Empire Cinemas ‘Cin-sations’ study reveals the emotional power of cinema

image001 (3)Empire Cinemas’ Horror Cin-sations Study reveals the emotional power of cinema


Favourite scary moments in cinematic history revealed

  • Exorcist tops the scariest moments, ahead of Alien and Silence of the Lambs
  • Film Phobias – Over 5m1 people have developed a fear or phobia after watching a film
  • Psychologist Dr. Dave Lewis reveals how film causes powerful emotional responses
  • Released ahead of Paranormal Activity: Ghost Dimension on October 21st

Empire Cinemas, the UK’s largest independent cinema chain, is today releasing The Horror Cin-sations Study; a report exploring the most fearful film moments in history. This research is announced alongside commentary from psychologist Dr. Dave Lewis and ahead of the release of Paranormal Activity: Ghost Dimension on October 21, available to book now at www.empirecinemas.co.uk.

The research by Empire Cinemas, whose ethos is “lose yourself in film”, reveals that fear is an emotion keenly sought by cinemagoers and many film fans actively choose to watch a scary film to feel alive (14%).Almost one fifth (17%) of the UK say the most scared they have ever felt in their lives was when watching a film in the cinema, whilst the equivalent of over 5m1 people (11%) claim to have developed a phobia or fear after viewing a film on the big screen.

Psychologist, Dr. Dave Lewis says:  “When it comes to creating feelings of terror, movie makers have a number of powerful psychological tricks up their sleeve. One is to provoke what is called the ‘startle’ response. This is a primitive, inbuilt, reaction to anything unexpected and therefore potentially threatening. It triggers the audiences’ ‘fight or flight’ survival system; adrenalin floods through their bodies, their pupils widen, muscles tense, palms become sweaty, mouths go dry and pulses race. By combining a startling image, such as the moment an alien bursts from Kane’s chest, with suitably fear arousing music a director can produce gasps of horror from an audience. These involuntary reactions intensify the terror for everyone.”

The list of terrorising big screen moments was topped by the head-spinning scene in the Exorcist. The alien stomach-bursting scene, from Ridley Scott-directed sci-fi horror film Alien, put the fear into several respondents (21%) as did the genre-busting horror film Psycho, were Marion was stabbed in the shower, and the butchering of a prison guard in Silence of the Lambs (both 17%).

The Top Scary Moments in Cinematic History


Exorcist – Regan’s head-spinning scene  



Alien –  alien bursts out of the Kane’s chest



Psycho – the merciless stabbing of Marion



Silence of the LambsLector attacks the prison guard



Carriethe hand emerges from the grave 



Jaws – Hopper finds Gardner’s boat


Delving deeper into the minds of different generations, it seems the horrors that have graced our screens in more recent years may well be scary to the younger generation of film lovers, but the older generation are more frightened by the classics. One quarter (26%) of 18-24 year olds voted the scene from The Ring (2002) of the girl emerging from the TV as their scariest cinematic movie moment, compared to just 5% of over 55’s. Whereas just 8% of 18-24’s voting the stabbing of Marion in Psycho (1960) as their scariest movie moment, compared to 28% of over 55’s.

The study also looked into how horror movies affect men and women differently. It appears men (17%)feel more alive when watching a horror film than women (11%). Additionally, more men (10%) than women (5%) admit that horror films have actually helped condition them to fear.

Jon Nutton, Marketing Director for Empire Cinemas said:  “Who hasn’t left a cinema with feelings of genuine fear after watching either a classic horror film or one of the modern day thrillers? Recent box office smash hits such as Insidious and The Babadook have triggered the emotions of millions of filmgoers and Paranormal Activity is set to heighten the senses for many more.”

“The immersive power of the medium lets cinemagoers lose themselves in film and this study shows how a visit to the silver screen provides an emotional release.  At Empire Cinemas, our relentless pursuit of the ultimate cinema experience awakens the senses of film lovers across the UK.”


For further information and listings on all forthcoming films, visit www.empirecinemas.co.uk.   



King’s Cross Theatre until Sunday 3rd January 2016.  Reviewed by Catherine Françoise

5 stars ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

Blown A~Waaaaaay by phenomenal energy and performance excellence !! What a cast, band and creative team! I can’t wait to see it again!

In the Heights won the 2008 Tony Award for best musical and returns to London again after creating a storm last year in its critically acclaimed sell out off West End run at The Southwark Playhouse. Reclaimed disused platforms at the back of Kings Cross Station have been transformed into a brand new purpose built theatre and provide an evocative and unique performing space for this vibrant, youthful blast of energy and creativity. I knew very little about the show (deliberately so) so came to it ‘fresh’ and frankly I was blown away! Tremendous in every possible way! Score, script, direction, band, singing, acting, choreography, dancing, location, costumes. set, effects, staging, atmosphere ~ Beyond BRILLIANT!

