After all the hype surrounding the Royal Wedding, it’s only fair that the event is now taken on by one of the UK’s most renowned theatrical satirists. Justin Butcher created Scaramouche Jones with the late, great Pete Postlethwaite, and wrote and directed the hit satirical comedy The Madness Of George Dubya in response to the Iraq War. Now he’s turned his attention to the Windsors with a musical comedy based (extremely) loosely on The Prisoner of Zenda. The Prisoner of Windsor, or The King’s Spit plays at the Leicester Square Theatre from 15 May.
From one William to another. William Hogarth’s engravings are the basis for another of this week’s highlighted shows. Theatre company simple8’s builds a play around Tom Nero, Hogarth’s orphaned protagonist. In The Four Stages of Cruelty, nine actors create the swirl of life, death, crime, love and cruelty that Nero encounters on his rise from poor orphan to notorious criminal. Look out for live music, period cant, physical ingenuity and an array of characters in a story that plunges a corkscrew into the city’s social bedrock, taking in the Hackney carriages, gin halls, boxing bouts and masquerades of 18th-century London.
This week’s casting news comes for two very different shows. Firstly, actor, singer and presenter Jonathan Wilkes is joining the cast of musical Chicago as Billy Flynn for a seven-week run from next week. Secondly, casting has been announced for the world premier of Tactical Questioning at the Tricycle Theatre from 2 June.
Tactical Questioning: Scenes from the Baha Mousa Inquiry brings together stories from the Public Inquiry which examined those two days of detention and the British Army’s treatment of detainees. The Tricycle’s production is staged following the oral hearings completed in October last year and before Sir William Gage publishes his final report and recommendations this summer.
The Tactical Questioning cast includes:
- Dean Ashton
- Christopher Fox
- Luke Harris
- David Michaels
- Alan Parnaby
- Simon Rouse
- Mark Stobbart
- Rick Warden
- Thomas Wheatley
Finally, Ghost Stories will scare theatregoers for the last time next month: I’ve had an announcement that it’s closing on 19 June. The show had been booking until 1 October, but will close early: book now if you want to witness what caused the show’s producers to warn of â€œmoments of extreme shock and tensionâ€.