New Announcement for 2016



An all new production of the hit musical comedy SISTER ACT, directed and choreographed by Craig Revel Horwoodwith musical supervision and arrangements by Tony award-winning Sarah Travis, has been announced at Leeds Grand Theatre today; it comes to the city next year for one week only from Monday 22nd to Saturday 27th August 2016.

Director and Choreographer Craig Revel Horwood said today “I am truly thrilled to be directing and choreographing this all new production of Sister Act, a show I fell in love with when I saw it a few years ago. I am currently putting together a dream creative team and can’t wait to get started next year on this hilarious and wonderful show”.

Based on the smash hit movie starring Whoopi Goldberg and Maggie Smith, SISTER ACT tells the hilarious story of Deloris Van Cartier, a disco diva whose life takes a surprising turn when she witnesses a murder. Under protective custody she is hidden in the one place she won’t be found – a Convent! Disguised as a nun and under the suspicious watch of Mother Superior, Deloris helps her fellow sisters find their voices as she unexpectedly rediscovers her own.

SISTER ACT features original music by the 8 time Oscar and Tony Award winner Alan Menken. Alan’s credits include the films and stage musicals of Disney’s “Beauty and the Beast”, “Aladdin”, “The Little Mermaid” and “Newsies” as well as “Tangled”, “Enchanted”, “The Hunchback of Notre Dame”, “Pocahontas” and “Hercules” on film.  His other credits include the film and stage production of “Little Shop of Horrors”.

Producer Jamie Wilson said I am delighted to be presenting this all new production of Sister Act at both Curve, Leicester and on tour. I couldn’t think of a better theatre to be producing this show with and am thrilled Nikolai Foster and his team will be welcoming those singing nuns next Summer!

Craig Revel Horwood is probably best known as a judge on BBC One’s “Strictly Come Dancing”. As a director and choreographer his many credits include the recent all-star concert of Stephen Sondheim’s “Follies” at the Royal Albert Hall, “Sunset Boulevard” at the Comedy theatre in the West End, the national tours of “Fiddler on the Roof”, “Spend Spend Spend” and “Chess” (also Toronto) and “The Witches of Eastwick”, “Martin Guerre” and “Copacabana”, all at the Watermill Theatre. Craig also wrote and directed a brand new show, “Strictly Confidential” that toured the UK starring familiar faces from Strictly Come Dancing as well as the annual arena tours of “Strictly Come Dancing”.  As a performer his West End Theatre credits include: ‘Munkustrap’ in “Cats” at the New London Theatre, “Miss Saigon” at the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane and ‘Harry’ in “Crazy for You” at the Prince Edward Theatre. He is currently playing ‘Miss Hannigan’ in the tour of “Annie”.

Artistic Director of Curve, Nikolai Foster said It’s been a great joy collaborating with Craig on Annie and having been inspired by many of his innovative productions as director, I know, along with Sarah’s inspired musical leadership, they will deliver an exhilarating and hugely original production at Curve“.

Sister Act is at Leeds Grand Theatre from Monday 22nd to Saturday 27th August 2016

Tickets are on sale now priced from £23.50 to £44.

Book online at or call Box Office on 0844 848 2700


Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre’s LORD OF THE FLIES – casting and full tour dates announced

Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre



LORD OF THE FLIES by GoldingCasting and full tour dates are announced today for Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre’s critically acclaimed production of William Golding’s Lord of the Flies, which will return following its 2011 sell-out premiere for a limited run from Thursday 3 to Saturday 12 September 2015 prior to a major UK tour.

The cast of young actors will feature Freddie Watkins (Nativity) as Jack, Luke Ward-Wilkinson (Wild at Heart,Beautiful People) as Ralph, Anthony Roberts as Piggy, Keenan Munn-Francis (The Scottsboro Boys, The Lion King) as Simon, Matthew Castle as Roger, Dylan Llelwellyn as Henry, Michael Ajao as Maurice, Yossi Goodlink as Bill and Jonathan Holby as Naval Officer. Twin brothers Thiago Pigatto and Fellipe Pigatto will play twins Sam and Eric. The role of Perceval will be shared by David Evans, Guy Abrahams and Ben Barker.

