2017 VAULT Festival – A Year From Now and This Must Be The Place

This Must Be The Place

by Brad Birch and Kenneth Emson

Vault Festival, The Vaults, Leake Street, London SE1 7NN

Wednesday 8 th February – Sunday 12th February 2017

In an exhilarating first time collaboration between Pinter Commission winning Brad Birch and BAFTA-nominated Kenneth Emson, This Must Be The Place makes its London premiere at Vault following an acclaimed debut performance at Latitude Festival 2016. The production is staged by Poleroid Theatre – the company behind triple Off West End Award nominated Free Fall by Vinay Patel and the nationwide new writing platform Write It: Mic It.

Adam, a young Londoner in the midst of crisis, desperately tries for a clean break from technology, love, connectivity and the pressures of city life in an attempt to find home. A million miles away, or perhaps not so far, two friends try to start again in the big smoke as fugitives from their problems, but find they are still waiting on the margins.

Two short ballads about being alive and not… This Must Be The Place is a story about migration, missed connections and life on the edge of respectability. It’s about where we are now and whether we are really living. It is both frantic and funny, quiet and thoughtful, sometimes bleak, but never without a sense of hope.

This Must Be The Place expertly interweaves these two stories together but director Justin Audibert also leaves audiences to make their own connections between the plays and character’s stories – are they intertwined or aren’t they? The stories are brought to life by a talented ensemble of four actors using Poleroid’s trademark theatre combined with live gig.

Kenneth Emson and Brad Birch put the financial and emotional stress of young adults in the UK today in the spotlight. This Must Be The Place seeks to explore whether we can truly cope with the pressure of expectation, success, forced connectivity and an overload of information in our technological age, or if this is significantly contributing to mental instability and displacement.

Director Justin Audibert comments, Kenneth and Brad are two of the most urgent yet humane playwrights working today. Their work explores the dark undercurrents of life in the 21st century but does so from the perspective of those on the margins whose stories we rarely get to hear. They are also artists whose work challenges the boundaries of what the live experience of theatre can be.

Four outstanding performances from Mike Noble, Feliks Mathur, Molly Roberts and Hamish Rush … This Must Be The Place is a masterful look at life’s transitions and the connections that make us who we are (A Younger Theatre).

Title This Must Be The Place by Brad Birch and Kenneth Emson

Performance Dates Wednesday 8 th – Sunday 12th February 2017, 7:45pm

Running time 60 minutes

Twitter @PoleroidTheatre, @VaultFestival, #ThisMustBeThePlace

Website http://www.poleroidtheatre.co.uk/

Writers Brad Birch and Kenneth Emson

Director Justin Audibert

Producer Poleroid Theatre

Assistant Producer Corinne Salisbury

Location VAULT Festival, The Vaults, Leake Street, London SE1 7NN


A Year From Now

VAULT Festival, The Vaults, Leake Street, London SE1 7NN

Wednesday 25th January – Sunday 29th January 2017


This new production from RedBellyBlack Theatre is a fascinating combination of verbatim and physical theatre, using movement and audio narrative, that asks 14 people ‘where do you see yourself a year from now?’. Children, nonagenarians, new parents and trauma survivors talk to the audience about their perspective on the passing of time.

Following a successful run at Tristan Bates Theatre, A Year From Now returns to the stage with new answers to some seemingly simple questions. What do you make time for? What has been the time of your life? Are you where you thought you’d be a year ago?

From the four year-old who already knows that he is destined to be a racing car driver to the ninety-four year-old who is still driving, every story told in this show is moving, exciting, hilarious and disturbing. Follow the fears of new parents. Be blown away by the fifteen year-old who understands why bullying happens. Fall in love with the comedian who finds joy in all things, even after losing a close family member. Have your eyes opened by a young woman with a lifethreatening condition who risks everything to become a mother.

A Year From Now is about the importance and power of positivity. These raw, real-life stories encourage us to take ownership of our time and savour every minute. Five actors from various creative backgrounds guide us through these answers in a visually stunning verbatim performance.

…we have been presented with a playful and unfetishized look into the very unexceptional world we so regularly seek to leave behind… This is Alecky Blythe stripped bare, and it is all the more refreshing for it (LondonTheatre1).

A Year From Now was co-created by RedBellyBlack’s Artistic Director Kate Goodfellow (Winner of Best Female Performer, Brighton Fringe) and Director Vicki Baron.

