Visit London Blog » Hay fever Enjoy the very best of London Fri, 22 May 2015 17:44:12 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Six New London Theatre Shows To Look Forward To in 2012 Thu, 22 Dec 2011 15:00:23 +0000  
2012 is certainly going to be an exciting year for theatre lovers. With the incredible variety of exciting new plays and productions available in London each year, it’s great to be able to pick out a few highlights for the coming 12 months.

As with last year, I’ve selected these for their starry casts, as well as the promise of fabulous productions. Autograph books at the ready…

1. The Madness of George III, Apollo Theatre, from 18 Jan
I can’t wait to see Olivier Award-winning actor David Haig in Alan Bennett’s brilliant play. He’s already had rave reviews for performances in Bath, and I loved seeing him in Yes, Prime Minister last year, so this is one of next January’s hottest tickets for me.

2. Hay Fever, Noël Coward Theatre, from 10 Feb
I’m a big fan of Lindsay Duncan, Jeremy Northam and Olivia Colman, so I can’t wait to see them all together in Noël Coward’s Hay Fever at the Noël Coward Theatre in February.

3. All New People, Duke of Yorks Theatre, from 22 Feb
Another year, another American star wants to come and perform in our inimitable West End. This time Scrubs’ Zach Braff is bringing his new play, All New People, to London. And he’s starring in it too. While he’s not to everyone’s taste, I like Scrubs and Braff’s film, Garden State, so am interested in seeing this show when it comes to London.

4. Wild Swans, Young Vic, from 13 Apr
Any Harry Potter fans out there should check out Wild Swans at the Young Vic this spring: it stars Harry Potter actor Katie Leung as the character based on Jung Chang in a new stage version of the famous story.

5. Mark Rylance at the Globe, from 7 Jun
Mark Rylance is one of my all-time favourite actors. And knowing that he’s returning to my favourite theatre in London, Shakespeare’s Globe, is just so exciting. Plus he’s playing the lead in Richard III and Olivia in an all-male Twelfth Night – two of the bard’s greatest plays. Booking opens on 13 February: don’t miss out!

6. King Lear, Almeida Theatre, from 31 Aug
Another exciting addition to the World Shakespeare Festival is Jonathan Pryce playing King Lear at the Almeida next summer. I loved Pryce as the villain in Tomorrow Never Dies, and when I saw him on stage in My Fair Lady. I can’t help thinking he’ll be an amazing Lear.

What plays are you looking forward to seeing in 2012? Let us know in the comments below.

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Thursday Theatre News: Backbeat, The Mousetrap, Zach Braff and American Idiot The Musical Thu, 01 Dec 2011 18:19:43 +0000 Let’s get the sad news out of the way first: Backbeat is closing early. The show, which charts the early days of The Beatles, is ending its run at the Duke of York’s Theatre on 18 February. It had been booking until 24 March. (Look out Canada, it could be coming your way in summer 2012.)

Now on to happier announcements!

The Mousetrap is celebrating its diamond jubilee year in September 2012: that’s 60 years in the West End! There are lots of 60-themed events planned for next year, including a 60-venue, 60-week tour, and 60 international productions. But don’t forget, you can only see the original (and best!) production of this incredible show in London…

In contrast, I’ve got details of two brand new West End shows coming to London next year. Firstly, Zach Braff (best known as for his part in TV show Scrubs), is making his stage debut in his own play, All New People at the Duke of York’s Theatre from 22 February next year. Second, the Tony Award-winning musical American Idiot is coming to London’s HMV Hammersmith Apollo next December. You’ll have to be quick if you want to see it: it’s only on from 3 to 8 December 2012 in London.

This Week’s Cast News

More next week…

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Thursday Theatre News: Mamma Mia, Noel Coward, Young Vic, Billy Elliot & Simon Callow Thu, 20 Oct 2011 17:00:18 +0000 Firstly, news of an early closure. Cool Hand Luke was booking until 7 January, but it’s now closing on 19 November: bad luck guys…

On a more positive note, after 12 years, long-running musical Mamma Mia! is moving. I’ve yet to confirm the exact dates, but the hit ABBA show is moving from the Prince of Wales theatre to the Novello on Aldwych, following the excellent Crazy For You. More details when I have them!

The Young Vic has announced a new show: theatre company Sound&Fury are bringing Going Dark to the venue next March. It’s going to be an immersive show with interesting lighting, projections and sound, about a narrator in a planetarium.

Finally, the Evening Standard Theatre Awards longlist has been announced. Congratulations to the National Theatre, Matilda The Musical, Shakespeare’s Globe, Crazy for You and more who’ve all been nominated. I wouldn’t like to be the judge choosing between Benedict Cumberbatch, Jonny Lee Miller, James Corden, Ralph Fiennes, Kevin Spacey and Jude Law for the Best Actor category…

This Week’s London Cast News:

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Hay Fever at The Rose Theatre, Kingston Fri, 01 Oct 2010 14:45:56 +0000 Noel Coward’s play Hay Fever was written in just three days; with much of the material taken from his experience of staying with the loopy Manners family. At the time (1924) great actress and singer Marie Tempest refused the leading role of Judith Bliss. But once Coward wrote a few more plays and revues and became the hottest playwright in the West End, Tempest unsurprisingly changed her mind about taking the part.

Ever since, Hay Fever has been coveted by the most fabulous of older actresses, including Edith Evans and Judi Dench. The Rose Theatre is lucky to have not one but two established actresses taking on the role, Celia Imrie (whom I saw) takes the first half of the run, and Nichola McAuliffe the second.

This comic Coward at his very best. However the play’s success also depends on the chemistry and innuendo created on stage by the cast. Hay Fever is a farce set in an English country house in the 1920s. We are introduced to the four eccentric members of the Bliss family and watch the hysterical consequences as each invites a guest to stay for the weekend.

The Rose Theatre has a contemporary feel with a simple stage that allows it to be transformed for each production. Hay Fever’s set was beautifully ornate with a real attention to detail, similar in fact to Coward’s Waiting for Wings that I saw a few weeks ago.

Celia Imrie commands the stage and seems to relish the experience of being Judith Bliss. Hay Fever’s younger roles are taken on by Georgia Maguire and Joshua McGuire (both recent drama school graduates) playing the two bratty Bliss children, chasing each other around the stage and being deliciously unaware of their conceited selfish behaviour. I enjoyed watching the interaction between mother and children, especially how Judith acts with her younger, more beautiful daughter, flitting between pride and jealousy.

This play is right up my street, I enjoyed it so much I was still laughing in the intervals… I even forgot about my dreadful cold. The Bliss family are utterly dysfunctional, but work in their own way. I think there is something here for everyone to identity with. I certainly thought the mad melodramatic ensemble on stage were really quite similar to my own rowdy, Bohemian family!

Hay fever continues until Saturday 23 October.

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