Three Men in a Boat Review

The Mill at Sonning – until 13th July 2024

Reviewed by Marcia Spiers

4****

This entertaining play is based on a book released in 1889 that made lazing about on the river an attractive pass time for Brits during the summer months even to this day. Adapted for the stage the story tells of Jerome taking his friends Harris and George (plus the invisible but feisty dog) up the Thames in a rowing boat from Kingston Upon Thames to Oxford. The play is very much at home here as Sonning Mill sits right on the Thames and the group pass through the pretty village of Sonning on their travels. There were also humorous references to less attractive towns like Maidenhead and Reading on route which made the audience titter.

The play opens with the trio debating the various issues of the day and a decision made to get away from it all. James Bradshaw plays George. An excellent performance here, demonstrating adaptability by playing the various odd characters they meet along the river and including the audience in skits. I really loved his part. Likewise, an impressive performance by Sean Rigby plays the musically gifted, flamboyant Harris in his orange and yellow jacket. Entertaining us with slapstick comedy around an invisible piano (yes there were a few invisible things used to significant effect), an audience singalong and playing the different characters catching an ever-bigger fish. Last, but not least George Watkins who plays Jerome K Jerome himself. I have seen George in previous productions at the Mill and would say this was the best so far. He plays the pompous Jerome to perfection with many funny jokes. It was all very Henley!

I loved the way the boat moved around the stage, the way the props were quicky switched to dry land and the inclusion of old pictures of familiar spots along the Thames path including Sonning Bridge, Windsor, and Oxford. A great night scene very cleverly orchestrated not wishing to give too much away! There were interesting props including a hamper and other items floating on the river. The costumes were all very Regatta jackets and straw boaters, a familiar site around these parts this time of the year.

The invisible dog was a little strange at first, but this added to the comedy alongside the other invisible things. I recommend seeing this play as it provides nostalgia, fun and a summer vibe that we all need right now!

Operation Mincemeat Review

Fortune Theatre, London – until 25 January 2025

Reviewed by Claire Roderick

5*****

Operation Mincemeat is in the safest of hands (although one pair is bafflingly sweaty) as MI5’s new recruits continue the show’s triumphant Olivier award winning run in the West End.

Truth can be stranger than fiction, and the story of MI5’s deception to clear the way for the Allied invasion of Sicily was one of the most bizarre gambles of WW2. Portrayed on film as early as 1953 as The Man Who Never Was, this fascinating story seems like a ridiculous idea for a musical, but the ridiculously talented SpitLip did just that – and the 5-star reviews and awards keep rolling in. David Cumming, Felix Hagan, Natasha Hodgson and Zoë Roberts created a fast-paced show that manages to be hilarious, heartbreaking, mocking and celebratory. The show is an ensemble masterpiece, with a cast of 5 playing about 50 characters from the overconfident MI5 public schoolboy agents to the plucky and “dependable ladies” working for the government to stoic sailors, mortuary attendants and boyband Nazis.

SplitLip’s lyrics are fast and funny, cramming more laughs into one song than some productions manage in an entire show, and covering a wide range of musical styles, with Jenny Arnold’s inspired choreography adding to the hilarity – you’ve never seen Nazis move like this. Among the nonsense are poignant reminders of the seriousness and the human cost of the mission – switching mid-song between debauched scenes in London clubs and the quiet tension of the submarine crew as explosions rock the vessel. The mission ends with a glitzy finale, but then the show ends with a quiet but stirring tribute to the man who never was – Glyndwr Michael.

David Cumming, Natasha Hodgson, Zoe Roberts, Jak Malone and Claire-Marie Hall originated the roles of Charles Cholmondeley, Ewen Montagu, Johnny Bevan, Hester Leggett and Jean Leslie with unforgettable performances, leaving giant boots to fill – but the incoming agents fill those boots brilliantly.

Claire-Marie Hall, Seán Carey and Christian Andrews continue in the roles of Jean, Charles and Hester, and Emily Barber and Chlӧe Hart are new to the company, playing Ewen Montagu and Johnny Bevan. Holly Sumpton, Geri Allen, George Jennings and Jonty Peach complete the company, taking on the roles as needed. One of the joys of this production is the celebration of the shifting energy onstage when roles are played by different actors. There is even a mincemeat bingo sheet allowing you to mark every cast combination you are lucky enough to see. Each actor brings something different and the company appear to relish the freshness this brings each time.

