World Premiere of 13 Going on 30 The Musical to hold workshops in October





25 – 28 OCTOBER 2023

ROYO are delighted to announce that the world premiere of new musical 13 GOING ON 30 THE MUSICAL, written by the writers of the hit film of the same name, Josh Goldsmith and Cathy Yuspa, will be holding a two week workshop hosted at Battersea Arts Centre. During the workshop, there will be four script-in-hand public performances with a brilliant cast and live band on Wednesday 25 October, Thursday 26 October, Friday 27 October and Saturday 28 October at 7:30pm. The workshop will take place ahead of a run in Summer 2025. Casting is to be announced. 

13 GOING ON 30 THE MUSICAL is a stage reimaging of the beloved 2004 hit romantic comedy film that starred Jennifer Garner and Mark Ruffalo. It follows the story of Jenna Rink, an adorably awkward 13 year-old girl who wishes she could skip over the horrors of middle school. 

What does Jenna Rink want for her birthday? That’s easy. At thirteen years old, she wants one thing only – to be thirty, flirty and thriving. As she blows out her birthday candles, she magically wakes up seventeen years later: a thirty-year-old fashion magazine editor with a life that seems to be perfect. As she unravels the mystery of the person she has grown up to be, Jenna must work out what, and who, really matters. 

Josh Goldsmith and Cathy Yuspa, writers of the book and the original screenplay, said: “When we poured our middle school pain into the movie 13 Going on 30, we never quite imagined it would stick around to this day as a rom-com parents show their kids, a Halloween costume, a scene in an Ariana Grande music video, and a teen sleepover staple. Now we’re thrilled to be bringing our pain across the pond with 13 Going on 30 The Musical. It’s been endlessly fun working with ROYO, Todd Garner, Revolution Studios, composer/lyricists Alan Zachary & Michael Weiner, and director Andy Fickman to reinvent this story for the London stage. We can’t wait for a new generation to grab some Razzles and feel thirty, flirty, and thriving.”

13 GOING ON 30 THE MUSICAL will have music and lyrics by Michael Weiner and Alan Zachary (First Date (Broadway), High School Musical: The Musical: The Series (Disney+)) and direction by Andy Fickman (HeathersShe’s The Man). Casting for the adult company is by Will Burton for Grindrod & Burton Casting and casting for the children is by Keston and Keston. 

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25 – 28 October

Hosted at:

Battersea Arts Centre

Lavender Hill

London SW11 5TN

Box Office: 020 7223 2223

Tickets: £13.30

Unbelievable Review

Criterion Theatre, Piccadilly- until 7th April 2024

Reviewer Alec Legge


A magic show performed by actors instead of conjurors/magicians? This idea came from the mind of Andrew O’Connor, writer and director, later joined by Darren Brown and Andy Nyman, and resulted in the show,’Unbelievable‘.

Not being a great fan of the genre, nevertheless I went along with an open mind expecting to see a magic show as of old!

Wow was I wrong in spades. Right from the outset it was very different and spectacular.

It opened with the appearance of a quartet of musicians led on stage by Laura Andresen Guimaraes, playing a saxophone almost as big as herself They were marvellous and entertaining and their performance started to dispel the thought that this was just another magic show!

Then came the magic part of the show. Masses of audience participation, mind blowing magic tricks with the whole cast being involved, on stage cameras showing close ups on screens so the audience could see what was happening, what a performance!

I don’t want to spoil future audience’s enjoyment by recounting the details of the tricks, suffice to say that the use of actors instead of professional magicians certainly brought a freshness to the show which justified Andrew O’Connor’s original idea of using actors.

The cast, Laura Andresen Guimaraes, Izalni Batista Nascimento Junior, Alexander Bean, Samuel Creasey, Simon Lipkin, Yolanda Ovide and Hannah Price all played there parts excellently and all deserve praise for their performances. I’m not about to single out any one of them for special praise but Simon, Andrew and Yolanda were prominent in performing the tricks whilst Laura, Izalni, Alexander and Hannah were equally prominent as the musicians. Well done all of them!

