The Poetry Of Exile Review

White Bear Theatre, 28 March – 22 April.  Reviewed by Claire Roderick

Peter Hamilton’s new play is a tale of two halves. The first act is knockabout hilarity as the story of Rob, a Romford driving instructor who’s never had a student pass their test, and his wife Lynn’s desperate quest for a baby unfolds. Rob’s unwillingness to have a sperm test leads Lynn’s sister, whose aspirations to become a vintner see her drinking more wine than one vineyard could ever produce, to suggest an unusual and quite Gallic solution – Lynn should have sex with Josie’s husband and Rob need never know. Meanwhile Rob ‘s poetic pretensions, previously limited to Facebook and Twitter, are finally given voice when he meets Mary-Jane, a student of Chinese poetry, and his desire to be a Chinese wilderness poet of the Tang dynasty becomes more urgent as real life begins to fall apart.

Rob’s quirks mean he is constantly looking for peace and solitude, “To break away from the thousand ties of life” like his hero Bai Juyi, and provide some fantastic moments as he makes deadpan pronouncements to bemused onlookers and tries to explain his thinking to his wife. Rob’s reaction to Lynn’s pregnancy – “I’m devastated with joy” is hysterical and heart-breaking – Hamilton at his best. After the pregnancy bombshell, the second act shows Rob withdrawing selfishly into his life as a poet, and the play’s narrative basically stops, becoming more navel gazing and fragments of mental breakdown – still funny, but should have been heavily edited. The final scenes bring satisfying closure for the main characters, and an uplifting ending for Rob.

Hamilton’s script is packed full of sharp one-liners, and the whole cast give wonderful performances, full of energy and humour. Jemma Burgess (Lynn) and Richard Fish (Greg)’s sex scene is gloriously absurd, and Josie Ayers flips between the insane voices of Rob’s Facebook friends with consummate ease and skill. Carla Freeman gives Josie a wonderfully haunted air of sadness and disappointment under the bravado. Rob is a brilliant creation – with Charles Sandford’s inspired performance making you want to hug him and slap him in equal measure. Watching a grown man watching bubbles float about should not be this entertaining, but Sandford’s pure childlike fascination and wonder is a joy to behold. As is his hysterical sperm test appointment; awkwardness and bizarre physical contortions make this an unforgettable scene. The interaction between Sandford and Evelyn Craven as his student are beautifully judged. Craven’s lovelorn looks completely lost on Rob, until a gesture from Rob that brought gasps from some members of the audience – that’s how real these characters feel, even in such a knowingly absurd plot.

Although it gets a little lost in the second act, The Poetry Of Exile is a funny, bittersweet night of bubbles, poetry, wine and Twitter abuse that is well worth a look.

Empire Cinemas celebrates National Autism Awareness day

Empire Cinemas helps celebrate ‘World Autism Awareness Week’ with autism friendly screenings and film

·         Screenings to take place on Sunday 2nd of April and Thursday 6th of April

Empire Cinemas is delighted to announce that it will once again be celebrating ‘World Autism Awareness Week’ by showing autism-friendly screenings of The Smurfs: The Lost Village. Kicking off on World Autism Day, Sunday 2nd of April, Empire Cinemas nationwide will welcome people on the autism spectrum, with sensory or communication disorders and people with learning disabilities to enjoy the latest film from The Smurfs franchise.

In recent years, Empire Cinemas has been programming autism friendly screenings for their local communities. The screenings have adaptations such as reduced sound levels, increased lighting and advert-free content which allows the audience, their families and carers to be comfortable and feel fully included in the experience of a trip to the cinema.

Following the success of the 2011 blockbuster The Smurfs, this next instalment in the franchise stars Demi Levato and Joe Manganiel and is a fully animated, all-new take on the classic. A mysterious map sets Smurfette and her best friends Brainy, Clumsy and Hefty on an exciting and thrilling race through the Forbidden Forest filled with magical creatures to find a mysterious lost village before the evil wizard Gargamel does. Embarking on a roller-coaster journey full of action and danger, the Smurfs are on a course that leads to the discovery of the biggest secret in Smurf history! The film will be screened in 15 cinemas and over 141 screens to celebrate World Autism Day on Sunday 2nd and additionally showing on Thursday 6th of April across all sites.

