The Philanthropist Review

Trafalgar Studios 20 April – 22 July.  Reviewed by Claire Roderick

The Philanthropist starts with a wonderfully distasteful bang, but Simon Callow’s production doesn’t consistently deliver the laughs it should.

Christopher Hampton’s response to Molière’s The Misanthrope, set in the cosy bubble of academia in the early 70s follows Philip, a bland and affable philology lecturer whose idea of a good night’s entertainment is anagram games and carpet bowls. After his fiancée Celia’s dinner party, Philip’s need to not upset people, coupled with his stunning lack of empathy, results in him spending the night with the university man-eater, Araminta.

The young cast do a fine job, but considering Simon Callow’s less than restrained acting style, under his direction their performances are slightly muted. This play needed Matt Berry declaiming in full Toast bellows; as it stands, the pompous Braham is slick and suitably slimy, but some of his more outrageous lines fall flat when delivered so mildly. The loudest thing about Berry was his suit. Unfortunately, a lot of the jokes fall flat in the dinner party scene, which feels overlong, awkward and very stilted. (This may, of course be the realistic feeling of being stuck in social hell that Simon Callow intended to create?) The second act is much better, with the characters showing more emotion and becoming more 3 dimensional.

Philip is too close to Simon Bird’s Inbetweeners character to allow the actor to do anything different to his usual shtick, which mostly works, while Tom Rosenthal has a ball as Don, the laziest lecturer in the university. Lily Cole looks gorgeous and prowls around as Araminta, but brings a wonderful sadness and strength to her broken character as she opens up about her past to Philip. Charlotte Ritchie holds the play together as Celia, giving a wonderful performance as her exasperation with Philip turns into despair.

Libby Watson’s stylish white set evokes a powerful sense of time and space, rooting the play firmly in the 70s, when the assassination of the Tory front bench was something to laugh about. The characters’ opposing views on socialism and art are still relevant, but this play is definitely a period piece. Interesting, and with some fine performances, especially from the female cast, but the first act needs sorting out before The Philanthropist can be wholly satisfying.

Casting announced for Twitstorm at Park Theatre

Cahoots Theatre Company in association with Simon Fielder Productions present









The team behind Park Theatre hits Dead Sheep, An Audience with Jimmy Savile, Deny Deny Deny and The Roundabout, will return to the theatre with the world premiere of a brand new comedy, TWITSTORM, playing from 31 May – 1 July, with a press night on 1 June.


Guy Manton is a national treasure, the much-loved host of a caustic television panel show, until a throwaway remark is inadvertently shared with the whole world, and before Guy knows what is happening he is being battered by the Twitstorm. A hilarious exploration of what can happen when the self-righteousness of social media gets out of hand.


Directed by Chris England, author of the hit comedy Breakfast with Jonny Wilkinson, and co-author of the acclaimed An Evening with Gary Lineker, Twitstorm is directed by Jonathan Lewis, and will star Jason Merrells as ‘Guy Manton’, Claire Goose as ‘Bex Manton’, Justin Edwards as ‘Neil’, Chris England as ‘Rupert’, and Tom Moutchi as ‘Ike’.


Chris England said, “Twitstorm grew out of a fascination with tales of how quickly the anonymous self-righteousness of social media can blow up into a proper old-style torch-and-pitchfork witch hunt, actually laying waste to people’s real lives. It’s about how a complicated situation can be definitively branded a simple matter of right and wrong by whoever shouts the loudest. And if the election of Donald Trump has shown us anything, it is that a seemingly harmless bit of everyday phone fun can be used to bypass the rationality of traditional debate.


Jason Merrells has worked extensively on both stage and screen. Theatre credits include: A Princess Undone (UK Tour), How The Other Half Loves (Haymarket/Duke of York’s), Five Finger Exercise (Print Room), Twelve Angry Men(UK Tour), Measure for Measure (UK Tour), Twelfth Night and Comedy Of Errors (RSC), The Pleasureman (Glasgow Citizens), Saved (Bolton Octagon), The Long and the Short and the Tall (Sheffield Lyceum) and OutCry (Cheek By Jowl). TV credits include: Midsomer Murders, Agatha Raisin, Safe House, Emmerdale, Waterloo Road, The Hitch, Death In Paradise, Lark Rise To Candleford II, The Project, Cutting It, Inspector Lynley, Clocking off, Fat Friends, Queer As Folk and Casualty. His film credits include: The Jealous God, Do Not Disturb and A Small Obsession.


