Underbelly Edinburgh Fringe 2019 charges into action as first shows announced

Underbelly Edinburgh Fringe 2019 charges into action as first shows announced

  • First five Underbelly Edinburgh Fringe 2019 shows on sale 
  • Heading up the 2019 Fringe herd are Irish comedy sketch actual legends Foil, Arms & Hog, world leading rock star circus performers CIRCA, awarding winning Thinking Drinkers, oceanic acrobats Splash Test Dummies and the masters of late-night Fringe, Spank!
  • Tickets go on sale Wednesday 30th January at 10am via www.underbellyedinburgh.co.uk

Underbelly fires its starting pistol for this year’s Edinburgh Festival Fringe announcing the tantalising first five shows on sale. These shows offer eager fans the chance to milk that early Fringe fix with a fantastic selection from the cream of comedy, circus and cabaret.

Following a smash hit 2018 Fringe, Foil, Arms and Hog, the Irish comic YouTube masters return to Edinburgh’s majestic McEwan Hall with an hour of comedy sketches in their brand-new showSwines from 31st July – 25th August at 9pm.  

Five-star Fringe favourite CIRCA (Closer, Beyond, Wunderkammer) returns to Underbelly’s Circus Hub after its 2017 blockbuster season with Humans. This is thrillingly fearless, boundary-pushing circus at its best. Running from 2nd – 24th August at 7pm, ten acrobats take us on a stirring journey of what it means to be human, and how our bodies, our connections, and our aspirations all form part of who we are. Created by Yaron Lifschitz, Humans asks how much can we take – how much weight can we carry?

Ensuring families are kept entertained and joining CIRCA in The Lafayette tent at Circus Hub, theSplash Test Dummies are back, ready to roll out their beach towels and spring into an hour of circus-filled hilarity for the whole family. See a brilliant array of catch-your-breath stunt work, acrobatics, juggling and the side-splitting, slapstick comedy for which the dummies are famous. Get set to drown in tears of laughter from the 3rd – 24th August at 1pm.

Spank! returns to its spiritual home, Underbelly Cowgate for an incredible 16th year with hilarious hosts, awesome comedians and gratuitous nudity. Showcasing the most exciting comedy and cabaret on the Fringe, don’t miss the ‘best wild night out’ (Scotland on Sunday) at the festival! ‘Comedy and legendary party night… if you haven’t experienced this night, get down there right away!’ (Time Out). It’s raunchy, raucous and ridiculous and runs in The Belly Dancer from 2nd – 25th August at 11.55pm.  

Expanding into Underbelly’s Cowbarn in Bristo Square following a smash hit Fringe 2018, theThinking Drinkers return with a brand-new, hilarious and intoxicating look at history’s greatest drinkers from the 31st July – 25th August at 8.20pm. Enjoy five free drinks as the award-winning experts reveal how alcohol has inspired pioneering explorers, politicians and painters in equal measure, from Plato and Picasso, to Nelson, Napoleon and Norm from Cheers. You’ll learn a lot and laugh a lot!

Charlie Wood and Ed Bartlam, directors of Underbelly said; “Edinburgh is our home. The Fringe is where Underbelly started 19 years ago and today as we announce our first five brilliant shows to head up our 2019 programme, we are hugely excited at the prospect of another amazing Underbelly Fringe this year!

“Our first on sale offers just a taste of what we have in store this year, including the return of the mighty Foil, Arms & Hog following their absolute triumph at McEwan Hall last year and of course we have the superhumans of the circus world, CIRCA return with Humans to dazzle audiences at our Circus Hub on The Meadows.”

The Underbelly Edinburgh Fringe runs from the 31 July – 26 August 2019 across 22 venues and 4 sites; George Square, Circus Hub, Cowgate and Bristo Square. Further exciting programme details will be revealed in the coming months.

JIMEOIN – RESULT! coming to King’s Hall, Ilkley

Live Nation in association with MZA present
Tuesday 19 February 2019, 7.30pm
King’s Hall, Ilkley
*Tickets: £18.50

*All prices shown include booking fees but are subject to postage charge if applicable.
Bradford Theatres usual terms and conditions apply.

