Full Casting Announced for JOSEPH AND THE AMAZING TECHNICOLOR DREAMCOAT TOUR 2017

BRITAIN’S GOT TALENT’s Lucy Kay will return as the Narrator in the upcoming 2017 touring production of JOSEPH AND THE AMAZING TECHNICOLOR DREAMCOAT, starring X FACTOR winner Joe McElderry, from 24th January.

LucyKay6.jpgLucy Kay scored her first number one album in 2014, after her stunning debut album ‘Fantasia’ shot straight to the top of the Classical Album Chart. The singer, originally from Leicestershire, shot to fame and captured the country’s hearts as runner up on ‘Britain’s Got Talent’ in 2014. Following her success on the show, Lucy also recorded the song ‘Flower of Scotland’ with the band of Her Majesty’s Royal Marines to celebrate the 350th anniversary of the Royal Navy. Lucy was also a special guest on Andrea Bocelli’s 2014 tour.

As previously announced singing sensation and X Factor favourite JOE McELDERRY will once again wear the world’s most famous coat in the UK’s longest running musical, as the 2017 national tour kicks off at GLive, Guildford in Januar.Joe’s title-role debut in the 2016 production of Joseph was his first major theatrical appearance – and his performance was met with 5-star reviews and standing ovations up and down the country.

 Joe McElderry was just 18 when he won the sixth series of ‘The X Factor’ having been mentored by Girls Aloud star Cheryl Cole and beating off fierce competition from Olly Murs and Stacey Solomon. Joe soared to number one on the UK Singles Charts with his rendition of Miley Cyrus’s The Climb and his debut album Wide Awake went straight in at number 3 on the UK Albums Chart. He has since gone on to have two more Top 10 albums, and he became the first X Factor star to release four albums.

Joe, who hails from South Shields, Tyne and Wear, is also the first and only celebrity to win three reality TV shows! He was crowned the winner of the second series of ITV’s ‘Popstar to Operastar’ before strapping on his skis and slaloming his way to become champion of Channel 4’s celebrity ski competition ‘The Jump’ in 2014.

“BILL KENWRIGHT’S PRODUCTION –

THE LONGEST-RUNNING TOURING SHOW IN HISTORY, NOW IN ITS 36TH UNSTOPPABLE YEAR – REMAINS AN IRREPRESSIBLE DELIGHT…

JOE MCELDERRY MAY JUST BE THE BEST SUNG JOSEPH THERE’S EVER BEEN”

Mark Shenton

★★★★★

The Stage

 

Joining them is Benjamin James-Ellis who was a semi-finalist on the hit TV show Any Dream Will Do. Since then Ben has starred in a European tour of Dirty Dancing, and as Link Larkin in the West End run of Hairspray for two years. The cast is completed by Henry Metcalfe, Sallie-Beth Lawless, Matt Jolly, Darren Charles, Lloyd Green, Matthew McCabe, George Knapper, Michael Lapham, Michael Colbourne, Lewis Asquith, Richard J Hunt, Amana Jones, Will Breckin, Kevin Grogan and Gemma Pipe.

Having garnered sensational reviews and standing ovations at every performance since its inception over 36 years ago, Bill Kenwright’s ‘amazing’, ‘superb’, ‘wonderful’ and ‘brilliant’ production of Tim Rice and Andrew Lloyd Webber’s family musical has now sold an estimated 20 million tickets is crammed wall to wall with hits, including Jacob and Sons, Close Every Door and Any Dream Will Do.

24 – 28 Jan                                           GUILDFORD G Live                                          01483 369350  

glive.co.uk

 31 Jan – 4 Feb                                     New WIMBLEDON Theatre                         0844 871 7646

atgtickets.com/wimbledon

 7 – 11 Feb                                             DARTFORD Orchard Theatre                       01322 220000

                                                                                                                                                orchardtheatre.co.uk

 14 – 18 Feb                                          HASTINGS White Rock Theatre                 01424 462288

                                                                                                                                                whiterocktheatre.org.uk

 21 – 25 Feb                                          TORQUAY Princess Theatre                        0844 871 3023

                                                                                                                                                atgtickets.com/torquay

 28 Feb – 4 Mar                                   PORTSMOUTH New Theatre Royal          023 9264 9000

                                                                                                                                                newtheatreroyal.com

 7 – 11 Mar                                           WINDSOR Theatre Royal                              01753 853 888

                                                                                                                                                theatreroyalwindsor.co.uk

 14 – 18 Mar                                          EDINBURGH Playhouse                                0844 871 3014