Jon Nutton, Marketing Director of Empire Cinemas, said: “Empire Cinemas has a strong commitment to social responsibility and we’re glad to be able to continue our support for World Autism Awareness Week for another year. The screenings of The Smurfs: The Lost Village give autistic people, and their families and friends the opportunity to enjoy the big screen experience in a comfortable and relaxed environment.”

Tickets for autism friendly screenings of The Smurfs: The Lost Village are on sale now at:

Best Foot Forward Review

Youth Hostel Association York – 30 March 2017.  Reviewed by Michelle Richardson

The award winning Mikron Theatre Company bought their latest production, Best Foot Forward to York this week with a showing at YHA in York on Thursday evening.

Now in their 46th year they provided theatre anywhere for everyone by canal, river and road, they are based in Marsden, West Yorkshire. This year sees the company touring 2 brand new productions with 4 actor musicians. Best Foot Forward, a hike through the history of hostelling, written by Maeve Larkin, being the first, with In At The Deep End opening in May.

This is about the YHA, concentrating on the fictitious Pearling Manor, and the fight to keep the ramshackle, or should I say shabby chic, hostel open. We are taken through the history of the YHA, starting in 1911 by a German teacher turned soldier, through to reaching Britain in the 1930s, covering foot and mouth which decimated the countryside and then on to the present day.

The 4 actors, Rose McPhilemy, James McLean, Claire-Marie Seddon and Craig Anderson proved themselves to be very adaptable, switching from various roles to singing and playing various musical instruments. They all worked well together and I certainly believed in all their characters and the interaction with one another, even the budding romance between Guy and Tiff. I especially enjoyed the first song, The Object, with the motto “to help all, especially young people of limited means”, and Wainwright Appreciation Society, which had the audience chuckling along.

This is the first year that they have played YHA, but this year they are performing in 12 of them throughout the country, as well as allotments, churches and community centres. To see the production at York YHA was a privilege and very fitting. It reminded me of how great hostelling is, the last time I went to one was about 12 years ago in Berlin with hubby and 2 children in tow, fantastic value.

I absolutely loved the whole show. It was funny, entertaining and basically just a lovely story. Best Foot Forward and Mikron’s forthcoming show In At The Deep End are touring throughout the UK for the rest of the year. Please try and get to see it, especially if you have experienced hostelling before, and hopefully you will enjoy it as much as I did.

The Caucasian Chalk Circle Review

Greenwich Theatre, 28 March – 1 April.  Reviewed by Claire Roderick

Having seen Lazarus Theatre’s fantastic production of Brecht’s The Caucasian Chalk Circle performed in the round last year, I couldn’t wait to see what Ricky Dukes would change in this much larger theatre space. The stage was still filled with stacks of plastic chairs and boxes, and the lovely Elizabeth Appleby was now on hand to offer biscuits to bemused members of the audience as they took their seats. Again, it took no time for me to be completely swept away by the show, and the collaborative storytelling kept me enthralled throughout.

Set at the end of WWII in Soviet Georgia, the play begins with a conflict between two rival farm collectives over a valley left abandoned by the Nazis. A storyteller tells the parable of the chalk circle to help resolve the conflict. In the parable, a coup in the city of Nuhka results in the governor’s wife abandoning her infant son. Grusha, a servant girl, saves the baby and takes him to safety in the mountains. She is engaged to Simon, a soldier who had to accompany the fleeing aristocrats, but has promised to return. Grusha eventually reaches her brother’s home, and after a long illness is forced to marry a dying man to end the stigma of single motherhood. Her husband’s miraculous recovery when peace is declared causes problems when Simon finally finds Grusha, and soldiers arrive to take the baby back to his mother in Nuhka. Grusha returns to stake her claim of motherhood in front of incompetent judge Azdak, who eventually implements Solomic law and the trial of the chalk circle. Simple!

Frank McGuiness’ earthy translation is wonderful, and designers Sorcha Corcoran, Stuart Glover (lighting) and Neil McKean (sound) have brilliantly embellished and enhanced the story, never allowing the effects to overshadow the cast. Colour changes, constant circling movement and shifting props that usually make me tut and roll my eyes continue to impress in this production. Ricky Dukes has created something magical. The songs by Robert Locke are perfectly judged and fit seamlessly in the narrative flow. The main difference in this new production is the awareness of the space and its limitations. The air of tension created in a small studio theatre in hedonistic Nuhka after the rebellion would be impossible to recreate here. Instead the movement and comedy is broader, creating a more whimsical and absurd atmosphere that makes the social and political hypocrisy on display more jarring. Unfortunately, the wonderfully effective and simple design that created such drama from being nearly on top of the rickety bridge as Grusha crosses it is completely lost on the larger stage, and no amount of dry ice covers the fact that she’s walking across a row of chairs.

