Roosevelvis Review  

Royal Court Theatre 21st October – 14th November. Reviewed by Claire Roderick

The Team’s Roosevelvis is billed as a hallucinatory road trip from the Badlands to Graceland – and what a trip it is!

This two-hander tells the story of Ann, a shy, gay worker in a meat-processing plant, sleepwalking through her life, and only becoming truly animated when talking to her hero – Elvis Presley. After a disastrous blind date involving a RV trip to Mount Rushmore, Elvis and his hero, Teddy Roosevelt intervene and, together with Ann, they embark on a journey to Graceland.

Libby King plays Ann as a truly lost soul, full of despair and loneliness. When she morphs into Elvis, with just a wig and a vocal twist, she is a revelation. Kristen Sieh is Brenda, Ann’s taxidermist date – hugely disappointed in the real Ann after meeting her online – and Roosevelt. Sieh is tiny, so her posturing and aggression as Roosevelt makes a funny character even better. But although there are lots of laughs to be had from the two American icons, the play celebrates rather than mocks them. Even though they are being played by women, they do not come across as a drag act, simply androgynous versions of their personas. The Team’s script is slick and confident. There is an underlying warmth and respect for these flawed men, and the relationship that builds between them on the road trip is simply wonderful. They have very different ideas about what Ann should do, and their reasoning is slowly and sympathetically unpicked as they reveal more and more of their history. Roosevelt’s coping method whenever he gets a little emotional is hysterical, and his pronunciation of Elvis’ name keeps you giggling throughout – and that ending!

The staging is so well thought out – while props are being moved around, the action continues on various screens, and the use of rowing machines is a stroke of genius. There are some dark and quiet moments, expertly portrayed by the actors on stage and on the screens. The screens are used to continue the story on location, showing action in shops, motels and scenery on the road. The sequence showing Ann at work starkly portrays her mundane life, although I must admit that the diner waitress film was a step too far for me – the sound and colour effects brought to mind dodgy art installations I have suffered through and made me twitch a little.

The play’s publicity states that this is a work about gender, appetite and the multitudes we contain – which worried me a little. But these themes are not sledgehammered into the play, they are allowed to breathe and take form gradually and subtly – allowing the audience to think for themselves and take what they want from the performance, which is exactly what a great play should do

Mirror Mirror, Charles Court Opera Panto, King’s Head

unnamed (29)The King’s Head Theatre and Charles Court Opera present:

3 December – 9 January

The King’s Head Theatre present Charles Court Opera’s legendary annual ’boutique panto’, now in its new home for 2015 after eight glorious years at the Rosemary Branch Theatre.

“a refreshingly different spin on the traditional panto that remains true to its spirit” Time Out on Billy the Kid, 2014

A terrifically evil Queen has all she could wish for – including an equally evil magic mirror.  Enter a dashing Prince from a far off kingdom, more interested in a certain young filly in the town who spends her days playing housekeeper to seven dwarfs… cue disguises, booby traps, magic spells, and even murder by apple pie, all dunked in a delicious cocktail of jaw-dropping musical numbers, terrible puns and top drawer singers, and you’re all set for Charles Court Opera’s 9th boutique panto – a legendary part of North London’s Christmas (Time Out Critic’s Choice 2014).

“the future of panto is boutique… a must-see” Michael White, The Telegraph on Buttons, 2013

This year sees their uniquely alternative, inventive take on the tale of Snow White, and anyone who has seen any of their 8 boutique pantos to date knows to expect the unexpected! The cast will feature regular Charles Court Opera compatriots, including founder and resident dame (“Outrageously funny” Time Out) John Savournin. Charles Court Opera became an associate company at the King’s Head Theatre this year, which is also their 10th anniversary.

“If there is a better pantomime in London this winter I will eat my critic’s hat” Reviewsgate on Buttons, 2013

From adults-only performances through to children’s matinees, Charles Court Opera’s boutique pantos are perfect for families, couples, groups of friends or office parties, with this year’s promising to be bigger, better, and a glittering treat for all. Join them in their new home this year – don’t miss out!