Expect an evening of world class stand-up as the Irishman from Australia brings his brilliantly observed, ever-evolving and hilarious comedy to a theatre near you. Fresh from his smash-hit, New York offBroadway season and his latest sell out tour JIMEOIN (and his championship eyebrows) are back. RESULT!

JIMEOIN is internationally acclaimed as one of live comedy’s masters. He left his Northern Irish home in Portstewart in the 1990’s and settled in Australia where he fell into his comedy career by chance after a friend dared him to get up at an open mic night in Sydney. His disarmingly relaxed and often nonsensical humour fast led him to becoming a household name. His Edinburgh fringe debut in 1993 completely sold out to rave reviews and he has returned most years ever since. JIMEOIN regularly performs extensive sell-out tours of Australia, UK and Ireland and has written and starred in 2 feature films.

Don’t miss your chance to see this award-winning star of TV shows including Live at the Apollo, Royal Variety Performance, John Bishop Show, CH4’s O2 Gala and Sunday Night at the Palladium – Live!

Jimeoin is a true comedy legend… still at the top of his game.’ ★★★★½ Adelaide Advertiser

Comedy of the highest order… Inspired!’ The Independent

Classic nonsense… Stand-up comedy at its best.’ The Scotsman

Exhilarating!… Wickedly funny… genius!’ ★★★★½ The Age

Hilarious… If laughter is the best medicine, Jimeoin is a course of steroids…. Don’t you miss it!’ Edinburgh Evening News

Tickets are available from Bradford Theatres Box Office on 01274 432000 or visit bradfordtheatres.co.uk.

Brendan Cole Returns To Storyhouse As Show Man



Strictly favourite is back with an exciting new show

Brendan Cole is about to embark on his most theatrical live tour production yet, which includes two performances at Storyhouse in Chester.

Show Man takes its inspiration from the magic of theatre and the movies, and Brendan Cole is keen that audiences experience the most exceptional night of entertainment.

Brendan Cole – Show Man comes to Storyhouse on Sunday 24 February, with performances at 2.30pm and 7.30pm. Tickets are on sale now.

The very first winner of BBC’s Strictly Come Dancing is joined by an amazing team of professional dancers, singers and a live band to showcase the superb choreography and dazzling performance that has kept him in the public eye for 15 years.

Show Man is Brendan Cole’s fifth theatrical production, and the new show will see the dancer tour the UK for the 11th time. Each tour plays to ever increasing audiences, and around 60,000 in total are expected to watch the shows in 2019. The tour will visit 31 towns and cities across the UK and Ireland.

Join charismatic Brendan for a night of beautiful ballroom magic and high energy Latin passion, live music, stunning lighting, special effects, and choreography full of excitement, intimacy, emotion and skill – as well as lots of laughter and chat throughout the show.


I’m very excited to announce my latest production Brendan Cole – Show Man. Anytime I create a new production, I get a real sense of excitement as I start choosing the material, the dancers and the musicians involved, and Show Man feels more exciting than anything I’ve done before.It has a dynamic new feel and will be quite different to my previous four productions.

This new show is more theatrical than ever before. Five male dancers, three female dancers, choirs, a violinist and brand new staging, which will allow the choreography to be exciting and different. Bigger and better lifts, some very strong theatrical numbers, as well as a new look set, this promises to be something special.

When producing any show, my aim is to wow the audience and give them everything they’d expect and much, much more. Whether it be great production values, exciting choreography, spectacular lighting and of course amazing talent from my sensational dancers and musicians, it’s so important to me to create a complete show.

Over the last 10 years we’ve created certain numbers throughout the different productions that have really stood out and we’ve loved performing. Subsequently we have had many requests from audiences asking that we perform them again. With this in mind, I’ve decided to recreate a handful of them for the new show.

One in particular has been a personal favourite for me, Cinderella by Stephen Curtis Chapman. It’s a magical number, telling the story of a father and daughter, which I created with my baby girl Aurélia in mind shortly after her birth. I can’t wait to perform it again along with several other favourites, as well as many very exciting and brand new numbers, all under the Show Man title. This really is becoming a very big show and I can’t wait to get it on the road.