The tour will open at Woking New Victoria Theatre on Wednesday 16 September and continue until March 2016, with a press night at Southampton’s Mayflower Theatre on Wednesday 30 September at 7.00pm. LORD OF THE FLIES by Golding

After a group of schoolboys survive a plane crash, what starts as a classic desert island adventure quickly descends into a struggle for survival in a darkly sinister world of superstition and immorality. William Golding’s 20th century classic explodes onto the stage in this remarkable production, returning to the award-winning Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre.

First published in 1954, Lord of the Flies was William Golding’s debut novel. His other works including Free Fall,The Spire, Rites of Passage (Booker Prize winner), The Paper Men and Fire Down Below. In 1983 Golding was awarded The Nobel Prize in Literature.

Lord of the Flies is directed by Timothy Sheader and co-directed by Liam Steel, with design by Jon Bausor, composition and sound score by Nick Powell, lighting design by Paul Keogan and sound design by Avgoustas Psillas for Autograph. Lord of the Flies is supported using public funding by the National Lottery through Arts Council England’.



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D5D32582 both teams at start of gameBilled as the final Les Miserables v The Phantom of the Opera football match, the MAD Match, played at Bromley Arena yesterday ended with a decisive 6:2 victory to Phantom FC. The crowd clearly are hoping for a return match as this leaves the score standing at 2 games each.

D5D32254The concert got off to a rocking start with Killian Donnelly’s Mustang Sally, with a pretty good effort at backing vocals by the crowd. Rachelle Ann Go stepped away from musical theatre and despite her reservations wowed with Chandelier. Then came the incomparable John Owen Jones, who entertained the audience by “killing ants” on the red carpet before a roof raising set, (had there been a roof) closing with Thunderball which got thunderous applause from the crowd. Carrie Hope Fletcher dazzled in her Disney dress with Colours of the Wind, beautifully sung despite her being under the weather. Stepping in at the last minute Rob Houchen sang an amazing duet Who Wants To Live For Ever with Kerry Ellis, who then closed the concert, with the audience on their feet swaying to We Are The Champions.

D5D32865The MAD Match kicked off at 3.00pm with Les Miserables taking an early lead. A penalty was awarded against Les Mis and tension mounted as Ryan Goscinski stepped up to take the spot kick. Facing Paul Jones, ex Welsh International, he kept his cool and found the back of the net. At 1 : 1, a sneaky Phantom ball rolled into the net giving them the lead at half time.

Take Four ended their interval performance by encouraging the teams back onto the pitch with Walk Like A Man.

D5D33798 phntom winning team picMark Sampson, set aside his duties as England Ladies manager, and stepped up to manage Phantom FC. Mark and his assistant Lee Kendall’s half time team talk did the trick. Phantom took charge of the game for most of the second half. Les Mis fought back from 5:1 down but it wasn’t enough, and assisted to their victory by Francis Benaliand Luke Benali, the final score was 6:2 to Phantom.

Mark Clemmit of BBC Radio Five Live was on the touchline to get the thoughts of Alan Irvine, manager of Les Miserables team, who thought his team had given their all. “I couldn’t have asked for more from my lads” The assistant manager of Les Mis FC, James Townsen, took to the pitch, but it still wasn’t enough.

Just to make sure everyone knew exactly what was happening on the pitch, live commentary for the day was provided by Carl Mullaney and Tim Morgan.

A fantastic day for everyone looks to have raised over £15,000 for the Make A Difference Trust to support HIV and AIDS projects.

Donations can be made on line at:

Sheridan Smith plays Fanny Brice in Funny Girl at The Menier Chocolate Factory

Sheridan-Smith-Olivier-Awards-2011The Menier Chocolate Factory today announced that award-winning actress Sheridan Smith returns to the theatre to play Fanny Brice in a major new revival of Funny Girl. The multi award-winning Michael Mayer directs the production, which opens on 2nd December, with previews from 20th November, and runs until 5th March 2016. This production is presented in association with Sonia Friedman Productions and Scott Landis.

Funny Girl returns to the London stage for the first time since its 1966 première. With music by Jule Styne, lyrics by Bob Merrill and book by Isobel Lennart, the Broadway smash which skyrocketed Barbra Streisand to stardom, is revived with Sheridan Smith playing Fanny Brice, who rose from the Lower East Side of New York to become one of Broadway’s biggest stars under producer Florenz Ziegfield. While she was cheered onstage as a great comedienne, offstage she faced a doomed relationship with the man she loved. With a score featuring now-classic songs such as “People”, “You Are Woman, I Am Man” and “Don’t Rain on My Parade”, this brand new production promises to be a major theatrical event .

