Keep Dancing Review

Grand Opera House York – 27 Sept to 1 Oct 2016.  Reviewed by Michelle Richardson

With this year’s Strictly Come Dancing just hitting our TV screens we welcome the chance to see Keep Dancing, celebrating the popular world of Latin and Ballroom dancing. It stars Strictly favourite Robin Windsor, and features Chelsee Healey, actress best known for Waterloo Road, and of course Strictly runner up in 2011. They are joined by Anya Garnis, again a dancer from Strictly and a talented troupe of 10 dancers, 3 singers and 2 musicians.

It is dazzling and fast paced, showcasing a selection of our favourite dances. We were impressed right from the start with You Should Be Dancing, we could tell it was going to be a great evening of high energy entertainment, and we weren’t wrong.

During the evening Chelsee made several appearance with Robin, although not as slick as the professional dancers she did herself proud, and certainly seemed to be enjoying herself. We only wish she had joined in with the dancing medleys at the end of the show, though she did come on for the curtain call.

A mention to all 3 singers, Adam Walmington, Lisa-Marie Holmes and Harriette Virginia Mullen, and to the 2 percussionists, Joëlle Barker and Adam Green. They were all brilliant and all given the chance to shine. The singers all had several solo performances over the show, and I can honestly say that there wasn’t one song that we didn’t enjoy. It was great to see the mix of music and dance in the show.

Keep Dancing was certainly what all the troupe did with great energy. Robin and Anya delivered polished performances, with Robin commanding the stage when he was on it. The choreography is very slick, the costumes dazzle and the musicians are spot on. What more could you ask for from an evening of entertainment?

We left with that buzz and want to do it all again, can we???

Keep Dancing is showing in the Grand Opera House York until Saturday 1st October.


97dbae5e70ad998f_100x100arROLL UP, ROLL UP!




Get ready to be enticed once more by the truly unique and irresistible world of La Soirée, in a new home on the Christmas in Leicester Square site.ab9b012473621c9d_org

Brand new acts announced today include the sensational New Orleans songstressACANTHA LANG, quirky juggler OLIVIA PORTER, acrobat DAVID GIRARD and his mesmerizing new ‘CirQle’ apparatus, hula-hooping marvel SATYA BELLA, mind-boggling trapeze artist JARRED DEWEY, and the comedy couple DAREDEVIL CHICKENS.

Much-loved favourites Ursula Martinez, The English Gents, Hamish McCann’s pole actand Captain Frodo will make triumphant returns to the Spiegeltent, along with Denis Lock’s show-stopping bubble act.

The jaw-dropping, Olivier Award-winning cabaret sensation returns to London for its seventh season in the capital this Christmas, from 11 November 2016 until 8 January 2017 at the Spiegeltent in Leicester Square.


The son of a famous Norse magician, this wunderkind has graced the stage since he was four. Possessed of an utterly beguiling charm, and famed the world over for bending, contorting and manipulating his body into shapes that are as astonishing as they are unnatural, Frodo is one of a kind. You will never look at a tennis racquet, much less a baked-bean tin, the same way again.


This sensational songstress hails from hot and steamy New Orleans, the spiritual home of jazz music. Fresh from the hippest of haunts in New York City with abundant acclaim, this divine Diva will put a spell on you as she serenades the crowd with her rich, sensual sound. Acantha was the first female MC of The Box, the infamous NYC/London nightclub and ‘theatre of varieties’.


This quirky trickster is a juggler with a difference. You won’t believe your eyes as she toys with your expectations. Unique, intricate and out of this world, La Soirée is proud to introduce this impressive character to our little red stage in London.


From Beirut to Perth, Dubai to Mexico this dexterous talent dizzies and delights audiences as she hula-hoops around the world. Showcasing tantalising hoop tricks, this pocket-sized tornado will leave your head in a spin.


Seizing the stage is the explosive and exclusive CirQle – an electrifying apparatus of sheer innovation. Experience the extreme as David Girard flirts with danger, pushing the boundaries of the physical body. Alumni of the world-renowned Cirque Du Soleil, this herculean acrobat has pioneered the creation of a colossal, circular contraption, revolving and rotating whilst he demonstrates exceptional balance and momentous moves that are sure to leave you in awe.