So if you love live music from one of the best touring bands you will ever see, as well as exciting and emotive dance and fancy a great night at the theatre, this show will be for you! I’d suggest you bring a friend as you’ll want to be dancing in the aisles throughout, and if you know any Strictly fans, it might just make the perfect gift. This is going to be the greatest Show Man!

Tickets for Brendan Cole – Show Man are on sale now and range in price from £19 to £39. Each ticket is subject to a £1.50 booking fee.

Storyhouse has a dynamic pricing policy on the majority of shows, ensuring the earlier you book your tickets, guarantees the best seats at the lowest price.

Website:         www.storyhouse.com

Facebook:       www.facebook.com/storyhouselive/

Twitter:           @StoryhouseLive



Sunday 24 February 2019

Performance times: 2.30pm and 7.30pm

Tickets from £19 to £39 – each ticket is subject to a £1.50 booking fee


Hunter Street, Chester, CH1 2AR


Online:            Visit www.storyhouse.com

By Phone:       Call 01244 409 113

In person:       Visit the Ticket Kiosks at Storyhouse, Hunter Street, Chester, CH1 2AR

Abigail’s Party Review

Grand Opera House York until Saturday 2nd Feb 2019

Reviewed by Michelle Richardson


Abigail’s Party is a well known Mike Leigh play, if you’re of a certain age. Playing now at the Grand Opera House York, directed by Sarah Esdaile. It’s a flashback to the 70’s with its style and characters.

The play focuses around five characters, Beverly (Jodie Prenger) and husband Laurence (Daniel Casey), Ange (Vicky Binns) and husband Tony (Calum Callaghan), and single mother Sue (Rose Keegan). Beverly is hosting a soirée with nibbles and an endless supply of alcohol, gin and tonic being the favoured tipple. As her guests arrive we get to see the different personalities and relationships, Ange just wants to please, Tony would rather be anywhere else, Sue is rather posh and is too refined to say no and Laurence just seems a bit square. Beverly is a forceful personality, overwhelming a lot of the time, demanding attention from her guests and the audience.

Whilst the action, if you can call it that, is happening on the stage we can hear Abigail, Sue’s daughter, hosting her own, more livelier party, a few doors down. The atmosphere at Beverly’s is awkward and uncomfortable to watch. She has a nasty habit of railroading her guests, forcing Sue to constantly have top ups, flirting outrageously with Tony, with no discretion. With not much happening in terms of action, we bear witness to the agonising, yet comical, attempt to host a successful gathering, constantly stuck in the awkward phase.

Jodie Prenger takes on the role as the overbearing Beverly with power and a great amount of stage presence. She is the star of the show, encapsulating the character fully. My plus one said afterwards that her character reminded him of Gavin’s mother from Gavin and Stacey, not realising that Alison Steadman played Beverley in the tv play. Two great actresses, one character. The others characters are somewhat eclipsed by Beverly, but the actors behind them did a tremendous job, lending to the comedy and quality of the production.

The dialogue provides a lot of the comedic context within the play, by the reuse of certain lines, such as Beverly’s “do you know what I mean?” after every sentence and Sue’s “no (pause and then) thank you”. The constant refilling of glasses, even when not wanted, is quite hilarious, along with arguments over music and olives.

The staging had iconic items from the 70’s, such as a soda syphon and a fibre optic light, the ones that look a bit like a spaceship. I had to laugh at that one because I remember my parents having one. It is a simple, naturalistic set with no major frills, just walls opening up to reveal a sitting room resplendent with 70’s decor. Each character had unique styles reminiscent of the decade, with kaftans, dodgy moustaches and bowl cuts.

The big question is why Abigail’s Party and not Beverly’s?

I enjoyed watching the performance, and it did have some laugh out load moments, however the style of the play and it’s lack of action (I realise that is not what the play is all about) doesn’t quite tick all the boxes for me. It is still worth a watch, especially if you’re 25 or younger, as York Council have teamed up to offer tickets for just £5, giving the opportunity to access the theatre at a truly affordable price.

Miranda star Sarah Hadland to star alongside Alex Kingston in Admissions







“Astonishing and daring”


“Smart, hilarious and provocative”


Winner of the Drama Desk and Outer Critics Circle Awards

for Best Play


Author of Bad Jews



It’s been announced today that Miranda favourite Sarah Hadland will join the cast of Admissions. Hadland will star opposite Alex Kingston (ER, Doctor Who) in the award-winning comedy, which opens at London’s Trafalgar Studios on 28 February.

