Dirty Dancing Review

Dominion Theatre – until 29th April 2023

Reviewed By Emily Cliff

5*****

I must admit when writing this review that it is not my first time seeing Dirty Dancing on the West End, I was lucky enough to witness the fantastic show last year. But my my, what a difference a year makes. I said it last year and I will say it again, the experience of Dirty Dancing on stage is an unmissable, fantastic and simply magnetic experience that you cannot skip out on.

Compared to last year’s production, it seems like there has been more content from the film added into the onstage productions. Small yet iconic scenes and interludes that we missed last year were included in this year’s stage production. For example, that iconic interlude of Baby Housman dancing over the bridge after a dancing lesson with Johnny was something we missed out on last year. Perhaps with the new producer on the project we can only expect this to get better and better.

Reprising their roles as Baby and Johnny, Keira Malou and Michael O’reilly shared the same electric chemistry they did last year. Making each scene widely sexy, stylish and sleek. Last year marked Kiera Malou’s West End Debut, and oh my god what a debut it was. Over 12 months you can really see the improvement in Keira’s dancing and acting, showing more strength in lifts and more confidence in owning the stage. As ever, Micheal O’reilly charmed and captivated the audience with his performance as Johnny Castle. With the amount of wolf whistles and screams the audience let out at that scene you would think we were at a One Direction show.

Now of course, the elephant in the room – THE lift. The pair made this extremely difficult dance lift seem so effortless I almost attempted it in my living room when I got home. It must have taken weeks of training rehearsing to get it perfect, sitting here talking about it now my mind is still completely blown away by the stamina and strength of the dancers on stage. All of the company numbers were performed with just the right amount of energy, and nobody seemed like they were trying too hard.

I think it is fair to say that this show has painted the town pink once again, dripping with sex appeal. You do not want to miss this show. From the amazing cast to the brilliantly self aware comedic scenes Dirty Dancing on stage is truly something special. Supported by a fantastic cast, and extremely talented on stage band and the most iconic and wonderful soundtrack, once again i am telling you to listen to your Hungry Eyes and trust me, you will have the Time of Your Life.

Due to extraordinary demand, MAMMA MIA! THE PARTY, London’s premier dining experience is extending to 3 September 2023 at The O2, London

  • YOU CAN DANCE, YOU CAN JIVE! NEW BOOKING PERIOD ANNOUNCED FOR MAMMA MIA! THE PARTY AT THE O2, LONDON
  • LONDON’S PREMIER DINING EXPERIENCE IS EXTENDING TO 3 SEPTEMBER 2023

Due to extraordinary demand, MAMMA MIA! THE PARTY, London’s premier dining experience is extending to 3 September 2023 at The O2, London with tickets on sale now

The current cast performing at Nikos Taverna on the Greek island of Skopelos each night includes Javier Rasero as Nikos, Scarlet Gabriel as Debbie, Luke Friend as Adam, Noah Sinigaglia as Konstantina, Rosie Rowlands as Bella (at certain performances), Jamie Birkett, Caline HampartzoumianRobban Hogstrom, and Maison Kelley. They join Lorraine Chappell, who will continue in the role of KateDawn Spence as Grandma, Allie Ho Chee as Bella (at certain performances), Claudia Bradley and Ellis DackombeTamara Perks will play the role of Nina, and Oscar Balmaseda will play Fernando.

The musicians are John DonovanLuke HigginsKathryn TindallSteve Rushton and Luke Roberts.

Created by ABBA’s Björn Ulvaeus, MAMMA MIA! THE PARTY is a unique and magical experience in a class of its own, bringing all ABBA’s hits to life more vividly than ever before! Over the course of four glittering hours, guests can immerse themselves in a spectacular musical extravaganza, a four-course Greek feast and an ABBA disco, all in one unforgettable evening of dancing, dining and singing!

MAMMA MIA! THE PARTY is set in a taverna on the beautiful Greek 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 timeless ABBA songs, a warm, romantic and funny story evolves and unfolds during the evening, taking place around the guests as they enjoy a gourmet Greek meal. The evening ends with a 1970s disco, where audience members are welcome to stay to sing and dance to ABBA recordings.

