Visit London Blog » hair Enjoy the very best of London Tue, 17 Mar 2015 16:11:19 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Thursday Theatre News: Fela!, Ditch, and Broadway Stars in the West End Thu, 15 Apr 2010 18:00:35 +0000 I’ve learnt about two exciting new London shows this week: the Broadway musical Fela! – about Afrobeat legend Fela Anikulapo-Kuti – comes to the National Theatre in November this year; and Ditch, which comes to the tunnels under Waterloo Station next month.

The first, Fela!, comes with a pretty impressive pedigree: associate producers on the project include Jay-Z, Will Smith and Jada Pinkett Smith. Written by Tony Award-winner Bill T Jones it tells the story of the Fela Anikulapo-Kuti, the Nigerian-born artist, musician, polygamist, commune founder and political activist, who died in 1997, through a winning blend of jazz, funk and African rhythms, dance, theatre and music.

Ditch is a new play by Beth Steel, and is being co-produced by HighTide in the Old Vic’s  Tunnels 228-332 under Waterloo Station. It tells of a near-future Britain where much of the country is underwater. The government has been reduced to a group of fascist fighters, and dwindling numbers of men patrol the moors for “illegals” in a rural outpost of the state. Ditch is the first of the Old Vic’s tunnel-based plans for 2010, which also include productions, installations, pop-up events and film screenings, with tickets either free or pretty damn cheap.

Americans are celebrating lots of success on the London theatre scene at the moment. After all the top reviews the Broadway revival of Hair got earlier today, it’s more good news from across the pond: an all-American cast for the Menier Chocolate Factory’s production of Paradise Found. The new musical is based on Joseph Roth’s novel The Tale Of The 1002nd Night, and is about the exploits of the Shah of Persia. The Tony Award-winning Mandy Patinkin is joined by more US names: Kate Baldwin, Shuler Hensley, Judy Kaye, George Lee Andrews (The Phantom Of The Opera, A Little Night Music), Lacey Kohl, John McMartin (Grey Gardens, Into The Woods), and Nancy Opel (Toxic Avenge, Urinetown).

In a more British show, A Thousand Stars Explode In The Sky at the Lyric Hammersmith features three of the UK’s finest writers: David Eldridge, Robert Holman and Simon Stephens. It’s a show about the family secrets that are revealed before the world comes to an end… Cast member Jemma Redgrave has sadly pulled out for personal reasons, but the cast remains strong. I really like Nigel Cooke and Ann Mitchell, and it’ll be good to see Harry McEntire back on the London stage after his appearance in the hit musical, Spring Awakening.

]]> 1
Your Views: Hair The Musical at the Gielgud Theatre Thu, 15 Apr 2010 11:00:09 +0000

The Broadway production of Hair The Musical opened at the Gielgud Theatre last night: the first time a Broadway show has transferred the same cast to the West End.

I was lucky enough to catch a preview of this exuberant show. I’ve never seen Hair before, despite hearing a lot about it from my parents who saw it “back in the day.”

It’s certainly a really interesting musical: while there’s no real narrative arc to speak of, making it difficult to care for any of the characters, there are some amazing songs, and the costumes, set and performances are really impressive (particularly the gorgeous Gavin Creel as Claude and Will Swenson as Berger).

We asked some other members of the audience if they thought the Age of Aquarius had arrived:

Juliette, Hatch End
I wasn’t sure what to expect and had heard alot about the original play in the 60s.  I was surprised at the level of audience interaction with the cast and at first found this a little daunting (probably more so if you were in the front few rows of the stalls). The second half was certainly stronger with the first half laying the foundations. Voices were great and definitely some strong characters. It was great to see so many on the stage at the end of the show.

Ricci Riccardi, Herne Hill, 29
The band were amazing – it was so good to see top session musicians playing in a West End show. The band made the show for me.

Jess Rees, Herne Hill, 29
Hair is a really fun show. The performers had bags of energy. It’s quite off-the-wall and the hallucination scene in the second act is really well done. There are some very random moments and it is definitely a product of the 60s, but it worth watching just to see the audience joining in at the end.

Lilac, Sydney, 32
I wasn’t expecting to like Hair, but I did. I didn’t think it would be innovative and memorable after all these years, but it was. I was intrigued by the format, impressed by the pace and made joyful by the obvious fun the cast (and audience) were having.