Best known for playing Stevie in the BBC One BAFTA-nominated comedy television series Miranda, Sarah Hadland is also no stranger to the stage, with theatre credits including Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, Grease,Time and the Conways and most recently What’s In a Name? Taking on the role of Ginnie in Admissions, Hadland has also appeared on the silver screen opposite Daniel Craig in the 2008 James Bond film Quantum of Solace.

Admissions, directed by Daniel Aukin, is a bitingly funny new comedy from the writer of acclaimed hit Bad Jewsand transfers to the West End direct from New York’s Lincoln Centre Theater, the producers of Oslo. The play has a strictly limited season until 25 May, before embarking on a UK tour playing at the Richmond Theatre (w/c 27 May 2019), the Cambridge Arts Theatre (w/c 3 June), the Malvern Festival Theatre (w/c 10 June 2019) and the Lyric Theatre at The Lowry in Salford (w/c 17 June 2019).

The New York production received huge critical acclaim during its LCT run, with The New York Times describing the show as “astonishing and daring”, The Hollywood Reporter calling the show “smart, hilarious and provocative”. Theatre Mania hailed it “a scorching new drama… lands like a gut-punch“ and Time Out New York raved about the show. Admissions also won the Drama Desk and Outer Critics Circle Awards for Best Play.

 Other casting announcements include Andrew Wooddall (Bill), Margot Leicester (Roberta) and Ben Edelman (Charlie). Edelman is reprisisng the role of Charlie having first performed it in the Lincoln Centre Theater production where critics hailed his performance as “ardant”  (Time Out NYC) and “raw” (The Hollywood Reporter).

Sherri (Alex Kingston) is the Head of Admissions at a private school, fighting to diversify the student intake and she wants you to know about it. When her son is deferred from his university of choice, and his best friend – who ‘ticks more boxes’ – is accepted, Sherri’s personal ambition collides with her progressive values. Piercing and provocative, Admissions is 90 minutes long, but the debate will take you through the night.

Admissions is produced by Simon Friend, Trafalgar Theatre Productions, Eilene Davidson and Gavin Kalin in association with Anthology Theatre.

Tickets: From £15

Box Office: 0844 871 7632

Performances: Monday – Saturday at 7:30pm, Thursday and Saturday matinee at 2:30pm

To book tickets please visit: admissionsplay.com

Twitter @Admissionsplay
Instagram: @Admissionsplay

Facebook: AdmissionsThePlay






WhatsOnStage today announce that Vicky Vox and Kobna Holdbrook-Smith will present the 19th annual WhatsOnStage Awards on 3 March 2019 at the Prince of Wales Theatre. Both hosts are nominated at this year’s event – Vox for Best Supporting Actress in a Musical for her performance in Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre’s Little Shop of Horrors; and Holdbrook-Smith for Best Actor in a Musical for his performance as Ike Turner in Tina – The Tina Turner Musical at the Aldwych Theatre. 

Also confirmed for this year’s annual Awards concert is Carrie Hope Fletcher performing ‘I Say No’ from Heathers the Musical, the company of Hope Mill Theatre’s Spring Awakening performing ‘Totally F*cked’, and the cast of Six performing the title song. Further performances will be confirmed shortly.

Hamilton continues to dominate awards season, leading the way with 12 nominations including Best Actor in a Musical nominations for Jamael Westman and Giles Terera who previously went head to head for the Olivier Award, with Terera winning; Best Actress in a Musical for Rachelle Ann Go; Best Supporting Actor in a Musical nominations for Cleve September and Jason Pennycooke; and Best Supporting Actress in a Musical nominations for Christine Allado and Rachel John, as well as nominations for Best New Musical, Best Direction, Best Choreography, Best Costume Design and Best Lighting Design. Also performing strongly across the musical categories is Marianne Elliott’s gender swap production of Sondheim’s Company with 9 nominations, Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre’s Little Shop of Horrors with 7 nominations, and Heathers the Musical and Six with six nominations each.

