• New productions announced for the main stage include Chitty Chitty Bang Bang& JulietOnly Fools and Horses – The Musical, Kinky Boots the Musical andJoseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat
  • Brand-new Hippodrome Produced festive family musical The Jingleclaw announced
  • New productions in the Patrick Studio include British Black Ballet – Island Movements Four Felons and a Funeral, Tonesand Windrush, The Journey: A concert and exhibition

Birmingham Hippodrome has today, (Thu 18 Apr) announced a line-up of new productions including brand-new festive family musicalThe Jingleclaw, the first new musical to be produced by the Hippodrome. A stellar line up of West End and Broadway smash-hit musicals including & Juliet,Chitty Chitty Bang and Only Fools and Horses – The Musical will also come to the theatre in 2025.

Starting the new 2025 season, dance fans can look forward to a major new revival of Matthew Bourne’s audacious, rule breaking reinvention of Tchaikovsky’s masterpiece Swan Lake (Thu 6 – Sat 15 Feb 2025).

In March 2025, a brand-new production of the much-loved family favourite Chitty Chitty Bang Bang (Tue 4 – Sun 9 Mar 2025) will fly into Birmingham bursting with unforgettable songs. Direct from a record-breaking four-year sold-out run in London’s West End, Del Boy, Rodney and the gang arrive in the city with Only Fools and Horses the Musical (Tue 1 Apr – Fri 11 Apr 2025) starring Paul Whitehouse as Grandad.

The Broadway and West End sensation, Kinky Boots the Musical (Tue 15 – Sat 19 Apr 2025), will be strutting back to the Hippodrome in a brand-new production starring Strictly star Johannes Radebe as Lola†. Later in April, audiences will be whisked away on a fabulous journey with & Juliet (Tue 22 Apr – Sat 3 May 2025), as Juliet finds out there is life after Romeo, through a playlist of pop anthems as iconic as her name, including Britney Spears’ Baby One More Time and Katy Perry’s Roar.

Welsh National Opera will return to the Hippodrome with the classic opera Marriage of Figaro (Thu 8 May 2025) where love and laughter converge in a whirlwind of clever schemes and Mozart’s melodic brilliance, alongside a brand-new production of Britten’s iconic Peter Grimes (Sat 10 May 2025).

Later in May the smash-hit London Palladium production of Tim Rice and Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat (Tue 20 May – Sun 1 Jun 2025) returns for a two-week run.

This Autumn, Birmingham Royal Ballet’s La Fille mal gardée (Wed 25 – Sat 28 Sep 2024) will mix spectacular classical ballet with slick comedy, a clog-dancing dame, a super-cute pony, as well as live music from the Royal Ballet Sinfonia. In October, the Company will present the final part of Carlos Acosta’s Birmingham trilogy Luna (Thu 3 – Sat 5 Oct 2024 ), a new work inspired by the pioneering women of Birmingham.

Newly announced works in the Patrick Studio include Always & Forever (Fri 31 May 2024), a show which pays tribute to Mohammed Rafi and Kishore Kumar with a musical journey through the timeless melodies that defined an era, and Tones (Thu 6 & Fri 7 Jun 2024) which combines gritty underground sounds of Hip-Hop, Grime and Drill with the melodrama of Opera creating a piece of gig theatre like no other.

British Black Ballet – Island Movements (Sat 22 Jun 2024) will present a moving ballet that tells the epic tale of a Windrush family and their life in the UK. Windrush, The Journey: A concert and exhibition (Thu 13 – Sat 15 Jun 2024) will pay tribute to Windrush, showcasing a rich tapestry of music and storytelling, and celebrating Black classical composers with an exciting fusion of classical music, jazz and blues alongside a free exhibition.

British Youth Music Theatre return to the Patrick Studio with bewitching new musical Unbound in August(Fri 16 – Sun 18 Aug) and later in the year brand-new musical Four Felons and a Funeral (Thu 26 – Sat 28 Sep 2024) will tell the story of four dysfunctional friends on a road trip to scatter their best mate’s ashes. Nathan Queeley-Dennis’ debut play Bullring Techo Makeout Jamz (Wed 2 Oct – Sat 5 Oct 2024) is a love letter to Birmingham and will explore Black masculinity through Beyoncé lyrics, techno raves and the deeply intimate relationship between a man and his barber.

