Shakespeare and storytelling combine in this story of loss at Leicester Square Theatre

May 16th – May 21st 2016

Leicester Square Theatre

“When sorrows come, they come not single spies. But in battalions.”

Critically acclaimed Cambridge University Footlights and

Royal Central alumna Lowri Amies bears all in her new play Words, Words, Words, to be performed at the King’s Head

Theatre and the Leicester Square Theatre this Spring. An exploration of the grieving process, Lowri interweaves

Shakespeare with personal stories to shed light on a subject which goes largely unacknowledged and unsupported, especially amongst young people – the death of a parent.

 “an amazing talent (…) cleverly incorporates quotes from the Bard’s plays yet still makes sense to those who are not so familiar with them” Vivienne Lafferty

When Lowri lost her mother, she lost her voice. The vocabulary of her childhood disintegrated, the old words failed to fit the new story. Denial, shock…acceptance? Can she rewrite a version of herself which can speak these new words? Words, Words, Words is one girl’s attempt to confront grief in her own voice amidst a sea of others. As an actor, she can borrow Shakespeare’s words to play many parts – Juliet, Rosalind, Macbeth, Hamlet – but can she

play herself?

“Superb new play by Lowri Amies – raw, honest and emotional. Highly

recommended.” @L_Anstey

“Enjoyed your brave and personal Words, Words, Words last night.” @H_Rietveld

“Very much enjoyed Words, Words, Words; poignant & witty in a very modern while

traditionally theatrical sense.” @greanep

The show premièred as part of the Black Box Festival at the Etcetera Theatre in January, and his since played dates at the Miller Theatre and King’s Head Theatre. Given the universality of its message and subject matter, it was not only extremely well received by the artistic community, but also generated interest from the healthcare profession.

Network of Independent Critics

Network of Independent Critics:

Two Weeks Left in Crowdfunding Campaign

Founded in early 2016 by Katharine Kavanagh and Laura Kressly, the Network of Independent Critics exists to champion quality arts writing outside of the mainstream press. They have selected 21 experienced performance critics from an international applicant pool to come to Edinburgh Festival Fringe for a one week stay, and their crowdfunding campaign is now two weeks away from closing.

Through the NIC’s campaign, the critics will benefit from an affordable immersion into the largest arts festival in the world, where they can hone their skills, increase their portfolio and network with their peers. Artists and performers at the festival will benefit from the presence of specialised, knowledgeable writers – who may otherwise find costs of attending prohibitive – that will see and review work that oftentimes falls outside of mainstream publications’ radar. Funds raised will be split equally between participants to go towards living costs in Edinburgh.

With salaried arts critic posts disappearing, the internet offers a direct route to tailored critical coverage for readers. The demand for this work exists, but making independent criticism a sustainable vocation is still a struggle.

The scheme will also include a week of mentorship in reviewing circus for 3 participants, in partnership with, the UK’s only publication dedicated to circus critique. Applications for these places will be opening soon.

The critics who have been selected, and their specialist areas of interest, are:

Amy Stutz – dance and plays with integrated music

Benjamin Huxley – poetry and spoken word

Ben Walters – cabaret

Beth Madeline Iredale – physical theatre and street performance

Victoria Durham – work from minority groups

Callum Moorin – stand up, sketch and musical comedy

Carl Woodward – work by young people

Charlotte O’Growney – new musical theatre and small cast shows

Eda Nacar – BAME performance and classical adaptations

Fergus Morgan – student and low-budget shows

James Waygood – LGBT theatre

Joanna Trainor – In-Yer-Face theatre

Johnny Fox – new musical theatre

Kirsty Alexander – children’s theatre

Lee Anderson – new writing

Mary Nguyen – opera and musical theatre

Meaghan McGurgan – work not normally seen in Asia for a Hong Kong readership

Michael Davis – female-led performance

Natalie O’Donoghue – drag and cabaret

Steve Stratford – LGBTQ performance

Rosie Curtis – experimental performance

Search for young actors


Grand Opera House York

Thursday 4 – Saturday 6 August

Grand Opera House York is looking for young male performers aged 14 – 21 years to take part in their 2016 Stage Experience: Oklahoma. If you fit the bill please contact[email protected] for an application form.

The theatre has already cast Reece McMahon as Will Parker and Conor Mellor as Curley McLain, both from York; Caitlin Galgie from Great Ayton in Middlesbrough will play the part of Laurey and Sophia Bonini from Harrogate in the role of Ado Annie. The cast spent an afternoon at Piglets Adventure Farm Park with the new-born lambs and piglets doing photos to publicise the show.

