Swan Lake, Birmingham Royal Ballet Review

Mayflower Theatre, Southampton – Thursday 2nd February 2023

Reviewed by Joanna Huggett

5*****

My 13-year-old daughter and I went to see the Swan Lake and found it utterly amazing. The set was really effective. The costumes were beautiful, and the music from the live orchestra was spellbinding. The lighting was also effective, especially in Acts three and four when the main characters were illuminated at the back of the stage.

We thought the performance by the principal dancer, Brandon Lawrence, who played Siegfried, was excellent. As was the performance by his equerry, Benno, danced by Tzu Chao-Chou. The performance by Momoko Hirata, who played Odette in Act two, was also excellent. We found the performance by Celine Gittens, who played the black swan, Odile, in Act three to be outstanding. She performed 32 fouetté turns in quick succession, which was quite remarkable.

The performance was split into four acts, which worked well, and gave the audience a chance to breathe and stretch between each section. I’m sure it also allowed the dancers to have a much-needed break from their rigorous dance routines.

My daughter had never seen a full-length traditional ballet before. She described it as ‘inspiring’ and ‘the best show she had ever seen.’ Well done to all involved. A must see.

Around the World in 80 Days Review

Theatre Royal, York – until Saturday 4th February 2023

Reviewed by Katie Brewerton

3***

Around the World in 80 Days is based on  the Jules Verne novel of the same name, following the eccentric Phileas Fogg (Alex Phelps) as he sets out to prove he can make it around the world in 80 days or less, after making a wager with some friends. He takes along Passepartout (Wilson Benedito), a French man who has recently entered his employ. As they set out on their journey, unbeknown to them Detective Fix (Eddie Mann) has also set out on a journey, to hunt down the person responsible for a huge robbery in England, he suspects Fogg and sets out to keep him on English soil while awaiting a warrant for his arrest. Phileas, finds himself having a variety of new experiences and even gains a new friend in Aouda (Genevieve Sabherwal) who joins them on their travels after being rescued in India. 

This adaption sees a group of circus performers re-tell the story as well as the fascinating true story of Nellie Bly, an American journalist who decided to take on Phileas Fogg’s journey herself. Bly became a record holder for her accomplishment, played by Katriona Brown her story is interspersed with Phileas’ throughout the play as true events are mixed with the events of the play. 

Directed and adapted by Juliet Forster this ia a unique, family friendly adaption. The talented group of performers take you around the world with them, from France to Egypt to Hong Kong, Japan and America you are part of the adventure. Using the props and stage well to create various modes of transport including trains, boats and an elephant, this is a play with humour for both adults and children alike with a great cast and a vibrant set. The performers use their skills to include the circus in the production and their skill is clear, this is a light-hearted fun filled show for all the family. 

Blow Down

Leeds Playhouse – until 11 February 2023

Reviewed by Dawn Smallwood

4****

Theatre Royal Wakefield brings this production, Blow Down, to the Leeds Playhouse. Written by Garry Lyons and directed by Tess Seddon, Blow Down, is a down to earth production with a specific focus on the communities of Knottingley and Ferrybridge (West Yorkshire) that served Ferrybridge Power Station during its existence. The Ferrybridge Power Stations were in operation from 1927 to 2016 and its cooling towers, until 2022, were the iconic industrial landmark for motorists passing the site on the M62 and A1(M) motorways and which can be seen for miles.

The communities, including workers, are represented by five cast members. The shared stories, jointly curated by Edgelands Arts, are characteristically rich in content that ranges from the communities’ prosperous industrial period and its strong social scene to the demise and decline of the industries which massively impacted the communities which are considered “forgotten”.

Honest in manner and spirit, Blow Down, shares the happy times as well as the adverse and poignant times which correlate with the ever-changing current affairs and events, particularly politically and environmentally, past and present. Songs and music are shared to reflect the feelings of the individuals and community felt and the exploration of the creative, resilient, optimistic, and determined spirit the residents had and still have – particularly then and now with the camaraderie in the communities’ social sphere.

Excellent portrayals of the cast of Luke Adamson, Matthew Booth, Matthew Bugg, Alison Saxton and Nicky Filshie who gives a great testimony of the workers and communities that served in the vicinity of Ferrybridge Power Stations. It is a celebration of the working class and its industrial pride that served the communities and people’s livelihoods. It’s an excellent collaboration of authentic local stories being woven into an evening’s entertainment with the visual backdrops of the iconic cooling towers.

