Regal Entertainments Brings Smash Hit Panto Beauty And The Beast To The Stockport Plaza This Easter


Regal Entertainments is bringing its smash hit production of Beauty and the Beast to The Stockport Plaza for Easter 2019.

The magical panto version of the classic fairytale comes toStockportfrom 18 – 22 April 2019 and will star Channel 5 Milkshake’s Kiera-Nicole Brennan as Belle.

Get ready to go on an adventure and follow Belle as she falls in love with the most unexpected of princes, with Andrew Geater as the Beast.

Also trying to win Belle’s heart is Philip McGuinness as the brutish Gaston. The brilliant Lewis Devinewill be causing mayhem and mischief as French Frankwhileadding some extra sparkle will be Sarah Walker as Fairy Rose. And the hilarious Si Foster completes the cast as Potty Polly.

Keira-Nicole Brennan has recently graduated from the prestigious BRIT School and is best known as the host of popular children’s breakfast show Milkshake. She is currently the youngest presenter in Channel 5 history after landing the role at just 19 and proving herself a hit with little viewers.

Andrew Geater takes the role of Beast. His impressive vocal talents have seen him perform across the globe including as a member of world renowned group The 12 Tenors.

The hilarious Lewis Devine is playing French Frank. After leaving audiences rolling in the theatre aisles laughing with his recent performance as Buttons in Cinderella, and as Muddles in Snow White, both at St Helens, Lewis is guaranteed to bring the same hilarity to Stockport this Easter.

Returning to the role of Gaston is Philip McGuinness. Stockport audiences will remember him as Tin Man in 2016’s production of The Wizard of Oz, while his other panto appearances for Regal Entertainments include Captain Hook in Peter Pan.

Meanwhile dancer and choreographer Sarah Walker will bring all the moves as well as lots of sparkle to the stage as Fairy Rose.

Completing the cast is Si Foster playing Potty Polly guaranteeing hilarious gags that are sure to keep audiences laughing.

An enchanting tale filled with hilarious comedy, wonderful songs and a story which proves that even the grumpiest of Beasts can change his ways. Make sure to book before the final rose petal falls!

Beauty and the Beast Producer, Chantelle Nolan said: We’re very excited to be bringing this production of Beauty and the Beast to Stockport. We had a brilliant time at the theatre when we staged The Wizard of Oz – audiences were fantastic, and the theatre staff were very welcoming.

“Beauty and the Beast went down a storm at St Helens Theatre Royal during October half-term so we can guarantee a magical panto time at Stockport for Easter 2019.”

The Stockport Plaza Manager, Ted Doan added: “The Plaza has a history of providing the finest and most sensational affordable family entertainment for all ages to enjoy with our magnificent Easter Pantomimes and welcoming Regal Entertainments back this year with Beauty and the Beast will ensure that this annual tradition receives the right royal treatment that only Regal can provide!

Beauty and the Beast runs from Thursday 18 – Monday 22 April 2019.  Tickets are now on sale. Book early to avoid disappointment.

The cast is subject to change.

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For further information visit:


Regal Entertainments Ltd presents The Wizard of Oz

Dates: Thursday 18 – Monday 22 April 2019

Times: Thurs 1pm, Fri-Sun 12pm and 4pm, Mon 1pm

Tickets: From £12 (Prices are subject to per ticket fees)



Plaza Theatre

Mersey Square




0161 477 7779


Final casting announced for strictly limited run of All About Eve at the Noël Coward Theatre

by Joseph L Mankiewicz
Adapted and directed for the stage by Ivo van Hove

  • Final casting announced for strictly limited run of All About Eve at the Noël Coward Theatre
  • Merric Boyd, Fejiro Emasiobi, Jessie Mei Li, Chanelle Modi, Stuart Nunn, Phillipa Peak and Michael Warburton complete the cast
  • All About Eve will run for 14 weeks with reduced priced previews beginning on 2nd February 2019. Best availability from late March 2019
  • Over 20,000 tickets have been available at £25 or under during the run

Sonia Friedman Productions and Fox Stage Productions have today announced the full casting for the world premiere of Ivo van Hove’s highly anticipated stage production of the 1950 Twentieth Century Fox film All About Eve as rehearsals commence.

