image007 (1)Winner of 19 major international awards, the National Theatre’s legendary production of J.B Priestley’s classic thriller An Inspector Calls returns to the Lyceum Theatre from Tuesday 12 – Saturday 16 January as part of a nationwide tour.

Set before the First World War, J.B Priestley’s play is a compelling and haunting thriller. The story begins when the mysterious Inspector Goole calls unexpectedly on the prosperous Birling family home. Their peaceful dinner party is shattered by his investigations into the death of a young woman. His startling revelations not only shatter the very foundations of their lives but challenge us all to examine our consciences.

This landmark production, directed by triple Oscar nominated Stephen Daldry (Billy Elliot, TheReader, The Hours) has thrilled audiences in the West End, on Broadway and throughout the world with its epic and wildly imaginative staging, raw emotion, evocative score, lashing rain and chilling suspense.

An Inspector Calls is at the Lyceum Theatre from Tuesday 12 – Saturday 16 January.  Tickets can be purchased from Sheffield Theatres’ Box Office in-person, by phone on 0114 249 6000 or online at and are priced from £12.00 – £26.00 (a transaction fee of £1.50 (£1.00 online) applies to all bookings made at the Box Office, excluding cash), and discounts are available.


In January 2016, alongside our work onstage at the Barbican, a special festival of RSC Shakespeare on Screen has been created to complement the King and Country plays.

RSC Shakespeare on Screen
9-31 January 2016
Barbican Cinemas 1 & 2

Curated by John Wyver, RSC Director of Screen Productions, in association with the Barbican, RSC Shakespeare on Screen will uncover highlights from 50 years of Shakespeare in performance. Nine titles have been selected from the huge archive of RSC work captured on stage or reconceived for film and television.

John Wyver says: “The RSC Shakespeare on Screen season showcases some of the great performances of the British theatre from the past fifty years and more, and it highlights numerous imaginative contributions of the RSC’s creative teams to the art of adapting Shakespeare to the screen. We are showing some productions from the BBC archives that have been newly restored, and indeed many of these screen versions have hardly been seen since they were first shown. It’s thrilling to present these at the start of the year that marks the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death, and to think that RSC productions from as long ago as fifty years can once again excite and involve and delight audiences today.”

Macbeth (1979)
Saturday 9 Jan – 3pm
Cinema 1

Graced by fiercely thoughtful performances from Judi Dench and Ian McKellen, Trevor Nunn’s intense and intimate production, originally staged at The Other Place, was recorded in an almost bare television studio.

Production directed by Trevor Nunn

RSC Panel Discussion
Sunday 10 January – 2pm
Cinema 2

Academic Judith Buchanan leads this illuminating discussion, with current RSC Artistic DirectorGregory Doran and other guests to be announced on the RSC’s involvement with film and television and the challenges of translating stage productions to the screen.

A Midsummer Night’s Dream (1959)
Sunday 10 January – 4pm
Cinema 2

A rarely-seen partial recording of Peter Hall’s acclaimed staging. Charles Laughton plays Bottom in a sparkling production, which was conceived as if for a wedding in an Elizabethan country house.

Production directed by Peter Hall

The Wars of the Roses: Henry VI (1965)
Monday 11 January – 12 noon
Cinema 2

This is the premiere of a newly restored, BBC recording of the first great RSC History plays cycle. Unseen for decades, this is one of the most significant and compelling productions of theatre on television. Here, David Warner’s touching English monarch is contrasted with Janet Suzman’s fiery Joan of Arc.

Production directed by Peter Hall, John Barton

The Wars of the Roses: Edward IV (1965)
Monday 11 January – 3pm
Cinema 2

The second in this great RSC History plays cycle; Peggy Ashcroft blazes across the screen as Queen Margaret, alongside the exceptional cast of Donald Sinden as the Duke of York and Roy Dotrice as Edward IV.