Food is at the heart of the experience and a menu has been created that delivers the finest Greece has to offer, made from the best, freshest ingredients. Guests are served a traditional mezze followed by the iconic Greek salad of fresh tomatoes, cucumber and feta. The main course of confit lamb shoulder and slow-cooked beef is served with roasted garlic potatoes, courgette peperonata, romesco and aromatic jus. For vegetarian and vegan guests, there is roasted cauliflower with a lemon-herb dressing served alongside a tomato stuffed with lentil ragout. A sumptuous Greek lemon cake served with confit orange skin and citrus yoghurt is the perfect end to this delicious meal. Vegan guests are served traditional loukoumades, delicious dough balls accompanied by a sweet fig jam.

Guests can get the ultimate MAMMA MIA! THE PARTY experience with one of the available packages. The Platinum Package provides a Tier A ticket in a prime location, a cast meet and greet with a tableside photo opportunity, champagne on arrival, half a bottle of wine and a MAMMA MIA! THE PARTY merchandise party pack. Guests can also upgrade their existing booking by adding the VIP upgrade package, taking their experience to the next level with champagne on arrival, half a bottle of Nikos house wine and a MAMMA MIA! THE PARTY merchandise party pack. 

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, with the English book by writer, comedian and broadcaster Sandi Toksvig.

The London version of MAMMA MIA! THE PARTY, which originally opened in Stockholm in January 2016, 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 CDG for Grindrod Burton Casting.

MAMMA MIA! THE PARTY is executively produced by Björn Ulvaeus and produced by Sally Davies for U-Live.

Cory English to play ‘Doctor Emmett Brown’ in BACK TO THE FUTURE – THE MUSICAL

CORY ENGLISH

TO TAKE OVER ROLE OF

‘DOCTOR EMMETT BROWN’ IN

BACK TO THE FUTURE THE MUSICAL

NOW BOOKING UNTIL OCTOBER 2023

Lead producer Colin Ingram, together with Robert Zemeckis and Bob Gale, the creators of the Back To The Future film trilogy, are delighted to announce that celebrated theatre actor, Cory English, will join the cast of BACK TO THE FUTURE The Musical at the Adelphi Theatre, playing the role of ‘Doctor Emmett Brown’. The show will also extend its booking period until Sunday 22 October 2023. Tickets for the new booking period are on sale now.

The critically acclaimed Olivier, WhatsOnStage and Broadway World Award-winning Best New Musical had its opening night in London on Monday 13 September 2021 and recently broke box office records at the Adelphi Theatre for the highest gross sales in one week. BACK TO THE FUTURE The Musical is nominated for three WhatsOnStage Awards in 2023 including Best West End Musical, Best Takeover Performance for Ben Joyce and Best Professional Debut Performance for Oliver Nicholas.

Alongside the extension of the booking period, the Adelphi Theatre’s co-owners, LW Theatres, have also partnered with Gala Pro – a revolutionary app for accessibility and translation to enhance accessible experiences at live performances. Available now, the technology works by delivering individual closed captioning and audio description to the user’s own mobile device. This exciting new partnership accompanies other additions, such as dedicated relaxed, signed, audio described and captioned performances later in the year.

Cory English recently played the role of ‘Doctor Emmett Brown’ in the show from 23 November 2022 to 3 January 2023 and is now taking over the role permanently as Roger Bart heads to the Broadway production, finishing his run on 20 March 2023. Cory played Max Bialystock in the West End and UK Touring productions of The Producers, directed by Susan Stroman. His other credits include Sleepless at Troubadour Theatre Wembley Park, She Loves Me at the Menier Chocolate Factory, Igor in Young Frankenstein on Broadway and in the West End and Benny Southstreet in Michael Grandage’s West End production of Guys & Dolls.