Now in its 45th year, The King’s Head Theatre is celebrating this anniversary with an exciting new artistic policy after the departure of OperaUpClose, becoming a crucible for new writing and critical rediscoveries. Work from Irvine Welsh, Richard Cameron, Richard O’Brien and Arthur Miller, as well as Mike Bradwell directing for the first time since the 1970s, guarantees that if it’s on here, you won’t see it anywhere else. Led by Adam Spreadbury-Maher, second artistic director following Dan Crawford (who set up the King’s Head as the first pub theatre in 1970), the theatre is the first unfunded venue to have an Equity agreement to pay theatre-makers fair wages since 2011, and continues to do so despite receiving no public funding.

South Pacific Review

Civic Theatre, Darlington – 26 October 2015

Darlington Operatic Society revisit the Rodgers and Hammerstein classic South Pcific for their winter show this year.

Julian Cound plays Emile. Bringing to the role a commanding presence, a sense of solitude and a burnished tone that almost stops the show in This Nearly Was Mine. While Kat Flynn plays Nellie, her portrayal of this inspiringly positive yet vulnerable woman is pitch perfect. Full of nervous energy and fine acting, vocally she is also top-dollar.

In contrast Zoe Kent gives a full-blooded performance as the polynesian pedlar, Bloody Mary, that brings out her character. Bali Hai is beautifully sung.  During Happy Talk, as she forces Liat, Zoe Birkbeck, to play up to the American Lieutenant, himself in a state of malarial delirium.  There is good work from Michael Hirst as a traumatised lieutenant Cable.  His sensitive portrayal reveals many sides to this multifaceted character while his smooth voice is tailor-made for Younger Than Springtime.

Star of the show though is Ben Connor and his wonderful portrayal of Luther Billis.  Clearly channelling the spirit of Paul Lynde, Connor offers terrific comic value particularly in his grass-skirted drag number, Honey Bun.

The production is outstanding and its ridiculous to call this Amateur Operatics when the show is of such a professional standard.  The performers and production staff are dedicated and accomplished and it shows all the way through the show

Full of melodic glories from the live band led by Michael Trotter, the show is beginning to show its age. In 1949 there was obviously a ground breaking liberalism to its premise: a racially blinkered nurse from Little Rock, having fallen in love with an exiled French planter in wartime. And the tension between the sexual imperialism of the American troops and the yearnings of the Pacific islanders in that Bloody Mary pimps out daughter Liat to the highest bidder.  But the story lines aside, there is no doubting the professionalism and talent that has gone into this production

In Darlington until 31 October this is a beautiful acted and tremendously sung show that all the family can enjoy.

BOAT Review

Theatre N16, 19th October – 5th November.  Reviewed by Claire Roderick

Oh. My. Word.

BOAT is one of those rare plays that leaves you feeling slightly grubby for having enjoyed human misery so much.

PIGDOG’s production of Kiran Millwood Hargrave’s debut play is simply stunning.  A girl is adrift on a boat on an endless ocean. The girl has forgotten her name. Her twin is also on the boat, but she hasn’t moved or spoken for a long time. Girl is adamant that she is just sleeping. Turtle repeatedly comes to visit the girl on her boat and talks about relativity and freedom. Then Gull finds the boat, and begins to contradict Turtle’s ideas. So far, so “Life of Pi”, but then sinister slips and hints begin to trickle into the conversations and Girl’s memories. Amidst the mythology of “The Leaving” and the “litterlands” ripples of fear and horror of “them” begin to emerge.

Pia Laborde Noguez is phenomenal as Girl – she captures the innocence and precociousness of the character perfectly, and breaks your heart in the final scenes. As Twin, Cristina Catalina excels in the seemingly less sympathetic role as the stronger, protective sibling who gives in to despair. Matthew Coulton’s Turtle is full of joy and love for Girl, but Coulton lets his true motives reveal themselves subtly and almost sympathetically. Gabriele Lombardo as Gull is full of energy and this makes his shame and fear in his final scene even more heartfelt.

The set design at first appears sweet and naïve, but as the story unfolds, you realise why these objects have been used. The sound effects are created on stage by the cast and the audience and recorded and manipulated for use throughout by the Jellyfish of Sound (Jethro Cooke). Again, the reasons for this became horrifyingly clear. This is such an intricate production – lines that seemed irrelevant come back to haunt you; everything on stage has a purpose. It is like putting together a jigsaw with no picture to guide you. Suddenly, fantasy is stripped away and stark reality is laid bare – and it is awful. But oh so relevant. There is no happy ending, just a fade to dark. “Regret is dark, dark is regret.”