The first show ever written by the Rodgers and Hammerstein team guarantees to be another blockbuster for our stage experience team, and has something for everyone – a good story, big songs, catchy tunes, dance routines, and love interests – all of which will showcase the enormous wealth of talent in our cast and crew”.  Clare O’Connor, Producer.

Stage Experience is an intensive two week project for ten to 21 year olds, who will be directed by professional director and choreographer Louise Denison, who will be joined by the musical director Adam Laird.

The project will run from Saturday 23 July, culminating in four performances from Thursday 4 to Saturday 1 August. As well as budding actors, Stage Experience welcomes young and aspiring theatre technicians, who will work with the professional team on sound, lighting, set, props and costumes.

Be sure not to be miss what has been billed as Rodgers and Hammerstein’s most innovative show – on for 3 days only!

Tickets: from £16 from box office on 0844 871 3024 or book online at

Frank Sumatra

May 9th – May 18th, 8.45pm, Theatre N16

Bev and Keith are a nice young couple who like to do their bit for the environment, and spend ten quid a month sponsoring an orphaned orangutan in a Sumatran sanctuary. They’re also trying hard for a baby. When their adopted orangutan turns up on the doorstep, he’s soon got his grippy feet firmly under the table and they find themselves parents to a hairy, delinquent teenager.

The dark and absurd comedy is performed in the style of a live radio recording and is described as Paddington Bear gone wrong. And not a bear.

“Sitcom meets Kafka” British Theatre Guide

Frank Sumatra is a Geordie! The play began life after it was commissioned for a tour of North East venues last year and is now coming to London to take part in the Wandsworth Fringe Festival. Jamie Eastlake, artistic director of Theatre N16, says: “I loved Frank Sumatra when I read the script and knew it would be a brilliant way to show off some cracking Geordie talent and humour down here.”

Frank Sumatra is written by Newcastle playwright Mike Yeaman. His comedies Lucky Numbers and

Canoeing For Beginners have been translated into several languages and produced in Europe and

New Zealand, as well as in the UK. The production is directed by Neil Armstrong (Writers’ Guild of

Great Britain and National Comedy award nominations) and has Pip Chamberlin, Dean Logan and Hannah Walker in the cast.

Theatre N16 is a trailblazing company that wants to change the face of the theatre industry. It is a bastion for the arts, making theatre accessible and affordable for audiences and in turn allowing artists to survive financially.

The Killing of Charles Bravo

May 9th – May 19th, 1pm & 4pm, Theatre N16

In May 2016, for an extremely limited run, Twenty Seven Live Ltd and Theatre N16 will play host to an exclusive, site specific, promenade performance, based on a real life murder case that took place right in the heart of Balham.

In 1876, a lawyer named Charles Bravo was murdered in his own house, by an unknown assailant, using the most devastating of poisons. To this day, no one knows the truth, or the real murderer, despite many motives and characters that have now been etched in history. Audiences will meet the very people who wandered these corridors, contemplating their fate, whilst exploring the historical rooms at The Bedford Arms, Balham.

The Times called it “the most disgusting exhibition to have been witnessed in this generation”, with many writers and novelists, including Agatha Christie, exploring this dark and sinister side of the Victorian Era.

Theatre N16 is a trailblazing company that wants to change the face of the theatre industry. No matter how little money a production has behind it, if it has potential and that spark of innovation, they want to know. Theatre N16 is proud of their commitment to the welfare of creatives, operating without a hire fee for external companies. This promoting and nurturing of talent means that Theatre N16 is a bastion for the arts, making theatre accessible and affordable for audiences and in turn allowing artists to survive financially.

2016-2017 UK Tour of The Full Monty






The 2016/17 UK Tour of Simon Beaufoy’s THE FULL MONTY, which won the UK Theatre Award for Best Touring Production, will begin in Bournemouth on 21 September 2016, finishing at the Sheffield Lyceum on 15 April 2017.


