Bunker Without Borders – a week-long festival of theatre, spoken word, dance, and music

A festival of theatre, spoken word, dance, and music

The Bunker, 53A Southwark Street, London SE1 1RU

Tuesday 4th – Saturday 8th April 2017

Bunker Without Borders is a week-long festival at The Bunker exploring the question ‘what might a world without borders look like, sound like, feel like, be like?’. The festival seeks to share stories in search of a united way forward in the current global climate.

Curated with playwright Firdos Ali, spoken word artist James Chelliah, and artists from the Bhumi Collective, The Bunker’s Artistic Director Joshua McTaggart has programmed a series of evenings that place a diverse range of voices on stage from a variety of different backgrounds, cultures, countries, and perspectives.

Ali has worked to present a kaleidoscope of responses to the world around us. Across the week, work from seven playwrights Ali, Amber Hsu, Mahad Ali, Rabiah Hussain, Daniel York, Alexandra Donnachie, and Nicole Latchana will be performed. Highlights of the festival include Latchna’s Fennel-Spiked Lamb which tells the true story of a Bangladeshi immigrant forced into modernday slavery in Scotland and Hussain’s Dissected in which two young female Muslim pathologists must their belief under the microscope as faith and forensics collide.

The week also features 15 of the city’s most exciting spoken word artists, who will perform in sets of three. Chelliah has scoured the London spoken word scene for an eclectic mix of performers who can bring their distinct words to The Bunker, ranging from Charlie de Courcy, the founder of London’s definitive spoken word evening Word Up, to rapper, singer, and spoken word artist Kitty Got Claws and poet Lex Sciore.

McTaggart comments, Bunker Without Borders is about celebrating and representing the incredible breadth and depth of story-telling the artists in this city has to offer. The Bunker came to fruition in a turbulent world, and it is our duty as theatre-makers to face those turbulences head on and ask ‘why?’ and, more importantly, ‘what next?’. It was important to us at The Bunker that we looked beyond just theatre, and we are thrilled to be continuing The Bunker’s tradition of music, spoken word, and dance, alongside a unique set of theatrical offerings. We want Bunker Without Borders to be the start of something bigger, not just a week-long festival and with the energy and excitement this incredible group of artists is bringing to The Bunker, I cannot wait to see what we discover and how, as a united group, we can move forward together.

Each evening of Bunker Without Borders will be complete with music and dance, and accompanied by The Bunker’s usual ‘stick around’ ethos with space for responses, discussions, and drinks at the bar.

Matthew Bourne at York Theatre Royal

Matthew Bourne’s Early Adventures

Town and Country, The Infernal Galop and Watch With Mother

York Theatre Royal, 24 & 25 March

Press performance Fri 24 March, 7.30pm

We are delighted to announce that Matthew Bourne’s EARLY ADVENTURES will arrive at York Theatre Royal on 24 and 25 March as part of a year-long celebration of work to commemorate the 30th Anniversary of the Company.

In EARLY ADVENTURES Matthew Bourne returns to his roots with a programme of hit pieces that launched his career and saw the birth of the style, wit and sheer entertainment that have become hallmarks of the New Adventures Company today. Town and Country and The Infernal Galop were last seen on tour in 2012 and Watch with Mother has not been seen for nearly 25 years.

The cast includes New Adventures favourites: Reece Causton, Tom Clark, Daniel Collins, Sophia Hurdley, Mari Kamata, Jamie McDonald and Edwin Ray as well as Joao Carolino and Paris Fitzpatrick who are making their New Adventures debut.

EARLY ADVENTURES is directed and choreographed by Matthew Bourne with designs by long-time collaborator Lez Brotherston.

Town and Country – Lie back and think of England…Moving and hilarious, this heartfelt pastiche explores notions of national character from a bygone era through the evocative music of Edward Elgar, Noël Coward and Percy Grainger, amongst others.

The Infernal Galop – A French dance with English subtitles. This is France as seen by the uptight English imagination, with all the traditional clichés joyously paraded for our entertainment and climaxing in Offenbach’s inevitable Can-Can!

Watch with Mother – Seen but not heard? – Conkers, Hopscotch, Doctors & Nurses; Children’s games can be all-consuming, competitive and sometimes cruel. Based on Joyce Grenfell’s famous Nursery School sketches (“George… Don’t do that”) and set to Percy Grainger’s own piano compositions and arrangements of Bach and Faure, this 1991 piece has not been seen for nearly 25 years.

