image001 (7)Sheffield Theatres has today announced a new strand to its charitable fundraising activity. From this season, the final dress rehearsal of any of its home-grown productions will be made accessible to the public for a minimum donation of £1.00.  This initiative will support Sheffield Theatres in raising much-needed funds to continue its work within the community and on-stage.

Claire Murray, Communications & Fundraising Director commented: ‘As a registered charity we are always looking for ways to generate vital funds to maintain the quality and diversity of the shows we create, as well as reaching and working with audiences throughout the City Region. The final dress rehearsal is a great opportunity to see the creation of a show in its final stages. We hope that our audiences will give more than £1.00 for their tickets to enjoy this unique occasion and help support the Theatres.’

If every audience member in the 980 seat Crucible auditorium donated £5.00 for each ticket, the total raised could enable Sheffield Theatres to offer 22 bursary places for the annual Summer School programme or take 17 young people through the arts award or buy 26 pairs of men’s tap shoes for a production like Anything Goes.

The Public Dress Rehearsal (PDR) gives audiences the chance to see the cast and creative team making final preparations for the official opening of the production. The decision on whether to open the rehearsal to the public is made by the show’s director based on the technical requirements of the production, and tickets are made available from 10.00am on the morning of the rehearsal. The first Public Dress Rehearsal this season will be for Romeo & Juliet, which is scheduled to take place on Thursday 17 September (subject to confirmation on Wednesday).  The Theatres will confirm that this rehearsal will be open to the public through Facebook, Twitter and on their website.

A registered charity, the Theatres’ fundraising work provides an important income stream that allows it to produce world-class work, offer creative workshops with children and young people and provide access services. In addition to the donation made for a PDR ticket, customers can also donate in a number of other simple ways, including by text message and whilst booking tickets at the Box Office. For further information or to make a donation, call Leah Woffenden, Individual Giving Officer on0114 201 3820.


A Little Night Music




Music and Lyrics by Stephen Sondheim
Book by Hugh Wheeler

Desiree Armfeldt
Fredrik Egerman
Countess Charlotte Malcolm
Count Carl – Magnus Malcolm
Anne Egerman
Madame Armfeldt

Henrick Egerman
Frederika Armfeldt
Mr. Erlanson
Mrs. Nordstrom
Mr. Lindquist
Mrs. Segstrom
Mrs. Anderssen


Venue: Ye Olde Rose and Crown Theatre, 53 Hoe Street, London, E17 4SA
Closest Tube/National Rail: Walthamstow Central, Victoria Line / Overground
Dates: 6 – 31 October 2015
Press Night: Friday 9th October
Times: Tuesday – Saturday at 7.30pm; Sundays at 3.00pm; No performances on Mondays
Price: £18.00 / £16.00 Concessions (The first three performances £15.00)
Box Office: 020 8520 8674 /
Director: Tim McArthur
Musical Director: Aaron Clingham
Choreographer: Simon Fielding
Assistant Director: Thom Sellwood
Production Manager: Kat Gagan
Design: Nik Corrall
Production Assistant: Angie Lawrence
Casting: Benjamin Newsome
Producer: Andrew Yon
Twitter: @nightmusicldn
Other: Presented by arrangement with Josef Weinberger on behalf of MTI of New York

Darlington Civic Theatre Panto launch


The stars of this year’s Civic Theatre pantomime made an early visit to Darlington last Friday to officially launch the show in true fairytale style! Ashleigh Butler and her loveable dog Pudsey were joined by Brendan Sheerin and Niki Evans, plus a beautiful horse-drawn carriage. For an added bit of pantomime magic the Fairy Godmother even made it snow!