                                                                                                                                                atgtickets.com/edinburgh

 21 – 25 Mar                                          MALVERN Festival Theatre                         01684 892 277

                                                                                                                                                malvern-theatres.co.uk

 28 Mar – 1 Apr                                    SHREWSBURY Severn Theatre                   01743 281281

                                                                                                                                                theatresevern.co.uk

 4 – 8 Apr                                               BRADFORD Alhambra Theatre                   01274 432000

                                                                                                                                                bradford-theatres.co.uk

 11 – 15 Apr                                          SKEGNESS Embassy Theatre                       01507 613100

                                                                                                            embassytheatre.co.uk

 18 – 22 Apr                                           PRESTON Charter Theatre                            01772 80 44 44

                                                                                                                                                prestonguildhall.com

 25 – 29 Apr                                           NOTTINGHAM Theatre Royal                     0115 989 5555

trch.co.uk           

   2 – 6 May                                              BRISTOL Hippodrome                                    0844 871 3012

                                                                                                                                                atgtickets.com/bristol

 9 – 13 May                                           CARDIFF Wales Millennium Centre        029 2063 6464

 wmc.org.uk

 16 – 20 May                                        TRURO Hall for Cornwall                              01507 613100

                                                                                                                                                hallforcornwall.co.uk

 23 – 27 May                                         STOCKPORT Plaza Theatre                           0161 480 3818

stockportplaza.co.uk

 30 May – 3 Jun                                   LONDONDERRY Millennium Forum         028 7126 4455                                                                                                                                                                millenniumforum.co.uk

 6 – 10 Jun                                            BELFAST Grand Opera House                     028 9024 1919

 goh.co.uk

 13 – 17 Jun                                          CHELTENHAM Everyman Theatre             01242 572573                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     everymantheatre.org.uk

Dead Sheep, Churchill Theatre

A touring revival of Park Theatre’s 2015 production is a story that resonates as deeply with Britain’s current affairs.

Dead Sheep is the story of one of British politics most tumultuous pairings; Margaret Thatcher (PM) and her Foreign Secretary Geoffrey Howe, a man seen as so weak that Denis Healey once described debating with him as “like being savaged by a dead sheep”. 

Jonathan Maitland (a journalist by trade who is now a successful playwright) has an eye for a fascinating story but as the characters keep saying the House of Commons is a theatre in itself and the circumstances behind Howe’s ultimately damning speech (Thatcher resigned three weeks later) is interesting but doesn’t have the impact watching the speech has. It is a beautiful piece of drama and this production doesn’t quite match up.

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Steve Nallon and Paul Bradley 

 

With strong performances by Paul Bradley (Eastenders, Holby City) as Howe, Carol Royle as Elspeth Howe  and Spitting Images’ Steve Nallon as Thatcher it is let down by the other members of the cast; who attempt to play multiple characters but it just doesn’t work and this simply isn’t as skilled or as interesting as The National Theatre’s This House, which has been revived at the Garrick.  It isn’t that the performances by Graham Seed, Christopher Villiers and John Wark  are bad performers but the characters they have been given provide little drama, even Seed’s Ian Gow’s impact is so minimal that it ruins a crucial scene, there was also some bizarre casting as the black, curly-haired Wark never played Nigel Lawson! I did enjoy Villiers as Alan Clark as he got his sleazy, sycophancy down to a tea. It was constantly suggested that Thatcher didn’t give women a leg up in her cabinet but it is very clear Thatcher not only surrounded herself with men but weak men during her reign.

Ultimately this is a story about battles; the scenes were Elspeth and Margaret have it out are key to this play’s interest and makes Howe’s speech seem even more incredible. I also enjoyed the references to Europe. In a year that saw the EU bring down David Cameron the issues surrounding Thatcher’s demise were not that dissimilar.

Royle is the standout performer as Elspeth but Paul Bradley gets Howe’s nervous energy and controlled fury and intelligence down. It is great to see Nallon as Thatcher, but as a production it is never quite as interesting as the real story.

 

Lee Mack Joins Griff Rhys Jones in The Miser

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Lee Mack will make his West End debut in a major revival of Molière’s classic comedy The Miser in early 2017. Mack joins Griff Rhys Jones who is returning to the London stage after five years to lead the ensemble cast. The play, newly adapted by Sean Foley and Phil Porter, will be presented at Bath Theatre Royal and Richmond Theatre, prior to opening at the Garrick Theatre in London’s West End on Wednesday 1st March 2017, with an opening night on Monday 13th March 2017.