The entire cast have no downtime during the play, covering multiple roles, and their energy and commitment is uplifting. Lakesha Cammock and Elizabeth Appleby are comedy gold in their various roles, while Owen Pullar is fiendishly impressive as the weasel-like judge Azdak.

Still relevant and important, Lazarus bring The Caucasian Chalk Circle crashing into Trump world and Brexit Britain with a club vibe and a sly grin. A fantastic piece of theatre that deserves a longer run. Grab a ticket while you can.

Production Photos for the UK Tour of Moira Buffini’s GABRIEL

20th anniversary production of Moira Buffini’s GABRIEL, staring Paul McGann (Von Pfunz), Belinda Lang (Jeanne), Robin Morrissey (Gabriel), Jules Melvin (Lake), Sarah Schoenbeck (Lily) and Venice van Someren (Estelle). GABRIEL opened this week at Richmond Theatre where it runs until Saturday 1 April and will then embark on a UK Tour until 20 May 2017.

Set in 1943 Nazi-occupied Guernsey, widow and mother Jeanne does whatever it takes to keep her adolescent daughter Estelle and daughter-in-law Lily safe on an island filled with danger and fear. Her toughest test arrives in the form of the terrifying Commander Von Pfunz, whose romantic advances may be the only way to keep her family alive, but tensions intensify when a mysterious young man is washed ashore with no memory of who he is.

This is only the second professional production of GABRIEL since it was first staged at the Soho Theatre in 1997.

GABRIEL is directed by Kate McGregor (Artistic Director of Theatre6) and is produced by Theatre6 and Catherine Schreiber and co-produced by Adam Roebuck and Bruno Wang.

Also Recognised Awards – Winners Announced

Winners announced for the

Also Recognised Awards 2017

Ahead of Olivier Awards, nominees

recognised in non-Olivier fields

Several shows in the running for this year’s Olivier Awards, announced next Sunday 9 April, are also recognised this week in the third-annual Also Recognised Awards – in some notably different categories. The full list of winners is announced today in this audience-voted, industry accolade set up by theatre commentators Mark Shenton and Terri Paddock to celebrate lesser-known but equally worthy talent in fields overlooked by other awards bodies.

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, nominated for a record-breaking eleven Oliviers including Best New Play, wins in two further fields in the Also Recognised Awards: Theatre Event of the Year and, for its online activity, Best Twitter Engagement.

Groundhog Day, trying to convert eight Olivier Award nominations, bags an Also Recognised award for composer Tim Minchin for Best Original Music.

Another two-time Also Recognised winner is the musical revival Half a Sixpence, which wins both Best Show Trailer and London Newcomer of the Year for Charlie Stemp, who is Olivier nominated for Best Actor in a Musical.

Five-time Olivier nominee Dreamgirls wins the Also Recognised award for Best Musical Direction for Nick Finlow for his work on the show. At their inauguration in 2015, the Also Recognised became the first UK awards to include Best Musical Direction, launched with the backing of industry lobbyists, director Andrew Keates and musical director Mike Dixon.

Elsewhere in the 2017 Also Recognised Awards: A Midsummer Night’s Dream, directed by outgoing Globe artistic director Emma Rice, is named Best Shakespearean Production; Sheffield Crucible’s vibrant artwork for new musical Flowers for Mrs Harris wins in another of marketing categories, Best Show Poster; Sophie Melville wins Best Solo Performance for her critically acclaimed turn in Gary Owen’s Iphigenia in Splott for Sherman Cymru at the National Theatre; the cast of Thom Southerland’s revival of Titanic at Charing Cross Theatre win Best Ensemble Performance; and one-time Avenue Q co-stars Jon Robyns, Simon Lipkin and Giles Terera take the prize for Best Musical Cabaret for their charity fundraiser reunion at the Orange Tree Theatre (they also submit an amusing three-part video acceptance!)

