nurture (Theatre Centre) and Dear Elizabeth (Gate Theatre). 

Denzel Westley-Sanderson is a theatre director and workshop facilitator. He trained at Mountview Academy of Theatre Arts, has been part of the Resident Directors’ pool at the Almeida Theatre, and was previously director of the CTC Dance Company. His theatre credits include directing Identity (Edinburgh Festival Fringe), which won the award for ‘Exciting New Work’ at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, co-director on Jesus Christ Superstar – The Concert (Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre), and associate director on Dick Whittington and Small Island (National Theatre). Denzel has also worked with the Participation team at the Donmar Warehouse on several schools’ project across London.

The Importance of Being Earnest is supported by a grant from the Royal Theatrical Support Trust (RTST).

THE RTST SIR PETER HALL DIRECTOR AWARD
Now in its sixth year, the RTST Sir Peter Hall Director Award – which honours the memory of RTST co-founder, Sir Peter Hall – is made to an up-and-coming director demonstrating exceptional directing skills in a rigorous competitive process. The scheme promotes the RTST’s charitable objectives by supporting up-and-coming theatre practitioners and British regional theatres. It is also intended to appeal to a wide range of candidates and to play a part in promoting diversity in the theatre, onstage, offstage and among audiences.

THE IMPORTANCE OF BEING EARNEST

Listings

Website ett.org.uk | Email admin@ett.org.uk

Twitter @weareETT | Facebook/Instagram EnglishTouringTheatre | YouTube ETT

Leeds Playhouse

5 – 17 September

Box Office: 0113 213 7700 / www.leedsplayhouse.org.uk             

Cambridge Arts

20 – 24 September

Box Office: 01223 503333 / www.cambridgeartstheatre.com

New Wolsey

27 – 1 October                 

Box Office: 01473 295900 / www.wolseytheatre.co.uk

Northern Stage

4 – 8 October    

Box Office: 0191 230 5151 / www.northernstage.co.uk    

Liverpool Playhouse

11 – 15 October              

Box Office: 0151 709 4776 / www.everymanplayhouse.com

Rose Theatre

1 – 12 November

Box Office: 020 8174 0090 / www.rosetheatre.org  

Teenage Cancer Trust & Moulin Rouge! The Musical to host a Special Gala Event in London

Teenage Cancer Trust &

Moulin Rouge! The Musical to host a

Special Gala Event in London

  • Charity Gala Performance of the acclaimed West End musical, with all profits in aid of the Music-Industry-backed Teenage Cancer Trust.
  • Taking place on Thursday 29 September, the event will raise vital funds for the UK’s only charity dedicated to making sure cancer doesn’t stop young people living their lives. 
  • For further information, see https://www.moulinrougemusical.co.uk/gala/

On Thursday 29 September, Teenage Cancer Trust and Moulin Rouge! The Musical will play host to an exclusive event in London. A Special Gala Performance of the celebrated West End musical will raise money to fund the charity’s specialist nurses, youth support teams and hospital units that help teens and young adults get through cancer treatment. 

The Gala will be a glamorous, star-studded evening at the theatre in aid of Teenage Cancer Trust.  With the glitzy Rouge carpet, the Piccadilly Theatre will be decked out in spectacular fashion hosting VIPs, donors and special celebrity guests for a one-night-only celebration.

An occasion full of stardust, The Gala promises to be a night to remember.

For an even more extravagant experience bookers are invited to select their tickets from a variety of special package types and to revel in the additional pre and post show celebrations whilst enhancing the level of funds raised for Teenage Cancer Trust.

Roger Daltrey CBE, Teenage Cancer Trust Honorary Patron and The Who’s frontman, said:

“Like all charities the last two years have been really tough, especially for Teenage Cancer Trust and the young people we support. However, it goes without saying that the unconditional support myself and the charity have received from the music and entertainment industry throughout this time has been unwavering and I cannot thank them enough for that.

Teenage Cancer Trust relies completely on public donations and with music and entertainment fundraisers such as our flagship week of Teenage Cancer Gigs at the Royal Albert Hall, the charity is able to continue to support young people living with cancer. It is so wonderful to see another entertainment event supporting the charity. And what a brilliant collaboration Moulin Rouge! The Musical and Teenage Cancer Trust make – especially as the musical includes 75 of the greatest pop songs of all time. This very special performance really won’t be one to miss.”

Carmen Pavlovic, Producer of Moulin Rouge! The Musical, said: 

“We are honoured to collaborate with the Teenage Cancer Trust, one of the most vital charities in the UK. Moulin Rouge! the Musical is where dreams come true, independence of spirit is prized, and a spectacularly diverse range of identities are celebrated.

“Teenage Cancer Trust’s heritage with popular music, and Moulin Rouge’s showcasing of 120 years of iconic songs create a partnership of kindred spirits and ideals. We are excited to dream up this very special evening together.” 

Paul McKenzie, Director of Fundraising at Teenage Cancer Trust, said:

“We are so thankful to the team at The Moulin Rouge! for supporting Teenage Cancer Trust with this very special performance. Cancer doesn’t just devastate a young person’s health, it threatens to take away everything they care about – their identity, their independence and their dreams.  

Our incredible nurses and support teams do all they can to stop that happening, and make sure that cancer doesn’t stop young people living their lives.

But all of their work is entirely dependent on fundraised income, so events like this truly are lifesaving.”

Sister Act Review

Eventim Apollo – until 28th August 2022

Reviewed by Emily Cliff

4****

Incredibly anticipated by the theatre community and postponed due to covid, Sister Act has certainly made the long wait worth it.

From the costumes to the staging, everything from when the curtain rose was pure joy in this production of Sister Act. Much like the beloved blockbuster, the theatre adaptation was meant to star Whoopi Goldberg. However, due to scheduling conflicts, she was unable to reprise her role. This left big shoes to fill, but Beverly Knight certainly filled them. Supported by Jenifer Saunders (Mother Superior), Keala Settle (Sister Mary Patrick) and Lizzie Bea (Sister Mary Robert) this all star cast left audiences beaming from ear to ear.

In regards to the story, there’s not much difference between the film and the musical, the stage show is set in 1977 Philadelphia. Dripping with disco and soul, the songs were charming, uplifting and added to the feelgood atmosphere of the show. A notable song was Take Me To Heaven, which was by far one of the best numbers in the show. Unfortunately, the songs in act two weren’t quite on the same level of energy as the final two numbers of act one, and it felt repetitive throughout act two, neither adding nor taking away from the story.

That being said, the costumes and the staging certainly lifted this production in many ways. While not much can be done with a simple nun costume, the finale saw brightly coloured sequin robes which added to the delightfulness of the production.

This show had all of the ingredients to be great but it just fell short. The characters were played brilliantly, and the comedic value was there however some of the songs and events in the show felt a little bit like time fillers. Despite its downfalls the show is a joy to watch and will put a smile on anyone’s face when they go and see it. Beverly Knight was a superb Delores and Jenifer Saunders was a fantastic Mother Superior. The show would have benefited from more upbeat songs and more ensemble involvement, because who doesn’t like groovy nuns? Overall this show, despite its shortcomings, was a joy and a feelgood classic that should be added to your London theatre watch list.