DREAMGIRLS UK Tour announced

Dreamgirlsthemusical.co.uk | @Dreamgirls_UK


Sonia Friedman Productions is delighted to announce that hit musical Dreamgirls, will embark on its first ever UK tour, opening in Bristol in September 2020 before dates in Milton Keynes, Blackpool, Aberdeen, Edinburgh and Birmingham, with further venues throughout 2021 still to be announced. Tickets will go on sale this week with specific box office information available at Dreamgirlsthemusical.co.uk.

Featuring the classic songs ‘And I Am Telling You I’m Not Going’, ‘Listen’ and ‘One Night Only’, this sensational, multi-award winning new production of Dreamgirls had its critically acclaimed West End Premiere in December 2016 at London’s Savoy Theatre, 35 years on from opening on Broadway.

Meet The Dreams – Effie, Lorrell and Deena – three talented young singers in the turbulent 1960s, a revolutionary time in American music history. Join the three friends as they embark upon a musical rollercoaster ride through a world of fame, fortune and the ruthless realities of show business, testing their friendships to the very limit.

In 2006, Dreamgirls was adapted into an Oscar® winning motion picture starring Beyoncé Knowles, Jennifer Hudson, Eddie Murphy and Jamie Foxx.

Casting for the Dreamgirls UK tour will be announced soon. This award winning production is Directed and Choreographed by Olivier® and Tony® Award winning Casey Nicholaw (The Book of Mormon, Mean Girls, Disney’s Aladdin and Something Rotten!), with Set and Costume Design by Tim Hatley, Lighting Design by Hugh Vanstone, Hair Design by Josh Marquette and Music Supervision by Nick Finlow.

With Book and Lyrics by Tom Eyen and Music by Henry Krieger, with Additional Material by Willie Reale, the original Broadway production of Dreamgirls, Directed and Choreographed by Michael Bennett, opened in 1981 and subsequently won six Tony® Awards. The original cast recording won two Grammy® Awards for Best Musical Album and Best Vocal Performance for Jennifer Holliday’s ‘And I Am Telling You I’m Not Going.’

The Original London Cast Recording of hit West End musical Dreamgirls is available via Sony Masterworks Broadway.

The UK Tour of Dreamgirls is produced by Sonia Friedman Productions, Greenleaf Productions, Fakston Productions, Rupert Gavin, Griffin Dohr, Just for Laughs Theatricals in association with Glass Half Full Productions, 1001 Nights Productions, Eighth Sea Incorporated.


Dreamgirlsthemusical.co.uk | @Dreamgirls_UK

Saturday 12 September– Saturday 3 October 2020
Bristol Hippodrome
St Augustine’s Parade, Bristol BS1 4UZ
0844 871 3012 | www.atgtickets.com/venues/bristol-hippodrome
Public on sale: 10am Thursday 28 November 2019

Tuesday 6 – Saturday 17 October 2020
Milton Keynes Theatre
500 Marlborough Gate, Milton Keynes MK9 3NZ
0844 871 7652 | www.atgtickets.com/venues/milton-keynes-theatre
Public on sale: 10am Thursday 28 November 2019

Tuesday 27 October – Saturday 7 November 2020
Winter Gardens, Blackpool
97 Church St, Blackpool FY1 1HL
0844 856 1111 | www.wintergardensblackpool.co.uk
Public on sale: 10am Thursday 28 November 2019

Tuesday 10 – Saturday 21 November 2020
His Majesty’s Theatre, Aberdeen
Rosemount Viaduct, Aberdeen AB25 1GL
01224 641122 | www.aberdeenperformingarts.com
Public on sale: 9.30am Friday 6 December 2019

Tuesday 24 November – Saturday 5 December 2020
Edinburgh Playhouse
18-22 Greenside Pl, Edinburgh EH1 3AA
0844 871 3014 | www.atgtickets.com/venues/edinburgh-playhouse/
Public on sale: 3pm Thursday 28 November 2019

Tuesday 8 December – Saturday 2 January 2021
The Alexandra Theatre, Birmingham
Suffolk Street Queensway, Birmingham B5 4DS
0844 871 3011 | www.atgtickets.com/venues/alexandra-theatre-birmingham/
Public on sale: 10am Thursday 5 December 2019

Dreamgirls will continue touring throughout 2021 with further venues and dates to be announced.