BACK TO THE FUTURE The Musical currently stars Tony Award-winning Roger Bart and Ben Joyce as ‘Doctor Emmett Brown’ and ‘Marty McFly’ respectively, with Amber Davies as ‘Lorraine Baines’, Oliver Nicholas as ‘George McFly’, Jordan Benjamin as ‘Goldie Wilson’, Harry Jobson as ‘Biff Tannen’, Sophie Naglik as ‘Jennifer Parker’, Gary Trainor as ‘Strickland’, Will Haswell as alternate ‘Marty McFly’ and ‘Dave McFly’ and Emma Lloyd as ‘Linda McFly’. Also in the cast are Amy Barker, Simeon Beckett, Sia Dauda, Tyler Davis, Glen Facey, Dylan Gordon-Jones, Adam Margilewski, Cameron McAllister, Alessia McDermott, Bryan Mottram, Laura Mullowney, Anna Murray, Jon Reynolds, Melissa Rose, Georgia Tapp, Justin Thomas, Charley Warburton, Tavio Wright and Rhodri Watkins.

The Original Cast Recording, released on Sony Music’s Masterworks Broadway label, is now available on all formats, including vinyl, and has had over 3 million streams. It features the new music by multi-Grammy Award-winners Alan Silvestri and Glen Ballard alongside classic songs from the movie including The Power of Love and Johnny B. Goode

BACK TO THE FUTURE The Musical won the Olivier Award for Best New Musical, four WhatsOnStage Awards, including Best New Musical, and the Broadway World Award for Best New Musical. The productions in London and Manchester have so far been seen by half a million people and the musical has broken box office records at the Adelphi Theatre.

Based on the Universal Pictures/Amblin Entertainment film, BACK TO THE FUTURE The Musical has a book by Bob Gale and new music and lyrics by Emmy and Grammy Award-winning Alan Silvestri and six-time Grammy Award-winning Glen Ballard, with additional songs from the film including The Power of Love and Johnny B. Goode.

Marty McFly is a rock ‘n’ roll teenager who is accidentally transported back to 1955 in a time-travelling DeLorean invented by his friend, Doctor Emmett Brown. But before he can return to 1985, Marty must make sure his high school-aged parents fall in love in order to save his own existence.

BACK TO THE FUTURE The Musical is directed by Tony Award-winning director John Rando (UrinetownOn The Town), alongside the multi Tony and Olivier Award-winning design team of Tim Hatley (set and costume design), Tim Lutkin (lighting), Hugh Vanstone (lighting consultant), Gareth Owen (sound) and Finn Ross (video), with choreography by Chris Bailey, musical supervision and arrangements by Nick Finlow and Illusions by Chris Fisher. Orchestrations are by Ethan Popp and Bryan Crook, with dance arrangements by David Chase. Casting is by David Grindrod Associates.

Back to the Future the movie was released in 1985, starring Michael J. Fox as Marty McFly and Christopher Lloyd as Doctor Emmett Brown. The film grossed $360.6 million (£279 million) at the box office worldwide and the total box office for all three films in the Back to the Future franchise was $936.6 million (over $1.8 billion in today’s money).

BACK TO THE FUTURE The Musical is produced by Colin Ingram, Donovan Mannato, Frankel/Viertel/Baruch/Routh Group, Hunter Arnold, Gavin Kalin Productions, Playing Field, Crush Music, CJ ENM, Teresa Tsai, Ivy Herman/Hallee Adelman, Robert L. Hutt, Universal Theatrical Group, Ricardo Marques, Augury, Robert Zemeckis, Bob Gale, in association with Kimberly Magarro, Stage Entertainment, Glass Half Full Productions/ Neil Gooding Productions.

Website: BackToTheFutureMusical.com  

Twitter: @BTTFmusical

Instagram: @BTTFmusical

TikTok: @BTTFmusical

LISTINGS INFORMATION

BACK TO THE FUTURE The Musical

Adelphi Theatre

Strand

Covent Garden

London WC2R 0NS

Performances:

Mondays, Wednesdays – Saturdays at 7.30pm, Thursday & Saturday matinees at 2.30pm, Sundays at 3pm

(Please note, there will be additional matinees at 2.30pm on Tuesday 14 February, Monday 10 April, Monday 29 May, Monday 28 August and Friday 20 October 2023. There will be no shows on Monday 13 February or Monday 20 February. The show on Monday 1 May will be at 2:30pm). There will also be a relaxed performance on 12 March, a signed performance on 2 April, an audio described performance on 23 April and a captioned performance on 14 May.