Emily Barber is a fantastically entitled and self-assured Montagu and Seán Carey is delightfully eccentric and intense as Charles, both nailing the chalk and cheese comedy relationship. Chlӧe Hart has a blast with the contrast of stern and direct Johnny Bevan and the frankly insane Ian Fleming and Haselden. Their comedy is brilliant, and less broad and manic (I mean that in the best way!) than the original cast, so Claire-Marie Hall and Christian Andrews have upped the ladies’ game a little, with bigger reactions to the men’s nonsense and adding even more gorgeous moments between Hester and Jean that shines more light on their evolving relationship and making their duet in Useful bring a lump to your throat faster than before. Christian Andrews performs Dear Bill magnificently, effortlessly capturing the need to stay strong for your sweetheart while wrestling with your own emotions, and not leaving a dry eye in the house. Robert Hastie’s impeccable direction makes it all appear seamless on Ben Stones’ deceptively simple set – the costume and prop changes are nonstop.

With a 9th extension through to 25 January 2025, announced, Operation Mincemeat continues to delight faithful fans and newcomers alike. A gloriously silly and uplifting show that is simply unmissable. You have your orders – now, go!

Kym Marsh singing Animal Lover from 101 Dalmatians The Musical is released on streaming platforms

Today the studio recording of Animal Lover from 101 Dalmatians The Musical is released across streaming platforms including Spotify.

This is the first music track released from Kym Marsh in 20 years.

The song is Cruella de Vil’s big solo number in the touring stage production, and Kym took to the studio a couple of weeks ago to record it with musical supervisor Alfonso Casado Trigo. You can see them at work with the accompanying video on YouTube, which was first revealed last week on The One Show.

Animal Lover, alongside all the songs in 101 Dalmatians The Musical, was written by Douglas Hodge with orchestration by Jack Hopkins, and Leigh Stanford Thompson is the musical director.

101 Dalmatians The Musical opens at the New Wimbledon Theatre on the 22nd June 2024 and tours the UK and Ireland until 5th January 2025. For more information see https://101dalmatians.co.uk/. Please find attached the full casting release for further information.

SAM PALLADIO, star of NASHVILLE and OKLAHOMA! in the West End, releases debut album

SAM PALLADIO

ANNOUNCES DEBUT ALBUM

THE PERFECT SUMMER’S DAY, BEFORE WE LOST THE LIGHT

OUT SEPTEMBER 13TH 2024

PRE-ORDER HERE

‘MEANWHILE IN LONDON’

BRAND NEW SINGLE RELEASED

WATCH THE VIDEO HERE

INTIMATE HEADLINE SHOW ANNOUNCED

100 CLUB, LONDON – JUNE 19TH 2024

TICKETS ON SALE NOW HERE

Acclaimed musician and actor Sam Palladio has announced his debut album The Perfect Summer’s Day, Before We Lost The Light out September 13th 2024 and available to pre-order now here.

Palladio raises the curtain on the record with the release of new single ‘Meanwhile In London’. It opens the album with a showcase for his warm earthy vocals, highlighted alongside harmonies which shine among grand strings and horns, while his knack for an earworm melody beam through with its propulsive chorus.

As the Cornish singer and multi-instrumentalist originally shot to fame in America, playing the character of Gunnar Scott in the American TV series Nashville, the new song ‘Meanwhile In London’ reflects on the whirlwind path his transatlantic career has carved. 

Regarding the single Palladio says, “I wanted to make a record opener that spoke to who I am. This is my experience of being a British guy who spent a long period in the States and fell in love. I was travelling so much, missing home and wondering what that person was doing and getting all those intrusive thoughts.”

The album title The Perfect Summer’s Day, Before We Lost The Light is a lyric taken from the achingly touching pop ballad ‘Something On My Mind’. The single was released at the end of last year and is inspired by the passing of Sam’s mother Sally.