Production directed by Peter Hall, John Barton

The Wars of the Roses: Richard III (1965)
Tuesday 12 January – 6pm
Cinema 1

Ian Holm’s compelling, chameleon-like King Richard is at the centre of this innovative BBC recording, and there are wonderful performances also from Janet Suzman (Lady Anne) and Eric Porter (Richmond).

Production directed by Peter Hall, John Barton

Othello (1990)
Sunday 17 January – 3pm
Cinema 2

A powerful version of Trevor Nunn’s intimate production for The Other Place, which unusually plays the text in full. Featuring the talents of Ian McKellen, Willard White, Imogen Stubbs and Zoe Wanamaker, the chemistry between the leads is palpable and exquisite.

Production directed by Trevor Nunn

As You Like It (1963)
Tuesday 19 January – 6pm
Cinema 1

One of the earliest hits for the newly established RSC, Michael Elliott’s sparkling version, set around a huge oak tree, is most memorable for Vanessa Redgrave’s luminous Rosalind.

Production directed by Michael Elliott

King Lear (1971)
Saturday 23 January – 3pm
Cinema 1

Peter Brook’s vision of the tragedy was filmed in black-and white against the snow-covered landscapes of Denmark’s North Jutland; there is a spare grandeur to the setting. Paul Scofield’s central performance is simply magnificent.

Production directed by Peter Brook

A Midsummer Night’s Dream (1996)
Sunday 24 January – 3pm
Cinema 2

A richly visual imagining of the play that appears to be dreamt by a young boy. Based on Adrian Noble’s 1994 staging, this is a triumph of lush design and immaculate performances by Lindsay Duncan, Alex Jennings and Desmond Barrit.

Production directed by Adrian Noble

Hamlet (2008)
Sunday 31 January – 2pm
Cinema 1

This striking television film captures the essence of Gregory Doran’s modern-dress staging, in which David Tennant’s quicksilver Prince lives in an Elsinore surrounded by surveillance and spying.

Production directed by Gregory Doran

Further information here:

King and Country: Shakespeare’s Great Cycle of Kings

The Royal Shakespeare Company will mark the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death with a major theatrical event at the Barbican in January 2016: King and Country: Shakespeare’s Great Cycle of Kings – with performances of all four productions of Gregory Doran’s history plays in repertoire, thanks to generous support from our Global Premier Tour Partner, J.P. Morgan.

The season brings together the previous production of Richard II (premiered in the Royal Shakespeare Theatre in Stratford-upon-Avon in October 2013), with the recent Henry IV Parts I & IIand the new production of Henry V following its acclaimed run in Stratford.

Ashleigh Gray, Andy Coxon & Liam Doyle announced for new musical MUTED

Interval Production have announced casting for their new musical MUTED.
TORI MUTEDWest End stars Ashleigh Gray (Wicked/Cool Rider), Steven Webb (Secret Theatre), Andy Coxon (Beautiful/Les Mis) and Liam Doyle (Ghost/Wicked) will join Tori Allen-Martin, who co-wrote the lyrics, to record the musical’s score for an album which will be launched with a concert production.
MUTED has book by Sarah Henley and music by Tim Prottey-Jones who also co-wrote the lyrics with Allen-Martin. The concert production will be directed by Jamie JacksonMUTED was previously called After the Turn and premiered at the Courtyard Theatre in 2010.
The concert production will be staged on 4th February 2016 at the Actors’ Church with two performances at 2.30pm and 7.30pm. Click here to book tickets.

Adult casting announced for UK and Ireland Tour of Billy Elliot

Full adult casting has been revealed for the UK and Ireland Tour of Billy Elliot the Musical in 2016.

Annette McLaughlin, Martin Walsh and Scott Garnham will star in the first ever Billy Elliot tour, which opens at the Theatre Royal Plymouth on Wednesday 24th February 2016.

Annette McLaughlin is set to play ballet teacher Mrs Wilkinson, alongside Martin Walsh as Billy’s dad and Scott Garnham as Billy’s brother, Tony.