Tickets: from £19.55

Please book via the website: BackToTheFutureMusical.com – no booking fees  

Booking line: 0203 925 2998

Partnerships announced for Olivier Awards 2023

Partnerships announced for Olivier Awards 2023 with Mastercard

officiallondontheatre.com/olivier-awards

The full list of partners has been announced ahead of the Olivier Awards 2023 with Mastercard, which take place on Sunday 2 April at London’s Royal Albert Hall. Public tickets for the star-studded ceremony, widely considered the biggest night in British theatre, are now available exclusively to Mastercard cardholders via priceless.com.

Mastercard returns as headline sponsor this year, having held this position for over a decade. The Olivier Awards is hugely grateful for Mastercard’s invaluable support, without which the Awards could not take place, and for the company’s wider year-round championship of theatre and the arts. 

Agnes Woolrich, Vice President Marketing & Communications, UK and Ireland, Mastercard said:

We are delighted to partner once again with the Olivier Awards to celebrate the best talent and performances British theatre has to offer. Our partnership continues to bring fans closer to their passion for theatre and special moments such as these.

Cunard returns to sponsor the Best Revival category for a 4th year, as well as the nominees’ celebration, which is hosted at The Londoner by hotel partner Edwardian Hotels, who have also supported the Awards for several years. Long-time car partner Audi will provide its top-of-the-range fleet of cars to chauffeur VIP guests to the ceremony and afterparty. Refreshments will be courtesy of returning Champagne partner Taittinger and luxury biscuit maker Biscuiteers.

For the first time, the Lynne & Land Foundation has come on board as an Olivier Awards partner. Established by legendary choreographer Gillian Lynne (who died in 2018) and her husband Peter Land, the foundation will be sponsoring the choreographers’ award, which has been renamed the Gillian Lynne Award for Best Theatre Choreographer.

The Noël Coward Foundation will again sponsor the Best Entertainment or Comedy Play category, which is named in honour of the great British playwright.

ITV returns as broadcast partner for the Awards, and will be showing a highlights programme on the evening of the ceremony. YouTube also returns as a partner and viewers from outside the UK will be able to watch the ceremony in full on the Official London Theatre YouTube channel.

Additional partners include Global, Heart of London Business Alliance, Newman Displays, See Tickets and TikTok.

The production partners for the ceremony are Blue I Theatre Technology, d&b audiotechnik, TAIT, Unusual Rigging and White Light.

OlivierAwards.com | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram 

#OlivierAwards

The Shawshank Redemption Review

Theatre Royal Brighton – until Saturday 28 January 2023

Reviewed by Sue Bradley

4****

The Shawshank Redemption is an adaptation of the film, itself based on a short novel by Stephen King, and tells the story of Andy Dufresne; a wrongly convicted man serving two life sentences for crimes he did not commit, in the notoriously harsh Shawshank Prison.

That’s the top-line. But the real story unfolds as fellow lifer Ellis ‘Red’ Redding takes the role of narrator and helps us to understand the effect that the gentle, clever and essentially honest Andy has on his fellow inmates as well as the prison itself.

Joe Absolom (Eastenders, Doc Martin and many other TV roles) brings a sort of wide-eyed desperation to the part of Andy, staying true to his core beliefs whilst dealing with the unrelenting harshness of the penitentiary. But it is Ben Onwukwe (Eastenders, Coronation Street, Holby City) as Red who really holds our attention. Perhaps channelling some of the gravitas that Morgan Freeman brought to the role in the original film version of the story, Ben has a charismatic deep and resonant voice that perfectly suits the role and made it an absolute pleasure to listen to, despite the lack of hope portrayed in the prison setting.

As part of this excellent cast, notable roles are played by Mark Heenehan as the unscrupulous Warden Stammas, Joe Reisig as the vicious prison guard Hadley and Leigh Jones as Rooster, the hair-trigger con with a maddening laugh.