Conceived by Lin-Manuel Miranda who also wrote the music & lyrics and starred in the original Broadway production, with a book by Quiara Alegría Hudes, In The Heights was nominated for thirteen Tony Awards winning four: Best Musical, Best Original Score Best Choreography (Andy Blankenbuehler), and Best Orchestrations (Alex Lacamoire and Bill Sherman). It also won a Grammy Award for Best Musical Show Album and was nominated for the 2009 Pulitzer Prize for Drama, and it is clear why ~ Miranda is a fresh, energised new writing voice and has been called the most electrifying force in musical theatre for a decade having followed In The Heights with the hottest ticket on Broadway right now ~ the hip hop musical Hamilton ~ in which we follow the life of USA founding father Alexander Hamilton and cabinet meetings are depicted as epic rap battles.

In London In The Heights is brilliantly directed by Luke Sheppard, with breath-taking choreography once again from Drew McOnie who won the off West End Award for best choreography at Southwark. He has a cast of incredible dancers to showcase his work who give their all in bright vibrant costumes and trainers and then some more! Phenomenal energy, shapes, style, sexy and sassy and truly exhilarating to watch! Although essentially an ensemble show, each character is a strong individual.

Musically In the Heights is a Joyous blast of energy and creative genius giving a disparate yet close community its multicultural voice through a pastiche of hip-hop, salsa, pop, latin and Caribbean influences in catchy tunes and urban lyrics. The band led by Ton Deering are truly superb.

The story focuses on the everyday struggles of immigrant tenement dwellers in a Dominican-American neighborhood of Washington Heights in New York City over three days. Despite hardships, difficulties, conflicts, tensions, poverty and culture clashes, bridges are built, relationships are healed, joy triumphs over sadness and reasons are found to throw a salsa-swinging street party. Some may query a lack of ‘grit’ and seedier aspects of city living, but frankly it’s refreshing to watch a story that all generations can be inspired and uplifted by ~ contemporary Musical Theatre for all generations.

As for the incredibly hard working cast there are no weak links whatsoever and ALL deliver powerhouse performances ~ Sam Mackay plays high energy narrator and rapper Usnavi who as the owner of a cornershop bodega is at the centre of the community and sees what’s happening…“Everybody’s stressed, yes, but they press through the mess / Bounce checks and wonder what’s next.” Usnavi is infatuated with Vanessa, a stunning Jade Ewan who works at the beauty salon and is desperate to move away from her alcoholic mother and other neighbourhood problems but frustrated by a bad credit score. Nina (Lily Frazer) is the first in her family to get to university but is back from Stanford University for the summer having lost her scholarship, dropped out and, even more distressing for her parents (David Bedella and Josie Benson) who own a small taxi and limousine business, has fallen for uneducated Benny (Joe Aaron Reid), a good-natured and ambitious employee of theirs but not from the same cultural background with no prospects (as far as they can see) for their high flying daughter. Ewan, Frazer, Bedella and Benson are tremendous singers and give powerful, poignant performances. Elsewhere, the lease on Daniela’s (Victoria Hamilton-Barritt) beauty parlour has run out and the rent has been raised but she’s going with her head held high. Abuela Claudia (Eve Polycarpu) as the older and wise woman in the community sings powerfully of the value of paciencia y fe (patience and faith). Usnavi struggles to live up to the example of Abuela Claudia, eventually recognising the truth of her philosophy through his young employee Sonny (Cleve September) who tells him to embrace the love around him.

Kings Cross Theatre is a fantastic new space in itself and In The Heights is a truly exhilarating experience. The cast and band are simply superb ~ a truly inspirational and powerful performance that stays with you, tapping into all our aspirations for a better world and a brighter future for our children, grandchildren and indeed ourselves. It taps into our better selves and lifts heart, soul and spirit.



Regent’s Park
Open Air Theatre



VISIT openairtheatreheritage.com

Ralph Fiennes as Romeo. Romeo and Juliet (1986). Photo Alistair Muir..jpgRegent’s Park Open Air Theatre today launches a Heritage Project with a dedicated website allowing unprecedented access to the theatre’s archives.

For the first time in Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre’s 83 year history, access to the venue’s archives will be made available for everyone with a free digital archive. The collection comprises items relating to productions dating back to the 1930’s including, programmes, photographs, posters and production designs. As part of a long-term heritage project, material from these archives will be digitalized, preserving the delicate printed material for future generations.

Benedict Cumberbatch rehearsing for Loves Labours Lost for Regents Park Open Air Theatre in 2001.jpgRegent’s Park Open Air Theatre has welcomed many of the country’s most beloved actors, directors and creative teams over its rich history, some relatively unknown at the time but who have gone to illustrious careers on stage and film. The website launches with a detailed catalogue of four well-known theatre alumni; Dame Judi Dench, Benedict Cumberbatch, Hugh Bonneville and Janie Dee. Visitors to the website will be able to delve into the actors’ relationship with the iconic venue, viewing previously unseen production images and programmes. Each quarter, there will be a new focus on an aspect of the theatre’s history.

