Exciting cast announced for Fast at Park Theatre | 15 October – 9 November 2019

Cast announced for Fast at Park Theatre
Park Theatre, Clifton Terrace, Finsbury Park, London, N4 3JP
Tuesday 15th October – Saturday 9th November 2019

The cast has been announced for the compelling and chilling true story, Fast. A psychological drama, laced with suspense, it follows the cult health professional Linda Hazzard, played by Caroline Lawrie (Peaky Blinders, BBC; An Ideal Husband, The Old Vic; The Master Builder,
Theatre Royal Haymarket), whose cures had a shocking mortality rate. In a chilling parallel to our modern world of influencers peddling protein shakes and pills, Fast is the true story of Linda Hazzard who advocated a fasting cure that gripped the press and divided a nation

How far would you go to find the perfect cure? In an isolated region of the Pacific Northwest, ‘Dr’ Linda Hazzard opens her clinic to the public. But, the public do not always survive. Joining Lawrie on stage will be Jordon Stevens (Harlots, ITV and Hulu; Call the Midwife, BBC; Phantom Thread) and Natasha Cowley (Othelllo, Shakespeare’s Globe; Connections 2018, National Theatre; War and Peace, BBC Radio 4) who appear as her patients Claire and Dora Williamson. Journalist Horace R. Cayton Jr. will be played by Daniel Norford (Small Island, National Theatre; Disney’s The Lion King, UK and international tour; Rocky Shock, Wardrobe Theatre)

Shortlisted for Best New Play 2018 by New Writing South, Fast is a dark and powerful thriller, based entirely on real historical figures, which interrogates the lengths people will go to for ambition, for a story, for a cure. When searching for a clean slate without discomfort, niggles or twinges, it can be easy to lose sight of the risks of extreme methodologies when they promise to be the miracle solution

Director Kate Valentine comments, Hooked on Internet influencers, we now risk trusting people who peddle pills and potions and can lose sight of the perils to our health when adopting extreme regimes. Fast depicts a remarkable woman who uses her powers of persuasion to lure patients, desperate for any miracle cure. Laced with suspense and psychological drama, Fast explores the true crime of a woman determined to prove herself to a world challenging her methodologies

Hetty Feather Review

York Theatre Royal – until Sunday 1 September 2019

Review by Zoe Giles   


For Jacqueline Wilson fans Hetty Feather at York theatre Royal is a real treat. The Youth Theatre put on a fantastic show. The stage production follows the book, so transports us into Hetty’s, or should that be Jacqueline’s, world. The stage set is perhaps more basic than expected, however, clever use of props helps us to understand exactly what is going on. The main structure is a frame with acrobatic equipment attached, which transforms itself from a tree in the children’s play,  and transforms to the big top of the circus and creates the back drop for all scenes. Rather than distract us, it is used to clever effect to the point that you forget  all about it at times.The young performers were amazing and extremely talented, the acrobatics were amazing considering they had no previous experience of such equipment before rehearsals, this made up for the loss of some of the opening lines from the younger performers. I was not sure if they were a bit shy and so not heard or sound issues as the music playing over the top drowned them out. Also watch out for the smoke effects if sitting in the first few rows of the stalls as in the first half they are very over powering for those seated near the front! 

The puppetry for the elephant was outstanding and very believable even down to squirting water on some unsuspecting audience members! They certainly had put a lot of thought and research into creating the elephant and how it was to move and interact with everyone. Also movement from the cast throughout the performance made the show even more memorable. Hetty, (Hannah Brown) gave a strong performance throughout and certainly had stage presence, the other main male characters, Joshua Burland and Stan Gaskell, were very humorous and performed through their bodies and voices as the much younger characters they were portraying.

The costumes were colourful and eye catching as well as being  well suited for the acrobatic movements required of the young performers. Whether they were children at play or members of the circus, Jasper McCarthy and Laura Sopher gave believable and strong performances within their circus roles. Another mention must go to Luke Tearney as matron; he had amazing stage presence, a strong powerful voice and at the end some unusual and funny dance moves!!!