Claire Goose recently starred in the titular role for BBC’s The Coroner and in Unforgotten for ITV. She has also appeared in critically acclaimed dramas such as: Exile (BBC), Undeniable (ITV), Waking The Dead (BBC), Casualty(BBC), Hustle (BBC), Secret Smile (ITV), The Bill (ITV), New Tricks (BBC), and Death in Paradise (BBC). Her theatre credits include: The Perfect Murder (UK Tour), Hiding (Watford Palace) and When We are Rich (Nuffield, Southampton).


Justin Edwards’ theatre credits include: The Rivals (Arcola), I Killed Rasputin (Edinburgh), Art (Holders Festival),Jeremy Lion Goes Green (Menier Chocolate Factory & Edinburgh), Comedy Of Errors (Rude Mechanicals), Breakfast with Jonny Wilkinson (Menier Chocolate Factory & Edinburgh) and The Good, The Bad and The Queen (No.1 Tour). His television credits include: From Cradle To Grave, In and Out of the Kitchen, Space Ark, Puppy Love, Man Down, Harry & Paul’s History of the 2’s, W1A, Veep, Father Brown, The Hollow Crown, The Thick Of It, Skins, Black Mirror, Mount Pleasant, Pram Face, The Trip, Secret Diary of a Call Girl, Perrin and Black Books. His film credits include: The Man Who Invented Christmas, Love and Friendship, Paddington Bear, Thor 2, Albatross, The Duchess, The Decameron.


Social media star Tom Moutchi’s theatre credits include Anansi & The London Girl (Lost Theatre), and his screen credits include: Ventrilo Kissed, Balance, Warrior and Snapped.


Twitstorm is directed by Jonathan Lewis, with Set and Costume design by Anthony Lamble, Lighting Design by Tim Mitchell, Composition by Matthew Strachan and casting by Denise Silvey.

Box office: 02078706876*


Adapted from one of the most celebrated works of the writer often hailed as the successor to Agatha Christie, Ruth Rendell’s A Judgement In Stone is at Leeds Grand Theatre next week for one week only.

We spoke to one of its stars – Ben Nealon

Q: You’ve known Bill Kenwright for a while, nice to be part of one of his productions again?

A: Absolutely!

Q: You’ve done a few thrillers with Bill – what is about this role that attracted you?

A: It’s great to finally get the chance to play a policeman and one that the writer has made a little more interesting than your run of the mill detective. I also really liked the relationship he builds with the other investigating officer played by Andrew Lancel – something we built on in the rehearsals.

Q: A Judgement in Stone is widely considered to be Ruth Rendell’s greatest work – why do you think that is?

A: It’s a great story with beautifully drawn three dimensional characters.

Q: Had you read the book before you were cast in the show – what did you love about the story?

A: Yes I did, and I thought “how the hell will we be able to tell this story on stage?!” I love the way it has been adapted.

Q: Did you know or have you worked with any of your cast mates before?

A: Yes. I have worked with Sophie, Deborah and Mark on stage and with Andrew on television.

Q: This production has been on the road since January – what are the nicest things about being on the road?

A: The chance to catch up with friends and family all over the country.

Q: Are there any dates on this tour you’ve not played, any cities you’re looking forward to visiting?

A: Buxton – and it was wonderful….now one of my favourite theatres to play.

Q: You’ve done a couple of Bollywood films – how did that happen?

A: I auditioned for Lagaan as they were looking for English actors who could play cricket. After they saw me bat and bowl down at the Paddington Rec they asked me to screen test for one of the leads and in Hindi…….Lagaan went on to be nominated for an Oscar and four years later the same producer and star, Aamir Khan, asked me to screen test for another colonial epic set during the build up to the Indian Mutiny – a lot nastier character and with more facial hair! They remain two of the happiest experiences of my career.

Q: You’re an OBE for your charity work with Pump Aid – tell us more about that.