Best known for television and stand-up work, Mack is widely recognised as one of the country’s favourite comedians and has won multiple awards. He is the writer and star of hit BBC One comedy, Not Going Out, which has run for seven series and holds the accolade of being the BBC’s longest running sitcom.  He is a team captain on popular BBC panel show Would I Lie to You, the host of Duck Quacks Don’t Echo on Sky One and a regular guest on panel shows, including Have I Got News for You, Nevermind the Buzzcocks and 8 out of 10 Cats Does Countdown. Lee has also toured the country with multiple sell-out stand up shows.

Griff Rhys Jones is a two-time Olivier award-winning actor, writer, presenter and comedian. On stage, he has appeared as Fagin in Cameron Mackintosh’s Oliver! (West End), the title role in Charley’s Aunt (West End) and in Feydeau’s An Absolute Turkey (The Globe). In a long-lasting comedy partnership with Mel Smith, his television credits include Not the Nine O’Clock News (BBC), Alas Smith and Jones (BBC), The World According to Smith and Jones(ITV), Smith and Jones in Small Doses (BBC) and Smith and Jones (BBC).

Sean Foley is an award-winning actor, writer and director. He co-founded The Right Size, creating over 10 original comedies for the theatre including the Olivier Award-winning and Tony-nominated production of The Play What I Wrote (Best Comedy 2002), Do You Come Here Often? (Best Entertainment 1999), and Ducktastic! (Albery Theatre – Best Entertainment nomination 2006). As director his work includes The Dresser, The Painkiller, Jeeves and Wooster in Perfect Nonsense (Best New Comedy 2014), The Walworth Farce (The Olympia Theatre, Dublin), the multi Olivier-nominated The Ladykillers (Liverpool Everyman, Gielgud Theatre, UK Tour), A Mad World My Masters (Royal Shakespeare Company & Barbican), What The Butler Saw (Vaudeville Theatre), The Painkiller (The Lyric Theatre, Belfast), Arturo Brachetti – Change (Garrick – Best Entertainment nomination 2010) , The Critic/The Real Inspector Hound (Chichester Festival Theatre), The Armstrong and Miller Show Live UK Tour and I Can’t Sing! (London Palladium). Foley’s first film Mindhorn was released this autumn.

Bath Theatre Royal, Wed 8 – Sat 18 Feb www.theatreroyal.org.uk

Richmond Theatre, Tue 21 – Sat 25 Feb www.atgtickets.com/richmond

Garrick Theatre, 2 Charing Cross Road, London WC2H 0HH

First preview: Wednesday 1st March 2017

Opening night: Monday 13th March 2017

Final performance: Saturday 10th June 2017

Box Office: 0330 333 4811

TheMiserThePlay.com

Tickets from: £25, with £10 off all price bands during preview performances

 

 

Sand in the Sandwiches, Minerva Theatre (Chichester)

Hugh Whitemore’s play looks at the life and work of John Betjeman, one of Britain’s most celebrated poets. Edward Fox plays Betjeman in this one-man play directed by Gareth Armstrong and it is light and traditional play. As light as one of Betjeman’s poems but not at all fluffy. The simple set design by Fotini Dimou is aided beautifully by Howard Harrison’s light design
sand_in_the_sandwichesIt is a brutally honest look at a man, from his boyhood to his diagnosis of Parkinson’s. Fox, who is 80, doesn’t falter in this difficult part where he moves between verse and script seamlessly and gives off a lot of energy (even for a man who is sitting down a lot). Whitemore’s script is rich in its imagery; you can imagine all the people in Betjeman’s life from his father, his wife, his father-in-law and his long term partner.
Fox manages to make Betjeman seem excellent company over the two-hour running time. There is no big climax, just a gentle wander through Betjeman’s life, his friends and everything that made him. I think what struck me about Betjeman that he wasn’t just a poet, his main job was as a film critic and it clear Whitemore is a screenwriter, it wouldn’t surprise me if this is a piece that ends up on the screen in some form as it would benefit, rather than be ruined, by flashbacks.

It is a play about tradition, though Betjeman feels quite modern in some approaches it is ultimately a story about a man looking back fondly on his life (as he looked back in his poetry), not a particular time period. In a world where people want “their country back” (though Betjeman was a great admirer of Victoria society) this could easily become a play about the good old days but it keeps the right level of healthy nostalgia; regrets but also memories of being youthful, such as his trips cottaging with W.H Auden in Oxford. I can see why many (especially young) audiences would struggle with this but it is very much a play aimed at the older generations and its touring venues (Guildford and Salisbury remain on the tour) confirm that.