Jessie Mei Li will play the role of Claudia Casswell with Merric Boyd, Fejiro Emasiobi, Chanelle Modi, Stuart Nunn, Phillipa Peak and Michael Warburton joining the Ensemble. Performances run from 2nd February at the West End’s Noël Coward Theatre.

Previously announced, Emmy Award-winning Gillian Anderson will return to the stage alongsideLily James to lead the cast. BAFTA Award-winner Monica Dolan will play the role of Karen alongside Ian Drysdale as Max Fabian, Tsion Habte as Phoebe, Julian Ovenden as Bill, Sheila Reid as Birdie, Rhashan Stone as Lloyd and Stanley Townsend as Addison DeWitt. Charles Hagerty, Grace Stone and Philip Voyzey will also appear as Ensemble cast.

Ivo van Hove’s direction will be accompanied by set and lighting design from Jan Versweyveld,costume design by An D’Huys and music from double Mercury Prize-winner PJ Harvey, alongsideTom Gibbons’ sound design. Casting is by Julia Horan CDG.

“Fasten your seat belts. It’s going to be a bumpy night.”

Margo Channing. Legend. True star of the theatre. The spotlight is hers, always has been. But now there’s Eve. Her biggest fan. Young, beautiful Eve. The golden girl, the girl next door. But you know all about Eve…don’t you…?

 Ivo van Hove directs Gillian Anderson and Lily James in his new adaptation of All About Eve, a razor-sharp, unsettling exposé of the eternal obsession at the heart of show-business. Lifting the curtain on a world of jealousy and ambition, this new production, from one of the world’s most innovative theatre directors, asks why our fascination with celebrity, youth and identity never seems to get old.


Sonia Friedman Productions and Fox Stage Productions present

by Joseph L Mankiewicz
Adapted and directed for the stage by Ivo van Hove
Set and Lighting Jan Versweyveld
Costume An D’Huys
Music PJ Harvey
Sound Tom Gibbons
Casting  Julia Horan CDG

Noël Coward Theatre

A Delfont Mackintosh Theatre
85-88 St Martin’s Lane, London WC2N 4AU

First performance: 2nd February 2019
Final performance: 11th May 2019

Captioned performance:  12th March 2019
Audio Described performance: 19th March 2019

Monday to Saturday at 7.30pm
Thursday & Saturday matinee performances at 2.30pm

Box office details
0844 482 5151*
Access Bookings: 03444825137

Champagne and VIP: 08444825166*

Calls cost 7p per minute, plus your phone company’s access charge

Prices from £15

Twitter/Facebook/Instagram @AllAboutEvePlay | 

Opening at this end of this month, the UK’s fastest growing arts festival returns to Waterloo

VAULT Festival announce their biggest, boldest
and bravest programme yet

VAULT Festival, one of the largest curated arts festivals in the world, has announced more than 400 shows for their 2019 programme. Now in its seventh year, VAULT Festival returns to London from 23rd January to 17th March with the best in new writing for theatre and comedy, immersive experiences, cabaret, live performance and late night parties. Their exciting and diverse programme features shows from more than 2,000 artists, with 53% of work being female-led and 25% of work coming from LGBTQIA+ artists. Starting in 2012 with only 25 shows and 7,000 attendees, VAULT Festival has become the fastest growing arts festival in the UK, hosting over 350 shows in 2018 and welcoming more than 70,000 audience members.

In 2019, performances will take place across Waterloo with multiple spaces located underground in the festival’s central hub, The Vaults. Other festival venues include London’s secret community performance space The Network Theatre, upstairs at The Horse & Stables pub, Granby Place, and the Travelling Through Bookshop on Lower Marsh where you can catch fresh material from television favourites and hot new comics. Unit 9 on Leake Street will be a space dedicated to ground-breaking immersive performances while other pop-up venues include shipping containers, caravans and escape rooms.