With Anupama Chandrasekhar’s When the Crows Visit playing its final week and Mike Bartlett’s Snowflake in rehearsals, Artistic Director of Kiln TheatreIndhu Rubasingham, today announces the full cast for her production of the UK première of Antoinette Nwandu’s Pass Over. Joining the previously announced Paapa Essiedu (Moses), are Alexander Eliot (Mister/Ossifer) and Gershwyn Eustache Jnr (Kitch). The production opens on 19 February 2020, with previews from 13 February, and runs until 21 March.

Kiln Theatre presents


By Antoinette Nwandu

Directed by Indhu Rubasingham;Designer Robert Jones;Lighting Designer Oliver Fenwick;Sound Designers Ben & Max Ringham; Movement Director Lanre Malaolu; Casting Director Julia Horan CDG; Voice and Dialect Coach Hazel Holder

13 February – 21 March

A lamppost. Night. Two friends are passing time. Stuck. Waiting for change.

Inspired by Waiting for Godot and the Exodus, Antoinette Nwandu fuses poetry, humour and humanity in a rare and politically charged new play which exposes the experiences of young men in a world that refuses to see them.

Antoinette Nwandu is a New York-based playwright. Her plays include Breach, Pass Over, 4 Sustenance, Black Boy and the War, Vanna White Must Die and FLAT SAM. She is the recipient of The Whiting Award, The Paula Vogel Playwriting Award, The Lorraine Hansberry Playwriting Award, The Negro Ensemble Company’s Douglas Turner Ward Prize, and a Literary Fellowship at the Eugene O’Neill Playwrights Conference. Her plays have been included on the 2016 and 2017 Kilroys lists, and she has been named a Ruby Prize finalist, PONY Fellowship finalist, Page73 Fellowship finalist, NBT’s I Am Soul Fellowship finalist, and two-time Princess Grace Award semi-finalist.

Alexander Eliot plays Mister/Ossifer. Eliot recently graduated from Drama Centre. His theatre work includes Three Sisters (Almeida Theatre) and television work includes Casualty.

Paapa Essieduplays Moses.His theatre credits include TheConvert (Young Vic),Pinter One (Harold Pinter Theatre), Hamlet, King Lear (RSC, Kennedy Center and Brooklyn Academy of Music, New York – Ian Charleson and UK Theatre Award winner for Best Actor), Racing Demon (Theatre Royal Bath), The Merry Wives of Windsor, The Mouse and his Child (RSC), You For Me For You (Royal Court Theatre), Romeo and Juliet (Tobacco Factory), King Lear (National Theatre), Black Jesus (Finborough Theatre), Outside on the Street (Pleasance Theatre), and Dutchman (Orange Tree Theatre). For television, his work includes Gangs of London, PressThe Miniaturist, Black Earth Rising, Revolting, A Midsummer Night’s DreamKiri, Not Safe for Work and Utopia; and for film, Murder on the Orient Express and Women at the Well (Screen International Star of Tomorrow 2017).

Gershwyn Eustache Jnr plays Kitch. His theatre work includes Small Island, Pinocchio, Home, Nut (National Theatre), Anatomy of a Suicide, A Profoundly Affectionate Passionate Devotion to Someone (Royal Court Theatre), The Royale (Bush Theatre) and The Comedy of Errors (Shakespeare’s Globe). For television, his work includes January 22nd, Small Ave, Britannia, Fortitude, Legends, Peter and Wendy and Run; and for film, The Yellow Birds, Second Coming and Starred Up.

