God Of Carnage Review

Cambridge Arts Theatre – until 8 February 2020

Reviewed by Steph Lott


When tonight’s performance of “God of Carnage”, (written by Yasmina Reza, translated by Christopher Hampton) finished, my companion and I ran into another friend who had also just seen the play. “That play was just like an evening at home,” she said. “Yes”, my other friend agreed, somewhat ruefully. “One long row!”

The play is set in the front room of a couple Veronica and Michael, played by Elizabeth McGovern and Nigel Lindsay. Their son Henry has had 2 teeth knocked out by his classmate Freddy, whose parents Annette (played by Samantha Spiro) and Alan (played by Simon Paisley Day) have come over to talk about what to do.

From the start the whole situation is deliciously awkward. You very soon start to squirm. Here we have 2 middle class couples whose only reason to be in each other’s company was to talk over the incident and what to do. It’s not initially clear what the outcome is that anyone wants. They can’t even agree over a description over what happened. At the start I thought that Veronica and Michael would be wanting some form of compensation for their son’s cosmetic dentistry and that Alan (being a lawyer!) and Annette would want to wriggle out of admitting liability.

But it wasn’t that at all. Veronica wants an assurance that Freddy understands what he’s done and wonders what kind of apology would be appropriate. At that point is where the cracks in the veneer of politeness begin to appear and we realise that the atmosphere is rapidly changing and deteriorating. Obnoxious lawyer Alan declares that his son is a hooligan and seems very uninterested in either defending or punishing him. Annette is dismayed and then angered by her husband’s disinterest. There is an ornament made of large African spears ominously hanging overhead but they jab at each other just as fiercely and inflict just as much damage without having to use them, especially once the rum has begun to flow and what started as a discussion over a boys’ fight becomes a vicious adult war.

It would be easy for this play to become tedious as essentially, as I mentioned at the start, it is one long row. But it doesn’t, due to the sharply observed dialogue, the fast pace of the play and some great comic timing.

There isn’t a great deal of depth to the characters – there isn’t time. But there is wonderful destructive energy between and across the 2 couples. By the end, you hate them all! The descent through their smugness into drunken vicious outbursts is very funny and simultaneously awful.

I guffawed a great deal and found it an enjoyable performance. I especially enjoyed how monstrous they all became once the gloves came off. My favourite was Nigel Lindsay in his role as Michael as he revealed just how boorish and awful he was.

The play isn’t particularly “deep” – it’s too fast, slick and full of vitriol for that and I’m not sure any deeper message other than “people can be awful” comes over. It doesn’t really have time to analyse why. It’s a fun evening though.





Artistic Director, Paul-Ryan Carberry and Executive Director, Paul Virides todayannounce Escape to the Forest their inaugural season for Iris Theatre, the resident theatre company of the Actors’ Church in Covent Garden.

Iris Theatre’s annual season of outdoor theatre, which takes place across the grounds of the Actors’ Church, opens with A Midsummer Night’s Dream directed by Carberry, marking his first production as Artistic Director of the company. Following this is Teresa Burns’newadaptation of Robin Hood directed by Rafaella Marcus.

In addition, Iris Theatre launch PLATFORM, an initiative to champion emerging artists, that will see the company host a series of showcase nights that will run throughout 2020 featuring performers from a variety of disciplines. The first PLATFORM artist is musician Dylan Wynford on 14 March, with further artists to be announced. Also, applications open for Start – a new development scheme for those early in their theatre careers and those getting into theatre for the very first time. The scheme offers mentorship across two disciplines: startDIRECTING and startDESIGNING.

Paul-Ryan Carberry, Artistic Director, said today, “After a fruitful collaboration with the company in 2018 with The Three Musketeers it’s wonderful to be launching my first season as Artistic Director of Iris Theatre. Our first priority is finding new ways to support emerging artists as well as those taking the leap from early to mid-career, and the new Start and PLATFORM initiatives are our first steps towards that goal. I’m also thrilled to be welcoming amazing talent to Iris in Rafaella and Teresa for Robin Hood, and to be directing A Midsummer Night’s Dream for our summer season. In difficult times theatre must bring people together, and we hope that audiences around London join us to Escape to the Forest this summer.”

Iris Theatre presents


By William Shakespeare

Directed by Paul-Ryan Carberry

17 June – 18 July 2020

Are you sure that we are awake? It seems to me that yet we sleep, we dream.

It’s the height of summer, and the ancient city of Athens has never felt colder. The young nobleman Demetrius is set to marry his bride Hermia, and their parents are overjoyed. The only problem is, she’s in love with someone else. Fleeing the broken court, and her impending nuptials, Hermia escapes to the forest beyond the city, ready to elope.

There, deep in an enchanted forest of lights, new mysteries await her. A feuding fairy King and Queen plot revenge, a band of travelling misfit actors prepare their latest performance, and a magical trickster, ready to cause mischief, has other ideas for the young lovers’ midsummer’s night.