From the simplest to the most complicated all the tricks were presented skilfully and with dexterity, and I for one was really baffled by the results. I have given 5 stars for this show and they were well deserved. I would encourage everyone to see the show be they lovers of magic shows or not.

The Criterion Theatre itself is a medium sized theatre of 585 seats and is a gem. It has been extensively refurbished and the décor is fabulous. The stage was in view with no obstructions and it provided a wonderful setting for this production. It is in Piccadilly Circus just opposite Eros and round the corner from Piccadilly Underground Station.





Raymond Gubbay Limited is pleased to announce that Varna International Ballet and Orchestra will return to UK after a hugely successful debut in 2023, with a repertoire consisting of THE NUTCRACKER, SWAN LAKE and SLEEPING BEAUTY.

The company will visit Cardiff, Manchester, Bristol, Buxton, Liverpool, Blackpool, Sheffield, Edinburgh, Nottingham, Darlington, Hull, Ipswich, High Wycombe, Wimbledon, Norwich, Reading, Southend, Basingstoke, Brighton, Northampton, Leicester and Oxford from December – February 2024. Tour dates are available in full here

The Nutcracker and Sleeping Beauty will be classical versions of the original, including sumptuous costumes and familiar choreography and settings.

Swan Lake will be a recreation of Tchaikovsky’s original production, that was created for the Bolshoi Ballet in 1877. Modern audiences are more familiar with the 1895 version that included musical and chorographical changes to the original by Marius Petipa and Riccardo Drigo, which was presented at the Mariinsky Theatre in 1895, two years after Tchaikovsky’s death. The producers of Varna International Ballet went back into the archives in order to return to the original score, orchestration and libretto, above all to preserve the original meanings that were at the bottom of the musical dramaturgy of the ballet.

Renowned for its award-winning soloists from the UK, France, Italy and Spain, and magnificent corps de ballet, the company has been delighting audiences for decades at home in Bulgaria and abroad with its performances of the highest quality.

Artistic Director Daniela Dimova and Music Director and Chief Conductor Peter Tuleshkov from Varna International Ballet and Orchestra said:

‘We are thrilled to be bringing our highly talented company of dancers and musicians back to the UK. We can’t wait to perform for British audiences again and to bring these magical ballets to life on stage.’

Varna State Opera was founded in 1947 by the renowned Bulgarian tenor Peter Raycheff. The main credit for the development of the ballet troupe goes to Galina and Stefan Yordanov who were Artistic Directors and choreographers for over 25 years (1960-1985). They formed the image of the Varna Ballet and brought it to the international stage and founded the first and now world-famous Varna International Ballet Competition in 1964. Since 2010 Varna State Opera and Varna Drama Theatre are united in one cultural institute called Theatre and Music Production Centre Varna.

The ballets to be performed this season are:

Swan Lake – The greatest romantic ballet of all time is brought to life by Tchaikovsky’s haunting and unforgettable score. From the impressive splendour of the Palace ballroom to the moon-lit lake where swans glide in perfect formation, this compelling tale of tragic romance has it all. From Odile, the temptress in black tulle as she seduces the Prince by spinning with captivating precision to the spellbound purity of the swan queen, Odette as she flutters with emotional intensity, the dual role of Odette/Odile is one of ballet’s most unmissable technical challenges.

Sleeping Beauty – Every child’s favourite fairy tale, this is the classic story of love and innocence, mystery and magic set to Tchaikovsky’s sublime score. Stunning choreography, sumptuous costumes and wonderful sets form the fantasy world in which the Lilac Fairy struggles against the evil Carabosse.