Audiences will dazzled by the spirit of Bollywood meeting the soul of funk with Botown (Sat 21 Sep), a fusion of music, culture and pure entertainment; and Noreen Khan, Shazia Mirza, Kyrah Gray and Sukh Ojla will flex their female funny muscles with Ladies of Laughter (Fri 11 Oct).

This December, Birmingham Hippodrome’s New Musical Theatre department will present their first full production, The Jingleclaw (Fri 13 Dec 2024 – Sat 4 Jan 2025), a festive family musical created for 3–7 year olds. Written by Robyn Grant and Tim Gilvin, The Jingleclaw is set in a cosy village in the snowy mountains, telling the story of young musician Astrid and the mischievous forest creature The Jingleclaw. The production marks the first in a series of musicals for young children, produced by Birmingham Hippodrome under the My First Musical banner.

Jon Gilchrist, Artistic Director and CEO at Birmingham Hippodrome said:

“2024 marks 125 years of Birmingham Hippodrome providing the region with what we like to call ‘goosebumps’ moments. It’s incredibly exciting to be ending the year with our first new musical for families, which we hope will give our youngest audiences that first spark of joy from experiencing musical theatre.”

There will be a range of Audio Described, Captioned, BSL interpreted and relaxed performances throughout the season, to find out more head to the Hippodrome’s accessible performances web page.

Tickets for all new season showswill go on sale to Friends of Birmingham Hippodrome on Thursday 18 April at 11am and on general sale on Monday 22 April at 11am

Tickets for all shows can be booked at or by calling 0844 338 5000*

 *0844 calls will cost you 4.5p per minute plus your phone company’s access charge.

Please note that Johannes Radebe will not be performing at the Wednesday 16 and Thursday 17 April 2pm matinee performances.

hope is a 4 letter word Review

Alphabetti Theatre, Newcastle – until 4th May 2024

Reviewed by Sandra Little


This current offering from Alphabetti Theatre was written by Gobscure, directed by Ali Pritchard and performed by Zoe Lambert and Rebecca Glendinning-Laycock. In addition to the two main performers, 18 guest artists are also providing micro-commissions and contributing to the performances. Further details of the artists involved can be found on the Alphabetti website. During the performance watched for this review on 17th April, Toni Hurford, a survivor poet, read 3 of her own poems.

The blurb accompanying this performance describes it as, “two intertwining monologues delving into similar themes from opposing perspectives.” The two monologues explore themes of imprisonment; one from the perspective of an American protestor (Kathy Boudin) and the other from someone who lived at Cruddas Park in Newcastle. Kathy Boudin was a convicted terrorist who was involved in the bombing of government buildings to express opposition to U.S. foreign policy and racism.

In the first monologue narrated by Zoe Lambert, the notion of violence as a form of protest is given some justification. Zoe’s monologue also includes several references to nature with the repetition of the phrase, “larch, birch, pine,” used to illustrate this stance. Zoe used a snow globe, paper snowflakes and snowballs to illustrate her narrative!

The second monologue performed by Rebecca, delves into life in a psych-ICU-prison. During this monologue we learn that sleep deprivation is the most effective form of torture, teaspoons are a useful implement to aid escape being as they can be effectively hidden on one’s person, and nurses check carefully that anti psychotic drugs have been swallowed by a patient! We are also told several times that the patient concerned was observed laughing at Graham Norton. This addition to the script adds a lighter touch to quite dark subject matter!

As is the case for most Alphabetti productions, there was a very simple set constructed from black blocks, actors wore plan black clothing and there was little in the way of props other than a snow globe, paper snowflakes and paper snowballs.

I must confess that I found the script for this production quite confusing and struggled to understand some of the messages being conveyed. There were clearly ideas expressed about imprisonment, however I’m not sure if there were also references to the destruction of northern territories. Despite my confusion, I did learn something during my visit to Alphabetti. Toni explained that the meaning of the word, “Tyne” is obscure and it is thought that it could mean either, “River” or “Dirty” or “Flowing.” This observation did make me think as it is something I’ve never ever stopped to consider.

This latest offering from Alphabetti Theatre is a,”Pay what you feel,” production until 20th April.