In the play categories, Stephen Daldry’s world première production of Matthew Lopez’s epic two-part masterpiece The Inheritance lead the field with 7 nominations. In addition to Best New Play, Best Director and Best Show Poster, the production dominates in the acting categories with stage veteran Vanessa Redgrave nominated for Best Supporting Actress in a Play, Andrew Burnap and Paul Hilton for Best Supporting Actor in a Play, and Kyle Soller for the Best Actor in a Play category. Soller faces stiff competition from Aidan Turner forThe Lieutenant of Inishmore (one of an impressive six nominations for Michael Grandage’s major revival of Martin McDonagh’s play), Arinzé Kene for Misty, Colin Morgan for Translations, and previous WhatsOnStage Award winner Mark Gatiss for The Madness of George III. Both Translations and The Madness of George IIIsecured 5 nominations apiece.

Now in their 19th year, the WhatsOnStage Awards are the only major theatre awards decided entirely by the theatregoers themselves. Voting opened on 5 December, closing on 31 January 2019, ahead of the winners being announced at the Awards concert on 3 March 2019 at Prince of Wales Theatre.


Twitter @WhatsOnStage #WOSAwards

Instagram @WhatsOnStage





Theatrical charity, Acting for Others,today announces an exciting new A4O development in theatreland, West End Flea Market, the pop-up event takes place on Saturday 18 May 2019 at St Paul’s Church, Covent Garden.

The West End Flea Market will host a variety of stalls with showstopping goodies including signed posters, props and photos of some of the West End’s favourite performers.

The shows hosting a stall will compete to win Best Dressed Stall, with judges to be announced. The public are invited to come and cheer on their favourite show and the winner of will be announced at 10:45am. In addition, there will be signings, auctions and all sorts of exciting theatrical memorabilia up for grabs as well as the chance to meet stars from hit shows. The event is free and open from 10.45am to 1pm.

West End Flea Market is organised aid of Acting for Others, a fundraising organisation for 15 UK theatrical and welfare charities.

For those unable to attend the event, Acting for Otherscan still be supported by donating at www.justgiving.com/ctcafo


Twitter: @ActingForOthers


West End Flea Market

Saturday 18 May 2019, 10.45am – 1pm

St Paul’s Church, Bedford Street, London, WC2E 9ED


Selladoor Productions and Arcola Theatre present



The European premiere of Little Miss Sunshine at Arcola Theatre will star Olivier nominee Laura Pitt-Pulford as Sheryl, the matriarch of the eccentric Hoover family, Olivier award winner Gary Wilmot as Grandpa (the role that won Alan Arkin an Academy award), Gabriel Vick as Sheryl’s husband Richard, two-time Olivier nominee Paul Keating as Sheryl’s brother Frank and Sev Keoshgerian as Sheryl’s son Dwayne. The off-Broadway hit musical opens at the Arcola Theatre, London on 21 March 2019 running for a seven-week season before embarking on a UK tour. Further casting for the tour to be announced shortly.

The role of Olive will be shared by Sophie Hartley Booth, Evie Gibson and Lily Mae Denman.

Ian Carlyle is Larry/Buddy, Imelda Warren-Green is Linda/Miss California and Matthew McDonald is Joshua Rose/Kirby.

Completing the cast are the ‘Mean Girls’ who will be performed by Chloe Raphael, Ava HurleyEllicia Simondwood, Elodie Salmon, Summer Pelley, Ava Masters, Josselyn Ospina Escobar, Saffia Richards and Yvie Bent.

Based on the Academy Award-winning film by Michael ArndtLittle Miss Sunshine is the off-beat musical comedy created by the Tony Award-winning team of James Lapine (who collaborated with Stephen Sondheim on Into the Woods and Sunday in the Park with George) and William Finn (25th Annual Putnam County Spelling BeeFalsettos). This new production is directed by Arcola’s Artistic Director Mehmet Ergen with design by David Woodhead, musical direction by Arlene McNaught, lighting design by Richard Williamson, sound design by Olly Steel, and choreography by Anthony Whiteman.

The Hoover family has more than a few troubles, but young Olive has her heart set on winning the Little Miss Sunshine beauty contest. When an invitation to compete comes out of the blue, the Hoovers must pile into their rickety, yellow VW camper van. Can it survive the 800-mile trip from New Mexico to California – and more importantly, can they? This inventive and uplifting musical celebrates the quirks of every family, the potholes in every road, and the power of overcoming our differences.