QDOS | Darlington Civic Theatre | Cinderella LaunchThe Britain’s Got Talent winning duo Ashleigh & Pudsey lead the cast of Cinderella in the title role, and her cute and faithful friend. Since winning the nationwide talent show they have enjoyed phenomenal international demand, including their own TV show for CBBC, made appearances on American television, released a best-selling autobidography and even starred in their own film – Pudsey the Dog: The Movie. No strangers to the stage, Ashleigh & Pudsey have starred in pantomimes for the past three Christmas seasons.  Taking a coach trip of a very different kind Brendan Sheerin was also in attendance. The popular host of the Channel 4 hit Coach Trip stars as Baron Hardup alongside X Factor star Niki Evans in the role of Fairy Godmother. Having reached the semi-finals of the show Niki has gone on to enjoy a successful stage career with starring roles in Blood Brothers and Legally Blonde, in addition to her recording work.

This year’s pantomime will also feature legendary disco star Dooby Duck in an entertaining, if highly strung, sequence at the Royal Ball! Hatched in 1981 the prized puppet made several high-profile stage appearances including the Children’s Royal Variety Performance and several acclaimed pantomimes. He also had three hugely successful series for BBC TV; Dooby Duck’s Disco Bus, Dooby’s Duck Truck and Dooby Duck’s Euro Tour as well as making other television, theatre and cabaret appearances across the world.

Michael Harrison, managing director of Qdos Entertainment, producers of the show, and executive producer of Cinderella said “We’re delighted to be bringing the magic of Cinderella to Darlington this Christmas, especially with such a talented cast. Ashleigh & Pudsey are perfect for panto and will delight audiences with their fabulous routines. With Brendan’s wonderful personality and sense of humour, Niki’s fabulous voice and Dooby’s legendary disco routines, plus our stunning scenery, music, comedy and dance, Darlington audiences are definitely in for an unmissable treat this Christmas.”

Lynda Winstanley, Theatre Director said: “This is such a magical time of year for us – we are delighted to be presenting Cinderella, as our fabulous annual pantomime which is always such a wonderful treat – bringing families into our historic venue for fun and laughter during the festive season.’’

Cinderella runs at Darlington Civic Theatre from Saturday 5 December 2015 to Sunday 10 January 2016. Tickets are available from 01325 486555 or by visiting

Darlington Civic Theatre – Baroque By Candlelight

Civic-Theatre-Hi-Res-Logo-1-117x300GET YOUR FIX OF THE BAROQUE

The beautiful music of the world’s finest classical composers comes to Darlington Civic Theatre on Monday 21 September with Baroque By Candlelight.

From the producers of Magical Mozart, this stunning fully-costumed show will immerse you in the wonderful music and the classical Baroque world of some of the greatest romantic composers – Vivaldi, Handel and Bach.

With beautiful settings, costumes and lighting, and of course candles, the European Baroque Ensemble and Singers transport you back to the sumptuous past.

A packed programme of classical music and song including excerpts from Vivaldi’s Four Seasons, Handel’s Water Music, and Bach’s wonderful Toccata and Fugue in D minor.

The evening also includes sections of classical operas, sung by world class soloists, who alongside the European Ensemble, give you a candlelit Baroque night to remember!

Baroque By Candlelight is at Darlington Civic Theatre on Monday 21 September. Tickets* are £18 and £20.

*All ticket prices include a £1 restoration levy.

To book contact the Box Office on 01325 486 555 or visit





DANNY HORN (as Ray Davies), OLIVER HOARE (as Dave Davies), TOM WHITELOCK (as Pete Quaife) AND DAMIEN WALSH (as Mick Avory) – ‘THE KINKS’

(l-r Damien Walsh, Danny Horn, Oliver Hoare, Tom Whitelock. Photography by Kevin Cummins)

The first images of the new cast of Sunny Afternoon, the multi-Olivier Award-winning hit British musical based on the music of The Kinks, have been released today.

Danny Horn (Ray Davies), Tom Whitelock (Pete Quaife), Damien Walsh (Mick Avory) and Oliver Hoare (Dave Davies) in Sunny AfternooThe new cast is Danny Horn (Doctor Who; The Dead Dogs), who will play Ray Davies, with Oliver Hoare (Antony and Cleopatra, Chichester) as Dave Davies, Tom Whitelock (Times Square Angel, Union) as bassist Pete Quaife and Damien Walsh (Dreamboats and Petticoats) as drummer Mick Avory. At certain performances, the role of Ray Davies will be played by Ryan O’Donnell (Romeo and Juliet, RSC; Quadrophenia).