Kym Marsh cast as Cruella de Vil in 101 Dalmatians musical on tour



Lead casting and creatives of a new musical version of Dodie Smith’s classic book 101 Dalmatians have been announced, ahead of a UK and Ireland tour launching at the New Wimbledon Theatre in June.

Kym Marsh plays the iconic villain Cruella de Vil in the musical written by Douglas Hodge (music and lyrics) and Johnny McKnight (book), from a stage adaptation by Zinnie Harris. The director is Bill Buckhurst, with sets designed by David Woodhead, costumes designed by Sarah Mercadé and choreography by Lucy Hind. Musical supervision is from Alfonso Casado Trigo, orchestration by Jack Hopkins, the puppets are designed by Jimmy Grimes, with lighting by James Whiteside and sound design from Chris Whybrow. The musical director is Leigh Thompson, and casting director is Lucy Casson.

Actor, presenter and singer Kym Marsh arrived on British TV screens back in 2000 appearing on the hit reality TV show Popstars, and winning a place in the subsequent band Hear’say. The band achieved two UK number one singles and a number one album – and Kym went on to pursue a successful career as a solo artist. She went on to star in London’s West End, playing the role of Annette in the critically acclaimed musical Saturday Night Fever. An accomplished actress, she appeared in BBC One’s Doctors and Channel 4’s Hollyoaks: In The City before joining the cast of ITV’s Coronation Street in the role of Michelle Connor in 2006. During 14 years on Britain’s famous cobbles, she won a string of prestigious awards for her work before leaving to pursue other roles. Since then she has appeared in hit BBC One drama The Syndicate and currently can be seen on BBC One’s continuing drama Waterloo Road, where she plays the role of Nicky Walters. Her love of theatre has not waned and in 2022 Kym returned to tread the boards in the role of bunny boiler Alex Forest in a nationwide tour of box office hit Fatal Attraction. Last year she joined the cast of Take That musical Greatest Days.

When fashionista Cruella de Vil plots to swipe all the Dalmatian puppies in town to create her fabulous new fur coat, there’s trouble ahead for Pongo and Perdi and their litter of adorable, tail-wagging young pups.

This classic canine caper is brought to life on stage with spectacular puppetry, show-stopping choreography, hilarious songs and irresistible puppies!

Kym Marsh said: “I’m over the moon to be joining the cast of 101 Dalmatians playing the iconic Cruella De Vil, has there ever been a more fabulous baddie?! Obviously she’s a million miles away from me in real life – and my dogs are very glad about that – but being able to bring to life my take on this renowned character is a real treat. Douglas and Johnny have written this brilliant new musical filled with songs I’m already finding myself humming under my breath. The 101 Dalmatians story spans generations and I’m sure young and old alike will absolutely love this production.”

After launching in Wimbledon* the production will visit Birmingham*, Norwich, Canterbury, Leicester, Manchester*, Belfast*, Wolverhampton, Newcastle*, Southend*, Dublin*, Liverpool*, Milton Keynes*, Woking*, Cardiff*, Southampton*, Aberdeen*, York*, Glasgow, Edinburgh, Oxford and Brighton. * dates Kym Marsh is scheduled to perform

Original production first performed at Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre, London in 2022

For more information visit

Facebook: /101Dalmatians | Instagram/TikTok: @101DalmatiansUK



The fabulous score from this Olivier, Tony and Oscar-winning masterpiece includes Food Glorious Food, Consider Yourself,You’ve Got to Pick-a-Pocket or Two, I’d Do Anything, Oom Pah Pah and As Long As He Needs Me

Following its premiere at Chichester Festival Theatre this summer, Performances begin on Saturday 14 December at Gielgud Theatre, London

Tickets on General Sale from Monday 29 April at

Thursday 18 April, LondonCameron Mackintosh today announces that his new co-production with Chichester Festival Theatre of Lionel Bart’s iconic musical, Oliver!, which he has fully reconceived with director and choreographer Matthew Bourne, will open in London at the end of the year.

Oliver! will begin performances at Gielgud Theatre on Saturday 14 December 2024. Priority booking begins on Friday 26 April – sign up at with tickets on general sale from Monday 29 April. The production runs at Chichester Festival Theatre from 8 July to 7 September. 