There will be a post-show Q & A with Matthew Bourne on Friday 24 March.


The King and I – York Theatre Royal

The King and I

Rehearsals are well under way for a spectacular, lavish production of Rodgers and Hammerstein’s classic musical, the ever-popular King and I.

The company is led by veteran member John Hall as the King and Emma Dickinson as governess Anna Leonowens. Emma was seen as Milly last year in our popular production of Seven Bride for Seven Brothers.

John of course is no stranger to the York Theatre Royal stage and was last seen in our production of The Sound of Music when he starred as Captain Von Trapp.

Other principal roles include: Geoffrey Turner, The Kralahone; Sally Lewis, Lady Thiang; and from our very talented youth group, Jack Porter, Prince Chululongkorn; Flynn Coultous and Ruben Lally, sharing the role of Louis Leonowens, Anna’s son.

Supporting roles include: Richard Hawley, Sir Edward Ramsey; Phillip Jackson, The Captain; Martin Lay, Phra Alach; Finn East, The Interpreter. The young Princess Ying Yawolak, another shared role by members of our Youth group, Jess Parnell and Zoe Blenkiron.

At the helm of this production once again will be professional Director Martyn Knight, assisted by Sue Hawksworth, who has spent many hours putting the cast through their paces and polishing the scenes.

Possibly her biggest challenge has been the fifteen minute ballet The Small House of Uncle Thomas. It promises to be visually stunning and worth all the hard work.

With colourful scenery, stunning costumes and a musical score to die for including: Shall We Dance; Getting to Know You; I Have Dreamed; Something Wonderful; Hello, Young Lovers; I Whistle A Happy Tune; March of the Siamese Children and We Kiss In The Shadow. The King and I is a show not to be missed.

The King and I Runs from 8 – 18 March at York Theatre Royal.

Tickets available from the Box Office 01904 623568 or online at



Silver Lining at York Theatre Royal

The Great Escape – senior citizen style!

English Touring Theatre and Rose Theatre Kingston present the world premiere of

Silver Lining

by Sandi Toksvig

Director Rebecca Gatward. Designer Michael Taylor. Sound and Projection Designer Mic Pool.

Lighting Designer Mark Doubleday. Associate Director Spencer Noll

York Theatre Royal, 28 March to 1 April

Press performance Tues 28 March, 7.30pm

Silver Lining is the new comedy by writer, actor, presenter and political activist Sandi Toksvig which tells the tale of five extraordinary yet forgotten women, who come together one treacherous night to recreate The Great Escape – senior citizen style.

On one dark and stormy night in the upper day room of the Silver Retirement Home, five elderly ladies are trading stories of their remarkable lives. With the storm floods rising and no rescue team in sight, the ladies are faced with the sudden realisation that in order to survive they are going to have to do what they have done for their entire lives – do it themselves.

The cast features Rachel Davies, Keziah Josephs, Maggie McCarthy, Joanna Monro, Sheila Reid and Amanda Walker. Completing the cast is Theo Toksvig-Stewart in his professional stage debut.

Sandi Toksvig’s previous writing for the stage includes the musical Big Night Out at the Little Sands Picture Palace and The Pocket Dream. Until last year she was the presenter of BBC Radio 4’s The News Quiz and in October 2016 took over from Stephen Fry as the host of BBC television quiz show QI. She is the joint founder of the Women’s Equality Party which was established in March 2015.

Sheila Reid, who plays Gloria, is perhaps best known on television for her role as Madge in ITV’s Benidorm. Her theatre credits include Pericles (Shakespeare’s Globe), Othello and The Three Sisters (The Old Vic), Romeo and Juliet, ‘Tis Pity She’s a Whore and Richard III (RSC), When I Was A Girl I Used To Scream And Shout and My Mother Said I Never Should (Royal Court Theatre), The Importance of Being Earnest (Theatre Royal Haymarket), Pornography (Tricycle Theatre), Into The Woods (Donmar Warehouse), Filomena (Almeida Theatre), Hedda Gabler (National Theatre) and at Edinburgh Festival, Love Among the Butterflies, Terrible with Raisons In It (both of which she wrote) and Maurice’s Jubilee (also UK tour). Her other television credits include Call the Midwife, Doctor Who, Father Brown and Psychobitches.