The production is in partnership with mental health charity MIND, who are changing the national perspective on mental health. RedBellyBlack will be collecting donations and promoting the incredible work of this charity.

Title A Year From Now

Performance Dates Wednesday 25th – Sunday 29th January 2017, 6.10pm

Running time 60 minutes

Twitter @Red_Belly_Black, @VaultFestival, #AYearFromNow

Trailer https://youtu.be/GcCRKmTQSpM

Kate Goodfellow Choreographer/Producer/Co-Creator

Vicki Baron Director/ Co-Creator

Peter Collington Assistant Producer

Abi Toghill Lighting Designer and Operator


Kate Goodfellow

Clementine Mills

Christopher Montague

Oscar Scott-White

Jessica Warshaw

Location VAULT Festival, The Vaults, Leake Street, London SE1 7NN

The Stage Awards 2017 shortlist announced

Harry Potter producer in running for theatre awards hat-trick
The Stage Awards, in association with Integro Insurance Brokers ltd, announce 2017 shortlist.

The world’s oldest and best theatre publication, The Stage, has announced the shortlist for its annual industry awards, celebrating success within the performing arts.

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child producer Sonia Friedman is shortlisted for Producer of the Year sponsored by PRG XL Video, which she won in both 2015 and 2016. She is competing with Kenny Wax producer of The Play That Goes Wrong, and Fiery Angel which produced the Kenneth Branagh Theatre Company West End season.

Alistair Smith, print editor of The Stage and chair of the judging panel, said: “The Stage Awards are the only theatre awards that celebrate the whole stunning spectrum of theatre, encompassing London, regional, fringe and international work. Our exceptional shortlist this year is a blend of big and small, established and new. It ranges from Sonia Friedman, the commercial impresario behind West End mega-hit Harry Potter, to the Hope Mill, a bijou fringe theatre located in a former Manchester cotton mill. It’s also exciting to introduce two new categories this year – the Sustainability Award and the Innovation Award – for which we also have a spectacular range of nominees. Together, these thrillingly diverse companies represent the very best of what theatre is today.”

Matthew Bourne’s New Adventures is nominated for the International Award, sponsored by Ambassador Theatre Group, alongside Graeae Theatre Company and the Big in Belgium season at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe.

The Innovation Award category sponsored by Charcoalblue is a new award for 2017. The shortlist includes the New Diorama Theatre for its artist support programme, Simon McBurney’s Complicite for its use of sound on The Encounter, Les Enfants Terribles and Emma Brunjes Productions for new approaches to theatremaking.

The second new category for 2017, the Sustainability Award, sponsored by GDS, sees London Theatre Consortium compete with Tara Theatre and The Handlebards to recognise their environmental initiatives.

King’s Cross Theatre is back in the running for Theatre Building of the Year, sponsored by Audience Systems, having been previously nominated for the same category in 2016. The other nominees for the category include Royal Court Theatre, Liverpool and Tara Theatre, London.
Bristol Old Vic and Mercury Theatre, Colchester are nominated for Regional Theatre of the Year, sponsored by Evolution Productions, along with Sheffield Theatres, which won in the same category in 2013 & 2014.

London theatres competing for silverware in the London Theatre of the Year category, sponsored by Managed Networks, include Menier Chocolate Factory, the Old Vic Theatre, and Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre. Meanwhile Manchester’s Hope Mill Theatre is in the running for Fringe Theatre of the Year, sponsored by encoreinsure.com, with London-based theatres Hope Theatre, and New Diorama.

Shortlisted for School of the Year, sponsored by TodayTix, are the Urdang Academy, Musical Theatre Academy and the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama.

An Unsung Hero award, sponsored by White Light, for which there is no shortlist will also be announced at the 2017 ceremony.

The Stage Awards, in association with Integro Insurance Brokers Ltd, are decided by The Stage’s senior editorial team, following extensive consultation with leading figures in the theatre industry and a public nomination process.

Previous winners of The Stage Awards include: the National Theatre, Sonia Friedman Productions, Shakespeare’s Globe, Almeida Theatre, Royal Exchange Theatre, Young Vic Theatre, Michael Grandage Company, National Youth Theatre, Arts Educational Schools and Sheffield Theatres.
The Stage Awards 2017 are presented in association with Integro Insurance Brokers Ltd. Category sponsors for this year’s event include Ambassador Theatre Group, encoreinsure.com, Managed Networks, TodayTix, Audience Systems, Charcoalblue, White Light, GDS, PRG XL Video and Evolution Productions.