All of the cast members gave a beautiful, powerful, emotional finale. Cast, crew members, sound engineers, musicians and everyone involved in this production, should be extremely proud of themselves for a very enjoyable production, which Jacqueline Wilson fans and theatre lovers everywhere will enjoy.




Manchester Metrolink commuters were treated to a surprise acoustic performance this morning from the cast of & Juliet, a brand new contemporary musical that will premiere at the Opera House on 10th September for a five-week run in the city before transferring to the West End.  

Pic copyright Phil Tragen 2019

& Juliet is a fresh and fast-paced musical that asks: what if Juliet’s famous ending was really just her beginning? The musical features some of the biggest pop anthems of the last 30 years from Grammy award winning songwriter Max Martin including Baby One More Time, EverybodyLove Me Like You Do and Can’t Feel My Face.

The talented and acclaimed stars of & Juliet hopped on the tram at Deansgate Castlefield and sang I Want It That Way by The Backstreet Boys on their journey to Victoria Station, where they stopped for photos before jumping back on the tram to St Peter’s Square and reprising the song.

Pic copyright Phil Tragen 2019

The performance follows an appearance by Miriam-Teak Lee (Juliet) at last weekend’s Manchester Pride where the award-winning musical theatre star blew away the Sackville stage crowds delivering songs from the musical including Roar and Baby One More Time. 

& Juliet brings together a host of acclaimed West End stars who have headlined some of the most celebrated shows of recent years: Award-winning Miriam-Teak Lee (HamiltonOn The Town), Cassidy Janson (Leading Ladies, Chess, Beautiful: The Carole King Musical)Oliver Tompsett (Kinky Boots, Wicked)David Badella (Mack and Mabel, Rocky Horror Live), Arun Blair-Mangat (Leave to Remain, Angels in America); Melanie La Barrie(Wicked, Matilda); Jordan Luke Gage (who starred in the lead role of Strat in Bat Out of Hell), and Tim Mahendran (Spring Awakening).

& Juliet is the hilariously irreverent new musical that proves when it comes to love, there’s always life after Romeo…

& Juliet soars with some of the biggest pop anthems from acclaimed songwriter Max Martin and recorded by artists including Backstreet BoysJustin TimberlakeBritney SpearsKaty Perry and Ariana Grande, all brilliantly arranged by Tony® and Grammy Award-winning orchestrator Bill Sherman.

Brought to life by an award-winning creative team in an explosive fusion of styles, & Juliet will be directed by Luke Sheppard (In the Heights) with a book by David West Read (Schitt’s Creek), electrifying choreography from Jennifer Weber, stunning set design from Soutra Gilmour and costume design by Paloma Young.

Max Martin and Tim Headington present & Juliet, which is produced by Max Martin, Tim Headington, Theresa Steele, Jenny Petersson and Martin Dodd.

The production will play a limited season at Manchester Opera House, from Tuesday 10 September to Saturday 12 October, before beginning performances in London at The Shaftesbury Theatre on Saturday 2 November.

The ensemble includes Jocasta Almgill, Josh Baker, Alishia-Marie Blake, Ivan De Freitas, Rhian Duncan, Danielle Fiamanya, Kieran Lai, Nathan Lorainey-Dineen, Jaye Marshall, Grace Mouat, Antoine Murray-Straughan, Kerri Norville, Christopher Parkinson, Dillon Scott-Lewis, Kirstie Skivington and Alex Tranter.


ON YOUR FEET! Tour Casting







Following a highly successful season at the London Coliseum which will end its run on 31 August 2019, producers Jamie Wilson and Gavin Kalin announced today plans for ON YOUR FEET! The Story of Emilio and Gloria Estefan to return to London next Summer 2020. It was also announced today that the forthcoming international tour will star current London cast members Philippa Stefani as ‘Gloria Estefan’, George Ioannides as ‘Emilio Estefan’, Madalena Alberto as ‘Gloria Fajardo’and Karen Mann as ‘Consuelo’when the tour opens on 3 September 2019 at the Birmingham Hippodrome.