Ralph Fiennes as Romeo and Sarah Woodward as Juliet. Romeo and Juliet (1986). Photo Alistair Muir.jpgOpening in 1932 with a production of Twelfth Night, Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre is the oldest, professional, permanent outdoor theatre in Britain. Over the past 83 years the theatre has grown and developed to become a firm fixture for summer in London with over 140,000 people attending four annual productions between May and September. Under Artistic Director Timothy Sheader, 2015 saw a hugely successful season including productions of Peter Pan, The Seagull, Seven Brides for Seven Brothers and Lord of The Flies.

ADilys Hamlett as Nurse and Ralph Fiennes as Romeo. Romeo and Juliet (1986). Photo Alistair Muir..jpgctor Hugh Bonneville, who made his professional stage debut at Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre, said: ‘I’m delighted that, thanks to this wonderful new initiative, the Open Air Theatre’s archive – a flavour of past productions and a Who’s Who of the theatre makers who have been part of its rich history – is being brought to life.’

Trustee of Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre, Judi Dench DBE says ‘I am thrilled that Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre are launching a Heritage Project to make their fascinating history available to all.  I have enjoyed a long association with the theatre, and I am sure that anyone who has worked there, or who has seen a production there, have their own memories of special times in that unique venue.  To bring their archive collection together online for the first time will offer a wonderful opportunity to find out more about their past, but will secure that history for generations to come. Robert Atkins would be so pleased.’

Ralph Fiennes as Romeo and Sarah Woodward as Juliet. Romeo and Juliet (1987). Photo Alistair Muir.jpgThe JCL Trust is a Founding Sponsor of the Open Air Theatre Heritage Project. Funding has also been provided by an anonymous donation and money raised from staff members participating the in Royal Parks Foundation Half Marathon.  However, with such a wealth of collateral still to digitalize, donations to help fund the project can be made atwww.openairtheatre.com/donations-booking.

The theatre is also looking for donations of historic material, especially for the period 1932 – 1962, where current archives are limited. Please contact [email protected] to make contributions to the archive.  

Gypsy wins a double at 2015 UK Theatre Awards

The 2015 UK Theatre Awards commenced today with winners including Matthew Bourne, Imelda Staunton and Eileen Atkins.

The awards were presented at a ceremony at London’s Guildhall, compèred by musical theatre star Michael Xavier. Xavier was also joined by guest presenters includingPatrick Stewart, Barbara Windsor, Richard Wilson, Anne Reid and Lee Mead.

Highlights of the awards included Imelda Staunton winning Best Performance in a Musical for her performance as Mamma Rose in Gypsy, which also won for Best Musical Production. Best New Play went to Iphigenia in Splott by Gary Owen, a Sherman Cymru production, which will open in the National Theatre’s Temporary Theatre in January.

The award for Best Performance in a Play was shared by Polly Lister for Abigail’s Party, a Theatre by the Lake production, and Joel MacCormack for Each His Own Wilderness, an Orange Tree Theatre production. The award for Best Supporting Performance was given to Justine Mitchell for For Services Rendered, a Chichester Festival Theatre production.

Newcastle Theatre Royal picked up the My Theatre Matters! UK’s Most Welcoming Theatre Award 2015 with Smooth Radio, the only award voted for by the public.

In the awards for off-stage excellence, Rambert won the Achievement in Marketing award for its work in attracting new audiences to contemporary dance, which has led to record breaking attendances in 2014/15. The Renee Stepham Award for Best Presentation of Touring Theatre went to Royal & Derngate for their tours of six high profile productions, Made in Northampton.

The award for Promotion of Diversity was shared by Curve Theatre for its diversity action plan and strategy targeted at the age-profile and multiculturalism of the city and Watford Palace Theatre for its initiatives to ensure it offers and develops services for the widest range of the population.

As previously announced, Matthew Bourne received The Stage Award for Outstanding Contribution to British Theatre and Eileen Atkins was awarded the Gielgud Award for Excellence in the Dramatic Arts.

The event also included the inaugural Clothworkers’ Award, which saw York Theatre Royal awarded £150,000 as part of the Foundation’s new five year £1.25 million Dramatic Arts initiative.

Rachel Tackley, president of UK Theatre, commented: “The winners of this year’s awards clearly demonstrate the creative strength and vibrancy of theatre across the whole of the United Kingdom. Theatres are an integral part of our local communities and these awards not only celebrate performers and theatremakers but also the venues and the teams that run them.”