For 2019, VAULT Festival is delighted to support two important causes: Help Refugees and All ticket transactions for VAULT Festival will provide audiences with the opportunity to donate to Help Refugees, providing humanitarian aid to displaced people around the world. will host an exclusive stage at The Horse & Stables pub and receive a percentage of ticket sales to support their Team Mum campaign, helping to fund pregnancy services in rural Kenya that offer health information and medical support for new mothers.

VAULT Festival will continue its partnership with WeAreWaterloo, supporting the local community with a range of initiatives aimed at residents and under 25s. The Festival is expanding its engagement scheme with SURGE, a brand new pilot programme of cross-arts projects, working with schools in the area to provide workshops and outreach performances.

Proudly supported by leading theatre publishers and performing rights agents Nick Hern Books, the VAULT Festival New Writers Programme will offer an eight-week practical writing course for prospective writers of any age, enabling them to develop a piece of writing for the stage, culminating in a public showcase in the final week of the Festival. VAULT Festival will also offer up to 10,000 2-4-1 tickets through their Official App Partner Stagedoor.

In collaboration with Meantime Brewing, VAULT Festival will be adding to their array of bars with a specially designed and purpose-built new craft beer bar. Local culinary masters PopCo will be serving up an EU inspired menu. The festival is investing in 12,000 reusable cups to significantly reduce single-use waste, alongside a switchover to paperless tickets, a ban on plastic straws, and a guarantee that all food and beverage packaging is biodegradable or recyclable.

The VAULT Festival team commented, VAULT Festival started as an idea to bring artists and audiences together in an unusual space, in exciting spaces, to see if we could make a new model for the creative industry. A few years later, our audience has stuck with us and grown beyond our wildest hopes. We want VAULT Festival to be the people’s festival, designed around the audience, the artists, and our staff, without unfairly disadvantaging any of them. They are the very core of what makes VAULT work, and what makes us special.

Including shows with rubber ducks, 90s RnB, and a border collie, there’s something for everyone at VAULT Festival 2019.


Headlining VAULT Festival, the immersive folk opera Counting Sheep returns to the UK for the first time since its award-winning run at The Edinburgh Fringe in 2016. This brand new adaptation, reimagined by the directors of the Belarus Free Theatre, is a deeply personal retelling of the Ukrainian Revolution, exploring the real-life narrative of the creators who fell in love on the barricades of Maidan Square. With folk singing, found footage and revolutionary staging, this electrifying exploration of human resilience invites audience members to be part of the revolution.

Also running for a full eight weeks, the makers of Counting Sheep present the London premiere of Balaklava Blues – an ethno-bass live set, coupled with archive footage, iconic Soviet cartoons, and the polyphonic blues of the Ukrainian plains.

New Diorama Theatre joins forces with VAULT Festival to showcase some of the UK’s most exciting ensemble work. Staging some of their recent Edinburgh hits, the NDT/VAULT Festival Takeover includes A Super Happy Story (About Feeling Super Sad), a hilarious yet gut-wrenching story about depression from Olivier award-winning playwright Jon Brittain, Kill the Beast’s Director’s Cut, an achingly funny comedy staged on the set of a 1970s horror movie; and, winner of a Stage Edinburgh Award, sell-out show Queens of Sheba – a funny, poetic and unflinching look at misogynoir. The season culminates with The Faction reviving their electrifying production of The Talented Mr.
, breathing new life into Patricia Highsmith’s extraordinary psychological thriller about an infamous and deadly conman.

Representing the highest calibre of work from the Fringe, VAULT Festival will host the winner of the
Summerhall Award, The Myth of the Singular Moment, and Pleasance Award winner, Ladykiller. Born in part out of co-creator Jim Harbourne’s experience with Huntington’s Disease, The Myth of
the Singular Moment is scored by a contemporary folk soundtrack and tells of the choices we make
and those we don’t as multiple realities coincide and diverge. Ladykiller is a blood-soaked jet-black
comedy offering the feminist case for female psychopaths: it’s not what it looks like, really, it’s not –
it was self-defence and, anyway, the woman was asking for it.