Rachel Davies plays Maureen. Her theatre credits include Ecstasy (Hampstead Theatre), The Party and The Bacchae (National Theatre), Long Day’s Journey Into Night (New Theatre and Old Vic). For television her credits include Emmerdale, A Passionate Woman, New Tricks, Best Friends, Bodies, Cutting it, The Chase, Dalziel & Pascoe and Linda Green.

Keziah Joseph trained at the Central School of Speech and Drama and Silver Lining marks her professional debut as Hope.

Maggie McCarthy plays May. Her theatre credits include We Wait in Joyful Hope (Theatre 503), The Absence of War (Headlong/Sheffield Theatres/Rose Theatre Kingston), Juno and the Paycock (Bristol Old Vic/Liverpool Theatres), Gaslight (Salisbury Playhouse), Children of the Sun, Cocktail Sticks, Doctor’s Dilemma, Major Barbara, Much Ado About Nothing, Philistines, The Rose Tattoo, Mother Clap’s Molly House (National Theatre), Private Lives and Uncle Vanya (Chichester Festival Theatre). Her work for television includes Dancing On the Edge, Feather Boy and She’s Out. Her work for film includes Attack the Block, Leap Year and Hilary And Jackie.

Joanna Monro plays June. Her theatre credits include Jack and the Beanstalk (Hall for Cornwall), Mamma Mia (West End and international tour), Breeze Block Park (Liverpool Playhouse), Habeus Corpus (Exeter Northcott), Women On The Verge Of HRT, Golden Leaf Strut and The Master Builder (Belgrade Theatre, Coventry), Blood Brothers (West End), Prisoner Cell Block H, Baby Love, Rough Crossing, All’s Well That Ends Well, Dead White Males, The Price Of Meat and The Taming Of The Shrew (Nuffield Theatre) and Dreams Of San Francisco (Bush Theatre). For television her work includes Confessions of a Diary Secretary, Angels, People Like Us, The Cazelet Chronicles, Doctor Who, Fast Forward, The Life and Death of Philip Knight and Dream Team. She is currently a recurring character in the BBC Radio 4 series Homefront.

Amanda Walker plays St Michael. Her theatre credits include Orpheus Descending (Haymarket Theatre), Waiting in September: The War On Terror (Southbank Centre) and Superior Donuts (Southwark Playhouse). Her television work includes The Missing, Murphy’s Law, My Family, Daylight Robbery, Fish and The New Adventures of Robin Hood; and for film The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus, Captain America: The First Avenger and Cloud Atlas.

Director Rebecca Gatward’s theatre credits include The Night Watch (Manchester Royal Exchange), The Merry Wives of Windsor (Grosvenor Park Open Air Theatre, Chester), for West Yorkshire Playhouse, The Accrington Pals and Beryl (also Rose Theatre Kingston), The Trial Of Dennis The Menace (Southbank Centre), The Comedy Of Errors, The Merchant Of Venice (Shakespeare’s Globe), Pandas (Traverse Theatre), The Indian Boy (RSC Complete Works Festival), The Canterbury Tales, directed in partnership with Greg Doran and Jonathan Munby and Thyestes (RSC), Touched (Salisbury Playhouse) and Cancer Tales (New Wolsey Theatre Ipswich). She was Company Director on This Is Our Youth with Matt Damon and Casey Affleck at the Garrick Theatre. Her work for television includes EastEnders (winner Broadcast award and soap award nominations for best episode and scene), Casualty, Doctors and Sadie J.


York Theatre Royal

28 March – 1 April

Evening 7.30pm.

Matinees Thurs 2pm, Sat 2.30pm

Tickets £30-£14

Post-show discussion 29 March

AD performance Sat 1 April 2.30pm







Sisters Grimm, the creators of the Grammy® Award-nominated show INALA, are delighted to present the UK premiere of VOICES OF THE AMAZON, a passionate dance musical from the heart of Brazil, directed by Pietra Mello-Pittman, choreographed by Helen Pickett and composed by Ella Spira in collaboration with Brazilian songwriters Danny Nascimento, Dito Martins and Julien Davis and world‐renowned percussionists Olodum. Casting is to be announced.