The show runs from 21 March – Saturday 11 May 2019 at the Arcola Theatre, London then touring.

Further casting for the tour will be announced shortly. For tour dates go to:



The Simon and Garfunkel Story

Darlington Hippodrome – until 2 February 2019


Maple Tree Entertainments present The Simon and Garfunkel Story direct from its West End run.

Before the show I confessed I was hard pressed to name any songs by the duo other than Bridge Over Troubled Water.  My friend, an avid fan, then started to reel off song names leaving me hoping I would recognise the tunes.

Set out as concert type performance with a potted history between the songs from the very talented performers Sam O’Hanlon (Paul Simon) and Charles Blyth (Art Garfunkel).  Starting with the Sound of Silence the show explores the early days in High School and during their first band name of Tom and Jerry. The end of the first act finishes in 1967, just they were getting to be well known.

The second act begins with Mrs Robinson, the theme from the film The Graduate and runs at breakneck speed through the main hits up to present day, with a musical interlude during a quick change of Paul Simon solo stuff from the 80’s.

We were encouraged to join in the singing and provided the back track to a few songs as we were told to clap in certain patterns.  The boys kept tight harmonies whilst acting their parts – O’Hanlon looking intense and Blyth staring off dreamily to the middle distance.  It was, of course, filled with familiar songs – Homeward Bound, I Am A Rock, A Hazy Shade of Winter, Scarborough Fair, Cecilia, America and The Boxer to name a few.  Simon and Garfunkel always finished their shows with a song by their heroes The Everly Brothers and our show was finished with Bye Bye Love.  

But obviously the show didn’t end there – we had a few more finale songs to go and it was worth the wait to the end for the phenomenal version of Bridge Over Troubled Water that we were treated to.

Whether a fan – like my friend, or someone who enjoys a good tune – like me.  This is a fabulous show. With live musicians, incredible vocals and sublime harmonies this is a show not to be missed

In Darlington until Saturday 2 February and on tour around the UK

Michel Legrand concert to become tribute evening


Producers Fane Productions hope that the concert planned for September 20th 2019 at Southbank Centre’s Royal Festival Hall will be a fitting tribute following Michel Legrand’s passing at the weekend.

In a statement from producers Fane Productions, James Albrecht said: ‘Very sadly, only a week and a half after announcing our September 20th concert with Michel Legrand and the Ronnie Scotts Jazz Orchestra at the Royal Festival Hall, we learned of his passing. It is no more than four months since Michel’s unforgettable concert with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, also at the Royal Festival Hall, co-produced by Fane Productions and Ronnie Scott’s. Aged 86, and certainly physically and vocally a little frail, Michel nonetheless conducted the 68-piece orchestra and rhythm section with total assurance, and his genius at the piano was as evident as ever. In a concert, billed as ‘Michel Legrand: 60 years of Music and Movies’, we were taken on a magical and nostalgic journey through some of the 20th century’s most memorable film scores whilst clips from The Umbrellas of Cherbourg, The Thomas Crown Affair, Summer of 42, Yentil and many more screened above the orchestra. The evening had a tangible sense of occasion, even more so in retrospect now that we know it was to be Michel’s last appearance in the UK. What a privilege to have been there.

The concert in September was to have been a celebration of Michel Legrand’s international standing as a jazz musician, pairing him up with one of the world’s great jazz big bands, in an evening inspired by his legendary 1999 album Big Band. With the full support of Michel’s management team at City Lights, Fane Productions will refashion the concert on September 20th still with the Ronnie Scott’s Jazz Orchestra and special guests, as a fitting tribute to one of the very last great composers and musicians of his generation. Full details will follow in the coming weeks. 

Current ticket holders for the concert on September 20th have been contacted by Southbank Centre.

The ticketing link for the Michel Legrand Tribute Concert will go live once the details have been confirmed.


MICHEL LEGRAND TRIBUTE CONCERT (Working title subject to change)

Royal Festival Hall

Southbank Centre
Belvedere Road
London SE1 8XX

September 20th at 7.30PM 

Box office:
020 3879 9555
[email protected]
Prices £15 – £70