Full voting results, acceptance videos and winners’ ‘certificate selfies’ are published on from Friday 31 March 2017.

The full list of winners

Best Musical Direction – Nick Finlow for Dreamgirls, Savoy Theatre

Best Original Music – Tim Minchin – Groundhog Day, Old Vic Theatre

Best Twitter Engagement – @HPPlayLDN – Harry Potter & the Cursed Child

Best Ensemble Performance – Titanic – Charing Cross Theatre

Best Solo Performance – Sophie Melville – Iphigenia in Splott, National Theatre

Best Shakespearean Production – A Midsummer Night’s Dream – Shakespeare’s Globe

Best Musical Cabaret – Simon Lipkin, Jon Robyns & Giles Terera – Orange Tree Theatre

London Newcomer of the Year – Charlie Stemp – Half a Sixpence, Chichester Festival & Noel Coward Theatre

Theatre Event of the Year – The premiere of Harry Potter & the Cursed Child

Best Show Poster – Flowers for Mrs Harris – Sheffield Crucible

Best Show Trailer – Half a Sixpence – Chichester Festival & Noel Coward Theatre

As The Crow Flies Review


Underbelly Productions
in association with Cameron Mackintosh,
Steven Harris and Westminster City Council presents

A musical by Clarke Peters
Featuring Louis Jordan’s greatest hits




Underbelly Productions have today confirmed that a brand new production of Clarke Peters’ Olivier Award-winning and Tony-Award nominated musical, Five Guys Named Moe, will open in September 2017 in a brand new pop-up theatre for London in Marble Arch.

First seen at the Theatre Royal Stratford East in 1990, it transferred to the West End and played for four years, subsequently playing on Broadway from 1992. Clarke Peters’ (The Wire, Treme, Person of Interest, Porgy and Bess, The Ice Man Cometh) career defining musical features the irresistible hits of trailblazing ‘King of the Jukebox’ Louis Jordan, including Early In The Morning, Is You Is or Is You Ain’t My Baby, Choo Choo Ch’Boogie and Saturday Night Fish Fry. The soundtrack of soul, blues, gospel and early r ‘n’ b is performed on stage by a live band.

The Marble Arch Theatre is being designed specifically for the production and will transport the audience back to the engrossing jazz bars of 1940s New Orleans. A unique, circular auditorium will ensure that the action take place all around the theatre and pre and post-performance drinks never felt so good in the theatre’s authentic 1940s foyer cocktail bar. The band is playing, the bourbon is flowing… come and join the party!

The production, which is to be directed by Peters himself and features the hits of jazz legend Louis Jordan, will have an initial booking period from 28 August to 25 November 2017, with an Opening Night on 14 September. Tickets go on sale today at 2pm.

Five Guys Named Moe will be directed by Clarke Peters with musical staging and choreography by Andrew Wright (Half a Sixpence, Singin’ in the Rain, Guys and Dolls), inspired by Charles Augins’ original choreography, set and costume design by takis (Side Show, In The Heights, Hairspray, The Good Person of Sichuan), lighting design by Philip Gladwell (The James Plays, Cymbeline, Trainspotting, After Miss Julie, Hairspray) and sound design by Ben Harrison(Cabaret, Dreamboats and Petticoats, Dancing in the Streets, The King & I, Starlight Express, Blood Brothers, Soul Sister).

Cameron Mackintosh said: “I am really thrilled that Underbelly are producing a brand new production of Five Guys Named Moe in London later this year. It’s a show that brought fun and joy to audiences in the West End for many years so it’s great to see its return for its 25th Anniversary. I am particularly excited that this new production is being staged in a Spiegeltent theatre specifically tailored for Five Guys so that Underbelly’s unique style will give audiences and the show a special intimate experience which will definitely make it the best party in town – a party which I’m delighted to support Underbelly in throwing.”

Clarke Peters said: “It’s a rare and wonderful thing to have the chance to direct a show that not only you have created but also performed in. It’s a show that is very close to my heart and soul and is so much of who I am. It’s an honour to return to it on its 25th Anniversary and reimagine the show in this new theatre space; one which is perfect for creating a closeness and dynamic energy between the story and the audience. Further to this it’s a treat to be working with a fantastic creative team and I can’t wait to transport audiences into the magical world of rhythm and blues. This rhythm will lift one and all from their blues!”