Cast includes: Jason Baughan, Niamh Bracken, Christopher Brandon, Harriet Bunton, Alice Cardy, Oliver Hoare, Danny Horn, Gillian Kirkpatrick, Jay Marsh, Megan Leigh Mason, Ryan O’Donnell, Stephen Pallister, Charlie Tighe, Gabriel Vick, Damien Walsh and Tom Whitelock.

Danny Horn (Ray Davies) in Sunny Afternoon. Photography by Kevin Cummins (3).jpgAlso making up the company, as understudies: Lloyd Gorman, Lia Given, Vicki Manser, Kay Milbourne, Nick Sayce, Robert Took, Alex Tosh and Robbie White.

With a book by Joe Penhall, music and lyrics and original story by Ray Davies, and directed by Edward Hall, Sunny Afternoon has established itself as a firm favourite with audiences and critics alike since it opened at the Harold Pinter Theatre in October 2014.

Sunny Afternoon was the best performing show at this year’s Olivier Awards, winning four awards.  The production won Best New Musical, John Dagleish won Best Actor in a Musical, George Maguire won Best Supporting Actor in a Musical, and Ray Davies of The Kinks won for Outstanding Achievement in Music.

Tom Whitelock (Pete Quaife), Danny Horn (Ray Davies), Oliver Hoare (Dave Davies) and Damien Walsh (Mick Avory) in Sunny AfternooThe original cast, including Olivier Award winners John Dagleish and George Maguire, will remain in the show until 3 October 2015.

Forty-nine years ago this year, The Kinks were sitting at Number One in the UK charts with their single ‘Sunny Afternoon’. The band’s popularity has not faded since the 1960s, with crowds of all ages filling the Harold Pinter Theatre night after night.

Tom Whitelock (Pete Quaife), Danny Horn (Ray Davies), Damien Walsh (Mick Avory) and Oliver Hoare (Dave Davies) in Sunny AfternooFeaturing some of The Kinks’ best-loved songs, including You Really Got Me, Waterloo Sunsetand Lola, Sunny Afternoon shows the music of The Kinks is still as popular as ever, more than 50 years since the band’s rise to fame.

Following a sold-out run at Hampstead Theatre, this world premiere production, with music and lyrics by Ray Davies, new book by Joe Penhall, original story by Ray Davies, direction by Edward Hall, design by Miriam Buether and choreography by Adam Cooper, opened at the Harold Pinter theatre on 28 October 2014. Lighting is by Rick Fisher, sound by Matt McKenzie and the Musical Supervisor and Musical Director is Elliott Ware.

The official cast recording album, produced by Ray Davies at his Konk studios, is released on BMG Chrysalis and is available to buy at

Sonia Friedman Productions commissioned Joe Penhall in 2011 to write the book based on Ray Davies’s original story. The company developed the production over the next four years, assembling the creative team and cast that presented Sunny Afternoon last year at Hampstead Theatre under the direction of Edward Hall, and now at the Harold Pinter Theatre.

Ray Davies is an influential and prolific rock musician and was co-founder and lead singer and songwriter for rock band The Kinks, and later a solo artist. He has an outstanding catalogue of hits from the earliest 1960s to the present day with estimated record sales in excess of 50 million. He has also acted, directed and produced shows for theatre and television.

Joe Penhall is an award winning playwright and screenwriter. Plays include Some Voices (Royal Court), Blue/Orange (National Theatre and West End), winner of Best New Play at the Evening Standard Awards, Olivier Awards and at the Critics Circle, and Dumb Show, Haunted Child andBirthday (all Royal Court). Screenplays include Enduring Love and The Road.

As Artistic Director of Hampstead Theatre, Edward Hall’s productions include Wonderland,Sunny Afternoon, Raving, Chariots of Fire, No Naughty Bits, Loyalty and Enlightenment. As Artistic Director of Propeller, his work has toured worldwide, played the West End and Broadway and has won numerous awards both in the UK and overseas. Other theatre work includes A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum (National Theatre), Edmond with Kenneth Branagh (National Theatre), Macbeth with Sean Bean (Albery), The Constant Wife (Apollo), Julius Caesar (RSC), Henry V (RSC) and The Deep Blue Sea (Vaudeville). Television work includes Downton Abbey, Spooks and Kingdom.  Edward is an Associate of the National Theatre and the Old Vic.