Time For a New Semester – Cast Announced For Heathers UK and Ireland Tour

NEW SEMESTER ROLL CALL!
CAST ANNOUNCED

FOR THE UK AND IRELAND TOUR OF

BY LAURENCE O’KEEFE & KEVIN MURPHY

DIRECTED BY ANDY FICKMAN

WINNER OF BEST NEW MUSICAL – WHATSONSTAGE AWARDS 2019

****

Daily Telegraph, The Independent, Metro, Daily Express,

The Stage, Attitude, The Arts Desk, Broadway World

*****

The New European, City AM

Following its multiple West End runs, and continuing success at its home – The Other Palace, Heathers the Musical will embark on its highly anticipated UK and Ireland tour from 14 February 2023.

Heathers the Musical will open in Windsor and visit cities throughout the UK and Ireland, including Liverpool, Nottingham, York, Birmingham, NorwichManchester Dublin, BrightonBath, LeicesterClywd, Cardiff and Glasgow. Full dates and venues can be found at www.heathersthemusical.com

Making it beautiful in blue, Jenna Innes (Les Miserables) takes on the role of angst-ridden teen, Veronica Sawyer, and returning to the role of Jason ‘J.D’ Dean is Jacob Fowler (Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Cinderella).

The Westerberg tour class of 2023 is completed by Verity Thompson (Cinderella) as Heather Chandler, Elise Zavou (Fantastically Great Women Who Changed the World) as Heather Duke, Billie Bowman (Heathers–The Other Palace)as Heather McNamara, Kingsley Morton (The Addams Family) as Martha Dunnstock, Alex Woodward (Mamma Mia!) as Kurt Kelly, Morgan Jackson (Mamma Mia!) as Ram Sweeney, Katie Paine (We Will Rock you) as Ms. Fleming, Jay Bryce (Motown: The Musical) as Kurt’s Dad/Big-Bud Dean/Principal, Conor McFarlane (Once) as Ram’s Dad/Veronica’s Dad/Coach Ripper with Tom Dickerson (The Book of Mormon) as Beleaguered Geek, Lizzie Emery (Rent) as Midwestern Surfer Punk, Eliza Bowden (professional debut) as New Wave Party Girl, Eleanor Walsh (The Rocky Horror Show) as Drama Club Drama Queen, Summer Priest (Get Up Stand Up) as Young Republicanette, Maeve Byrne (Grease) as Stoner Chick, Liam Dean (GYPSY) as Hipster Dork and Markus Sodergren (Roles We’ll Never Play) as Preppy Stud.

Produced by Bill Kenwright and Paul Taylor-Mills, this high octane, black comedy, rock musical based on one of the greatest cult teen films of all-time starring Winona Ryder and Christian Slater, is back with a bang!

Welcome to Westerberg High where Veronica Sawyer is just another nobody dreaming of a better day. But when she joins the beautiful and impossibly cruel Heathers and her dreams of popularity may finally come true, mysterious teen rebel JD teaches her that it might kill to be a nobody, but it is murder being a somebody…

The award-winning writing team, Laurence O’Keefe and Kevin Murphy’s hit musical adaptation has enjoyed successful runs in Los Angeles and New York, and its European premiere saw it become the highest grossing show at The Other Palace, having sold over 20,000 tickets across the run and selling out prior to its opening gala performance. It had a similar success on transferring to the Theatre Royal Haymarket. The smash-hit return engagement at The Other Palace under Bill Kenwright continues to excite and delight audiences.

The musical is directed by acclaimed American screen and stage director Andy Fickman, with choreography by Thriller Live’s Gary Lloyd, design by David Shields, lighting by Ben Cracknell, musical direction by Will Joy and sound by Dan Samson.