Lithe, limber and exquisitely enthralling, this awesome trapeze artist has been swinging between both hemispheres since he burst onto the scene. Gaze up in amazement and prepare for a provocative display of physical prowess.


These couple of Daredevils have charmed crowds in over 36 countries, performing in a legion of languages, sharing love and laughter across the lands with their raucous comedy. Fusing naughty slapstick and 80s pop melodrama, this hilariously unforgettable duo will have your sides splitting with their vaudevillian verve and matrimonial mischief. Marc and Svetlana (AKA the Daredevil Chickens) are proof that what happens in Vegas does not stay in Vegas.



Hailing from Spain via Croydon, Ursula Martinez is a renowned writer, actress and cabaret performer. Her cult striptease act, with its mischievous disappearing hanky, is a jaw-dropping sensation. From highbrow to lowbrow and from live art to loquacious party tricks, Martinez treads where few performers dare to go, with the audience right there along for the ride. Expect to emerge from her act with a rudimentary knowledge of bawdy Spanish and a surprising awareness of anatomy.


This English Gent has been seducing audiences across the globe with his jaw-dropping pole act since 2009. His late night cabaret version of Singing in the Rain has acquired a worldwide cult reputation with this extremely skilled, stylish and oh so sexy routine, which is sure to leave you ‘feeling good’…


Denis Lock and Hamish McCann are two delightfully devilish and cordial “English” gentlemen who perform inconceivable feats of acrobatic skill, strength and balance, whilst casually puffing a pipe, reading the newspaper and sporting the stiffest of British upper lips. The act mixes their highly skilled feats with a dry English wit, unexpectedly climaxing with the two hilariously baring near-all for Queen and country and in the process displaying more pure sex appeal than ever before seen under a bowler hat.

The Gents will join the roll call at La Soirée from the end of November.


From sheer strength to daring delicacy, what this English Gent puffs out of his pipe defies belief. An act where science steps away from the chalkboard and reveals its beauty and mystique through a bubble. Think you’ve seen it all with bubble-blowing? Prepare to hold your breath and gaze on in wonder.

This act will be floating into the La Soirée Spiegeltent from the end of November.

The extraordinary theatrical phenomenon that is La Soirée has now seen over 75 artists take their place on the iconic red stage in over 25 cities, across five continents, with over 150 acts between them. Audiences and critics alike have been wowed by La Soirée’s ever-expanding, fabulously dysfunctional family since the company first played together in Edinburgh back in 2004. Over 5.5 million people have now seen La Soirée perform across the globe.

Shimmy on over to the vintage Spiegeltent, a velvet-draped salon of carved wood, polished mirrors, crystal and leadlight and prepare to be charmed, astonished and electrified by the loveable crème de la crème of the cabaret world.

Further acts and special plans for New Year’s Eve will be announced in due course.

La Soirée is presented by Brett Haylock, Mark Rubinstein and Mick Perrin.


Dick King-Smith’s BABE, THE SHEEP-PIG returns to the stage

Tom O’Connell Productions and Polka Theatre present



A play by David Wood

Based on the best-selling book by Dick King-Smith

Directed by Michael Fentiman

Touring the UK from February 2017


Adapted from Dick King-Smith’s much-loved children’s novel which inspired the Oscar-winning 1995 film,Babe, The Sheep-Pig will be brought to life on stage in an enchanting new production, embarking on a major UK Tour in 2017 following a Christmas season at Polka Theatre. Featuring stunning puppetry, an original score and an utterly charming ‘baa-ber sheep’ quartet, the tour will launch from West Yorkshire Playhouse on Monday 13 February and run until September 2017. Full tour schedule attached; further dates to be announced.


Meet the lovable Babe in a heart-warming tale of friendship, adventure and bravery.

When Babe arrives at Hogget’s Farm he is taken in by the trusty sheep-dog Fly, and soon discovers a talent for herding. With the help of his adopted Mum, the polite piglet soon wins over the most suspicious of sheep. But can a small pig make it in a dog’s world, and when his farmyard friends are in trouble can Babe save the day?

Dick King-Smith’s The Sheep-Pig was first published in 1983, and has since been translated into fifteen languages, as well as winning King-Smith the Guardian Children’s Fiction Award. In 1995 it was adapted for the big screen as the film Babe, which received huge critical and box office success. It was nominated for seven Academy Awards and won one for Best Visual Effects, as well as winning the Golden Globe for Best Motion Picture: Musical or Comedy.

