Artistic Director Michael Longhurst and Executive Director Henny Finch today announce the cast for the Donmar LOCAL schools’ tour of William Shakespeare’s Henry V, directed by the Donmar’s former Resident Assistant Director Dadiow Lin. Inspired by the critically acclaimed 2022 Donmar Warehouse production directed by Max Webster, the production tours for four weeks in June and July, with performances offered free of charge reaching up to 3000 young people in Camden and Westminster thanks to support from Headline Partner Howdens and Westminster City Council.

Dadiow Lin directs James Esler, Shaka Kalokoh, Gabin Kongolo, Natalie Kimmerling, Jess Nesling and Felipe Pacheco. The production’s Designer Roisin Jenner and Movement Director Liam Francis have both been part of CATALYST, the Donmar’s talent development programme, working on the original Donmar production of Henry V as Creative Assistants. The CATALYST programme facilitates paid training opportunities for creatives and arts administrators. Each year, paid Creative Assistant placements in set and costume design, sound design and lighting design are offered and they are mentored by industry leading creatives and supported with access to mentoring opportunities following their placement.

Dadiow Lin says “Having worked as the Resident Assistant Director at the Donmar for the last year, I am excited that I get to come back and create this Donmar LOCAL Production. I assisted Max Webster on his production of HENRY V last year and with the knowledge and inspiration I drew from the production, the team and I want to create a Shakespeare show that is accessible and evokes young people’s imagination as well as making them intrigued by the theatricality we present to them. It is also wonderful to be working with creatives who were assistants on the original production through CATALYST, the Donmar’s talent development programme.”


By William Shakespeare

Directed by Dadiow Lin

21 June – 14 July 2023

Designer: Roisin Jenner

Movement Director: Liam Francis 

Fight Director: Philip d’Orléans 

Sound Designer and Composer: Dom Coyote 

Casting Director: Charlotte Sumner Hughes

Voice Coach Deborah Garvey

Assistant Director: Alessandra Davison 

Education Pack: Jordana Golbourn Studio Certain

“No King of England if not King of France!”

Shakespeare’s ever popular play is a thrilling study of nationalism, war and the psychology of power.

This production, inspired by Donmar Associate Director Max Webster’sversion starring Kit Harington, explores what it means to be English and our relationship to Europe, asking: do we ever get the leaders we deserve?

James Esler plays Henry. His theatre credits include A Matter of Life and Death (The Old Red Lion Theatre), and /Con/Trast (Gambit Theatre). His television credits include Count Abdulla, Dalgliesh and Litvinenko; and for film, Testament of Youth.

Shaka Kalokoh plays Chorus/Boy/French King. His theatre credits include The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe (Gillian Lynne Theatre and UK tour), Marvin’s Binoculars (Unicorn Theatre) and Forest Fables at Mottistone Manor (Greengage Ventures).

Gabin Kongolo plays Nym/Mountjoy. His theatre credits include Truth or Dare (Theatr Clwyd), Children of Glyndwr (UK tour), Eight/Gates (Sherman Theatre), and The Merchant of Venice, Three Sisters, The Night of the Iguana and The Flick (Farnham Maltings). His television credits include The Suspect, Galwad and Bulletproof.

Natalie Kimmerling plays Katherine/Gower. Her theatre credits include The Tempest (RSC), War Horse (National Theatre/UK and international tour) and Nine Foot Nine (Sleepless Theatre). Her television credits include The Bastard Son and The Devil Himself.

Jess Nesling plays Nell/Exeter/Llewellyn. Her theatre credits include Gangsta Granny (Birmingham Stage Company/UK & Ireland Tour); Pangolin (Ships in the Night Theatre); The Winter’s Tale; Nell Gwynn; Blithe Spirit; Measure for Measure (Changeling Theatre/UK Tour); Up the Bunty (Fantastic Garland/Lion & Unicorn Theatre); A Hundred Way the Fire Starts (Brave New World/Arcola Theatre); The Quarry Clock (Ed Stephenson Productions/Liverpool Everyman); Richard III (Antic Disposition/UK & France Tour); Lovely Ugly City; The Treatment (Almeida); Cut Throat (Trip & Guts Theatre/Camden Fringe Festival); Gretel and Hansel (Ships in the Night Theatre/TIE Tour); Standing Ovariation (The Cavendish Arms,Stockwell); The Unnamed Soldiers (Blackbox Theatre/Nuffield Theatre); and Close/Driver’s Seat (Heart to Heart Theatre/Camden People’s Theatre). Television includes: Citadel and Suspicion. Film includes: The Hitman’s Wife’s Bodyguard; Paul Dood’s Deadly Lunchbreak; Plot a Lot; Long Distance Call; Risk; Faking It and Accountable.