Sheridan Smith returns to the Menier Chocolate Factory to play Fanny Brice. She previously appeared in Little Shop of Horrors for the company (also Duke of York’s Theatre). Her other theatre work includes A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Michael Grandage Company at the Noel Coward Theatre), Hedda Gabler (Old Vic), Flare Path (Theatre Royal Haymarket – Olivier Award for Best Supporting Actress, Evening Standard and Critics’ Circle Awards for Best Actress), Legally Blonde (Savoy Theatre – Olivier Award for Best Actress in a Musical), Tinderbox (Bush Theatre), The People are Friendly (Royal Court) and Into the Woods (Donmar Warehouse). For television, her credits include Blackwork, The C Word, Cilla, The Widower, The 7.39, Dates, Mr Stink, Mrs Biggs (BAFTA Best Actress), Accused, Scapegoat, Little Crackers, Jonathan Creek, Gavin & Stacey, Larkrise to Candleford, Grown Ups, Love Soup, Two Pints of Larger and a Packet of Crisps, The Royale Family and Wives and Daughters; and for film, The Huntsman, Powder Room, Quartet, Tower Block and Hysteria.

Michael Mayer directs. His West End credits include Spring Awakening (Lyric Hammersmith and Novello) and Thoroughly Modern Millie (Shaftesbury Theatre). For Broadway his work includes Hedwig and the Angry Inch (Tony nomination for Best Director), On a Clear Day You Can See Forever, American Idiot (Drama Desk Award for Best Director of a Musical), Spring Awakening (Tony Award for Best Direction of a Musical), Thoroughly Modern Millie (Drama Desk Award for Best Direction of a Musical) and You’re a Good Man Charlie Brown (Drama Desk nomination for Best Direction of a Musical). For television, his work includes Smash; and for film, A Home at the End of the World, Flicka and currently in production, Chekhov’s The Seagull.

Tickets go on sale to the Menier Chocolate Factory supporters at 9am on Monday 10 August, with public booking opening at 9am on Monday 17 August.


From Page to Stage announce nine shows in season of new musicals

page-to-stage-2015Aria Entertainment has today announced the full programme of work for the annual season. Nine shows have been announced as part of the third From Page To Stage season of new musicals. Readings include a new musical by Loserville writing duo Elliot Davies and James Bourne and also a new piece from Tim Sanders and Charles Miller, whose Return Of The Soldier received a full production last year at Jermyn Street Theatre after a reading in the season.

The Stationmaster, a brand new British musical with Music and Lyrics by Tim Connor and Book by Susannah Pearse, is to get a two-week run as part of the third annual From Page To Stage season, a season of new musical theatre at the Tristan Bates Theatre from Monday 26 October to Saturday 21 November.

Producer Katy Lipson of Aria Entertainment said: “We are delighted to confirm this year’s chosen work of 1 full scale musical, 3 readings and 4 showcases amongst others. The 2015 season has been selected from an open application process which saw 80 musicals submitted and presents a mixed programme of work at various stages of development. From Page To Stage serves as a platform for new writing with a focus on new British musicals and supports not only the writers, but our audiences too. We hope the season will continue to act as a strong vehicle for the development of new musicals here in the UK and help secure partners for the future of some of the works included.

She added: “The Stationmaster is a wonderfully, dark, chamber piece with an interesting book to explore in the form of a musical. The musical language is unique and has a blend of tuneful melody and interesting harmony. The story of the piece instantly grabbed my attention when we were reading through our submissions, and I feel it is a great example of what a British writing team has to offer. I think it will represent the From Page To Stage brand well as our headline musical this year.

Producer Kim Sheard joins the team this year as Associate Producer.