A: I helped set up the charity Pump Aid in 1998 while filming Soldier Soldier in Zimbabwe. Since then the organisation has delivered sustainable water solutions to over 9,500 communities in rural Sub-Saharan Africa. Today 1.35 million people have access to safe water supplies and improved sanitation as a direct result of our work. The OBE was really a recognition of all the hard work everyone involved in the charity has put in since 1998.

Q: Finally, without giving too much away, why should audiences come and see A Judgement in Stone?

A: It’s a great story told by a really talented group of actors!

A Judgement In Stone is at Leeds Grand Theatre from Monday 24th to Saturday 29th April
Tickets are priced from £19.50 to £36
Book online at or call Box Office on 0844 848 2700

Sedos Presents: SupercalifragilisticexpialiSIMPROV!

Come and join London’s newest Improv troupe ‘Simprov’, for their first ever show – SupercalifragilisticexpialiSIMPROV!

For those new to the concept of improv, it’s essentially theatre without any scripts or predetermined plans of what scenes are going to be about! It’s entirely made up on the spot.

Simprov started getting together 12 weeks ago, and the first ‘act’ will take audiences on a whistle-stop tour of some of the games the team has been playing in that time. Then, following a pit stop at the bar (hurrah!), audiences are invited back to watch a few Armandos; a long form type of Improv that will be based on real life experiences.

Come and discover what we’ve been working on; making bold choices, jumping in, and finding ‘The Game’. Who knows, maybe you’ll want to join the team and be part of our second show in November?

We need you! SupercalifragilisticexpialiSIMPROV requires audience participation to make it work! Don’t worry, we won’t ask you to get onstage (well, we don’t plan to), but we will be looking to the audiences for suggestions of places, scenarios and characters.

We’re performing Sunday 7th May at 3pm and Monday 8th May at 7.30pm. So, it’s either the perfect thing to enjoy after a leisurely roast dinner, or something to look forward to after the first day back in the office.

About Simprov:
Simprov is a team of 15 new improvisers who’ve been learning the art and science of improv for the past 3 months. Simprov is formed of members of Sedos, London’s premier amateur theatre company. Simprov is being presented at The Bridewell Theatre where Sedos is the resident theatre company.


Sedos presents
SupercalifragilisticexpialiSIMPROV! an improvised comedy show

7-8 May 2017
Sunday at 3pm and Monday at 7:30pm
Bridewell Theatre, Bride Lane, London EC4Y 8EQ

Box office:
Tickets: £5-6 No booking fee.

Twitter: @sedos   Facebook:

Harry Potter star on judging panel for new writing bursary

The Adam Morley Sponsor a Playwright Bursary to announce shortlist in September 2017

Freelance director, producer and playwright Adam Morley will soon be announcing the shortlist of the inaugural Adam Morley Sponsor a Playwright Bursary, which will gift the winning writer with £1000 to further develop the script to production in 2018.

From initial submissions of nearly 100 plays, originally organised with Actors Awareness, a shortlist of 15 will now be assessed by a judging panel of industry experts. The blind submission process was specifically designed to encourage equal opportunities to all applicants, with the aim of making the bursary equal, fair and accessible across a diverse pool of applicants.

Adam Morley is an award-winning director, writer and producer. He is the Artistic Director of regional touring company Baroque Theatre and Associate Director of the Canal Café Theatre in London. He is the Executive Producer of Actors Awareness, which promotes equality and diversity in the arts.

The judging panel includes:

James Phelps is most famous for portraying Fred Weasley in the Harry Potter franchise film series. He is also a regular charity worker, working with such organisations as the National Forest, the Teenage Cancer Trust, Virgin Money Giving, and Cancer Research UK.

Lola Williams is the director of actor’s agency New Wonder Management and has over 15 years of experience in the entertainment industry, both in front of and behind the camera. Lola combines an extensive track record in management with a unique understanding of the requirements of both the actor and the casting professional. Lola is an active member of WFTV UK (Women in Film and Television) and the Agents Association of Great Britain.

John Byrne is a writer, broadcaster, and personal advisor to a wide range of international artists. John has been the career advisor to The Stage Newspaper for over a decade, during which time he has interviewed well over 3000 theatrical professionals, ranging from established to beginner actors to directors, producers and technical crew. He also writes a popular advice column for Young Performer Magazine.