Felipe Pacheco plays Pistol/Dauphin. His theatre credits include Othello, The Way I See It (UK tour), Peter Pan (Alban Arena), Henry V (Roman Theatre of Verulamium), Our Shore (Liverpool Everyman Theatre), and A Midsummer Night’s Dream and Zorro (International tour). His television credits include Patterns, Brassic and The Responder.

Dadiow Lin is a freelance theatre director. She directs contemporary plays, adaptations of classics, new writings, and devised performances. Before moving to the UK in 2011, she worked as an assistant director on productions at the National Theatre of Taiwan. She received the Genesis Future Directors Award in 2019, directing Lauren Yee’s In a Word at the Young Vic. In 2020, she became a trustee at Storyhouse, Chester after directing Amy Ng’s adaptation of Miss Julie (UK tour/online).



41 Earlham Street, Seven Dials, London WC2H 9LX

Box Office: www.donmarwarehouse.com / 020 3282 3808 


YOUNG+FREE tickets for 16-25 year olds released by ballot. Sign up at www.donmarwarehouse.com.

Generously supported by IHS Markit.


New tickets on sale every day at the Donmar. Allocations of tickets will be made available every day for performances 7 days later. Tickets will be available across the auditorium at every price band.


The Donmar Warehouse is fully wheelchair accessible. Guide dogs and hearing dogs are welcome in the auditorium. There is a Loop system and a Radio Frequency system fitted in the main auditorium and there are also hearing loops at all the front of house counters.

Wheelchair space prices vary across all price bands, check the website for details


If you require a companion to attend the Donmar, their ticket will be free. To book call 020 3282 3808 or email [email protected]

For all other access enquiries or bookings call 020 3282 3808.

CAPTIONED PERFORMANCES (captioned by Stagetext)

When Winston went to War with the Wireless: Monday 17 July 7.30pm

Next to Normal: Monday 25th September 7.30pm

Clyde’s: Monday 20 November 2024 7.30pm

Macbeth:  Monday 29 January 2024, 7.30pm

AUDIO DESCRIBED PERFORMANCE – 2.30pm (audio-described by VocalEyes)

When Winston went to War with the Wireless: Saturday 8 July

Next to Normal: Saturday 30th September

Clyde’s: Saturday 25 November

Macbeth: Saturday 27 January 2024, 2.30pm


When Winston Went to War with the Wireless: Saturday 22 July 2.30pm

Next to Normal: Saturday 23rd September 2.30pm



2 June – 29 July 2023

Captioned: Monday 17 July 7.30pm

Audio-Described: Saturday 8 July 2.30pm

British Sign Language Interpreted: Saturday 22 July 2.30pm


12 August – 7 October 2023

Captioned: Monday 25 September, 7.30pm

Audio-Described: Saturday 30 September, 2.30pm

British Sign Language Interpreted: Saturday 23 September, 2.30pm


13 October – 2 December 2023

Captioned performance: Monday 20 November 2024, 7.30pm
Audio described performance: Saturday 25 November, 2.30pm


8 December – 10 February 2024

Captioned performance: Monday 29 January 2024, 7.30pm
Audio described performance: Saturday 27 January 2024, 2.30pm






The award-winning, critically acclaimed 5-star production of Martin Sherman’s ROSE will extend at the Ambassadors Theatre, due to phenomenal demand. Two extra matinees are now on sale, with tickets available for Saturday 10 and Saturday 17 June at 2.30pm. Maureen Lipman stars as ‘Rose’, a performance described as ‘phenomenal…extraordinary’ (Time Out, 4*), “funny, hear-tbreaking and fierce all at once…a masterclass in acting(Whatsonstage.com, 5*), “mesmerising” (Jewish News) and “acidic, funny and touching” (Daily Telegraph, 4*).