Artistic Director of Kiln Theatre Indhu Rubasingham directs. Her work for the company includes When the Crows Visit, Wife, White TeethHoly Sh!t, Red Velvet (which transferred to New York and later to the Garrick Theatre as part of the Kenneth Branagh Season) and Handbagged (winner of Outstanding Achievement in an Affiliate Theatre – also West End, UK tour, Washington DC and New York). Other productions for Kiln Theatre include The Invisible Hand, A Wolf in Snakeskin Shoes, Multitudes, The House That Will Not StandPaper DollsWomen, Power and Politics, Stones in His Pockets, Detaining Justice, The Great Game: Afghanistan, Fabulation and Starstruck. Other theatre credits include The Great Wave, Ugly Lies the BoneThe Motherf**cker with the Hat (Evening Standard Award for Best Play), The Waiting Room (all National Theatre), The Ramayana (National Theatre/ Birmingham Rep), Belong, Disconnect, Free Outgoing, Lift Off, Clubland, The Crutch and Sugar Mummies (Royal Court Theatre), Ruined (Almeida Theatre), Yellowman and Anna in the Tropics (Hampstead Theatre), Secret Rapture and The Misanthrope (Minerva, Chichester Festival Theatre), Romeo and Juliet (Chichester Festival Theatre), Pure Gold (Soho Theatre), The No Boys Cricket Club and Party Girls (Theatre Royal Stratford East), Wuthering Heights (Birmingham REP), Heartbreak House (Watford Palace Theatre), Sugar Dollies and Shakuntala (Gate Theatre), A River Sutra (Three Mill Island Studios), Rhinoceros (UC Davis, California) and A Doll’s House (Young Vic).


Twitter: @KilnTheatre / @KilnCinema

The Wizard of Oz Review

Leeds Playhouse – until 25 January 2020

Reviewed By Dawn Smallwood


One is off to see the Wizard, the Wonderful Wizard of Oz which is indeed one of most anticipated and awaited production this season. Based on L. Frank Baum’s The Wizard of Oz (published in 1900) and set to Harold Arlen’s music and lyrics, James Brining brings this exciting production on stage, in the newly re-opened Quarry Theatre.

Many are familiar with the musical hits from the legendary award winning film (1939) starring Judy Garland and this production isn’t any different. The staging intertwines well with the well known musical hits and ensures that universal longings, Somewhere Over The Rainbow and There is No Place Like Home, are not compromised in any form whatsoever.

This fairy tale focuses on universal themes including longing, freedom, change, being true to oneself, friendships, exploring within, and appreciating what really matters. The performance is led by 14 year old Lucy Sherman who puts on such an excellent and memorable performance as Dorothy. She shares her journey on the Yellow Brick Road, destined to the Emerald City and to meet the Wizard (Graham Hoadly), with Toto (Doris and also a Toto puppeteer by Alisa Dalling), her dog, and her new found friends, Scarecrow (Eleanor Sutton), Tinman (Sam Harrison) and Lion (Marcus Ayton). They are in a collective quest to pursue their wishes. However they firstly need to bravely encounter the dark and determined Wicked Witch of the West (Polly Lister) however they are magically guided from Glinda (Angela Wynter), a good witch.

There are so many memorable highlights particularly with the eye captivating staging projections and visuals that depict the scenes, from the tornado in Kansas which transports Dorothy (Sherman) to the colourful and rainbow like Munchkinland, and then via the Yellow Brick Road to the Emerald City. Simon Higlett’s creative staging and costumes compliment so well with Tim Mitchell’s lighting, Ben Harrison’s soundscapes and also Simon Wainwright’s video footage, which adds extra dimension and dynamics to the stage.

The cast including the ensemble certainly have put on an unmissable performance from beginning to end and one feels that they are transported from Kansas to the Emerald City and back. The acting, movements, dancing and stunts in the production are co-ordinated innovatively and harmoniously to Lucy Cullingford’s choreography and Brining’s direction.

The Wizard of Oz is a celebrated and must see Christmas/Winter treat for one and all. The Leeds Playhouse again has successfully delivered and sure will become another legendary seasonal production.

