Elf – The Musical Review

The Lowry, Manchester – until 14th January 2018.  Reviewed by Julie Noller 5*****

Elf is known to most of us as a much watched 2003 Christmas film, it’s heart warming and funny and true family viewing. How would Elf the musical compare?

In a nutshell it smacks it in the face with a snowball, it’s slick, warm, humorous and nobody left that packed performance without a smile on their face – regardless of age. Although I wonder if there’s a few of the younger members of the audience this morning asking for one of the five main food groups for breakfast – namely sugar although, as Buddy said, all Elves visit the dentist twice a day. Thank you to Michael Rose for producing and bringing Elf – a story written by award winners Thomas Meehan and Bob Martin –  to the stage with a UK based cast.

This was a big night for The Lowry, a press and a Charity Gala with lots of famous faces, we were greeted on the red carpet by choir singers and inside by a band, Christmas music got us in the mood and we were exclusive holders of Elf wristbands. On entering the auditorium we could see that every seat had a Souvenir Brochure attached, they are fabulous and have some great glossy photographs included. There was a buzz around the audience most of whom were wearing some sort of Christmas attire, it wasn’t compulsory but surely on the lead up to Christmas, Elf deserves a bit of glitter. I would say that social media was alive last night with Elfie Selfies – when the safety curtain went up, the bright colours of the Elf logo could be seen along with many flashing lights from phones.

The performance begins with a voice over, turn to the person on your left and ask ‘do you need a hug’ you know this is not the last time you’ll hear this phrase. Santa (Louis Emerick) is the first character on stage, the stage is brightly lit and the set design is almost pantomime in that it is over sized and welcoming. The backdrop up on stage is computerised screen images, some cartoonesque but all bright and cheery, this allows some fast paced action such as Buddy’s trip to New York and Santa’s troubles in Central Park. Elf starts with humour, Santa is jolly and friendly telling us all how annoying mobile phones and rustling sweetie wrappers can be. Who doesn’t listen to Santa? I’m sure we all dread, regardless of age, being placed on the naughty list.

Elf plays with our minds in a way that makes us question does everything need to be so politically correct? We have Elves played by a cast of dancers all on their knees which is strangely humourous, children laughed and rightly so at simply how silly they looked allowing the adults to follow suit and relax. Santa also brings up the fact Buddy loves his hugs by reminding him in todays society not everyone likes to hug.

Elf is simply wonderful the orchestra conducted by Jeremy Wootton is supurb. From my seat I could see Jeremy at work, a memorable moment was seeing the Narwhale pop up from the Orchestra. The score and lyrics by Mathew Sklar and Chad Beguelin are delivered with perfection. I’m hoping for a CD in my Christmas stocking this year. The cast is full of many well known faces and not just Louis Emerick who many will remember from Brookside. Ben Forster is Elftastic as Buddy after winning fame in 2012 during the TV show Superstar. He is Buddy through and through, his facial features and exaggerated movements are so warm and childlike, you fall in love with him the very first moment he arrives on stage in Santa’s workshop. He reminds us that Christmas is full of wonder and awe. It’s okay to find your inner child, all you have to do is believe. Liz McClarnon brings goosebumps with her solo singing reminding us of her Atomic Kitten days, in her role as Jovie, troubled and seeking love in her life – dare she allow Buddy into her life. Joe McGann as Walter Hobbs is very stately, work obsessed, lost his way within his family. Jessica Martin as Emily Hobbs I have to simply say fantastic hair that is worthy of Hairspray. After debating with my teens over characters, Debs is my favourite, for one scene and one line, when Buddy asks her if she wants a monster hot chocolate she shouts the immortal line ‘screw weight watchers’ I’m now a little bit in love with her and her slightly naughty ways of dancing. For Deb is obviously a little bit of a cougar.

Lochlan White I’m in awe of, at the age of eleven to get up on stage and sing his heart out. Well I’m sure there’s were a few tears of pride shed over a wonderful performance.