Yasmeen Khan is a playwright, broadcaster and performer. Her plays have work with companies including Kali Theatre and Tamasha. Yasmeen is a diversity advocate; she runs The Rehearsal Room Presents, a platform for new and emerging theatre voices. Her Radio 4 documentaries have covered topics as diverse as mental health, responses to sexism and to how to become a minder. Her other current radio work includes a weekly specialist show focussing on British Asian issues for BBC radio, as well as fronting Friday drivetime on national speech network talkRADIO, where she covers everything from mainstream news to arts and culture. She was awarded Radio Presenter of the Year 2016-17 at the Asian Media Awards.

Emma Taylor is Artistic Director of Canal Cafe Theatre, producer of Guinness World Record Breaking NewsRevue and an actress. She is a former teacher of French and Head of Drama and has been an industry judge on various panels including Amused Moose, Leicester Square Theatre’s New Musical Project, The finals of The Lost Theatre’s One Act Play Festival and currently The American Season at the Canal Cafe Theatre’s search for a new play on the current political state in the USA and Women In Comedy Festival International Comedy Writing Competition.

Chris Hislop is a freelance theatre publicist. He has also worked as a theatre writer and critic, editor, development consultant and theatre director. He has over 10 years experience in arts journalism and PR, and specialises in Off West End/fringe theatre in London. He was the theatre editor, sales and marketing executive and a reviewer for OneStopArts, and also freelanced as a reviewer and blogger for WhatsOnStage and FringeReview (for which he was nominated for the Allen Wright Award in 2009).


He’s back! It’s been a busy few years for Jason since his last smash-hit stand up show but fans of his Absolute Radio show will know this nationally acclaimed comedian hasn’t changed a bit. ‘Muddle Class‘ promises to feature a wealth of new material about Jason growing up ‘working class’ then finding, over the years, that part of him has become ‘middle class’ – causing much confusion!   Delivered with Jason’s amiable charm and captivating wit, this is a show not to be missed.

Jason said: “Somebody said to me on my Facebook fan page, ‘it’s been ages since you’ve toured’.  I thought ‘no way, it was last year wasn’t it?  Anyway, long story short, they were right, it was years ago!  I just got fooled cos I’ve been on tour doing musicals and the last tour is repeated on Dave ja Vu 13 times a day!  So I’ve been putting some stuff together, looking at my life and how it’s changed over the years, how the world has changed and how my parents haven’t changed a bit!  It’s going to be a great tour and I can’t wait to see you there.”


8 out of 10 Cats’ (Channel 4), ‘The Nightly Show’ (ITV1),  ‘Sunday Night at the Palladium’ (ITV1), ‘Live at the Apollo’ (BBC One), ‘Have I Got News For You’, (BBC One), QI (BBC Two) and ‘The Royal Variety Performance’ (ITV1) have all helped establish Jason as a nationally known comic.


Jason Manford plays Newcastle City Hall on Sat 10 Feb 2018. Tickets on sale Fri 21 Apr from 9am.  Tickets are £31.50 and can be purchased at or from the Theatre Royal Box office on 08448 11 21 21 (Calls cost 7ppm plus your phone company’s access charge

Greek women of myth at Theatre N16 in May

Black Sheep Productions presents:

May 9th – 11th and 21st – 24th, Theatre N16

After a critically acclaimed run at the Arts Theatre in 2015, Madelaine Cunningham’s Full Circle plays London again at Theatre N16 this May, which she first performed in her native South Africa.

**** “tackles weighty themes, but it has more than its fair share of wit and levity (…) each character could easily have had a two-hour show devoted to them” Michael Davis, Female Arts

Four of the most notorious women in Greek mythology – Phaedra, Helen, Medea, and Clytemnestra – have been removed from the blood-stained pages of their tragedies and brought together for the first time. They fight for their salvation in a detention-esque purgatory, cutting to the core of gender politics, asking what it means to be a mother, a sister, a wife, a woman.

Black Sheep Productions was formed in 2016 and is run by a “girl gang of creatives” who met on the MA course at ArtsEd in 2014 under Aileen Gonsalves, who is now an associate director at the RSC. They formed a company with the purpose of producing important, thrilling and bold stories through theatre and film, and work mainly with new writing. Full Circle was written by Madelaine Cunningham, who is also playing Clytemnestra.