The cast will be led by Gary Lucy (Danny Pennant in EastEnders, DS Will Fletcher in The Bill, Kyle Pascoe in Footballer’s Wives, Luke Morgan in Hollyoaks, winner of Dancing on Ice) as Gaz, along with Joe Absolom (Matthew Rose in EastEnders and Al Large in Doc Martin) as Lomper, Andrew Dunn (best known as Tony in Dinnerladies and for his regular appearances playing Alastair Campbell on Bremner, Bird and Fortune) as Gerald, Louis Emerick (Mick Johnson in Brookside and PC Walsh in Last of the Summer Wine) as Horse, Chris Fountain (best known for his roles as Justin Burton in Hollyoaks and Tommy Duckworth in Coronation Street, runner-up of Dancing on Ice) as Guy and Kai Owen (best known for his portrayal of Rhys in Torchwood and recently played Pete in Hollyoaks) as Dave. 


In 1997, a British film about six out-of-work Sheffield steelworkers with nothing to lose, took the world by storm becoming one of the most successful British films ever made.  The story still resonates today, probably more so now than ever. 


Simon Beaufoy, the Oscar- and BAFTA-winning writer of the film, has adapted his own screenplay for this hilarious and heartfelt stage production, which features the iconic songs from the film by Donna Summer, Hot Chocolate and Tom Jones.


THE FULL MONTY is Simon Beaufoy’s first work for the theatre. His screen credits include The Hunger Games: Catching Fire, Salmon Fishing in Yemen, 127 Hours and Slumdog Millionaire, as well as The Full Monty.


The UK Tour of THE FULL MONTY is directed by Jack Ryder. His directing credits include national tours of Calendar Girls and the short filmAct of Memory with Claire Skinner, Owen Teale and Anna Massey, which was officially selected for nine international festivals around the world including the Cannes Film Festival. As an actor, Jack is probably best known as Jamie Mitchell in EastEnders, a role he played for four years.

Design is by Robert Jones, choreography by Ian West, lighting by Tim Lutkin and sound by Sarah Weltman, with casting by Marc Frankum.


The 2016/17 UK Tour of Simon Beaufoy’s THE FULL MONTY, based on the Fox Searchlight Pictures motion picture, is presented by David Pugh & Dafydd Rogers and is a Sheffield Theatres production.


For further details, visit

Facebook          The Full Monty UK
Twitter               FullMontyPlay / #fullmonty



21-24 September          BOURNEMOUTH Pavilion                           0844 576 3000



26 Sept – 1 Oct            NOTTINGHAM Theatre Royal                      0115 989 5555           


3-8 October                  MILTON KEYNES Milton Keynes Theatre     0844 871 7652


10-15 October               NORWICH Theatre Royal                             01603 630000



17-22 October               INVERNESS Eden Court                              01463 234234



24-29 October               EDINBURGH King’s Theatre                         0131 529 6000



7-12 November             LIVERPOOL Empire                                     0844 871 3017



14-19 November           BIRMINGHAM Hippodrome                           0844 338 5000



21-26 November           CARDIFF Wales Millennium Centre                029 2063 6464          



28 Nov – 3 Dec            LEEDS Grand Theatre                                  0844 848 2700



16-21 Jan                     NORTHAMPTON Royal and Derngate           01604 624811                                                             

                                                 ON SALE SOON      


23-28 Jan                     CAMBRIDGE Arts Theatre                           01223 503333                                                              

                                             ON SALE SOON          


30 Jan – 4 Feb              BELFAST Grand Opera House                     028 9024 1919

                                                                    ON SALE SOON    


6-11 February                SHREWSBURY Theatre Severn                   01743 281281



13-18 February              DARTFORD Orchard Theatre                       01322 220000



20-25 February             CANTERBURY Marlowe Theatre                   01227 787787



27 Feb – 4 March         GLASGOW King’s Theatre                            0844 871 7648

                              ON SALE SOON


6-11 March                   LEICESTER De Montfort Hall                       0116 233 3111



13-18 March                 BRADFORD Alhambra Theatre                     01274 432000           

                                                 ON SALE SOON


27 March – 1 April         LLANDUDNO Venue Cymru                         01492 872000                                                  



3-15 April                     SHEFFIELD Lyceum Theatre                       0114 249 6000

                                                 ON SALE SOON


Further dates to be added

Persuasion Review

The Rosemary Branch Theatre 4 – 22 May.  Reviewed by Claire Roderick

Bryony J. Thompson has done it again. 200 years after Jane Austen completed Persuasion, Thompson’s adaptation condenses the novel into a short but very sweet production.

Anne Elliot, persuaded by her family to end her engagement to Frederick Wentworth because of his lack of status and wealth, is reintroduced to him nearly 8 years later, when his sister becomes tenant at her family home. Against a backdrop of family gatherings and outings, Anne and Wentworth cannot politely avoid each other, and eventually she begins to hope that he still has feelings for her.