Full list of Awards

Best New Play
Iphigenia in Splott by Gary Owen, a Sherman Cymru production

Best Performance in a Play
Joel MacCormack for Each His Own Wilderness, an Orange Tree Theatre production
Polly Lister for Abigail’s Party, a Theatre by the Lake production

Best Supporting Performance
Justine Mitchell for For Services Rendered, a Chichester Festival Theatre production

Best Musical Production
Gypsy directed by Jonathan Kent, a Chichester Festival Theatre production

Best Performance in a Musical
Imelda Staunton for Gyspy, a Chichester Festival Theatre production

Best Show for Children and Young People
Running Wild, a Chichester Festival Youth Theatre production

Best Director
Ned Bennett for Pomona, an Orange Tree Theatre production and for YEN a Royal Exchange Theatre production

Best Design
Dick Bird, Timothy Bird and Paul Keogan for The Hudsucker Proxy, a Nuffield Theatre, Liverpool Everyman and Playhouse in association with Complicite production

Best Touring Production
Twelfth Night, an English Touring Theatre and Sheffield Theatres production

Achievement in Dance
Candoco Dance Company for a terrifically entertaining revival of Jérôme Bel’s postmodern classic The Show Must Go On

Achievement in Opera
Glyndebourne for an outstandingly well planned and performed season

The Renee Stepham Award for Best Presentation of Touring Theatre
Royal & Derngate for their tours of six high profile productions Made in Northampton

Achievement in Marketing
Rambert for its work in attracting new audiences to contemporary dance, which has led to record breaking attendances in 2014/15

UK Theatre Insurance Award for Theatre Employee or Manager of the Year
Gaby Paradis, West Yorkshire Playhouse
Dorothy Wilson, mac birmingham

Promotion of Diversity
Curve Theatre for its diversity action plan and strategy targeted at the age-profile and multiculturalism of the city
Watford Palace Theatre for its initiatives to ensure it offers and develops services for the widest range of the population

My Theatre Matters! UK’s Most Welcoming Theatre in association with Smooth Radio
Newcastle Theatre Royal

The Stage Award for Outstanding Contribution to British Theatre
Matthew Bourne

Clothworkers’ Theatre Award
York Theatre Royal

The Gielgud Award for Excellence in the Dramatic Arts
Dame Eileen Atkins

Green Day’s American Idiot musical set to tour in 2016

Green Day’s American Idiot is set to embark on a UK tour in 2016.

The upcoming tour was announced on Twitter last night, along with the news that Amelia Lily will reprise her role in the musical. Following its West End run, the show will launch its UK tour at the Curve Theatre, Leicester on 19th March 2016 and continue on to play at the Palace Theatre, Manchester (5th-9th April), New Theatre, Cardiff (19th-23rd April), Kings Theatre, Portsmouth (26th-30th April), New Alexandra Theatre, Birmingham (10th-14th May), Exeter Northcott Theatre (18th-22nd May), Sunderland Empire (24th-28th May) and King’s Theatre, Glasgow (31st May – 4th June). Further dates will be announced soon.

Amelia Lily will reprise her role as Whatshername in the show from 5th April 2016, playing her first performance at the Palace Theatre when the tour arrives in Manchester. The former X Factor finalist previously played the Narrator in the UK tour of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat and made her West End debut in American Idiot at the Arts Theatre.

American Idiot is the award-winning Broadway musical that features the music of American punk rock band Greenday, along with lyrics by Billy Joe Armstrong, and a book by Armstrong and Michael Mayer. It tells the story of three boyhood friends, each searching for meaning in a post 9-11 world, and features all the songs from the band’s rock opera of the same name and more, including ‘Boulevard of Broken Dreams’, ’21 Guns’, ‘Wake Me Up When September Ends’, ‘Holiday’, and of course, ‘American Idiot’.

The musical opened on Broadway in 2010 after a short run at the Berkeley Repertory Theatre in 2009, winning two Tony Awards and a nomination for Best Musical.

It made its West End premiere at the Arts Theatre in Leicester Square on 17th July 2015, starring Amelia Lily as Whatshername and Aaron Sidwell as Johnny. The critically-acclaimed production’s run was recently extended due to popular demand and will now continue to play there until 22nd November 2015.

American Idiot is produced by David Hutchinson and Phillip Rowntree for Sell a Door Theatre Company and Stephen McGill Productions, and presented by arrangement with Josef Weinberger Limited on behalf of Music Theatre International of New York. It is directed and choreographed in the West End by Racky Plews, and also features musical supervision by Richard Morris.

Full casting for the UK tour is still to be announced.

American Idiot at the Arts Theatre
6-7 Great Newport Street, London, WC2H 7JB
Running Time: 1 hour 35 minutes
Age Restrictions: No age restrictions but the performance does contain some adult themes and strong language.
Show Opened: 23rd July 2015
Booking Until: 22nd November 2015



Kinky Boots Adelphi Theatre extends booking to 28th May 2016

Kinky Boots, has today announced the opening of a new ticket booking period at the Adelphi Theatre in London’s West End, until Saturday 28th May 2016. Tickets for this extended booking period will go on sale from Monday 19th October 2015.