Jamie Wilson said ‘After our triumphant London run we are currently in exciting talks with theatre owners to bring the show back to London next year for a second summer. I am absolutely delighted that our original London cast, Philippa, George, Madalena and Karen will be taking the show on its international tour. The love and support from the audiences in London has been amazing and we look forward to bringing this Miami party back in 2020’.

Philippa Stefani is currently playing the role of ‘Gloria Estefan’ in ON YOUR FEET! at the London Coliseum. Her previous theatre roles include ‘Mimi’ in the recent national tour of “Rent”. She has also played ‘Daniela’ in “In The Heights” at King’s Cross Theatre. Her other theatre credits include the original London casts of “Wicked” at the Apollo Victoria and “I Can’t Sing” and “Sister Act”, both at the London Palladium. She has also appeared in “High Society at the Old Vic and ”Ghost” at the Piccadilly Theatre.

George Ioannides has appeared in the West End productions of “Annie” and “Mamma Mia!” and was most recently seen as ‘Eduardo Cortez’ in “An Officer and a Gentleman” at Curve, Leicester and on national tour. George is currently playing the role of ‘Emilio Estefan’ in the London production of ON YOUR FEET!

Madalena Alberto’s West End credits include the title role in “Evita” at the Dominion Theatre and ‘Grizabella’ in “Cats” at the London Palladium. She has also appeared as ‘Fantine’ in the 25th Anniversary tour of “Les Miserables” and was most recently seen as ‘Giulietta’ in “Aspects of Love” at the Southwark Playhouse. Madalena is currently playing the role of ‘Gloria Fajardo’ in the London production of ON YOUR FEET!

Karen Mann’s many credits include ‘Golde’ in the national tour of “Fiddler on the Roof” opposite Paul Michael Glaser, ‘Marley’ in “Scrooge” at Curve and ‘Mother Superior’ in “Sister Act” also at Curve and on national tour. Her extensive work at the Watermill Theatre in Newbury includes ‘Gladys’ in “Copacabana”, ‘Viv’ in “Spend Spend Spend” and ‘Mrs Lovett in “Sweeney Todd”, which transferred to both the New Ambassadors Theatre and Trafalgar Studios. Karen is currently playing the role of ‘Conseulo’ in the London production of ON YOUR FEET!

Completing the cast will be Elia Lo Tauro, Sharif Afifi, Hollie Cassar, Laura Friedrich Tejero, Denzel Giskus, Francesca Lara Gordon, Yonly Leyva Desdunes, Olivia Kate Holding, Francisco Del Solar, Gabriella-Rose Marchant, Martin McCarthy, Alicia Mencía, Ciro Lourencio Meulens, Robert Oliver, Clayton Rosa, Julia Ruiz Fernandez, Dawnita Smith, Despina Violari, Nathan Zammit and Alain Zambrana Borges.

ON YOUR FEET! is the inspiring true love story of Emilio and Gloria and charts their journey from its origins in Cuba, onto the streets of Miami and finally to international superstardom and features some of the most iconic pops songs of the era, including ‘Rhythm is Gonna Get You’, ‘Conga’, ‘Get On Your Feet’, ‘Don’t Want To Lose You’ and ‘1-2-3’.

Gloria Estefan has sold over 100 million records worldwide and is the most successful Latin crossover performer in the history of pop music.  In addition to her 38 number 1 hits across the Billboard charts, Gloria recorded the Oscar-nominated song ‘Music of My Heart’ and has received numerous honours and awards over the course of her illustrious career. Emilio Estefan is a founding member of the pioneering Miami Sound Machine, who created a brand -ew Latin crossover sound – fusing infectious Cuban rhythms with American pop and disco. Combined, they have won a staggering 26 Grammy awards.

The Tony Award® nominated show ran on Broadway for two years, playing for over 750 performances. It is currently on a two year US tour, whilst the production in Holland played to sell out business and standing ovations for a season in 2017/18.