Billy Elliot the Musical
will end its run at the Victoria Palace Theatre on 9th April 2016 after 4,600 performances and eleven years in the West End, as the theatre closes for refurbishment. The first UK and Ireland Tour has announced dates until May 2017, visiting Sunderland Empire (6th-30th April 2016), Bradford Alhambra (10th May-11th Jun 2016), Wales Millennium Centre, Cardiff (14th Jun-16th Jul 2016), Bord Gáis Energy Theatre, Dublin (26th Jul-3rd Sep 2016), Edinburgh Playhouse (20th Sep-22nd Oct 2016), Bristol Hippodrome (25th Oc-26th Nov 2016), Manchester Palace Theatre (29th Nov 2016-28th Jan 2017) and Southampton Mayflower (7th Feb-4th Mar 2017) during its run, with the final tour date currently at the Birmingham Hippodrome (7th Mar-6th May 2017).Further casting news announced also revealed that Andrea Miller will play the role of Billy’s grandmother. The full adult cast includes Phillip Aiden, Jonathan Alden, Leo Atkin, Tom Bainbridge, Deborah Bundy, Jack Butterworth, Luke Cinque-White, Donna Combe, Wayne Fitzsimmons, Nikki Gerrard, Abbie Louise Harris, Paul Hutton, Leon Kay, Charlie Martin, Kris Manuel, Barnaby Meredith, Daniel Page, Georgina Parkinson, Amy Rhiannon-Worth, Rachel Spurrell, Sebastian Sykes, Rafe Watts and Luke Zammit. The child cast will be announced in early 2016.
The stage musical is adapted from the 2000 film of the same name and includes the film’s original creative team: scriptwriter Lee Hall (book and lyrics), Peter Darling (choreographer) and Stephen Daldry (director). It additionally features music by Elton John, and has scenic design by Ian MacNeil, costume design by Nicky Gillibrand, lighting design by Rick Fisher, sound design by Paul Arditti, and musical supervision and orchestrations by Martin Koch. Julian Webber is associate director.Set in a northern town against the backdrop of the 1984/85 UK miners’ strike, Billy Elliot the Musical is the inspirational story of a young boy who swaps his boxing gloves for ballet shoes when he discovers a passion for dancing.

It made its world premiere at the Victoria Palace Theatre in May 2005 and was subsequently nominated in nine categories in the 2006 Laurence Olivier Awards, winning four awards, including one for ‘Best New Musical’. It has since been produced in countries all around the world, winning ten Tony Awards and ten Drama Desk Awards on Broadway and seven Helpmann Awards in Australia.

To date, Billy Elliot the Musical has been seen by over 5.2 million people in London and nearly 11 million worldwide, has grossed over $800 million worldwide and is the winner of over 80 theatre awards internationally.

Annette McLaughlin previously played Mrs Wormwood in the West End production of Matilda the Musical (Cambridge Theatre), and has also appeared in Trevor Nunn’s revival of Anything Goes at the Theatre Royal Drury Lane. Her other stage credits include the Open Air Theatre’s Henry IV Part I, A Midsummer Night’s Dream and Camelot. She also starred in Brief Encounter on Broadway.

Martin Walsh is a stage and screen actor largely known for his TV appearances in Coronation Street, Game of Thrones,Emmerdale, Downton Abbey and many more. His stage credits include Chips With Everything (Royal National Theatre),Hobson’s Choice (Young Vic Theatre) and Perfect Pitch (Coliseum Theatre).

Scott Garnham was most recently seen in Jest End at the Waterloo East Theatre and previously appeared in the West End in the world premieres of Made in Dagenham (Adelphi Theatre) and I Can’t Sing! The X Factor Musical (London Palladium). His other West End credits: include A Little Night Music (Yvonne Arnaud Theatre), Les Miserables (Queen’s Theatre) and Eurobeat (Novello Theatre). His other stage credits include: title of show (Landor Theatre), Never Forget(National Tour) and Honk! (Stephen Joseph Theatre, Scarborough). He also appeared in Matt Lucas’ BBC television seriesPompidou in 2014.