LISTINGS

BILL KENWRIGHT & PAUL TAYLOR-MILLS PRESENT

HEATHERS THE MUSICAL

2023 UK and IRELAND TOUR

BY LAURENCE O’KEEFE & KEVIN MURPHY

DIRECTED BY ANDY FICKMAN

CHOREOGRAPHY BY GARY LLOYD

DESIGN BY DAVID SHIELDS

LIGHTING BY BEN CRACKNELL

SOUND BY DAN SAMSON

MUSICAL DIRECTOR – WILL JOY

Theatre Royal, Windsor                                             theatreroyalwindsor.co.uk

14 – 25 February 2023                                                01753 853 8888

New Theatre, Peterbourough                                       newtheatre-peterborough.com

28 February – 4 March 2023                                         01733 852992

New Victoria Theatre, Woking                                  atgtickets.com/Woking

7 – 11 March 2023                                                      0844 871 7615

Theatre Royal, Brighton                                             theatreroyalbrighton.com

14 – 18 March 2023                                                        0333 009 6690

Theatre Royal Bath                                                    theatreroyal.org.uk

21 – 25 March 2023                                                    01225 448844

Theatr Clwyd                                                              www.theatrclwyd.com

28 March- 01 April 2023                                             01352 344101

Theatre Royal, Plymouth                                           theatreroyal.com

4 – 8 April 2023                                                           01752 267222

Regent Theatre, Stoke-On-Trent                               atgtickets.com

11 – 15 April 2023                                                       0844 871 7615

Congress Theatre, Eastbourne                                  eastbournetheatres.co.uk

18 – 22 April 2023                                                       01323 412000

Bord Gáis Energy Theatre, Dublin                              bordgaisenergytheatre.ie

25 April – 6 May 2023                                                 353 (0) 1 677 7999

York Opera House                                                      atgtickets.com

9 – 13 May 2023                                                         0333 009 6690

The Alexandra, Birmingham                                      atgtickets.com/birmingham

16 – 20 May 2023                                                       0844 871 7615

The Orchard, Dartford                                               orchardtheatre.co.uk

23 – 27 May 2023                                                       0343 310 0033

Waterside Theatre, Aylesbury                                   atgtickets.com

30 May – 3 June 2023                                                 0844 871 7615

Everyman Theatre, Cheltenham                                everymantheatre.org.uk

6 – 10 June 2023                                                         01242 572573

Theatre Royal, Norwich                                                norwichtheatre.org

13 – 17 June 2023                                                       01603 630 000

Empire Theatre, Sunderland                                      atgtickets.com

20 – 24 June 2023                                                        0844 871 7615

Kings Theatre, Glasgow                                             atgtickets.com

27 June – 1 July 2023                                                   0333 009 6690

The Empire, Liverpool                                                atgtickets.com

4 – 8 July 2023                                                            0844 871 7615

The Alhambra, Bradford                                               bradford-theatres.co.uk

18 – 22 July 2023                                                        01274 432000

Festival Theatre, Malvern                                             malvern-theatres.co.uk

25 – 29 July 2023                                                        01684 892277   

The Hawth, Crawley                                                      parkwoodtheatres.co.uk

1 – 5 August 2023                                                       01293 553636

Palace Theatre, Manchester                                      atgtickets.com/manchester

8 – 12 August 2023                                                     020 7206 1174     

Curve Theatre, Leicester                                               curveonline.co.uk

15 – 19 August 2023                                                   0116 242 3595

Millenium Centre, Cardiff                                             wmc.org.uk

22 – 26 August 2023                                                   029 2063 6464

Theatre Royal, Nottingham                                          trch.co.uk

29 August – 2 September 2023                                  0115 989 5555

Opera House, Blackpool                                               wintergardensblackpool.co.uk

12 – 16 September 2023                                            0844 770 0593

Belgrade Theatre, Coventry                                          belgrade.co.uk

19 – 23 September 2023                                            024 7655 3055

New Theatre, Hull                                                         hulltheatres.co.uk

26 – 30 September 2023                                            01482 300 306

The Hippodrome, Darlington                                        darlingtonhippodrome.co.uk

3 – 7 October 2023                                                     01325 405405

Castle Theatre, Wellingborough                                   parkwoodtheatres.co.uk

10 – 14 October 2023                                                 01933 270 007

Yvonne Arnaud, Guildford                                            yvonne-arnaud.co.uk

17 – 21 October 2023                                                 01483 44 00 00

Calling all #CornNuts – Be the first to hear the latest Heathers the Musical gossip and further details on dates, venues and on-sales by following us on the following:

Website:

www.heathersthemusical.com

Noughts and Crosses Review

The Rose Theatre, Kingston-Upon-Thames – until 11th February 2023

Reviewed by Bobbi Fenton

5*****

What would the world be like if racist oppression was reversed? Noughts and Crosses, by Malorie Blackman, explores just that in a remarkable fashion. In a world that is run by Crosses (black people), where Noughts (white people) are oppressed through enforced segregation, a so-called ‘terrorist’ organisation fights back. Callum (James Arden) and Sephy (Effie Ansah) have been friends since early childhood and have secretly been meeting up at Sephy’s family’s beach for the last three years, and now Callum is about to start attending the same school as Sephy. This is only the beginning, as we see Callum exposed to more and more oppression, and becoming more involved with the Liberation Militia, following in his Father, Ryan’s (Daniel Copeland) and brother, Jude’s (Nathaniel McCloskey) footsteps. James Arden and Effie Ansah are absolutely brilliant in this play, and portray these characters so perfectly.

Malorie Blackman creates a mirror with real events that have happened through history, such as the scene in which a bomb is planted in the shopping centre, and Ryan (Daniel Copeland) and Jude (Nathaniel McCloskey) insist there was a warning so people could evacuate before it exploded.

This play, adapted by Sabrina Mahfouz, challenges modern day racism by making the play seem like it takes place in a dystopian society despite reflecting real attitudes that have been commonplace at one point or another in history, simply through role reversal. By having Black characters as the top of the hierarchy, and white people as being oppressed, it seems almost difficult to see as realistic, which forces an audience to address their own unconscious bias towards minorities.

All of the actors in this show are amazing, portraying the characters wonderfully. I especially liked Daniel Norford’s portrayal of Sephy’s father, Kamal, as we see his character develop throughout the play, evolving from a quiet anger in the beginning to enraged shouting towards the end. Not to mention Daniel Copeland as Ryan, Callum’s father. Despite only being in the play for a small amount of time, Copeland’s portrayal of Ryan is outstanding. I thoroughly enjoyed seeing him interact with Nathaniel McCloskey, who played Jude. The two were brilliant.

Noughts and Crosses is captivating beyond belief. It is nothing like what I was expecting and better than anything I could have imagined. Its only downfall is a slight issue with the volume, as I found it slightly difficult to hear the occasional line. Despite this, it is a definite must-see, that should absolutely not be missed.

I Found My Horn Review

White Bear Theatre, Kennington – until 11 February 2023

Reviewed by Phil Brown

4.5****

The humorously suggestive “I found my Horn” is based on the true story of Jasper Rees who wrote the autobiographical book used as the basis for this brilliantly funny 90 minute show .  It has little to do with libido  quite a lot to do with the French horn but, ultimately is about much more than just music.  It’s an inspirational story that in current parlance, charts Rees’  journey from failing at everything to regaining his mojo.

They say that the appeal of science books drops in direct proportion to the number of equations included.  Be reassured, you really don’t need to know much about music to fully appreciate and enjoy this show.   But if you do, you should be delighted by the wealth of “technical” terms and references as well as names likely known only to musicians and horn experts at that.  It is quite refreshing that they have not been edited out in the interest of “greater accessibility”. In fact, they add immeasurably to the richness and authenticity of the play, and the prominence they assume in a musician’s life is a source of amusement in its own right.  The well chosen, and appropriately classical sound track is equally welcome

Jonathan Guy Lewis, who co-wrote the stage play, becomes Rees in this wonderfully realised one man show.  He is so good, he appears to be recalling first hand (or should that be “lived”) experience rather than acting a part.  It’s a bravura performance of restless energy, astonishing versatility and the deftest of transitions between the 8 or 9 different characters he assumes during the course of the show (including his French horn and stereotypical teenage son Daniel with whom he has a difficult relationship).  The dialogue between these very distinctive parts flows so naturally, it’s easy to forget there is only one actor on stage .  The portrayal of these different voices is superb.  And there can’t be many actors around who can play the French horn..  Truly, a tour de force.   