The cast includes Simon Lipkin (Guys and Dolls, Avenue Q) as Fagin, Shanay Holmes (Miss Saigon, The Bodyguard) as Nancy, Aaron Sidwell (Henry VI, Wicked) as Bill Sikes, Billy Jenkins (Les Misérables, BBC’s Dodger) as the Artful Dodger and Philip Franks (The Rocky Horror Show, Witness for the Prosecution) as Mr Brownlow.

Cameron Mackintosh commented:

“Oliver! has been part of my life as actor, stage-manager and producer since I first saw it as a schoolboy in 1960, shortly after it opened and began to take the world by storm on stage and screen. The original production design was revolutionary and changed the musical theatre and my career forever.

Matthew Bourne and I, alongside Sam Mendes, first reinvented Lionel Bart’s masterpiece in 1994 with a huge production at the London Palladium which we restaged in an even grander way in 2009 at the Theatre Royal Drury Lane. Now 15 years later, having staged the largest production of Oliver! ever, we want to return to the scale of the brilliant original with a more intimate production, thrillingly designed by Lez Brotherston, which in a sweepingly imaginative way conjures up Dickensian London.

Lionel’s irresistible adaptation of Dickens classic story, with its legendary score packed with ‘tunes glorious tunes’ will, we hope, have audiences ‘considering themselves our mate’ when we open at London’s Gielgud Theatre this December with a terrific cast, following a summer season at the Chichester Festival Theatre.”

Matthew Bourne commented:

In 1994, I first worked, as a choreographer, with Cameron Mackintosh on Lionel Bart’s legendary musical Oliver! – the spectacular Palladium revival, directed by Sam Mendes – it launched a collaboration and friendship that has become one of the most important of my career. Nearly 30 years on I’m delighted that Cameron has invited me to direct my first musical and my lifelong relationship with Oliver! continues!

Along with my regular collaborators Lez Brotherston and Paule Constable, we are taking it back to its roots, inspired by the groundbreaking “poor theatre” designs of Sean Kenny – who revolutionised the modern musical along with Lionel and his Joan Littlewood Theatre Workshop influences. As an East-End Londoner myself l’ve always felt a great affinity with this show – sang all the songs in amateur shows as a kid with my brother and was a regular at Theatre Royal Stratford East as a teenager, even seeing Joan and Lionel in the bar there on several occasions.

I was lucky enough to work closely with Lionel on the 1994 revival which was an absolute thrill (though in a recently unearthed TV interview when asked about the production he tells the interviewer “Some days I wanted to fire the lot of em”!!). But I loved him a lot (and I think he liked me!) and hope to do him and Oliver! proud in 2024.”

Freely adapted from Charles Dickens’ novel, Oliver! tells the story of the orphaned Oliver Twist, who escapes the harsh Victorian workhouse and takes refuge in London’s murky underworld with the wily gang leader Fagin and his team of resourceful pickpockets led by the Artful Dodger. He finds a friend in the kind-hearted Nancy and when he’ s wrongly arrested for stealing, Oliver meets an unexpected saviour; but is happiness truly within his grasp?

With a sensational score, including Food Glorious Food, Consider Yourself, You’ve Got to Pick-a-Pocket or Two, I’d Do Anything, Oom Pah Pah, As Long As He Needs Me and many more, the Olivier, Tony and Oscar-winning masterpiece vividly brings to life Dickens’ ever-popular story of the boy who asked for more.

Matthew Bourne is internationally renowned for reinventing classics including Swan Lake and Edward Scissorhands for his company New Adventures, as well as his Olivier Award-winning choreography for My Fair Lady and Mary Poppins (which he co-directed and also earned him a Tony Award nomination for Best Choreography) and his recent acclaimed direction and musical staging of Stephen Sondheim’s Old Friends. The stellar creative team includes designer Lez Brotherston (Fiddler on the Roof, Me and My Girl, Flowers for Mrs Harris).

Produced and revised by Cameron Mackintosh, Oliver! is directed and choreographed by Matthew Bourne andco-directed by Jean-Pierre van der Spuy. Designed by Lez Brotherston, lighting design is by Paule Constable and Ben Jacobs, sound design by Adam Fisher, video design by George Reeve, original orchestrations by William David Brohn adapted by Stephen Metcalfe; music supervision is by Graham Hurman

Oliver! will run at Chichester Festival Theatre this summer, with performances from Monday 8 July – Saturday 7 September.

Oliver! is a Cameron Mackintosh and Chichester Festival Theatre production.