And there’s more for true crime fans as the macabre finds a spine-chilling home in The Vaults’underground tunnels. Based on the 2010 case, Kompromat follows the final hours of the GCHQ agent murdered and folded into a sports bag. Both assassin and victim find and lose their chance to escape in this tense thriller. Pufferfish is based on the real and astonishing story of Jeffrey Dahmer who took the lives of 17 young men in the 1980s. It digs through the homophobia of the initial reporting of the case and attempts to uncover the links between fear and desire, beauty and horror.

Other theatrical highlights include Tilda Swinton Answers an Ad on Craigslist with Instagram and Buffy the Vampire Slayer star Tom Lenk as Tilda Swinton, who comes to the rescue of a depressed gay man. Physical theatre ensemble The PappyShow present a cycle of plays in an exciting venue takeover including: Boys, a celebration of manhood with the things about boys you never get to see; Girls which explores the complex yet joyous stories of women of all ages; and Care, a touching
tribute to the NHS. Orlando from Lucy Roslyn and Josh Roche is the story of Virginia Woolf’s character through the sixties, the AIDs crisis and the shooting at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando; it interrogates society’s insistence on boxing up identities. Irish company MALAPROP’s Jericho considers the world we live in and explores wrestling, journalism and confusing entertainment and politics. Katie & Pip is about the relationship between Katie, a Type 1 Diabetic teenager, and Pip, her border collie, trained to save her life on a daily basis. Making an invisible disability visible, it celebrates living life to the full, with help from an actual dog in performance.

Following the recent trend of reclaiming Herstory, VAULT Festival sees several new shows telling the stories of women marginalised by history. 10 is the history of Britain since Boudicca told by ten influential women while Rascal Theatre’s Galvanise sees three young women rediscover forgotten female leaders from across the world. New musical The Limit puts the self-taught mathematician Sophie Germain centre-stage exploring how she disguised herself as a man to submit work. Lola is the rich feminist unpicking of Vladimir Nabokov’s Lolita which gives the eponymous character a voice to express her justifiable rage and discuss self-harm, stalking and extremely large breasts.

Family Fun

Bobbing their way back to London, Faceplant Theatre return with One Duck Down, an eco-friendly family comedy inspired by the 7,000 rubber ducks that spilled into the ocean in 1992. Winner of Best Family Show at VAULT Festival 2018, this musical production about oceans and plastic pollution would make David Attenborough proud. Also promoting environmental responsibility with a twinkle in their eye, Blue Planet III is a nature documentary from two interns determined to fight rising sea levels and pollution to film the third series of Blue Planet within a flooded BBC.

Encouraging inclusivity and creativity, Spun Glass Theatre’s Princess Charming is a topical exploration of gender identity for children aged seven to eleven. This hilarious play enables them to deeper understand their own identities and, in doing so, break free of gender stereotypes. Singing, dancing and teaching Cantonese vocabulary, Boh Boh Finds Home is the interactive adventure and debut show from Little Bean Theatre which allows families to travel through the galaxy together. How to Date a Magical Creature features a multi-award winning BAFTA and Olivier-winning cast who create a brand-new improvised chat show every night as the most famous fantastical beasties reveal their most intimate secrets and gossip.


Returning for its second year, the VAULT Comedy Festival comes to venues across Waterloo with even more shows, more talent and more brazen humour. With further opportunities to see the start of something special, catch works-in-progress from household favourites like James Acaster, Phil Wang and Desiree Burch and debut hours from the most exciting up and coming acts such as Helen Bauer, Chloe Petts and Kayla Macquarie.

Elf Lyons will channel her inner Elton John to perform Love Songs to Guinea Pigs. With songs about, for and to guinea pigs, Lyons explores love and affection in her most personal show to date. Catherine Bohart presents new work, following her successful debut Immaculate, while Max and Ivan try things with two mics and a projector and Tom Parry celebrates life, love and losing your tie.