ON YOUR FEET! is directed by two-time Tony Award® winner Jerry Mitchell (Kinky Boots, Legally Blonde), with choreography by Olivier Award-winner Sergio Trujillo (Jersey Boys) and book by Academy Award® winner Alexander Dinelaris (Birdman).

ON YOUR FEET! is produced by Jamie Wilson and Gavin Kalin with InTheatre Productions, Hunter Arnold, Marc David Levine, Eilene Davidson, Iris Smith, Josh Andrews for Kilimanjaro Theatricals, Carlos Candal and Curve.


3 – 7 September

Birmingham Hippodrome

9 – 14 September

Plymouth Theatre Royal


16 – 21 September

Nottingham Theatre Royal

30 September – 5 October

Sunderland Empire


7 – 12 October

Edinburgh Festival Theatre


15 – 19 October

Sheffield Lyceum Theatres


21 – 26 October

Wales Millennium Centre


28 October – 2 November

Manchester Palace


11 – 16 November

Belfast Grand Opera House


19 – 23 November

Norwich Theatre Royal



20 – 25 January

Canterbury Marlowe Theatre


3 – 8 February

Cheltenham Everyman Theatre


11 – 16 February

Milton Keynes Theatre


17 – 22 February

Liverpool Empire


24 – 29 February

New Wimbledon Theatre


2 – 7 March

Glasgow Kings Theatre


10 -14 March

Aberdeen, Her Majesty’s Theatre


17 – 22 March

Wolverhampton Grand Theatre


23 – 28 March

Leeds Grand Theatre


31 March – 4 April

Southampton Mayflower Theatre


14 – 18 April

Newcastle Theatre Royal


27 April – 2 May

Hull New Theatre


*With further West End dates to be confirmed

Wireless Wise At Storyhouse To Celebrate Evening Of Radio 4 Nostalgia




Wireless Wise – A Celebration comes to Storyhouse in September

Unique show features Alistair McGowan, the Reverend Richard Coles,

Garry Richardson, Charlotte Green and Richie Webb

A group of popular radio personalities are coming together to create a brand new show which comes to Chester in September.

Wireless Wise – A Celebration Of Radio 4 brings together a group of well-known names from the airwaves for an unforgettable evening of comedy and nostalgia.

Alistair McGowan, the Reverend Richard Coles, Garry Richardson and Charlotte Green have collectively been entertaining radio audiences for more than two centuries.

The show will be hosted by the Today programme’s Garry Richardson. The lively line-up will bejoined by special guest Richie Webb, from Radio 4’s 15 Minute Musicals, as they reminisce with a show packed with hilarious anecdotes, sketches and music.

Wireless Wise – A Celebration Of Radio 4 comes to Storyhouse on Sunday 22 September 2019 for one night only. The show starts at 7.30pm.

Alistair McGowan is a cherished household name, a master impressionist, stand-up comic, actor, pianist, writer of sketches, articles, stage and radio plays. But he is still probably best known to British audiences for The Big Impression, which was one of BBC1’s top rating comedy programmes over four years, winning numerous awards including a BAFTA. In 2017, Sony Classical released Alistair McGowan; The Piano Album, which went to Number One in The Official Classical Charts, reached number two in the Classic FM chart, and was John Brunning’s Album of The Week.

The Reverend Richard Coles is sometimes described as “Britain’s most famous Vicar”, he is a regular presenter on Radio 4’s Saturday Live and Radio 2. A colourful career saw Richard form the pop band The Communards in the 1980s. He’s the only vicar to have had a Number One record, so he’ll have plenty of tales to share from his extraordinary journey from popstar to priest, to Strictly Come Dancing and beyond.

Garry Richardson joined the BBC in 1974 and “here’s Garry with the sport” has been heard on Radio 4’s Today programme since 1981 – making him the longest serving member of the team and giving him a wealth of hilarious behind the scenes stories to tell. Garry is known for his racing tips which never win, and he famously got David Cameron to select two horses on his first day as Prime Minister. Garry is the regular presenter on 5 Live’s Sportsweek, and has interviewed some of the world’s most famous names, including an impromptu 15-minute chat with President Bill Clinton, live from Wimbledon’s Centre Court. 

