Casting announced for Tomcat at Southwark Playhouse

Full casting has been announced for Tomcat, which opens at Southwark Playhouse next month.

James Rushbrooke’s Tomcat was the winner of the 2015 Papatango New Writing Prize which sees his play performed for a four week run at Southwark.

Directed by Kate Hewitt, the cast will be led by 14-year-old Eleanor Worthington-Cox who won an Olivier Award for Matilda along with the other actresses who played Matilda. The role of Jessie in Tomcat will be her first stage role not shared with other children.

She will be joined by Brian Doherty (From Here to Eternity), Edward Harrison (Wolf Hall), Diana Kent (The Heresy of Love) and Susan Stanley (F*ck The Polar Bears).

As debate over genetic screening rages, Tomcat questions the lengths to which people will go to keep humanity healthy.

The production features set design by So Here We Are designer Lily Arnold, with lighting by Johanna Town and sound by Richard Hammarton.

Tomcat runs at Southwark Playhouse from 30 October to 21 November 2015.

40 years of the Olivier Awards to be celebrated with BBC gala

BBC Radio 3 announced today that Maria Friedman, Daniel Evans, Adrian Lester and David Thaxton will be amongst the past Olivier Award-winners joining the BBC Concert Orchestra to perform in The Oliviers in Concert.

The BBC Concert Orchestra will be teaming up with the Society of London Theatre to celebrate 40 years of the Olivier Awards, with a special gala concert at the Royal Festival Hall on 23 January 2016.

The stars will perform a selection of songs from award-winning musicals with the orchestra, conducted by principal conductor Keith Lockhart.

Further names are still to be announced.

To book tickets or for further information on the concert, click here.

Music Of The Knights – An Evening Hosted by Phillip Schofield

music-of-the-knights‘Music of the Knights’ which will be hosted by Phillip Schofield is a celebration of the legendary Knights of the entertainment industry who have transformed the face of music, film and theatre throughout the ages – Sir Elton John, Lord Andrew Lloyd-Webber, Sir Cliff Richard, Dame Shirley Bassey, Sir Paul McCartney and The Beatles, Sir Cameron Mackintosh, Sir Tim Rice, Sir Mick Jagger, Sir Bob Geldof, Bono, and many more including the newly knighted Sir Van Morrison.

Phillip Schofield is no stranger to the stage having started his theatre career in ‘Joseph and the amazing technicolored dreamcoat’ at the London Palladium followed by a successful UK tour of ‘Dr Dolittle’, ‘Music of the Knights’ is your chance to see him hosting this unique evening with a limited number of LIVE dates scheduled for April 2016.

I’m so thrilled to be hosting ‘Music of the Knights’. It promises to be a great night of music and surprises. It’s been quite a while since I’ve appeared on stage so I’m really looking forward to a great evening” Phillip Schofield.

Featuring the best of British talent accompanied by a dazzling live band direct f om London’s West End ‘Music of the Knights’ will feature memorable and sensational songs such as I’m still standing, Rocket Man (Elton John) Twist and Shout, Hey Jude (The Beatles) I Dreamed a Dream (Les Miserables) Do you want to dance (Cliff Richard) It’s not unusual (Tom Jones) Close Every Door (Joseph) Satisfaction (Mick Jagger) just to name a few.

All of this incredible music is brought to you by a host of acclaimed West End singers and musicians who will bring you ‘the best of British’ for your Knights entertainment.

‘Music of the Knights’ celebrates ground breaking work from our Knighted treasures and celebrates true British talent throughout the ages. Never before has there been a show so diverse. From Lloyd- Webber to McCartney, from Bassey to Jagger ending with a patriotic visit to a night at the proms, this is truly the theatrical event not to be missed….

Casting to be announced soon.

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Thursday 21st April 2016
St Davids Hall
029 2087 8444

Friday 22nd April 2016
Regent Theatre
01473 433100

Saturday 23rd April 2016
01604 624811

Sunday 24th April 2016
02380 711811


Full casting announced for Patrick Barlow’s adaptation of BEN HUR

ben-hurTricycle Theatre In Association with Fiery Angel, Fiery Dragons and The Watermill Theatre Present BEN HUR – Written by Patrick Barlow – Based on the novel by General ‘Lew’ Wallace.

Director: Tim Carroll; Designer: Michael Taylor; Sound Designers: Ben & Max Ringham; Lighting Designer: Mark Doubleday; Movement Director: Siân Williams.

Full casting is announced today for Ben Hur – Tim Carroll directs Alix Dunmore, Richard Durden, John Hopkins and Ben Jones. The production opens on 24th November, 2015 with previews from 19th November, and runs until 9th January 2016.

They said it was unachievable!
They said it couldn’t be done!

But now the team behind the Olivier and Tony Award-winning comedy The 39 Steps are back with a sensational, awe-inspiring and unforgettable staging of General ‘Lew’ Wallace’s timeless classic Ben Hur.