Set and lighting design by Gary McCann and Chris Davey is simple and effective – we are never left in any doubt that this is a cheerless place to serve out your time.I have seen the film several times over the years and occasionally wondered about the title. If Andy is an innocent man, then why does he need redemption? It came home to me last night that this is as much Red’s story as it is Andy’s, and it is Red’s transformation through his long friendship with Andy that gives the story its name. This is a very fine production and, on a bitterly cold January night, we were, in a way, glad to be ‘inside the Shank’ with Andy, Red and their fellow inmates

The Ocean at the End of the Lane

New Victoria Theatre, Woking – until 28th January 2023

Reviewed by Heather Chalkley

5*****

Joel Horwood’s adaptation of this epic adventure is an all encompassing roller coaster of emotion. Combine that with the genius direction of Katy Rudd and you have a production worthy of more than 5 stars! In Gaiman’s words “There’s magic waiting for you. And Old Mrs Hempstock”.

You are drawn in by the dense forest setting as soon as you walk into the theatre. The constant darkness of the stage focuses your mind on the cleverly lit detail of each scene, waiting for the unexpected and still jumping out of your skin! Within the first few minutes there is a suicide that sets off a series of events to take you on the journey of The Boy (Keir Ogilvy) and his new friend Lettie (Millie Hikasa). You are drawn into his young life by Ogilvy (Boy), to experience the angst of losing his mother, the wide expanse of his imagination and the trepidation of what he has to face to survive. The quirky, funny nature of Lettie (Hikasa) pulls you in to her magical world at the Hempstock Farm, unchanged since Doomsday. Charlie Brooks (Ursula) with her bubbly, sunshine smile is excellent in her duplicitous nature, revealing herself as a Skarthatch, a dark magical being from across ‘the edge’. Her desperation to stay in this world and stop The Boy, is played out in scenes that trick your mind and raises the hair on the back of your neck. The jewel in the crown is the duck pond at the farm, The Ocean at the End of the Lane. Clever use of flowing silks and beautiful puppetry takes you beneath the waves to where Lettie really belongs. My favourite character has to be Old Mrs Hempstock (Finty Williams), the grandmother we all wish for, with her earthy wise words and the art of using the old ways. You believe in Williams as the character straight away.

The magic is completed by the ensemble who move the characters around the stage during battle scenes and bring in puppetry both small and large. The Hunger Birds and Flea are truly horrifying, bringing a physicality to the performance that is awesome!

A performance for all ages, it’s impossible not to shed a tear, jump out of your seat or exclaim out loud – so good I want to see it all again!

Home I’m Darling Review

Royal Theatre, Windsor – until 4 February 2023

Reviewed by Joanna Huggett

5*****

It was a pleasure to go and watch opening night of ‘Home I’m Darling’ written by Laura Wade, an intriguing comedy about a couple’s choice to play out the wife’s fantasy as the 1950s housewife while surrounded by the 21st century world outside.

The play is set in their Welwyn Garden City house, complete with retro décor of formica worktops and kitchen table, bold wallpapers, a ‘tube’ tv with spindly legs and, as if to bring the furnishings up to date, a cocktail bar.

Judy, played by Jessica Ransom, dutifully prepares breakfast for her bread-winner husband Johnny, Neil McDermott, before he leaves for work. A brief encounter which only serves to demonstrate Judy’s subservient role, cooking, cleaning, serving, and yet the two of them exclaiming how ‘awfully sickeningly happy’ they are.

However, piece by piece, the fantasy 1950s lifestyle begins to unravel. Fran, played by Cassie Bradley, reveals seeing Johnny and another women dining on a 20th century pizza. Marcus, Fran’s husband played by Matthew Douglas, finds his over-tactile manner gets him into trouble at work, crying ‘you can’t do anything these days’, and Johnny’s career path as the sole income provider comes off the rails when he gets a new boss, Alex played by Shanez Pattni, a women of all things. The world outside is certainly not conforming to the 1950’s fantasy, nor was the 1950’s as romantic as they imagined, so eloquently put by Judy’s mum Sylvia, played by Diane Keen, with the notion ‘Nostalgia ain’t what it used to be’.

A disturbingly accurate set, a wonderful cast, some good laughs and occasionally a thought-provoking stereotype that you will be discussing well into the following day. An altogether enjoyable evening in Windsor – highly recommended.