Photograph by Elliott Franks

Rose, a woman whose tumultuous journey through anarchic times takes her from the devastation of Nazi- occupied Europe to the allure of the American dream. Through the life of one woman, Rose tells the story of a century where everything changed except the violence of the strong against the weak.

The original production of Rose was produced at the National Theatre and on Broadway in 1999. Following sell-out runs at Hope Mill Theatre in Manchester, and Park Theatre in London in 2022, it transferred to the West End on 23 May 2023. It is perhaps even more relevant today, with the plight of refugees and allegations of antisemitism continuing to dominate the news. This powerful production – described as ‘a masterpiece’ (The Spectator) and ‘all too timely’ (Daily Telegraph) – is a moving reminder of the harrowing events that shaped the last century. 

Olivier Award winning Maureen Lipman has performed with The National Theatre and the Royal Shakespeare Company, and has starred in innumerable West End productions including, Messiah, Wonderful Town, ReJoice, Glorious, Oklahoma, & Daytona. For the last five years she has been delighting television audiences as ‘Evelyn Plummer’ on Coronation Street.

Photograph by Elliott Franks

Maureen Lipman said, “This play has resounded with the spirit of so many theatre-goers.  It will probably finish me, but we had to find a way to allow more of them to see it! So, an extra two matinees! I hope you’ve prepared the eulogy!”

Written by award-winning Martin Sherman whose other plays include BentMessiahA Madhouse In GoaWhen She DancedGently Down The Stream, as well as the Broadway musical The Boy From Oz and the films Alive and Kicking and Mrs Henderson Presents.  

Rose is directed by Scott Le Crass, designed by David Shields with lighting design by Jane Lalljee, and with musical composition and sound design by Julian Star.



Anton du Beke, one of the country’s best-loved and most accomplished entertainers, has announced a special, limited run at the Underbelly’s McEwan Hall at the Edinburgh Fringe from 23rd – 28th August.

The one-hour show, An Afternoon with Anton du Beke, will see Anton joined by singer, Lance Ellington, as well as a live band and a company of dancers to create an afternoon filled with song, dance and a lot of laughter. 

Anton will share some hilarious behind-the-scenes stories from across his career, including some memorable moments from the last twenty series of Strictly Come Dancing which saw him become a household name.

With his inimitable quick wit, he’ll respond to questions from the audience, as well as performing some of his favourite songs and enthrall audiences with the glittering dancing that he has become synonymous with.

Anton said: “Performing at The Edinburgh Fringe has long been an ambition of mine and I am absolutely thrilled to be there this year – it’s a dream come true and it’s going to be really special.

“We’ve been warming up for you with our countrywide tour earlier this year and together with Lance, our amazing musicians and dancers, we are going to create a truly unforgettable experience for Edinburgh. 

“It’s a one-of-a-kind celebration full of laughter, music and dance – it’s the perfect way to spend an hour in the afternoon – come and have some fun!”

Tickets are now available for purchase exclusively through the Underbelly website – underbellyedinburgh.co.uk/event/an-afternoon-with-anton-du-beke

The nation’s favourite TV judge, NTA winner Anton Du Beke, best known for his charismatic performances on the hit BBC show, will be joined by Lance Ellington, an acclaimed vocalist known for his soulful voice and dynamic stage presence. Lance has been a regular featured vocalist on Strictly Come Dancing for over a decade, and his powerful performances have captivated audiences worldwide. He has worked with many of the world’s top recording artists, including Sting, Michael Jackson and Tina Turner, as well as performing at London’s famous Ronnie Scott’s Jazz Club many times.

Together, Anton and Lance are set to create a spellbinding experience for audiences, with their combined talents and electrifying stage presence.

AN AFTERNOON WITH ANTON DU BEKE at the Edinburgh Fringe will also feature a live band whose credits range from working on West End shows, to performing with The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, to recording and performing with international artists such as Dame Shirley Bassey, Andrea Bocelli, Queen and more!