VOICES OF THE AMAZON will open at Sadler’s Wells on 4 July 2017 following an appearance at the Chekhov International Theatre Jubilee Festival in Moscow from 14-16 June. The show will then travel to Singapore to perform at Grand Theatre, Marina Bay Sands from 28-30 July. The show has recently been announced as part of the line-up for Latitude festival 2017. For more information, please visit: http://www.latitudefestival.com/line-up/artist/sadlers-wells-present-sisters-grimm-voices-amazon


Set amidst the Brazilian rainforest, VOICES OF THE AMAZON follows the story of Beleza; a water spirit from the Amazon, whose search to cure her dying sister takes her on a life-changing journey deep into the rainforest.


VOICES OF THE AMAZON features a sensational musical score, containing sounds recorded from the Amazon Rainforest, with music and songs performed in English and Portuguese. Combined with Helen Pickett’s fusion of ballet, contemporary and capoeira, the show aims to highlight the damaging effects of deforestation, the loss of natural medicines and plants, and promises an exhilarating live experience, embracing the true spirit of Brazil.


London-based production company Sisters Grimm was formed in 2009 and is comprised of former Royal Ballet ballerina Pietra Mello-Pittman and Grammy-nominated composer Ella Spira. In 2014, they produced the hugely successful sell-out UK tour INALA, starring Ladysmith Black Mambazo.


American-born choreographer, Helen Pickett, has created over 30 ballets in the U.S., and Europe, and is currently Resident Choreographer for Atlanta Ballet. She performed with William Forsythe’s Ballett Frankfurt for over a decade and The Wooster Group for 5 years.


VOICES OF THE AMAZON has lighting design by Ben Cracknell, stage and costume design by Temple Clark and sound design Adrian Rhodes. WWF, EDEN and Alexander Van Tulleken (CBBC’s Operation Ouch, Channel 4’s How to Lose Weight Well) will provide scientific consultation.


Website: voicesoftheamazon.co.uk

Facebook:  www.facebook.com/sistersgrimmltd

Twitter: @amazon_voices

Instagram: @voicesoftheamazon


Running time: 100 mins (including interval)


4 – 8 July 2017


Sadler’s Wells

Rosebery Ave,

London EC1R 4TN


Performances: Tuesday – Saturday at 7.30pm and Saturday at 2.30pm


Tickets: £12 – £38

Box Office:  020 7863 8000

Website: www.sadlerswells.com/whats-on/2017/sisters-grimm-voices-of-the-amazon




B E A U T I F U L  –  T H E   C A R O L E   K I N G   M U S I C A L




Last night (6 March 2017) in front of a sell-out performance, Carole King surprised the cast and audience when she made her second visit to see the West End production of Beautiful – The Carole King Musical.  King was greeted with a standing ovation at the Aldwych Theatre as she took to the stage at the curtain call to congratulate the cast.  Following her surprise appearance, she continued on stage by singing her classic hit You’ve Got A Friend in front of a thrilled crowd.  King said: “I was so excited to surprise the cast, they genuinely had no idea, nobody knew!  CJ (Cassidy Janson who plays King in the musical) literally brought me to tears this evening with her performance of Natural Woman.  She was who I was, she felt what I felt.  She was me!”s


To coincide with the show’s second birthday in London on Wednesday this week (8 March 2017) a further 130,000 tickets will go on sale taking booking at the Aldwych Theatre to 4 November 2017.


The Olivier, Tony and Grammy award-winning show opened in the West End in February 2015 when Carole King attended the Gala opening.  Last month on 9 February 2017 celebrations took place at the Aldwych Theatre to mark both Carole King’s birthday and the production’s second birthday in the West End.  In addition to the West End production, an extensive UK tour of Beautiful – The Carole King Musical will begin in September.  In January 2014 Beautiful – The Carole King Musical received its Broadway premiere at the Stephen Sondheim Theatre.  A US tour began in September 2015 and an Australian production will open in Sydney in September this year.

Beautiful – The Carole King Musical is the untold story of her journey from school girl to superstar; from her relationship with husband and song-writing partner Gerry Goffin, their close friendship and playful rivalry with fellow song-writing duo Barry Mann and Cynthia Weil, to her remarkable rise to stardom.  Along the way, she became one of the most successful solo acts in music history, and wrote the soundtrack to a generation.