“I wanted to dedicate the album to mum,” Palladio says. “I took the chorus lyric, “there’s something on my mind, it haunts me every night, the perfect summer’s day, before we lost the light”, to create the title. It symbolises mum being the light of our lives, and the darkness once it fades. I liked the joy and beauty of the line on its face value, as it reminds me of youthful summer days on Cornish beaches. But I also liked the dichotomy it created when put into the context of loss. Ultimately, I felt that it allows her to live forever through song.” 

The opening trombones in ‘Something On My Mind’ provide a fanfare celebration of Sally’s life at her musical ceremony, which erupts with a grand anthemic chorus from Sam and his band, reflecting the cherished memories shared through life in this heartfelt tribute. 

The Perfect Summer’s Day, Before We Lost The Light also speaks to Palladio’s lifelong experience in and around music, and to his deep immersion in heartland Americana, while also retaining his obsessive fandom for rock and the likes of Incubus, Rage Against The Machine and Biffy Clyro.

During his time in Music City, Palladio found himself rubbing shoulders with his heroes. Discovering that the arena-sized Biffy Clyro were appearing at Nashville’s Mercy Lounge – a 250-capacity club that he himself had played – he excitedly tweeted the band. Next thing he knows, he’s backstage with Simon Neil and the James twins – all of them huge Nashville fans.

“Cut to the following year. It was the final season in ‘Nashville’. I was always pitching my own songs for the show,” Palladio reflects. “My character had his final song in the show, where he goes from the country thing to, fuck it, he’s going to be a rock star. So I said to Simon: Would you be up for trying to write a song for my character’s final song? He said: It would be an honour!”

A strong relationship blossomed and in 2023 Neil joined Palladio onstage at his headline show at Hammersmith Apollo for a duet of the Biffy hit ‘Many Of Horror’. In 2024 the pair once again join musical forces on Palladio’s debut album with ‘Spill Your Heart’. It is a laid-back anthem for late night bars, rich with the smooth and slick vocals from Palladio and Neil, alongside lush acoustic guitars which break out into hair-raising crescendos of mighty riffs.

Digging back into the southern rock he’d been hearing in situ for the best part of a decade is ‘Tennessee’. The recent single is a rollicking bar-room anthem, which boasts scorching riffs and soloing from Foo Fighter Chris Shiflett – another close friend of Palladio.

“What Chris did was a perfect blend of his crunchy Foos thing, with a little bit of his chicken-picking country guitar, because his sensibilities are country, and he loves that world,” notes Palladio. “Again, I was so thrilled that he was happy to put his name to this project.” 

Born in Nashville, with some judicious nods back to the UK, The Perfect Summer’s Day, Before We Lost The Light was finished in Los Angeles. Working in the iconic “Prince Room” in the legendary Sunset Sound studios in LA, Grammy-winning producer Dave Sardy(Noel Gallagher, Band Of Horses, Royal Blood) applied additional production, and called in some musician friends. Palladio was only too happy to have Matt Chamberlain (Stevie Nicks, David Bowie) replace his own drum work, while ex-Jellyfish man Jason Faulkner (St Vincent, Beck) came in and “replayed a load of guitars and put in some beautiful organs and keys,” he says. “We had done a lot of the groundwork in Nashville, and then this little bit of California stardust was sprinkled through.”

It was a wonderful end to a serendipitous story of magical debut album. After a handful of years in the acting spotlight – a career that certainly isn’t going away, having just hit the big screens playing The Clash frontman Joe Strummer in the hugely acclaimed new biopic Bob Marley: One Love – Sam Palladio is now ready for his rock’n’roll close-up with The Perfect Summer’s Day, Before We Lost The Light.

It’s a record that captures the best side of Palladio, offering clarity and transparency into the life, thoughts and feelings of the extremely talented Brit.