Elf is on tour next Christmas, if you haven’t got a ticket yet for The Lowry then take a look at December 2018. There are so many lines I would love to quote, starting with wishing you all a sparklejollytwinklejingley Christmas. Elf should be in everyone’s calendar, it’s wonderful, it’s a modern musical with old school style, there’s humour, singing and dancing. Characters that reach out to us, speak to our heart. Welcome to the new Christmas tradition – Elf the Musical, I don’t think anyone could leave without a good old dose of Christmas Spirit. Lets not forget Santa’s flying sleigh that was just magical along with the accompanying light show. I was left feeling a little disappointed it wasn’t snowing….. but wait it actually snowed inside the theatre. My life was complete. I felt warm and fuzzy and my teens had great big smiles on their faces. Thank You Elf for bringing us Christmas ‘ Think of the joy you’ll bring if you just close your eyes and sing’ . Buddy has taught us all to search out our inner Elf. Merry Elfmass to you all.

Lucy O’Byrne and Neil McDermott star in 2018 tour of The Sound of Music







Bill Kenwright’s ‘Brilliant’ (The Mail) and ‘Stunning’ (The Echo) production of one of the greatest family musicals of all time, The Sound of Music, launches its 2018 tour around the UK on Tuesday 9 January at the Churchill Theatre in Bromley – following a Christmas season at the Bord Gáis Energy Theatre in Dublin from 19 December 2017.

Returning to the iconic role of Maria that has won her rave reviews previously is The Voice finalist Lucy O’Byrne. Joining Lucy as Captain Von Trapp is former EastEnders actor and West End star Neil McDermott. Neil is delighted to join this production of The Sound of Music having previously played the role of Rolf at the London Palladium.

Lucy O’Byrne who returns to the iconic role of Maria, became a household name when she was the runner up of BBC One’s The Voice in 2015. With Will.i.am as her mentor Lucy made history as the first classical signer to reach the final, impressing the nation with her stunning range. She won rave reviews for her performance as Maria Von Trapp in the 2016 UK touring production of The Sound of Music, being hailed as “quite possibly the best Maria since Julie Andrews herself” (The Scotsman) .  Following the tour Lucy won the coveted role of Fantine in Cameron Mackintosh’s world record-breaking musical phenomenon, Les Misérables which she performed in the West End until earlier this year.


Neil McDermott takes the role of Captain Von Trapp, famously played by Christopher Plummer in the much-loved film. Neil played the recurring role of Ryan Molloy in EastEnders between 2009 and 2016. Other television appearances include The Royal, Rosemary & Thyme, Doctors and Casualty. As well as his work on the small screen, Neil is a regular on the stage, with starring roles in the West End including Chief Weasel in The Wind in the Willows (London Palladium); and Lord Farquaad in Shrek (Theatre Royal Dury Lane).

It all began with the story of the Trapp Family Singers and Baroness Maria von Trapp’s 1949 autobiography, which inspired Richard Rodgers, Oscar Hammerstein II, Howard Lindsay and Russel Crouse to create a Broadway musical in 1959.


The Sound of Music tells the true story of the world-famous singing family, from their romantic beginnings and search for happiness, to their thrilling escape to freedom as their beloved Austria becomes part of the Third Reich at the start of WWII.

The unforgettable score features some of the most memorable songs ever performed on stage, including ‘Edelweiss’, ‘My Favorite Things’, ‘Do-Re-Mi’, ‘Climb Ev’ry Mountain’, ‘So Long, Farewell’ and of course, the title song, ‘The Sound of Music’.

Produced by Bill Kenwright, directed by Martin Connor, choreographed by Olivier Award winner Bill Deamer, musical direction by David Steadman, this critically-acclaimed, wonderfully lavish staging of the classic and heart-warming musical is the perfect way to welcome in 2018.

Bill Kenwright presents a new production of

The Sound of Music

Music by Richard Rodgers, lyrics by Oscar Hammerstein II Book by Howard Lindsay and Russel Crouse

Suggested by ‘The Trapp Family Singers’ by Maria Augusta Trapp.