Shortlist in full

Regional Theatre of the Year
sponsored by Evolution Productions
Bristol Old Vic
Mercury Theatre, Colchester
Sheffield Theatres

London Theatre of the Year
sponsored by Managed Networks
Menier Chocolate Factory
Old Vic Theatre
Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre

Fringe Theatre of the Year
sponsored by encoreinsure.com
Hope Mill Theatre, Manchester
Hope Theatre, London
New Diorama Theatre, London

Theatre Building of the Year
sponsored by Audience Systems
King’s Cross Theatre, London
Royal Court Theatre, Liverpool
Tara Theatre, London

Producer of the Year
sponsored by PRG XL Video
Fiery Angel
Kenny Wax Productions
Sonia Friedman Productions

School of the Year
sponsored by TodayTix
Musical Theatre Academy, London
Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama, Cardiff
Urdang Academy, London

International Award
sponsored by Ambassador Theatre Group
Big in Belgium season at Edinburgh Festival Fringe
Graeae Theatre Company
Matthew Bourne’s New Adventures

Sustainability Award
sponsored by GDS
London Theatre Consortium
Tara Theatre, London
The Handlebards

Innovation Award
sponsored by Charcoalblue
Les Enfants Terribles and Emma Brunjes Productions
New Diorama Theatre





Following the success of the 2016 tour, the award-winning theatre company Cardboard Citizens has today announced additional dates for its Cathy tour, a new Forum Theatre production inspired by Cathy Come Home. Alongside well-known theatre venues, the tour will play in hostels, at Liverpool’s largest food bank in Liverpool Anglican Cathedral, a number of prisons and a library in Merseyside. On 18 January the production will be live streamed from Cast, Doncaster via Cardboard Citizens’website as well as to hostels around the country.

Since the tour began in October this year, Cathy has been seen by more than 2,200 people, 170 of whom saw it in a hostel. In theatres, the hugely successful £1 ticket initiative has offered vulnerable and homeless people an accessible way to experience this powerful and emotive Forum Theatre piece; almost 20% of tickets have been sold at this price. Written by award-winning playwright Ali Taylor, Cathy is directed by Cardboard Citizens’ Artistic Director, Adrian Jackson.

As well as an additional performance during the sold out run at Manchester’s Royal Exchange Theatre, the production will now visit White Rock Theatre, Hastings for a pay what you like performance, with all donations for Cardboard Citizens; Lady Chapel at Liverpool Anglican Cathedral, to raise funds for Liverpool’s biggest food bank and Shelter and St. Helen’s Library, Merseyside.

Cathy will be live streamed on 18 January from Cast, Doncaster at 7.45pm by Pilot Theatre. Audiences will be able to watch at https://www.cardboardcitizens.org.uk/CathyLive. During the Forum section of the production, virtual audiences will be encouraged to join in a live debate on a dedicated comments board and by using #CathyLive.

Adrian Jackson said, “The reaction to Cathy has been overwhelming, with audiences strongly moved, angry and compassionate in equal measure. Ali Taylor’s timely and powerful play – tapping into the same zeitgeist as I, Daniel Blake and Love at the National Theatre – has now been performed to packed houses in 15 theatres and hostels across the country from Exeter to Cumbria, and afterwards each audience has offered ideas and strategies in dynamic Forum Theatre sessions.

“We are excited to be able to offer more people the chance to experience Cathy with the announcement of these new dates, offering further opportunities to empower audiences to rehearse changes they would like to see in the world we live in. We are particularly pleased to be supporting Liverpool’s biggest food bank with a fundraising performance on 11 January.”

David Morrissey, Unity Theatre patron and supporter of Cardboard Citizens, said: “Cardboard Citizens do fantastic work for excluded people, and have done for the past 25 years. I’m really pleased the Unity is able to bring the astounding show Cathy to Liverpool, which has suffered a rise in homeless people over the last few years. In addition to a suggested donation to the local foodbank, Hope+, Unity will also be collecting for Shelter, the housing and homeless charity. The charity was established 50 years ago in response to public calls for action following the release of the original TV play, Cathy Come Home. Even after 50 years Ken Loach’s story is still very relevant today so please give generously.”