“you can’t argue with straight-up, no frills, professional performances like these” London City Nights

Theatre N16 is a trailblazing theatre company, dedicated to creating a creative hub where new and existing works can be explored and pushed into new realms. Theatre N16 is proud of their commitment to thewelfare of creatives, operating under an Equity Fringe Agreement. This promoting and nurturing of talent means that Theatre N16 is a bastion for development within the context of a society in which the arts are increasingly struggling to stay afloat.




D I C K   W H I T T I N G T O N


Initial casting is announced today (20 April 2017) for Qdos Entertainment’s London Palladium production of Dick Whittington.  Following the success of Cinderella last year, the production will see the return of Julian Clary who will play Spirit of the Bells, Paul Zerdin as Idle Jack and Nigel Havers as Captain Nigel.  Further casting and creative team will be announced shortly.

Dick Whittington will run at the London Palladium for five weeks only over the festive season from Saturday 9 December 2017 to Sunday 14 January 2018, with press night on Wednesday 13 December 2017 at 7pm.

Dick Whittington is produced by Nick Thomas and Michael Harrison for Qdos Entertainment, the team behind last year’s twice Olivier-nominated London Palladium production of Cinderella, which broke box office records for the highest grossing week in West End theatre history. Dick Whittington will be directed by Michael Harrison.


Julian Clary returns to the London Palladium following his triumphant success last Christmas as Dandini in Cinderella.  Having begun his career as a camp comic thirty years ago, and despite the fervent wishes of the general public, he shows no signs of slowing down. His TV debut came in 1989 with ITV quiz show Trick or Treat and Channel 4’s Sticky Moments. Julian Clary is a best-selling author, a regular panelist on Radio 4’s Just a Minute and last year toured his one man show The Joy of Mincing.

Ventriloquist Paul Zerdin took the US by storm when he won America’s Got Talent, which was swiftly followed by his own residency at the legendary Planet Hollywood in Las Vegas.  Also a household name in the UK, Zerdin has appeared on The Royal Variety Performance no less than three times, was seen on Michael McIntyre’s Big Christmas Show (BBC1) and last year appeared as Buttons in the London Palladium’s Cinderella.


Nigel Havers is one of the country’s best known actors thanks to his roles in Chariots of Fire, Passage to India, Empire of The Sun, Don’t Wait Up and Man Child.  More recently his credits include Coronation Street, Downton Abbey, the hit BBC4 series The Life of Rock, Stop/Start for BBC Comedy Playhouse and Benidorm.  His numerous West End appearances include playing Serge in both the touring and London productions of Art.  Subsequently he has appeared in hugely successful touring productions of Rebecca, Alan Bennett’s Single Spies and Nick Fisher’s comedy Basket Case, as well as several sell out seasons in pantomime.  More recently Havers reprised the role of Algernon Moncrieff in The Importance of Being Earnest both at the Harold Pinter Theatre and on UK Tour, and last year played the Lord Chamberlain in the London Palladium pantomime Cinderella.

Nick Thomas is the founder and Chairman of Qdos Entertainment Group.  The business that he started in 1982 is now one of the largest entertainment companies in Europe.  Aside from the company’s credentials in pantomime, it is the UK’s second largest regional theatre and concert hall operator, and employs 1,800 full time staff.

Michael Harrison has previously produced over 100 pantomimes for Qdos Entertainment where he is also Managing Director.  He has directed 12 consecutive pantomimes at Newcastle Theatre Royal and 7 productions at Birmingham Hippodrome and as a producer in the West End his credits include Gypsy, The Bodyguard and forthcoming productions of Annie and Mel Brooks’ Young Frankenstein.

As the world’s biggest pantomime producer, over the past 35 years Qdos Entertainment has established itself as one of the largest entertainment companies in Europe. Over the past three decades the pantomime giant has staged 684 pantomimes and this season expects over two million people will see one of its shows.