SWAN LAKE REVIEW

EMPIRE THEATRE, LIVERPOOL – 24TH JANUARY 2023

REVIEWED BY MIA BOWEN

4****

The visitors to the Empire this week are Bulgaria’s prestigious Varna International Ballet and orchestra, who are in the midst of a debut UK tour with not one but four ballets: The Nutcracker, Swan Lake, Coppélia and Giselle. Last night I was lucky enough to witness their production of Swan Lake, one of the most magnificent ballets of all time. I was treated to a beautiful and spellbinding performance of this compelling tale of tragic romance, set to Tchaikovsky’s unforgettable score.

Founded in 1947 and currently celebrating their 75th anniversary, the critically acclaimed Varna International Ballet has been delighting audiences for decades at home and abroad with its performances of excellence.

The ballet, composed by Pyotr Ilych Tchaikovsky in 1875-76, premiered in 1877 under Moscow’s Bolshoi ballet company. Although it was initially a failure in the eyes of most critics, it has since established itself as one of the most popular ballets in the world. Albeit done to death, when performed veraciously, Swan Lake is a treat for ballet newcomers and dedicated fans alike. This rendition of the timeless ballet, choreographed by Marius Petipa, Lev Ivanov and Sergey Bobrov, does just that – honouring the art of ballet without making it dull.

The principal soloist Anastasia Lebedyk (born in Ukraine) who performs Odette, was mesmerising. Perhaps the most difficult portrayal in all ballet because of the technically and artistically demanding double role of Odette (White Swan) and Odile (Black Swan). Lebedyk executed both roles impeccably, it’s a potentially heart-breaking portrait of two complex and very different women.

Prince Siegfried, performed by lead soloist Marcello Pelizzoni (born in Italy) is a very talented dancer and the audience celebrated his outstanding solo’s with loud cheers.

For me the true standouts of the evening, were the full complement of swan maidens, a magnificent sight of tutu-clad ballerinas moving in unison on stage, they were faultless, synchronised and disciplined.

Swan Lake is a classic and luckily a lot of people know the story without necessarily having seen it. With no dialogue, the storytelling can sometime be difficult to follow but last night it was very clear and easy to follow.

The orchestra needs commending, they brought to life the ballet with Tchaikovsky’s moving and indelible score, conducted by Peter Tuleshkov. I cannot imagine why Swan Lake was once tepidly received, as Tchaikovsky’s ballets astound every time. It truly was before its time.

Casting Announced for THE SPONGEBOB MUSICAL starring GARETH GATES and DIVINA DE CAMPO

SHOWPATH ENTERTAINMENT ANNOUNCES

CASTING FOR THE UK PREMIERE OF

STARRING

GARETH GATES AND DIVINA DE CAMPO

OPENING AT THE MAYFLOWER THEATRE, SOUTHAMPTON

WEDNESDAY 5 APRIL 2023

BEFORE TOURING THE UK AND IRELAND

WHERE GARETH GATES PEFORMS AT SELECTED VENUES

Showpath Entertainment are delighted to announce Gareth Gates and Divina de Campo will star in the UK Premiere of the Tony Award nominated, award-winning THE SPONGEBOB MUSICAL which opens at the Mayflower Theatre, Southampton* on Wednesday 5 April 2023. The production then visits Birmingham*, Bradford, Oxford*, Dublin*, Manchester, Belfast*, Cardiff*, Blackpool*, Peterborough, Wolverhampton, Norwich*, Leicester, Aberdeen ahead of spending five weeks over the summer at theSouthbank Centre’s Queen Elizabeth Hall prior to visitingPlymouth. Full tour details and listings below www.spongebobstage.com

*Venues where Gareth Gates will be performing as Squidward. Further casting, including for the role of Squidward at other venues, to be announced.