Underbelly’s Head of Programming, Marina Dixon, said, “We are beyond delighted to have Anton and his team join us for six special shows this August. The show, featuring comedy, dancing, incredible live music, all told through the eyes of Strictly Come Dancing legend, Anton Du Beke, promises to be an afternoon out to remember. We hope you can join us.”

As well as the special Edinburgh Fringe performances, the tour also visit several cities across the UK, including London, Birmingham, Manchester, Glasgow, and Cardiff, among others.

LISTINGS                                         AN AFTERNOON WITH ANTON DU BEKE & FRIENDS

Underbelly, Bristo Square (McEwan Hall)
13:30 (65 mins)
Aug 23-28 (£24.00 / £22.00 concession)
Genre: Cabaret and Variety, Dance, Comedy

Strictly Come Dancing legend and judge, Anton Du Beke, takes to the stage with his with his live band, a guest singer and his dancers; expect a fab-u-lous afternoon of song, dance and laughter.

Performing some of his favourite songs and dances that have inspired his career throughout his life, expect behind the scenes stories from his time on Strictly that will have you laughing out loud.

Don’t miss this special opportunity to get up close and personal with the King of the ballroom!

Tickets are on sale now – underbellyedinburgh.co.uk/event/an-afternoon-with-anton-du-beke

Underbelly Social Media
Instagram:  www.instagram.com/underbellyedinburgh
Twitter: www.twitter.com/FollowTheCow
Facebook:  www.facebook.com/underbellyedinburgh

For more information about AN EVENING WITH ANTON DU BEKE, including tour dates, venues, and ticketing details, visit www.antontour.com

Frances Mayli McCann, Dean John-Wilson and Joaquin Pedro Valdes will star in the European premiere of the multi award-winning manga stage musical Death Note the Musical

Frances Mayli McCann 
Dean John-Wilson

Joaquin Pedro Valdes 
will star in the European premiere
of the multi award-winning manga stage musical
Death Note the Musical

Frances Mayli McCann (Bonnie in ‘Bonnie & Clyde’ in the West End), Dean John-Wilson (Lun-Tha in ‘The King & I’ in the West End) and Joaquin Pedro Valdes (Ram Sweeney in ‘Heathers’ at The Other Palace) will star in Death Note: The Musical.

Following acclaimed productions in Japan and Korea Death Note: The Musical will get its English language premiere with two star-studded concerts at the London Palladium on 21 & 22 August.

Tickets go onsale at 10am 2 June.

Based on the best-selling Japanese manga series of the same name by Tsugumi Ohba and Takeshi Obata, this ground breaking musical (Winner Best Musical, Korea Musical Awards) has a score by Frank Wildhorn (‘Jekyll & Hyde’, 4 years on Broadway, ‘Dracula’, ‘Bonnie & Clyde’) with lyrics by Jack Murphy and book by Ivan Menchell.

It will be directed by Nick Winston and is produced by Carter Dixon McGill Production (‘Chess in Concert’, ‘Kinky Boots in Concert’, ‘Treason the Musical in Concert’) and Indie Theatrical.

Light Yagami, a bright but dissatisfied high school student in Tokyo comes across a discarded notebook owned by Ryuk, a mythological god of death. Discovering he can kill anyone by just writing their names in the supernatural notebook, Light takes justice into his own hands by filling the notebook with names of the nation’s most wanted criminals. But a detective only known as ‘L’ is soon tracking him down…

Frances Mayli McCann will play famous model Misa.

Scottish-Chinese born Frances starred as Bonnie in ‘Bonnie & Clyde’ in the West End, following its sell out concert at the Theatre Royal Drury Lane, opposite Jeremy Jordan. Olivier nominated for her portrayal of Kayla in ‘Our Ladies of Perpetual Succour’, Frances’ extensive stage credits include Svetlana in ‘Chess’ (Theatre Royal Drury Lane), Heather McNamara in ‘Heathers: The Musical’ (Theatre Royal, Haymarket), The Mistress in ‘Evita’ (Regents Park Open Air Theatre), Eponine in ‘Les Misearables’.

Dean John-Wilson will play enigmatic, mysterious, international consulting detective known only as ‘L’.