To celebrate the album announcement and release of ‘Meanwhile In London’, Palladio has announced a last minute intimate headline show in London at the 100 Club on June 19th 2024. Tickets are on sale now here

THE PERFECT SUMMER’S DAY, BEFORE WE LOST THE LIGHT

  1. Meanwhile In London
  2. Tennessee (feat. Chris Shiflett)
  3. Tears In A Carpark
  4. Something On My Mind
  5. Spill Your Heart (feat. Simon Neil) 
  6. Gone Like The Summer
  7. SMF
  8. B.O.A.T
  9. Bullet for Your Love 
  10. Jenni
  11. Wake Me Up In Nashville

For more information contact Wilful Publicity

[email protected] / [email protected]

90.2% OF AMERICANS SAY OPERATION MINCEMEAT IS NOT “TOO BRITISH” FOR BROADWAY

The best of theater in 2023

“The Brits have made the year’s funniest musical…Against the odds, the “Operation Mincemeat” gang has found its way to the big time.”

Peter Marks, The Washington Post

#1 2023 Theatre Show

“Despite all that Hollywood firepower, my top pick was a homegrown musical about the UK’s role in World War II”

Sarah Rappaport, Bloomberg

“Is the quite splendid “Operation Mincemeat” ridiculously clever or cleverly ridiculous? Both…this is the musical you didn’t know you needed”

David Benedict, Variety

“My far-and-away favorite production—and a complete surprise to me—was the musical “Operation Mincemeat… a comedy that has been cheerfully dismantling jingoism builds a stirring vision of real fellowship in its place.”

Helen Shaw, The New Yorker

“the feel-good West End musical of the summer… The reviews for the show have been ecstatic… the overwhelming impression is of hopefulness, expansiveness, possibility and joy.”

Alexis Soloski, The New York Times

14th June – Following a survey of Americans who have seen the Oliver Award-winning Operation Mincemeat, an analysis has shown that 90.2% say the show is not “too British” for Broadway.

While American producers and investors have expressed admiration for Operation Mincemeat, it has also been conveyed the musical is “too British” for Broadway. In response to this, alongside the musical’s West End American audience growing from 2% to just under 11%, coupled with anecdotal positive feedback from these theatregoers, a survey was conducted.

A sample of 1000 Americans living in the US who have seen the show 1 time at the West End’s Fortune Theatre has been analysed, in line with US polling practice. Those who have seen the show multiple times have been excluded from this sample. Attached is a summary of the survey results which have just been shared with the show’s mailing list.

Operation Mincemeat entered its second year in London on the 13th May 2024 with a debut performance of the new cast, Emily BarberSeán Carey, Chlöe Hart, Christian Andrews and Claire-Marie Hall –“the West End hit is still the perfect mix of ingenious, silly and moving…With a new cast, the Olivier Award-winning musical about the wartime operation is as terrific as ever” ★★★★★ Marianka Swain, The Telegraph  followed by a ninth extension announcement through  25th January 2025. Tickets are on General Sale now from the Official Box Office here.

After the success of the Monday ballot, which was introduced to ensure tickets get into the right hands, this has now been expanded to include Tuesday and Saturday shows. Monday ticket prices remain frozen at £39.50, and the popular fortnightly £25 ticket lottery continues here (the next draw is on 17th June). The first ballot draws for the new booking period from 18th November to 25th January took place yesterday. More information here.

The year is 1943 and we’re losing the war. Luckily, we’re about to gamble all our futures on a stolen corpse. 

Singin’ in the Rain meets Strangers on a Train, Noel Coward meets Noel Fielding, Operation Mincemeat is the fast-paced, hilarious and unbelievable true story of the twisted secret mission that won us World War II. The question is, how did a well-dressed corpse wrong-foot Hitler? 