First broadcast in 1966 on the BBC, Cathy Come Home depicts a young family’s slide into homelessness. The first screening of the film led to public outrage at the state of housing in Britain and became a defining cultural landmark, demonstrating the power of art to effect social and political change.

Cardboard Citizens continues its exploration of the state of housing and homelessness with Cathy, its new critically acclaimed Forum Theatre show by award-winning playwright Ali Taylor (Cotton Wool, OVERSPILL), and directed by Cardboard Citizens Artistic Director Adrian Jackson, exploring how life might be for a Cathy today. Based, like the film, on true stories, this timely reflection looks at the social and personal impact of spiralling housing costs and the challenges of the forced relocation out of London experienced by many people on council waiting lists.

Cathy was researched with the support of housing and homelessness charity Shelter and each performance ends with an interactive debate in classic Forum Theatre style.  Forum Theatre is an interactive style of theatre that empowers the audience to change the outcome and have their say on one of society’s most topical subjects today – every show is a unique experience. The audience are encouraged to suggest how different courses of action might affect the outcome narrative and, in a final section of debate, to suggest laws which might ameliorate the situations the character find themselves in. Audience members can be actively involved or simply sit back and watch -as the story is rewritten in front of them.

Twitter & Instagram: @CardboardCitz
Facebook: www.facebook.com/cardboardcitizens
YouTube: www.youtube.com/user/cardboardcitztv



Cardboard Citizens present

Director: Adrian Jackson
Writer: Ali Taylor
Cast: Alex Jones, Amy Loughton, Cathy Owen, Hayley Wareham
Dramaturg: Sarah Woods
Researcher: Alison Cain
Assistant Director: Emilia Teglia
Designer:  Lucy Sierra
Lighting Designer: Mark Dymock
Sound Designer:  Matt Lewis


Crucible Studio, Sheffield
10-11 January
Box Office: 0114 249 6000

Royal Exchange Theatre, Manchester
12-14 January
Box Office: 0161 833 9833

Northern Stage, Newcastle
16-17 January
Book now
Box Office: 0191 230 5151

Cast, Doncaster
18 January
Book now
Box Office: 01302 303959

mac Birmingham, Birmingham
19-20 January
Book now
Box Office: 01214463232

Bridport Arts Centre
3 February
On sale soon
Box Office: 01308 424 204

HMP Pentonville, London
23-24 January

White Rock Theatre, Hastings
25-26 January
Book now (Pay what you like performance)
Box Office: 01424 462288

HMP Thameside, London
31 January
Tickets will not be on sale

Warwick Arts Centre
6-7 February
Book now
Box Office: 02476 524524

Theatre Royal Wakefield
8 February
Book now
Box Office: 01924 211311

The Civic, Barnsley
9 February
Book now
Box Office: 01226 327000

St Helen’s Library, Merseyside
10 February
Book now
Box Office 01744 676954

Lady Chapel, Anglican Cathedral, Liverpool
11 February
This is a free event. There is a suggested donation to the local food bank, Hope+.
Reserve a ticket now
Box Office 0151 709 4988






Lewis Griffiths (‘Johnny’) and Katie Hartland (‘Baby’) celebrated the London season of Dirty Dancing – The Classic Story on Stage by performing the iconic lift on the ice (for the very first time) at the Natural History Museum Ice Rink, in front of the sparkling 9 foot Swarowski Christmas Tree centrepiece.

Full of passion and romance, heart-pounding music and sensationally sexy dancing, the record-breaking show has been reconceived in an all-new production created by an innovative European creative team. The 3rd UK tour has taken over £8million pounds since it hit the road in Blackpool in August, and is currently wowing audiences in the West End – playing at the Phoenix Theatre until 31 December 2016. The tour will then play international dates in Bremen and Cannes, before mambo-ing back on the road, visiting multiple cities in the UK and Ireland until the autumn.