The play starts with Rees (Lewis), in his mid 50s, newly divorced, clearing his long forgotten possessions from the attic of the marital home, only to discover his old (Czechoslovakian made) French horn, last played 39 years previously.  This immediately provides something faintly familiar for Rees  to focus on during his post divorce PTSD moment.  In one of a few surreal passages, he starts talking to the French horn, which talks back…   

Rees formulates a crazily ambitious plan to play Mozart’s daunting Horn Concerto No3 solo at the annual British Horn Society (BHS) concert in a year’s time.  Not, I suspect, a particularly uncommon sort of fantasy amongst folk of a certain age who stopped playing instruments during their teens when other distractions presented themselves.  

He recruits a mentor – Dave Lee (Jonathan Guy Lewis!), an unlikely, no nonsense horn player from the People’s Republic of Yorkshire where brass bands are legendary.  Pedants might nitpick about Lewis’ Yorkshire accent, but his characterisation is spot on.  Lee introduces Rees to Philip Farkas who “wrote the bible” on the art of French horn playing.  “Do 2 hours a day with Farkas before allowing yourself 10 minutes of fun – with Mozart”.  Lee then sets up Rees with an audition for the BHS annual concert.  He’s full of home-spun philosophy and is also responsible for the best joke in the show with his Herbert von Karajan anecdote.  I won’t spoil it.

To bridge the gap between aspiration and achievement, Rees goes on to Horn Camp in New Hampshire (where else?) which opens up even more comic opportunities. There he meets Kendall Betts (Jonathan Guy Lewis!) the director, and Hermann (the German horn player) Baumann (Jonathan Guy Lewis!), a legend who gives him one on one tuition. His passion for the instrument suddenly becomes turbocharged.

Back in the UK of England,, as Kendall Betts calls it, Rees learns his audition has failed to secure the amateur  spot in the BHS annual concert.   However, before he can dispose of the horn in defeat, he is called on to fill in for the original player who is indisposed.  A pep talk from Dave Lee summons the spirit of the greatest horn player who ever lived (Dennis Brain) and convinces Rees not to bottle it now.  The remarkable final scene sees Rees visibly unravel as he struggles to play his solo, having dedicated it to his son Daniel. I’m guessing it tales a pretty good horn player to play the initial movements so badly.  Sweaty and dishevelled, he eventually channels Baumann to gain control over nerves and instrument to finish with a flourish.  Mission accomplished.

Congratulations to Jonathan Guy Lewis and director Harry Burton for staging such a life affirming surge of energy where an original, witty, and resonant story marries perfectly to jaw dropping performance.  At the end, when son Daniel said – “Dad you’re a nutter”, I’m sure what he really meant was “wow, awesome”.  

Wodehouse in Wonderland Review

Yvonne Arnaud, Guildford – until 4th February 2023

Reviewed by Antonia Hebbert

4****

It’s 1950, and P.G. Wodehouse is writing a new story in his phenomenally popular Jeeves and Wooster series. Easier said than done, as his wife (Ethel, aka Bunny) calls for breakfast, the Pekingese dogs need a walk, and he is being pursued by an earnest young man who wants to write his biography. So far, so jolly, in a scenario that’s a little like, well, something written by P.G. Wodehouse.

But there is a dark undertone. P.G. Wodehouse, known as Plum, has exiled himself in America. At the start of World War II he was living in France, was interned by the invading Germans, and made himself dreadfully unpopular back home by doing humorous broadcasts about being an internee. It is easy to see now the sort of pressure he was under, but at the time he was condemned as a traitor. He moved to New York after the war, settled in Long Island, and eventually started writing again. (Thanks to the wonders of modern technology, you can find his rather nice home through Google.)

Robert Daws plays Wodehouse, and does this show singlehanded, in a very realistic but rather bland set of a sitting room/study. He talks directly to the audience, sometimes as if writing a letter to his beloved stepdaughter Leonora (aka Snorky), sometimes as if responding to the pesky biographer Mr Phillips. He reads from one of his books, and sings musical theatre songs for which he wrote the lyrics – Wodehouse worked in Hollywood and on Broadway, as well as writing books. And he talks on the phone to his great friend the writer Guy Bolton, who was surely an inspiration for Galahad Threepwood, in the Blandings Castle stories.