THE SPONGEBOB MUSICAL cast stars Gareth Gates (he/him) as Squidward, Divina de Campo (she/her) as Sheldon J. Plankton, Lewis Cornay (he/him) as SpongeBob, Irfan Damani (he/him) as Patrick, Chrissie Bhima (she/her) as Sandy, Richard J Hunt (he/him) as Mr Krabs, Sarah Freer (she/her) as Pearl, Eloise Davies (she/her) as Mrs Puff, Hannah Lowther (she/her) as Karen and Rebecca Lisewski (she/her) as Mayor. They are joined by Sam Beveridge (he/him), Jeremiah Olaleye (he/him)Eleanor Turiansky (she/her), Rhys Batten (he/him) and Reece Kerridge (he/him).

Gareth Gates (Squidward) shot to fame in 2002, coming runner up in the UK’s first Pop Idol. He went on to sell over 5-million records worldwide including five UK number-one singles. His theatre credits include playing Marius in the both the West End and 25th Anniversary Tour of Les Misérables, Joseph in Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat in the West End and on tour, Warner in the UK tour of Legally Blonde and Willard in the UK tour of Footloose.

Divina De Campo (Sheldon J. Plankton) is a seasoned British drag queen and singer who was recently crowned runner up on the first Series of RuPaul’s Drag Race UK. Known for her high soprano and four -octave range, Divina has been featured on ITV’s The Voice and the BBC’s All Together Now. Her critically acclaimed theatre credits include Mary Sunshine in Chicago and most recently her award nominated performance as Hedwig in Hedwig and the Angry Inch.

Lewis Cornay (SpongeBob) was most recently seen as Amos in Whistle Down The Wind at The Watermill. His West End credits include The Book of Mormon, The King and I, The Sound of Music and Mary Poppins. As a writer, Lewis had his debut play Daddy Issues premiere at the Seven Dials Playhouse last year.

Irfan Damani (Patrick Star) was most recently seen in The New Musketeers and The Aliens Who Saved Christmas as part of Trinity Theatre Christmas Rep. His West End credits include Raj in Billionaire Boy at the Garrick Theatre and Father in Ishq the Musical at Sadler’s Wells Theatre. On television he has appeared as Saleem in BBC One’s EastEnders and on film in Mamma Mia: Here We Go Again.

Chrissie Bhima (Sandy) graduated from ArtsEd in 2022. Her theatre credits include Candy in Whistle Down The Wind at The Watermill, Jennifer in The Witches of Eastwick in Concert at the Sondheim Theatre and Avatar in Lift at the Southwark Playhouse.

Richard J Hunt (Mr Krabs) most recently appeared as Mudge in Dolly Parton’s Smoky Mountain Christmas Carol at the Southbank Centre. His other theatrical credits include Bromance The Dudesical at The Other Palace, the UK and European Tour of Jesus Christmas Superstar, Mack and Mabel at the Southwark Playhouse, Me and My Girl at the London Palladium and the UK and European Tour of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat. On television he has been seen BBC2’s Beautiful People, RTE’s The Late Late Show and Channel 4’s Teachers. 

Sarah Freer (Pearl) has recently appeared in Jack and the Beanstalk at Sheffield Lyceum as well as in the UK Tour of Zog and the Flying Doctors. She has also appeared in The Color Purple at Cadogan Hall.

Eloise Davies’ (Mrs Puff) West End credits include 42 Balloons at the Vaudeville Theatre, Grease at the Dominion Theatre, Bonnie & Clyde in Concert at Theatre Royal Drury Lane, Taboo 10th Anniversary at The London Palladium, Be More Chill at The Other Palace, and West End Heroes at the Dominion Theatre.

Hannah Lowther (Karen) has most recently appeared in the West End concerts for Emojiland at the Garrick Theatre and Kinky Boots at Theatre Royal Drury Lane. She has also appeared in Millennials in The Other Palace Studio and Heathers The Musical at The Other Palace where she made history as the first actress to play all three Heathers in Heathers The Musical and went on to win three West End Wilma Awards including Best Understudy.

Rebecca Lisewski (Mayor)most recently appeared in the West End in Strictly Ballroom at the Piccadilly Theatre. Her other West End credits include Mamma Mia! And Carousel. She has also appeared in the UK Tours of Priscilla Queen of the Desert, Tango Moderno, The Last Tango, and Starlight Express.

Who lives in a pineapple under the sea and became the hottest star on Broadway? SpongeBob SquarePants! Plunge into this stunning all-singing, all-dancing, dynamic stage show!