The Nutcracker – This most famous of fantasy ballets for all the family begins as night falls on Christmas Eve. As snowflakes fall outside, the warm glow of the open fire sends flickering shadows across the boughs of the Christmas tree and all the presents beneath. When midnight strikes we are swept away to a fairy-tale world where nothing is quite as it seems, toy dolls spring to life, the Mouse-king and his mouse-army battle with the Nutcracker Prince and we travel through the Land of Snow to an enchanted place where the magic really begins…

The 39 Steps Tour Announcement


A Fiery Angel in Association with Queen’s Theatre Hornchurch production

John Buchan’s The 39 Steps, adapted by Patrick Barlow

From an original concept by Simon Corble and Nobby Dimon


They said it was unstageable! Four actors transport the audience into a world of dastardly espionage, breathless romance and daredevil escapes. THE 39 STEPS triumphantly returns to embark on a tour across the UK, launching at winner of UK Theatre’s Most Welcoming Theatre award, Queen’s Theatre Hornchurch on the 14 March, 2024 and ending by the sea at Southend Palace Theatre on 27 July, 2024 after visiting Richmond, Cambridge, Newcastle, Birmingham, Cardiff and Glasgow to name but a few from the 20 week tour! 

THE 39 STEPS is back out on a UK tour after nearly 10 years in London’s West End, taking Broadway by storm, playing in 39 different countries across the globe, and delighting over 3 million people worldwide with its quintessentially plucky spirit and dashing sense of fun. Originally written as a novel in 1915 by John Buchan, and made into a ‘BFI Top 5 British Film of all time’ by Alfred Hitchcock THE 39 STEPS is adapted by critically acclaimed and award-winning writer, Patrick Barlow from an original concept by Simon Corble and Nobby Dimon into a Olivier and Tony award winning international hit.

Follow the incredible adventures of our dashing hero Richard Hannay, complete with stiff-upper-lip, British gung-ho and pencil moustache as he encounters dastardly murders, double-crossing secret agents, and, of course, devastatingly magnificent women.

This wonderfully inventive and gripping comedy thriller features four fearless actors, playing 139 roles in 100 minutes of fast-paced fun and thrilling action.

This production celebrates theatricality and includes legendary Hitchcockian scenes from the chase on the Flying Scotsman and the Escape on the Forth Bridge, to the first ever staged theatrical Bi-Plane Crash and the sensational death-defying Finale in the London Palladium. The inventive set design by Peter McKintosh, allows the action-packed story to flow seamlessly from one location to another, and will be brought vividly to life by the talented and versatile cast of four (casting to be announced).

Patrick Barlow brings his unique brand of comedy to THE 39 STEPS. A playwright, screen-writer and director, Patrick’s work is adored worldwide, including the internationally renowned The 39 Steps.

Fiery Angel is a production company headed by Edward Snape and Marilyn Eardley and they are thrilled to be working with the extraordinary team at Queen’s Theatre Hornchurch to launch this tour. THE 39 STEPS is directed by Maria Aitken with movement direction by Toby Sedgwick.   Set and costume design is by Peter McIntosh, with lighting design by Ian Scott and sound design by Mic Pool

Find out more at

@39StepsPlay on Facebook, Instagram and TikTok

Octopolis Review

Hampstead Downstairs, London – until 28th October 2023

Reviewed by Celia Armand Smith


Behavioural biologist Professor George Grey (Jemma Redgrave) lives in a university owned house with an octopus called Frances. Alongside her late husband, she wrote world renowned papers about Frances and her life in a tank in a living room. Enter Dr Harry Giscard (Ewan Miller), an anthropologist with bold new ideas about both Frances and George. They tumble and tussle with each other’s intelligence, taking in grief, love, sentience, and spirituality along the way.

Marek Horn’s pacy script is cerebral and funny. There are times when my internet addled brain can’t cope with the highly researched narrative, however those moments are fleeting and dormant parts of my brain fire up again. Under Ed Madden’s direction, the two characters take it in turns to narrate the piece, intertwining like two research papers being written on the same subject. It’s a bit like witnessing a TED talk in someone’s home whilst life goes on around them.

Running throughout there is a sparky and sweary humour and playfulness, and dancing to blasts of David Bowie tracks brings a welcome change in pace and tone. Octopolis is 100 minutes of at times incredibly complicated dialogue, but it is the charismatic performances by Miller and Redgrave that hold your attention throughout. Their relationship is believable and dynamic, and by the end quietly revelatory.