Experience Shakespeare’s best-loved comedy in the heart of Covent Garden with the award-winning Iris Theatre, in Paul-Ryan Carberry’s first production as artistic director. Featuring an electronic forest world, glittering fairies and some surprising guest performances along the way, celebrate the arrival of summer and find out whether love really can conquer all.

Recommended for ages 8+.

Paul-Ryan Carberry is Artistic Director of Iris Theatre, where his work includes The Three Musketeers. Other theatre credits as a director include Dead Dog in a Suitcase (and other love songs) (Backstage Theatre, Peckham), A Serious Business (Hat Factory Arts Centre/The Pleasance), The Nativity (St James’s Church, Paddington), Touched (Bernie Grant Arts Centre), The Outback Games (Edinburgh Festival Fringe – nominated for an MTN Award), Star Jumps Are Not Essential (The Lost Theatre), Little Shop of Horrors (Central Academy of Drama, Beijing), Half A SixpenceJames Joyce’s The DeadHeathersOurselves AloneInto The Woods and Parade (Mountview). As an associate director his credits include Grease (UK tour); and as assistant director, Strangers on a Train (UK tour). As an actor, his theatre credits include The Rise and Fall of Little Voice, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz (Octagon Theatre), A Christmas Carol (Birmingham Rep/West Yorkshire Playhouse), As You Like It (Grosvenor Park Open Air), Billy Liar (West Yorkshire Playhouse), Everybody Loves a Winner (Royal Exchange Theatre) and All the Fun of The Fair (UK tour); and for television, A Song For Jenny and The Village.

Iris Theatre presents


by Teresa Burns

Directed by Rafaella Marcus

23 July – 30 August 2020

Nottingham is in peril. Taxes are rising, the corrupt Sheriff is stealing the homes of the poor and the wealthy keep getting wealthier.

Now, with the usurper Prince John plotting the demise of the King, a band of friends, robbing from the rich and living as outlaws, realise this is their chance to make a change.

Robin Hood, their leader, has one shot to uproot the Sheriff’s oppressive reign. Together with her merry men, she can protect the King’s rule and liberate the people, but she’ll need some help from the inside to pull off her most daring heist. Can her arrow hit its final mark?

Recommended for ages 8+.

Teresa Burns is the co-founder of How It Ended – her credits for the company include Wild (Unicorn Theatre). She is also Writer in Residence at Wardown House Museum and Gallery, where her credits include Keep the Home Fires BurningA Christmas CarolThe Horrid House TourThe Lost LetterThe Ghostly GardenerThe Secret Diary and Time Travellers. Her other credits include Threads (Hat Factory Arts Centre), Roll Credits (Rich Mix), You Obviously Know What I’m Talking About (Edinburgh Festival Fringe/UK tour), and Waterproof (Site-specific). In 2019, she won the Funny Women Award for Best Comedy Short for Neil’s Yard, with co-writer Samantha Lyden.

Rafaella Marcus directs. Her credits as director include Stop Kiss (Above the Stag), Bury the Dead (Finborough Theatre), Alley. Pearls. Gunshot. (The Yard Theatre), Spooky Action at a DistanceCrave (Bunker Theatre), and I Have a Mouth and I Will Scream (VAULT Festival – winner of the People’s Choice Award). Her credits as associate director include Emilia (Vaudeville Theatre); and as assistant director, Pericles (Shakespeare’s Globe), Romeo and JulietThe Wind in the Willows (Chester Performs), Boeing BoeingAfterplayLove Your SoldiersThe Winter’s Tale (Sheffield Theatres) and The Killing of Sister George (Arts Theatre).


PLATFORM offers an opportunity for artists from a variety of disciplines to showcase their work, offering financial and artistic support as part of the company’s ongoing commitment to creating opportunities for the next generation of theatre practitioners and artists.

The artists will perform at the Actors’ Church; they will receive full venue support including ticketing, marketing, technical, front of house as well as production and artistic support from Iris Theatre. Finally, they will receive a 60% split of Box Office after Iris Theatre cover expenses. Iris Theatre’s 40% share of Box Office sales will go towards further supporting PLATFORM and its artists.

PLATFORM artists can be from any performative discipline. They should have been working in their artform for an extend period and have a selection of work, shareable over the course of at least 90 minutes.

Artists are curated as well as selected through applications. For further details and to apply please visit www.iristheatre.com/platform. Applications are open all year round.

PLATFORM: Dylan Wynford

Saturday 14 March, 7.30pm

Dylan Wynford performs a selection of new musical theatre and punk folk.

Dylan Wynford is a Musical Theatre and Punk Folk musician. He is lead singer of Dylan Wynford and His Yesteryears, a punk/folk quartet. His theatre credits as a writer include Bright Young Things and The Throwaways (The Other Palace).

PLATFORM is supported through donations from the company’s supporters, including Legacy Friends and its resident venue, St Paul’s Church (Actors’ Church).


Start is a development scheme for those looking to nurture their skills in a practical environment with a focus on mentorship and learning. The scheme has two different strands: startDIRECTING and startDESIGNING.