When the citizens of Bikini Bottom discover that a volcano will soon erupt and destroy their humble home, SpongeBob and his friends must come together to save the fate of their undersea world!

With lives hanging in the balance and all hope lost, a most unexpected hero rises up. The power of optimism really can save the world! An exciting new production featuring irresistible characters, magical choreography and dazzling costumes; this deep-sea pearl of a show is really set to make a splash with audiences young and old as the must-see musical of 2023. The future is bright, the future is bold, the future is THE SPONGEBOB MUSICAL.

THE SPONGEBOB MUSICAL is based on the series by Stephen Hillenburg, with book by Kyle Jarrow and featuring original songs by Yolanda Adams, Steven Tyler and Joe Perry of Aerosmith, Sara Bareilles, Jonathan Coulton, Alex Ebert of Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros, The Flaming Lips, Lady A, Cyndi Lauper, John Legend, Panic! At the Disco, Plain White T’s, They Might Be Giants and T.I. and songs by David Bowie, Tom Kenny and Andy Paley. Additional lyrics by Jonathan Coulton. Additional music by Tom Kitt. Musical production conceived by Tina Landau.

THE SPONGEBOB MUSICAL will be directed by Tara Overfield Wilkinson (she/her), with choreographer Fabian Aloise (he / him), designer Steve Howell (he / him), Musical Supervisor Mark Crossland (he / him), Musical Director Marcus Carter-Adams (he/him), Costume Designer Sarah Mercade (she / her),  Lighting and Video Designer Ben Bull (he / him), Sound Designer Ben Harrison (he / him), Costume and Wig Supervisor Megan Rarity (she / her), Associate Choreographer Paris Green (she/her) and Casting Director Harry Blumenau Casting (he / him). Selladoor Worldwide General Management.

©2023 Viacom International Inc. All Rights Reserved. Nickelodeon, SpongeBob SquarePants and all related titles, logos and characters are trademarks of Viacom International Inc. Created by Stephen Hillenburg

About Nickelodeon

Nickelodeon, now in its 43rd year, is the number-one entertainment brand for kids. It has built a diverse, global business by putting kids first in everything it does. The brand includes television programming and production in the United States and around the world, plus consumer products, digital, location-based experiences, publishing and feature films. For more information or artwork, visit http://www.nickpress.com. Nickelodeon is a part of Paramount’s (Nasdaq: PARA, PARAA) global portfolio of multimedia entertainment brands.

THE SPONGEBOB MUSICAL is presented by arrangement with Concord Theatricals. www.concordtheatricals.co.uk

The Lavender Hill Mob

Yvonne Arnaud – until 28 January 2023

Reviewed by Heather Chalkley

4****

This comedy caper originally came out of the Ealing Studios in the early 1950’s, a post war film that still takes the odd swipe here and there at the ‘enemy’. Writer Phil Porter brings it to life for the stage, with the classic unlikely gang transcending class, brought together by the skills needed to pull off the heist.

Miles Jupp (Holland) takes great delight in glamourising the tale of his successful heist, in an expat club in Rio De Janeiro. Justin Edwards (Pendelbury) takes great glee in playing his unlikely stooge. Convincing themselves that visitor Farrow (Guy Burgess) is a film director, fellow expats and club staff are willing players, unfolding the tangled web of the robbery, striking ensemble poses in farcical fashion.

This action packed caper, takes you on twists and turns from the moment a fleck of gold lands on Jupp’s (Holland) shoe to him being led away in cuffs. The cast offer a variety of characters, switching between proper cockney, working class men portrayed by upper class Lady Agnes (Tesa Churchard) and Audrey (Victoria Blunt) to stereo typical French characters played by Brazilian hostess Fernanda (Aamira Challenger) and entertainer Sammy (Tim Sutton). The supporting cast all play a group of English school children at one point! You certainly have to keep your wits about you to keep up!

The magic of the play is created by fantastic staging and props, with moving parts that emerge as an Eiffel tower that Holland (Jupp) and Pendlebury (Edwards) climb! The cast move with ease sometimes passing props between them in comedic style.

This retro play is pure escapism for all generations.