There is also the chance to catch critically acclaimed shows, transferring down from the Edinburgh Fringe. William Andrews embraces the Willy he always was, telling remarkable stories with a beguiling blend of daft creativity and ingenuity in Willy. Rob Oldham’s Worm’s Lament keeps the jokes firing even as he considers politics, youth and death. The endlessly inventive Josh Glanc brings Karma Karma Karma Karma Karma Chamedian south of the river. The frenetic sketch show Just These, Please uses comic absurdity to take on Bags for Life and Albus Dumbledore while The Free Association are joined by very special guests to create spontaneous and hilarious sketches based on audience suggestions.


Kicking the weekends off with blowout parties and irresistible iniquity, the Festival’s series of Lates promises nights of adventure. On Saturday 2nd February, Pecs Drag King Collective will be giving VAULT Festival the chance to be King for a Night. Visit the Mansformation Station to get ready for hot cabaret performances, sweaty dancing, 90s RnB and all your favourite drag kings. Other highlights include a Valentine’s Special Eat Your Heart Out! from Shotgun Carousel, the critically acclaimed team behind Divine Proportions. From raunch to romance, it will be one huge celebration of all flavours of feminist love with a multi-room extravaganza of bands, DJs, cabaret and, even, a sham wedding chapel. Rounding off the explosive programme, immersive specialists SPECIFIQ and Rogue Productions return to VAULT Festival with RUCKUS, a raucous St Patrick’s Day shindig with a vintage gangster vibe. Join us underground because no one parties like the Irish Mob.

And this is only a taste of the incredible programme, head to for full listings and more information about all the shows heading to Waterloo for the Festival. VAULT Festival promises to set alight your long winter nights in 2019.

Tara Arts and Polka Theatre to tour Three Sat Under The Banyan Tree

Tara Arts and Polka Theatre to Tour


by Shamser Sinha

Tara Arts and Polka Theatre have today announced that their co-production of Three Sat Under The Banyan Tree is set to head on a UK tour from 20th January – 2nd March 2019. The production originally played at The Polka Theatre in September 2018.

Three Sat Under The Banyan Tree is the first ever stage adaptation of The Panchatantra (India’s Aesop’s Fables) in the UK. Directed by Tara Arts’ Artistic Director Jatinder Verma, this children’s piece for ages 7 – 12 incorporates masks, movement and music.

Near the foothills of the Himalayas, three refugees open a magical book under a Banyan tree. Stories of a headstrong crow, a brave mongoose, and a tortured tiger come vibrantly to life, with masks, movement and music, to offer lessons for the young refugees seeking to re-make their lives.

This three-hander includes Rose-Marie Christian in the role of Jayaben, Halema Hussain in the role of Yasmin and Raj Swamy in the role of Mahendra.

Rose-Marie Christian’s theatre credits include Tales from the Arabian Nights (London Bubble), Dick WhittingtonAladdinHome Theatre (Theatre Royal Stratford East), Does My Bomb Look Big In This (Bush Theatre), Little Revolution (Almeida), Two Boys (English National Opera), Acting Up (Rich Mix), The Crucible (Talawa), Absolute Return (Orange Tree Theatre), Suffocation and Bussing It (Oval House). Her film credits include Still Life (Still Life Productions), Escape and Rinsers.

Halema Hussain trained at ALRA. She is a bilingual actress and proud member of Dangerous Space, created by Barbara Houseman and Nastazja Somers. Theatre credits include Trixie in She Had Beautiful Handwriting For a Junkie (Theatre N16) and Aisha in Does My Bomb Look Big In This? (UK Tour). She also played Zainab/Hasina in Sudha Bhuchar’s Child of the Divide (UK/TORONTO Tour), and Marry Warren in Arthur Miller’s The Crucible(ALRA).

Raj Swamy is making his professional debut with Tara Arts since graduating from East 15 Acting School, where he studied BA World Performance. Raj has been involved in television productions such as Bad Education (BBC) and Birds of a Feather (BBC) and recently played the role of Kharak in feature film Red Joan (Trademark Films) alongside Judi Dench.