Not all plays have to be hard hitting, some plays need a gentle pace and a look at a way of life that doesn’t exist anymore because the past is the past.

The Shakespeare Revue 7 -12 November, Richmond Theatre

As 2016 comes to an end the tributes to Shakespeare do not! For one week in November  The Shakespeare Revue, a comic concoction of hilarious sketches and show-stopping numbers written by comedy icons Victoria Wood, Alan Bennett, Maureen Lipman, Monty Python, Noël Coward, Cole Porter, Fry & Laurie and musical theatre favourites, Stephen Sondheim, Stiles & Drewe and many more, returns to the stage with a UK tour as part of the nationwide celebrations marking the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death. The production will be at Richmond Theatre before moving on to Theatre Royal Brighton (Mon 21st – Sat 26th November 2016) Mon 21st – Sat 26th November 2016  and Theatre Royal Glasgow (Tue 29th November – Sat 3rd December 2016)

With contributions from over forty writers, this joyous words-and-music celebration gathers together some of the finest comic material inspired by William Shakespeare. Originally produced by the Royal Shakespeare Company, The Shakespeare Revue first premiered at the Barbican Theatre in 1994 where it received raptuous critical and public acclaim prompting a West End transfer to the Vaudeville Theatre in 1995. Since then the show has played off-Broadway and has completed five major tours of the USA.

Multiple Olivier award-winning Producer Kenny Wax says: “In 1994 my Producer friend Edward Snape asked me to book some dates for The Shakespeare Revue –  a show that he was touring at the time. I fell in love with the performances, the sketches, the wonderful music and the sheer unadulterated fun that emanated from the stage. I’m delighted to be presenting the show with Cambridge Arts Theatre this time with a fresh, updated new version.”

Devised by Christopher Luscombe (director of the 2016 Best New Comedy Award winner Nell Gwynn starring Gemma Arterton) and Malcolm McKee, The Shakespeare Revue is directed by Malcolm McKee with choreography by Jenny Arnold and Nicola Keen and musical direction by Malcolm McKee. Cast to include: Alex Scott Fairley, Alex Morgan, Anna Stolli, Lizzie Bea.

 

The UK tour is produced by Kenny Wax Ltd and Cambridge Arts Theatre.

www.theshakespearerevue.com 

Twitter: @shakespearevue  #Shakespeare400

Production images released for Julian Fellows The Wind in the Willows

Production images have been released today for the major new musical THE WIND IN THE WILLOWS by Academy Award-winning screenwriter and Downton Abbey creator Julian Fellowes and Olivier Award-winning composer and lyricist duo George Stiles and Anthony Drewe. The production is currently playing at Theatre Royal Plymouth until 22 October followed by engagements at The Lowry in Salford and Mayflower Theatre in Southampton, prior to opening in London’s West End.

david-birrel-as-badger-thomas-howes-as-ratty-and-fra-fee-as-mole-in-the-wind-in-the-willows-photo-by-marc-brenner-copyright-jamie-hendry-productions-jpg

David Birrel (Badger), Thomas Howes (Ratty) and Fra Fee (Mole) (c) Marc Brenner and Jamie Hendry Productions

The production stars Rufus Hound as the anarchic Toad, award-winning actor David Birrell as Badger, Irish actor and singer Fra Fee as Mole, Downton Abbey’s Thomas Howes as Ratty, EastEnders and Shrek star Neil McDermott as Chief Weasel and Sophia Nomvete as Mrs Otter.

The company includes Rakesh Boury, Courtney Bowman, Jenna Boyd, Abigail Brodie, Jorell Coiffic-Kamall, Nicole Deon, James GantEvan James, Graham Lappin, Michael LarcombeBethany Linsdell, Dylan MasonEmma Odell, Ryan Pidgen, Patrick Sullivan, Karli Vale, Adam Vaughan, Georgie Westall and Holly Willock.

Rufus Hound as Mr Toad in The Wind in the Willows. Photo by Marc Brenner. Copyright Jamie Hendry Productions.jpg.jpg

Rufus Hound (Mr Toad)

 

Produced by Jamie HendryMJE Productions and Josh Gilinski in association with Theatre Royal Plymouth, THE WIND IN THE WILLOWS is directed by Rachel Kavanaugh with design by Peter McKintosh, choreography by Aletta Collins, lighting design by Howard Harrison, sound design by Gareth Owen, orchestrations by Chris Jahnke and David Shrubsole and musical supervision by Simon Lee.