Tour dates and tickets at:














Bill Kenwright presents the highly anticipated first ever UK tour of the Tony and Olivier award winning LA CAGE AUX FOLLES, which opens at New Oxford Theatre on Thursday 5th January.

la-cage-aux-folles-john-partridge-as-%27zaza%27-cmatt-martinJOHN PARTRIDGE will play the iconic role of ‘Albin’, who moonlights as star drag act Zaza at the infamous La Cage aux Folles nightclub. Partridge’s extensive theatre credits include the West End productions of A Chorus Line at the London Palladium, Cats, Starlight Express and Chicago. He is also well known for playing the loveable Christian Clarke in BBC’s EastEnders and as a judge on TV’s Over The Rainbow.

la-cage-aux-folles-adrian-zmed-as-%27georges%27-cmatt-martinADRIAN ZMED will play ‘Georges’, partner of Albin and owner of the nightclub. Zmed co-starred with William Shatner as ‘Officer Vince Romano’ in the 80’s hit TV show T.J. Hooker, which ran for 90 episodes over 5 years, and for playing ‘Johnny Nogerelli’ in the cult classic film Grease 2. Adrian then went on to star alongside big screen legend Tom Hanks in comedy Bachelor Party. This will be his first stage appearance in the UK although he is no stranger to Broadway musicals having previously led the casts of Grease, no fewer than 3 times, Falsettos and Blood Brothers.

One of the West End’s most revered leading ladies’, TV star and recording artist MARTI WEBB will play ‘Jacqueline’, friend to ‘Albin’ and ‘Georges’, and owner of the restaurant ‘Chez Jacqueline’. Webb has played leading roles in numerous West End and touring musicals including Evita, Godspell, Thoroughly Modern Millie, Blood Brothers, Oliver, Oklahoma, 42nd Street, and Half-a-Sixpence. She received huge critical acclaim for her unforgettable performance in Tell Me on a Sunday, which was written specifically for her by Andrew Lloyd Webber and Don Black. She has recorded nine solo albums and had many hit singles, including Always There, the theme from the hit BBC series ‘Howard’s Way’ and the smash hit Take That Look off Your Face.

Dougie Carter will appear alongside them as ‘Jean-Michele’, Samson Ajewole as ‘Jacob’, Su Douglas as ‘Marie/Madame Renaud’, Alexandra Robinson as ‘Anne’, Paul F Monaghan as ‘Dindon / Renaud’, and Jon De Ville as ‘Francis’. Joining them on stage as Les Cagelles will be Jordan Livesey, Matthew Ives, Louie-George Daniels, Liam Paul Jennings, Micah Holmes and Richard Leavey. Completing the cast are Luke Byrne, Jane Quinn, and Rachel Cumino.


Written by Harvey Fierstein and Jerry Herman, and based on the 1973 French play of the same name by Jean Poiret, La Cage Aux Folles follows the story of Georges, the manager of a Saint Tropez nightclub, and his partner, Albin, a drag artiste and the club’s star attraction. They live an idyllic existence in the south of France but behind the curtains of this sparkling extravaganza, all may be about to change when Georges’ son Jean-Michel announces his engagement to the daughter of a notorious right-wing politician determined to close down the local colourful night-life. Drama and hilarity ensue when a meeting of the parents forces them to cover up their vibrant lifestyle. Will Albin be able to play the role of his life to ensure that Jean-Michel can marry his love?

LA CAGE AUX FOLLES is a multi-award winning musical. The original Broadway production became an instant smash hit when it opened in 1983. It received nine nominations for Tony Awards and won six, including Best Musical, Best Score and Best Book. The success of the musical spawned a London Palladium production and several international runs. The 2004 Broadway revival won the Tony Award for Best Revival, and the 2008 London revival garnered the Laurence Olivier Award for Best Musical Revival.

Setting out on its first ever UK tour, this brand new production is produced by Bill Kenwright, directed by Martin Connor, choreographed by Olivier Award Winning Bill Deamer, designed by Gary McCann, with Wigs and Make-up Design by Richard Mawbey, Lighting by Ben Cracknell and Sound by Dan Samson (the team responsible for the sumptuous current hit, The Sound of Music), and musical direction by Mark Crossland. This lavishly funny tale of unconditional love and family values, will leave you feeling the need to celebrate that life’s not worth a damn ‘till you can say I am what I am.’

This show-stopping score includes The Best of Times, Song on the Sand and the iconic I Am What I Am, which has been recorded by musical legends Gloria Gaynor, Shirley Bassey and Tony Bennett.

The production tours the UK from 5th January 2017, opening at the New Theatre Oxford.

Dates currently on sale at www.kenwright.com. Further casting and dates to be announced.