Babe, The Sheep-Pig is adapted for the stage by Olivier Award-winning playwright David Wood OBE, who is best known for his adaptations of classic family titles including Goodnight Mister Tom, James and the Giant Peach, The BFG and The Tiger Who Came to Tea. David also wrote the book and lyrics for new musical The Go-Between, currently playing in the West End.

David Wood said: “I am delighted that Babe, The Sheep-Pig is returning. It is a wonderful novel which I took huge pleasure in adapting. Good luck to the whole team on this new production!”

Babe, The Sheep-Pig is directed by Michael Fentiman, whose productions include The Taming of the Shrewand Titus Andronicus (RSC) and The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe (Kensington Gardens) which he co-directed with Rupert Goold.

The residents of Hogget’s Farm will be brought to life by beautiful hand-crafted puppets, created by award-winning puppet designer Max Humphries (Chief Puppet Designer, Cirque de Soleil) and Dik Downey, with the ensemble cast delivering masterful puppetry by puppetry director Matthew Forbes (Associate Director in Puppetry & Movement, War Horse).

The cast of actor-musicians features Emma Barclay (You Me Bum Bum Train) as Mrs Hogget, Olivier Award-nominated Nicola Blackman (Little Shop of Horrors and The Lion King, West End) as Fly, Oliver Grant (War Horse, National Theatre) as Babe/Sheep and Ben Ingles (Romeo and Juliet, RSC) as Farmer Hogget. The cast also features Claire Greenway (Sister Act, London Palladium), Jacqui Sanchez (Shrek the Musical andAvenue Q, West End), Lucy Thomas (Bugsy Malone, Lyric Hammersmith) and Sam Wilmott (Wicked andLord of the Rings, West End).

Babe, The Sheep-Pig is presented by Tom O’ Connell Productions (Million Dollar Quartet, Hairspray, UK Tours) and Polka Theatre. It is directed by Michael Fentiman with puppetry direction by Matthew Forbes, costume and scenic design by Madeleine Girling, puppet design by Max Humphries and Dik Downey, lighting design by Jack Knowles, sound design by George Dennis and original music by Barnaby Rose. Casting is by David Grindrod Associates.

Suitable for all ages.