For more details about the full season of work visit:

Tuesday 3rd – Sunday 15th November
Tuesday – Friday at 7.30pm, Saturday at 2.30pm and 7.30pm, Sunday at 2.30pm
Tickets – £18.00 / £16.00
The Stationmaster is a brand new British musical with Music and Lyrics by Tim Connor and Book by Susannah Pearse. Inspired by Horvath’s Judgment Day, translated by Christopher Hampton

It’s 1958 and we’re in the town of Kirby in the Lake District. Railway stationmaster Thomas Price is the pillar of the local community. Until a young woman arrives on the platform and distracts him from his duties. Thomas forgets to set a crucial signal and a tragic train crash occurs. The guilty pair decide to cover up their mistake. But as ghosts start to appear to them in the town, things begin to unravel…

Three musicals will be presented in the form of fully-staged, rehearsed readings

Tuesday 27 to Thursday 29 October at 7.30pm
Tickets: £12.00
A new musical from Elliot Davis and James Bourne, the writing team that brought you Loserville.  Newman Carter, a world famous astronaut, mysteriously disappears in 1969. Forty years later, a troubled young man, turns up on his doorstep with a letter, which changes everything, for everyone… Out There is an original tale about fathers, grandfathers, families, love, loss, hope, learning to be a child, learning to be a parent and never, ever, giving up on your dreams. This show gives cast and audience alike the chance to go where no one has gone before, on the journey of a lifetime. The show is set in the deep south of the USA and follows the fortunes of runaway Logan Carter, how he saves the town of Hope, Texas, and rediscovers his family at the same time.

Friday 30 and Saturday 31 October at 7.30pm and Saturday at 2.30pm
Tickets: £12.00
A new musical with Book by Helen Watts, Music and Lyrics by Eamonn O’Dwyer.
Based on the original story by E. Nesbit. When exploring the land around their new country house, Cyril, Anthea, Robert, Jane and ‘The Lamb’ come across a rare and extremely grumpy Psammead. This magical ‘sand-fairy’ is able to grant any wish the children ask for, with the rule that at sunset their wish will turn to stone or disappear. The children are initially excited at having their wildest dreams come true but soon discover that making these wishes isn’t quite as easy as they thought. A summer of mayhem ensues, and the children find that they must pay the price and grant the Psammead a wish of his own…

Tuesday 17 to Thursday 19 November at 7.30pm
Tickets: £12.00
A new musical with Book and Lyrics by Tim Sanders and Music by Charles Miller. Everyone thinks Phyllida lives inside a fairytale…except Phyllida. The pampered Bavarian princess is planning to escape the turrets and tiaras for a more simple life. Spurning a distinctly handsome prince, Phyllida absconds with her long-suffering tutor, Fritzing, under the name of Ethel Shultz. But the unlikely exiles settle in a God-fearing Somerset village, where the locals are ill-prepared for a German princess who can’t help acting like one! As Phyllida wreaks havoc, a certain jilted prince catches up with her. The runaway princess must now make a choice… Princess Phyllida’s Fortnight is a quirky delight – a ripping yarn of derring-do, heady romance and Latin grammar!

The season will open with a one-off performance and is completed by a set of showcase evenings that will present four pieces in development in one performance

Monday 25 October at 7.30pm
Tickets: £16.00
Music and Lyrics by John Mitchell & John Beck, Book by Guy James.
Map of the Past tells the story of a small boy that finds a box of photographs in his grandparents’ loft. As he searches through the faded, sepia pictures he yearns to know more about the people and the stories behind the photographs. Based on the classic rock album by It Bites, Map Of The Past is a sung-through musical that promises a journey through love, loss and truth’s perhaps best left in the past…

Friday 20 and Saturday 21 November at 7.30pm and Saturday at 2.30pm
Tickets: £15.00
These showcases will present 25-minute excerpts of four new musicals in development, performed by a repertory company of actors. Shows included are:
Lord Arthur Savile’s Crime
By Kirby and Beverly Ward
Based on the story by Oscar Wilde
With only a fortnight remaining before he is to wed his beloved Sybil, Lord Arthur Savile attends a party where a palm reader foretells a horrifying event in his future: he will commit murder. A stunned Arthur realizes a happy marriage is now impossible. Frightening mishaps the following morning make it clear that Arthur may, in fact, murder his darling Sybil if he doesn’t act quickly. With the help of his trusted manservant, Saunders, Arthur embarks upon the only conscientious course of action a devoted fiancé would take – to kill someone right away.