Kinky Boots has also been shortlisted for the BBC Radio 2 Audience Award for Best Musical. Voting closes at midnight on Sunday 25th October, and the winner will be announced live at the London Evening Standard Awards on Sunday 22nd November. Kinky Boots will also be performing on BBC Children in Need on Friday 13 November 2015, along with other West End shows Bend It Like Beckham and Beautiful The Carole King Musical.

With a book by Broadway legend and four-time Tony® Award-winner Harvey Fierstein (La Cage Aux Folles), and songs by Grammy® and Tony® winning pop icon Cyndi Lauper, this joyous musical celebration is about the friendships we discover, and the belief that you can change the world when you change your mind.

Inspired by true events, Kinky Boots takes you from a gentlemen’s shoe factory in Northampton to the glamorous catwalks of Milan. Charlie Price (Killian Donnelly) is struggling to live up to his father’s expectations and continue the family business of Price & Son. With the factory’s future hanging in the balance, help arrives in the unlikely but spectacular form of Lola (Matt Henry), a fabulous performer in need of some sturdy new stilettos.

With direction and choreography by two-time Tony® Award-winner Jerry Mitchell (Legally Blonde, Hairspray), Kinky Bootsis the winner of six Broadway Tony® Awards including Best Musical, Best Score and Best Choreography.

Kinky Boots is produced by Daryl Roth and Hal Luftig, James L. Nederlander, Terry Allen Kramer, Playful Productions, CJ E&M, Jayne Baron Sherman, Just for Laughs Theatricals/Judith Ann Abrams, Yasuhiro Kawana, Jane Bergère, Allan S. Gordon & Adam S. Gordon, Ken Davenport, Hunter Arnold, Lucy and Phil Suarez, Bryan Bantry, Ron Fierstein & Dorsey Regal, Jim Kierstead/Gregory Rae, Independent Presenters Network, BB Group/Christina Papagjika, Brian Smith/Tom & Connie Walsh, Warren Trepp and Jujamcyn Theaters, in association with Cameron Mackintosh.

Book: Harvey Fierstein
Composer and Lyricist: Cyndi Lauper
Director and Choreographer: Jerry Mitchell
Musical Supervision,
Arranger and Orchestrator: Stephen Oremus
Scenic Design: David Rockwell
Costume Design: Gregg Barnes
Lighting Design: Kenneth Posner
Sound Design: John Shivers
Hair Design: Josh Marquette
Make-up Design: Randy Houston Mercer


Kinky Boots
409-412 Strand, London WC2E 7NA

Full casting announced for Funny Girl at Menier Chocolate Factory

The Menier Chocolate Factory has today announced full casting for their production of Funny Girl. Joining Sheridan Smith as Fanny Brice are Valda Aviks (Mrs O’Malley), Natasha J Barnes (Emma/Mrs Meeker), Darius Campbell (Nick), Marilyn Cutts (Mrs Brice), Maurice Lane (Mr Keeney), Bruce Montague (Ziegfeld), Joel Montague (Eddie), Gay Soper (Mrs Strakosh); with Emma Caffrey, Matthew Croke, Joelle Dyson, Rebecca Fennelly, Luke Fetherston, Leah Harris, Kelly Homewood, Sammy Kelly and Stuart Ramsay completing the ensemble. The multi award-winning Michael Mayer directs the production, which opens on 2nd December, 2015 with previews from 20th November, and runs until 5th March 2016. Funny Girl 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 book revisions by Harvey Fierstein. Sheridan Smith plays Fanny Brice, who rose from the Lower East Side of New York to become one of Broadway’s biggest stars under producer Florenz Ziegfeld. 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.

Valda Aviks plays Mrs O’Malley. Her theatre includes Once (Gaiety Theatre Dublin and Phoenix), Sweeney Todd (Adelphi Theatre) and Jerry Springer: The Opera (National Theatre and Cambridge Theatre)

Natasha J Barnes plays Emma/Mrs Meeker. She currently performing in American Idiot (Arts Theatre). Other theatre work includes Chess (Union Theatre), Snow White (Old Vic) and Spring Awakening (Lyric Hammersmith and Novello Theatre).

Darius Campbell plays Nick Arnstein. For theatre his work includes in the West End, Chicago, Guys and Dolls, Gone with the Wind, and From Here to Eternity; Carmen (Europe and 02) and The History of the Big Bands (tour). Also a recording artist, his first single Colourblind went to #1 in the UK singles chart.

Marilyn Cutts play Mrs Brice. Her theatre work includes Wicked, Never Forget (West End), The Rose Tattoo, Oklahoma!(National Theatre) and Show Boat (RSC). For film, her work includes Les Miserables.