The greatest book ever penned is brought to the stage by a towering team of just four actors, turning the Tricycle stage into one of the most authentic versions of ancient Rome ever seen. Complete with stunning combat (featuring the latest 3D technology), a 103% bona fide chariot race (with REAL CHARIOTS), an authentic sea battle (with REAL WATER) and a decadent and UNEXPURGATED Roman orgy (suitable for all ages), Ben Hur is the perfect winter tonic guaranteed to stir your very soul.

Patrick Barlow returns to the Tricycle where his adaptation of The 39 Steps opened in 2006 and in the same year transferred to the Criterion Theatre where it played for nine years. In 2007, it transferred to Broadway and has since played in over thirty-nine countries world-wide. He won an Olivier Award for Best New Comedy, while in the United States, he co-won the Drama Desk Award and was nominated for a Tony Award for Best Play.

Alix Dunmore’s theatre credits include: The 39 Steps (Criterion Theatre), What The Women Did (Southwark Playhouse), Gaslight (New Vic, Newcastle-Under-Lyme), London Wall (St James Theatre), Top Girls (Out of Joint), Nature Adores a Vacuum (Soho Theatre), Separate Tables (Mill at Sonning) The Two Noble Kinsmen (Bristol Old Vic). For television, her work includes Call the Midwife; and for film, London Wall. Dunmore is a founder member of the Fitzrovia Radio Hour.

Richard Durden returns to the Tricycle where he previously appeared in Ugly Rumours. His other theatre work includes Titus Andronicus, A Mad World My Masters (RSC), Hindle Wakes (Finborough Theatre), The Emperor And Gallilean (National Theatre), Once Bitten, The Madras House (Orange Tree Theatre), Shadowlands (tour and West End), Richard III and High Society (Sheffield Crucible), Orpheus Descending (Donmar Warehouse), Birdy (Comedy Theatre), Casablanca (Whitehall Theatre), Hamlet (Old Vic) and All My Sons (Wyndham’s Theatre). For television, his work includes Dickensian, Wolf Hall, Episodes, Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell, Silk, World Without End, The Borgias, The Last Days of the Lehman Brothers, Spooks, Confessions of a Diary Secretary; Nuremburg, The Amazing Mrs Pritchard, Fingersmith, Trial and Retribution (Series 1-7) and Not Only But Also; and for film, The Awakening, Anonymous, Agora, From Paris with Love, National Treasure 2, Oliver Twist, The Jacket, Le Vicaire, Morality Play, The Innocent and Batman.

John Hopkins’ theatre credits include Holy Warriors (Shakespeare’s Globe), Private Lives (Edinburgh Lyceum), A Mad World My Masters, Titus Andronicus, Candide, Antony and Cleopatra, The Tempest, Venus and Adonis, King John, Julius Caesar, Love In A Wood (all RSC), Who’s Afraid Of Virginia Woolf? (Sheffield Crucible), The Deep Blue Sea (Chichester Festival Theatre) and The 39 Steps (Criterion Theatre). For television, his work includes Stan Lee’s Lucky Man, Catastrophe, Dancing On The Edge, Hacks, Secret Diary Of A Call Girl, Merlin, Identity, Wire In The Blood, Robin Hood, The Path to 9/11, Nicholas Nickleby, Love In A Cold Climate, and two series as Detective Sergeant Scott in Midsomer Murders; and for film, The Face Of An Angel, Alice In Wonderland, The Experiment and The Pool.

Ben Jones’ theatre work includes The Bone Room (Young Vic), The Three Musketeers (UK tour), Time Of My Life (Royal and Derngate Theatre), The Pretender Agenda (Charing Cross Theatre), First Person Shooter (Birmingham Rep), Communicating Doors (UK tour) and And Then The Dark (New Wolsey Theatre). For television, his work includes The Borgias, Spooks, My Family, Echo Beach, Moving Wallpaper and Doctors (as series regular Dr Greg Robinson).

Tim Carroll began his career with the English Shakespeare Company before becoming Associate Director at the Northcott Theatre, Exeter. Since 1995 he has directed plays for theatres all over Britain, including Engaged (Orange Tree, Richmond), Gasping (Gateway Theatre, Chester) and Someone Who’ll Watch Over Me (Salisbury Playhouse). As Associate Director of Shakespeare’s Globe in London, his work includes Peter Oswald’s Augustine’s Oak, The Two Noble Kinsmen, Macbeth, Richard II (winner of the Jujamcyn Award), Dido, Queen of Carthage, Romeo and Juliet, The Tempest and The Storm. In 2002 he directed The Golden Ass and Twelfth Night – the latter won Evening Standard, Time Out, Critics’ Circle and Olivier Awards, and in 2003 was revived for a record-breaking run at the Globe, followed by a tour of the United States. In 2012, he returned to Shakespeare’s Globe to direct Richard III and Twelfth Night. The two shows then transferred to the West End for a record-breaking run at the Apollo, and went on in 2013/14 to play at the Belasco Theatre on Broadway, where they also broke box-office records, as well as winning Outer Critics’ Circle, Drama Desk and Tony Awards. His other work spans the world, The Tempest (Teatro Sao Luiz), Peer Gynt (Guthrie Theatre, Minneapolis), A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Lincoln Center, Royal Festival Hall, Middle Temple Hall, and also broadcast on BBC TV and radio), The Merchant of Venice (RSC), The Mystae (Hampstead Theatre), King John (Stratford Festival, Ontario), as well as work for his own company The Factory.