Dean’s West End roles include the title role in the original cast of Disney’s ‘Aladdin’, Lun Tha in ‘The King and I’ and the premiere of ‘From Here To Eternity’.  At the National Theatre he was Aquino in ‘Here Lies Love’.

Joaquin Pedro Valdes will play brilliant but bored genius Light.

Born in Makati, Philippines, Joaquin covered and played Simba on the recent UK tour of ‘The Lion King’ and was Ram Sweeney in ‘Heathers’ at The Other Palace. His other musicals include the UK and international tours of ‘The King and I’ and ‘Miss Saigon’.

More cast to be announced.

Creative team:
Director and Choreographer Nick Winston
Associate Director and Choreographer Alex Sarmiento,
Costume Designer Kimie Nakano
Musical Supervisor  Katy Richardson
Musical Director Chris Ma
Orchestrator Jason Howland
Designer Justin Williams
Lighting Designer Ben Cracknell
Sound Designer Ben Harrison
Casting Harry Blumenau
Artwork by Rebecca Pitt Creative
Producers Carter Dixon McGill Productions and Indie Theatrical

Death Note: The Musical premiered in 2015 in Tokyo, Japan. A 2022 Korean production won four awards at the Korea Musical Awards after being nominated in 10 categories (“Death Note offers a glimpse at the future of musicals”, The Korea Herald). In 2017, Netflix released a TV adaptation of ‘Death Note’ starring Willem Defoe.

Frank Wildhorn said: “Death Note: The Musical has been the most unique, strange, edgy, and wonderful musical journey for me. It’s been a dream of mine to bring this show from Asia to the West End of London, and here we are!”

The producers said: “We are beyond excited to be presenting the first English language production of Death Note: The Musical for two nights only this summer! Fans and those we look forward to welcoming into the world of Death Note are in for a musical treat.”

Frank Wildhorn

In 1999, Frank became the first American composer in 22 years to have three shows running simultaneously on Broadway with Jekyll & Hyde, The Scarlet Pimpernel and The Civil War. Also for Broadway: Bonnie & Clyde, Dracula, Victor/Victoria, Wonderland, and the revival of Jekyll & Hyde. West End: Bonnie & Clyde. International: Carmen, Camille Claudel, Casanova, Cyrano, Death Note, Fist of the North Star, Mata Hari, Mitsuko, Never Say Goodbye, No Longer Human, Rudolf, Tears of Heaven, The Count of Monte Cristo, The Man Who Laughs, Your Lie in April and Xcalibur. Upcoming: Song of Bernadette and Reunion. He Produced Harlem Song at the famed Apollo Theatre. The Korea Times recently proclaimed Wildhorn as “Korea’s most popular musical composer”.

Theatre); ‘Treason the Musical in Concert’ (Drury Lane Theatre). Previous productions include: ‘Wonderville: Magic & Illusion’ (Palace Theatre, London); ‘Death Drop’ (Criterion Theatre, Garrick Theatre & UK Tour).

Indie Theatrical

Indie Theatrical was established in 2014 by Broadway veteran, Louis Hobson, and theatrical producer, Jake Groshong. In addition to serving as Frank Wildhorn’s US producer, Indie has created global partnerships and established collaborations with industry leaders, top regional theatres, festivals, film and theatre producers, both domestically & internationally, to produce a wide variety of programming.  Credits include ‘Grey House’ on Broadway, executive producer of the 2023 Grammy nominated album, ‘Some Lovers’, by Burt Bacharach and Steven Sater; Shaun Cassidy’s ‘Magic of the Midnight Sky’; and Frank Wildhorn’s, ‘The Song of Bernadette’, which will premiere in 2024 by special arrangement with Buena Vista Theatrical. Indie is also currently developing Frank Wildhorn’s new musicals ‘Reunion’, and ‘Your Lie In April’, which will both premiere in 2024.