Presented by special arrangement with R&H Theatricals Europe www.rnh.com




Tuesday 19 December – Saturday 6 January                                      Box Office: 00353 1 677 7999

Dublin, Bord Gáis Energy Theatre                                                          Website: bordgaisenergytheatre.ie


Tuesday 9 – Saturday 13 January                                                           Box Office: 020 3285 6000

Bromley, Churchill Theatre                                                                    Website: churchilltheatre.co.uk

Tuesday 16 – Saturday 20 January                                                         Box Office: 0844 871 3011

Birmingham, New Alexandra Theatre                                                  Website: atgtickets.com/Birmingham

Tuesday 23 – Saturday 27 January                                                         Box Office: 0844 871 7648

Glasgow, Kings Theatre                                                                                              Website: atgtickets.com/Glasgow


Tuesday 6 – Saturday 10 February                                                         Box Office: 024 7655 3055

Coventry, Belgrade Theatre                                                                     Website: belgrade.co.uk


Tuesday 13 – Saturday 17 February                                                      Box Office: 029 2087 8889

Cardiff, New Theatre                                                                                   Website: newtheatrecardiff.co.uk


Tuesday 20 – Saturday 24 February                                                      Box Office: 0844 871 3014

Edinburgh, Playhouse                                                                                 Website: atgtickets.com/Edinburgh


Tuesday 27 February – Saturday 3 March                                           Box Office: 01892 530613

Tunbridge Wells, Assembly Hall                                                                              Website: assemblyhalltheatre.co.uk


Tuesday 6 – Saturday 10 March                                                                              Box Office: 023 9282 8282

Portsmouth, Kings Theatre                                                                       Website: kingsportsmouth.co.uk


Tuesday 13 – Saturday 17 March                                                            Box Office: 0844 871 3019

Manchester, Palace Theatre                                                                    Website: atgtickets.com/manchester

Haley Catherine cast in fringe musical Ordinary Days

November 21st – December 9th, Drayton Arms Theatre

London musical production Ordinary Days, currently playing its second week at the Drayton Arms Theatre, has had to cancel tonight’s (Tuesday Nov 28th) performance due to performer illness.

Actress Haley Catherine (Secret Cinema, Opera North) is being rehearsed in as emergency cover, and will be performing as Claire when the show resumes tomorrow (Wednesday Nov 29th).

Haley trained at Boston Conservatory (BFA) and Royal Central School of Speech and Drama (MA), and her credits include: Secret Cinema Present: Moulin Rouge! (Môme Fromage; Secret Cinema), Kiss Me Kate (Hattie u/s; Opera North, Welsh National Opera), A Winter’s Tale (Time; Moving Stories at the Minack), A Flea in Her Ear (Raymond Chandebise; Tabard Theatre), Lysistrata; a New Musical (Lysistrata; RCSSD), as well as workshops and rehearsed readings for the Lionel Bart Estate, and the National Theatre.

 “makes the ordinary extraordinary in this tight, exquisite production (…) singing throughout is first class – clear, precise & a joy to the ears” Musical Theatre Review

After receiving rave reviews, being shortlisted as one of only ten musicals for the Musical Theatre Review Best Musical Award and being nominated for Best Musical at the Broadway World Awards at the Edinburgh Fringe 2017, Streetlights, People! Productions’ revival of Ordinary Days returns to London as the winner of the Drayton Arms’ Eddies Kensington Award, intended to identify “the most exciting new companies at this year’s Fringe Festival.” This production began with a sold-out engagement at the Hen and Chickens Theatre last October before transferring to London Theatre Workshop.

 “a delight to see this compelling work performed with such conviction and talent” Broadway World

Ordinary Days is a contemporary musical, set in modern-day New York. It follows the parallel lives of four young city-dwellers struggling to find meaning in the madness: Claire, who can’t let go of her past; Jason, determined to begin their future together; Warren, an artist who’s lost his sense of purpose; and Deb, a student who’s lost her thesis notes. It is a witty, poignant, and ultimately very relatable story about human connection and finding beauty in unexpected places.