Victoria Palace Theatre
Evenings: Monday to Saturday 7.30pm
Matinees: Thursday and Saturday 2.30pm
Currently booking to 9th April 2016

Slava’s Snowshow Review

 Royal Festival Hall  16 December – 3 January.  Reviewed by Claire Roderick

I am not overly fond of clowns, so I was a little dubious about this show – but within the first minute I had lost my heart to the sad little yellow clown on the stage. When he was joined by the green clowns in their bizarre wide-brimmed hats, the magic was complete. Think Winnie the Pooh surrounded by Eeyore and his dysfunctional family. These are not sinister white faced clowns, but sweet, droopy nosed fools with simple white eye and mouth patches and five o’clock shadows.

I am still not sure what on earth was going on – at times haunting, surreal, hysterical, poignant and downright baffling, Slava’s Snowshow is an enchanting spectacle touching the child in all of us. The physical skills and delicacy of the clowns are breathtaking and had the audience sitting open mouthed in wonder.

The classic what’s at the end of the rope gag, a disastrous voyage on a bedstead boat, a touching  Brief Encounter homage (yellow clown and a coat stand! Beautiful), a murder leading to an hysterically over the top death throes dance (and instant recovery) and an unintelligible phone call that nevertheless puts you through the emotional ringer are all packed in amongst wonderful parades, songs and absurd moments.

The green clowns’ realisation that they can conduct the audience’s cheers was delightful and is just one highlight of the interaction during the show.

Sitting in the front stalls is a risk if you are not a fan of audience participation – handbags are snaffled, snow is scattered (although gently swept off the heads of the front row by the yellow clown), water is sprayed and seats are clambered over. The whole audience gets the chance to experience a giant cobweb, a spectacular snowstorm and balloons… lots of giant balloons.

Music by Beethoven, Vangelis, Carl Orff, Fiorino and other wonderful composers adds to the magic, along with a simple but beautiful set and stunning lighting design.

Slava’s Snowshow is full of joyful wonder and heartwarming innocence, and is one of the funniest things I have ever seen. Tears were streaming down my cheeks and I was laughing so loudly that at one point the clowns just stopped and stared at me. This is uplifting and unforgettable entertainment. I think I want to be a clown when I grow up.

I urge you to see this show. You will leave trailing snowflakes, unable to stop smiling and wanting to hug everyone you see.

Helen George stars in ‘After Miss Julie’ by Patrick Marber


Helen George in

AFTER MISS JULIE by Patrick Marber

A version of the play by August Strindberg

Directed by Anthony Banks


Theatre Royal Bath Productions is delighted to announce the pre-West End UK tour of Patrick Marber’s AFTER MISS JULIE, with Helen George in the title role. The production opens at the Theatre Royal Bath on 24th May, followed by a short UK tour, including the Yvonne Arnaud Theatre, Guildford w/c 30th May; Cambridge Arts Theatre, w/c 13th June; Theatre Royal Brighton, w/c 4th July; Richmond Theatre, w/c 11th July; Milton Keynes Theatre, 18th July (further tour details to be announced).

Set in 1945 in an English country house, on the eve of Labour’s landslide victory at the end of the second world war, this compelling and erotic psychological thriller is inspired by Strindberg’s 1888 masterpiece.

During a summer ball, the beautiful daughter of the peer who owns the house, wanders into the servant’s quarters. As she flirts with her father’s handsome chauffeur, indifferent to the presence of his fiancée, what begins as game-playing ignites into passion with devastating consequences.

Helen George plays Miss Julie. Well-known for her role as Trixie Franklin in Call the Midwife, she recently received huge praise for her thrilling performances on Strictly Come Dancing. Helen’s stage credits include the leading role of Sharpay Evans in the stage adaption of HIGH SCHOOL MUSCIAL; Andrew Lloyd Webber’s THE WOMAN IN WHITE; two of Nick Bagnall’s productions. A MIDSUMMER NIGHT’S DREAM and BY JEEVES, COMPANY (Kings Head); PLAN? (ETT/Milton Rooms); and LOVE NEVER DIES (Adelphi Theatre).