Ian Hislop and Nick Newman’s hilarious play A Bunch of Amateurs to tour the UK in 2020

Trademark Touring, Karl Sydow and Anthology Theatre in association with The Everyman Theatre Cheltenham Present



Following the huge success of The Wipers Times and Trial By Laughter, Trademark Touring, Karl Sydow and Anthology Theatre in association with The Everyman Theatre Cheltenham are proud to present the UK tour of Ian Hislop and Nick Newman’s comedy A Bunch of Amateurs.

Keen to boost his flagging career, fading Hollywood action hero Jefferson Steele arrives in England to play King Lear in Stratford – only to find that he is not in the birthplace of Shakespeare, but in a sleepy Suffolk village. And instead of starring alongside Sir Kenneth Branagh and Dame Judi Dench, the cast are a bunch of amateurs trying to save their theatre from ruthless developers.

Jefferson’s monstrous ego, vanity and insecurity are tested to the limit by the enthusiastic amateur  thespians he finds himself sharing the spotlight with. As acting worlds collide and Jefferson’s career implodes, he discovers some truths about himself – along with his inner Lear!

Ian Hislop and Nick Newman said:

“Following successful national tours of The Wipers Times and Trial By Laughter, we are thrilled to be touring the very first play we wrote, A Bunch of Amateurs – a love letter to the world of amateur theatre and a celebration of the overweening absurdity of Hollywood stardom”.

A Bunch of Amateurs will be directed by Robin Herford. He is undoubtedly best known for the phenomenally successful The Woman In Black, which he commissioned whilst he was Artistic Director of the Stephen Joseph Theatre in Scarborough in the late 1980s, and has now been running in the West End for 30 years.  Other directorial credits include Serjeant Musgrave’s Dance, All My Sons, Twelfth Night, Old Times, Clouds, Butley, She Stoops To Conquer, The Beaux Stratagem, Touch Wood and Whistle, Calling, Spokesong, Getting On, Tapster, Just Between Ourselves, Forty Years On, A Going Concern and What Every Woman Knows (all at Scarborough) and national tours of Ayckbourn classics such as Relatively Speaking, Confusions, Bedroom Farce, Season’s Greetings and Ten Times Table

Casting to be announced.

Birmingham Hippodrome Launch Campaign to raise £20,000 to give the gift of theatre to 4,000 young people in Birmingham

Birmingham Hippodrome join The Big Give campaign to raise £20,000 to give the gift of theatre to young people this Christmas


Birmingham Hippodrome is urging people to dig deep during their annual festive fundraising campaign, aiming to raise £20,000 to give the gift of theatre to 4,000 young people. To achieve this ambitious target, the theatre has joined The Big Give’s Christmas Challenge 2019, which will see all donations doubled for just seven days from the 3rd December.

The donations raised will support the Hippodrome Education Network (HEN) activity, which enables young people from areas of low-social economic engagement to visit shows, participate in workshops and develop career opportunities in the creative industries.

Zaylie- Dawn Wilson, Head of Learning & Participation at Birmingham Hippodrome commented: “We work with schools to bring creativity back to the curriculum and to enable young people who have never visited the theatre before to watch live performances”

“Donations raised will help us to give the gift of live theatre to more young people and continue this crucial work which develops confidence in young people, supports their future career ambitions and most of all, inspires them.”

The Big Give matches donations through partnerships with over 20 funding champions, including Reed Foundation, The Childhood Trust, Four Acre Trust and the National Lottery Heritage Fund. As an independent charity, Birmingham Hippodrome relies on regular support from charitable donations and sponsorship to deliver Hippodrome Projects, which is the theatre’s own curated programme of indoor and outdoor live performance, community work and transformational learning projects.

Laura Smith, Director of External Relations at Birmingham Hippodrome added: “As a charity, fundraising support is essential to help us to continue our work with young people. From the young people who have been part of our HEN network so far, over 80% have said they feel more confident in themselves, reinforcing just how much having access to arts and culture changes lives”

“I encourage everyone to donate as much or as little as they can remembering that all donations will be doubled, helping us to create even more unforgettable moments for young people!”  