 “The cast takes on this show with energy, passion and enthusiasm” West End Wilma

New casting is announced for The Ferryman as Jez Butterworth’s critically acclaimed hit play extends for the third time

The Ferryman
By Jez Butterworth
Directed by Sam Mendes

  • New casting is announced for The Ferryman as Jez Butterworth’s critically acclaimed hit play extends for the third time.
  • The new cast will include Rosalie Craig, Owen McDonnell and Justin Edwards. 
  • Catherine McCormack will continue in her role as Mary Carney.
  • The Ferryman is currently booking to 19 May 2018

Producers Sonia Friedman Productions, Neal Street Productions and Royal Court Theatre Productions today announce new cast members for The FerrymanRosalie Craig (As You Like It, The Threepenny Opera, The Light Princess and London Road, National Theatre) will play Caitlin Carney, Owen McDonnell (Single-Handed, RTÉ/ ITV; Paula, BBC) will play Quinn Carney and Justin Edwards (The Thick of It, BBC; The Man Who Invented Christmas; The Death Of Stalin) will play Tom Kettle.

Also joining the company will be Stella McCusker as Aunt Maggie Far Away, Siân Thomas as Aunt Pat, Declan Conlon as Muldoon, Dean Ashton as Frank Magennis, Terence Keeley as Diarmaid Corcoran, Sean Delaney as Michael Carney, Francis Mezza as Shane Corcoran, Kevin Creedon as JJ Carney, Laurie Kynaston as Oisin Carney and Saoirse-Monica Jackson as Shena Carney.

Catherine McCormack will continue in her role as Mary Carney, as will Charles Dale as Father Horrigan, Mark Lambert as Uncle Pat and Glenn Speers as Lawrence Malone.  As previously the full company comprises 37 performers: 17 main adults, 7 covers, 12 children on rota and 1 baby.

The new company will give its first performance on 8 January 2018.

The Ferryman, directed by Sam Mendes, will run at the Gielgud Theatre until 19 May 2018.  The production won widespread critical acclaim when it opened at the Royal Court and was the fastest selling show in the theatre’s history.  This phenomenal success has continued at the Gielgud Theatre where it has been playing to sold-out houses, with early morning queues on Shaftesbury Avenue for the £12 day seats each day.

The play has been nominated for four honours at this year’s Evening Standard Awards including Best New Play, Best Director for Sam Mendes, Best Actress for Laura Donnelly and the Emerging Talent Award for Tom Glynn-Carney.

The Ferryman is directed by Sam Mendes, designed by Rob Howell, lighting by Peter Mumford, sound and original music by Nick Powell, with the new cast directed by Tim Hoare.



Sonia Friedman Productions, Neal Street Productions 
& Royal Court Theatre Productions 
with Rupert Gavin, Gavin Kalin Productions, Ron Kastner and Tulchin Bartner Productions present
The Ferryman

By Jez Butterworth
Directed by Sam Mendes

Designer Rob Howell
Lighting Designer Peter Mumford
Composer & Sound Designer Nick Powell

New Cast Director Tim Hoare
Casting Director Amy Ball CDG

Gielgud Theatre
Shaftesbury Ave, Soho, London W1D 6AR
Until 19 May 2018
Box Office: 0844 482 5130*
*calls cost up to 7p per minute plus your standard network charge
Monday to Saturday 7.00pm, Wednesday and Saturday matinees 1.30pm. 
There will be no performances on Christmas Day or Boxing Day, no mid-week matinee on Wednesday 10 January, and extra performances added – check online for full details.

Day seats will be available to purchase at £12 for every performance from 10.30am at the Box Office in person
Premium tickets are available

Age Guidance 14+ Contains strong language

Twitter: @TheFerrymanPlay
Facebook: /TheFerrymanPlay




Timothy Watson, best known for his role as the villainous Rob Titchener in BBC Radio 4’s long-running dramatic favourite The Archers is today confirmed to join the cast of The Winslow Boy which opens at Chichester Festival Theatre on February 8th 2018 before touring to the country’s most prestigious drama houses including Birmingham Rep, Bath Theatre Royal, Oxford Playhouse, Cambridge Arts Theatre, Salford Lowry, Cheltenham Everyman Theatre, Brighton Theatre Royal, Belfast Grand Opera House, Richmond Theatre and Canterbury’s Marlowe Theatre.