Iris Theatre will support four people who want to begin a career in directing for theatre, but have yet to receive any formal, vocational training in the role. The programme runs over six months, with twice-monthly sessions curated and hosted by the company’s Artistic Director, Paul-Ryan Carberry.

Participants in the scheme will also be given the opportunity to be placed as Assistant Directors on one of the summer season productions – allowing the opportunity to apply some of the skills gained in learning sessions in a practical environment.

Applicants should be over 18, not have received any formal education in directing, not directed any professional theatre production or assisted on more than 2 professional productions.


Iris Theatre will support four people who want to develop a career in designing for theatre across both costume and set.

The programme will engage an associate costume and set designer across each show in its summer season offering the opportunity to work alongside and receive mentorship from a professional theatre designer.

Applicants should be over 18 who have not worked as a designer on more than 2 small-scale theatre productions or as an Associate/Assistant on more than 3 productions of any size.

Start is supported by the Mackintosh Foundation and the Aspinwall Education Trust.

To apply for the Start scheme please visit, www.iristheatre.com/platform. The deadline to apply is Friday 28 February at 6pm. If you require the form in an alternative format, get in touch with us at 020 7240 0344 or via [email protected].

IRIS THEATRE                                                                                                                                                     LISTINGS

St Paul’s Church (Actors’ Church), Covent Garden, London WC2E 9ED

Box Office:www.iristheatre.com / 020 7240 0344

Facebook:           /IrisTheatre

Twitter:                @iristheatre

Instagram:          iris_theatre



Saturday 14 March, 7.30pm


17 June – 18 July 2020


23 July – 30 August 2020

For full performance schedule please visit: https://iristheatre.ticketsolve.com/shows

Mamma Mia! The Party Now Booking into 2021






MAMMA MIA! THE PARTY, the new immersive theatrical and dining experience, now open at The O2 London, is extending its booking period to Sunday 28 March 2021 due to popular demand. New tickets will go on sale from 9.00am on Friday 7 February 2020.

Created by ABBA’s Björn Ulvaeus, MAMMA MIA! THE PARTY is a unique concept that puts guests in the heart of the action: over the course of four hours, they can enjoy a spectacular show, a four-course Mediterranean feast and an ABBA disco, all in one unforgettable evening.

MAMMA MIA! THE PARTY is set in a taverna on the island of Skopelos, where most exteriors of the first MAMMA MIA! film were shot. Nikos and his wife Kate run this exotic and wonderful restaurant together with their family and friends. Told through dialogue and ABBA songs, a warm, romantic and funny story evolves and unfolds during the evening, taking place around the guests as they sit at their tables enjoying a gourmet Greek meal. The evening ends with the main floor transforming into a 1970s disco, where audience members are welcome to stay to sing and dance to original ABBA recordings.

MAMMA MIA! THE PARTY has music and lyrics by Benny Andersson and Björn Ulvaeus (some songs with Stig Anderson), and a story by Calle Norlén, Roine Söderlundh and Björn Ulvaeus, adapted for the UK by writer, comedian and broadcaster Sandi Toksvig.

The London cast and musicians include (in alphabetical order) Oscar Balmaseda, AJ Bentley, Jonathon Bentley, Molly Cleere, John Donovan, Luke Higgins, Allie Ho Chee, Julia Imbach, Linda John-Pierre, Joanna Monro, Steph Parry, Mark Pusey, Kimberley Powell, Steve Rushton, Jessica Spalis, Dawn Spence, Gregor Stewart, Kathryn Tindall, Matt Wesley, Fed Zanni.

The London version of MAMMA MIA! THE PARTY, which originally opened in Stockholm in January 2016 and is now in its fifth sold-out year, is co-directed and choreographed by Stacey Haynes and Roine Söderlundh, with set designed by Bengt Fröderberg, lighting designed by Patrick Woodroffe, sound designed by Gareth Owen, costumes designed by Annsofi Nyberg, music supervision by Robin Svensson and casting by David Grindrod for David Grindrod Associates.

MAMMA MIA! THE PARTY is produced by Björn Ulvaeus and Ingrid Sutej for MM! The Party Ltd.


Peninsula Square
London SE10 0DX

Box Office: www.mammamiatheparty.co.uk / 0844 844 9545Website: www.mammamiatheparty.co.uk
Facebook, Instagram, Twitter: @mammamiapartyuk
Currently Booking to 28 March 2021

Recommended Age: 5+

Tickets: From £85 (plus booking fees), to include admission, a four-course set meal and welcome drink (additional drinks extra)

Performances: Wednesday to Sunday doors open at 6:30pm, Saturday & Sunday at 12:00pm

There will be signed performances at 12:00pm on Sunday 21 June and at 6.30pm on Wednesday 28 October 2020.



  • The Magician’s Elephant, a new musical adaptation by Nancy Harris and Marc Teitler based on the international, best-selling novel by Kate DiCamillo, directed by Sarah Tipple.
  • The Wars of the Roses, directed by Owen Horsley with Gregory Doran. An epic staging of all three parts of Henry VI across two unforgettable performances telling the enthralling story of the brutal struggle for the English crown.
  • Shakespeare for Everyone. First Encounters with ShakespeareTwelfth Night, edited and directed by Robin Belfield.