There is a lot of toing and froing in this story, but Thompson’s adaptation sets out the events clearly and cleverly. The cast of six carry the narrative style admirably, and speaking in the third person continues the illusion of a book brought to wonderful life. Sticking to the clean lines of her Jane Eyre, Thompson’s set is simple, with a plain hessian backdrop, white props and white costumes. You don’t really notice any of this after a while, you can’t take your eyes off the actors.

Rose McPhilemy is sublime as Anne – stoic and sensible, but with a bubbling undercurrent of suppressed humour – her long suffering smiles at the audience as the sillier characters do their stuff are delightful. Philip Honeywell’s Wentworth is dashing and makes you question Anne’s sanity at giving him up. His awkward smiles/grimaces around her melt subtly into true smiles as the play goes on, and when he reads THAT love letter… Their wonderful chemistry keeps a frisson of tension, even as dizzier characters take centre stage. The rest of the cast take multiple roles, but my favourite moments were when they acted as Anne and Wentworth’s internal voices, debating their feelings and decisions much more interestingly than a straight monologue. That being said, they were all great in their other roles! Charles Musgrove becomes a period version of Tim Nice-But-Dim in Adam Elliot’s comedic hands, and Tom Hartwell brings Admiral Croft to booming life but shows a more subtle touch with Captain Harville. Sarita Plowman and Beatrice Rose perform similar vocal tricks to distinguish their characters. Plowman makes Mrs Clay all blinks and faux girlish giggles, changing to a deep honey toned voice for the matriarchal Lady Russell, and Rose’s Mary is a hoot – squealing and hyperventilating, even her walk is funny.

Although concise, this gorgeous production remains true to Austen’s book, and is full of wit, charm and romance. If Bryony J Thompson could work her way through all of Austen and the Brontes please, that would be lovely.

Threesome Review

Union Theatre 3 – 14 May.  Reviewed by Claire Roderick

Sam (Chris Willoughby) and Kate (Gemma Rook) are stuck in a rut, so meet Lucy (April Pearson) for a threesome, hoping that this will give their relationship a boost.

Laboratory Theatre Company’s production of Jamie Patterson’s play begins with a film clip (Sam and Kate scouting for girls in a club, Lucy taking them back to her place) and title sequence which initially puzzled me, but when the actors finally came on stage, and began to question their choices, the contrast between the abstract idea on film and the reality of the situation in the flesh was laid bare.

Lucy’s views on sex shock Kate, who doesn’t really seem to enjoy talking about sex, let alone doing it. Lucy has a different effect on Sam, with him trying cocaine and eventually performing the most inept striptease ever seen. The comedy mostly comes from Sam and Kate’s reactions to Lucy and her suggestions, and Sam’s attempts to smooth things over, and there are plenty of laugh out loud moments. Even though there is plenty of strong language, the play has a strangely wholesome feel, finally celebrating the settled, unexciting life that Sam and Kate have together.

Willoughby plays Sam as an innocent man-child, filling silences with misjudged comments, and making the audience giggle with his facial expressions and gestures – think David Brent’s younger, sweeter brother. Kate is the trickiest character, stiff and sharp at first, but Rook portrays her relaxing into the situation with subtly growing warmth and heart. Pearson basically gets to talk filth all night – with relish. Lucy’s views on life are superficially hedonistic – it would have been nice to see a glimpse of what lay underneath, but with a running time of 60 minutes, Patterson has kept the character somewhat 2 dimensional.

Threesome doesn’t really have much to say about life – but if you are looking for a damn fine comedy full of filth, cuteness and a little dancing, this is well worth a look.

The Buskers Opera Review

Park Theatre 5 May – 4 June.  Reviewed by Claire Roderick

Wow. What a show.

Dougal Irvine has updated John Gay’s Beggar’s Opera, slamming it into the summer of 2012. Peachum has become a corrupt newspaper mogul, Lockitt is the buffoon, dad-dancing, Mayor of London, and Macheath is an “artiste” busking and stirring up anti-capitalist feeling with his group of well-meaning but useless protesters – the 99%ers.