Farinelli and the King Begins Performances

A new play by Claire van Kampen starring Mark Rylance


82a6143df9683da9_orgClaire van Kampen’s critically-acclaimed play Farinelli and the King begins its 12 week run tonightat the Duke of York’s Theatre.  Limited tickets are still available in advance, starting at £10, for best availability please call the box office on 0844 871 7623. Day seats, priced at £10, will be available from 10am at the Box Office.

Farinelli and the King originally played at Shakespeare’s Globe and will be produced in the West End by Sonia Friedman Productions and Shakespeare’s Globe in association with Tulchin Bartner Productions and 1001 Nights.

The play is directed by John Dove and designed by Jonathan Fensom with musical arrangements also by Claire van Kampen.  Mark Rylance reprises his role as King Philippe V of Spain and Sam Crane once again plays the acting role of Farinelli.  The singing role of Farinelli is reprised by opera star Iestyn Davies and shared with Rupert Enticknap and Owen Willetts*.  The cast also includesHuss Garbiya playing Doctor Jose Cervi, Melody Grove playing Isabella Farnese, Colin Hurleyplaying Metastasio and Edward Peel playing De la Cuadra.

The Duke of York’s Theatre has been transformed for the play as the magical and intimate atmosphere of the Sam Wanamaker Playhouse is brought to the West End with onstage seating and candles.  Live Baroque music will be played by six onstage musicians, led by Harpsichordist and Musical Director Robert Howarth.

Set in eighteenth-century Spain, Claire van Kampen’s play tells the intriguing true story of Farinelli, once the world’s most famous castrato and one of the greatest celebrities of his time, and his decision to trade fame and fortune in the opera houses of Europe for a life of servitude at the court of King Philippe V. Farinelli and the King explores the dynamics between Farinelli and the royal couple and features many of the exquisite arias by Handel, that were first sung by Farinelli in the 1730’s.

The West End production will run from 14th September 2015 and play for a strictly limited season until 5th December 2015.  Opening Night will be on Tuesday 29th September 2015.

*Please see website for full performance schedule.

October Season at the King’s Head Theatre

The King’s Head Theatre present their October season:


30 September – 24 October, 7pm Tues-Sat

1 October – 24 October, 9.30pm Tues-Sat (3pm and 7pm Sun)

Katy ManningEx-Doctor Who assistant Katy Manning stars in new play Nobody’s Business, directed by John Adams, founding Artistic Director of Paines Plough.
Sybil, much-married caretaker of a business centre, is full of ideas for escaping from her situation. When Hugo, a manipulative adventurer, launches a new business, she inveigles her way in, getting herself appointed director of a company set up for Perkins, an inventor, along with Hugo’s long-suffering artist girlfriend Imogen and Howard, the manager of the centre, whose significant other is his dog. With a woman in a kangaroo suit trying to sell an uncontrollable invention and a dog on the company board, what happens next is nobody’s business.

Katy Manning (Sybil) is probably most famous for her TV work (including a three year stint as Doctor Who’s assistant), but has also performed numerous stage roles, ranging from work at Sydney Opera House through to the Young Vic.

Playwright Sylvia Freedman has had a wide-ranging, critically acclaimed career, and has presented new work at Watford Palace Theatre, the Orange Tree, Lyric Hammersmith and the King’s Head Theatre.

Director John Adams co-founded Paines Plough, Britain’s leading independent new writing company, with the writer David Pownall, being its Artistic Director for 6 years. John has since been Artistic Director of three regional theatre companies: the Octagon Bolton, the Birmingham Rep, and the Haymarket Basingstoke. He has directed first productions of plays by Anthony Minghella, Stephen Jeffreys, Terry Johnson, David Lodge and Derek Lister, and new musical Tomorrowland at the Noviy Opera in Moscow. Other musical productions include Sylvia Freedman’s Rough Music at the King’s Head, Carmen for Clonter Opera, and Wallop Mrs Cox at the Birmingham Hippodrome.