On announcing the RSC’s Winter 2020 season Gregory Doran, RSC Artistic Director, said: “When I became Artistic Director, I wanted to stage every Shakespeare play in the canon once. We are more than two thirds of the way through that journey, which will conclude at the end of 2021. 

“We began with Richard II in 2013, developing the History cycle with the two Henry IVs and Henry V. We played all four shows as one cycle in London and New York, and took the productions to China, the first time the plays had ever been performed there. This journey now continues with The Wars of the Roses, our two-part staging of Shakespeare’s epic history cycle which he wrote as Henry VI Parts 1, 2 and 3. If you want to understand the dangerous world we live in, with its divisive politics, the rise of demagoguery and the threat of despotism, then you need look no further than Shakespeare’s early history plays.

“The beautifully crafted storytelling of Kate DiCamillo’s The Magician’s Elephant and the mischievous comedy of Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night, directed by Robin Belfield ensure that Shakespeare’s spirit of interrogation, invention and creativity is alive and well in the most exciting creative voices of today.”

Royal Shakespeare Theatre

The world stage premiere of a new musical adaptation of The Magician’s Elephant, based on the novel by international best-selling author, Kate DiCamillo, builds on a successful tradition of new work created by the RSC for family audiences at Christmas.

The Magician’s Elephant tells the story of orphan Peter Augustus Duchenne, who lives a frugal life in the lonely town of Baltese. Then one day, a magician conjures an elephant from the sky. The animal’s appearance sets off a chain of events so remarkable, so impossible, that it changes Baltese forever. Peter is catapulted into the quest of his life, overturning everything he ever thought he knew, and discovering that happiness can come from the most unexpected places.

This new adaptation of Kate DiCamillo’s heart-breaking and darkly magical children’s book by Nancy Harris and Marc Teitler will be directed by Sarah Tipple, Associate Director to Gregory Doran on The Boy in the Dress based on the novel by David Walliams. The production will feature design by Colin Richmond whose previous RSC credits include Wendy and Peter Pan and Vice Versa, with lighting by Oliver Fenwick. The role of Peter will be played by Jack Wolfe, whose theatre credits include Sweeny Todd (Lyric Belfast), Pinocchio (National Theatre) and The Witcher (Netflix). The production will run from 29 October 2020 – 17 January 2021 in the Royal Shakespeare Theatre.

Nancy Harris and Marc Teitler said: ”We were hugely excited by the epic world Kate DiCamillo created in The Magician’s Elephant – its fluid, unexpected leaps, larger-than-life characters and darkly comic, fairy tale quality immediately suggested a highly musical and visual approach to the story-telling. And while we’re thrilled at the prospect of creating a mesmerising theatrical experience for RSC audiences, it’s the emotional truth and compassion at the heart of the story that really resonates with us and is what makes it an urgent and hopeful one for our time.”

Kate DiCamillo said: “The story of The Magician’s Elephant began, for me, with a vision of a magician on a stage conjuring an elephant — a real elephant — by mistake. I didn’t know what was going to happen, but that image of the two of them together on a stage haunted me. Imagine, then, how thrilled I am to have the brilliant Royal Shakespeare Company make that image that haunted me come to life on a stage. I wrote The Magician’s Elephant during a dark time, personally, and it seemed miraculous to me that the story could lead me through grief and to the other side of it — to love and forgiveness. I hope and believe with all of myself that this production will inspire those same feelings of love, forgiveness (and joy) in audiences.”

Swan Theatre

As the Royal Shakespeare Company continues its journey through the complete canon of Shakespeare’s work, Owen Horsley directs The Wars of the Roses with RSC Artistic Director Gregory Doran, an epic event staging Henry VI Parts 1, 2 and 3 in two performances to tell the vivid and enthralling story of the brutal struggle for the English crown.

The three Henry VI plays will be presented by one company of actors across two performances in a newly configured Swan Theatre from 10 October 2020 – 2 January 2021. The Swan Theatre auditorium will have an exciting new format for the staging of The Wars of the Roses with new grandstand seating and 100 standing arena spaces to give audiences the opportunity to immerse themselves in the action. Seating in Galleries 1 and 2 will remain unchanged. The story will conclude in 2021 with Richard III, further details to be announced.

This epic journey through The Wars of the Roses will see Gregory Doran re-unite with director Owen Horsley, whose most recent productions for the RSC include a new adaptation of David Edgar’s post-war masterpiece Maydays in 2018 and a visually striking adaptation of Oscar Wilde’s Salome in 2017. Owen last worked alongside Gregory between 2013-2015 as Associate Director on the critically acclaimed King and Country cycle featuring Richard II, Henry IV Parts I and II and Henry V.

The Wars of the Roses will be designed by RSC Director of Design Stephen Brimson Lewis. He will be joined by Costume Designer Hannah Clark, whose recent credits for the RSC include Justin Audibert’s 2019 gender-flipped production of William Shakespeare’s The Taming of the Shrew. RSC Associate Artist Paul Englishby returns to compose the music with fights by Rachel Bown-Williams & Ruth Cooper-Brown.