This is a production you must see. PIGDOG have created a little piece of magic  – beautiful, horrible, dark magic.

Empire Cinemas brings the red carpet to Catterick

DMP_Empire_2210_51Catterick’s brand new state-of-the-art, seven-screen cinema, Empire Cinemas Catterick, hosted a VIP launch event on Thursday 22nd October to the local community, at which Tom Hanks new film ‘Bridge of Spies’ was screened.

DMP_Empire_2210_83aLast Thursday Empire Cinemas Catterick opened its doors to the community with multiple screenings of the hottest new films especially for locals. The new state-of-the-art, seven-screen cinema complex will bring a new era of entertainment to the residents of Catterick and the surrounding area, and is part of a £25m redevelopment. For further ticketing information visit

 DMP_Empire_2210_03The cinema is now open to the public as of Friday 23rd October

The state-of-the-art, seven-screen cinema complex will bring a new era of entertainment to residents of Catterick and the surrounding area. The new opening is part of a larger retail and leisure development (Princes Gate) being built by Kier Property at the heart of Catterick Garrison close to the A1.

DMP_Empire_2210_56The cinema is helmed by new General Manager Dave Thomas. Dave has 16 years of experience in the cinema industry working his way up through the ranks to become Empire’s first General Manager appointment at Catterick.

DMP_Empire_2210_45The cinema will be surrounded by several well-known high street brands such as Next, Boots and SportsDirect, as well as popular food and drink operators including Costa, Greene King and a new 60 bed hotel for Premier Inn including a Brewers Fayre. For those with a sweet tooth the cinema itself will include a Ben & Jerrys Scoop Shop plus an Empire IMPACT screen – the ultimate way to experience blockbuster movies.

DMP_Empire_2210_26Empire Cinemas’ cater for all; from Empire JNRS, which offers families the chance to see a family favourite every weekend for pocket money prices; to Empire Seniors, where the over 60’s can watch a selection of the best recent and classic films every Wednesday, including tea or coffee and a biscuit. Empire Cinemas also welcome parents with babies through their Empire Parent & Baby screenings, providing a relaxing environment for parents/guardians to enjoy the latest releases with the lights up and sound down, every Monday morning. Other offers include Sav£rday Tuesday, which offers customers a chance to see current films for a ‘credit crunch busting’ price, and Last Chance To See Thursdays, which screens selected films coming to the end of their run at Saverday prices.DMP_Empire_2210_92


Andrew Scott to star in UK premiere of The Dazzle

Sherlock and Spectre star Andrew Scott will star in the UK première of Richard Greenberg’s The Dazzle at new theatre FOUND111 on Charing Cross Road.

The production – directed by Simon Evans – will feature Scott alongside David Dawson (The Duchess of Malfi) and opens on 15 December for a strictly limited season until 30 January 2016. Further casting will be announced shortly.

The Dazzle is a co-production between Michael Grandage Company and Emily Dobbs Productions and continues Grandage’s tradition of offering affordable access to his productions, with £10 ticket will be available for all performances.

According to press materials, the play – which won an Outer Critics Circle Award when it opened in New York in 2000 – takes place in New York City at the beginning of the 20th Century. “Two brothers sit in their home surrounded by 136 tons of hoarded junk. When a beautiful guest arrives, everybody’s lives are thrown into sharp focus.”

Scott – who stars in the latest Bond film, Spectre, opening on Monday – was last seen on stage in Simon Stephens’ Birdland at the Royal Court. His other theatre credits includeAristocrats, Emperor and Galilean (National Theatre) and A Girl in a Car with a Man(Royal Court) for which he won the Olivier Award for Outstanding Achievement in an Affiliate Theatre in 2005.

FOUND111 is a new venture at ‪111 Charing Cross Road – the original site of the Central St Martins School of Art – launched by Emily Dobbs Productions and Rachel Edwards for Tooting Arts Club, whose production of Barbarians is currently running at the venue until 7 November.