269 Kilburn High Road, London NW6 7JR
19 November 2015 – 9 January 2016
Press night: 24 November at 7pm

Box office: 020 7328 1000


NYT web (1)Brand new production images have been released for Tom Stoppard’s abridged version of The Merchant of Venice, performed by the National Youth Theatre 2015 REP company as part of the 2015 season at the Ambassadors Theatre opening next week (with previews already begun).

The cast of the National Youth Theatre 2015 REP Season in The Merchant of Venice Credit Helen Maybanks 4.jpgNYT Associate Anna Niland will direct Tom Stoppard’s abridged version of Shakespeare’s The Merchant of Venice. Stoppard’s version, originally abridged especially for the NYT to perform at the National Centre for Performing Arts in Beijing and the subject of a BBC documentary, is a 90 minute whirlwind exploring the laws of society and how far your heritage dictates your destiny.The cast of the National Youth Theatre 2015 REP Season in The Merchant of Venice Credit Helen Maybanks 23.jpg

The cast of the National Youth Theatre 2015 REP Season in The Merchant of Venice Credit Helen Maybanks 21.jpgFollowing the huge success of the rep seasons in 2013 and 2014, the NYT returns to the Ambassadors Theatre with three new productions: a brand new play exploring issues and experiences around sexting, young people and sexual consent written by Evan Placey and directed by Pia Furtado which was documented in development as part of a new collaboration with Sky Arts; Wuthering Heights, in a new adaptation of Emily Brontë’s novel by Stephanie Street directed by Emily Lim and The Merchant of Venice Shakespeare’s play abridged especially for schools by Tom Stoppard, directed by NYT Associate Director Anna Niland.The cast of the National Youth Theatre 2015 REP Season in The Merchant of Venice Credit Helen Maybanks 6.jpg

Also in London’s West End, the NYT are thrilled to be hosting a one-off event with award-winning actor David Suchet. ‘An Audience with David Suchet’ will see the magnificent Hercule Poirot in conversation with Paul Roseby, CEO and Artistic Director of the National Youth Theatre at the Vaudeville Theatre on 15 October.

Showstopper! The Improvised Musical Review

Apollo Theatre 24th September  – booking until 29th November.  Reviewed by Claire Roderick

What a show!

Using the conceit that we are helping to pitch a new musical to Cameron, the press night audience of course chose the offices of the Daily Mail as the setting for “The Lyin’ King”. A variety of musicals are selected as song style inspirations and the cast are let loose.

Apparently there are a few conspiracy theories about how a new musical can be created in each performance, but the truth is quite simple – this group of performers know more about musicals than is entirely healthy.

Consisting of experienced comedy improvisers, the cast work together seamlessly. Dylan Emery ran the show with panache. He interacts brilliantly with the audience and stops the onstage action with a gleam in his eye to suggest styles – then sits back and laughs with the rest of us. The cast’s faces when he announced that they would sing the company song… in unison, were a picture – but they pulled it off with aplomb. Deciding that each character should use the  style of a different playwright created a wonderful scene that went nowhere – what else do you expect if you mix Pinter, Brecht and Beckett?

The cast is overflowing with seriously intelligent talent. Feeding off each other’s ideas with lighting fast reactions (and sometimes throwing in a curveball to test their corpsing thresholds) they are a proper team, full of energy and a love of the genre that infects the entire audience.

Whoops and cheers abound when discarded audience suggestions are used as oneliners, and each musical number has practically an extra percussion section of claps and admiring cheers.

The two shows I saw- “The Lyin’ King” and “Making Sparks” (set in M&S in 1884) were completely different. Even though both audiences had chosen a couple of identical musical inspirations, different tempo numbers were used to suit each performance’s narrative.

The things the shows had in common were the fabulous standard of the performers, and the gloriously bonkers feeling of the night. Where else in the West End could you see 2 men having a West Side Story dance duel in the Cereal Killer café? Snap, crackle and pop has never sounded better. Shakespearean rap shares the stage with Mama Mia, Sondheim, Gilbert and Sullivan, Rent and AC/DC. Anything goes! The musicians play as if they have a score in front of them. They switch styles effortlessly and sometimes even manage to keep a straight face.

The audience is invited to tweet their ideas for the second act during the interval – which led memorably to the invention of Percy Pig in the M&S musical. This produced comedy gold when Gladstone discovered them on his pillow – prime ministers and pigs!

I have never seen an audience so invested in a show. We were collectively wondering where the plot was going, marvelling at the quickness of the cast’s minds and willing them to take the lunacy to the next level. Because this was OUR musical and OUR night to revel in an unique and uplifting atmosphere. We deserved the standing ovation.

Showstopper! is the theatrical equivalent of Pharrel’s “Happy” – perfectly designed to get you grinning and clapping like an overexcited sea lion – and you’ll want to go back for more.