Anisha Fields’ simple yet effective design along with Jamie Platt’s vivid lighting is brilliant at creating the presence of Frances without ever seeing her. The tank runs the length of the stage, and changes in mood and emotion are revealed through a spectrum of colour changes from bright orange to red to a cooler blue. There are jets of foam and bubbling noises which serve as a signal for a new chapter and a new narrator.

Complex thoughts and ideas give way to the shifting emotions in a play that is profound and funny. It has huge themes, a small but clever space, and impressive performances. Enjoyable to the end, you come away having learnt something about octopuses and humans alike.




By Henry Lewis, Jonathan Sayer and Henry Shields

Based on Peter Pan by J.M. Barrie

Mischief, creators of the multi award-winning global sensation The Play That Goes WrongThe Comedy About A Bank Robbery and Royal Television Society award-winning BBC comedy series The Goes Wrong Show, announce the West End cast of Peter Pan Goes Wrong which sails into the West End for 7½ weeks only at the Lyric Theatre this Christmas(Thursday 23 November 2023 – Sunday 14 January 2024, with a Gala Performance on Tuesday 28 November) before continuing to tour the UK.

Returning to the West End following successful runs on Broadway and in Los Angeles are Matthew Cavendish (Max), Harry Kershaw (Chris), Chris Leask (Trevor), Ellie Morris (Lucy), Charlie Russell (Sandra), Greg Tannahill (Jonathan), and Nancy Zamit (Annie, 23 Nov – 17 Dec & 11 – 14 Jan). They are joined by the current UK touring cast Jamie Birkett (Annie, 19 Dec – 10 Jan), Clark Devlin (Dennis), Matthew Howell (Robert) and Jean-Luke Worrell (Francis). The company is completed by Romeo MikaClare NoyConsuela Rolle, and Phil Yarrow.

Co-penned by Mischief’s award-winning writing trio, Henry Lewis, Jonathan Sayer and Henry ShieldsPeter Pan Goes Wrong is a highly physical comedy packed with finely-tuned farce and Buster Keaton inspired slapstick, delivered with split-second timing and ambitious daring. The play sees the ‘Cornley Drama Society’ back on stage battling technical hitches, flying mishaps and cast disputes as they attempt to present J.M. Barrie’s much-loved tale. But will they ever make it to Neverland?

Nominated for an Olivier Award for ‘Best New Comedy’ in 2016, Peter Pan Goes Wrong has enjoyed two West End seasons, a tour of Australia and New Zealand and two major UK tours. Original members of the Mischief company have just completed hugely successful Broadway and Los Angeles seasons of the production, winning the Drama Desk Award for ‘Unique Theatrical Experience’ and the Audience Choice Award for ‘Favorite New Play’. Peter Pan Goes Wrong has just begun a 6 month UK tour, visiting venues around the country until April 2024. BBC One broadcast a one-hour version of the show on primetime television in December 2016, starring David Suchet as the guest narrator, watched by an audience of over six million worldwide.

Peter Pan Goes Wrong is directed by Adam Meggido,with associate director Fred Gray, set designs by Simon Scullion, costumes by Roberto Surace, lighting by Matt Haskins and sound by Ella Wahlström. Original music by Rob Falconer and Richard Baker. Peter Pan Goes Wrong is regrettably produced by Kenny Wax Ltd. and Stage Presence Ltd. by arrangement with Mischief Worldwide Ltd.

Shrek the Musical Review

New Wimbledon Theatre – until 30 September 2023

Reviewed by Amber Mills


Magical musical fantasy, where dreams come alive!

Shrek is a classic childhood film that was originally a fantasy comedy picture book published in 1990 by American book writer and cartoonist William Steig, about a mean lord who exiled fairytale creatures to the swamp of a terrifying, repugnant green ogre by the name of Shrek, who must go on a quest and rescue a princess for the lord in order to get his land back. Shrek ends up leaving his home to see the world and ends up marrying an ugly princess.