The production is directed by 2023 Olivier Award nominated Robert Hastie (Standing at the Sky’s Edge, National Theatre – 2023 Best New Musical Olivier Award winner), following providing directorial support for the Riverside Studios run, while Olivier Award nominated Jenny Arnold (Jerry Springer: The Opera, National Theatre) continues as Choreographer. Also from Standing at the Sky’s Edge at the National Theatre on the creative team are: 2023 Olivier Award nominated  Ben Stones (Sylvia, The Old Vic) as Set and Costume Designer, Tony Award, six-time Olivier Award and Bafta Award winning Mark Henderson (Girl From the North Country, Broadway & Noël Coward Theatre) as Lighting Designer and Olivier Award winning Mike Walker (Jerry Springer: The Opera, National Theatre) as Sound Designer.  Grammy Award winning and Tony, Emmy & 2024 ‘Outstanding Musical Contribution’ Olivier Award nominated Steve Sidwell (Beautiful: The Musical, Broadway & Aldwych Theatre) is Orchestrator and Vocal Arranger, while 2024 ‘Outstanding Musical Contribution’ Olivier Award nominated Joe Bunker is Musical Director. Georgie Staight is Associate Director and Paul Isaiah Isles is Associate Choreographer. Casting is by Pearson Casting. The extraordinary debut musical is written and composed by SpitLip – David Cumming, Felix Hagan, Natasha Hodgson and Zoë Roberts.

Operation Mincemeat won the 2024 ‘Best New Musical’ and ‘Best Actor in a Supporting Role in a Musical’ Olivier Awards, following receiving six nominations. These awards trail winning the 2024 ‘Best New Musical’ WhatsOnStage Award and the ‘Best West End Show’, ‘Rising Star’ and ‘Best Understudy’ West End Wilma Awards. Previously on the show’s journey, Operation Mincemeat has picked up the Off-West End award for ‘Best Musical Production’ and ‘Best Company Ensemble’ and The Stage Debut Award for ‘Best Composer/Lyricist’.

Operation Mincemeat is presented in the West End by Avalon (in association with SpitLip), who have supported since the Southwark Playhouse runs. The show was commissioned by New Diorama Theatre, co-commissioned by The Lowry, and also supported by the Rhinebeck Writers Retreat.

Giffords Circus: Avalon Review

Chiswick House and gardens – until 23 June 2024

Reviewed by Heather Chalkley

5*****

It’s always a pleasure to review this family run business. It is more than your average circus. From the moment you arrive you are immersed into the Gifford Circus experience. Director and writer, Cal McCrystal, and his creative crew have produced a village green feel with the circle of wagons and entertainment, before you even hit the big top! There is food and drink so you can mingle with old and new friends, plus spot the occasional celebrity. 

Avalon is a great theme to weave a story through the performances. Although Tweedy the clown was missed this year, Tyler West is a great addition to the family. His interaction with the audience and dynamic physical humour keeps everyone laughing. He doubles up with ‘Merlin’ Maximiliano Stia with a unique Samson and Goliath image. The enigmatic smile and gentle Arthurian words of Nick Hodge wins the audience over before you even see his awesome Cyr Wheel performance. The Damsels of the Ring Morgan Barbour and Victoria Sejr, give you a refreshingly alternative style of aerial artistry. Along with the hand balancing and vaulting of The Godfathers troupe and Pat Clarrison’s performing dogs, you are offered a combination of jeopardy, beauty, cuteness and humour that keeps the audience engaged and applauding throughout 100% of the performances. 

The artistry of the set and costume cleverly takes you into the world of Avalon, all bound together by Jethro ‘Dull’, the talented band of musicians. They are very much a part of the story. This is an experience for all the family that will be remembered forever. 

DRACULA – THE BLOODY TRUTH REVIEW

OCTAGON THEATRE, BOLTON – UNTIL SATURDAY 29TH JUNE

REVIEWED BY ZOE BROWN

5*****

I know I’ve said it before, but the Octagon Theatre Bolton really knows how to entertain and this co-production between Stephen Joseph Theatre and the Octagon has it all.

What a joy to watch. Dare I say it, this production is even better than The Play That Goes Wrong, for me!

The premise of the story is based fairly closely on Bram Stoker’s famous novel, however, in this production, the fictional character of Professor Van Helsing seeks to convince you that the fictional story of Dracula is in fact, a fact! Think spoof TedX talk with the addition of a motley crew of actors, trying somewhat unsuccessfully to bring the story to life. With Van Helsing as our narrator, he points out from the top that this is not theatre, nor is it for our entertainment, but it is ‘the bloody truth’, intended to warn and enlighten us. This very construct is the basis for almost all the subsequent calamities.