Carter Dixon McGill Productions
and Indie Theatrical present

Death Note The Musical
in Concert
Music by Frank Wildhorn,
Lyrics by Jack Murphy, book by Ivan Menchell
©️Tsugumi Ohba, Takeshi Obata/SHUEISHA, HoriPro

London Palladium
8 Argyll Street,
London W1F 7TF

Monday 21 & Tuesday 22 August
at 7.30pm

running time:tbc

age recommendation: tbc

Tickets from £25

Tickets go onsale at 10am
2 June, 2023

Booking link:



@ CDMProds




Winnie the Pooh Review

Southampton Mayflower – until 4th June 2023

Reviewed by Lucy Hitchcock


Disney’s iconic and most well loved characters have come to Southampton Mayflower to excite and bring you on an adventure, but will you help Pooh find his honey?

From the original mind of A.A Milne, comes the reimagined Winnie The Pooh musical stage adaptation. Johnathon Rockefeller has created the ultimate nostalgic piece of theatre for all ages to enjoy. With a superb cast, exquisite set and exceptional performances, this is surely not one to miss!!

Each member of this cast were amazing, perfectly embodying their characters in both puppetry and vocals. Benjamin Durham, as Winnie the Pooh, was a delight. He sounded exactly like the original Pooh and entranced the audience from the offset. Alongside Lottie Grogan as Piglet and Alex Cardall as Eeyore, this was a mix of utter delight on the stage. The standout for me however, was Robbie Noonan as Tigger. I was enthralled by his performance and couldn’t stop laughing at how perfect he was for this character. The voice, song and full body performance from him was a triumph-a superb casting choice.

The set was also incredible. We watched 100 Acre Wood turn through the seasons as we follow Pooh on his never ending journey to find his beloved honey. It was almost as if you set foot inside the books and illustrations – it was that perfect!! This surely is an incredibly enchanting piece and it was a delight to hear the excitable chatter of children as they saw their favourite characters come to life!!

The best piece of theatre you will see this half term-I urge to grab tickets and find out what adventures Winnie and Friends will take you on!

I, Daniel Blake Review

Northern Stage Newcastle – until 10th June 2023

Reviewed by Sandra Little


I, Daniel Blake currently playing at Northern Stage has been adapted by Dave Johns from the 2016 film of the same name which was directed by Ken Loach. In the film Dave Johns played Daniel Blake, a Geordie carpenter recovering from a heart attack. This stage adaptation is directed by Mark Calvert.

In the play we are introduced to the central character Daniel Blake, played by David Nellist. Daniel is a carpenter in his 50s who has recently had a heart attack and is no longer able to work. He strikes up a friendship with Katie Jenkins (Bryony Corrigan) a young mum who has moved to Newcastle to start a new life with her daughter Daisy (Jodie Wild). Daniel, who has never claimed benefits in the past, struggles to navigate his way around a complex bureaucratic system littered with jargon; meanwhile Katie has her benefits “sanctioned” because she is late for her appointment.

As the friendship between Daniel and Katie develops the difficulties of existing with no income are laid bare and the frustrations experienced by Daniel in particular, become very clear. Despite the distressing storyline, there are some amusing situations and some quite funny dialogue, mainly provided by China ( Kema Sikazwe) and Daniel.

The front of the programme for this play has the words, “This is not fiction.” written across the page. There can be no doubt that the themes of poverty and deprivation explored in this work are as relevant today as they were in 2016 when the film was made. Information in the programme states there was one food bank in Newcastle in 2016 whereas now there are eight; furthermore we are told that there are more food banks in the UK than there are McDonald’s! Additional information on the theatre website quotes the Joseph Rowntree Foundation’s Poverty Report 2022 which found that 14.5 million people are currently living in poverty in the UK. We also read in the programme that the director of this play (Mark Calvert) cites his months of volunteering at a local food bank as proof for him that this is not fiction!

Whilst this play is a very relevant and powerful piece of drama set on Tyneside the issues relating to benefits and poverty alongside themes of friendship, family and community are equally relevant to communities in all areas of the country and therefore have a wider universal appeal.

The set and lighting used on stage are quite simple but are perfectly adequate and do not distract from the powerful performances from all of the cast. The addition of political quotes to the narrative highlighted a lack of empathy and understanding from some senior political figures. I had to remind myself that these quotes were not fictitious!