The play will be directed by Olivier Award-nominated Rachel Kavanaugh whose recent credits include A Christmas Carol (Royal Shakespeare Company), Oklahoma! (BBC Proms, Royal Albert Hall), Half a Sixpence (Noel Coward Theatre, Chichester Festival Theatre).


Timothy joins previously announced cast leads Tessa Peake-Jones (BBC 1’s Only Fools and Horses, ITV’s Grantchesteras Grace Winslow and Aden Gillett (BBC 1’s The House of Elliotas Arthur Winslow as sought after barrister Sir Robert Morton who comes to the defence of Navel Cadet Ronnie Winslow (played by Misha Butler who makes his stage debut in this production). Dorothea Myer-Bennett appears as Ronnie’s spirited sister, Catherine and Theo Bamber his brother, Dickie.  Today’s casting announcement is completed by Soo Drouet as the Winslow’s Maid, Violet and Sarah Lambie who appears as reporter Miss Barnes.

Timothy Watson captured the collective hatred of the nation as Rob Titchener in The Archers who, in Radio 4’s controversial slow-burning storyline, revealed himself to be not the charming and capable man he purported to be on his arrival in Ambridge but a manipulative bully who coercively controlled his partner, Helen. The storyline not only permeated the UK’s cultural fabric, but came during a period in which new UK Legislation was introduced protecting people from Controlling or Coercive Behaviour in an Intimate or Family Relationship. The charity Women’s Aid noted during the final year of the two and a half year plot that a 20% increase in calls to the National Domestic Abuse Helpline was observed which was noted, in part, to be a reflection of the ‘Archers’ effect.’

On stage Timothy has appeared regularly in London and the West End (The Beaux’ Stratagem, National Theatre, An Inspector Calls, Garrick, The Woman in Black, Fortune), toured the length and breadth of the country countless times, and acted in over fifty productions in repertory and other theatres. He has made numerous appearances on TV and film, including series regular Mr Perez, Maitre d’ of the Palm Court Restaurant in Mr Selfridge.

Timothy has always been particularly fond of radio drama. He first appeared in The Daughters of Venice, in the early 1990s. Since then he has been heard in many an afternoon play or classic serial. A particular favourite was playing Damon Wildeve in The Return of The Native for Rosemary Watts. Timothy is also a busy voice-over artist. He has narrated nearly a hundred documentaries, has lent his voice to a wide range of advertising and has recorded multiple voices in over thirty video games. He voiced both James Bond and Auric Goldfinger for the Bond ‘Legends’ game, released in 2012.

Having been expelled from the Royal Navy College for stealing a five-shilling postal order, young cadet Ronnie Winslow’s entire family are pulled apart by the repercussions of this charge. Set against the values of 1910 Edwardian London, the Winslow family fight to clear his name or face social ostracism as the case becomes a national scandal. Based on a real-life event, The Winslow Boy is a courageous and often delicately humorous window into the class and political hypocrisy of the time. This highly-charged moral drama will have audiences gripped by the heart-tugging decisions faced by each of The Winslow Family. Where will their sacrifices leave them and what is really at stake?


The 1946 play became one of Rattigan’s best known and most loved works. The Winslow Boy has enjoyed several high-profile revivals, both in the West End and on Broadway. It was turned into a feature film in 1948, directed by Anthony Asquith, and again in 1999 by David Mamet. The play won the Ellen Terry Award for Best New Play and, on its US premiere at the Empire Theatre in October 1947, received the New York Critics’ Circle Award for Best Foreign Play.

Mark Goucher once again presents a classic drama straight from seasons at the Chichester Festival Theatre and Birmingham Rep. The Winslow Boy follows acclaimed productions of The Kings Speech and Single Spies (the latter also directed by Rachel Kavanaugh).