The West End cast comprises Cassidy Janson in the title role, Matthew Seadon-Young as King’s husband and song-writing partner Gerry Goffin, Lorna Want as song-writer Cynthia Weil, a role for which she won the 2015 Olivier for Best Actress in a Supporting Role in a Musical, Ian McIntosh as song-writer Barry Mann, Joseph Prouse as music publisher and producer Donnie Kirshner and Barbara Drennan as King’s mother Genie Klein.


They are joined by Gavin Alex, Georgie Ashford, Koko Basigara, Tsemaye Bob-Egbe, Ashford Campbell, Treyc Cohen, Natasha Cottriall, Michael Duke, Matthew Gonsalves, Jammy Kasongo, Leigh Lothian and Earl R. Perkins who play iconic musical performers and band members of the era and swings Derek Aidoo, Rosie Heath, Dominic Hodson, Emma Louise Jones, Jessica Joslin, Vicki Manser, David O’Mahony and Jaime Tait.


Beautiful – The Carole King Musical is based on the early life and career of legendary singer/ songwriter Carole King.  Book is by Douglas McGrath with words and music by Gerry Goffin,Carole King, Barry Mann and Cynthia Weil.  The production is directed by Marc Bruni with choreography is by Josh Prince, set designs by Derek McLane, costume designs by Alejo Vietti, lighting by Peter Kaczorowski and sound by Brian Ronan. Orchestrations and Music Arrangements are by Steve Sidwell.

Beautiful – The Carole King Musical features the Carole King classics including So Far Away, It Might as Well Rain Until September, Take Good Care of my Baby, Will You Love Me Tomorrow, Up on the Roof, Locomotion, One Fine Day, You’ve Got a Friend, (You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman and I Feel the Earth Move, along with hits from songwriters Barry Mann and Cynthia Weil like You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feeling, On Broadway and Uptown.

Producers are Paul Blake, Sony/ATV Music Publishing, Jeffrey A. Sine, Richard A. Smith, Mike Bosner, Harriet N. Leve/Elaine Krauss, Terry Schnuck, Orin Wolf, Patty Baker/Good Productions, Roger Faxon, Larry Magid, Kit Seidel, Lawrence S. Toppall, Fakston Productions/Mary Solomon, William Court Cohen, BarLor Productions, Matthew C. Blank, Tim Hogue, Joel Hyatt, Marianne Mills, Michael J. Moritz, Jr., StylesFour Productions, Brunish & Trinchero and Jeremiah J. Harris.


Theatre:                           Aldwych Theatre, Aldwych, London WC2B 4DF

Dates:                              now booking to 4 November 2017

Performances:                   Monday 7.30pm, Tuesday 2.30pm, Wednesday 7.30pm, Thursday 2.30pm & 7.30pm, Friday 7.30pm, Saturday 2.30pm & 7.30pm

Box Office:                         0845 200 7981

Website:                           www.beautifulinlondon.co.uk

The Three Phantoms Review

Parisian Theatre, Macau.  28 February to 26 March 2017.  Reviewed by Lindsay Sykes

The Three Phantoms as a concept and show has been around for a good few years now, and still regularly pulls in the crowds to their concerts. The Three Phantoms is the brainchild of musical theatre star Earl Carpenter.  For this performance they have stripped back their theatrical set and are joined by Mark Aspinall leading the Concert Philharmonic Orchestra to create a sensational night out.

Emerging onto the stage in immaculately tailored suits the trio comprises Earl Carpenter, David Shannon and Kieran Brown. Starting with Cry Me A River and then introducing themselves with some jokes – speaking in English with subtitles on the side screens.  The Phantoms are joined by 3 leading ladies  Olivia Brereton, Marisa McIntyre and Lisa-Anne Wood, three dancers Rachel Chapman, Joanna Walters and Paige Starbuck and the wonderfully talented Alistair Barron also assists (and in one or two numbers, stands out) — though the phantoms are humorously keen to take pains to deny his presence

There is music from The Phantom Of The Opera but it does not predominate. Highlights include a medley from Les Miserables commencing with Aspinall leaving his stand to conduct the 10 voices in a sublime a-capella version of I Dreamed A Dream. The vocal beauty of this particular arrangement is breathtaking and the show should be seen if for no other reason than to experience quite what the human voice is capable of in this one song.

And the four males certainly provide the finest rendition of Miss Saigon’s ‘Bui Doi’ you’re ever likely to hear.