Newsreader Charlotte Green was once voted the nation’s favourite voice in a Radio Times poll, and is one of the country’s most recognisable and cherished voices. Well-known for her warm tones, diction and poise, a fit of the giggles live on air made her a national treasure – with even Prince Charles thanking her for her “impossibly infectious giggling”. With appearances on the News Quiz and The Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy, Charlotte is a great raconteur and can still be heard on Saturday evenings reading the football results on Radio 5 Live.

Richie Webb is an established radio comedy writer, performer and producer with his Writers’ Guild award-winning show 15 Minute Musical, a mainstay of the Radio 4 schedule. He also wrote, produced and performed three series of sitcom The Music Teacher, as well as his current project Mr Muzak, now in its second series. He has previously written and performed in multiple series of The Cheese Shop, Look Away Now, and The Bigger Issues for Radio 4, and nine series of Parsons and Naylor’s Pull-Out Sections for BBC Radio 2.

Away from the wireless, Richie is a prolific composer and songwriter for children’s television, and is best known for composing all 100 plus songs for the multiple BAFTA, Emmy, British Comedy Award winning Horrible Histories. As well as having a BBC Children’s Prom dedicated to his songs at the Royal Albert Hall, he has followed the show to the big screen – composing the songs and score for the new Horrible Histories: The Movie.

Tickets for Wireless Wise – A Celebration Of Radio 4 are priced at £25. Each ticket is subject to a £1.50 booking fee.

Website:         www.storyhouse.com

Facebook:       www.facebook.com/storyhouselive/

Twitter:           @StoryhouseLive



Sunday 22 September 2019 at 7.30pm


Hunter Street, Chester, CH1 2AR

Tickets £25 (each ticket is subject to a £1.50 booking fee)


Online:            Visit www.storyhouse.com

By Phone:       Call 01244 409 113

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

Website:         www.storyhouse.com

Facebook:       www.facebook.com/storyhouselive/

Twitter:           @StoryhouseLive

Martin Shaw confirmed in new production of Gaslight


Star casting announced

Directed by Lucy Bailey

Opening Theatre Royal Windsor on 17 September 2019 then moving to The Alexandra Theatre Birmingham, Yvonne Arnaud Theatre Guildford, Theatre Royal Bath and New Theatre Peterborough prior to West End.

Martin Shaw, one of the UK’s best loved stars returns to the stage in a new production of Patrick Hamilton’s classic psychological thriller Gaslight, in the role of retired Detective Rough.

A lost watch, a missing brooch, a displaced picture frame… Tricks of the mind perhaps, but for BellaManningham everything seems horribly real.

As the fog-bound evening draws in and the gaslight dims again, Bella realizes she is alone with no one to protect her from the footsteps creaking in the attic.

Only the unexpected arrival of former police detective Rough can help untangle fact from fiction and save a woman on the brink of insanity.

Martin was catapulted to international stardom in the late Seventies, immediately after the first few episodes of The Professionals, launching a career that has hardly seen him out of the limelight since. Martinis best known to TV audiences for his title-roles in the decade long crime drama Inspector George Gently and Judge John Deed, the BBC hit thathad audiences hooked for 6 years, drawing in tens of millions of viewers. His more recent credits include roles in Agatha Christie’s Poirot and Apparitions.

On the West End stage, he has starred in several Bill Kenwright productions including Twelve Angry Men(Garrick Theatre) alongside An Ideal Husband (Theatre Royal, Haymarket), Are You Lonesome Tonight? (Phoenix Theatre), A Man for All Seasons (Theatre Royal, Haymarket), The Country Girl (Apollo Theatre) and The Best Man (The Playhouse Theatre).

Martin is joined by James Wilby who has been entertaining households for almost 40 years and is renowned for his lead role in the film Maurice (Cinecom Pictures)He has since been known for his role as dominant political figure, Lord Falmouth in Poldark (BBC). Both Martin and James will be joined by Charlotte Emmerson,who has graced TV shows such as Love, Lies and Records (BBC), Silent Witness (BBC) and Law & Order (BBC) to name a few. She has appeared in the title role of Lucy Bailey’s acclaimed National Theatre production of Baby Doll.