Patrick Marber’s plays include DEALER’S CHOICE, which won the 1995 Evening Standard Award for Best Comedy, and the huge international hit, CLOSER, which won the Evening Standard award for Best Comedy, the Critics’ Circle and Olivier awards for Best New Play and was made into a BAFTA Award-winning film in 2004.

Anthony Banks has directed Lucinda Coxon’s HERDING CATS (Hampstead & Theatre Royal Bath); James Graham’s BASSETT(Bristol Old Vic); Dennis Kelly’s DNA (National Tour); Bryony Lavery’s CESARIO and MORE LIGHT, Lucinda Coxon’s THE ETERNAL NOT and Michael Lesslie’s PRINCE OF DENMARK (NT) and Mark Ravenhill’s THE EXPERIMENT (Soho Theatre & Berliner Ensemble). He was an associate director at the NT until 2014 where he commissioned and developed a hundred new plays for NT Connections.

On Patrick Marber’s script:

Patrick Marber’s fiercely intelligent reworking… a triumph” Daily Telegraph

Zinging dialogue, laced with ruthless wit and semi-repressed desire” The Times

 “Ingenious … hypnotic” Independent


Dates:                        Tuesday 24th – Saturday 28th May, 2016

Times:                         Tuesday & Wednesday, 7.30pm; Thursday – Saturday, 8pm

                                      Thursday & Saturday matinees, 2.30pm

Box Office:               01225 448844

Tickets:                      £18.50 – £34.50

Olivier Award-winning production of Goodnight Mister Tom opens in the West End

Fiery Angel, The Ambassador Theatre Group, CFT Enterprises, Fiery Dragons & The Children’s Touring Partnership present the Chichester Festival Theatre Production of

Goodnight Mister Tom

From the classic novel by Michelle Magorian
Lighting Designer TIM MITCHELL
Puppet designer and director TOBY OLIÉ
Choreographer LIZZI GEE

  • Goodnight Mister Tom opens today, playing for a strictly limited season at the Duke of York’s Theatre in London’s West End
  • The production will then tour the UK, celebrating the 35th anniversary of Michelle Magorian’s much-loved children’s classic novel in 2016

Production images are now released ahead of David Wood’s Olivier award-winning stage adaptation, of the modern classic novel Goodnight Mister Tom which, opens today at the Duke of York’s Theatre in London’s West End.

The production enjoyed great critical acclaim in 2012/13, winning the Olivier Award for Best Entertainment and Family.

8f47024e88feb56c_orgDavid Troughton, who is currently the voice of Tony Archer on BBC Radio 4’s long-running British contemporary rural drama, The Archers, takes to the stage as Mister Oakley and is joined by an ensemble cast featuring Clark Devlin, Elisa de Grey, Guy Lewis, Simon Markey, Abigail Matthews, Jane Milligan, Martha Seignior, James Staddon, Melle Stewart, Georgina Suttonand Hollie Taylor.

b3c527a081fdb959_orgSix talented young performers have been cast in the key roles of William and Zach. Joe Reynolds,Freddy Hawkins and Alex Taylor-McDowall will alternate the role of William and Sonny Kirby,Harrison Noble and Oliver Loades will alternate as Zach. Please note the production images feature Alex Taylor-McDowall (William) and Oliver Loades (Zach).

The novel Goodnight Mister Tom is now a modern classic and is celebrating its 35th anniversary. Michelle Magorian’s wonderfully uplifting tale is brought gloriously to life in this magical stage adaptation by David Wood. Set during the dangerous build up to the Second World War, Goodnight Mister Tom follows young William Beech, who is evacuated to the idyllic English countryside and forges a remarkable and heart-warming friendship with the elderly recluse, Tom Oakley.