Artistic Director Jatinder Verma saysBringing stories such as Shamser Sinha’s brilliant new take on India’s classic fables, reminds us that diversity is for all, young and old; offering powerful ways for making connections with other cultures and worlds.”

Peter Glanville Polka Artistic Director says:“Polka Theatre are delighted to have collaborated with Tara Arts on this production, bringing to life some of the classic Panchatantra tales for a new generation of children. The show was very well received during its run at Polka, and we are thrilled that it will now be shared with a wider audience of children and families on tour.”


Sunday 20 January                                                                           Box Office: 020 8232 101

Watermans, Brentford                                                                  Website:

Friday 25 – Saturday 26 January                                                 Box Office: 01708 443 333

Queen’s Theatre, Hornchurch                                                     Website:    

Saturday 2 February                                                                       Box Office: 01202 280 000

The Lighthouse, Poole                                                           

Monday 4 – Wednesday 6 February                                         Box Office: 0116 242 3560

Curve, Leicester                                                                      

Saturday 9 February                                                                       Box Office: 01473 295 500

New Wolsey Theatre, Ipswich                                              

Sunday 10th February                                                                     Box Office:  020 8692 4446

The Albany, Deptford                                                              

Saturday 16 February                                                                     Box Office: 01753 875533

Curve, Slough                                                                          

Sunday 17 February                                                                        Box Office: 01474 337 459

The Woodville, Gravesend                                                           Website:

Wednesday 20 – Saturday 23 February                                   Box Office: 020 8333 4457

Tara Theatre                                                                                      Website:  

Tuesday 26 – Wednesday 27 February                                    Luton Library Theatre

Box Office: 01582 878 100                                                            Website:

2018 – A Year in Review

How do I describe this year? In numbers we had 40 reviewers who between them reviewed over 550 productions. We had to turn down numerous invitations because we were unable to cover. Twitter and Facebook have continued to grow month by month and this site was visited by 430,500 people – just under half a million visits.

We launched the Aurora Award for Rising Stars and the first ever winners were Bobby Hirston for his role in The Play That Goes Wrong on tour and Toby Marlow and Lucy Moss for the wonderful Six the Musical – a show I can not wait to see again in January.

Our reviewers have enjoyed many varied productions, Dawn (Yorkshire Region) said “Looking back in 2018 I have reviewed and seen an abundance of shows in Yorkshire and the majority I’ve loved and enjoyed. Two shows that stood out for me must be Titanic The Musical and The Last Ship. Both musicals have a nautical and maritime theme but couldn’t be anymore different.  What they have in common is the celebration of humanity shown in poignant and extraordinary circumstances. 

Titanic The Musical – Everyone knows the tragedy of the RMS Titanic and the loss of many souls. The musical doesn’t focus on the factual narrative but on the characters on board. Like you and me they have dreamed, hoped and aspired for more and better even if they didn’t know at the the ship’s fate.  Maury Yestin‘s moving musical composition and lyrics fits perfectly with the characters’ livelihoods off and on board. This is backed with David Woodhead‘s stunning staging which feels like one physically belongs to a massive ship.

The Last ShipSting‘s musical came to Yorkshire during its national tour and I had the opportunity to see and review it in Leeds and York.  It looks back on the ship building community in a Tyne and Wear town in the 1970s during the industry’s decline. It primarily focuses on the town’s community whose primary industrial activity was shipbuilding and through the eyes of Gideon Fletcher (Richard  Fleeshman).  The community fights to save not just the industry and jobs but their livelihoods. They are very determined to see the last ship built and sail away. With Sting’s soul stirring and moving and music The Last Ship was definitely a memorable show in 2018.”

For Catherine, Alex and Claire (London/South) Bat Out of Hell topped the list. Alex said “anything that awakens your inner rock chick deserves 5 stars”, although Claire was rather more succinct when she described it as “a theatrical orgasm that will leave you gasping for air and begging for more”

I look forward to 2019 for more fabulous productions, visiting more beautiful venues, to hopefully making more friends and meeting new reviewers.