OLIVER! | London Listings Info

Gielgud Theatre

Shaftesbury Avenue, London W1D 6AR


Book, Music and Lyrics by Lionel Bart
Freely adapted from Charles Dickens’ Oliver Twist
Revised by Cameron Mackintosh
Directed and Choreographed by Matthew Bourne

Co-director    Jean-Pierre van der Spuy

Designer    Lez Brotherston

Musical supervisor and conductor Graham Hurman

Lighting designers   Paule Constable and Ben Jacobs

Sound designer    Adam Fisher

Video designer    George Reeve

Original orchestrations   William David Brohn

Orchestral adaptation   Stephen Metcalfe

Choreographic associates  Etta Murfitt and Sam Archer

Casting directors   Felicity French CDG and Paul Wooller CDG

Children’s casting director  Verity Naughton CDG 


Fagin     Simon Lipkin

Nancy     Shanay Holmes

Bill Sikes     Aaron Sidwell

The Artful Dodger    Billy Jenkins

Mr Brownlow    Philip Franks

Further cast to be announced.


Performances from Saturday 14 December 2024

Currently booking until Sunday 6 April 2025

Priority booking begins on Friday 26 April 2024 – sign-up at

Social Media

All platforms: @Oliveronstage

Chichester Festival Theatre

Oliver! will run at Chichester Festival Theatre from Monday 8 July – Saturday 7 September 2024

The School For Scandal Review

Festival Theatre, Malvern – until 20 April 2024

Reviewed by Courie Amado Juneau


The School For Scandal is a comedy written by R.B. Sheridan in 1777. The story is a convoluted one but, essentially, concerns the effect that gossip, reputations and scandal have on individuals and the society that wallows in receptively pricked ears for loose tongues; after all, if one has to endure the public judgement of a supposed infidelity one might as well enjoy the fruits it…

The first thing that struck one was the set, which was rather grand thanks to a sumptuous economy from Designer Sarah Beaton. The opening moments set the tone with a wonderful, rapid walk on from all the characters alongside a jaunty score (from composer Ed Lewis) and a nice visual joke – so all kudos to Director Seán Aydon for setting the pace early.

The costumes were gorgeous with everyone looking very elegant. For me the whole thing would have worked better had it been performed in the bewigged fashions of the time but I know that’s not to everyone’s taste and the current vogue for these types of productions is for presenting them in a fairly modern setting – and in that respect, this production was a triumph.

Joseph Marcell as Sir Peter Teazle was a commanding presence as the older gentleman with a younger wife. His predicament was believable and one sympathised with him too. He also had a genuine rapport with all those around him, especially his wife played to perfection by Lydea Perkins. She (like all the actors except Mr Marcell) had a dual role – and she was equally effective as the elderly gossip monger Mrs Candour.

Alex Phelps as Joseph showed a magnificent comic sensibility and he was remarkably charming in his smarminess. His dual role of the drunk Bumper was enormous fun – especially through some marvellous slapstick. Garmon Rhys (as younger brother Charles) had the vocal projection of a rock concert and probably the most range of characterization of any actor on stage – quite manic (mostly as Backbite) but also quiet when the scene demanded. Every scene either actor played in was graced with their presence. There was a fine interplay too between them and their uncle, Sir Oliver, brought to life by Tony Timberlake.

The small but perfectly formed cast (courtesy of Tilted Wig) were exceptional, all playing their part and I only fail to mention them all individually due to word count restrictions and also that there were so many characters in the play! This cast is rammed to the rafters with a veritable galaxy of stellar talent!

A wordy piece, much like Shakespeare although the wit is genuinely humorous and the language not so antiquated. It’s remarkable that the actors remember that amount of text – without a dropped line, a pause or a stumble. The play whizzed along at a fair old lick and everyone’s timing was impeccable. And with knowing nods to the multiple roles that people played and breaking the fourth wall, dancing, slapstick and farce – this play really did have something for everyone.

Egad and upon my word – the gossip is right – ‘tis a corker. And if tonight is anything to go by, its reputation is assuredly assured.

Life of Pi Review

Nottingham Theatre Royal – until Saturday 20th April 2024

Reviewed by Amy V Gathercole


Credit: Johan Persson/

“If you love theatre’s creativity and enjoy seeing a very different type of show, then treat yourself to some magic ASAP!”