While laughing off Mr Phillips’s probing questions, Daws/Wodehouse reveals extraordinary things. Wodehouse was born in Hong Kong, and was sent to England at the age of two, to be raised by various aunts (if you are a fan of Wodehouse, this makes you jump – his fictional aunts are daunting). By the age of 15 he had seen his parents twice. This casts a whole new light on the sunny innocence of the Wodehouse stories, and perhaps on the compulsion to ‘get a laugh’ that made him do the wartime broadcasts – a rare example of poor comic timing. In the second half, there is also a heart-wrenching shock.

If you like P.G. Wodehouse’s books, you will surely find this play by William Humble very charming and moving. It has made me want to go back to the books, in the hope that they will still seem as ingeniously funny as I remember. The director is Robin Herford.

Head Over Heels Review

Hope Mill Theatre, Manchester – until 4th March 2023

Reviewed by Matthew North

2**

Every now and then, a musical sounds like a great idea on paper and that great idea translates beautifully to the stage. Is this the case for Head Over Heels?

The short answer is that I’m afraid it isn’t.

Despite a cast overflowing with charm and talent, this show just feels adrift in quite a severe identity crisis. The plot is convoluted, the characters paper thin and the book plodding bordering on painful for the majority. Any musical including the back catalogue of The Go-Go’s isn’t exactly short of an array of cracking songs, but here they just feel shoe horned in for the most part and generally add even more confusion to an already muddy affair.

The Direction and Choreography by Tom Jackson Greaves goes some way toward providing some much needed clarity to proceedings but also noticeably lacks any moments of real stillness to let the stories and relationships on show to actually breathe and establish themselves in any meaningful way. The stage often feels chaotic and crowded – and whilst the near constant movement and shifting does give this production a real momentum and pacey feel, it’s hard not to feel left behind in a confused daze.

In the midst of all this, there really are some cracking performances from the 12 strong company. Highlights including a truly glorious performance from Iz Hesketh as Pythio, bringing a shimmering beauty and fantastic voice, a beautifully controlled vocal and some spot on line deliveries from Luke Bayer as Musidorus and Jenny O’Leary as Pamela. O’Leary brings an undeniable command of the stage and the vocal performance of the night – every time she appeared on the stage, the production suddenly went into a whole other gear. The portrayal of her relationship with Mopsa (a very charming Khadija Sallet) was played with the kind of sensibility the rest of the production would have really benefited from.

There’s no denying this production does raise a smile on multiple occasions (I can’t imagine a single audience member will sit there stone faced) but can I see the show moving on from here, or becoming a staple? Sadly not. Maybe that’s just me. It’s not that its out and out a bad show, nor do I feel like I’ve now seen one of those big musical flops that fans like to collect, it’s just something that didn’t work for me.

A LITTLE LIFE RELEASES ON STAGE SEATING FOR THE RUNS AT THE HAROLD PINTER THEATRE AND RICHMOND THEATRE

A LITTLE LIFE RELEASES ON STAGE SEATING FOR THE RUNS

AT THE HAROLD PINTER THEATRE AND RICHMOND THEATRE

ALSO ANNOUNCED TODAY A CHARITY GALA PERFORMANCE IN AID OF MIND,

AND A PRODUCTION PARTNERSHIP WITH APPLAUSE FOR THOUGHT

With rehearsals starting today, the producers of A Little Life – Wessex Grove, Gavin Kalin Productions, and Playful Productions – announce that they will release on stage seating across the runs at both Richmond and Harold Pinter Theatres priced at just £25 and £35, meaning over a third of all tickets across the run are £40 or under.

The first wave of seats will be made available on 6 February at midday encompassing the performances across the dates at Richmond, and from 25 March to 30 April at the Harold Pinter Theatre. There will be a further release of on stage seating for performances in May and June on 4 April, again at midday.

For the opportunity to experience the production from the intimacy of the stage, there is a final chance to sign up to receive the special booking link via: www.alittlelifeplay.com. The sign-up list will close on 6 February at 11.30am, ahead of the release at midday.

In addition to the on-stage seating, audiences will also be able to access a limited number of last-minute tickets through a variety of opportunities listed on the website.