Donations for the campaign can be made online only. To donate from 12 noon on the 3 December, visit: www.birminghamhippodrome.com/biggive2019

Hunger Review

Arcola Theatre, Studio 2 – until 21 December 2019

Reviewed by Riley Anderson


The power of story never ceases to amaze me. Imagine a story over 100 years old still being as relevant today as it was at the time of its conception, exploring themes and elements of human nature that transcend time and can be condensed in to a book, a song or a 75 minute performance.

Amanda Lomas’s adaptation of Knut Hamsun’s 1890 novel Hunger is a perfect example of such a story.

Hunger is the journey of The Young Man (Kwami Odoom) who has moved to the city to pursue a career as a writer, and it seemingly begins quite positively, there’s an upbeat soundtrack that is matched by Natasha Harrison’s ‘hustle and bustle of the city’ choreography, but soon it becomes apparent we are at the beginning of this young mans decline.

Initially the show is nuanced, the minimal set makes room for a series of transitions between scenes that give us a sense of presence in the city. We meet a whole host of characters, multi roled excellently by Jessica Tomlinson, Archie Backhouse and Katie Eldred, who really flesh out the story and bring a sense of naturalism to the piece, as well as allowing us some light comic relief.

The tone of the piece get perpetually darker, the lighting become more intrusive, the characters take a more sinister tone, and the feeling of isolation presides through the auditorium as The Young Man becomes more and more detached from society. Unable to find work to pay his rent, he is evicted by his once understanding landlady, too proud to tell his his parents as he thinks they’ll brand him a failure, and too proud to ask his friend for help, he ends up on the street trying to navigate his way through a city that views him more and more sinisterly.

The play culminates in The Young Man meeting a woman who takes an interest in him. Wrongly mistaking him for a student who likes a drink and a good time, she invites him into her home in order to progress, and he decides to come clean and tell her about his situation, which in turn, results in her kicking him out, leaving him again, with nothing.

This play is undoubtedly relevant to today’s audience, tackling themes of appearance, pride, and ultimately rejection. Fay Lomas’s direction accentuates these themes and utilises all of the other elements of the production to shine a spotlight on The Young Mans physiological battle.

The Entertainer Review

Richmond Theatre – until 30 November 2019

Reviewed by Carly Burlinge


The Entertainer is a new production of John Osborne’s classic, which first premiered in 1957.

Set in 1983 amongst the Falklands war and political crisis. Archie Rice (Shane Richie) is a washed up, old school obscene entertainer trying to  do anything to keep his show alive and running but he’s failing miserably in the process and his  enthusiasm is  starting to fade. The tax man has been chasing his tail for 20 years which he has managed to avoid. His family life is dysfunctional and unstable and his wife Phoebe Rice (Sara Crowe) who enjoys a good drink and is uncontrolled from start to finish is struggling in day to day life is depressed, continually putting herself down and pushing Archie Rice (Shane Ritchie) away. Their son Mike Rice is away fighting in the Falklands whilst Archie Rice’s daughter Jean Rice (Diana Vickers) has returned for the weekend having joined the protests against Thatcher’s government and sending the troops out. Their other son Frank Rice (Christopher Bonwell) is Archie’s feed in his stage act.

Archie’s dad Billy Rice (Pip Donaghy) hates politics, makes lots of racist remarks throughout the play and  tells it as it is, but seems to be generally trying to keep the family together.

Its clear from the beginning that The Entertainer is at a particular point in British history with Britain being at war and different opinions being split between families. Also a cultural change in comedy.

Shane Ritchie embraces the mood of Archie down on his luck with his outspoken opinions often racist or sexiest causing the audience to sometimes become uncomfortable and uneasy to watch as well as the nervous laughs. I would say this show is not for everyone but it was good to see Shane Richie in a heavier role, his performance felt authentic and relatable, a thought provoking experience that makes the audience question their own position in modern society.

There were a few technical issues on stage but very minor, the lighting was very well suited to the show and the sound was of good quality. I enjoyed the props and outfits and felt they fit in well with the performance.