With the company’s four actors taking on no less than forty different characters, this show depends on a cast that compliments and elevates each other. There is a palpable sense that they are having a whale of a time, and so are we. Chris Hannon as Van Helsing makes for an enthusiastic and bombastic character, Annie Kirkman’s Dracula is devilishly precise, Alyce Liburd’s Mina is naïve and demure, Killian Macardle’s Lucy, coy, yet vivacious. Comedic chops abound; they take us on a dynamic rollercoaster of a show.

As with all farces, the timing must be perfect, and is so deliciously perfect, with gags one after the other, after the other. Director Paul Robinson has done a sterling job.

With precarious proscenium arch and forestage, the clever set design by Helen Coyston brings the action up close, so much so that at times the audience themselves are thrust into the story. A sparce rickety setting, variety of broken household furniture and cheap props, as well as the mis-timed sound cues all serve as a fifth ensemble to the cast.

It has all the hilarity and fun needed to make it an instant hit; spoof, physical clowning, wordplay, audience interaction – a bit Mighty-Boosh-esc, a bit Python-esc, even modern hits like ‘Don’t You Need a Girlfriend’ make it in there. If you’re a fan of farce, or a fan of panto, heck even if you just want a good belly laugh, you need to get yourself a ticket.

Life of Pi Review

Everyman Theatre, Cheltenham – until 15th June 2024

Reviewed by Jacqui Radford

5*****

A spectacular adaptation of the novel written by Yann Martel, this production is an awe-inspiring mix of storytelling, puppetry and set design. If you have read the book, then you will not be disappointed in its interpretation. For me, that is a marker for a ‘must see’ production.

The story is a recount of the recent life experience of 17-year-old Pi, played by Divesh Subaskaran. Pi and his family move from India to Canada amidst political turmoil. Not only do they flee India, but they also take their family zoo with them. A boy, his sister, their Mum and their Dad; accompanied by orangutans, a zebra, a hyena and a tiger! What could possibly go wrong?

At the opening of the show, it is evident that something has gone horrendously wrong and that is where the story begins; a fantastical story that is portrayed with equally fantastic puppetry and choreography, directed by Finn Caldwell. The interpretation skill brought to this production by the puppetry team is at the highest level you could imagine.

Pi recounts the moments between a traumatic shipwreck and survival but with a fairytale quality. This is where stage design, lighting, puppetry and choreography work seamlessly to create a magical tale. The production switches between an almost stark stage set and narrative that is focussed on tragedy, an intense experience of survival at sea and the creativity of a traumatised young mind. All of these keep you engaged right through to the end, which provides the twist in the tale.

If you are looking for a production that doesn’t betray the novel that has inspired it, would like to experience truly sensitive puppetry and on your doorstep, this is the production for you!

Bernadette Peters is Live From London on 12 August 2024

Lambert Jackson, Cuffe and Taylor and Live Nation Present

BERNADETTE PETERS – LIVE FROM LONDON

BROADWAY’S BRIGHTEST STAR

AT THE THEATRE ROYAL DRURY LANE

FOR ONE NIGHT ONLY

AT 7.30PM ON MONDAY 12 AUGUST 2024

Bernadette Peters, Broadway’s brightest star, will bring a new show, BERNADETTE PETERS – LIVE FROM LONDON to the Theatre Royal Drury Lane on Monday 12 August, for one night only.

The multi-award-winning actress, singer and author will present an evening of song featuring music from the Broadway shows that have earned her critical acclaim, as well as tracks from her Grammy Award winning and nominated albums including standards and classics from Rodgers & Hammerstein, Stephen Sondheim and Jerry Herman, among others. 

Get ready for a dazzling night like no other because nobody does it like Bernadette Peters.

Throughout her illustrious career, Bernadette Peters has dazzled audiences and critics with her performances on stage, film and television, in concert, and on recordings. She has garnered numerous accolades including three Tony Awards, a Golden Globe, four Emmy and four Grammy Award nominations and a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

Best known for her work on stage and one of Broadway’s most critically acclaimed performers, Bernadette just concluded a highly successful West End debut in the Cameron Mackintosh production of Old Friends, celebrating the life and work of Stephen Sondheim. It was recently announced the production will transfer to Broadway for the 2025 season.