The London Palladium, owned by Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Really Useful Theatres Group, is a venue to which all performers aspire and has hosted more annual Royal Variety Performances than any other theatre. It has recently returned to its variety roots and is taking its rightful place as one of the most popular venues for leading musicians, performers, comedians and now Pantomime which returned last December after an absence of nearly 30 years.   Designed by Frank Matcham it opened on Boxing Day 1910 and became famous, partly through television, as the “Ace Variety Theatre of the World”.  Among the greats that have played here are Bob Hope, Judy Garland, Bing Crosby, Sophie Tucker, Ethel Merman, Howard Keel, Arthur Askey, Ella Fitzgerald, Nat King Cole, Tommy Steele, Julie Andrews, Ken Dodd, the Two Ronnies, Bruce Forsyth and Elton John.  1979 heralded the arrival of Yul Brynner in a spectacular production ofThe King and I with further lavish musicals to follow, most notably Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, Cameron Mackintosh’s Oliver!, Saturday Night Fever, The King and Istarring Elaine Paige, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, the hugely successful revival of The Sound of Music, Sister Act, The Wizard of Oz, A Chorus Line, Barry Humphries’ Farewell Tour and the triumphant return of Cats.



Theatre:                           London Palladium, Argyll St, London W1F 7TF

Dates:                              9 December 2017 – 14 January 2018

Press night:                       13 December 2017 at 7pm

Box Office:                        0844 874 0667 (no booking fee)

Prices:                              Tickets from £22.50
All ticket prices include a £1.25 Theatre Restoration Levy

Performances:                   Saturday 9 December 2017 2.30pm & 7.30pm, Sunday 10 December 2017 1pm & 5pm, Tuesday 12 December 2017 7.30pm, Wednesday 13 December 2017 2.30pm & 7pm (Press Night), Thursday 14 December 2017 7.30pm, Friday 15 December 2017 2.30pm & 7.30pm, Saturday 16 December 2017 2.30pm & 7.30pm, Sunday 17 December 2017 1pm & 5pm, Tuesday 19 December 2017 2.30pm & 7.30pm, Wednesday 20 December 2017 2.30pm & 7.30pm, Thursday 21 December 2017 2.30pm & 7.30pm, Friday 22 December 2017 2.30pm & 7.30pm, Saturday 23 December 2017 2.30pm & 7.30pm, Sunday 24 December 2017 11am & 4pm, Tuesday 26 December 2017 2.30pm & 7.30pm, Wednesday 27 December 2017 2.30pm & 7.30pm, Thursday 28 December 2017 2.30pm & 7.30pm, Friday 29 December 2017 2.30pm & 7.30pm, Saturday 30 December 2017 2.30pm & 7.30pm, Sunday 31 December 2017 11am & 4pm, Tuesday 2 January 2018 2.30pm & 7.30pm, Wednesday 3 January 2018 7.30pm, Thursday 4 January 2018 2.30pm & 7.30pm, Friday 5 January 2018 7.30pm, Saturday 6 January 2018 2.30pm & 7.30pm, Sunday 7 January 2018 1pm & 5pm, Tuesday 9 January 2018 7.30pm, Wednesday 10 January 2018 7.30pm, Thursday 11 January 2018 2.30pm & 7.30pm, Friday 12 January 2018 7.30pm, Saturday 13 January 2018 2.30pm & 7.30pm, Sunday 14 January 2018 1pm & 5pm


Twitter:                            @DWhittingtonLDN

Gary Williams and Friends “At The Movies”. A benefit concert for TheatreMAD the Make A Difference Trust.

Gary Williams and Friends “At The Movies”.  A benefit concert for TheatreMAD the Make A Difference Trust.

Sunday 21st May.

Pizza Express, The Strand.

Doors 6.30pm Show 8.00pm

Described as “old school virtuosity,” by Time Out, star of the West End’s ‘Rat Pack’ Gary Williams celebrates some of Hollywood’s greatest musical moments.

Dipping into pop, bossa nova and swing ‘At The Movies’ relives classic Hollywood moments from Mary Poppins, Love Actually, Toy Story, Lock Stock and Two Smoking Barrels, the Jungle Book and Elvis Presley’s Viva Las Vegas. ‘At the Movies’ spans Hollywood music from the 1930s through to the 70s including the hits of Fred Astaire, Stevie Wonder, the Bee Gees, Joni Mitchell, Louis Armstrong, Peggy Lee and Walt Disney. The London Evening Standard described Gary as “the UKs leading standard bearer for the super-cool era” and Oscar winning composer Don Black said, “In a world of Pop Idol mediocrity Gary Williams shines like a dazzling beacon.”