Revival of Chris Chibnall’s Worst Wedding Ever – cast for 2017 tour announced





Worst Wedding Ever

A Salisbury Playhouse, New Wolsey Theatre Ipswich and Queen’s Theatre Hornchurch production

By Chris Chibnall

Salisbury Playhouse – Thursday 2 to Saturday 25 February

New Wolsey Theatre, Ipswich – Wednesday 1 to Saturday 11 March

Queen’s Theatre, Hornchurch – Wednesday 15 March to Saturday 1 April


Hit comedy Worst Wedding Ever sold out its premiere run in Salisbury in 2014, enjoying great audience and critical response. It returns in spring 2017 in a new co-producing partnership between Salisbury PlayhouseNew Wolsey Theatre Ipswich and Queen’s Theatre Hornchurch. The first play commissioned by Salisbury Playhouse’s Original Drama programme, it is written by Chris Chibnall – acclaimed for creating the hit TV series Broadchurch and recently appointed Executive Producer of Doctor Who.  Directed by Salisbury Playhouse’s Artistic Director, Gareth Machin, the show runs in the Main House at Salisbury Playhouse from 2 to 25 February 2017 before playing at the New Wolsey Theatre, Ipswich (1 to 11 March) and Queen’s Theatre, Hornchurch (15 March to 1 April).

Worst Wedding Ever is a comedy drama set in West Dorset about a mother who, after her daughter’s original wedding plans begin to crumble, enlists the whole family to help make the day one she’ll never forget.  With a marquee in the back garden, the pub band, the help of the local vicar and two almost fully functioning portable toilets, surely the day will pass without a hitch?

The cast is led by Julia Hills (Calendar Girls, Chichester Festival Theatre, West End and national tour; 2point4 Children) as Liz, the bride’s mother. She will be joined by Elizabeth Cadwallader, Ben Callon, Derek Frood, Lloyd Gorman, Kieran Hill, Elisabeth Hopper, Nav Sidhu and Chris Talman.

Chris Chibnall is a stage and television writer who created ITV’s Broadchurch, series 3 of which is currently in production. From 2018 he will be Head Writer and Executive Producer of BBC TV’s Doctor Who. His stage work includes Gaffer! and Kiss Me Like You Mean It, which was shortlisted for a Meyer-Whitworth Award, and his television work includes the BBC drama The Great Train Robbery.

Gareth Machin, Artistic Director of Salisbury Playhouse, says “It was fantastic to work with south west writer Chris Chibnall in creating this comedy through Original Drama and now to be working with partners to bring it to a wider audience.  It is a play full of laughter but also imbued with real heart and is a fantastic night at the theatre. ”

The production is designed by James Button with musical supervision by Kate Edgar, lighting by Peter Hunter and sound by Mark Noble

Danny Mac and Carley Stenson to Star in SLEEPLESS the Musical





Fresh from the Final of BBC’s Strictly Come Dancing, Danny Mac and West End leading lady Carley Stenson, will be playing the roles of Sam and Annie in the world premiere of SLEEPLESS the Musical based on the Tristar Pictures Inc. film Sleepless in Seattle. The new musical has a book by Michael Burdett, music by Robert Scott and lyrics by Brendan Cull.

The production will open at Theatre Royal Plymouth from 1 to 15 April, followed by a week at The Lowry, Salford from 25 to 29 April, and finishing at Bord Gais Energy Theatre, Dublin from 2 to 13 May, prior to a West End run.

SLEEPLESS is the enchanting new romantic musical comedy based on the original story and screenplay of the movie classic Sleepless In Seattle. Like the much loved movie, SLEEPLESS tells the heart-warming tale of Sam, who moves to Seattle with his eight year-old son, Jonah, following the tragic death of his wife. When Jonah phones a radio show, Sam is forced to talk about his broken heart and sleepless nights live on air, and he suddenly finds himself one of the most sought after single men in America and a great news story for feisty journalist Annie on the opposite side of the country. A fresh and lively book alongside a brand-new musical score bring this most timeless of romantic comedies to life on stage.

danny-mac-and-carley-stenson-photo-credit-dewynters-matt-crockettDanny Mac is best known for playing the role of Mark ‘Dodger’ Savage in Channel 4’s Hollyoaks. He was given his first professional role as Gavroche in Cameron Mackintosh’s touring production of Les Misérables, a role he reprised in London’s West End at the Palace Theatre in 1999. After graduating from drama school, he went straight into Wicked at the Apollo Victoria. Most recently, he played Warner in Legally Blonde at the Leicester Curve.