TICKETS: https://lwtheatres.co.uk/whats-on/bernadette-peters/

Insta: @officialbernadettepeters

X: @OfficialBPeters

Instagram and Facebook: @lambertjacksonproductions

X: @ljprods

Instagram: @cuffeandtaylor

X: @CuffeandTaylor

Rita, Sue & Bob Too! Embarks On 2025 UK Tour Starring Jake Quickenden

RITA, SUE & BOB TOO! EMBARKS ON NATIONWIDE TOUR IN 2025

Jake Quickenden to lead star cast in cult comedy play from Regal Entertainments Ltd

The smash hit stage version of cult classic comedy Rita, Sue & Bob Too! is set to embark on a new 10-week nationwide tour next spring.

TV favourite Jake Quickenden heads the stellar cast as Bob in the Regal Entertainments Ltd production which will visit 10 venues across the UKbetween Tuesday 4 February and Saturday 12 April 2025.

The tour opens at St Helens Theatre Royal on Tuesday 4 February and then travels to Hunstanton, Stockport, New Brighton, Birmingham, Southport, Billingham, Rhyl and Barnstaple before ending at the Liverpool Olympia from 9-12 April.

Tickets for all venues go on sale at 10am tomorrow, Friday 14 June.

Andrea Dunbar’s hilarious and gritty tale of love, lust and tested friendships is based on the 1987 British film and features a brilliantly funny script along with all the best 80s music, taking audiences on a riotous trip down memory lane through this cult classic. 

Rita and Sue are two working class girls from a run-down council estate who are about to finish their final year at school. In their spare time, they earn money babysitting for married couple Bob and Michelle. 

Behind Michelle’s back, Bob embarks on an affair with both Rita and Sue, who take it in turns with him in his car in the countryside. Michelle eventually finds out and leaves lothario Bob. When Bob later develops a preference for Rita, the two girls fall out but when Sue ends up in an abusive relationship, the trio are reunited.

Singer, actor and TV personality Jake Quickenden rose to prominence as a contestant on ITV’s The X Factor. Following his departure from the show in 2014 he was immediately signed up to appear on I’m a Celebrity…Get Me Out of Here where he finishes as runner-up. His numerous other TV appearances include: The Chart Show, Lorraine, The Real Full Monty: On Ice, Celebrity Bumps, Celebrity SAS ‘Who Dares Wins’, and Dancing on Ice which he won in 2018 with his professional skating partner Vanessa Bauer.

His stage credits include the National Tours of The Full Monty, Hair, Footloose and Friendsical.

In 2019 he joined the cast of Hollyoaks as Woody.

Jake Quickenden said today: “I’m delighted to be joining the brilliant cast of Rita, Sue and Bob Too! Regal Entertainments have a fantastic reputation for producing exciting entertainment in Merseyside and I can’t wait to take the show all over the UK.

“Andrea Dunbar’s play is a classic and I can’t wait to play Bob.”

Jake will be joined by Hollyoaks’ Jessica Ellis as Michelle, Shameless and Coronation Street’s Warren Donnelly as Dad, Britain’s Got Talent’s Siobhan Phillips as Mum, Kay Nicholson as Rita and Jenna Sian O’Hara as Sue.

Jessica Ellis – Jessica is a Liverpool actress who was first cast in episodes of EastEnders and Doctors before joining the cast of the popular soap Hollyoaks in 2013, playing the role of Tegan Lomax for five years. After leaving Hollyoaks in 2018 she appeared in ITV crime drama The Bay.  She previously appeared as Michelle in Rita, Sue and Bob Too! at St Helens Theatre Royal in 2022, while her other stage credits include Bedroom Farce at Theatre by the Lake, Fat Friends the Musical on tour, and The Book of Will at Shakespeare North Playhouse.

Warren Donnelly – Warren is well-known to TV viewers as Stan in five series of Shameless and for his roles in hit shows like Tin Star, Moving On, Cold Feet and Life on Mars. He is currently playing Roscoe in Coronation Street. Stage credits include Slappers and Slapheads at Liverpool’s Royal Court and God’s Official at West Yorkshire Playhouse/Liverpool Everyman. He has appeared in several pantos for Regal Entertainments including Cinderella, Aladdin, Sleeping Beauty and The Wizard of Oz.