Gregory Doran said: “Every time the RSC mounts these plays they strike powerful chords. This ferociously vivid account of the brutal struggle for the English Crown will without doubt strike different resonances deep in its audiences’ consciousness today. It’s a story of saints and psychopaths, of power and corruption, of then and now.”

Shakespeare for Everyone:

The RSC First Encounters with Shakespeare series returns in September 2020 with a new production of Twelfth Night, directed and edited by Robin Belfield.

For over a decade the RSC has taken First Encounters productions – edited versions of the plays performed using Shakespeare’s original language – on the road into the heart of communities. They have been enjoyed by over 100,000 people to date and are an important part of the RSC’s national engagement work which is rooted in a long-term commitment to different regions around the country. Through deep partnerships with schools and theatres across England, RSC activity provides pathways for young people, teachers, artists and schools to develop their skills and knowledge.

The production will open at local schools followed by performances in the Swan Theatre, before embarking upon a seven-week tour of partner schools and regional theatres across England.

This production will be created in collaboration with the RSC’s Regional Theatre Partners and Associate Schools, enabling young people to experience Shakespeare for the first time, not simply as audience members but as theatre makers. Robin Belfield and the creative team will respond to young people’s ideas, opinions and creativity, from the way the production addresses key themes that strike a chord with young lives, to the way the production is created with a focus on being environmentally responsible.

All performances of Twelfth Night will be chilled performances offering a welcoming, safe environment for everyone to encounter Shakespeare for the first time.

RSC Director of Education, Jacqui O’Hanlon, said: “Our national partnerships with schools and theatres are at the heart of our mission to make Shakespeare’s work with and for everyone. This production of Twelfth Night will take us into communities across the country, inviting them to participate in the making of the play as well as experience the performance itself. We know this approach creates the kinds of memories that last a life-time for children, their families and teachers and, at a time when arts experiences feel in jeopardy, we are looking forward to making this production  with children and teachers who might otherwise not have access to it.”

The Winter’s Tale on tour

Following its opening in Stratford-upon-Avon alongside The Comedy of Errors and Pericles this Summer, The Winter’s Tale will embark on a national tour in January 2021. Confirmed venues include Salford Lowry in January 2021 and then Alhambra Theatre, Bradford, Canterbury Marlowe Theatre and Newcastle-upon-Tyne Theatre Royal.

As part of the RSC’s commitment to make Shakespeare for everyone, this season will see the RSC continue broadcasting every Shakespeare play in the canon to cinemas across the UK with a recorded performance of The Wars of the Roses Parts 1 and 2 scheduled for screening in 2021. Full details of future Live From Stratford-upon-Avon screenings to be confirmed.

Winter Revel

On 30 and 31 October, the RSC will open its doors to intrepid revellers for a haunting all-night party inspired by the ghosts and gore of Shakespeare’s Macbeth. Something Wicked: A Halloween Revel will see the Royal Shakespeare Company buildings transform with a bewitching programme of live pop-up performances, midnight feasting, immersive storytelling and live music culminating in an all-night sleepover at The Other Place.

Something Wicked: A Halloween Revel is a unique way for audiences to experience the RSC. Full programme details coming soon.

Listings Information


Kate DiCamillo’s

The Magician’s Elephant

A New Musical by Nancy Harris and Marc Teitler

29 October 2020 – 17 January 2021

“Magic is always impossible.  That’s what makes it magic.”

Baltese is a town where nothing extraordinary ever happens. Recovering from a recent war, it is a lonely place, where young Peter lives a frugal life. Then one day, a magician conjures an elephant from the sky, whose appearance sets off a chain of events so remarkable, so impossible, that it changes Baltese forever. Peter is catapulted into the quest of his life, overturning everything he ever thought he knew, and discovering that happiness can come from the most unexpected places.

This brand-new musical for all the family reminds us that even the impossible can be possible when we open our eyes and hearts to those around us

Director Sarah Tipple

Designer Colin Richmond

Lighting Oliver Fenwick

Something Wicked: A Halloween Revel

30 & 31 October

Will you survive until the witching hour? A haunting, all-night party for adults only, inspired by the ghosts and gore of Macbeth.

The event will start with a ‘pre-party’ in The Other Place with costume making, blood guts and gore, cocktail making, face painting, glitzy dressing room exhibitions of archive materials, music and a screening of the 1976 McKellen and Dench Macbeth in the The Other Place studio.

At 11pm guests will be invited to process in their bloody finery down to the Royal Shakespeare Theatre where the party really gets started – a midnight feast: Banquo’s Banquet, immersive performances, an escape room, a witches rave cave, pepper’s ghost hauntings and ghost stories in the tower.

Those brave enough to sleepover are invited to stay on into the small hours for an exclusive all-night experience featuring a haunted backstage tour, storytelling plus plenty of creepy happenings throughout the night.


