Visit London Blog » End of the Rainbow Enjoy the very best of London Thu, 28 Aug 2014 11:51:53 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Thursday Theatre News: Tate and Tennant, Imelda Staunton, Mark Curry, and London Show Extensions Thu, 13 Jan 2011 18:00:09 +0000

What an exciting week for theatre fans!

First there’s the news that former Doctor Who co-stars, David Tennant and Catherine Tate will be reunited in London this summer, when they lead the cast of Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Nothing at Wyndham’s Theatre.

Plus the announcement that Cranford and Harry Potter star Imelda Staunton will join Penelope Wilton in Edward Albee’s A Delicate Balance at the Almeida Theatre in May.

Then I learn that another TV star makes his debut at the Royal Court Theatre next month. Colin Morgan, who you’ll know from the BBC series Merlin, is appearing in Our Private Life, a “black comedy of twisted morality”, set in a Columbian village.

Anyone around my age will be interested to learn that former Blue Peter presenter Mark Curry will be starring in Company at the Southwark Playhouse from 2 February. This’ll be the Southwark Playhouse’s first musical since it opened in 1993: break a leg everyone!

And finally, Oliver Ford Davies (that’s Sio from the Star Wars prequels to me and you) will be playing Tom in a new adaptation of Goodnight Mister Tom. Just thinking about what was one of my favourite books as a kid makes me want to cry! Happily, this classic is in good hands: it’s being adapted by David Wood, the playwright renowned for his popular adaptations of Roald Dahl stories, including George’s Marvellous Medicine (currently getting great reviews at the Bloomsbury Theatre).

In other news, extensions have been announced for the following shows:

And I’d like to say congratulations to the Finborough Theatre in West London: they’ve won The Stage 100′s Fringe Theatre of the Year Award.

This tiny, 50-seat venue above a wine bar in Earl’s Court presents new writing and musical theatre, and has been gaining momentum in the last few years under the expert guidance of Artistic Director, Neil McPherson. If you’re in the area, be sure to check it out.

]]> 1
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!

]]> 3
Your Views: End of the Rainbow at Trafalgar Studios Fri, 26 Nov 2010 15:30:40 +0000

End of the Rainbow opened at Trafalgar Studios on Monday. The musical follows Hollywood legend Judy Garland (played by Tracie Bennett) towards the end of her life, as she embarks on a five-week run of shows London, which is approached in Garland’s typical shambolic-but-brilliant way.

We asked several theatre-goers what they thought of the show:

Kate, 32, Bethnal Green
Tracie Bennett doesn’t just play Judy Garland, she embodies her, perfectly capturing Garland’s every side from purring kitten to roaring lioness. She slinks and sashays around the stage, her tornado of a voice makes the walls shake, and she throws some pretty nifty dance moves, too. Captivating from hopeful start to tragic finish. I found it hard to believe so much life could be squeezed out of just 47 years.

Zoe, 30, Peckham Rye
End of the Rainbow is a must-see musical for all Judy Garland fans. It’s a pretty heartbreaking piece of theatre, but the brilliance of the songs really shines through. Tracie Bennett’s performance is nothing short of breathtaking. I’m too young to know (!) but a guy next to me in the audience who’d seen Judy perform live twice said he thought Bennett’s renditions of the songs were pretty much perfect.

Charlotte, 35, Clapham Junction
What a treat End of the Rainbow is! This stage biopic about Judy Garland illustrates how she was manipulated by all the men in her life, who played on her insecurities for their own ends. It also shows how she was trying to move on with her life in London when she tragically died. Tracie Bennett gives a superb performance as the brilliant yet deeply troubled Judy Garland and sings some of the classic songs she was famous for. Whether or not you are a fan of Judy Garland or only know her from The Wizard of Oz, I would highly recommend this play as a “must see”.

Jess, 29, Herne Hill
This is an incredible play. I was absolutely mesmerised by Tracie Bennett’s portrayal of Judy Garland. Her acting was incredible as was her singing – I really felt like I was watching Judy herself (she even looked so very like her). It was extremely touching – a real tear-jerker, as you can’t help but feel tremendous sympathy for Judy Garland. How Bennett will keep up such energy for the run I don’t know, because it is a very demanding role, both physically and emotionally. Whether you are a Judy Garland fan or not, I urge you to see this most magnificent play just to watch Bennett handle this role so wonderfully.

Madelene, 38, Finsbury Park
Sometimes you feel honoured going to see artists perform their craft and this was one of those moments. Tracie Bennett was absolutely magical.

Mark, 42, Chelsea
Tracie Bennett gives a bravura performance in this show. Having read Judy Garland’s biography and adoringly watched most (all?!) of her films, I thought Bennett’s portrayal was astoundingly accurate. Consequently End of the Rainbow was like watching a histrionic car crash – fascinating, frightening, utterly compelling and almost unwontedly enjoyable.

End of the Rainbow is on at Trafalgar Studios until 5 March. Get your End of the Rainbow tickets here.

]]> 0