Fiery Angel, The Ambassador Theatre Group, CFT Enterprises, Fiery Dragons & The Children’s Touring Partnership present the Chichester Festival Theatre Production of

Duke of York’s Theatre
St Martin’s Lane, London, WC2N 4BG

The press performance will be on 17 December 2015 at 2.30pm


Mon – Sat eves 7.30pm, Wed*, Thu & Sat mats at 2.30pm
Tue 22 Dec & Tue 29 Dec at 2.30pm
*Except Wed 20 Jan, Wed 27 Jan, Wed 3 Feb, Wed 10 Feb at 1.30pm
Running time: 2 hours 15 minutes (including interval)
Age recommendation: 8+



23 – 27 February 2016
Manchester Opera House
3 Quay St, Manchester, Lancashire M3 3HP

1 – 5 March 2016
Milton Keynes Theatre
500 Marlborough Gate, Buckinghamshire MK9 3NZ

8 – 12 March 2016
Glasgow Theatre Royal
282 Hope St, Glasgow G2 3QA

15 – 19 March 2016
Birmingham New Alexandra Theatre
Suffolk Street Queensway, Birmingham, West Midlands B5 4DS

22 – 26 March 2016
Oxford New Theatre
George St, Oxford OX1 2AG

29 March – 2 April 2016
York Grand Opera House
Cumberland St, York YO1 9SW

5 – 9 April 2016
Richmond Theatre
Little Green, Richmond, Surrey TW9 1QJ

12 – 16 April 2016
Aylesbury Waterside Theatre
Exchange St, Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire HP20 1UG

19 – 23 April 2016
Woking New Victoria Theatre
The Ambassadors, Peacocks Centre, Woking, Surrey GU21 6GQ

Booking line for all ATG venues: 0844 871 3051

26 – 30 April 2016
Bath Theatre Royal
Theatre Royal Bath, Saw Cl, Bath BA1 1ET
01225 448844

3 – 7 May 2016
Cambridge Arts Theatre
6 St Edward’s Passage, Cambridge CB2 3PJ
01223 503333

10 – 14 May 2016
Cardiff New Theatre
Park Pl, Cardiff CF10 3LN
029 2087 8889

17 – 21 May 2016
Newcastle Theatre Royal
100 Grey St, Newcastle upon Tyne NE1 6BR
0844 811 2121

Darlington Civic Theatre – Matt Edwards as Buttons


This year’s Darlington Civic Theatre pantomime, Cinderella, is proving a great hit with audiences.

Christmas just wouldn’t be Christmas without a trip to the pantomime and Cinderella at Darlington Civic Theatre is proof enough that the all-time classic rags-to-riches story is simply the best when it comes to traditional family entertainment.

A fantastic feature at the Civic Theatre – apart from the beautiful auditorium and friendly staff, is the audience feedback board. Audience members are encouraged to write their comments about the show on a luggage label and attach it to the board using one of the colourful magnets supplied.

One current post reads “I loved Pudsey – it is the best show I’ve been to in my life” and another reads “The best thing I loved about the pantomime is that Buttons is really funny”.

In fact, looking at the board, the underlying feeling is that Buttons is a huge hit with children and adults alike. The role of Buttons is to tie the whole pantomime together, to be the narrator guiding you through the show. It requires a performer who is completely comfortable breaking the ‘fourth wall’, someone who has an instant connection to a theatre full of excited children and it helps if they can throw in some magic tricks along the way.

Matt Edwards brings his unique brand of performance to the role of Buttons at the Civic Theatre. Matt is a one man comedy experience but his warmth towards every cast member lifts the pantomime to another level. He combines magic and laughter with ease and is guaranteed to have any audience rolling around the aisles.

Matt told us “I started getting involved in magic at the age of five and have never lost my enthusiasm to learn new tricks or performance techniques. I joined the junior section of my local Magic Society in Ipswich and was also enrolled as the 300th member of the Young Magicians Club run by the world famous Magic Circle.”

When it comes to magic, Matt considers ‘entertainment’ to be the key word. “I like to dazzle and amaze audiences with routines that are mixed with humour and a great deal of skill, but I also like to feel the audience are involved in the tricks somehow.”