STAR To Develop Code Of Practice For Ticket Resale Marketplaces

Members of the Society of Ticket Agents and Retailers (STAR), the self-regulatory body for the entertainment ticket industry, have voted in favour of developing a Code of Practice for online ticket resale marketplaces.

Despite controversy around resale, reputable online marketplaces can provide a safe environment for people offering to resell tickets to transact with potential buyers. These marketplaces are therefore distinct from unscrupulous websites where customers are defrauded by sellers that do not have the claimed tickets to supply or even have a deliberate intention to take money but never supply tickets.

Chief Executive of STAR, Jonathan Brown, said “Customers deserve clear information about where they can buy tickets safely. STAR recognises that the UK ticketing industry has rapidly changed in recent years and today’s consumers expect greater levels of choice and protection. They need to know how and where they can buy tickets safely, whether they choose to buy them from the primary or secondary sectors. To increase clarity for ticket buyers, STAR will therefore develop standards of best practice to which we hope resale businesses that take consumer protection seriously will subscribe.

STAR already operates a Code of Practice for the primary ticket market to which all the major names in UK ticketing are signed up. The new resale code will establish similar high standards of service and information as well as requirements regarding consumer protection and rights, particularly around the security of customer payments and guaranteed refunds if tickets are not supplied.

It is expected that the Code will be developed over the next few months before being presented to the STAR membership for consideration in the New Year. If the Code is approved and adopted by STAR members, resale marketplaces that can meet the demands of the Code would then be able to apply for membership.

The Government recently announced a review of consumer protection measures in the online ticket resale market and STAR looks forward to co-operating with that review. All STAR members are, of course, required to abide by the law. The new Code for resale will include reference to the specific requirements in the Consumer Rights Act and will be reviewed regularly to take into account any further changes in regulations.

Jonathan Brown added, “This is not about whether tickets should or shouldn’t be offered for resale or for how much they are sold. It is about pragmatically working to fill a gap in consumer protection by ensuring that customers are able to feel confident whenever they buy tickets and by improving standards even further in the legal ticket resale sector. We have to do all we can to be clear about the advice we give to customers to help them avoid illegal scam websites. We need to stop them from giving money to fraudsters who prey on fans desperate to obtain tickets for sold-out events without any intention of delivering.

Private Lives National Tour ahead of West End Transfer

A major revival of Noël Coward’s fabulous masterpiece, Private Lives will commence a National Tour ahead of a West End transfer, starring stage and screen stars Tom Chambers (Top Hat, Strictly Come Dancing) as the loveable and charming Elyot and Laura Rogers (Tipping The Velvet, An Ideal Husband) as the unconventional and vivacious Amanda, alongside Charlotte Ritchie (Call The Midwife, One Night in November) as Sybil and Richard Teverson (Downton Abbey) as Victor.

The production is generally acknowledged as being one of the greatest plays of all time, and will begin at the New Victoria Theatre, Woking, from 11th January 2016, directed by Tom Attenborough, with designs by Lucy Osborne, lighting by Oliver Fenwick and sound by Gregory Clarke.

Other confirmed venues for this major new production of Private Livesinclude the Churchill Theatre, Bromley (18-23 January), Regent Theatre, Stoke-on-Trent (25-30 January), Theatre Royal, Brighton (1-6 February), New Alexandra Theatre, Birmingham (8-13 February), Richmond Theatre (15-20 February), Theatre Royal, Glasgow (22-27 February), Princess Theatre, Torquay (29 February – 5 March), Waterside Theatre, Aylesbury (7-12 March) and Theatre Royal, Bath (14-19 March).

Private Lives, written in just three days, remains Coward’s greatest success and the play that marked the peak of his career. Elyot (a role originated by Coward himself) and Amanda are a gloriously selfish divorced couple who, by a quirk of fate, meet again on their honeymoons with their new spouses and reignite their old spark,. The revival of their fiery romance, alternating between heated rows and passionate reconciliations, reminds them that although they cannot live with each other, nor can they live without.

A masterpiece of 1930’s high comedy full of razor sharp wit and sparkling dialogue, Private Lives remains one of the most sophisticated, entertaining plays ever written, offering an evening of acutely sharp, divinely decedent, and unashamed humour.