Twitter: @BabeThePigLive

Facebook: /BabeThePigLive


Friday 25 November 2016 – Sunday 5 February 2017


Box Office | 020 8543 4888


Wednesday 15 – Saturday 18 February 2017


Tour press night: Thursday 16 February, 7.00pm

Box Office | 0113 213 7700

Monday 20 – Tuesday 21 February 2017


Box Office | 017687 74411



Thursday 23 – Sunday 26 February 2017


Box Office | 01323 412 000


Friday 3 – Sunday 5 March 2017


Box Office | 01843 292795


Monday 13 – Wednesday 15 March 2017


Box Office | 01872 262466



Tuesday 21 – Wednesday 22 March 2017

WYCOMBE SWAN, High Wycombe

Box Office | 01494 512 000

Friday 24 – Sunday 26 March 2017


Box Office | 01903 206 206


Saturday 8 – Sunday 9 April 2017

THE PAVILION, Bournemouth

Box Office | 0844 576 3000

Tuesday 11 – Saturday 15 April 2017

THE LOWRY, Salford

Box Office | 0843 208 6000

Sunday 16 – Monday 17 April 2017


Box Office | 01603 63 00 00

Saturday 22 – Sunday 23 April 2017

Box Office | 01392 726363


Saturday 29 – Sunday 30 April 2017


Box Office | 01793 524481

Wednesday 17 – Friday 19 May 2017

VENUE CYMRU, Llandudno

Box Office | 01492 872000

Saturday 20 – Sunday 21 May 2017


Box Office | 01507 613100


Thursday 25 – Sunday 28 May 2017


Box Office | 01322 220000

Tuesday 30 May – Sunday 4 June 2017


Box Office | 023 8067 1771

Monday 12 – Wednesday 14 June 2017


Box Office | 08448 11 21 21


Sunday 25 – Wednesday 28 June 2017


Box Office | 020 3285 6000

Thursday 6 – Sunday 9 July 2016


Box Office | 01253 290190

Monday 17 – Wednesday 19 July 2017


Box Office | 01224 641122


Friday 21 – Sunday 23 July 2017


Box Office | 01727 844488

Thursday 3 – Saturday 5 August 2017


Box Office | 01792 475715


Monday 14 – Wednesday 16 August 2017


Box Office | 01702 351135


Thursday 17 – Saturday 19 August 2017

THEATRE ROYAL, Bury St Edmunds

Box Office | 01284 769505

Monday 21 – Wednesday 23 August 2017

THE HAWTH, Crawley

Box Office | 01293 553636

Thursday 24 – Sunday 27 August 2017


Box Office | 01923 571 102


Thursday 31 August – Sunday 3 September 2017


Box Office | 01752 267222


Friday 8 – Sunday 10 September 2017


Box Office | 0131 529 6000


Gangsta Granny Review

Grand Opera House York.  Reviewed by Michelle Richardson

David Walliams’ best selling children’s book has been bought to life on stage by The Birmingham Stage Company, the producers of the Horrible Histories.

The story follows 11 year old “Little Benny” (Ashley Cousins) being dumped by his selfish parents (Laura Girling and Benedict Martin) at his granny’s (Gilly Tompkins) every Friday night whilst they go off ballroom dancing. He is subjected to playing scrabble and eating cabbage soup, cabbage cake and everything cabbage, including old granny suffering the effects of too much cabbage, much to the delights of all the children in the audience. It is just so boring!!!! Why oh why does he have to go there every Friday?

He then discovers her secrets when he finds some jewels hidden away in an old biscuit tin and learns that she was an international jewellery thief “The Black Cat”. Fridays are no longer boring and things become exciting for the both of them. With plans afoot and high treason, can granny do one last heist??

The cast all work well together and work hard in all their differing roles, manipulating the basic but effective set as they go about their business. Alison Fitzjohn does this with great comic effect as the WPC and matron, she has a very expressive face. I must also mention Umar Malik who play Raj the shop keeper and is fantastic as Flavio, the dancer Ben’s mum is fixated with. As well as playing Ben’s dad, Benedict Martin is very good, but slimy as Mr Parker.

Gangsta Granny is a great show for all the kids, with a great moral behind it. Full of laughter and slapstick. Is granny really “The Black Cat”? That is the question.

Darlington Civic Theatre – A Tale of Two Cities


Set and costume designs revealed to the 30 strong community cast of A Tale of Two Cities.

The extravagant set and costume designs for a community cast production of the Charles Dickens classic A Tale of Two Cities were revealed at a recent meeting held at Hummersknott Academy in Darlington.

Twenty local volunteers who answered the call to become involved in the production of costumes were presented with detailed sketches and ideas by professional theatre designer Sarah Jane Booth who explained her vision for one of Dickens’ most famous stories.

Sarah also revealed her set design model to the thirty-strong community cast along with the production’s director, Eduard Lewis. The multi-layered set will encompass the entire floor-space of Central Hall in the Dolphin Centre, Darlington, and is designed to transport the audience through the story jumping between London and Paris during the French Revolution.

Community cast member Laura Morrison said “The set design is absolutely amazing, I’ve never seen anything like it before. It’s made me even more excited about being in the production, and I can’t wait to get my fabulous costume.”

A Tale of Two Cities

Charles Dickens considered his novel A Tale of Two Cities to be the best story he had ever written.

This production is presented in association with the Touring Consortium Theatre Company (To Sir, With Love, Brassed Off, Regeneration, A View from the Bridge). A thrilling new adaptation by Mike Poulton (Fortune’s Fool, Old Vic; Wolf Hall, RSC) it will feature a community cast of more than 30 actors alongside a professional production team led by directing rising star, Eduard Lewis.

The production will be staged in the atmospheric setting of Darlington’s Central Hall, where Dickens himself read on 21 September 1858.

Please note this is a promenade performance which means that the action will take place in various locations around the set, and the audience will be invited to stand and watch in spaces around the action, and then walk to different locations in the room following the actors as the scenes change and the play progresses. We would encourage the audience to stand to be fully immersed in the experience, however some limited seating options will be available if seating is required.