Robert Davis, Westminster City Council Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Business, Culture and Heritage said: “Westminster City Council is delighted to be working with Underbelly Productions to bring Five Guys Named Moe to Marble Arch in its very own, bespoke theatre. Bringing this internationally acclaimed musical to this world-renowned, iconic space is a truly mouth-watering prospect that will further increase the cultural offer available to residents, businesses and visitors throughout the City of Westminster.  To quote the show itself; ‘Let The Good Times Roll!’”

Clarke Peters has a long-established and wide-ranging career in theatre, television, radio and film. His many stage credits include: King Lear (Shakespeare in the Park), Race, Chicago, The Iceman Cometh (New York), Guys and Dolls, Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom and Mourning Becomes Electra (National Theatre), Porgy in Gershwin’s Porgy and Bess (Savoy Theatre), Driving Miss Daisy, Kiss of the Spiderwoman, Little Shop of Horrors, Blues in the Night and Five Guys Named Moe also written by Clarke.  Films include: Spike Lee’s Red Hook Summer, Notting Hill, Mona Lisa, Bad Education, Marley and Me, Freedomland, The Benefactor, Endgame, Mandela: The Prison Years and Nativity! Peters is also known for his varied television career including regular appearances in The Wire, Tremé, Jericho, The Divide, Chance and The Corner.

Andrew Wright is a double Olivier Award nominee. He choreographed Half A Sixpence for Cameron Mackintosh (Chichester Festival Theatre, Noel Coward Theatre), Singin’ In The Rain (Chichester Festival Theatre, Palace Theatre, UK national tour, Japan, Asia, Russia and Australia; winner of Best Choreographer WhatsOnStage Awards 2013 and nominated for Best Choreographer Olivier Awards 2012), Guys and Dolls (Chichester Festival Theatre, Phoenix Theatre, Savoy Theatre, UK national Tour; nominated for Best Choreographer Olivier Awards 2016 and Broadway World Awards 2014/16), Barnum  (Theatre in the Park, Chichester, UK national Tour), 42nd Street  (Chichester Festival Theatre, Curve Theatre, Leicester), The Critic/The Real Inspector Hound  (Minerva Theatre), High Society (UK national tour), Wonderful Town (UK national tour), Betty Blue Eyes  (UK national tour), Saturday Night Fever  (UK national tour), A Little Night Music  (Palace Theatre), Follies (Royal Albert Hall), the world premiere ofMrs Henderson Presents (Theatre Royal, Bath, Noel Coward Theatre, Toronto), The Showgirl Within (Garrick Theatre) and Almost Like Being In Love (National Theatre).

Let the Good Times Roll!


Underbelly Productions
in association with Cameron Mackintosh,
Steven Harris and Westminster City Council presents
A musical by Clarke Peters
Featuring Louis Jordan’s greatest hits
Directed by Clarke Peters
Musical Staging and Choreography by Andrew Wright
Inspired by Charles Augins’ original choreography

Set and Costume Design by takis
Lighting Design by Philip Gladwell
Sound Design by Ben Harrison
Casting by Will Burton CDG for DGA

The original production of FIVE GUYS was produced in 1990 at the Theatre Royal Stratford East and subsequently in the West End by Cameron Mackintosh
Performed by arrangement with

Marble Arch Theatre
Marble Arch

Initial booking period 29 August 2017 – 25 November 2017
Monday – Saturday 7.45pm
Thursday and Saturday matinees 2.30pm
Opening Night 14 September
Pricing: from £10
Box office: 0844 545 8252



H A R R Y   P O T T E R   A N D   T H E   C U R S E D   C H I L D





Rehearsals began this week for the new West End cast of Harry Potter and the Cursed Childwho will start their performances at the Palace Theatre in London’s West End on 24 May 2017 following the final performance from the current cast on 21 May 2017.  Jamie Glover will play Harry Potter with Emma Lowndes as his wife Ginny Potter and Theo Ancient as their son Albus Potter.  Thomas Aldridge will play Ron Weasley with Rakie Ayola as Hermione Granger andHelen Aluko as their daughter Rose Granger-Weasley.  Playing Draco Malfoy will be James Howard with Samuel Blenkin as his son Scorpius Malfoy.