Tom Chambers’ (Elyot Chase) most recent stage credits include the West End production of White Christmas at the Dominion Theatre, and the Olivier and Evening Standard Award winning musical Top Hat, for which Tom was nominated for the Olivier and WhatsOnStage Award for Best Male Performer In A Musical. Tom is popular for his leading roles in television dramas Holby City and Waterloo Road as well as winning the 6th season of Strictly Come Dancing in 2008.

Laura Rodgers’ (Amanda Prynne) stage credits include the World Premiere of Tipping The Velvet at the Lyric Hammersmith, An Ideal Husband, Blue Remembered Hills and Hay Fever at Chichester Festival Theatre, Pressure for Royal Lyceum Theatre, Masterpieces at the Royal Court, 55 Days and Revelations at Hampstead Theatre, The Comedy of Errors on USA Tour and Shakespeare’s Globe, The 39 Steps at The Criterion Theatre, West End, The Philosophers at the National Theatre of Wales, Macbeth, As You Like It, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Timon of Athens, The Taming of the Shrew and Richard III at the Shakespeare’s Globe, Gloucestershire at the Arcola Theatre, See How They Run at the Royal Exchange, Bad Girls – The Musical at the Garrick Theatre and West Yorkshire Playhouse, The Three Musketeers and The Barber of Seville at the Bristol Old Vic, Celestina at the Birmingham Rep and on UK Tour and Jamaica Inn at the Salisbury Playhouse. Laura’s screen credits include New Tricks, The Smoke, Law and Order, Dates, Twelfth Night, Dark Matters, Doctor Who, Midsomer Murders, Missing, Albert’s Memorial, Holby City, Bad Girls, Rock Face, Running Scared, Relic Hunter, Pleasure Beach, The Sins, Love Me Do, The Right Hand Man, Nylon Ghosts and In Two Minds.

Charlotte Ritchie (Sibyl Chase) is best known for her roles in Call The Midwife as series regular Barbara Gilbert, the role of Oregon in Channel 4’s Fresh Meat, which has recently completed filming their 4th and final series, and Siblings for BBC 3. Charlotte’s other screen credits include Open Doors, Princess Daffodil, Life Of Riley, Outsiders, Undercover, Doctors, Jolene: The Indie Folk Star and The Portrait. Charlotte is also a founder member of All Angels, a British classical crossover choral group formed in 2006. All Angels have released 4 albums and have sold over a million albums across the world. Charlotte’s stage credits include One Night In November at the Belgrade Theatre, Coventry.

Richard Teverson’s (Victor Prynne) stage credits include Handbagged on UK Tour, How Many Miles To Babylon at the Lyric Theatre, Belfast, The Schoolmistress at the Stephen Joseph Theatre, The Winslow Boy and Cause Célèbre at the Old Vic, Somersaults at the Finborough Theatre, The Doctor’s Dilemma and After The Dance at the National Theatre, The 39 Steps at the Criterion Theatre, When Harry Met Sally and A Woman Of No Importance at the Theatre Royal Haymarket,The Lion King at the Lyceum Theatre, Private Lives, Tons Of Money and Hobson’s Choice all for the Freud Company, The Singing Group at Chelsea Theatre, Cleo, Camping, Emmanuelle & Dick at the New Vic Theatre and A Midsummer Night’s Dream at Creation Theatre. Richard’s screen credits include Downton Abbey, Coalition, Jamaica Inn, The Bletchley Circle, Spies Of Warsaw, Dancing On The Edge, Upstairs Downstairs, The Roman Mysteries, Private Peaceful, Brideshead Revisited and Workhorse.

Tom Attenborough (Director)
Noël Coward (Writer)
The major production of Private Lives is produced by Ambassador Theatre Group.

11 JANUARY – 19 MARCH 2016

General Onsale from Monday 26 October 2015
New Victoria Theatre, Woking
11 – 16 January
0844 871 7645

Churchill Theatre, Bromley
18 – 23 January
0844 871 7620

Regent Theatre, Stoke
25 – 30 January
0844 871 7649

Theatre Royal, Brighton
1 – 6 February
0844 871 7650

New Alexandra Theatre, Birmingham
8 – 13 February
0844 871 3011

Richmond Theatre
15 – 20 February
0844 871 7651

Theatre Royal, Glasgow
22 – 27 February
0844 871 7647

Princess Theatre, Torquay
29 February – 5 March
0844 871 3023

Waterside Theatre, Aylesbury
7 – 12 March
0844 871 7607

Theatre Royal, Bath
14 – 19 March
01225 448844
Tickets On Sale Soon

Tickets via

Woman ‘singing badly’ removed from The Bodyguard musical

A woman who sang “loudly and badly” through a performance of The Bodyguard was ejected from a theatre after she became aggressive to people who told her to shut up.