Maurice Lane plays Mr Keeney. His theatre work includes Dirty Dancing (Aldwych Theatre), 42nd Street (Theatre Royal Haymarket) and Fiddler on the Roof (Her Majesty’s Theatre). He was also in the original cast of Funny Girl (Prince of Wales Theatre).

Bruce Montague plays Ziegfeld. His West End theatre credits include The Phantom of the Opera (Her Majesty’s) and Oliver! (Palladium).

Joel Montague plays Eddie. Most recently he completed a UK tour of The Producers. Other credits include Urinetown (Apollo Theatre) and Sister Act (UK tour).

Gay Soper returns to the Menier to play Mrs Strakosh – she previously appeared in Sunday in the Park with George (also Wyndham’s Theatre). Her other theatre work includes The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time (Apollo and National Theatre) and Lend Me a Tenor (Gielgud).

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.

Music by Jule Styne Lyrics by Bob Merrill
Book by Isobel Lennart from an original story by Miss Lennart
Revised Book by Harvey Fierstein

Director: Michael Mayer; Set Designer: Michael Pavelka; Costume Designer: Matthew Wright
Choreographer: Lynne Page; Lighting Designer: Mark Henderson; Sound Designer: Richard Brooker
Musical Supervisor: Alan Williams; Orchestrations: Chris Walker

20th November 2015 – 5th March 2016




Beyond the Barricade at CVMH 2Recreating original West End and Broadway musical hit songs with stunning authenticity, this cast of past principal performers from Les Miserable present a blockbusting two hour show at Leeds’ City Varieties Music Hall next month.

With an exciting live-concert portrayal of the greatest songs in musical theatre, Beyond the Barricade has delighted audiences throughout the UK and Europe for more than a decade.

Starring Andy Reiss, David Fawcett, Katie Leeming and Rebecca Vere, together with their own ensemble of talented musicians, Beyond the Barricade features songs from The Phantom of the Opera, Jesus Christ Superstar, The Jersey Boys, The Lion King, Blood Brothers, Miss Saigon and many others, climaxing with a spectacular finale from, of  course, Les Miserables.

Beyond the Barricade is at City Varieties Music Hall on Wednesday October 28th.

Tickets are on sale now priced at £22.50

Book online at cityvarieties.co.uk or call 0113 243 08 08


Cast announced for the World Premiere of The Divided Laing by Patrick Marmion opening at the Arcola Theatre on the 18 November.

The Divided Laing is a provocative, freewheeling comedy by Patrick Marmion celebrating the fiftieth anniversary of radical psychiatrist R.D. Laing founding his experimental asylum at Kingsley Hall in Bromley by Bow.

Patrick Marmion’s play is set in 1970. Laing’s radical ideals are in crisis. Kingsley Hall has fallen into disrepair and local residents are up in arms. Meanwhile, Ronnie’s South African colleague, revolutionary wild man David Cooper, is flipping out on the roof having taken an acid trip to the future. With his own personal life going down the pan and his mental state heading the same way, Ronnie decides to take his own trip to the future to save the Philadelphia Association and secure his legacy.

Alan Cox stars as the maverick Scottish psychiatrist R.D Laing. Alan has worked with the Royal Shakespeare Company, the National Theatre and the Chichester Festival Theatre. He has performed in the London premieres of Longing and The Rubinstein Kiss (Hampstead), The Earthly Paradise (Almeida); his West End appearances include Strange Interlude (Duke of York’s), The Creeper (Playhouse) and The Importance of Being Earnest (Haymarket). On Broadway he appeared in Translations (MTC) and toured the US in The Caretaker and Frost/Nixon. Film and TV work includes ‘Mrs. Dalloway’, ‘An Awfully Big Adventure’, ‘Young Sherlock Holmes’, ‘A Voyage Around My Father’ and ‘The Good Wife’.

Ameira Darwish is Ulrike Engel, Ronnie’s partner. Ameira recently played Thea in Unfaithful directed by Rachel O’Riordan (Traverse). Additional credits include Crime & Punishment with the Citizens Theatre, Liverpool Playhouse and Royal Lyceum Theatre. Film and theatre credits include Waterloo Road, The Tunnel, Roza in the National Theatre of Scotland’s “Glasgow Girls”, Emma in Scots Squad and Annie in Casualty.

Laura Gate Gordon plays Kingsley Hall’s most famous resident, Mary Barnes. Barnes went on to become a famous artist, writer and mystic. She co-authored a booked with psychiatrist Joseph Berke, which David Edgar adapted for the stage. Laura’s theatre credits includes Bakkhai (Almeida), The Absence of War (Headlong), Unfaithful (Traverse Theatre); Crime and Punishment (Citizens Theatre, Glasgow) and Glasgow Girls (National Theatre of Scotland).