Siobhan Phillips – Singer and comedienne Siobhan is best known for wowing the judges as the only female finalist on Britain’s Got Talent in 2019. Described as ‘the love child of Peter Kay and Victoria Wood’, her hilarious self-penned songs really struck a chord with the nation.  Siobhan started her career at the age of 16 as a singer, but her personality also shone through with Sir Ken Dodd describing her as ‘a sunny new star with the voice of an angel and a natural comic ability’. In addition to Britain’s Got Talent, in 2003 she was a finalist on Channel 4’s Operatunity and she has also appeared on shows including This Morning, Loose Women, Lorraine and the Frank Skinner Show. Much in demand at major sporting events and by leading cruise lines, she has performed all over the world.

Kay Nicholson – Liverpool comedian, actress and writer Kay is reprising her role as Rita after appearing in the comedy for Regal Entertainments two years ago. Along with Rita, Sue and Bob Too! her stage credits include resident host at Magic Mike London. She regularly appears at Liverpool’s Hot Water Comedy Club and is also a regular guest on The Mild High Club award-winning comedy club podcast.

Jenna Sian O’Hara – Lancashire-born actress and singer Jenna’s stage credits include Beyond the Pier at The Royal Court, RuneSical at the Edinburgh Fringe and Achy Breaky Bride at St Helens Theatre Royal, while she has also appeared in Jack and the Beanstalk and Goldilocks and the Three Bears for Regal Entertainments.

Rita, Sue & Bob Too! is brought to the stage by Regal Entertainments Ltd and directed by Chantelle Nolan.

Director Chantelle Nolan said: “This is a very exciting announcement for us. After over 20 years of producing brilliant entertainment in St Helens, Regal Entertainments Ltd has developed a touring department and we can’t wait to share our five-star productions with new audiences from all over the UK.

“We’re very proud to develop talent and provide jobs for theatre professionals from all over the Liverpool City Region and to attract the top stars from the worlds of theatre, film and TV to star in our productions.

“We believe in supporting the region’s talent and we can’t wait to visit the fantastic towns and cities scheduled for our inaugural tour of Rita, Sue and Bob Too!

“Andrea Dunbar’s cult classic film was originally a hit play, and we know that it’s a show that you can see time and time again and still be rolling in the aisles with laughter, so be sure to book your tickets today.”

For more details on Rita, Sue and Bob Too! visit the tour website on www.rsbtuktour.com

SHOW LISTINGS 

RITA, SUE AND BOB TOO!

St Helens Theatre Royal

Tuesday 4 – Sunday 9 February 2025

sthelenstheatreroyal.com | 01744 756 000

Princess Theatre, Hunstanton

Monday 10 – Friday 14 February 2025

princesstheatrehunstanton.co.uk | 01485 532 252

Stockport Plaza

Tuesday 18 – Saturday 22 February 2025

stockportplaza.co.uk | 0161 477 7779

Floral Pavilion, New Brighton

Wednesday 26 – Sunday 2 March 2025

floralpavilion.com | 0151 666 0000

Crescent Theatre, Birmingham

Tuesday 4 – Saturday 8 March 2025

crescent-theatre.co.uk | 0121 643 5858

The Atkinson, Southport

Wednesday 12 – Saturday 15 March 2025

theatkinson.co.uk | 01704 533 333

Forum Theatre, Billingham

Wednesday 19 – Saturday 22 March 2025

forumtheatrebillingham.co.uk | 01642 552 663

Pavilion Theatre, Rhyl

Thursday 27 – Saturday 29 March 2025

rhylpavilion.co.uk | 01745 330 000

Queens Theatre, Barnstaple

Tuesday 1 – Saturday 5 April 2025

queenstheatre-barnstaple.com | 01271 316 523

Liverpool Olympia

Wednesday 9 – Saturday 12 April 2025

liverpoololympia.co.uk | 0151 263 6633

Tickets for all venues go on sale at 10am tomorrow, Friday 14 June.