Singing a string of West End favourites, the performers reckon that to see all of the shows they’ve taken songs from you’d have to fork out over £90,000 for tickets alone, the cast cover a nice section of music from the past 30 years

There is less chat in this production than in previous shows but with an audience whose first language isn’t English, the music does the speaking for them

The singers have the ability to hold the audience in the palm of their hands, and there is little to fault about The Three Phantoms, performed with consummate professionalism and gusto by its appealing cast. Above all the show presents 8 international stars of musical theatre whose talents are incomparable. As a whole, the music of this particular night is easy to recommend to any fan of the great stage musicals.

If you happen to be in Macau before the end of March or Singapore in May, then go and see this show and you too can experience the sweet intoxication of the power of the music of the night


Casting update from Chichester Festival Theatre



Further casting has been announced for the opening productions of Chichester Festival Theatre’s 2017 season, FORTY YEARS ON and CAROLINE, OR CHANGE.

Daniel Evans, Chichester’s new Artistic Director, opens Festival 2017 directing Alan Bennett’sFORTY YEARS ON, running at the Festival Theatre from 21 April – 20 May with a press night on 26 April.

Richard Wilson leads the cast as the Headmaster, with Thomas Bird, Lucy Briers (Miss Nisbitt),Alan Cox (Franklin), Jenny Galloway (Matron), Michael Hamway, Joe Idris-Roberts,  Danny Lee Wynter (Tempest), Michael Lin, Oliver Marshall, James McConville, Martin Sarreal and Silas Wyatt-Barke. Over 50 local young people will also be part of the company.

Tony Kushner and Jeanine Tesori’s musical CAROLINE, OR CHANGE  runs at the Minerva Theatre from 6 May – 3 June, directed by Michael Longhurst, with a press night on 11 May.

Sharon D. Clarke plays Caroline Thibodeaux; joining her in the cast are Keisha Amponsa Banson(The Radio), Me’sha Bryan (The Washing Machine), Angela Caesar (The Moon), Alex Gaumond(Stuart Gellman), Nicola Hughes (Dotty Moffett), Teddy Kempner (Mr Stopnick), Beverley Klein(Grandma Gellman), Ako Mitchell (The Dryer/The Bus), Abiona Omonua (Emmie Thibodeaux),Gloria Onitiri (The Radio), Vincent Pirillo (Grandpa Gellman), Jennifer Saayeng (The Radio) andLauren Ward (Rose Stopnick Gellman).


Online public booking is now open; phone and in person booking opens on Tuesday 7 March. cft.org.uk   Box Office 01243 781312


Prologue: £5 tickets for 16 – 25s

10,000 £5 tickets are available for 16 to 25 year-olds for all productions throughout Festival 2017; sign up for free at cft.org.uk/prologue.  Members also have access to a range of exclusive events.



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#Forty Years On




Sonia Friedman Productions is today celebrating as the full Olivier Awards Nominations list includes a record-breaking 31 potential winners for productions that the company is behind.

Sonia Friedman said:

“I am bowled-over that our work has been recognised with 31 Olivier Award nominations and would like to congratulate everyone SFP has worked with across the year including all of the wonderfully talented writers, actresses, actors, directors, composers, musicians, designers, co-producers and investors as well as my extraordinary and dedicated team at SFP ALL of whom have been integral in making this 2016/2017 season another year of remarkable and record-breaking theatre.”

Full list of SFP nominees:

Virgin Atlantic Best New Play
Harry Potter And The Cursed Child at Palace Theatre

Mastercard Best New Musical
Dreamgirls at Savoy Theatre

Magic Radio Best Musical Revival
Funny Girl at Savoy Theatre

Best Revival
The Glass Menagerie at Duke of York’s Theatre
Travesties at Apollo Theatre

Best New Comedy
Nice Fish at Harold Pinter Theatre

Best Actor
Tom Hollander for Travesties at Apollo Theatre
Jamie Parker for Harry Potter And The Cursed Child at Palace Theatre

Best Actress
Cherry Jones for The Glass Menagerie at Duke of York’s Theatre

Best Actress in a Musical
Amber Riley for Dreamgirls at Savoy Theatre
Sheridan Smith for Funny Girl at Savoy Theatre