Carley Stenson played the role of Steph Cunningham in Channel 4’s Hollyoaks for 10 years. West End credits include starring as Elle Woods in Legally Blonde, Princess Fiona in Shrek The Musical and Lady of the Lake in Spamalot. Carley also starred as Christine Colgate in the national tour of Dirty Rotten Scoundrels.

Danny Mac and Carley Stenson are joined by Jennie Dale as Becky and Cory English as Rob. Jennie’s most recent theatre credits include Maggie Jones in 42nd Street (Théâtre du Châtelet, Paris) Deb in Elf (Dominion Theatre), Dora in Singin’ in the Rain (Théâtre du Châtelet, Paris) and Mae inThe Pajama Game (Shaftesbury Theatre). On television, Jennie has appeared in The Tracey Ullman Show and Victoria Wood’s Mid-life Christmas and What Larks. Cory English can currently be seen inShe Loves Me at the Menier Chocolate Factory. His many previous musical theatre credits include Max Bialystock in the UK Tour of The Producers, Igor in Young Frankenstein and Max Bialystock inThe Producers, both for Susan Stroman on Broadway, and Benny Southstreet in Michael Grandage’s West End production of Guys & Dolls.

Further casting to be announced.

SLEEPLESS will be directed by Morgan Young (Elf, White Christmas, Big), with set design by Morgan Large, costume design by Sue Simmerling, lighting by Tim Lutkin, video design by Ian William Galloway, sound design by Avgoustos Psillas and Terry Jardine for Autograph, orchestrations and musical supervision by Larry Blank, wig and hair design by Richard Mawbey and casting by Sarah Bird CDG.

The world premiere of SLEEPLESS is a Theatre Royal Plymouth production presented by Michael Rose and David Shor, in association with Marc Toberoff and the Bord Gais Energy Theatre, Dublin.

For further details, please visit www.sleeplessthemusical.com.


1-15 April 2017:

Theatre Royal Plymouth

Royal Parade
Plymouth PL1 2TR

Box Office: 01752 267222




25-29 April 2017:

The Lowry

Pier 8

Salford Quays

Greater Manchester

M50 3AZ

Box Office: 0843 208 6000




2-13 May 2017:

Bord Gais Energy Theatre

Grand Canal Square


Dublin 2

Box Office:  ROI: 0818 719 377 / UK & NI: 0844 847 2455


Anything Goes Review

Upstairs at The Gatehouse 14 December – 29 January.  Reviewed by Claire Roderick

Cole Porter’s great musical comes to Highgate for the Christmas season. A sunny transatlantic crossing may not seem like obvious festive material, but this is sheer joyous escapism at its best.

The plot is nonsensical, full of cheesy lines, idiotic coincidences and lunatic about faces – but logic is thrown overboard in the face of such fantastic entertainment, and the laughs come thick and fast. Director John Plews has used the 1962 Broadway revival script, and the traverse staging, with the audience seeming to be watching from a perch on the ship’s rails lends a sense of complicity to the farcical events onstage.

Billy Crocker stows away on the SS American when he discovers that the love of his life is also on board, sailing to England with her fiancé to get married. With the help of nightclub singer Reno Sweeney, Public Enemy no. 13, Moonface Martin – masquerading as a priest – and his moll Bonnie, Billy dons various disguises to continue wooing his love.

Jack McCann’s Billy begins a little smugly, but as his romance with Hope (a very sweet Samantha Dorsey) develops, the charm shines through. Taryn Erickson storms the stage as Reno, with a voice and dance skills that mark her out for a great future. Jack Keane is hysterical as Sir Evelyn – a true Wodehouse fop – making you giggle with anticipation of more buffoonery just by coming on stage. David Pendlebury and Chloe Adele Edwards are true caricatures as Moonface and Bonnie – chewing the scenery and providing lots of laughs.

The show is all about the music – from the moment the fantastic band (perched at the stern of the ship, so sometimes drowning out the male singers’ middle register for audience members nearby) struck up Porter’s overture, every foot in the room was tapping. With numbers like I Get A Kick Out Of You, Anything Goes, You’re The Top, It’s De-Lovely, Blow Gabriel Blow, Friendship and so many more, all sung with skill and gusto, this production really delivers. Chris Whittaker’s choreography is witty and energetic, making the most of the traverse staging, although I would get a little nervous in the front row with some of the high kicking.