A Tale of Two Cities is at Central Hall, Dolphin Centre, Darlington, on Saturday 19 at 2pm and 7.30pm and Sunday 20 November at 2pm and 7.30pm.

Tickets* are priced £18, discounts £16, U16s £10

To book contact the Box Office on 01325 486 555 or visit

*Includes £1 restoration levy

Darlington Civic Theatre – Dickens in Darlington

Civic-Theatre-Hi-Res-Logo-1-117x300Dickens in Darlington launched by Darlington Civic Theatre

Darlington Civic Theatre has launched Dickens in Darlington, a series of events telling the story of the strong connections Charles Dickens had to Darlington and to the world of theatre, music hall and the railways. Dickens in Darlington will include performances, workshops, talks, a book club, storytelling and an exhibition in Crown Street Art Gallery at Darlington’s Crown Street Library from Saturday 1 October through to Wednesday 21 December.

The Dickens in Darlington Exhibition will run from October 1 to November 3 in the Crown Street

Gallery at Darlington’s Crown Street Library. The free exhibition will include images form the Charles Dickens Museum, a reconstruction of Dickens’ famous reading desk, footage from an early Dickens film as well as the display of an amazing dolls’ house based on Dickens’ home in Doughty Street, London, which is now the Charles Dickens Museum.

Join actor and storyteller Chris Connaughton on Saturday 8 October as he performs two spooky tales from the pen of Charles Dickens – a master of suspense. Chris will read The Signal-Man, an eerie tale of a railway worker haunted by a ghostly figure on the rail and The Trial for Murder, a ghost story with a chilling twist. The readings will take place at 2pm and 7pm in the Crown Street Art Gallery. Tickets are £5 with discounts at £2.50 with a recommended age of 8+.

On Monday 17 October at 1.30pm Margaret Watson tells the fascinating story of how she made a lifelong dream come true, by creating and owning a dolls’ house – a 1:12 scale model of 48 Doughty Street, the London home of Charles Dickens, now the Charles Dickens Museum. The dolls’ house will be on permanent display throughout the Dickens in Darlington exhibition.

For avid readers there will be a book group on Tuesday 25 October with two sessions at 1.30pm and 7pm in the Crown Street Art Gallery. Here you will be able to discuss Charles Dickens’ A Tale of Two Cities. The book group is intended to complement the community production of A Tale of Two Cities taking place in the Dolphin Centre in November and are open to people who have purchased a ticket for the production. Free copies of the book can be provided.

The Forum on Borough Road will be the venue for a showing of the classic Dickens tale Great Expectations on Monday 3 October at 8pm. Darlington Civic Theatre and Darlington Film Club will present a showing of the 1946 film directed by David Lean and starring John Mills, Valerie Hobson and Jean Simmons. Tickets are priced £3 and are available by emailing [email protected]

The community cast production of A Tale of Two Cities will run on Saturday 19 and Sunday 20 November in Central Hall, the Dolphin Centre in Darlington. In partnership with the Touring Consortium Theatre Company, this will be a promenade performance where the audience will follow, on foot, all of the action between the two cities of London and Paris (seating will be available for people if required). Dickens considered A Tale of Two Cities to be the best story he had ever written.

Interweaving one family’s intensely personal drama with the terror and chaos of the French Revolution, it is an epic story of love, sacrifice and redemption amidst horrific violence and world changing events. This thrilling new adaptation by Mike Poulton will feature a community cast of 30 actors alongside a professional production team led by directing rising star, Eduard Lewis. Tickets* are £18, discounts £16, under 16s £10.

In the final run up to Christmas, what better way to spend an evening than listening to Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol – devised and performed by Chris Connaughton. Chris presents a thrilling, funny and imaginative re-telling of what is arguably Charles Dickens’ most popular tale, all in the atmospheric setting of St Cuthbert’s Church in Darlington on Wednesday 21 December at 7pm. Join Tiny Tim, The Ghost of Jacob Marley, Bob Cratchit, and a trio of memorable ghosts as tight-fisted miser Scrooge learns kindness and generosity and fills his heart with the true spirit of Christmas.Chris will end the evening with a seasonal episode from The Pickwick Papers, (Mr Pickwick on the ice) and maybe even some carolling to send you on your way. Tickets are £10, under 16s £5 – recommended age 8+.