8 – 17 Feb                                                            01243 781 312

Chichester Festival Theatre                         www.cft.org.uk


21 Feb – 3 March                                              0121 236 4455

Birmingham Rep Theatre                              www.birmingham-rep.co.uk

5 – 10 March                                                      01225 448 844

Bath Theatre Royal                                          www.theatreroyal.org.uk

12 – 17 March                                                     01865 305305

Oxford Playhouse                                            www.oxfordplayhouse.com

26 – 31 March                                                  01223 503 333

Cambridge Arts Theatre                             www.cambridgeartstheatre.com

9 – 14 April                                                          0843 208 6000

Salford The Lowry                                            www.thelowry.com

16 – 21 April                                                        01242 572573

Cheltenham Everyman Theatre                 www.everymantheatre.org.uk

23 – 28 April                                                        0844 871 7650

Brighton Theatre Royal                                  www.atgtickets.com/venues/theatre-royal-brighton


1- 5 May                                                               028 9024 1919

Belfast Grand Opera House                         www.goh.co.uk

Tues 8 – 12 May                                                0844 871 7651

Richmond, Richmond Theatre                    www.atgtickets.com/richmond

14 – 19 May                                                         01227 787 787

Canterbury Marlowe Theatre                     www.marlowetheatre.com

Producer, Tom O’Connell set to join Mark Goucher Productions

Producer, Tom O’Connell set to join Mark Goucher Productions



Mark Goucher Productions has today agreed a new deal that will see Tom O’Connell join Mark Goucher Productions as Producer.

Tom O’Connell produced the recent hit production of Joe Orton’s Loot at The Park Theatre, Mart Crowley’s The Boys in the Band starring Mark Gatiss at the Vaudeville/Park Theatre/UK Tour, along with the twentieth anniversary production of Jonathan Harvey’s Beautiful Thingstarring Suranne Jones, amongst many others. O’Connell has a number of high profile productions in development that will now be produced out of Mark Goucher Productions.

The move is designed to help MGPL to continue developing new shows through 2018/19 while Goucher simultaneously develops plans in his new role as CEO of the Everyman Theatre Cheltenham.

O’Connell will work alongside Mark Goucher and his long standing team of Jonathan Russell (Head of Touring and Casting) and Giles Rowland (General Manager).

Goucher said, “I have always thought Tom a dynamic young producer and I welcome the opportunity to work with him on our shows which include the current national tour of HairspraySlava’s Snow ShowThe Winslow Boy and the next national tour of Let it Be. This will allow us to push forward with a number of high profile projects next year and allow me to simultaneously push forward plans at the Everyman Theatre Cheltenham.”

O’Connell said, “I am honoured to be joining Mark Goucher Productions in this new role as Producer. I’m looking forward to starting work on a wide range of exciting new and existing projects, including the ones I have been developing personally. I’ve worked with Mark and his fantastic team for over four years now and this will be an exciting new chapter for me.”

O’Connell will take up the position in January 2018 and will begin work on two new touring musicals and a new play being cast for the West End with director Sean Foley.


Welcome 2018 with ground-breaking drama at

Hope Mill Theatre, Manchester


Tickets on sale now

Hope Mill Theatre in Manchester has announced a trio of ground-breaking plays that will feature at the award-winning venue in early 2018.

They are the regional premiere of a ‘thrilling and heartbreaking play’ that has been relocated to Manchester by its author, an exciting new period piece about the amazing life of an infamous 18th Century diplomat and spy starring Coronation Street’s Dean Fagan and a compelling look at parenthood and grief, which includes the first ‘baby-friendly’ relaxed performance at Hope Mill.

Joseph Houston, Artistic Director, said: “I am thrilled to announce our early 2018 season of plays. Since opening, Hope Mill has been a receiving venue for many emerging and smaller theatre companies and the ambition and standard of work from these independent theatre makers continues to amaze me.

“The three plays which make up our Feb to March programme include the northern premiere of Vincent River by Philip Ridley. What is so exciting about this play is that director John Young is working with Philip to relocate the play to Manchester, which is an incredible first for this piece.