CHARITY GALA PERFORMANCE IN AID OF MIND

Also announced today, is a charity gala performance on 30 March in aid of the mental health charity Mind. For further information on Mind: https://www.mind.org.uk/

A LITTLE LIFE PARTNERS WITH APPLAUSE FOR THOUGHT

A Little Life is partnering with Applause for Thought, a multi-award-winning community interest company that aims to create safe, empowering and empathetic spaces for all within the arts. Victoria Abbott will be supporting the company as the Production Wellbeing Practitioner (PWP). This role encompasses weekly in person 1-1 and group support within the development, rehearsal room, performance and post-production phases of a show.

Abbott’s role will assist in the appropriate implementation of mental health at work policies and risk assessments, develops resources for members of the audience and front of house teams as well as being an active support for the mental health and wellbeing at work of those both on and off stage. She will work pragmatically and sensitively amidst all the varying themes of the production to aid the creative process and reinforce the resilience of each department and team.

Victoria Abbott is a BACP registered integrative psychotherapist and she began supporting the mental health of those working in creative industries in 2014 when a theatre company asked her for guidance on designing and implementing a mental health at work policy. She has an undergraduate degree in Psychology, a masters in the Psychodynamics of Human Development and a PGDip in Integrative Psychotherapy as well as experience and training as a performer. She has her own thriving private practice where she specialises in burnout, life transition, bereavement and anxiety and is the Support Lead at Applause For Thought.

For further information on Applause for Thought: https://applauseforthought.com/

Producers – Wessex Grove, Gavin Kalin Productions, Playful Productions,

Co-Producers – Creative Partners Productions, Patrick Gracey Productions, ROYO,

Rupert Gavin & Mallory Factor Partnership, and New Frame Productions / David Adkin present

A LITTLE LIFE

Based on the novel by Hanya Yanagihara

Adapted by Koen TacheletIvo van Hove and Hanya Yanagihara

Originally produced by Internationaal Theater Amsterdam

Cast: James NortonLuke ThompsonOmari DouglasZach WyattElliot CowanZubin VarlaNathalie ArminEmilio Doorgasingh         

Conceived and Directed by: Ivo van Hove; Set & Lighting Design: Jan Versweyveld;

Costume Design: An D’Huys; Music & Sound Designer: Eric Sleichim;

Casting Director: Julia Horan CDG

Richmond Theatre – 14 – 18 March

Harold Pinter Theatre – 25 March – 18 June

James Norton (Happy ValleyGrantchester) stars as Jude as the visionary director Ivo van Hove (NetworkHedda Gabler) stages the English language premiere of A LITTLE LIFE, his acclaimed production of the million-copy bestseller by Hanya Yanagihara (To Paradise, Booker Prize Shortlist for A Little Life).

The much-anticipated play also stars Luke Thompson (BridgertonHamlet), Omari Douglas (It’s A SinConstellations), Zach Wyatt (The WitcherI and You), Elliot Cowan (The Crown2:22 A Ghost Story), Zubin Varla (Tammy FayeEquus), Nathalie Armin (Force MajeureThe Doctor), and Emilio Doorgasingh (Best of EnemiesThe Kite Runner). 

A LITTLE LIFE follows four college friends in New York City: aspiring actor Willem, successful architect Malcolm, struggling artist JB, and prodigious lawyer Jude.

As ambition, addiction, and pride threaten to pull the group apart, they always find themselves bound by their love for Jude and the mysteries of his past.  

But when those secrets come to light, they finally learn that to know Jude St Francis is to understand the limitless potential of love in the face of life.

Listings Information

A LITTLE LIFE

Harold Pinter Theatre

Panton St, London SW1Y 4DN

Box Office: 0333 009 6690

www.atgtickets.com

Richmond Theatre:

Performances at 7pm

Harold Pinter Theatre:

Previews:

Monday to Saturday at 7pm

Tuesday – Saturday at 7pm

Thursday matinees at 1.30pm (except 20 April, 18 May)

Saturday matinees at 1.30pm (except 6 May)

Sunday matinees at 2pm

Access performances:

British Sign Language – 23 May at 7pm

Audio Described – 31 May at 7pm

Captioned – 7 June at 7pm

Vardy v Rooney: The Wagatha Christie Trial announces UK Tour following West End run at the Ambassadors

Eleanor Lloyd Productions and Eilene Davidson Productions present

Vardy v Rooney:

