Visit London Blog » betty blue eyes Enjoy the very best of London Mon, 20 Oct 2014 09:00:56 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Thursday Theatre News: Wind in the Willows, One Man Two Guvnors, Jaime Winstone and Kara Tointon Thu, 15 Dec 2011 18:00:17 +0000 Firstly, news of a new musical, which is always, er, music to my ears… The Wind in the Willows is the next project for Julian Fellowes, George Stiles and Anthony Drew, the award-winning team behind Mary Poppins.

Fellowes, now best-known for creating Downton Abbey, (but don’t forget he was also responsible for wonderful work like Gosford Park, The Young Victoria and The Importance of Being Earnest) will write the musical’s book. Writing duo Stiles and Drewe are developing the music and lyrics. The pair have worked together for 28 years, creating successful shows like Betty Blue Eyes, Just So and Peter Pan. I’m looking forward to being able to tell you more about this show; as yet, there are no dates or venues for its London premiere.

Second, details of a transfer. It seems London just can’t get enough of the uber-successful One Man, Two Guvnors. First, it transferred from the National to the West End. Then, rumours the team had booked tickets to Broadway. And today, we have news it’s moving again, this time to the Theatre Royal Haymarket. There’ll be a change of lead as Owain Arthur takes over from James Corden as the One Man of the title. The rest of the casting is yet to be announced.

Finally, the Lyric Hammersmith’s 2012 programme has been announced. Edward Bond returns to the theatre with a trilogy of short plays called The Chair Plays. In addition, there’ll be a collaboration between Spymonkey and Kneehigh Artistic Director Emma Rice, called Oedipussy; Lovesong; Filter’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream; and Three Kingdoms (part of the London-wide World Stages London festival).

Cast News:

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Betty Blue Eyes at The Novello Theatre Sat, 23 Apr 2011 10:15:06 +0000

Betty Blue Eyes is set in a Yorkshire town and is based around a plot to “pignap” an animal illegally raised by businessmen who hope to serve her up at a special party to celebrate the marriage of Princess Elizabeth and Prince Philip. It is a witty adaptation of 1984 film A Private Function, a bizarre and unlikely subject for a musical, but one that works surprisingly well. Thanks to talented writers, Ron Cowen and Daniel Lipman, the original story is kept intact with some hilarious additions.

It is no secret that I appreciate an enthusiastic feel-good production, but even I am a little tired of dreamworld musicals that envelop you in absurd utopian escapism. Betty Blue Eyes delights through a more realistic narrative; an ordinary couple and the struggles of frugal 1940s Britain, amidst ration hell.

The characters are endearing and here we see an impressively strong cast. The lead couple are both naturally brilliant on stage; Sarah Lancashire as social climbing Joyce Chilvers has a superbly strong voice and charming presence; her kind-hearted husband Gilbert is played by Reece Shearsmith, who pulls at the heartstrings with his optimism and has fantastic comic timing.

The villainous meat inspector was a caricature who reminded me of dastardly baddies from children’s literature. He is a strange character who has a penchant for painting; every confiscated piece of meat is passionately brushed with bright green paint. Though Adrian Scarborough was suitably vile, I found the role a little odd in comparison with the rest of the cast, and it occasionally broke my belief in the situation.

The adorable pig, Betty, is cooed at on every entrance. Shipped from Australia specially, and with three understudies, she is quite the diva, flashing beautiful blue eyes and fluttering her eyelashes at every opportunity. Kylie Minogue‘s voice has a fleeting role at the curtain call, though apparently it is not Miss Minogue that provides the creature’s funny farting and burping noises!

It is not often a new musical succeeds; shows like Wicked are certainly in the minority… but with our own royal wedding just around the corner hopefully the British public will go and see Betty Blue Eyes even if just for the sake of a happy coincidence.

Betty Blue Eyes is on until 22 October 2011, book Betty Blue Eyes tickets here.

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Free Tickets for Williams and Catherines at the tkts Booth Next Friday Thu, 21 Apr 2011 09:30:29 +0000

Are you called William or Catherine? Do you fancy a free trip to the theatre?

Then head down to the tkts booth on Leicester Square early on the morning of the big day (Friday 29 April): if you’re among the first 10 Williams and Catherines in the queue, you can get one free ticket to the show of your choice!

You can choose a show on the big day itself, or book ahead (subject to availability).

What show would you go for? A wedding theme (Mamma Mia!); a Queen theme (We Will Rock You); or a ROYAL wedding theme (Betty Blue Eyes)?! Or something totally different: check out our Top 10 London Musicals for something to inspire you.

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Win! Betty Blue Eyes Tickets, Dinner and a Hotel Stay Fri, 18 Mar 2011 10:00:30 +0000 With its Royal Wedding theme, and fantastic star cast (Sarah Lancashire, Reece Shearsmith, David Bamber and Adrian Scarborough), Betty Blue Eyes is looking like one of the West End’s hottest tickets this month!

This new musical is based on the hit film A Private Function by Alan Bennett and Malcolm Mowbray. The story centres around a pig called Betty who’s being reared illegally to feed the local dignitaries celebrating the 1947 royal wedding between Princess Elizabeth and Prince Philip. 

To celebrate the wedding of Kate Middleton and Prince William, we’ve got two top price tickets to give away to see the show.

Not only that, but we’ll treat you to a pre-theatre meal, and put you up in London’s newest 5-star hotel, The Grange St Paul’s!

Enter now to win Betty Blue Eyes tickets, plus a meal and a hotel stay

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Five New West End Musicals to Look Forward to in 2011 Tue, 28 Dec 2010 10:00:34 +0000

2010 was a fantastic year for West End musicals. As well as the huge girly hit Legally Blonde, there was a fascinating phantom sequel in Love Never Dies, an incredible tour de force performance in End of the Rainbow, and a gorgeous little chamber musical at the Duchess called Love Story.

We’ve recently bid farewell to Sister Act and Avenue Q, and in the coming weeks Oliver!, Flashdance, The Railway Children and Fela! will close, creating space for some more incredible musicals in 2011.

Here’s five that I’m really looking forward to:

  • Million Dollar Quartet, from 8 Feb
    A Tony Award-winning show transfers to the West End in February, bringing the story of the night Elvis, Johnny Cash, Carl Perkins and Jerry Lee Lewis performed together, making rock and roll history.
  • Betty Blue Eyes, from 19 March
    Perfect timing: a new musical about organising a Royal Wedding during a recession! Alan Bennett’s fantastic film, A Private Function, is woven into a very British musical, all about a pig called Betty.
  • Wizard of Oz, from 27 Apr
    You’ve watched the BBC show Over The Rainbow, now it’s time to see the show! Danielle Hope stars as Dorothy, with Michael Crawford as the Wizard in Andrew Lloyd Webber’s latest blockbuster.
  • Shrek The Musical, from 6 May
    Amanda Holden, Richard Blackwood, Nigel Lindsay and Nigel Harman look like a fab British cast to bring this witty Broadway hit to the West End. I can’t wait.
  • Ghost The Musical, from 22 June
    Based on the hit film, and starring Sharon D Clarke and Richard Fleeshman with music by Dave “Eurythmics” Stewart; I think this might be the big hit of 2011.

What are you looking forward to seeing in 2011? Let us know in the comments below!

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