Cousins Grimm
By Michael Biello, Dan Martin, and Ted Sod
Jackie and Leon, The Cousins Grimm, are adapting some of their ancestors’ lesser known stories into a musical adding a queer sensibility to them. Their contemporary twists on the stories represent their combined subconscious and reflect their own personal lives. When the characters they are inventing decide they are not happy with the direction the musical is taking, they express themselves to the authors. Leon is disturbed by this phenomenon, but Jackie encourages Leon to accept it and go forward. Then Jacob Grimm appears to advise the writing team, when something very odd happens…

This is Also England
By Joseph Finlay and Raphael Smith
1957, West London. In a deeply conformist post-war society, immigrants from the West Indies, Eastern Europe, and Ireland struggle to fit in. Lloyd George Gambles, recently arrived from Antigua, urges his family to assimilate into all things English, but his younger daughter Miriam has other ideas. In the run down, overcrowded house they live in she meets Lazar, a reclusive and eccentric Hungarian Jew, who tries to hide away from the world. With Lazar’s help, Miriam confronts her father and their corrupt landlord, and in doing so learns that if you want a home you have to make it yourself.

Just a Man
By Johnny Whetstone, Mick Bass, and Guy James
The true-life story of Walter Tull, the first mixed-race British footballer in the top English division and the first mixed-race combat officer in the British Army. Battling racial discrimination that threatens to stop his career and chooses to play the ‘greater game’ when he joins the army at the outbreak of World War 1, rising to Second
Lieutenant, despite Military Law excluding ‘Mulattos’ from exercising command as officers.



King Charles III UK TourFollowing sell-out runs at the Almeida theatre and in the West End, the multi-award-winning new play King Charles III embarks on a UK tour this autumn, coming to Newcastle Theatre Royal from 28 Sept – 3 Oct 2015.


King Charles III takes us to a time in the future when the Queen is dead and after a lifetime of waiting, Prince Charles ascends the throne. A future of power. But how to rule? Mike Bartlett’s play explores the people underneath the crowns, the unwritten rules of our democracy, and the conscience of Britain’s most famous family. The show has this year been awarded the Olivier Award, Critics Choice and South Bank Sky Arts Award for Best New Play.


Robert Powell. Photographer Peter Simpkin.Taking the lead role of King Charles is Robert Powell, perhaps best known for his portrayal of Jesus in Jesus of Nazareth (which won him a BAFTA nomination for Best Actor) and as series regular Mark Williams in Holby City. Powell’s theatre credits includeSingin’ in the Rain (Palace Theatre), Ubu Roi and Pirates (both Royal Court), Travesties (RSC), Tovarich (Chichester Festival Theatre), and more recently a touring production of Jeffrey Bernard Is Unwell.


Written by Mike Bartlett, who previously collaborated with Rupert Goold on Earthquakes in London and Decade. His other plays include An Intervention, Artefacts (for which he won the Old Vic New Voices Award), Cock (which was awarded an Olivier Award in 2010 for Outstanding Achievement in an Affiliate Theatre at the Royal Court), Love, Love, Love (which won Best New Play at the 2011 Theatre Awards UK) and most recently Game.

King Charles III is directed by the Almeida Theatre’s artistic director Rupert Goold with Whitney Mosery and designed by Tom Scutt, with music composed by Jocelyn Pook, lighting by Jon Clark and sound by Paul Arditti.


Almeida Artistic Director Rupert Goold has most recently directed The Merchant of Venice (originally produced for the Royal Shakespeare Company), American Psycho: A new musical thriller and King Charles III for the Almeida Theatre, and will directMedea this Autumn. King Charles III transferred to the West End at the Wyndham’s Theatre and won an Olivier Award for Best New Play, and will this year transfer to Broadway and embark on a UK tour.


Elsewhere Goold’s work includes Made in Dagenham in the West End. He was Artistic Director of Headlong from 2005 until 2013 where his work included The Effect, ENRON, Earthquakes in London and Decade. Other theatre credits include The Last Days of Judas Iscariot at the Almeida, Macbeth at Chichester Festival Theatre, in the West End and on Broadway and No Man’s Land at The Gate and in the West End. He was Associate Director at the Royal Shakespeare Company from 2009 to 2012 and was Artistic Director of Northampton Theatres from 2002 to 2005. He has twice been the recipient of the Laurence Olivier, Critics’ Circle and Evening Standard Awards for Best Director. For television he has directed Macbeth and Richard II for the BBC and Neal Street Productions, the latter of which was nominated for a BAFTA. His first feature film, True Story, which stars James Franco and Jonah Hill for Plan B and Fox Searchlight has just been released in the UK.


The King Charles III tour is produced by Sonia Friedman Productions, Stuart Thompson Productions, Tulchin Bartner Productions, Charles Diamond and the Almeida Theatre in association with Birmingham Repertory Theatre and by arrangement with Lee Dean.