The Wagatha Christie Trial

  • AWAY FIXTURES ANNOUNCED: VARDY V ROONEY: THE WAGATHA CHRISTIE TRIAL WILL TOUR TO WOKING, LIVERPOOL, SOUTHEND, SALFORD AND BRIGHTON FOLLOWING THE STRICTLY LIMITED RUN IN THE WEST END AT THE AMBASSADORS THEATRE FROM 6 APRIL – 20 MAY 2023
  • LUCY MAY BARKER (REBEKAH VARDY), LAURA DOS SANTOS (COLEEN ROONEY), JONATHAN BROADBENT (HUGH TOMLINSON QC), TOM TURNER (DAVID SHERBORNE) AND NATHAN MCMULLAN WILL REPRISE THEIR ROLES AT THE AMBASSADORS THEATRE BEFORE HEADING OUT ON TOUR
  • A SPECIAL GALA IN SUPPORT OF CHARITY ADVOCATE WILL TAKE PLACE AT THE AMBASSADORS THEATRE ON 13 APRIL
Photo credit: Tristram Kenton. L-R: Jonathan Broadbent (Hugh Tomlinson QC), Lucy May Barker (Rebekah Vardy), Laura Dos Santos (Coleen Rooney), Tom Turner (David Sherborne)

Following a strictly limited run at the Ambassadors Theatre in the West End (6 April – 20 May 2023),Vardy v Rooney: The Wagatha Christie Trial  will tour to the following locations: WOKING New Victoria Theatre (26 May – 27 May 2023), LIVERPOOL Empire Theatre (28 May 2023), SOUTHEND Palace Theatre (30-31 May 2023), SALFORD The Lowry (9-11 June 2023) and BRIGHTON Theatre Royal (15-17 June 2023).

The verbatim production opened on 15 November 2022 at the Wyndham’s Theatre where it played to packed houses and standing ovations. The trial that gripped the nation has been adapted from seven days of High Court transcripts by Liv Hennessy (finalist in the Paines Plough’s Women’s Prize for Playwriting) and directed by Lisa Spirling (Artistic Director of Theatre503).

Reprising their roles will be Lucy May Barker (Mamma Mia!, West End; Pine Hampstead Theatre) as Rebekah Vardy and Laura Dos Santos (Yes So I Said Yes, Finborough Theatre; My White Best Friend, Liverpool Everyman) as Coleen Rooney, Jonathan Broadbent (The Comedy of Errors, RSC; My Night with Reg, Donmar and West End) as Hugh Tomlinson QC, Tom Turner as David Sherborne and Nathan McMullen (Misfits, E4; Hushabye Mountain, Hope Mill) playing multiple roles including Wayne Rooney and Jamie Vardy. Further casting is to be announced.

Tickets will go on sale for The Lowry on Friday 3 February 2023. www.thelowry.com 0161 876 2000 or www.wagathaplay.co.uk Tickets for the rest of the tour will go on sale on 17 February.

A special gala performance in support of Advocate will take place on 13 April at the Ambassadors Theatre. The charity exists to match members of the public who need free legal help with barristers who are willing to donate their time and expertise in deserving cases for those who are unable to obtain legal aid and cannot afford to pay. Advocate is the Bar’s national pro bono charity that makes it possible for barristers to balance a dedicated practice with making a significant contribution to the community.

Three assisted performances at the Ambassadors Theatre are also announced today. These include a Captioned performance on 29 April at 14:30, BSL interpreted performance on 4 May 19:30 and Audio described performance on 13 May 14:30.

From sting operations to sensational headlines, this verbatim production reveals what went on behind closed doors in the case that turned social media sleuthing into high drama. Audiences can see first-hand, and in the words of Rebekah Vardy and Coleen Rooney, how the extraordinary week in court played out.

Vardy v Rooney is a story stranger than fiction, with lurid one-liners and revelations blurring the boundaries of tabloid and court case, social media and soap opera. This unique moment in British media history captivated the country but while public debate raged, only a handful of people witnessed what happened in the trial. Now audiences can watch the intrigue and intricacies of the case live on stage in the West End and beyond. 

Vardy v Rooney: The Wagatha Christie Trial is adapted by Liv Hennessy, directed by Lisa Spirling and designed by Polly Sullivan, the composer and sound designer is Richard Hammarton and Lizzie Manwaring is assistant director.