Best Actor in a Supporting Role
Anthony Boyle for Harry Potter And The Cursed Child at Palace Theatre
Freddie Fox for Travesties at Apollo Theatre
Brian J. Smith for The Glass Menagerie at Duke of York’s Theatre

Best Actress in a Supporting Role
Noma Dumezweni for Harry Potter And The Cursed Child at Palace Theatre
Clare Foster for Travesties at Apollo Theatre
Kate O’Flynn for The Glass Menagerie at Duke of York’s Theatre

Best Actor in a Supporting Role in a Musical
Adam J Bernard for Dreamgirls at Savoy Theatre

Best Director
John Tiffany for Harry Potter And The Cursed Child at Palace Theatre
John Tiffany for The Glass Menagerie at Duke of York’s Theatre

Best Theatre Choreographer
Steven Hoggett for Harry Potter And The Cursed Child at Palace Theatre

Outstanding Achievement in Music
Dreamgirls – Music by Henry Krieger at Savoy Theatre
Harry Potter And The Cursed Child – Composer and Arranger: Imogen Heap at Palace Theatre

White Light Award for Best Lighting Design
Neil Austin for Harry Potter And The Cursed Child at Palace Theatre
Natasha Katz for The Glass Menagerie at Duke of York’s Theatre

Best Sound Design
Adam Cork for Travesties at Apollo Theatre
Gareth Fry for Harry Potter And The Cursed Child at Palace Theatre

Best Costume Design
Gregg Barnes for Dreamgirls at Savoy Theatre
Katrina Lindsay for Harry Potter And The Cursed Child at Palace Theatre

Blue-i Theatre Technology Award for Best Set Design
Bob Crowley for The Glass Menagerie at Duke of York’s Theatre
Christine Jones for Harry Potter And The Cursed Child at Palace Theatre

As Sonia Friedman Productions prepares to transfer Our Ladies of Perpetual Succour to the West End, they would also like to congratulate all those involved in the production at National Theatre – Dorfman, including originating producers the National Theatre of Scotland and Live Theatre, on their nominations for Best New Comedy and Best Supporting Actress.

Handbagged Review

Jack Studio Theatre 28 February – 11 March.  Reviewed by Claire Roderick

First Knight Theatre’s production of Moira Buffini’s Handbagged is delightful. It’s like a barmy history lesson from two dotty old pre-National Curriculum teachers – educating you on THEIR favourite events, and brushing everything else under the carpet.

Queen Elizabeth’s weekly meetings with Mrs Thatcher between 1979 and 1990 are impishly reimagined by Buffini, with the Queen and Mrs T being watched and interrupted by older versions of themselves looking back at their strained relationship.

It is knowingly theatrical, with jokes about everything staying within these three walls, and the male actors explaining who they are playing, arguing over who gets to play the less obnoxious characters, explaining events “for the younger members of the audience” and berating Mrs T and the Queen for omitting important events. The Queen’s desire for an interval is a running joke throughout the first act, as is the confusion of the elder Mrs T about the actor playing Denis.

The laughs come thick and fast, but there are some sobering moments. The play gallops through defining moments in Thatcher’s premiership, the troubles, the Falklands, the miners’ strike, the poll tax riots, her stance on Rhodesia and South African apartheid, and reminds the audience of her ability to polarise opinion and society. The Queen, on the other hand, prefers to remember royal weddings, the royal yacht and trips around the Commonwealth. Their views on their roles in key diplomatic incidents are poles apart, and the disdain they feel for each other beneath their brittle courtesy is beautifully portrayed. Buffini doesn’t force her own opinions on the audience, each woman is convinced that she is correct, and the male actors are admonished for stating their “own” political views about events.

Sue Higginson as the elder Mrs T is both imperious and fragile, giving hints of her dementia; while Sarah Tortell is near perfection as a wonderful caricature of her younger self, switching from smooth lecturing and patronising tones into a hectoring harridan brilliantly. Fiona McGahren does well as the Queen, but is unlucky enough to have the fantastic Pauline Armour standing next to her as the older version – stealing the show with every gesture and well-timed line in an outstanding performance. Howie Ripley and Mark Steere take on the male roles with aplomb, their “Kinnock-off” is a standout moment, and the sight of Ripley, dressed as Nancy Reagan, reluctantly performing a speech by Enoch Powell is not to be missed.

Handbagged is a wonderful play, beautifully performed and full of laugh out loud moments. A fantastic night out.