The cast is completed by Mary Chater of Kinsey (BBC), Wycliffe (ITV) and Footballers’ Wives (ITV) and Georgia Clarke-Day who starred in Fantastic Beats and Where to Find Them (Warner Bros. Pictures).

First staged in 1938 and then adapted as a film in 1944 starring Ingrid BergmanJoseph Cotton and Charles BoyerGaslight is one of the greatest-ever thrillers. Such was the play’s ground-breaking cultural and impact that it popularised ‘gaslighting’ as a term for psychological abuse.

The production, directed by the Olivier Award-nominated Lucy Bailey and designed by Olivier Award winner William Dudley, will tour the UK until 26 October 2019, opening at the Theatre Royal Windsor on 18 September 2019. Lighting Design is by Chris Davey (Witness for the Prosecution, County Hall London) and Sound Design is by Tony Award winner Mic Pool (ART, Old Vic and Royale Theatre Broadway).


Wed 18 – Sat 28 September                                                                                           Box Office: 01753 853888

Windsor, Theatre Royal Windsor                                                                                   Website: theatreroyalwindsor.co.uk

Mon 30 September – Sat 5 October                                                                             Box Office: 0844 871 3011

Birmingham, The Alexandra Theatre                                                                           Website: atgtickets.com

Mon 7 – Sat 12 October                                                                                                   Box Office: 01483 44 00 00

Guildford, Yvonne Arnaud                                                                                               Website: yvonne-arnaud.co.uk

Mon 14 – Sat 19 October                                                                                                 Box Office: 01225 448844

Bath, Theatre Royal                                                                                                           Website: theatreroyal.org.uk

Mon 21 – Sat 26 October                                                                                                 Box Office: 01733 852 992

Peterborough, New Theatre                                                                                           Website: newtheatre-peterborough.com

A Midsummer Night’s Dream to be staged in Alexandra Palace’s historic basements


RIFT and Kaleidoscope Festival present:
A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Alexandra Palace

For one of the first times in the history of Alexandra Palace, audiences will be invited to venture down into the cavernous basements for an immersive performance of Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream; a new production from experiential theatre experts RIFT.

Using the eerie atmosphere of this unique location, RIFT will create a liminal dreamscape that provides the setting for the play. Beginning on the eve of the first TV broadcast, the myriad of characters will steal through distorted tv studios and into live streams with the lovers, fairies and players ebbing and flowing throughout the space, followed closely by the audience.

A Midsummer Night’s Dream will allow audiences to explore a rarely accessed area of the building, steeped in history and dating back almost 150 years. The basements have survived two devastating fires and housed 18,000 internees during the First World War, their original features are still evident and historical relics still remain to this day.

Conceived and directed by Felix Mortimer and Joshua Nawras (co-founders of RIFT) with associate directors Rob Myles and Thomas Bostock the cast features Michael Adams (Oberon), Daniel Booroff (Snug), Sam Ducane (Demetrius), Lowri James (Titania), Henry Maynard (Bottom), Penelope Maynard (Quince), Rob Myles (Puck), Phoebe Naughton (Helena), Stanton Plummer-Cambridge (Flute), Dewi Sarginson (Hermia) and Ben Teare (Lysander). With designs by Katharine Heath and Jasper Sutherland, costume design by Hilary McCool, choreography by Emma Farnell-Watson and musical consultation by Theo Bard.

RIFT’s previous Shakespeare productions include The Tempest (O Brave New World) staged in an East London shop and a Macbeth performed overnight at Balfron Tower in Poplar. Theirinterpretations use formal experimentation to get under the skin of classic plays, to lay them bare and explore them from the inside.

Louise Stewart, Alexandra Palace chief executive, says: “We can’t wait to welcome people into the basement and see the cast in action in this amazing space. It’s one of the charity’s aims to open up more areas of the Palace for people to enjoy to make the most of these heritage spaces, but to do so sensitively and in ways that will stimulate and exhilarate, like this production with Rift undoubtedly will.”