This big, bright, beautiful cast was remarkable. Each and every cast member was captivating and larger than life during the ensemble numbers, in particular, ‘Freak Flag’, I didn’t know where to look. Everyone really embraced their characters and took them to another level. They didn’t just play there bulk standard fairytale creatures, they went beyond and each added their own spice on top of the general characteristics which reinvigorated these fun-loving, lively characters.

In particular there were 4 dancing prisoners in ‘Donkey’s pot pie’ song who drew my eye. They brought the power, and pazzazz to this crazy routine. These dancers had chains around their wrists and ankles yet were still going full out with feeling and because of this it made it an even funnier moment to watch.

One of my favourite characters of the evening was Donkey, who was played by Brandon Lee Sears. Donkey is known for his talkative, but annoying demeanour, which Brandon portrayed fantastically!

His ecstatic energy and impeccable characterization had me in fits of laughter throughout the show.

Another talented member of the cast who stood out to me was Jonathan David Dudley for his superb multi-roling. He played the Captain of the Guard, Pied Piper and the Priest, all of which had totally different character qualities and to be able to switch between these roles throughout this show is a real talent when these are completely different types of characters. From his clear diction to his bold character choices Jonathan is a very versatile performer who I couldn’t take my eyes off of, even when not speaking in a scene.

I was also mind blown with Cherece Richards performance as the Dragon. It was a powerful but mellifluous performance that gave me shivers when watching. Cherece also plays the Wicked Witch but it was her performance in ‘Donkeys Pot Pie’ that really raised the roof for me.

To conclude the characters Fiona (Joanne Clifton) and Shrek (Antony Lawrence) in their duet of ‘I think I got you beat’ bounced off each other and gave a very fun, joyful performance. Joanne nailed Fiona’s split personality of a pretty, innocent princess, who also has tomboy mannerisms.

Anthony’s performance as Shrek throughout was solid and truthful.

The whole set of Shrek was very unique and true to the story, however a personal opinion of mine would be that in certain scenes the projector ruined some of the authenticity. In previous productions of Shrek there was a real bridge to the dragon’s castle which in my opinion made it more authentic but nevertheless the excellent timing that Shrek and Donkey had with the screen made up for it.

The lighting patterning and the costumes in this show really complemented the magical fairytale creatures. The way all of the costumes were vibrantly glitzed up just made the whole magical fantasy land even more life-like.

This was an extremely entertaining show that was casted very cleverly. It’s a show that brings back the magical childhood memories and is a must watch for all families!

The Drifters Girl Review

Lyceum, Sheffield – until 30 September 2023

Reviewed by Alison Beaumont


The Drifters Girl Production Photos 22nd September 2023 Norwich Theatre Royal EMG Ents ©The Other Richard

The Drifters Girl musical tells the story of the highs and lows of the woman who made the Drifters. Faye Treadwell explains the highs of the Drifters hit records to the lows of tragedy and legal battles to her daughter. Faye Treadwell was the manager of the Drifters who refused to give up on the group she held so much passion for.

The stage setting for this show is simple but effective with changing in lighting and screen projections.

The cast consists of only 6 members, Faye Treadwell (Carly Mercedes Dyer), George Treadwell & others (Miles Anthony Daley), Ben E King, Rudy Lewis & others (Ashford Campbell), Clyde Mcphatter, Lover Paterson & others (Tarik Frimpong), Johnny Moore, Gerhart Thrasher & others (Dalton Harris) and the Girl (Jaydah Bell-Rickets). Although the men all did a remarkable job juggling all these roles, I did feel that with them playing so many different characters it was quite confusing especially as the show is quite fast paced telling the story especially in Act 1. Sometimes the onstage quick costume changes was a little off putting.

Carly Mercedes Dyer (Fay) has an amazing voice and certainly did the role justice. All the men, Miles Anthony Daley, Ashford Campbell, Tarik Frimpont and Dalton Harris are all very talented and their vocals and dancing were brilliant, for me I think Ashford Campbell just had that little bit of something extra but all of them did the main character role of the Drifters exceptionally well.