“In keeping with LGBT History month in February we have a period piece by Manchester-based writer Renny Krupinski that is set around one of the first known trans people of their time, Chevalier D’Eon de Beaumont, and which includes a stellar cast of northern actors.


“Finally, The Replacement Child staged by Manchester based mother-and-child friendly company Abooo. This is a really important piece which tackles the effects of miscarriage and as a Hope Mill first we will be having a mother and baby friendly performance.


“As a venue we are constantly trying to push the boundaries of theatre on small scale and want to help support emerging companies as they pave their way in a highly competitive industry.


“I feel that our opening season of plays compliments our ambition with our in-house musicals – of which the first three of 2018 were recently announced – and which we will continue to develop and nurture.”

Yet Another Carnival and Hope Mill Theatre present Vincent River by Philip Ridley and directed by John Young from Tuesday 27 February to Saturday 24 March 2018. The regional premiere of Philip Ridleyʼs thrilling and heartbreaking play relocated to Manchester.

Vincent River slides under the surface of fear, hatred and love. Davey has seen something he canʼt forget. Anita has been forced to flee her home. These two have never met. Tonight their paths cross with devastating consequences.

This searing modern classic takes aim at homophobia and hate crime with breathtaking honesty.

Author Philip Radley said: “I’m so thrilled and excited that Vincent River is being brought to life, and relocated to Manchester, for its regional premiere at Hope Mill Theatre. It’s the perfect home for the play.”


This production is supported by the Arts Council, Superbia and The Philip Carne Trust.


D’Eon is a new piece of writing by Manchester-based Renny Krupinski, brought to life by the Straight Acting Company and starring Coronation Street’s Dean Fagan and runs from Tuesday 13 to Saturday 17 February 2018.

Celebrity, intrigue and scandal aplenty, D’Eon is the bizarre and amazing true story of one of the infamous, outrageous, unsung warriors of history and the first openly documented transgendered person in European history.

1769, Chevalier D’Eon de Beaumont stepped out of the limelight as a French diplomat to England, Russian spy, Prussain war hero and international bon viveur – only to step back into it as the woman she truly was.


The Replacement Child, by mother-and-baby friendly Manchester theatre company Abooo, runs from, Tuesday 20 to Friday 23 February.

Jumping between past and present, The Replacement Child – written by Victoria Cafolla and directed by Martin Gibbons – is a darkly humorous, visceral and compelling look at parenthood and grief and how one couple deals with loss – for better or worse.

Grace is tired of her father’s silence regarding the mother she never knew. The week after her 18th birthday she visits him and demands to know the circumstances leading up to her birth. Will Oscar risk losing his daughter by revealing a past shrouded in secrets and pain?


There will be a baby-friendly relaxed performance on Thursday 22 February at 11am – a first for Hope Mill Theatre. (Please note the show contains emotional content and is not recommended for toddlers)

In addition to the above, the world premiere of The ToyBoy Diaries, Hope Mill’s first in-house musical production of 2018 runs from 18 January to 10 February and is on sale now. This new musical comedy charts the hilarious and sometimes heart-breaking sagas of mid-life dating.


For more information on these productions, or to book tickets, visit www.hopemilltheatre.co.uk.

Website:      www.hopemilltheatre.co.uk

Facebook:    https://www.facebook.com/Hope-Mill-Theatre-1450957091877957/

Twitter:         @hopemilltheatr1





  • One Night Only to return to The Ivy on Sunday 10 December 2017
  • Noma Dumezweni, Arlene Phillips and Freddie Fox announced as head waiting staff
  • Dame Maggie Smith and Sir Derek Jacobi are the first stars announced to be joining the Dames and Knights table


Theatrical charity Acting for Others today announces the return of One Night Only at The Ivy in West Street on Sunday 10 December 2017. Over £100,000 was raised last year for the charity, which is an umbrella organisation for 15 invaluable charities dedicated to supporting people from the theatre and dance communities who have fallen on hard times through injury, illness or circumstance.