King Charles III appears at Newcastle Theatre Royal from Mon 28 Sept – Sat 3 Oct 2015. Tickets from £14.50 (pay 50p less per ticket when you book online). Tickets can be purchased from the Theatre Royal Box Office on 08448 11 21 21, (calls cost 7p per minute plus your phone company’s access charge) or select your own seat and book online at


Claire’s tips to Theatre Etiquette

Our contributor Claire Roderick gives her 5 rules to West End theatre etiquette
I’ve been trying to write a review of Wicked. Should be easy – after first number (dear lord it’s like nails on a blackboard) it’s all fantastic magical blah blah blah…
But all I can think about are the wonderful audience members who made the experience so memorable.
Patti Lupone has just announced her 5 rules of theatre etiquette. Well here in London it would seem we have our own 5 rules:

1. Lean forward in your seat – in sloping sections of the theatre this transforms you from a 6 foot man into an 8 foot pillar with sticky out ears that makes people behind you wonder why their ticket hasn’t got “restricted view” printed on it.

2. Feel free to use your mobile phone throughout the performance – the person next to you may be afraid of the dark, and the theatre staff need the exercise. All that running up and down the aisles saves them the cost of gym membership. It would be rude of them not to thank you.

3. If you are munching on popcorn or Maltesers, do so as loudly as possible, and completely out of beat with the music – your syncopation skills enhance the experience for everyone in the surrounding 10 rows.

4. Bring your snacks along in a plastic bag (or better still, why not wrap your sandwiches in tinfoil) and rummage deeply at every opportunity, preferably during a quiet and emotional scene – the people around you may have purchased discounted tickets. The cheapskates obviously don’t deserve to hear ALL of the show.

5. Repeat puns and/or discuss plot revelations at length and as loudly as possible during the show – your fellow audience members may have medical conditions that impair their cognitive abilities and will be eternally grateful. Hey, why not give a running commentary throughout the whole show at the top of your voice?

If you follow these rules you will make many new friends. Although occasionally you may provoke that most terrifyingly British of responses – the gentle tap on your shoulder, or slow head turn, followed by a withering look and a loud tut.

6. There are 6! In the 10 seconds between the last note of the final number and the beginning of curtain call, get up and walk out – you’ve paid through the nose for these tickets, and the people on stage expect gratitude and congratulations? It’s not as if they’ve been working hard – time they got a proper job.

Good. Grief.

Tommy Review

Greenwich Theatre, London –  29th July – 23rd August.  Reviewed By Claire Roderick

See me – Feel me
imageTrust me. If you see this show you will leave euphoric – no drugs required.
This is the first UK revival of Tommy in 19 years, and 40 years after the release of the original film based on The Who’s 1969 rock opera.
Pete Townshend magnificent score takes us through Tommy’s life as he withdraws from the world after a childhood trauma, finally finding release through pinball. When he is finally “cured” Tommy is a Messianic superstar and, for a while, is seduced by the trappings of fame, until he finally finds peace; but the simple truths he shares with his adoring followers are unacceptable to them. The story still resonates today in our culture of talentless celebrity worship and quick consumer fixes for all of life’s ills.
image (1)Under Michael Strassen’s direction, this show is all about the music and the performers. The band, led by Kevin Oliver Jones, is on stage and play phenomenally well. A practically bare stage, deceptively simple costume and lighting design all enhance the performance and are never distracting. There are no pinball machines to be seen! Instead Mark Smith’s choreography and wonderful use of a single prop transport you to the arcade.
As Tommy, Ashley Birchall is a force of nature. He is on stage constantly and his finely nuanced physical performance reveals Tommy’s emotions beautifully.
Michael Strassen says he wanted to stage a world where we see the inner workings of Tommy and not just a blank stare – and that’s just what we get. Tommy’s feelings are portrayed by the company (Danny Becker, Carly Burns, Alice Mogg, Scott Sutcliffe and Carrie Sutton) and Giovanni Spano dancing around him. In other hands this could have been a disaster, but Smith’s sympathetic choreography and the passion of the dancers create glimpses – both unsettling and uplifting – into Tommy’s world.
image (2)Miranda Wilford and James Sinclair are fantastic as Tommy’s parents. Wilford captures Mrs Walker’s helpless love and frustration and Sinclair is suitably stiff and remote as a 1950’s father, making you want to both slap them and give them a hug as they struggle to cope with Tommy’s condition.
John Barr is suitably grotesque as Uncle Ernie and gets grubbier as the show progresses, while Giovanni Spano is gleefully vicious as Cousin Kevin. Their “Eyesight for the Blind” is a showstopper – two amazing voices and two very different, but equally talented dancers.
As for Carly Burns’ Acid Queen, think Kate Bush on speed – wonderfully weird and wicked.
The director’s confidence and faith in the source material, its message and his cast is clear from the finale – no fancy flourishes, no dancing – just Ashley Birchall joined by the whole cast for ”Listening to You”. The audience could hardly contain themselves – you are swept away on a wave of euphoria until the final, moving, moment.
And the band play on… After curtain call the musical director deservedly takes centre stage, teasing us with a classic Townshend ending to a perfect night.
GO AND SEE THIS SHOW – A magnificent antidote to overblown and overproduced musicals.