Kevin McMonagle is Aaron Esterson, a fellow Glaswegian psychiatrist who co-founded The Philadelphia Association. Kevin is currently in People, Places and Things (National Theatre). His other stage credits include Further Than the Furthest Thing (National Theatre)) and seasons with the Royal Shakespeare Company and the Citizens Theatre amongst others.

Oscar Pearce is David Cooper, a South African colleague of Ronnie’s and a key member of the anti-psychiatrist movement. Oscar was recently seen in Stratford-Upon-Avon and the West End in Wolf Hall/Bring Up the Bodies. Other seasons include the RSC, Regent’s Park and Bolton Octagon (Best Supporting Actor, Manchester Evening News Award for All My Sons).

James Russell is the American psychiatrist Joseph Berke who worked with R. D. Laing in the 1960s, and was resident at Kingsley Hall, where he helped Mary Barnes, a nurse who had been diagnosed with schizophrenia to emerge from madness. Joseph Berke lives in London and continues to work as a psychoanalytic psychotherapist. James Russell’s acting credits include The Country Wife (Royal Exchange), Celebrity Night at Café Red (Trafalgar Studios), Perchance to Dream, Quality Street & Miss Lily Gets Boned – nominated for Best Actor at the Offies (Finborough Theatre) and All Mouth (Menier Chocolate Factory),

Michael Kingsbury’s directing credits includes Christmas (White Bear Theatre); In Lambeth (Southwark Playhouse); the critically acclaimed Ying Tong (opened at the West Yorkshire Playhouse before transferring to the Ambassadors); This Other Eden (Soho Theatre); The Caretaker and Bloody Poetry which were both Council/American Express tours of Austria in association with Michael’s company London City Theatre. His production of Round The Horne…Revisited ran in the West End for sixteen months, completed three number one tours, was chosen to be part of the Royal Variety Performance and was co-nominated with Little Britain and The League of Gentlemen for the Manchester Evening News award for best touring comedy.

Set and costume design is by Nicolai Hart-Hansen. Nicolai’s credits include La Traviata (Stand Moutier, Switzerland), The Window (Rambert Dance Company) The Lilly of The Valley (ROH2/ Opera Genesis), Nordost (Salisbury Playhouse), Fanciulla del West (Opera Up Close) Playing the Victim (Royal Court Theatre, Told by An Idiot), Cock/Bull (Aalborg Teater, Denmark), Some Girls are Bigger than Others (Lyric Hammersmith), Private Fears in Public Places (Royal Theatre Northampton), Eugene Onegin (Hampstead Opera) In The Jungle of Cities (Arcola Theatre, Splitmoon), Desert Boy (Nitro Theatre Company), Watership Down (Hammersmith Theatre), Here be Monsters (Rejects Revenge, Liverpool) Medea in Jerusalem (Rattlestick, New York) and Billy Budd (Southwark Playhouse).

The Divided Laing is produced by Cabinet of Cynics and Stepping Out Theatre in association with the Arcola Theatre.

Stepping Out Theatre is the country’s leading mental health theatre group. It has produced a wide range of work on mental health themes and is open to people who have used mental health services and their allies. Mark Rylance is one of their patrons. Cabinet of Cynics is a production company founded by Patrick Marmion and Michael Kingsbury promoting new writing.

Listings information:

The Divided Laing

Venue: The Arcola Theatre, 24 Ashwin Street, London E8 3DL

Dates: Wednesday 18 November – Saturday 12 December 2015

Times: Monday – Saturday, 7.30pm (Saturday matinee 3pm)

Tickets: £19/£15 concessions

Box Office: [email protected] / 020 7503 1646




Casting has been announced for the Music & Lyrics Limited and West Yorkshire Playhouse production of the much-loved Sherman Brothers musical CHITTY CHITTY BANG BANG. The 2016-17 UK and Ireland tour begins at Mayflower Theatre, Southampton on 10 February 2016.

Jason Manford headshotCaractacus Potts will be played by Jason Manford (The Producers, Sweeney Todd) from 10 February until 24 April, and he will return to the show from 5 October 2016.  Lee Mead (Casualty, Legally Blonde, Joseph and The Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat) will play Caractacus Potts from 4 May until 18 September 2016.

Martin Kemp (EastEnders, The Krays) will play the Childcatcher and Amy Griffiths (Everyman, Stephen Ward, The Pajama Game) will play Truly Scrumptious, both until 24 April 2016.Amy Griffiths headshot

CHITTY CHITTY BANG BANG will also feature Phill Jupitus (The Producers, Hairspray) as Lord Scrumptious/Baron Bomburst until 24 April 2016, Michelle Collins (EastEnders, Coronation Street) as Baroness Bomburst, and Andy Hockley (The Phantom Of The Opera) as Grandpa Potts.