Arriving in Nottingham on its UK tour just in time for the city’s annual Puppet Festival, “The Life of Pi” tells the fascinating story of Piscine ‘Pi’ Patel, a teenager who explores multiple faiths, has an enviable imagination, and has a bunch of exotic animals as companions.

The Life of Pi” was originally told by Yann Martel in a novel and has also been made into an award-winning film directed by Ang Lee. Now, the theatrical version is being shared and told again in yet another new way, with some of the most impressive puppeteering you’ve ever seen, as it’s been adapted by Lolita Chakrabarti.

Usually, this story of many stories is told with a male protagonist, but this production saw talented newcomer Adwitha Arumugam in the lead role as Pi, who soon has you rooting for her as she explores a huge range of emotions. To say that this is her professional debut after graduating from theatre school is quite a shock. When we first meet her, she’s in a hospital bed in Mexico, 1978, and it’s stark, drab and a room full of tragedy and she bounces between Pi’s different personalities with ease.

She’s on stage for practically every scene of the show, and with her emotional range and skilled gymnastic-like physical movements, you struggle to take your eyes off of her, even when there’s a huge puppet hyena, rat, zebra and tiger to distract you.

Pi, along with her family, is about to make a life-changing move to start a life in a new country, but there’s also a literal zoo travelling with them, as in Pondicherry, that’s what they do; her family run a zoo.

On the journey, a catastrophic storm hits them, and Pi finds herself stuck in the Pacific Ocean with only a few of the animals from the zoo for company. As the play unfolds and reveals its layers of magic, we learn about the events that occurred on the boat and learn all about everyone’s personalities and motivations.

Winner of five Olivier Awards, including Best New Play, this production is a testament to the power of storytelling and the magic of theatre. The seven performers who puppeteered the beautiful Bengal Tiger, Richard Parker, were collectively awarded Best Actor in a Supporting Role.

The Life of Pi is unlike anything you’re likely to have seen grace the stage before, with its magical world-building with puppets, very clever special effects and an ever-converting and changing set that is entirely impressive whilst remaining simplistic. In one scene, it is a busy market scene; the next, it is transformed into the docks where a ship is being loaded, and then, of course, we’re at sea. Huge admiration and praise goes to the production team led by Tim Hatley it’s such a beautiful set that works so well and transforms impressively for each new location. The puppetry comes from the genius minds of Nick Barnes and Finn Cadwell, who combined their talent and vision to create the look, feel, and every single movement that any of the animals make. The heart and hope of the tale are found within Pi’s surprising companionship with a Royal Bengal tiger, which serves as a profound metaphor for faith, survival, and, ultimately, the human spirit as Pi works out how to survive this traumatic experience with a tiger that wants to make her lunch.

One of the reasons this novel has millions of fans worldwide and has been recreated in so many different mediums is that the story raises many philosophical questions as the beautiful scenes at sea unfold, contrasting with the more tense and grounded scenes of ‘interrogation’ as officials are sent to question Pi about what truly happened while she was stranded and in isolation.

There are many answers to be found, some to be ignored, and ultimately, more questions to be addressed with compassion and healing. If you love theatre’s creativity and enjoy seeing a very different type of show, then treat yourself to some magic ASAP!

Cast announced for A Second Chance – A New Musical

Cast announced for
A Second Chance – A New Musical
Final Workshop & Industry Presentation

Riley Carter, Alicia Corrales, Daniel Crossley
Celia Graham, James Hastings, Victoria Wilson-James

You Do It Entertainment LTD with Carter Dixon McGill Productions presents a workshop and industry presentation of Colin Ross Waterson (music and lyrics) and Ben Hartley (book) original new British
musical, A SECOND CHANCE, at the Union Theatre in London on Friday, May 17 at 3:30pm & 7:30pm.

A SECOND CHANCE is a 90-minute, one-act new British musical about an aspiring singer who faces extraordinary circumstances on the road to fame. Set in the streets of Glasgow in the late 1990s and in London 20 years later, this is a story about family, struggle, sacrifice, fame, gender identity, self-acceptance, and love in all its crazy, wonderous forms.

This final workshop and industry presentation is made possible due to a massively successful Crowdfunder campaign surpassing their goal of £16K with over 130 supporters, including Alan Cumming, Matthew Bourne, Stephen Mear, and Kevin Mathurin.