The evening sees stars of the stage and screen swap their costumes for aprons and serve diners across two sittings at The Ivy, world-renowned for their unfaltering impeccable service. Heading up the waiting staff this year to ply their trades in bartending, waiting tables, manning cloakrooms and welcoming guests will be Noma Dumezweni, Arlene Phillips and Freddie Fox. They will be joined by Annette Badland, Samantha Bond, Janie Dee, Neil Dudgeon, Dexter Fletcher, Celia Imrie, George Layton, Tamzin Outhwaite, Jemma Redgrave, Anne Reid MBE, Joanna Riding, Neil Stuke, Owen Teale, Kate Thornton, Stephen Tompkinson, Hannah Waddingham and Giles Watling MP with more to be announced.

The two dinner services, Acts I and II, will start at 6pm and 8.45pm and will run for two hours each, with identical auctions taking place after dinner. Guests will be able to book their tables for a three-course dinner with an aperitif and wine for £250 per person, of which £150 is a donation to charity. The dinners will be followed by swift but thrilling auctions, which will include enviable prizes such as a meal for four every month of the year in a selection of The Caprice Group’s finest restaurants, a pair of tickets to Hamilton at the Victoria Palace Theatre, a pair of tickets to Harry Potter and the Cursed Child at the Palace Theatre including a mid-show dinner at The Ivy and post show drinks with the cast, and tickets to the Olivier Awards 2018.

Director of The Ivy, Fernando Peire said today, “The Ivy’s staff members really do love it when they are joined for the night by so many familiar faces from stage and screen. Our restaurant owes a lot to its illustrious clientele and this is one way we can give back to the theatrical community that has supported us so well and for so long.”

Sir Stephen Waley-Cohen, Chairman of Acting for Others also said, “We are delighted that The Ivy will see the stars performing as staff in December for One Night Only, as all of the funds raised go to support theatre workers who need our help.”

Address: The Ivy │ 1-5 West Street, London WC2H 9NQ │ www.the-ivy.co.uk


To book:  020 7836 4751


Timings*                 w Act I (1st sitting): 6pm till 8pm

w Act II (2nd sitting): 8.15pm till close

NB Places are limited, so please call as soon as possible to book your table.


*actors subject to change

Sex Worker’s Opera Review

Ovalhouse – until 2 December.  Reviewed by Claire Roderick


Don’t let the title put you off – this is definitely not a traditional opera. Based on stories from sex workers around the world, this show has the feel of a comedy revue, musical, social studies lesson and club night all mashed together.

Tied together loosely by the protests of a woman who wants to save her sister from being a sex worker (the weakest part of the production really as it’s a bit clunky, restating issues that have just been, or are just about to be explored through song or comedy), the show tackles preconceptions and clichés about sex work and offers a little insight as to why it is an obvious and practical choice of job for some people. The overwhelming message of the production is not to judge, or pity – just listen.

Between the songs, accompanied by a four-piece band – with Marcelo Faccacello’s hysterical solo performance with their cello (study that name carefully!) something you’ll never be able to forget – there are comedy and serious sketches, and a series of monologues where characters’ stories are shared. These monologues are the emotional core of the show, including the struggle of a mother to keep her teenage daughter, the experiences of a Fem sex worker, while the description of the sense of fulfilment a disabled prostitute who specialises in disabled clients gets drew a huge round of applause from the audience.

Political points, including the introduction of the Nordic model – where clients are criminalised, were made in a light-hearted way before their personal impact was passionately demonstrated, while the hypocrisy of media regulations was sent up brilliantly in a sketch where the most unpleasant and perverted thing was the regulator.

The standard of acting and vocals is variable, but this is a fine ensemble piece, with the three huge voices of Siobhán Knox, Charlotte Rose and Jordan Busson (with a truly operatic voice) carry the show. The joyful celebration turns a little dark in the second act, with a disturbingly staged police raid and remembrance of the dead, but the message of empowerment and strength shines through.

This is an unforgettable, emotional rollercoaster of a show that challenges and celebrates in equal measure. Grab a ticket now.