He says: “Directing any good comedy is a challenge and a joy – fun for the actors, and for the audience. But to direct a new comedy (and a very funny one too) as part of the richly diverse King’s Head programme in what is now one of Britain’s most exciting and dynamic theatre spaces is an absolute delight.”


5 Guys ChillinAlongside, Em-Lou Productions present Peter Darney’s 5 Guys Chillin’: a graphic, gripping, funny and frank verbatim drama exposing the gay Chill-Out scene.

“Wanna pair of shorts? Shot of G? Line of Meth?”

From surgeons to students, couples to kink; guys that love it and lost guys longing to be loved. An original look into a drug-fuelled, hedonistic, highly secret world of Chem-Sex, Grindr and instant gratification.

Taken from over 50 hours of interviews from guys found through Grindr and other social media, this is an important look at the relatively new scene that social media apps have been fundamental in creating. 5 Guys Chillin’ looks at changing attitudes to sex, relationships, dating, HIV and to our perception of what sexual relations can and should be. 5 Guys Chillin’ come direct from its sell-out run at this year’s Brighton Fringe.

***** “Interesting and complex; it’s certainly not preachy and shows the thrills and the rush of modern sex parties” G-Scene


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. / Box Office 0207 193 7845 / @KingsHeadThtr

Darlington Civic Theatre – The Robbie Williams Experience, Let Me Entertain You


The music of the legend that is Robbie Williams comes to Darlington Civic Theatre on Tuesday 22 September with Let Me Entertain You.

Let Me Entertain You is a rollercoaster ride spanning the 25-year career of the legend that is Robbie Williams.

Featuring an amazing live band and the Robbie Williams Experience Dancers, this action-packed show features all of Robbie’s hits, including; Rock DJ, Angels, Let Me Entertain You, Come Undone, She’s The

One, No Regrets, Feel, and some of his most recent hits, including; Go Gentle, You Know Me and Candy.

Starring Hollyoaks heart-throb Tom Vaughan, who has performed as Robbie Williams throughout Europe to audiences as large as 20,000 people! His reputation as one of the world’s best Robbie Williams tributes is guaranteed to ‘Relight Your Fire!’

He looks like Robbie, he moves like Robbie. An absolute must for all fans of the Robster.

Let Me Entertain You is at Darlington Civic Theatre on Tuesday 22 September. Tickets* are £17 and £18.50. Groups10+ 1 free.

*All ticket prices include a £1 restoration levy.

To book contact the Box Office on 01325 486 555 or visit

Jersey Boys Review

Jersey Boys (UK Tour)

September 14, 2015 

For: West End Wilma


It’s not every show where you are treated to a performance that warrants not one but three separate standing ovations, but Jersey Boys delivers just that.

Telling the story of the Four Seasons, each band member gets a season to tell his tale. But as they say in the show “take four different men and you’ll get four different versions”. It turns out there was a lot more to the Jersey boys than close vocal harmonies and hit records, their colourful story – of ducking and diving, wise guys and hustles, failed relationships, rows, retribution and eventual redemption – makes this a jukebox musical with real story to tell.

We start with Tommy Devito’s Spring. Unfortunately Stephen Webb was indisposed so Henry Davis stepped into the dance shoes admirably. A petty criminal, with a criminal record a mile long, but with a musical talent and a dream to escape. He put together a band with his brother Nick and Nick Massi (Lewis Griffiths) and gave Francis Castelluccio the big break that turned him into Frankie Valli (Matt Corner). With a few stints in prison, and brother Nick not coming out of jail for a long time, the band begins.

With the joining of Bob Gaudio (Sam Ferriday) and the name The Four Seasons taken from the local bowling alley, the band hits big and Bob gives us his Summer.