Gary will be joined by friends Joe Stilgoe, Sarah Eyden, Bounder & Cad , Lynn Ruth Miller,Glenn Macnamara & Greg Scott

Gary Williams is a singer, writer and broadcaster described by the London Evening Standard as “the UK’s leading standard-bearer for the supercool era”. He starred in the West End’s Rat Pack, has recorded eight albums and wrote ‘Cabaret Secrets’, a book on stagecraft called “an invaluable guide” by Playbill.

Joe Stilgoe is an internationally acclaimed singer, pianist and songwriter described by the Scotsman as a “sheer joy”. He’s appeared in jazz clubs from New York to Berlin to Kuala Lumpur, including sell-out runs at legendary London venue Ronnie Scott’s. He has appeared as featured soloist with orchestras, including the BBC Concert Orchestra, John Wilson Orchestra, Royal Liverpool Philharmonic, Northern Sinfonia, Lahti Symphony, and the RTE Orchestra in Dublin.

Bounder and Cad is the musical comedy duo whose mischievous lyrics 10 Downing St tried to censor… until their jazzy tunes had the PM dancing. They have entertained two princes, two PMs, and been hailed for their “laser sharp wit”.

Lynn Ruth Miller has been dubbed the new Joan Rivers of Fringe Comedy at The Edinburgh International Fringe. She is a regular at the San Francisco Punchline, The Stand in Scotland and The International in Dublin and at 83 is proving that aging has been amazing. Time Our said, ‘Miller is a personable and charming presence onstage, with generations of wit and experience….’

Greg Scott is a the violin showman, who has performed with Bryan Ferry, kd Lang and as a soloist with the Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra. Greg’s debut album “DUEL” reached Number 1 in the UK Classical Charts.

Sarah Eyden was first soprano with The Swingle Singers enjoying international concert touring and five album recordings. Toured Europe and USA with Steve Reich & Musicians, and performed as a soloist with the Syd Lawrence Orchestra and classical ensembles throughout Europe. Sarah is currently a member of Access All Arias, a three part harmony girl group.

Glenn Macnamara was described by Timeout as “The UK’s finest swing singer”. He’s performed with The Len Philips Big Band, The Mike Richards Big Band, for The Duke and Duchess of Wessex at Hampton Court Palace and played Frank Sinatra in The Rat Pack in Dublin. The Guardian described his as an “amazing young talent.”

Becoming Mohammed, Pleasance Theatre

Pleasance Theatre, Carpenters Mews, North Road, London N7 9EF

Tuesday 2nd – Sunday 21st May 2017

Inspired by director Annemiek Van Elst’s experiences of her brother converting to Islam, the world premiere of Becoming Mohammed comes to Pleasance Theatre. The play explores what it takes for a Western man to become a Muslim, and for his family to come to terms with his choice

When Sara knocks on her brother’s door after two years, she hardly recognises the man in front of her. Thomas has grown a beard, gets up at the crack of dawn, and dates a girl in a Hijab. They attempt to rekindle their childhood friendship, but Thomas hasn’t told his sister everything yet…

Annemiek van Elst comments, When my little brother converted to Islam, it came as a shock; he started to reject our family traditions and follow the Sharia law. What could have been a breaking point became a difficult but beautiful journey of acceptance, which inspired the making of Becoming Mohammed. We believe that, now more than ever, there is a need to represent narratives around Islam in a positive light, and that conversion should be seen not as a threat but as an opportunity to build connections. Through our show, we aim to offer support to converts and their families, and to contribute to creating a more tolerant society.

Becoming Mohammed has been created in direct consultation with Islamic communities in both London and Rotterdam, and is being supported by a cultural facilitator, Nabihah Islam. In an effort to open up a dialogue and understanding between Western and Islamic communities, half of all performances will begin with a short forum theatre workshop. The company will also host post-show Q&As on Friday evenings and will share their research interviews with reverts and Islamic leaders online.

Becoming Mohammed is supported by Arts Council England