Last of all I feel that Richmond theatre needs a mention. It is a beautiful Victorian building cosy and comfortable with plenty of character and a great atmosphere.

Casting announced for The Sunset Limited at The Boulevard Theatre

By Cormac McCarthy
Directed by Terry Johnson

Gary Beadle and Jasper Britton, The Sunset Limited. Photo Helen Murray

The Boulevard Theatre today announces casting for the London premiere of The Sunset Limited, a gripping play about redemption, faith and free by multi award-winning writer Cormac McCarthy. The two hander features performances from Gary Beadle, who will play the role of ‘Black’ and Jasper Britton, who will play the role of ‘White’. 

The Sunset Limited will be directed by Olivier and Tony Award-winner Terry Johnson (Mrs Henderson Presents, La Cage aux Folles and The Graduate). Cormac McCarthy‘s other celebrated works include The Road, All the Pretty Horses, Blood Meridian and No Country for Old Men. This production also marks the first time Cormac McCarthy’s work has been seen on a London stage.

Gary Beadle has appeared in a number of TV dramas including Patrick Melrose, Death in ParadiseSilent WitnessGrantchester, and as a regular for several years in EastEnders.  He was most recently on stage in The Treatment at the Almeida Theatre where his credits also include The Testaments.  Other theatre includes Les Blancs (National Theatre), Now We Are Here (Young Vic) and a profoundly affectionate, passionate devotion to someone (Royal Court).

Jasper Britton is a prolific stage and screen actor, who recently appeared in celebrated Agatha Christie play Witness for the Prosecution at County Hall. Other theatre highlights include playing Johnny ‘Rooster’ Byron in Jez Butterworth’s Jerusalem at the Watermill Theatre and Bolingbroke in Richard II with the RSC in London and New York. Other RSC credits include The Jew of Malta and Henry IV Part I and II. His many other stage credits include Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? (Sheffield Crucible), Oedipus (National Theatre) and The Visit (Complicité).  On screen, his films include Terence Malick’s The New World, and he is set to appear in HBO’s Game of Thrones prequel.

Terry Johnson is the winner of nine British Theatre awards including the Olivier Award for Best Comedy on two occasions, Playwright of the Year and Critics’ Circle Theatre Awards’ Best New Play. Productions as writer or director include One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s NestHitchcock BlondeEntertaining Mr SloaneThe GraduateDead FunnyHysteriaElton John’s Glasses and The Memory of Water. In 2010, Johnson won the Tony Award for Best Director of a Musical for La Cage aux Folles.

Cormac McCarthy is one of America’s greatest living novelists. His 2006 novel The Road won him the Pulitzer Prize, and the earlier No Country for Old Men was adapted as a 2007 film of the same name that won four Academy Awards, including Best Picture. Blood Meridian, another work by McCarthy, was listed by TIME magazine as one of the greatest English-language works since the 1920s. His plays include The Sunset Limited and The Stonemason.

Two men meet on a subway platform; the chance encounter instantly changing the trajectory of both their lives.  Thrown together, their conversation quickly turns to the most essential and existential questions facing humanity. While their beliefs seem irreconcilable, the answers they seek could mean the difference between life and death.

The Sunset Limited will play at the Boulevard Theatre from January 16.

Ten Times Table Review

Yvonne Arnaud – until 30 November 2019

Reviewed by Heather Chalkley


This is one of the first times Ayckbourn expands his writing beyond the intimacy of your living room. Written in the 70’s, he takes the opportunity to dabble with the wider realms of society, intertwining politics and Politics. Ayckbourn has fun characterising the members of a committee, who have come together to plan the summer fair in the small town of Pendon.