A chance meeting with Bob Crew (Joel Elferink) gives them the recording contract they desire and with Gaudio’s writing talent, a slew of hits appear. From Sherrie, to our first ovation of the night Walk Like A Man. But as the hits keep coming DeVito’s spending gets worse and by the end of the first half the boys are in a million dollars worth of debt to the tax and the Mob.

Nick Massi’s Fall comes next, followed by Valli’s winter including the tragic death of his daughter. But the hits continue and the second ovation is for Can’t Take My Eyes Off of You, the song none of the record producers wanted to touch but was a huge commercial success.

With all the debts cleared, it ends with the band’s entrance into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, the first time the original four have seen and spoken to each other in 25 years. It’s a bittersweet story. Valli’s immediately recognisable distinctive voice gives rise to some amazing vocals during the show.

It would be all too easy to put this show on the road as another jukebox musical, a limp through the history of a household name, but the narrative is as strong as the score and really packs a punch in the emotional moments. Klara Zieglerova’s restrained design, a framework of scaffolding encloses the action. At the back of the stage, huge Roy Lichtenstein-style cartoons show comic-strip girls with pony tails, huge tears and speech bubbles, while against the oranges and reds of what seems to be a perpetual sunset, is an industrial silhouette of chimneys and pylons.

The band are fabulous, led by Gareth Weedon with Ed Bussey, Carrie Grant, Bryan Smith, Frank Dawkins, Mat Elliott, Stuart Roberts, Jon Shenoy, Nathan Hawken and Rob Greenwood. Plus every show should have a motorised drum set that travels the stage

Jersey Boys is jam packed with more than 30 hits and as you sit back and listen, it’s easy to forget just how many top songs this quartet produced over the years.

Throughout the whole show there were people singing along to every word and the audience couldn’t help but tap their feet to the rhythm of the music as it’s so uplifting and infectious. This is a feel good show guaranteed to lift the spirits and well worth a visit or return visit to enjoy its true gloriousness.



Roald Dahl Day is 13th September and marks Dahl’s 99th birthday

The hit West End musical Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, based on the book by Roald Dahl, and directed by Sam Mendes, is marking Roald Dahl Day on 13 September by releasing new pictures of the Oompa-Loompas on the loose at the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane.

The photographs are by Matt Crockett.

Roald Dahl’s Charlie and the Chocolate Factory has quickly become one of the West End’s most popular and successful stage musicals. It has broken multiple records at the Theatre Royal Drury Lane, where it has been seen by over more than 1.25 million people since it opened in June 2013. It is currently taking bookings until 4 June 2016.

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory is directed by Sam Mendes. Featuring ingenious stagecraft, the wonder of the original story that has captivated the world for 50 years is brought to life with music by Marc Shaiman, and lyrics by Scott Wittman and Marc Shaiman, a book by award-winning playwright and adaptor David Greig, set and costume designs by Mark Thompson and choreography by Peter Darling.

The Official Cast Recording album is available on Sony Records, on CD and download.

This world premiere musical is produced by Warner Bros. Theatre Ventures, Neal Street Productions and Langley Park Productions.




Box Office: 0844 858 8877

Theatre Royal, Drury Lane, London, WC2B 5JF

Booking until 4th June 2016

Oompa Loompas from musical Charlie and the Chocolate Factory celebrate Roald Dahl day PHOTOGRAPHY BY MATT CROCKETT 6.jpg Oompa Loompas from musical Charlie and the Chocolate Factory celebrate Roald Dahl day PHOTOGRAPHY BY MATT CROCKETT 5.jpg Oompa Loompas from musical Charlie and the Chocolate Factory celebrate Roald Dahl day PHOTOGRAPHY BY MATT CROCKETT 8.jpg Oompa Loompas from musical Charlie and the Chocolate Factory celebrate Roald Dahl day PHOTOGRAPHY BY MATT CROCKETT 7.jpgOompa Loompas from musical Charlie and the Chocolate Factory celebrate Roald Dahl day PHOTOGRAPHY BY MATT CROCKETT 9.jpg Oompa Loompas from musical Charlie and the Chocolate Factory celebrate Roald Dahl day PHOTOGRAPHY BY MATT CROCKETT 10.jpg