The workshop cast includes Riley Carter (EastEnders BBC, Screw Channel 4), Alicia Corrales (SIX  the musical, Public), James Hastings (Cabaret, Sondheim’s Old Friends), Celia Graham (Phantom of the Opera, Love Never Dies), Daniel Crossley (Singing in the Rain, Hello Dolly), and Victoria Wilson-James (Oh What a Night!, The Wiz.)

Director Bruce Guthrie
Musical Director Audra Cramer (SIX – the musical)
Assistant Director Ben Standish
Stage Manager Katie Ball (Mamma Mia)

Carter Dixon McGill Productions serve as General Managers and Executive Producers.

Colin Ross Waterson is the co-creator, composer, and lyricist of A SECOND CHANCE. He scored award-winning short films Blood Out of a Stone and Early Mourning. Recent projects include The Horror Show (Somerset House); Sensoring Sound (UEL / Arts Council); and The Game of Life (The Sinistry.)

Ben Hartley is the co-creator, book writer, & choreographer of A SECOND CHANCE. He wrote, directed, & choreographed the multi-award-winning short films Free & Early Mourning, distributed by ShortsTV & Amazon Prime. Recent projects include Carousel (Royal Academy of Music, London) and Let the Right One In (The Neighborhood Playhouse, NYC.) His work was recently presented on the stages of Berkeley Rep, California, and the Vineyard Theatre NYC.

Bruce Guthrie is an award-winning theatre director based in London. He is also the Head of Theatre & Film for the National Centre for the Performing Arts, Mumbai. Described as ‘One to watch’ by The Independent, his work has played in the West End, New York, and internationally. Recent credits include Constellations (NCPA, Mumbai); Every Good Boy Deserves Favour (NCPA Mumbai): Sea Wall (Add Art Festival, NCPA Mumbai); Man to Man (Wilton’s Music Hall, UK tour & Brooklyn Academy of Music); and Rent (St James Theatre, London & UK tour.)

Carter Dixon McGill Productions is an Olivier-nominated production and general management company with offices in London and Glasgow. Co-founded by John-Webb Carter, Jamie Chapman Dixon & Stephen McGill, they have over 30 years of experience within the entertainment industry. Recent productions include: Your Lie In April The Musical (Theatre Royal Drury Lane) Death Note the Musical (London Palladium & Lyric Theatre); Death Note Original Cast Album, Blippi: the Wonderful World Tour and Treason the Musical (UK Tour). Upcoming: Pippin 50th Anniversary Concert (London Palladium).

For more information about A SECOND CHANCE visit

Come From Away Review

Mayflower Theatre, Southampton – until 20th April 2024

Reviewed by Lucy Hitchcock


Directly from the West End, this superb production has come to Southampton.

Based on the truly harrowing events of 9/11, we find ourselves in Gander-a remote island just off of North America. It was here, that 38 planes were forced to land when the US airspace closed and here, our story is set. Depicting the miraculous bravery, community spirit, love and outpouring emotion, ‘Come From Away’ will truly restore your faith in humanity.

The cast, were stellar. With each cast member playing multiple roles, you would think it hard to be able to decipher who you were seeing on stage – but this is far from difficult. From fabulous accents and immensely quick costume changes, the production ran so seamlessly, that it was hard not to be totally immersed. The cast absolutely sold every moment – with excellent vocals throughout. This show leaves hardly any room for you to clap and show your appreciation for the songs and there was one moment when, after ‘Screech in’, that the audience were clapping for minutes – which was beautiful to see. Arguably, the most ‘singable’ song of the show came from Sara Poyzer, with ‘Me and The Sky’. This was fabulously sung and ever so aptly accompanied by sniffles and muffled cries from the audience. From the very first song, I was crying throughout – purely down to the subject matter and the impeccable performances.

In keeping with the community spirit displayed during Come From Away, the Mayflower are collecting donations for the food banks which are situated in the foyer – these were overflowing by the end of the show, so please donate if you are able to do so. I couldn’t have asked for a better evening watching ‘Come From Away’ and would urge you all to take the plunge, kiss the fish and be welcomed to the Rock!!!!




