Visit London Blog » bush theatre Enjoy the very best of London Fri, 22 May 2015 17:44:12 +0000 en-US hourly 1 London Theatre News: Billy & Matilda Extend, plus Urinetown, Duck House, and The Gruffalo Thu, 19 Sep 2013 09:30:00 +0000 Billy ElliotFirstly, news of extensions for some of London’s most popular theatre shows. You can now book to see Billy Elliot until 16 May 2015, taking the show into its 11th year; War Horse has extended its run at the New London Theatre to 27 October 2014 (its 7th year in the West End); and Matilda’s revolting children will continue to stomp and shine at the Cambridge Theatre until December 2014. If you’re a theatre fan and haven’t caught any of these three yet, I really recommend you do: they’re some of my favourite long-running shows on in London at the moment.

Second, the secrecy that has surrounded the St James Theatre’s latest project has finally been broken. Hit Broadway show Urinetown, an “exciting, innovative, edgy, modern, tuneful, funny satirical show” will make its UK debut from 22 February next year. A dystopian tale, Urinetown features book and lyrics by Greg Kotis and music and lyrics by Mark Hollmann, is set in a city suffering a terrible drought, where a business tycoon has made his fortune by monopolising public toilets… Urinetown will be directed by Jamie Lloyd.

Another satire, of a very different nature, comes to the London stage this winter. The Duck House at the Vaudeville Theatre is the tale of a Labour backbencher, who is about to make the leap to the Conservatives to save his seat when the 2009 expenses scandal hits. It’s written by two of satirical television’s most prolific writers, Dan Patterson and Colin Swash and stars Ben Miller, the award-winning Nancy Carroll and X-Factor semi-finalist Diana Vickers.

The Gruffalo at Garrick TheatreFinally, two very different Christmas shows have been announced this week. Look out for the brand-new, very adult The Night Before Christmas, a musical by Anthony Neilson at the Soho Theatre from 29 November; or the tried-and-tested kid-pleasing The Gruffalo, which returns to the Lyric Theatre for a Christmas run from 20 November to 12 January.

London Theatre Cast News:

  • Former Les Misérables stars Fra Fee and David Thaxton will star alongside fellow London stage regulars Scarlett Strallen and Cassidy Jansen in the Menier Chocolate Factory’s Christmas production of Candide
  • Colin Morgan, star of the BBC’s Merlin, joins the already-very-tasty cast of Mojo at the Harold Pinter Theatre, alongside Tom Rhys Harries, and the already announced Ben Whishaw, Daniel Mays and Rupert Grint.
  • Dawn King’s drama Ciphers at the Bush Theatre next year will star Bruce Alexander, Ronny Jhutti, Gráinne Keenan and Shereen Martin in the Out Of Joint and Northcott theatre co-production.
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London Theatre News: Billy Elliot, Thriller, A Pulitzer Prize for Drama and London Cast News Thu, 18 Apr 2013 10:00:02 +0000 Billy ElliotBilly Elliot welcomed its four millionth audience member to the Victoria Palace Theatre this week. Sharon Hick, who watched the show with her friend Jane Horsewood and daughters Amy and Meagan Horsewood, celebrated on the stage with cast members Killian Donnelly and Deka Walmsley. The lucky theatregoers were presented with a weekend stay in London and goody bags for the children before being taken backstage to meet the cast.

Hick said, “Jane and I had been discussing taking Amy and Meagan to see their first West End show, and we thought Billy Elliot would be perfect. It is a real testimony to how magical this show is that so many people have been through the doors to see it.”

Elsewhere in the West End, Thriller – Live has been celebrating its success with a booking extension: you can now see the musical based on the songs of Michael Jackson at the Lyric Theatre until March 2014.

Dsgraced at the Bush TheatreAhead of the forthcoming Olivier Awards, there’s been another win for London theatre. Ayad Akhtar’s Disgraced, which opens at the Bush Theatre next month, has been awarded the Pulitzer Prize for Drama. Akhtar’s first ever stage play, Disgraced charts the story of a successful corporate lawyer who is about to land the promotion of his life. But, as the play progresses, it’s clear that this success has come at a price. Talking about his win, Akhtar said, “It’s tough to put it into words what an honour and privilege it is to receive this award. I think I might be dreaming.”

Finally, two transfers have been announced this week. The Two’s Company production of London Wall, a play about an office manager and his unsolicited advances towards his new teenage typist transfers to the St James Theatre from 7 May. And fast-paced new comedy The Play That Goes Wrong transfers to the Trafalgar Studios from 30 April. It’s presented by Mischief Theatre, a company specialising in comedy writing.