This isn’t biting satire, but it is very funny, with digs at the media, social media and capitalism. The bleak reality that nothing has really changed since 1728 when John Gay wrote The Beggar’s Opera is slightly overdone, but not overbearing. The script is all delivered in rhyming couplets, which could have become annoying, but was done with an occasional wink to the audience and such energy that it felt just right. Macheath’s lines include a lot of apologies and critiques of bizarre happenings on stage, keeping the audience in the palm of his hand during weaker plot moments. Irvine’s lyrics are just brilliant – he gets funnier with a tune. The use of different styles of music, and the insertion of a scathing line in the middle of a sweet song keeps you on your toes, and every number is memorable.

With a set consisting of scaffolding poles and cardboard boxes, Lotte Wakeham’s production is all about the performances. The cast are all fantastic – with strong and versatile voices. George Maguire struts around the stage like a rock god, and sings like one too, oozing charisma even when Macheath is in a downward spiral. The standout performances come from Natasha Cottriall as Lucy Lockitt – full of text speak and MIC mannerisms while she delivers killer rhymes – and Lauren Samuels as Polly Peachum – superbly dippy as she worships the holy pigeons. Their numbers are brilliant, especially Sadder Than Me – a vocal duel that has Polly bemoaning the state of the world, whilst Lucy remembers the trauma of a broken Playstation – the range of styles in that single number is mindblowing, ending with a full on soprano screech off. Amazingly, this musicality is produced with simply keyboards and guitar, with cast members joining in with cello and cajon when needed (acknowledged in the script!)

The Buskers Opera is a wonderful show – full of fun, politics, murder, great songs… and pigeons. A must see show – get your ticket today.

Footloose The Musical Review

New Wimbledon Theatre 2 – 7 May. Reviewed by Claire Roderick

On paper, I should have loved this musical. But I left disappointed, feeling as if I’d watched some low budget daytime movie on Channel 5.

Based on the 1984 film, Footloose tells the story of Ren McCormack, who leaves Chicago with his newly separated mother to move in with his uncle in Bomont, West Virginia. Ren clashes with the locals, especially Rev Moore, who oversees the town council. Following a fatal accident, dancing is banned in Bomont, but Ren takes his friends, including Rev Moore’s daughter Ariel, to a dance hall out of town, and they decide to hold a dance of their own. They need the council’s permission though, and Ren must try to find common ground with Rev Moore.

This is a deliciously corny story, with comedy pal Willard for Ren to coach in dance and love, and the production is cheesier than aisle 3 in Waitrose, especially the Legs and Co. style choreography, but it just didn’t feel like a coherent show. Adapted from his own screenplay by Dean Pickford and Walter Bobbie, the script is pretty standard fare, with some great one liners, but it is the musical numbers that let it down. Apart from Footloose (full of energy and fun), Holding Out For A Hero (belted out with glee and VERY tongue in cheek), Let’s Hear It For The Boy (hysterical) and a couple of other familiar songs, the remainder are forgettable, with awkward rhymes and trite lyrics, especially the numbers that are meant to be deep and meaningful. Perhaps the show’s creators should have leaned more towards a jukebox musical and used the entire film soundtrack? As it is, the elements just don’t gel.

Director Racky Plews’ decision to use actor-musicians is a gimmick that doesn’t quite work, the only payoff being during the town council scene. The cast are mostly talented musicians, but this aspect just got a little messy, with one poor girl clutching her instrument silently all the way through a slow number.

The cast did well with the material they had to work with – Luke Baker is a livewire Ren, a great little dancer and with a nice comedic touch, especially in the scenes with his mother (Nicky Swift – a hoot in every role she plays in the show. Just watch her skate!), Hannah Price has a lovely voice as Ariel, and just about manages to keep the audience’s sympathy with her difficult character before we hear her backstory. Nigel Lister and Maureen Nolan are landed with the worst songs in the show, but do a fine job. Joanna Sawyer’s Rusty (what a voice!) and Lee Brennan’s Willard provide the heart of the show with their sweet, ridiculous romance, but I have no words to describe Brennan’s performance. Don’t get me wrong, he still has a lovely husky voice, but his acting choices seemed to be inspired by Scrappy Doo, Gary Coleman and the Firey gang from Labyrinth. Funny at first, but bizarre, and he is either going to stab himself with that toothpick or dislocate his jaw if he keeps that chewing action going throughout the run.

Perhaps if I hadn’t seen the film so many times I might have been more impressed, but I wasn’t feeling the joy of the rest of the audience as they got up to dance at the end (to songs from the film). Footloose the Musical is a decent enough show, but it just lacks that class and sparkle that would make it great.