[Weds 17 April 2024] On the day that Basil and Sybil Fawlty celebrate their diamond wedding anniversary, Artistic Director Alison Pollard-Mansergh, Producer Jared Harford, and the whole team at Interactive Theatre International are proud to announce the release of thousands of extra tickets in London, plus an extended performance schedule for Faulty Towers The Dining Experience at The President Hotel in Bloomsbury. From 1 May, audiences can now book for Wednesday lunches, as well as Thursday to Sunday evening shows, and Saturday and Sunday lunches, for the critically acclaimed international immersive dining phenomenon that recently celebrated its fifteen year in the UK and more than twenty five years worldwide.

When the audience become diners in the ‘Faulty Towers’ restaurant, pretty much anything can happen – because 70% of the show is improvised. The fun starts as guests wait to be seated. It then hurtles along in a 2-hour tour de force of gags and shambolic service as Basil, Sybil and Manuel serve you up a feast.

Expect the unexpected!

Producer Jared Harford said, “We can’t believe Basil and Sybil are celebrating 60 years of wedded bliss – who would have imagined that? We’re thrilled to be extending our performances at The President this summer, and can’t wait to welcome more people to embrace the chaos!”

Faulty Towers The Dining Experience is a highly interactive experience, where audiences enjoy a 3-course meal and 5-star comedy. Devised by Alison Pollard-Mansergh, Andrew Foreman and others, the show has been touring the UK and internationally since 2008, having appeared in 43 countries to date, and employing 56 actors per season. The show has toured to over 1000 venues, with approximately 400 shows per year on average across the UK. A loving tribute to the BBC’s classic TV series, the show has been seen by over a million people worldwide since the very first show at the Ridges Hotel in Brisbane on 24 April 1997.

Faulty Towers the Dining Experience is now the longest running immersive production in the UK, the longest running Fawlty Towers production, and the longest running show based on a TV series, in London. It is also the longest-running Fawlty Towers production of ANY KIND running worldwide.

Faulty Towers The Dining Experience is a loving tribute to Fawlty Towers. Faulty Towers The Dining Experience uses scripts and a dining experience format devised by Imagination Workshop Pty Limited and is not endorsed in any way by John Cleese or Connie Booth.

For more information on the show visit

2:22 A Ghost Story Review

Hall for Cornwall, Truro – until 20 April 2024

Reviewed by Kerry Gilbert


Credit: Johan Persson/

Intense, Clever and Immersive – A gripping Ghost Story set to thrill!

2:22 A Ghost Story is a thriller play by Danny Robins. It premiered in the West End in 2021 and received a Laurence Olivier Award nomination for Best New Play the following year. This play has it all: thrills, staging, tension, deep conversation, great laughs and a brilliant twist!

The characters were vividly portrayed in the story with both serious and humorous part throughout. They share their humanity and their stories of hauntings of society and secrets. The pace of the play was excellent, and the plot was well designed to keep most of us on the edge of our seat!

Fiona Wade leads the cast with aplomb as Jenny, while George Rainsford finds just the right blend of arrogance and charm in the role of her husband Sam. They have recently bought a large house in Greater London that they are renovating. For several nights, at exactly 2:22 am, Jenny hears the sound of someone moving around the house and a man’s voice crying, via the baby monitor in her daughter’s bedroom, and becomes convinced the house is haunted. The couple host a dinner party for Lauren (Vera Chok), an old university friend of Sam’s, and Ben (Jay McGuiness), her new boyfriend who has a belief in the Supernatural. After discussing the strange noises, Jenny persuades the others to stay up until 2:22 am to see what happens.

As the alcohol flows, the debate rages on between the believers and non-believers. It throws up some interesting questions that will make you think twice about your own views on the paranormal. But it also explores the nature of relationships and the class divide, all of which is drawn out in tantalisingly enjoyable scenes.

We know from the start that something unworldly is going to happen at precisely 2:22am and the clock becomes vital to building up suspense late in the play. There are sudden bursts of loud screeching and flashing lights which occur at intervals, which makes the audience jump with fright.

Both hilarious and thought provoking in parts, it is not your typical “jump out of your seat” ghost story, but a play that builds with tension …. leaving you wondering what is going to happen as the clock ticks on. It’s a play, that once the curtain falls, makes you rethink everything you’ve just watched!

The ending was amazing, and I left the Theatre with goosebumps! I’d highly recommend this play, it’s a must watch ….