They are joined by new cast members David Annen, Ruthxjiah Bellenea, Danny Dalton, Leah Haile, Rupert Henderson, Elizabeth Hill, April Hughes, James McGregor, Sarah Miele, Jordan Paris, James Phoon, Henry Rundle, Ged Simmons, Mark Theodore, Gideon Turner and Ed White.  Original cast members Nicola Alexis, Rosemary Annabella,Phoebe Austen, Annabel Baldwin, Jabez Cheeseman, Morag Cross, Esme Grace, Lowri James, Martin Johnston, Alfred Jones, Barry McCarthy, Sandy McDade, Tom Mackley, Harrison Noble, Ben Roberts, Nuno Silva, Hope Sizer and Joshua Wyatt complete the 42-strong company playing a variety of characters, including seven children who will alternate two roles.


Harry Potter and the Cursed Child is the eighth story in the Harry Potter series and the first official Harry Potter story to be presented on stage.  The critically acclaimed production received its world premiere in June 2016 at the Palace Theatre and is now the recipient of thirteen theatre awards including the Evening Standard Best Play Award.  Earlier this month it was announced that Harry Potter and the Cursed Child was nominated for a record-breaking eleven Olivier awards, making it the most nominated new play in Olivier history.

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child is currently booking to 29 April 2018.  The next advance ticket release will take place on 25 April 2017.  Tickets are priced from £15 per part and for every performance there are over 300 tickets at £20 or less per part. Further ticket releases will be announced throughout the year, details of which will published via the official Harry Potter and the Cursed Child website, social media channels and the official newsletter.  

It was always difficult being Harry Potter and it isn’t much easier now that he is an overworked employee of the Ministry of Magic, a husband and father of three school-age children.  While Harry grapples with a past that refuses to stay where it belongs, his youngest son Albus must struggle with the weight of a family legacy he never wanted.  As past and present fuse ominously, both father and son learn the uncomfortable truth: sometimes, darkness comes from unexpected places.


Jamie Glover (Harry Potter) was last on stage in What’s in a Name? for Birmingham Repertory Theatre. His other theatre credits include The Rehearsal, An Ideal Husband and If Only all for Chichester Festival Theatre, Donkeys’ Years at the Rose Theatre Kingston, Noises Off at the Old Vic and Novello Theatre in the West End, The Chalk Garden for the Donmar Warehouse, The Shawl and The Man Who Had All the Luck both for Sheffield Crucible, The Novice for the Almeida Theatre and The Invention of Love for the Theatre Royal Haymarket.  For the Royal Shakespeare Company his credits include All’s Well That Ends Well, The Roman Actor and Edward III.  On film his credits include These Foolish Things, Sacred Life and Age of Treason.  He is best known on television for playing Andrew Treneman in Waterloo Road and James Lacey in Agatha Raisin, and has also been seen in Endeavour and Doctor Who: An Adventure in Space and Time.


Emma Lowndes’ (Ginny Potter) many television credits include Bella Gregson in Cranford, Mary Rivers in Jane Eyre and Margie Drewe in Downton Abbey. She can soon be seen as Carla Davis in Channel 4’s The Trial. Her theatre credits include The Herbal Bed at the Royal and Derngate Theatre Northampton, Children of the Sun and Thérèse Raquin for the National Theatre, The Accrington Pals, Port, The Rise and Fall of Little Voice and The Seagull for the Royal Exchange Theatre and Whose Life is it Anyway? at the Comedy Theatre.  On film her credits includeMother’s Milk and All or Nothing.


Theo Ancient (Albus Potter) trained at RADA and will make his professional stage debut in Harry Potter and the Cursed Child.

Thomas Aldridge (Ron Weasley) is currently appearing in Les Misérables at the Queen’s Theatre.  His previous theatre credits include The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe for Birmingham Rep, Made in Dagenham at the Adelphi Theatre, A Midsummer Night’s Dream andThe Taming of the Shrew for the Open Air Theatre Regent’s Park, The Secret Garden and Peter Pan – A Musical Adventure for West Yorkshire Playhouse and Birmingham Rep, His Dark Materialson UK tour, Only the Brave for Soho Theatre, and High Society at the Shaftesbury Theatre.  His television credits include Undercover, Titanic, Call the Midwife, Silent Witness, Hope and Glory andThe Support Group.  His film credits include Flea and Blasted.