The woman continued singing for about 20 minutes despite other audience members shouting at her to leave.

It was the final performance in Nottingham of the hit musical.

Some audience members said police were called, but Nottinghamshire Police said they could not find any record of it.

Sacha Gainard, from Wymeswold in Leicestershire, said the atmosphere at the Royal Concert Hall “felt more like a football match” than a trip to the theatre.

“We were a few rows in front of the woman, who it sounds like was being told off for singing along loudly and badly,” he said.

“She was swearing and being quite aggressive to those who were trying to shush her.

“It rumbled on, and after every song, it seemed to bubble back up to enough of a level most of us on the second tier could hear her.”

Mr Gainard said theatre staff removed her “after a good 20 minutes of her carrying on”.

He had bought tickets for his parents as a Christmas present and they had driven up from Somerset for the show.

“It did ruin the first half for those of us on that tier, and not really the kind of atmosphere you expect at the theatre,” Mr Gainard said.

Alexandra Burke is starring in the musical as Rachel Marron, the character made famous by Whitney Houston in the film of the same name.

Mr Gainard said there was “no way” the cast could have missed the audience shouting at the woman.

“How they kept singing, and so beautifully, I don’t know,” he said.


5 Guys Chillin’: 29 October – 28 November, 10pm (Thurs – Sat)

F*cking Men: 5 December – 9 January

Due to popular demand, the King’s Head Theatre are proud to announce extensions to their 5-star “fan-f*cking-tastic” (CultureFly) production of F*cking Men and Peter Darney’s verbatim 4-star “brave, bold, and thoroughly raw-nerve” (British Theatre) 5 Guys Chillin’.

5 Guys Chillin’ is a graphic, gripping, funny and frank verbatim drama exposing the gay chill-out scene, and will now be playing late night dates through November as part of our new writing festival #Festival45. Reviews have described the show as “beautifully done, bold and tackles issues that hit home to many” (Gay Times) and “an absolute must see for anyone who goes to the theatre to feel stirred, provoked and who cares deeply about the socio-political issues within our society” (Top London Theatre).

Artistic director of the King’s Head Theatre, Adam Spreadbury-Maher, says “This play tackles the most serious, urgent gay men’s health crisis since the outbreak of HIV in the early 80s. HIV and hepatitis infections are on the rise again due to shared needle use and unprotected sex on the chill-out scene, causing a huge strain on individuals, communities and the NHS. From just 3 nights at the Brighton Fringe, we are now extending the show into a second month to keep the conversation going about this crisis. We’re so thrilled to be doing such important verbatim work.”

***** “The King’s Head Theatre continue to amaze and surprise with the shows they stage – this is one of the best” Stephen Vowles, Boyz

This will be followed, in December, by a restaging of the smash success F*cking Men, which has already extended once since our August production and will now be entering a third month. The production will be undergoing changes, retaining artistic elements while streamlining the show for a sustainable touring future that will continue to provide employment for the artists involved.

Adam says “This new production has been praised for its universality across sexual orientations. We’re proud to be producing gay theatre that speaks to a universal audience!”

Now in its 45th year, The King’s Head Theatre is celebrating this anniversary with an exciting new artistic policy after the departure of OperaUpClose, becoming a crucible for new writing and critical rediscoveries. Work from Irvine Welsh, Richard Cameron, Richard O’Brien and Arthur Miller, as well as Mike Bradwell directing for the first time since the 1970s, guarantees that if it’s on here, you won’t see it anywhere else. Led by Adam Spreadbury-Maher, second artistic director following Dan Crawford (who set up the King’s Head as the first pub theatre in 1970), the theatre is the first unfunded venue to have an Equity agreement to pay theatre-makers fair wages since 2011, and continues to do so despite receiving no public funding.