The meetings are set in the ballroom of the Swan Hotel, once popular, definitely seen better days. You have prominent members of the local community taking the lead on bringing a small group of towns people together. Robert Daws (Ray) has the tremendous task of chairing the meeting, keeping the peace and finding a way to make the pageant happen. He manages to tip toe round some of the sensibilities, then in contrast challenging his wife, Helen (Deborah Grant), head on! The result is the energy and fervour of a young Marxist teacher, Eric (Craig Gazey) carry’s the committee members along on a crest of enthusiasm and slightly over the top speech. The central focus for the summer fair becomes a pageant. The organisation of the pageant becomes a battle between left and right wing politics, rich and poor, youth and maturity. The result is hilarious. Gazey (Eric) carries a youthful pent up swagger and an ardent rhetoric. Harry Gostelow (Tim) was a complete caricature, surprising everyone with his extreme views on ‘filthy’ Marxist sympathisers and declaration of war! The reactions of his fellow players is priceless, with Ray (Daws) trying desperately to calm everything down. My favourite moments are delivered by Elizabeth Power (Audrey) as the deaf minute taker and mother of the local councillor. Her comedic timing is on point – reading the lips of Philippa (Rhiannon Handy), who has the voice of a mouse, having her knitting needle taken mid stitch and playing the piano throughout the action scene, to name but a few.

The set played into the comedy with dodgy lights and people coming and going at odd times with equipment. The Creatives have done a great job on the costumes, particularly for the pageant. The extra stitches to make trousers and jackets inflexible was very funny.

Robin Herford (Director) is true to the classic Ayckbourn farcical comedy style and manages to get a message out there – do not take yourself or life too seriously

Full Casting Announced for The Upstart Crow at The Gielgud Theatre









Full casting for Ben Elton’s stage adaption of the critically acclaimed BBC TV sitcom Upstart Crow – which opens at the Gielgud Theatre on 7 February 2020 and will see David Mitchell make his West End debut – has been announced.

Joining Mitchell as Will Shakespeare and Gemma Whelan as Kate, in bringing their TV characters to life on stage is Helen Monks (Raised by Wolves / Inside No. 9) as Susanna, Rob Rouse (Grownups) as Bottom and Steve Speirs (Stella / Rovers) as Burbage. Mark Heap (Friday Night Dinner / Spaced) who TV viewers will know as Robert Greene, will play a new character, Dr John Hall.

Also joining the cast is Danielle Phillips (Ready Player One / Father Brown), Jason Callender (Shadow and Bone / 4 O’Clock Club) and Rachel Summers (This Islands Mine). This 11-week season is directed by Olivier award-winning Sean Foley (The Ladykillers, Jeeves and Wooster and The Miser).

Ben Elton says: “Besides Will and Kate many of the other characters from the TV sitcom feature in this new play and I’m delighted that they will all be played by the original actors. Steve Speirs returns as Burbage the Actor, no doubt relishing the extra opportunity that live theatre offers for serious shouting and strutting. Hilarious Helen Monks is back as Shakespeare’s grumpy daughter Susanna. Top comic Rob Rouse will once again have us laughing at his Bottom and the show stopping Mark Heap who played Robert Greene is returnED in villainous guise! Gotta say, the brilliant new actors who are joining Upstart Crow for the first time will have to really pull up their puffling pants if they don’t want to get upstaged!

‘Tis 1605 and England’s greatest playwright is in trouble. Will Shakespeare has produced just two plays; Measure for Measure, which according to King James was incomprehensible bollingbrokes by any measure, and All’s Well That End’s Well which didn’t even end well. Will desperately needs to maketh a brilliant new play to bolster his reputation and avoid being cast aside by King and country. But Will’s personal life is encountering more dramatic twists and turns than any theatrical story he can conjure. How the futtock can a Bard be expected to find a plot for a play whilst his daughters run amok and his house is used as refuge for any old waif and stray. As time runs out, can Will hold on to his dream of being recognised now and for all time, as indisputably the greatest writer that ever lived, or will family woes thwart Will’s chances of producing his masterwork?


Gielgud Theatre, Shaftesbury Avenue, London, W1D 6AR

Press Night: 17 February at 7.00pm

Final show: 25 April

Evening Performances: Monday to Saturday at 7.30pm

Matinees: Wednesday and Saturday at 2.30pm

Website: UpstartCrowTheComedy.com

Twitter: @UpstartCrowPlay