Rakie Ayola (Hermione Granger) was last on stage in The Rest of Your Life at the Bush Theatre.  Her previous theatre credits include King Lear at the Royal Exchange Theatre where she played Goneril, Crave/4.48 Psychosis for Sheffield Crucible, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time at the Apollo Theatre, Dido Queen of Carthage for the Globe Theatre, The Winter’s Tale for the Royal Shakespeare Company and Welcome to Thebes for the National Theatre.  Her television credits include No Offence, Vera, Under Milk Wood, Black Mirror, Doctor Who, Silent Witness andHolby City.  Her film credits include Been So Long, Dredd, Now is Good and Sahara.


Helen Aluko (Rose Granger-Weasley) is an original member of the Harry Potter and the Cursed Child company.  Her previous theatre credits include Doctor Faustus for the Royal Exchange Theatre, Once Language, Many Voices for TNT, The Price for Walking Forward, The Wind in the Willows for Sixteen Feet Productions and Beauty and the Beast at Theatre Royal Stratford East.  Her television credits include The Driver.


James Howard (Draco Malfoy) is an original member of the Harry Potter and the Cursed Childcompany.  His previous theatre credits include Brave New World for Northampton Theatre Royal, Romeo and Juliet, As You Like It, Mojo, King Lear and Morte D’Arthur for the Royal Shakespeare Company, Twelfth Night and Ivanov for Donmar Warehouse and The Duchess of Malfi for the National Theatre.  His television credits include Black Mirror, Dark Matters, Skins, Spooks, Inspector Lynley Mysteries and Dream Team.  On film his credits include Survivor, The Theory of Everything, The Oxford Murders and Penelope.

Samuel Blenkin (Scorpius Malfoy) trained at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama and also makes his professional stage debut in Harry Potter and the Cursed Child.


Based on an original new story by J.K. Rowling, Jack Thorne and John Tiffany, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child is a new play by Jack Thorne, directed by John Tiffany with movement by Steven Hoggett, set by Christine Jones, costumes by Katrina Lindsay, music & arrangements by Imogen Heap, lighting by Neil Austin, sound by Gareth Fry, illusions & magic by Jamie Harrison, music supervision & arrangements by Martin Lowe and casting byJulia Horan CDG.


Harry Potter and the Cursed Child is one play presented in two parts.  Both parts are intended to be seen in order on the same day (matinee and evening) or on two consecutive evenings.  On Thursdays there is an evening performance of Part One and on Fridays an evening performance of Part Two. On those days tickets to each part can be bought together or separately.  Tickets for Wednesday matinee and Wednesday evening performances can also be bought together or separately.

The regular performance schedule is as follows – Monday – no performance, Tuesday – no performance, Wednesday – 2pm Part One & 7.30pm Part Two, Thursday – 7.30pm Part One, Friday – 7.30pm Part Two, Saturday – 2pm Part One & 7.30pm Part Two, Sunday – 1pm Part One & 6.30pm Part Two.

Every Friday, The Friday Forty takes place at 1pm when 40 tickets are released for every performance the following week for some of the very best seats in the theatre.  Subsequent ticket releases take place each Friday for performances the following week.  Priced at £40 (£20 per part) tickets will secure a seat for both Part One and Part Two on consecutive performances.  Customers will be selected at random for the opportunity to buy tickets online and will be able to purchase a maximum of two tickets for both Part One and Part Two in one transaction.  To ensure that as many people as possible have the chance to access these tickets, they will only be available to buy online

Returned and other late-release tickets may also become available at short notice. These are not guaranteed, but any tickets that do become available will be sold on a first-come-first-served basis, online or in person at the Palace Theatre box office at full price.

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child is produced by Sonia Friedman Productions, Colin Callender and Harry Potter Theatrical Productions.

Box Office – 0343 208 0500






Producers have today announced further venues for the 2017/18 tour of SHREK THE MUSICAL®, with new dates in Sheffield, Cardiff, Woking, Liverpool, Canterbury, Milton Keynes, Bristol, Llandudno and Leeds. Priority booking opens from 10am on Thursday 30 March, with general on-sale on Monday 10 April.

As previously announced, the larger-than-life production opens at the Edinburgh Playhouse for the Christmas 2017/18  season from 12 December 2017 to 7 January 2018 and will also tour to Manchester, Sunderland, Birmingham, Aberdeen, Northampton, Stoke and Blackpool, with further venues to be announced.