TOM McGOWAN joins the cast of Wicked as The Wizard


WICKED, the award-winning classic musical that tells the incredible untold story of the Witches of Oz, is to welcome the American stage, television and film actor Tom McGowan to the role of The Wizard from Monday 21st September for a limited season until Saturday 12th March 2016. He will be making his West End debut.

Tom McGowan has been playing The Wizard in various North American productions of Wicked to great acclaim since 2009, including three separate engagements at the Gershwin Theatre on Broadway. His other Broadway credits include ‘Bessie’ in Harvey Fierstein’s Casa Valentina, directed by Joe Mantello; ‘Amos Hart’ in Chicago; Anton Chekhov’s Ivanov, adapted by David Hare and the original production of David Hirson’s La Bête (Tony® and Drama Desk Award nominations, Best Actor in a Play). Off-Broadway, he won an OBIE Award for his performance as ‘Otto’ in Nicky Silver’s The Food Chain. His many television appearances include recurring roles as KACL Station Manager ‘Kenny Daly’ in Frasier; ‘Bernie’ in Everybody Loves Raymond and ‘Joe’ in The War at Home; and guest starring roles in Veep; Modern Family; Desperate Housewives; Brothers & Sisters; CSI; Hot in Cleveland; ER and Curb Your Enthusiasm. Films include The Birdcage; Heavyweights; Ghost World; Bad Santa; As Good As It Gets; Bean; The Family Man; Twelve and Holding and Sleepless in Seattle.

Tom McGowan said: “I am thrilled to be invited to make my West End stage debut in Wicked playing the role that has been such a huge and fulfilling part of my career on Broadway and across North America at various times since 2009. I look forward to meeting and working with the amazing London cast.

Executive Producer (UK) Michael McCabe said: “We are absolutely delighted that the wonderful Tom McGowan will be recreating his acclaimed Broadway performance as The Wizard in the West End production of Wicked, and we very much look forward to welcoming him to the Apollo Victoria Theatre in September.”

From Monday 21 September 2015, Wicked will star: Emma Hatton (Elphaba), Savannah Stevenson (Glinda), Oliver Savile (Fiyero), Liza Sadovy (Madame Morrible), Tom McGowan (The Wizard), Sean Kearns (Doctor Dillamond), Daniel Hope (Boq), Katie Rowley Jones (Nessarose), Natalie Andreou (Standby for Elphaba), Carina Gillespie (Standby for Glinda), Chloe Ames, Nicholas Collier, Laura Emmitt, Kerry Enright, Oliver Evans, Freya Field, Joseph Fletcher, Rosie Fletcher, David Gale, Sergio Giacomelli, Sheila Grant, Chester Hayes, Lauren James Ray, Aaron Jenkins, Jasmine Kerr, Natalie McQueen, Billy Mitchell, Scott Monello, Kane Oliver Parry, Steph Parry, Julienne Schembri, Paulo Teixeira, Joe Toland, Hannah Toy, Russell Walker and Helen Woolf.

Wicked Musical London
Apollo Victoria Theatre
17 Wilton Road, London, SW1V 1LG
Running Time: 2 hours 45 minutes
Age Restrictions: Recommended for ages 7 and over (children under 4 not admitted).
Show Opened: 27th September 2006
Evenings: Monday to Saturday 7.30pm
Matinees: Wednesday and Saturday 2.30pm
Friday 31st July 2015