To book or for further information on any of the Dickens in Darlington events contact the Box Office on 01325 486 555 or visit

*Includes £1 restoration levy

West End production of STEPPING OUT starring Amanda Holden, Angela Griffin, Tracy-Ann Oberman, Tamzin Outhwaite and Nicola Stephenson

Presented by Theatre Royal Bath Productions and the James Grant Group

Stepping Out

  • West End production announced for Richard Harris’s award-winning comedy.  
  • Vaudeville Theatre, London with performances from 1 March 2017. Tickets now on sale from £20 via 
  • Amanda Holden, Angela Griffin, Tracy-Ann Oberman, Tamzin Outhwaite and Nicola Stephenson star. 
  • Pre-announced UK tour from 12 October 2016 with dates in Bath, Richmond, Cambridge and Chichester.

Amanda Holden, Angela Griffin, Tracy-Ann Oberman, Tamzin Outhwaite and Nicola Stephenson will be Stepping Out in the West End when Richard Harris’s award-winning comedy opens at London’s Vaudeville Theatre with preview performances from 1 March 2017 and opening night for press on 14 March 2017.

Directed by Maria Friedman, this brand new staging of the wonderfully funny and heart-warming play Stepping Out will first tour the UK from 12 October 2016 including dates at Theatre Royal Bath, Richmond Theatre, Cambridge Arts Theatre and Chichester Festival Theatre, as previously announced. Further casting for the West End production is still to be confirmed.

Stepping Out charts the lives of seven women and one man attempting to tap their troubles away at a weekly dancing class. Initially all thumbs and left feet, the group is just getting to grips with the basics when they are asked to take part in a charity gala. Over the course of several months we meet the group, and all of them have a story to tell. There’s perfectionist Vera, mouthy Maxine and uptight Andy, bubbly Sylvia and shy Dorothy, eager Lynne and cheerful Rose, and, of course, Geoffrey. At the piano is the dour Mrs Fraser and spurring them all on, the ever-patient Mavis.

One of the UK’s best-loved personalities, Amanda Holden plays Vera. Nominated for an Olivier Award in 2004 for her leading role in Thoroughly Modern Millie, she also starred in the U.K. premiere of Shrek The Musical as Princess Fiona. Her numerous television credits include Wild at Heart, Kiss Me Kate, The Grimleys, Big Top and This Morning. She has been a judge on the award-winning Britain’s Got Talent throughout all of its ten series.

Angela Griffin is well-known as Fiona Middleton in Coronation Street and her television credits also include Waterloo Road, Cutting It, Holby City and Inspector Lewis. She starred in One Man, Two Guvnors in the West End.

Tracy-Ann Oberman played Chrissie Watts on EastEnders, and has also worked extensively with the RSC and National Theatre. She appeared with Kenneth Branagh in Edmond, and in the West End run of Boeing-Boeing. Her television appearances also include Toast of London, Friday Night Dinner and New Tricks.

Tamzin Outhwaite is well-known for the role of Melanie Healy in EastEnders which she played for four years. Her stage credits have included West End productions of Sweet Charity, Boeing-Boeing and How The Other Half Loves.

Nicola Stephenson’s many television credits include Brookside, Holby City andEmmerdale. Her stage credits include War Horse in the West End and roles with the National Theatre and the Royal Shakespeare Company.

Best known as a three-time Olivier Award winning star of the musical stage (with seven nominations), director Maria Friedman made an astonishing directorial debut in 2012 with a hugely acclaimed production of Merrily We Roll Along. In 2005 she won the award for Best Debut Performer on Broadway for Andrew Lloyd Webber’s The Woman in White.

This uplifting comedy originally premiered in the West End in 1984 starring Barbara Ferris and Marcia Warren, winning the prestigious Evening Standard Award for Best Comedy and enjoying extended runs both in the West End and on Broadway. Stepping Out has also been made into a musical, which became a film in 1991, starring Julie Walters, Liza Minnelli and Shelley Winters.

A prolific writer for both television and stage, Richard Harris’s credits include A Touch of Frost, Shoestring, The Darling Buds of May, The Last Detective, and Outside Edge, which won the Writer’s Guild Best Comedy Award, the British Comedy Award for Best Comedy Drama Series and the Television and Radio Industries Club Award for Best Comedy.