Glasgow Evening Times
‘A fun, fairytale spectacular fit for all the family’

Nigel Harman will return as director, having made his directorial debut on SHREK THE MUSICAL’s first UK and Ireland Tour. Best known for his television and stage work, Nigel Harman originated the role of Lord Farquaad in the West End production, winning the Olivier Award for Best Performance in a Supporting Role in a Musical. Television credits include heart-throb Dennis Rickman in EastEnders, villainous valet Mr Green in Downton Abbey and Bradley in Sky’s Mount Pleasant, which aired its sixth series in Autumn 2016. Notable stage appearances include Jamie Lloyd’s production of Three Days of Rain alongside James McAvoy, Privates on Parade at the Donmar Warehouse and A Chorus of Disapproval, directed by Trevor Nunn.

Manchester Evening News
‘A perfect mixture of music, dance and performance comedy, with a sprinkling of fresh gags and slightly risqué humour to keep adults on their toes.’
(Winner of 2014 CityLife Award for Best Musical)

SHREK THE MUSICAL® is based on the story and characters from William Steig’s book Shrek!and the Oscar®-winning DreamWorks Animations feature film. Originally directed in the West End by Jason Moore and Rob Ashford, the production has book and lyrics by David Lindsay-Abaire, music by Jeanine Tesori with multi award-winning set and costume design by Tim Hatley.

Join our unlikely hero Shrek and his loyal steed Donkey as they embark on a quest to rescue the beautiful (if slightly temperamental) Princess Fiona from a fire-breathing, love-sick dragon. Add the diminutive Lord Farquaad, a gang of fairytale misfits and a biscuit with attitude, and you’ve got the biggest, brightest musical comedy around! Featuring all new songs as well as cult Shrek anthem I’m a Believer, SHREK THE MUSICAL® brings over 100 much-loved fairytale characters, plus a 14 foot dragon, to life in an all-singing, all-dancing extravaganza.

Bristol Post *****
‘Simply Shrektacular – a musical extravaganza for big kids and little kids alike’

SHREK THE MUSICAL® was seen by nearly 800,000 people on its first highly acclaimed UK and Ireland tour in 2014, visiting 25 major venues over 20 months. The production was first staged in the UK at London’s Theatre Royal Drury Lane in 2011. Since opening on Broadway in 2008 SHREK THE MUSICAL®  has toured to nearly 150 cities in the USA and Canada, with productions having also played in Spain, Poland, France, Malaysia, China, Brazil, Italy, Denmark, The Netherlands, Estonia, Israel and Turkey.

The UK and Ireland tour of the original DreamWorks Production will be presented by Neal Street Productions, Playful Productions, Ron Kastner, Saracen Films, Tulchin/Bartner Productions, Gavin Kalin, Glass Half Full Productions/Just For Laughs Theatricals, Lee Menzies and Mark Cartwright.

Casting and further tour dates will be announced in due course.


Tuesday 12 December 2017 – Sunday 7 January 2018
0844 871 3014

Tuesday 16 January – Sunday 28 January 2018
0844 871 3019

Wednesday 31 January – Sunday 11 February 2018
0844 871 3022

Wednesday 14 February – Sunday 25 February 2018
0844 871 3011

Wednesday 28 February – Sunday 11 March 2018
01224 641 122

Wednesday 14 March – Sunday 25 March, 2018
01604 624 811

Wednesday 28 March – Sunday 8 April 2018 *On Sale from May*
0114 249 6000

Tuesday 10 April – Sunday 22 April 2018
029 2063 6464

Wednesday 2 May – Sunday 13 May 2018
0844 871 7649

Tuesday 15 May – Sunday 27 May 2018
01253 625 252

Wednesday 30 May – Sunday 10 June 2018
0844 871 7645

Tuesday 12 June – Sunday 24 June 2018
0844 871 3017

Wednesday 11 July – Sunday 22 July 2018
01227 787787

Wednesday 25 July – Sunday 5 August 2018
0844 871 7652

Wednesday 8 August – Sunday 19 August 2018
0844 871 3012

Tuesday 21 August – Sunday 2 September 2018
01492 872000

Tuesday 18 December 2018 – Sunday 6 January 2019
0844 848 2700