London Theatre Cast News

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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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Thursday Theatre News: Ladykillers, the New Bush, Casting Updates and Extensions Thu, 09 Jun 2011 17:15:21 +0000

Firstly, news that the classic Ealing comedy, The Ladykillers has been adapted for the stage by the writer behind hit TV comedies Father Ted and The IT Crowd, Graham Linehan, and will be coming to the Gielgud Theatre in November. The cast sounds fantastic: Peter Capaldi from the Thick of It will play Professor Marcus (the Alec Guinness role from the film). And he’ll be backed up by a gang played by James Fleet (Hugo from the Vicar of Dibley), comic Ben Miller, Stephen Wight and everyone’s favourite pantomime dame, Clive Rowe. The quintet is joined by multi-Olivier Award-winner Marcia Warren as Mrs Wilberforce.

Next, I’m thrilled to hear both War Horse and Billy Elliot: The Musical are extending: War Horse to October 2012, and Billy to December 2012. Congratulations to both these incredible shows.

And so to casting news:

  • Another member of the Rock of Ages line-up was announced this week: Shane Ward from The X-Factor is to play the disillusioned rock bad boy Stacee Jaxx when Rock Of Ages opens at the Shaftesbury theatre in September
  • Supermodel Christie Brinkley is going to be the latest star to take on the role of Roxy Hart in Chicago. She’ll be donning the fishnets from 11 July to 6 August.
  • Carley Stenson, who’s currently playing Margot in Legally Blonde will step up later this summer and play the lead role of college sweetheart Elle Woods. Carley starts on 11 July; Any Dream Will Do-winner Lee Mead will be Stenson’s leading man as he’s joining the cast from 20 June.

Finally, the Bush Theatre has announced the show that will welcome audiences to its new home. Sixty Six Books is an epic celebration of the 400th anniversary of the King James Bible. Sixty-six playwrights, poets, songwriters and novelists from 12 different countries will create a response to each of the 66 books in the Kings James Bible. The impressive list of contributors includes Jeanette Winterson, Carol Ann Duffy, Billy Bragg, Neil LaBute and even the Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams. Artistic Director Josie Rourke is working with a team of directors to present three hour, six hour and two 24 hour epic performances, with every room, corner and cupboard(!) of the new venue put to use.

You can read more about the Bush’s future plans here on the Official London Theatre website.

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Thursday Theatre News: Mackenzie Crook, Ralf Little, Chris Fountain and Matt Willis Thu, 19 Aug 2010 17:00:28 +0000 This week’s theatre news is all about cast announcements.

Firstly, former Busted star Matt Willis will be wielding a welding torch in Flashdance next month, alongside West End regular Victoria Hamilton-Barritt. The kitsch 80s musical, which is choreographed by Arlene Phillips, will be Matt’s West End debut. Good luck, Matt!

Another teen idol, Hollyoaks star Chris Fountain is also coming to the West End this September. Chris will lead the cast of new musical Departure Lounge at the new Waterloo East Theatre, alongside Verity Rushworth and Liam Tamne, who both previously starred in Hairspray.

A second soap star to head to the London stage from September is Kevin Kennedy. You and I know him better as Curly from Corrie. But from 6 September, he’ll play Pop in the Queen rock musical, We Will Rock You.

Finally for musicals this week is the news that Sally Dexter is to join Sister Act, taking over from Whoopi Goldberg in the role of Mother Superior from the end of the month. They’re pretty big shoes to fill, but we think London stage regular Sally’s got the feet for the job!

And last but not least, Mackenzie Crook (who was so brilliant in the multi-award-winning Jerusalem last year) and Ralf Little (from BBC sitcoms The Royle Family and Two Pints Of Lager And A Packet Of Crisps) will star in The Aliens at the Bush Theatre, which starts previews from 15 September. This is the UK premier of this new play by Annie Baker, about two professional dropouts musing on magic mushrooms and music…

Finally, next Sunday (29) there’ll be a particularly special performance at the London Palladium. The Front of House team and stage crew will emerge from their places behind the scenes and take to the stage for one night only. The unique variety show is raising money for The Theatrical Guild, a charity for Backstage & Front of House staff and U Can Ask Angels, an organisation which helps families affected by disability. You can book tickets to Gareth Parnell’s Sunday Night at the London Palladium here.

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