I think this was a stunning adaptation that is fiercely political and demonstrates how people are worn down when the odds are stacked against them. Dave Johns has said that he wanted his adaptation to show, “ kindness, compassion, humour and hope that helps us through tough times.” For me It absolutely did this.

The current run of plays at Northern Stage is now sold out however this production is visiting other theatres around the country and returns to Northern Stage in September.

Breakin’ Convention Review

The Royal Concert Hall, Nottingham – 31st May 2023

Reviewed by Jill Heslop


Nottingham was buzzing with excitement as Breakin’ Convention, the international festival of hip hop dance theatre, brought their magic to the city. This was a family occasion, with both young and old in the audience, all in fine voice as they showed their appreciation for each of the acts.

Breakin’ Convention has been performing for twenty years and is still developing, bringing this popular dance form to theatres which is unconventional in itself! There was a varied programme, showcasing local dance talent alongside international performers, highlighting the huge range of style and expression within the genre.

Master of ceremonies was Jonzi D, the artistic director, introducing each performance and encouraging as much noise as possible from the audience who did not let him down. The evening was split into two sections but even before the start of the show, there was foyer entertainment with dancing and music on each level of the concert hall. The place was literally popping!

First up were local hip hop Dance Academy Beat Bots who filled the stage with their synchronised dancing in suits. Next, soloist Jamal Sterrett, brought a spell-binding delicate mood with his blend of styles of bruk up, flex and ballet in his choreography. JME Dance Company charged onto stage with their warrior queen moves, whose message was inspired by the empowerment of sisterhood. Part One was rounded off with a lively and technically brilliant performance by Mover, from South Korea. Their athletic prowess and humour were illustrated with their break-dancing moves and live beat-boxing which truly wowed the audience.

The second half started with a pole dance performance by Yvonne Smink from the Netherlands. This was a mesmerising display of bodily control and muscular power. She was followed by another local hip hop dance company, Take 1 Dance, in their flowing white outfits, commanding lots of passionate support and showing unity in their dance moves. The final act of the evening were the Ghetto Funk Collective again from the Netherlands. Dressed in seventies flares and caps, they showed great character and style in their performance and really got the audience involved in their action with their infectious humour.

This was a great evening, celebrating twenty years of Breakin’ Convention with energy, strength and exuberance.

Re-member Me Review

Hampstead Theatre, London – until 17 June 2023

Reviewed by Celia Armand Smith


Dickie Beau’s truly original exploration of Hamlet and the people who have performed in the role is a beautiful and funny blend of audio recordings, video, props, lip sync, and cabaret that begins with Richard Griffiths in Withnail and I, and ends with a Chariots of Fire montage. Along the way we encounter the familiar voices of Sir Ian McKellen, Sir Richard Eyre, Sir John Gielgud, and Jonathan Pryce, with the added bonus of a splendidly gossipy National theatre dresser. Popular culture references from A Chorus Line and Yentl punctuate the interview and memories of this “Hamlet mixtape”.

Under the direction of Jan Willem van den Bosch, Re-Member Me is both tribute and eulogy; an excavation and appreciation of the play and the actors who have embodied the role.

The stage is peppered with mannequin body parts, costumes, and glitter balls. Above it is a large screen where for most of the play, there are 4 versions of Beau’s face, each of them a person interviewed by Beau about their experience and memories of being involved with Hamlet. Below on the stage, Beau gently rearranges the props in tableau’s, occasionally piping up as the National Theatre dresser with some gossip that supports (or tears apart) a story being told. Hilarity ensues when Beau gesticulates with some mannequin arms while the dresser describes having to help a distraught Daniel Day-Lewis out of costume so that the understudy, Jeremy Northam, could go on.

The central narrative is a tender retelling of Ian Charleson’s Hamlet. It was not public knowledge at the time, but Charleson was dying of AIDS when he took over from Daniel Day-Lewis in Richard Eyre’s National Theatre production 1989. All of the central themes of Hamlet are present as Charleson’s friends tell stories and remember his last few months; mortality, grief, and ghosts. It’s is a poetic act of preservation for not only the memory of Charleson, but all of those who died from AIDS.