This is one of those productions that you want to go back and see again – gorgeous, frivolous and stylish entertainment that never dates performed with panache. The perfect night out for anyone going through Strictly withdrawal.

A Christmas Carol Review

Above The Arts 12 – 31 December.  Reviewed by Claire Roderick

Combining two of my favourite things – theatre and food – Flanagan Collectives’ A Christmas Carol is fantastic festive fun.

Above the Arts becomes Scrooge’s parlour – bookcases and fireplace facing the debtor’s wall – full of double entendre names and the amounts owed. In the middle of the room is a huge banquet table – but don’t panic if you don’t get a seat there straight away – benches are pulled out to seat everyone during the meal.

Jacob Marley (Jack Whitam) sets everything up by telling the audience that we are all spirits and must help Scrooge change. Lots of Christmas spirit was flowing from the bar, so we were all up for that. After a chance to throw a few Bah Humbugs around about the Cratchett’s and charity, Scrooge (Al Barclay) is taken back to Christmas past – memories of his childhood chase all joviality away and the actors’ delivery creates a truly haunting atmosphere.

Christmas present is represented by the delicious two-course meal, provided by Danny Jack’s Humble Kitchen. The audience take their seats around the table, and, if they don’t all fit, the “naughty table” is pulled out for the extra guests. That’s where we sat, slightly missing out on the community atmosphere of the main table, but having personal service from the cast, and acting like Statler and Waldorf from The Muppet Show. As you eat, Marley acts the attentive host, sharing banter with the audience, while Scrooge grills you about what Christmas means to you. There is a singalong, jokes and party games but, of course, there is Christmas yet to come to experience. This is a huge and sudden shift in tone, bringing the night back to the source text rather spookily.

Whitam and Barclay are fantastic performers, bouncing off the audience brilliantly and keeping in character throughout. Whitam was reminiscent of Lord Percy’s sensible brother and Barclay was a more animated Lurch – in the best way possible.

A Christmas Carol is the perfect Christmas night out – a classic tale told with affection and energy, full of laughter and warmth. You’ll leave with a full belly and a heart brimming over with Christmas cheer.

The Snow Queen Review

Theatre N16 11 – 22 December,  Reviewed by Claire Roderick

Tatty Hennessy’s adaptation of The Snow Queen is a magical family show, relying on wonderful story telling and quiet moments of wonder rather than in your face pantomime shenanigans.

Greta’s (Jessica Arden) brother Kay (James Tobin) has changed, they are arguing all the time, and so are their parents. Greta stays in the attic, full of familiar things where she feels safe, until a stuffed crow begins to speak to her. He tells her about the Snow Queen, who steals children and replaces them with nasty copies. Greta and the crow set off to find the Snow Queen’s castle and rescue Kay.

The attic set is simple, cardboard boxes contain story props, and dust sheet covered furniture is used to create a plane, sleigh and even a polar bear. Jessica Strawson narrates the tale, describing what Greta sees with perfectly targeted language – when you tell a child that the sky “looked like the stars were having a disco”, that will instantly spark their imagination. The show took me back to my childhood, having the feel of the best Jackanory episodes – all that was missing was Bernard Cribbins. Trusting a young audience to stay with a story told simply, without many bells and whistles, is a brave thing – especially during panto season – but Hennessy’s writing is pitched perfectly, delivering its message without being patronising.

The cast do a fine job. Arden keeps Greta childlike without being annoying, and her interactions with Crow are authentic playground language and emotion. Tobin handles the Crow puppet brilliantly, delivering way more bird jokes than the world needs and managing to convey emotion with just a twitch of Crow’s head. I never thought I could feel affection for a puppet that resembles a pygmy Skeksis, but that’s the magic of this show. Strawson is an excellent narrator, never talking down to the audience, and injecting a tone of wonder in her voice at just the right moments. She also plays the characters Greta meets on her quest, showcasing her range of accents.

Tatty Hennessy has streamlined the original story, and focuses on the message that changes in life can be scary, but we must take the risk and move forward to find happiness. This is something the children will have heard in many school assemblies, but never presented as imaginatively as this.

The Snow Queen is one of the best children’s shows I’ve seen – intelligent, imaginative and spellbinding. Take your children to see this. Or just go and treat your inner child.