A Midsummer Night’s Dream can be seen in the Victorian basements of Alexandra Palace from 3rd – 28th September. 

Cabaret Review

Churchill Theatre – until 31 August 2019

Review by Elizabeth J Smith

How can you take a 1972 film directed by the infamous Bob Fosse whose moves are iconic and legendary, bring it bang up to date and leave your own mark? That was a question I was asking myself on the way to the Churchill Theatre last night. Cabaret has always been a favourite of mine and in the past when seeing other shows that have been revived I have always left feeling a little let down, they didn’t quite equal the original and in some cases missed the spot completely – but not here. What a triumph. There is so much right with this production I’m not sure where to begin.

Let’s start by congratulating the production team.

Directed by Rufus Norris, who had every character from the lead’s to the dancers, and even members of the orchestra, living their roles.

Designed by Katrina Lindsay, who created a darkness to each scene that portrayed the troubled times the story is set in, with the final scene evoking huge emotion from the audience, myself included.

Choreographed by Javier De Frutos, who, lets face it had huge shoes to fill, did a magnificent job. The dancing was “Fosse” esque, but totally unique. Portraying the seediness of the night club to the interpretation of the political environment of the time. Very unsettling.

Lighting and sound design added another level of seediness and despair. With the musical direction captivating the emotion of each piece.

John Partridge, Emcee, was delightfully creepy and slightly grotesque. Someone you wouldn’t usually feel empathy with but in the final scene you do. His puppetry for Tomorrow Belongs To Me expresses deeper meaning when you think of the Nazi rise in the 1930’s.

Kara Lily Hayworth, Sally Bowles, brings an air of childlike innocence that real life can’t catch her but it does. When she sings Cabaret it no longer resembles the uplifting nightclub staple of today but the true despairing song it was always meant to be.

Anita Harris, Fraulin Schneider, brings grace and maturity and a story of love with an unhappy ending.

Charles Hagerty, Cliff Bradshaw, portrays an innocent abroad discovering the world has a tantalising underbelly of pleasures and learns too except his true self in a back ground of prejudice and violence.

James Patterson, Herr Schultz, shows the tenderness of age and the optimism that many Jewish Germans felt at the time.

Nick Tizzard, Ernst Ludwig, is everyones best friend until his Nazi association dictates who he can and can’t be friends with.

So put “down your knitting, the book and the broom” and rush to the Churchill to see this awesome production of sex, violence, love, friendship, sadness, prejudice that prove life is a Cabaret.

Avenue Q Review

Mayflower Theatre Southampton – until Saturday 31 August 2019

Reviewed by Leanne Caplis


Selladoor Productions and Showtime Theatre Productions in association with Richard Darbourne Limited and ABG Productions bring the UK tour of Avenue Q to The Mayflower Theatre in Southampton where it runs until Saturday 31st August 2019.

Co-creators Jeff Marx and Bobby Lopez have worked their magic to bring their naughty puppets to life in order to entertain audiences with what can only be likened to an adult Sesame Street.

Be prepared for lots of adult humour as Princeton (Lawrence Smith) moves to Avenue Q and lives amongst neighbours including Kate Monster (Cecily Redman), Rod, Trekkie Monster (Tom Steedon) and the three humans Brian, Christmas Eve and Gary (Oliver Stanley, Saori Oda and Nicholas McLean).

Will Princeton find love with Kate Monster or will Lucy the Slut get in the way? Will Kate’s dream of a Monster School become reality and is the internet only good for porn? All will be revealed over the 2hr 10 min production.

Albeit a short delay to the show the fun packed action of the first half soon made you forget about it. The clever use of lyrics made the songs entertaining and the cast all have very good voices. The staging is very basic and there were not many scene changes; that said the cast made good use of what was available and credit to the production team for that.

Initially the puppeteers are my main focus but very soon I forgot about them and the puppets really do come alive. This is helped by the fact the puppeteers also act out their parts making them become one with their puppet.