The Wars of the Roses Part 1 and Part 2

Henry VI Parts 1, 2 and 3 told in two parts

William Shakespeare

10 October 2020 – 2 January 2021

The glorious Henry V is dead.

The new King is weak, manipulated by those on his own side and threatened with civil war by those in opposition. As the factions fight for power, England descends from decency into barbarism as all around the crown seek to seize it for their personal gain.

Filled with passion, politics and revenge, The Wars of the Roses is the ultimate saga. Experience the thrill of rebellion, the brutality of battle, the tension of intrigue and ambition without boundaries, as Shakespeare hurls you headlong through one of the most turbulent periods of English history.

The Wars of the Roses is supported by RSC Production Circle Members The Hitz Foundation and Marcia Whitaker.

Director Owen Horsley with Gregory Doran

Designer Stephen Brimson Lewis

Costume Designer Hannah Clark

Music Paul Englishby

Fights Rachel Bown-Williams and Ruth Cooper-Brown

First Encounters with Shakespeare: Twelfth Night

William Shakespeare

Edited by Robin Belfield

24-26 September 2020

Shipwrecked and separated from her twin brother, Viola washes up on a strange shore and into an even stranger situation.

Disguising herself as a man called Cesario, Viola finds work with Duke Orsino, only to fall head over heels in love with him. But Orsino is in love with Olivia, who is grieving for her brother and refusing all romance. Until, that is, she sees Cesario for the first time.

Add one ambitious butler and some practical joking servants and you have a hilarious story of heartbreak, hoaxes and hidden identities.

Our First Encounters productions are created especially to give 7-13 year olds a fantastic first experience of Shakespeare whilst also being brilliant introductions for anyone new to his work. Using edited versions of the original language, they bring his texts to life on stage in just 90 minutes.

Director Robin Belfield

A Brand-New Adaptation Of Dickens’ A Christmas Carol By Mark Gatiss Will Open At Nottingham Playhouse Prior To Its London Premiere At Alexandra Palace This Christmas

Eleanor Lloyd Productions present the Nottingham Playhouse production of… 

By Charles Dickens
Adapted by Mark Gatiss
Directed by Adam Penford


Producer Eleanor Lloyd and Nottingham Playhouse have announced that a brand-new adaptation of Dickens’ classic Christmas tale written by Mark Gatiss and directed by Adam Penford will premiere at the Playhouse, prior to a Christmas run at London’s Alexandra Palace.

A Christmas Carol will run at Nottingham Playhouse from Friday 30th October 2020, to Saturday 14th November 2020 before previewing at Alexandra Palace from November 27th. The production will have a press night at Alexandra Palace on December 3rd and play until January 10th 2021.

Following his acclaimed performance as the king in Nottingham Playhouse’s award-winning production of The Madness of George III in 2018, also directed by Adam Penford, Mark Gatiss (Dracula, The League of Gentlemen, Doctor Who) leads an ensemble cast, in his own retelling of Dickens’ classic winter ghost story, filled with Dickensian, spine-tingling special effects. Prepare to be frightened and delighted in equal measure as you enter the supernatural Victorian world of A Christmas Carol.

Mark Gatiss says –

 “A Christmas Carol’ has been absolutely my favourite story since I was, well, tiny. It’s an astonishingly powerful tale of life, love, loss and redemption and remains supremely relevant. But at its heart it is a ghost story and that will be at the core of my new version. A scary, thrilling, joyous adventure to get the blood piping on a freezing winter’s night. A Victorian phantasmagoria!”

It’s a cold Christmas Eve and mean-spirited miser Ebenezer Scrooge has an unexpected visit from the spirit of his former business partner Jacob Marley. Bound in chains as punishment for a lifetime of greed, the unearthly figure explains it isn’t too late for Scrooge to change his miserly ways in order to escape the same fate, but first he’ll have to face three more eerie encounters…

The production will open first at Nottingham Playhouse directed by its Artistic Director Adam Penford. Nottingham Playhouse is dedicated to making bold and thrilling world-class theatre in the heart of Nottingham and was named Regional Theatre of the Year in The Stage Awards 2019.

Over Christmas the production will transfer to Alexandra Palace. Originally built in 1875 the Alexandra Palace Theatre has been reawakened and its Victorian features have been restored, making it the perfect backdrop to experience this landmark production.

Further casting will be announced in due course and tickets for both Nottingham and London are on sale to the general public from February 17th.

Ten Times Table Review

King’s Theatre, Edinburgh – until 8 February 2020

Reviewed by James Knight


All mild-mannered Ray Dickson wants is to hold a pageant at the very first Pendham Folk Festival, to celebrate his town’s history. What he didn’t count on was the stresses that come with the preceding committee meetings that threaten to turn a harmless little English folk pageant into a political rally.