You can still catch Matt and the rest of the Cinderella cast as it runs until Sunday 10 January 2016. For tickets and more information visit or call 01325 486555.

Star Wars: The Force Awa-corns is Top of the Pops this Christmas as popcorn demand increases ahead of major film release

Star Wars: The Force Awa-corns is Top of the Pops this Christmas as popcorn demand increases ahead of major film release

·         Brits set to Chew-bacca on 2.4 million bags of popcorn over the next 3 weeks

·         Popcorn production at Tommy Tucker increased by 33% to meet STAR WARS demands

·         Total production for the year up to 60 million servings, nearly Obi-Wan portion for each UK citizen

·         Empire Cinemas Strikes Back with tickets available for a whole-Yoda extra screenings for the biggest film release of the year

 image001 (16)

Ahead of the much-anticipated release of Star Wars, which opens at Empire Cinemas on 17th December, Tommy Tucker have stepped up production to meet exceptional requirements for everyone’s most pop-ular film snack; popcorn. Tommy Tucker will be continuing to support its cinema partners as the film hits the big screen, which will tie in with the release of the prepacked Star Wars popcorn assortment – with orders for 2.4 million bags taken already for delivery over the next 3 weeks.

Tommy Tucker’s Operations Director, Shaun Noakes, commented: “We have increased our output by 33% to meet the increased demand. This has bumped our total production for the year to 60 million cinema servings (almost 1 portion for everyone in the UK!). Star Wars fans certainly love their popcorn!”

Star Wars opens at Empire Cinemas from 17th December. The UK’s largest independent cinema chain has put on numerous extra screenings across its 18 cinemas to meet extremely high ticket demands ahead of what looks set to be 2015’s biggest film release. Additional shows have been added to meet demand, tickets still available at:

Star Wars – A Festive Homage To The Greatest Film Saga Of All Time Review

Theatre N16  14th – 17th December.  Reviewed by Claire Roderick

This is a little gem of a show, with some fantastic ideas and a lot of love for the films.

The show begins with parenting and life tips from a slacker Star Wars fan to a new father who has made a Deathstar crib for his baby – you just screw the top off and pop it in!

The host, Toby Wan Kenobi then introduces each piece, in between telling some god-awful Star Wars jokes and making blue milk for an unfortunate audience member.

The next piece investigates the faces behind the stormtroopers’ masks, and has two discussing the staff canteen and their indignation that the rebels have attacked during lunch. They then begin imagining their own backstory, as the writers of the film were too selfish to flesh them out, in a sweet exchange with a very funny ending.

Jar Jar Binks’ first day as a galactic senator is reimagined. Everything will be fine and he’ll earn everyone’s respect, if he can just get out of the toilet. We hear his internal dialogue, which is coherent and funny, and his horror when he pratfalls and says one of those annoying “Mesa whoopsie” lines. Whether lusting after the female wookie in the next cubicle or smoking a death stick, this Jar Jar is much more fun than the original – perhaps they could add some of these lines to the film to ease our pain?

A riff on Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are dead, with two imperial guards opening cans of special brew after a pivotal battle is another gem – in between discussing the old man and black mask they chat about their contracts and pay, and think about a career change – maybe a job that requires more speaking?       

The final piece is perhaps the most poignant of the night, with two men waiting excitedly, in full costume, for the new Star Wars film to begin. One begins to question the direction of his life, and whether obsessing about films, the collection of memorabilia and attendance of conventions is the way to find a partner and have a fulfilling life – bewildering his friend who cannot see what is wrong with his life. A very downbeat ending to the evening, but very fitting.

The writers, Steve Robertson and John Hickman, Andrew Maddock, James C Ferguson, Victoria Taylor Roberts and Phillip Lawrence have all created fantastic pieces, with lots of laughs and tenderness for the characters, some of whom were neglected in the cinema, and the fans.

Even if you haven’t seen the films, you’ll enjoy  this show, and if you are already a fan – you will love it.