It is hard to choose a star for this show as all cast members look to be having an amazing time on stage and all have equal parts to play. Lawrence, Cecily and Tom do deserve their own mention though as they control more than one puppet and switch between their parts flawlessly.

This show is definitely not one for those easily offended as there are songs about racism, sexual orientation and porn. However these songs are all light hearted and bring lots of laughs from the audience. A hard core muppet sex scene performed to the song You can be as loud as the hell you want (when you’re makin’ love) will stick in my mind forever!

There was the odd moment where I couldn’t quite catch what Christmas Eve was saying but I know this was an exaggerated Japanese accent intended for the show. It was hard for me to find any other negatives about this show and the audiences positive reaction echoed my own opinion.

There is a reason this show has been so successful in London and on tour and I would highly recommend it for any adult who has a sense of humour and is not easily offended





The Menier Chocolate Factory presents


Book, Music and Lyrics by Sandy Wilson

Director: Matthew White; Choreographer & Associate Director: Bill Deamer

Designer: Paul Farnsworth; Lighting Designer: Paul Anderson; Sound Designer: Gregory Clarke

Hair & Wig Designer: Richard Mawbey; Musical Supervisor & Director: Simon Beck

Orchestrator: David Cullen

22 November 2019 – 7 March 2020

With The Bridges of Madison County currently running at the Menier and Fiddler on the Roof playing at the Playhouse Theatre, the Menier Chocolate Factory today announces a major revival of Sandy Wilson’s The Boy Friend running at the theatre over Christmas, directed by Matthew White. The production opens on 3 December, with previews from 22 November, and runs until 7 March 2020. Booking opens for supporters of the Menier today – 30 August, with public booking on 9 September at 9am.

We plead to have/We need to have/In fact our poor hearts bleed to have/

That certain thing called ‘The Boy Friend’

Sandy Wilson’s all-singing all-dancing love letter to 1920s musical comedies returns for the first major London revival in over 10 years.  Set in Madame Dubonnet’s finishing school in the south of France, these perfect young ladies burst into song at the least provocation, and forbidden boy friends are forever popping through the French windows to sing and dance with them. Since its premiere in 1953, this light-hearted soufflé of a show has delighted audiences worldwide and has become one of the most well-loved British musicals of all time. 

The Boy Friend opened in London in 1953, before a West End run in 1954, and ran for more than 5 years. The subsequent Broadway run in 1954 made a star of the then-unknown Julie Andrews. Ken Russell adapted it into a 1971 film with Twiggy who won two Golden Globes for her performance.

Matthew White returns to the Menier – he previously directed She Loves Me, Candide, Sweet Charity (also Haymarket Theatre), Little Shop of Horrors (also Duke of York’s Theatre), and The Last Five Years for the company. His other theatre work includes The Addams Family (Festival Theatre, Edinburgh and UK tour), Kiss Me Kate, West Side Story (Kilworth House), The Producers (UK tour), Top Hat (also adapted for the stage, UK tour and Aldwych Theatre – Olivier Award for Best New Musical), Maria Friedman – By Special Arrangement(Donmar Warehouse), Closer than Ever (Jermyn Street Theatre), and Mr Stink (also adapted, Curve and UK tour).

Listings Information                                                                                                                   The Boy Friend

Booking opens for supporters of the Menier on 30 August, with public booking on 9 September

Venue:                                Menier Chocolate Factory

Address:                             53 Southwark Street, London, SE1 1RU

Dates:                                 22 November 2019 – 7 March 2020

Times:                                 For the performance schedule, please see the website

Box Office:                         020 7378 1713 (£2.50 transaction fee per booking)

Website:             www.menierchocolatefactory.com (£1.50 transaction fee per booking)

Tickets:                               Prices vary, as below from discounted preview tickets to premier seats. With the emphasis on ‘the sooner you book, the better the price’:

A meal deal ticket includes a 2-course meal from the pre-theatre menu in the Menier Restaurant as well as the theatre ticket.


Twitter: @MenChocFactory