Ewen Cummins plays The Toymaker/Mr Coggins, with Sam Harrison as Boris and Scott Paige as Goran, and Kathryn Barnes, Rosanna Bates, Alex Louize Bird, Abigail Climer, Jade Davies, Matt Gillett, Ewan Gillies, Joanna Goodwin, Nathan Vaughan Harris, Christopher D Hunt, Paul Iveson, Nia Jermin, Kelsie-Rae Marshall, Mollie Melia-Redgrave, Perry O’Dea, Matt Overfield, Ross Russell, Craig Turner and Robert Wilkes.

Andy Hockley - Grandpa PottsCHITTY CHITTY BANG BANG has music and lyrics by Richard M Sherman and Robert B Sherman, who were also responsible for Mary Poppins, The Slipper and the Rose, The Aristocats and The Jungle Book.  The Sherman Brothers have won two Academy Awards with a further nine nominations, two Grammy Awards and they have received 21 gold and platinum albums.

The film made from Ian Fleming’s classic story has been adapted for the stage by Jeremy Sams, based on the MGM Motion Picture Licensed Script adapted by Ray Roderick.

Lee Mead headshot 1This new production of CHITTY CHITTY BANG BANG will be directed by West Yorkshire Playhouse Artistic Director James Brining, with new choreography by Stephen Mear. There will be a live orchestra with Musical Supervision by Stephen Ridley. Set and costume design is by Simon Higlett, lighting design is by Tim Mitchell, sound design is by Ben Harrison and video design is by Simon Wainwright.

There will be sensational sets and stunning special effects and, of course, the memorable score by the Sherman Brothers, which includes such standards as Truly Scrumptious, Toot Sweets, Hushabye Mountain and the Oscar-nominated title song Chitty Chitty Bang Bang.

Martin Kemp headshot 1This production is presented by permission of JOSEF WEINBERGER LIMITED on behalf of MUSIC THEATRE INTERNATIONAL of New York.

CHITTY CHITTY BANG BANG will open with a previously announced cast at West Yorkshire Playhouse, Leeds on 2 December, with a national press night on Thursday 10 December, for a nine-week season finishing on 30 January 2016 prior to the new cast starting the UK and Ireland Tour.

Michelle CollinsFor more information, visit www.chittythemusical.co.uk

Facebook:  Chitty Chitty Bang Bang The Musical

Twitter:  @ChittyMusical / #chittymusical


Phill Jupitus headshot (credit Andy Hollingworth)







CHITTY CHITTY BANG BANG will also play the West Yorkshire Playhouse from 2 December 2015 – 30 January 2016, www.wyp.org.uk 0113 213 7700. Separate cast details for this run have been announced.

10–21 February                                         Mayflower Theatre, Southampton       www.mayflower.org.uk                   02380 711811

24 February – 13 March                             Bord Gais Energy Theatre, Dublin      www.bordgaisenergytheatre.ie        0844 847 2455

16 – 27 March                                           Grand Opera House, Belfast             www.goh.co.uk                             028 9024 1919

30 March – 9 April                                     Regent Theatre, Stoke                      www.atgtickets.com/venues/regent-theatre  0844 871 7649

13 – 24 April                                             Cliffs Pavilion, Southend                    www.thecliffspavilion.co.uk              01702 351 135

4 – 14 May                                                **Milton Keynes Theatre                  www.atgtickets.com/venues/milton-keynes-theatre/ 0844 871 7652

18 – 29 May                                              Nottingham Theatre Royal                 www.trch.co.uk                              0115 989 5555

1 – 12 June                                               Theatre Royal, Newcastle                 www.theatreroyal.co.uk                  08448 112 111

29 June – 17 July                                       Sheffield Lyceum                             www.sheffieldtheatres.co.uk           0114 249 6000

20 – 30 July                                               **New Wimbledon Theatre                www.atgtickets.com/venues/new-wimbledon-theatre  0844 871 7646

3 – 21 August                                           Wales Millennium Centre                    www.wmc.org.uk                           029 2063 6464
24 August – 3 September                          Marlowe Theatre, Canterbury              www.marlowetheatre.com                01227 787787

7 – 18 September                                      Birmingham Hippodrome                    www.birminghamhippodrome.com   0844 338 5000

21 September – 2 October                        **Royal & Derngate, Northampton        www.royalandderngate.co.uk           01604 624811

5 – 16 October                                          Festival Theatre, Edinburgh                www.edtheatres.com                      0131 529 6000
19 – 29 October                                         **King’s Theatre, Glasgow                 www.atgtickets.com/venues/kings-theatre/  0844 871 7648

9 – 19 November                                       **New Victoria Theatre, Woking          www.atgtickets.com/venues/new-victoria-theatre/ 0844 871 7645

**on sale soon

Further tour dates to be announced