Presented by Theatre Royal Bath Productions and the James Grant Group, Stepping Outis directed by Maria Friedman, designed by Robert Jones and choreographed by Tim Jackson with lighting design by Peter Mumford, sound design by Gregory Clarke and orchestrations by Christopher Walker.

Imelda Staunton and Conleth Hill to star in Edward Albee’s Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? in the West End

Sonia Friedman Productions presents
Imelda Staunton and Conleth Hill in
Edward Albee’s
Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?
Directed by James Macdonald
Designed by Tom Pye

  • Imelda Staunton and Conleth Hill star in Edward Albee’s landmark play
  • James Macdonald directs the first production of this dark comedy since Albee’s recent death. It will play at the Harold Pinter Theatre for 13 weeks only
  • Tickets go on sale to the general public on Friday 23rd September at 10am
  • Reduced price tickets for preview performances
  • Over 100 tickets for every performance priced at £15 (£10 during previews)

Twitter: @WhosAfraidLDN
Facebook: /WhosAfraidOfVirginiaWoolfLDN
# Whosafraidofvirginiawoolf?

Imelda Staunton and Conleth Hill will star in a new production of multi Tony and Pulitzer prize-winning playwright Edward Albee’s Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? directed by James Macdonald.

Following the sad news of Albee’s passing last week and in anticipation of this revival, Michael Billington recently wrote in The Guardian “With America currently engaged in its own form of post-truth politics, now seems the perfect time to revive Albee’s enduring masterpiece about the danger of living in a world of illusions.”

In the early hours of the morning on the campus of an American college, Martha, much to her husband George’s displeasure, has invited the new professor Nick and his wife Honey to their home for some after-party drinks. As the alcohol flows and dawn approaches, the young couple are drawn into George and Martha’s toxic games until the evening reaches its climax in a moment of devastating truth-telling.

Imelda Staunton (Martha) returns to the West End after her triumphant and Olivier Award-winning performance as Mama Rose in Gypsy. Amongst her many other theatre credits, notable performances include Mrs Lovett in Sweeney Todd, for which she won an Olivier Award, Circle, Mirror, Transformation for the Royal Court and the role of Claire in Edward Albee’s A Delicate Balance at the Almeida Theatre. In total, Staunton has been nominated for eleven Olivier Awards, winning four. On film Staunton is perhaps best known for playing the title role in Vera Drake, for which she received the BAFTA Award for Best Actress in a Leading Role, and for the role of Dolores Umbridge in the Harry Potter films.

Conleth Hill (George) is perhaps best known for his role as Lord Varys in the HBO television production Game of Thrones. A multi award-winning theatre actor, amongst his extensive theatre credits, recent productions include Quartermaine’s Terms at the Wyndham’s Theatre and The Cherry Orchard at the National Theatre. Hill won the Olivier Award for Best Actor forThe Producers, Theatre Royal Drury Lane, and for Stones In His Pockets in the West End. He also received Tony Award nominations for his role in Stones In His Pockets on its transfer to Broadway and The Seafarer, which transferred from the National Theatre to Broadway. Hill’s film credits include Salmon Fishing in the Yemen and Whatever Works, directed by Woody Allen.

James Macdonald is highly regarded for his work with Caryl Churchill and Sarah Kane, recently directing Churchill’s play Escaped Alone at the Royal Court. Other recent work includes the award-winning production of Florian Zeller’s The Father and Roots at the Donmar Warehouse. Macdonald has previously directed Staunton in the Royal Court’s production of Circle, Mirror, Transformation by Annie Baker and in the critically-acclaimed production of Edward Albee’s A Delicate Balance at the Almeida Theatre.

Edward Albee was born on March 12th 1928 and began writing plays 30 years later. His plays include The Zoo Story (1958), The Death of Bessie Smith (1959), The Sandbox (1959), The American Dream (1960), Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? (1961-62, Tony Award), Tiny Alice(1964), A Delicate Balance (1966, Pulitzer Prize; 1996, Tony Award), All Over (1971), Seascape(1974, Pulitzer Prize), Listening (1975), Counting the Ways (1975), The Lady from Dubuque(1977-78), The Man Who Had Three Arms (1981), Finding the Sun (1982), Marriage Play (1986-87), Three Tall Women (1991, Pulitzer Prize), Fragments (1993), The Play about the Baby(1997), The Goat or, Who is Sylvia? (2000, 2002 Tony Award), Occupant (2001), At Home at the Zoo: Act 1, Homelife. Act 2, The Zoo Story. (2004), and Me, Myself & I (2008). Mr. Albee was awarded the Gold Medal in Drama from the American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters in 1980.  In 1996 he received the Kennedy Center Honors and the National Medal of Arts. In 2005 he was awarded a special Tony Award for Lifetime Achievement.