Alan Ayckbourn is one of the country’s most prolific playwrights having written over 80 plays. ‘Ten Times Table’ was first performed in 1977, just as the Labour party was beginning to lose its grip and Margaret Thatcher was readying the Tories to take power and change the industrial landscape of Britain for good. Ayckbourn is notoriously apolitical as a writer, which makes any statement on the politics displayed onstage moot. Clearly, our sympathy is meant to lie with Ray himself (a beleaguered Robert Daws) – the man trying to corral the madness. A seemingly self-made business owner, he is beset by problems from the off. Despite organising and convening the committee himself, he must first be proposed, seconded and accepted as chairman, according to the boring and officious local councillor Donald (Mark Curry).

And so the tedium of committees sets in.

The unwritten rules of conduct must, must, be observed, motions are passed, and the whole point of Ray’s hopes for the pageant are slowly squashed, as Marxist teacher Eric (Craig Gazey) and Ray’s own wife Helen (Deborah Grant) gear up for battle. Eric sees the pageant as a chance for the working man to stand up against the fascist military and an opportunity to publicise himself as well, while Helen just wants to put the little man in his place. In doing so, she eventually enlists the help of an actual military man whose sister may or may not be sleeping with Eric.

When the madness does eventually happen, guns are fired, fake rifles used as clubs and costumes malfunction, all while Elizabeth Power’s Audrey plays contentedly on the piano in the background, completely oblivious.

It takes a while for the chaos to ensue, however, bogged down as we are in the first act by relentless bureaucracy, but laughs are easy to come by whenever Audrey or the almost entirely mute Phillipa (Rhiannon Hardy, pretty much effortlessly stealing the show with very little stagetime) are involved.

What’s In A Name? returns home to Birmingham

Adam Blanshay Productions and Nicolas Talar present
The Birmingham Repertory Theatre Production of






Adam Blanshay Productions is pleased to announce further venues are now on sale for the first UK Tour of international hit comedy What’s In A Name?, adapted and directed by Jeremy Sams from the award-winning French film and stage sensation, Le Prènom, by Matthew Delaporte and Alexandre de La Patellière. It plays at The Alexandra, Birmingham from Wednesday 11 until Saturday 14 March.

The ferocious comedy has garnered critical acclaim from across the country since first embarking in the autumn earlier this year, with praise in particular for the cast who will be returning in the new year; Joe Thomas (The Inbetweeners, Fresh Meat), Bo Poraj (Miranda, Musketeers), Louise Marwood (Emmerdale) and Alex Gaumond (Company, Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, Matilda), with further casting to be confirmed in the coming weeks.

What’s In A Name? hilariously captures a particularly awkward family dinner party. The witty and razor-sharpproduction will return to Birmingham, where audiences will have a second opportunity to catch the play after it first opened at the Birmingham Repertory Theatre in 2017. The extended tour kicks off again at The Alexandra Theatre in March 2020 and will then visit Leicester, Bath, Poole, Bradford, Brighton and Bromley. 

Father-to-be Vincent and his partner Anna are invited to dinner by his sister Elizabeth and her husband, Peter. They are joined by childhood friend Carl for a mature and sophisticated gathering.

The meal is lovingly prepared, and wine carefully selected. The friends are prepared for the usual humorous exchanges they’ve come to expect.

But tonight, a startling revelation about the name chosen for Vincent’s and Anna’s expected child becomes the catalyst for a destructive argument which spirals hysterically out of control. Tonight no one is holding back! Egos, childish resentment and unspoken feelings are relentlessly and hilariously exposed for the first time.

What’s In A Name? is written byMatthew Delaporte and Alexandre De La Patellière with adaptation, translation and direction by Jeremy Sams. Set design is by Francis O’Connor and lighting design is by Rick Fisher.

For tickets and more information please visit: whatsinanameplay.com

T: @WhatNamePlay | F: /WhatsInANamePlay | #WhatsInAName

The Alexandra, Birmingham
11 – 14 March
0870 607 7533 | www.atgtickets.com/venues/the-alexandra-theatre-birmingham/










Daily Mail, The Independent, Daily Telegraph

Full casting has been announced for the UK and Ireland tour of the worldwide smash-hit musical, Million Dollar Quartet, opening March 2020.

Based on the famous recording session that brought together Rock‘n’Roll icons Elvis PresleyJohnny CashJerry Lee Lewis and Carl Perkins for the FIRST and ONLY time, Robbie Durham (Johnny Cash), Ross William Wild  (Elvis Presley), Matthew Wycliffe (Carl Perkins) and Katie Ray (Dyanne), with the role of Jerry Lee Lewis shared across the tour by Ashley CarruthersMartin Kaye and Matthew Wycliffe, all return to the stage in their much celebrated roles in this Tony Award winning musical.

The multi-talented cast of actor-musicians join previously announced national treasure Peter Duncan, whoalso returns to the much loved musical. The Olivier Award nominee and former Blue Peter presenter reprises the role of the Father of Rock’n’Roll’, Sam Phillips, following rave reviews for his performance in the musical’s 2017 UK tour.

Inspired by a true story and back by popular demand following success on Broadway and in London’s West End, the musical opens at Southampton’s Mayflower Theatre on Tuesday 10 March, before touring to Southend, Sunderland, Cambridge, Wimbledon, Edinburgh, Cardiff, Dublin, Nottingham, Aylesbury, Bromley, Plymouth, Cheltenham, Salisbury, Bradford and Wolverhampton.