As Dickie Beau says, the use of lip synching “creates this condition of a present absence”. A state of embodying something that is not there. Every movement of his mouth and body is perfectly timed. There are no missed beats, no falling behind, and no jumping ahead. It’s a powerful tool, and used in conjunction with the video projections, and props on stage, it makes Re-Member Me a timeless work of art.

2:22 A Ghost Story Review

Apollo Theatre – until 7 September 2023

Reviewed by Claire Roderick


Another theatre, another cast for Danny Robins’ slick and suspenseful ghost story. And what a cast!

Set in an old house that is being gentrified by married couple Jenny (Jaime Winstone) and Sam (Clifford Samuel), the couple host a dinner party for Sam’s university friend Lauren (Sophia Bush) and her new partner Ben (Ricky Champ). Sam’s passion for astronomy and science is dwarfed by his insufferable need to prove he is the cleverest person in the room, and his arrogant contempt for builder Ben soon descends into petty point scoring. Jenny’s account of the ghost that makes itself known at 2:22 is met with disbelief from all but Ben, but her plan for the group to stay and witness what happens in her baby’s bedroom is accepted.

As the group get drunker, scientific and spiritual discussions and quizzes become more heated, with unexplained happenings and many well-timed jump scares thanks to the noisy foxes in the garden. Alongside the spooky goings-on, the couples’ friction and disagreements involve class, gender and intellectual prejudice, with Ben bearing the brunt of Sam’s disdain.

This slow burn plot throws numerous explanations for what is going on into the mix as the tension builds, with prominent digital clocks counting down the time until the ghost is due to appear. Anna Fleischle’s set becomes a fifth character, with layers of old wallpaper revealed on the walls and Sam’s pride and joy – huge glass windows and doors in the half-finished room – feeling alien in such a building and making the idea that the house has turned against the family completely believable. Lucy Carter’s lighting and Ian Dickinson’s sound design are judged perfectly to make the audience jump, and director Matthew Dunster cranks up the pace of spooky scares in the second act, leaving some members of the audience gasping as the haunting is finally explained.

The amazing cast have incredible onstage chemistry, with lots more drunken clowning and more laughs than I have seen in previous productions. Ricky Champ is hilarious as Ben, playing to stereotype at first, and then revealing the layers of sensitivity in a wonderfully nuanced and scene stealing performance. Sophia Bush is wonderfully snarky as Lauren, but becoming softer and more exposed as her sadness and pain are revealed. Clifford Samuel excels as pompous Sam, putting the audience’s hackles up as he belittles his wife, but gradually winning them round as Sam’s anxieties and need to be loved become clearer. Jaime Winstone is wonderful as Jenny, vulnerable and uncertain as the play begins, but finding strength through her anger and fear for her child as the night progresses, with the power dynamics between her and Sam reversing by the end of the play.

2:22 goes from strength to strength, and with a tour planned, those pesky foxes will be making audiences across the UK jump. This London production is thrilling, chilling and a wonderful modern take on traditional ghost stories.

Happy Birthday Sunita Review

Royal Theatre, Windsor – until Saturday 3 June 2023

Reviewed by Joanna Huggett


It was a delight to watch the opening night of “Happy Birthday Sunita” written by Harvey Virdi back in 2014 and brought up to date for the post-Brexit, post pandemic era.

Sunita, played by Bhawna Bhawsar, is 40 and her family, the Johals, are throwing a small surprise birthday for her – but everything is not going to go to plan, especially not for this family with so many issues tucked under the carpet.

Sunita’s mum Tejpal, played by Divya Seth Shah, has just had her kitchen finished, the scene for the entire play. A kitchen which has taken well over a year to finish, for good reason too. Tejpal is the matriarch of the family, seemingly holding everything together, but she too has a few home truths waiting to be surfaced.

Sunita’s brother, Dev, played by Devesh Kishore, and his wife, Harleen, played by Rameet Rauli provide just the right level of agitation to tip the evening over the edge.

That is until Maurice, played by Keiron Crook, arrives as the seemingly un-invited guest and the fireworks begin.

Very funny, very entertaining and very much like my family in ways I’m sure you will also find all too uncomfortably familiar with. Go see it, you won’t be disappointed.