Comedy B-movie apocalypse musical transfers to the Arts Theatre from the Edinburgh Fringe

Beach Comet presents:

October 25th – October 29th 2016, Arts Theatre

Hot on the heels of a critically acclaimed sell-out Edinburgh Fringe run and smash-hit Vampire Hospital Waiting Room, which garnered rave reviews and an off-West End transfer, Beach Comet return to London with their new comedy B-musical Apocalypse Cruise Ship Love Affair, complete with original songs, a live band and the end of the world.

★★★★★ “A whirlwind musical comedy” (Three Weeks) / ★★★★★ “Effortless” (Stage Review) / ★★★★★ “Genuinely original” (PlaysToSee) / ★★★★★ “A musical sensation” (RemoteGoat)

When sea-crazed Captain Bleufonde steers his cruise ship towards an apocalyptic storm to resurrect his dead lover, it seems the end is nigh for all on board. While long-suffering First Mate Fittles struggles to maintain order and the elderly clientele struggle to maintain sobriety, new Cruise Director Hanks Leeroys has to balance his on-board duties with being an incompetent libertine – and meeting Sister Evie Lowe, the most beautiful nun he’s ever seen, on a quest to meet her birth mother before doomsday falls. As passions grow and the waters get stormy, will love overcome all at the end of the world in this fast-paced musical romp?

“A feast of daft, dark comedy and brilliant songs” (Jo Brand) / “Daft as a brush and good fun” (Lyn Gardner)

Beach Comet is dedicated to creating new comedy musicals. Their first show Vampire Hospital Waiting Room played at the Edinburgh Fringe 2013 and 2015, with ticket allocations selling out over an hour in advance and queues out the door; they scored crowds so large they had to open standing areas and add three late night extra shows!

Nominated for 8 DarkChat Awards from Edinburgh Fringe 2016

Sid Review

Above the Arts Theatre 19 September – 8 October.  Reviewed by Claire Roderick

You don’t need to love Punk to love this play – Leon Fleming has written a superb character study of a troubled young man searching for his place in the world, and finding solace in Punk and his idol, Sid Vicious. Considering what other disenfranchised kids can turn to nowadays, there is an underlying sense of innocence in Craig’s choice and by the end of the play, you just want to give him a big hug.

Craig is in his bedroom getting ready to visit his girlfriend at her university. He lives with his mum but in his room, he is master of all. His worrying about whether a T-shirt or a shirt is appropriate to wear to university between rants about Punk and anarchy (which has much more rules than I thought it would) is a lovely touch, reminding the audience that this lad just wants to be accepted by someone – anyone.

Dario Coates is phenomenal as Craig – when he is haranguing the audience his intensity is terrifying at times. And if he spears you with his eyes, you’ll be squirming. But the intensity is also very, very funny. At times Fleming’s writing is like Punk poetry, and carries you away on a rollercoaster of emotions, all delivered breathlessly by Coates. The few moments of stillness and silence are even more powerful, and Coates body language is captivating.

The trip – obviously – doesn’t go well. Craig’s retelling of the events is poignant and funny. His discomfort and insecurity are portrayed beautifully, with scathing descriptions of students and the student pub. When one of the students gives Craig his analysis of punk – with masterful switches between characters by Coates – Craig’s reactions take the audience from laughter to gasps of horror in seconds. But Craig’s sly self-awareness soon delivers the laughs again, and as the final part of the play begins to unpick Craig’s obsession with Punk – his relationship with his mother and fanciful ideas about his unknown father – cheap laughs and over sentimentality are avoided, leaving you feeling hopeful for Craig’s future.

Intense, moving and funny – Sid is wonderfully written and superbly acted. Whether you’re a fan of the Sex Pistols or S Club 7 – you need to GO AND SEE SID.