The orchestra were a major part in this musical and were faultless.

The Drifters Girl showcases lots of musical numbers that everyone loves such as Come on Over to my Place, Save the Last Dance for me, Saturday Night at the Movies and Under the Boardwalk. The hardest part in this musical was trying not to sing along to the songs but in true theatre style at the end they got everyone up on their feet for a dance and sing along.

If you love Drifters songs, you will no doubt love going to see this musical. I could have stayed longer just listening to them singing.

The King and I Review

New Victoria Theatre, Woking – until Saturday 30th September 2023

Reviewed by Carly Burlinge


New Victoria Theatre brings you Rodgers and Hammersteins classic,The King and I and what a spectacular production it was! Opening with an orchestra that played such delightful music and powerful sounds as the curtain lifted from the stage and what an applause from the audience it received!

For me this was the first time I had ever seen this show and it didn’t disappoint!
The King and I tells the story of an English school teacher Anna Leonowens (Annalene Beechey) who accepts a job and becomes hired by King of Siam (Brian Rivera), to educate some of his many children as well as his wives in the English culture.

During this time a friendship is formed between Anna and King although it’s not without many clashes along the way. They both come across very stubborn, with the King trying desperately to control Anna and Anna continuing to challenge him and stand her ground. An atmosphere he’s not quite use too! But as time goes by they begin to understand and accept each others very different cultures. Through it all a kindness is formed between the pair and a true friendship is made.

Onstage they both show an amazing connection for all to see with Anna and the King offering spectacular  vocals sang with strength and much stamina throughout the performance.

Everything about this show was of high standard. The dancers showed  impressive skill throughout and the children were charming and adorable to watch. The costumes were very authentic colourful and a joy to take in.

Looking around the audience there was much emotion throughout with smiles and laughter as well as tears!

I must admit I enjoyed every second of this superb magical production that ended in a standing ovation in which it definitely deserved. I wish I could go back and watch it all over again! Definitely one not to be missed – just incredible. What an amazing enjoyable evening had by all

Calendar Girls the Musical Review

Everyman Theatre, Cheltenham – until 30th September 2023

Reviewed by Jacqui Radford


Calendar Girls the Musical, written by Gary Barlow and Tim Firth is a welcome throwback to the film that many will remember with a smile. Twenty years on from the film release, this musical version has the same effect.

Based on a true story, the production centres around a group of women who are all members of the Women’s Institute in a Yorkshire village. An eclectic group of women, all of them find friendship in their regular and traditional WI activities; inter-group craft competitions, cake baking and fundraising. Following the death of a member’s husband and fuelled by their mission to raise money for the local hospital, the group moves hilariously from eclectic to electric!

The key components of life, love, friendship and loss are really the main theme and not the nudity we all associate with ‘The Calendar Girls’. All elements are sensitively portrayed in this production, directed by Jonathan O’Boyle and reinforced with a mix of uplifting and thoughtful song.

The production set is simple in design and switches swiftly between being a village hall, hospital relatives’ room and the WI national conference stage. However, the simplicity of it means that the focus is always on the depth of the relationships that are the commentary of the production and the musical elements that add further dimension.

Annie (played by Tanya Franks) and Chris (played by Amy Robbins) have been friends for 40 years and pull together against the harsh reality of Annie’s husband having cancer. The portrayal of their deep friendship keeps the audience vested in its value and ultimately drawn into the turmoil that is felt when you lose someone close, let alone the love of your life.

The tragic loss of Annie’s husband is the cue for a step change in the group’s attitude to tradition and reputational risk. Every member of the group is transformed by the ‘not insane’ idea of revamping the WI calendar, replacing images of churches and teapots with more risqué images.

At this point, the whole cast and lighting also take on a livelier disposition. Every one of the main characters poses individually on stage for a photo shoot, with carefully placed WI props and cheeky lines. The audience reaction is one of awe and applause; a perfect segway to the end of the show that reminds us of the amazing things that can be achieved when ‘ordinary people do something extraordinary’.