On December 4, 1956, history was made when these four ‘star’ musicians gathered at Sun Records in Memphis, the studios of legendary record producer Sam Phillips, for what would be one of the greatest jam sessions of all time.

Million Dollar Quartet brings that legendary night to life, with its extraordinary story of broken promises, secrets, and the once-in-a-lifetime celebration of four acclaimed recording artists.

This poignant musical features a score of more than 24 legendary rock hits including Blue Suede ShoesFeverThat’s All RightSixteen TonesGreat Balls of FireWalk the LineWhole Lotta Shakin’ Goin’ OnWho Do You Love?MatchboxFolsom Prison Blues and Hound Dog.

The stage production is written by Colin Escott and Floyd Mutrux, directed by Olivier Award nominated Ian Talbot OBE, and includes designs by David Farley, lighting by David Howe and sound by Ben Harrison. The UK tour is produced by Mark GoucherGavin Kalin and Laurence Myers.

Don’t miss your chance to be a fly on the wall of fame and history, and join in the celebration of this red-hot rock ‘n’ roll band for one unforgettable night!

Dick Turpin and crew ride into Grand Opera House box office


Starring Berwick Kaler, David Leonard, Michael Barrass, Suzy Cooper and AJ Powell

The cast of this year’s pantomime at Grand Opera House York will be selling the first tickets at box office when tickets go on sale on Friday 14 February at 10am. They will also be available to chat about their roles in this spectacular production by the world’s biggest pantomime producer, Qdos Entertainment,  the Olivier Award winning team behind pantomimes across England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales, and at the world famous London Palladium each Christmas. Dick Turpin Rides Again will feature Qdos Entertainment’s hallmark of high-quality production values and special effects. Dick Turpin Rides Again promises to be a panto for all ages, young and old.

The panto will run from Saturday 12 December 2020 until Sunday 10 January 2021

TodayTix acquires Encore, the leading independent theatre ticket distribution network in Europe

TodayTix acquires Encore, the leading independent
theatre ticket distribution network in Europe.

The acquisition considerably expands TodayTix’s network, 
cementing its role as the leading global theatre ticketing innovator.

TodayTix, the premier digital gateway to theatre, announced today that it has acquired London-based Encore, Europe’s leading independent ticketing distribution network, for an undisclosed amount. The combination will establish a major global ticketing platform in the world’s two theatre capitals, London and New York.

This landmark acquisition will expand TodayTix’s global reach, offering the best access to theatregoers from around the world via its mobile-first, design-focused ticketing technologies. It will bring thousands of productions and venues across three continents together, through one integrated ticketing company.

Founded in New York in 2013, TodayTix quickly established itself as a disruptor within the theatrical ticketing industry, creating a place for audiences to discover shows and experiences in their city, and easily purchase the best-priced tickets. TodayTix has sold nearly six million tickets to date, now accounting for eight percent of all tickets sold both on Broadway and in the West End annually. Since beginning UK operations in 2015, it has achieved record growth, selling over one million West End tickets in the past year alone.

Encore Tickets was founded in 2000, and in the past twenty years has built up an expansive network of distribution channels that have sold well over one billion pounds-worth of tickets. Encore provides ticketing services to consumers, groups, retail and trade sectors through its own brands as well as landmark distribution and media partnerships. In addition Encore powers multiple sales outlets across London, including directly operating five in the West End.  

Co-Founder and CEO Brian Fenty said of the deal, “From day one, TodayTix has been all about accessibility; we believe that when theatres are full, creators, communities and audiences thrive. The acquisition of Encore will form an unprecedented ecosystem in which producers and audiences can connect, increasing their insight and heightening the ticket-buying experience, furthering our brand promise of bringing the highest quality of service to theatre ticketing.”

Merritt Baer, Co-Founder and President added, “By acquiring Encore, TodayTix renews its commitment to the West End, while continuing to focus on innovation and ensuring that theatre is accessible for everyone. Our team is thrilled to provide thousands of new opportunities for TodayTix theatrical partners to promote and sell tickets to millions of new customers on both sides of the Atlantic – in addition to in our other regional markets.”

TodayTix previously announced in May 2019 that it had received an investment from leading growth-oriented private equity firm Great Hill Partners enabling TodayTix to enter its next stage of development. Key strategic focuses are growth and acquisition, utilising the company’s proprietary data-driven technologies, and developing further personalisation for both consumers and partners.

Joe Steele, CEO of Encore said of the deal, “To be joining forces with TodayTix as we celebrate 20 years of promoting the West End across the world is an exciting moment. Together we are even better placed to deliver valuable audiences for our theatre, attractions and live entertainment partners and to distribute the best of West End, Broadway and live entertainment experiences internationally. Since ECI invested in Encore in 2013 we have grown our revenues and digital talent, expanded internationally, and invested to build a leading technology platform. Encore has always been a pioneer in the online ticketing market and we look forward to continuing our growth journey as part of the TodayTix family and with Great Hill Partners.”