Flora, Reading, 27
I loved the music and the singing was outstanding, it sounded so good. What talent! Gavin Creel was outstandingly brilliant as Claude. I wasn’t sure about the character Berger though, he seemed like he was in the wrong theatre. Over all, really enjoyable and very beautiful.

Amy, Clapham, 33
Uproarious, glorious and groovy, baby! I wasn’t sure what to expect from Hair, but really got into the characters and the music. And I couldn’t believe it when the audience “gatecrashed” the stage to join the cast in their feelgood finale. Hair-larious!

Madelene, Finsbury Park, 37
If you immerse yourself in the fabulous music and forgive the lack of story then you will enjoy this new version of Hair. The energy from the Broadway cast lifts you up and takes you on a dreamy journey back to the 60s.

Have you seen Hair? Let us know what you think in the comments below.

Hair runs at the Gielgud Theatre until 8 January 2011. Book your tickets here

]]> 1
Thursday Theatre News: London’s Newest Theatre, TV Stars on the Stage, and a Howard Barker Festival Thu, 08 Apr 2010 16:36:34 +0000 It’s not often I get to talk about a new theatre in London. (New shops and new restaurants, yes, but not theatres!) So, I’m excited to report London has a new theatre, and its first show opens tomorrow. Check out new play Love, Question Mark by new writer Robert Gillespie at The New Diorama Theatre in Camden.

Spooks and Shakespeare fans will be pleased to hear the gorgeous Miranda Raison is going to be onstage in London this summer. Miranda, who played Jo Portman in the long-running spy drama, takes on the role of Anne Boleyn in two different productions at Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre. She’ll be playing the doomed queen in both Shakespeare’s rarely performed Henry VIII and a new play called Anne Boleyn by Howard Brenton.

Another TV star headed for the London stage is Emma Barton (Honey Mitchell in EastEnders to you and me), who’s appearing as Roxie Hart in Chicago at the end of the month. The former EastEnder moves to the West End’s Cambridge Theatre from 26 April, and she’s joined by Vivien Carter as Velma Kelly.

And there’s news from the lovely Riverside Studios in Hammersmith: a Howard Barker Festival celebrates the “theatre of catastrophe” writer later this month. Hurts Given and Received and Slowly are playing from 29 April and 1 May respectively: you can see both on one evening for £22. Then, on 2 May, there’ll be a rehearsed reading of Barker’s newest play Wonder and Worship in the Dying Ward. It’ll probably be tough viewing, but compelling nonetheless!

On a lighter note, the team here are off to see London’s new production of Hair! tonight. We’ll drop you a line about it very soon…

]]> 0
Thursday Theatre News: Hair, Petticoats and Star-Studded Lamps Thu, 19 Nov 2009 19:00:19 +0000 Dreamboats and Petticoats returns to the West End in JanuaryThis week’s news is dominated by the news about Hair coming back to London’s West End!

We’re too young to know anything about the original(!) but we’ve heard our parents talking about it, recognise the songs (Aquarius and Let The Sunshine In) and it all the stories about it from the 60s sound incredible. (Plus, anything starring Elaine Paige, Richard O’Brien, Tim Curry and Paul Nicholas must’ve been amazing!)

It’s also exciting to have the first entire Tony-award-winning Broadway cast opening a musical in London. We’ve got to wait til April, but it’s down in our diaries to get tickets!

In other theatre news, Dreamboats and Petticoats, the musical inspired by an album of 50s songs, is due to reopen in January. From a successful touring show, this musical was so popular at the Savoy this summer, it extended its run by seven weeks!

And now it’s coming back: book your tickets to see it at the Playhouse from 6 January. Anyone out there seen it and want to tell us about it? We’re yet to catch this one.

If you’re looking for a shorter-term theatre fix, Panto season is very nearly upon us! We’ve had news from the Lyric that the rehearsals for Jack and the Beanstalk are well under way. Backstage, the Dame’s seven (count them!) dresses are almost finished, and the 4-metre-tall Giant is getting close to being brought to life…

Over at the New Wimbledon Theatre, we’ve heard news their panto has added another jewel to its star-studded Aladdin’s lamp. Anita Dobson (fresh from baring all in Calendar Girls, but best-known to the world as Angie Watts from EastEnders in the 80s) is the final star to share the role of the Genie of the Lamp alongside Ruby Wax, Pamela Anderson and Paul O’Grady.

Do you have plans to see any of London’s fantastic Pantos? Let us know which baddie you’ll be booing and hissing at over the Christmas season…

]]> 4