Visit London Blog » noel coward theatre Enjoy the very best of London Wed, 23 Apr 2014 14:26:53 +0000 en-US hourly 1 London Theatre News: One Man, Two Guvnors; Viva Forever; ZooNation; and The Full Monty Thu, 02 May 2013 10:00:16 +0000

Firstly this week, I have news of two shows closing early, and another extending. So, if you’re eager to see Strictly Come Dancing stars Kristina Rihanoff and Robin Windsor in Burn The Floor at the Shaftesbury Theatre, you’ll need to be quick. The show is now closing on 30 June. The same date will be the final performance of Viva Forever! at the Piccadilly Theatre. The musical based on the songs of the Spice Girls has run for just six months, but producers have blamed poor ticket sales and bad reviews for the early closure. Fans of One Man Two Guvnors are in luck however; the National Theatre’s hit comedy celebrates its third year in London this week by releasing an additional 150,000 tickets for the show at the Theatre Royal Haymarket: it’s now booking until 1 March 2014.

I’ve also got news of two new shows coming to London in the near future. Dance troupe ZooNation bring the world premiere their “unique twist” on The Wizard of Oz, Groove on Down the Road to the Southbank Centre this summer. Featuring music from the original 1978 film The Wiz remixed with current tunes by DJ Walde, Groove on Down the Road runs from 10 August to 1 September at the Queen Elizabeth Hall. The acclaimed Sheffield Theatres production of The Full Monty will transfer to the West End next year for a 16-week season. The stage adaptation of the hit film will play at the Noel Coward Theatre from February next year. Following the news of American Psycho and The Commitments last week, it seems we can’t get enough of film adaptations on the London stage at the moment.

Finally, another summer treat to look forward to. The Lyric Hammersmith is running Theatre in the Square again this summer, encouraging visitors to indulge in free theatre from four of the country’s most innovative theatre companies over a four-week season. The shows’ themes range from water to motherhood to ice cream to The Bacchae. Theatre in the Square is part of the ever-brilliant Greenwich+Docklands International Festival.

London Theatre Cast News

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Six New London Theatre Shows to Look Forward To In 2013 Wed, 02 Jan 2013 17:30:36 +0000 I’ve already flagged up some of the fantastic musicals coming to London this year. Here’s a list for those of you who prefer your plays “straight”. (Or simply hate musicals…!)

Many of 2012′s theatrical highlights were Shakespearean. The World Shakespeare Festival created some amazing dramatic moments, from Stephen Fry’s yellow stockings at The Globe to a Julius Caesar set in modern day Africa from the RSC. There were also triumphs for Sheridan Smith as Hedda Gabler, and some impressive displays of stamina in the 8-hour GATZ.

Theatre in London is more exciting than ever in 2013. There’s plenty more Shakespeare for you to look forward to, as well as some newer treats. Here are just some of the shows I’m looking forward to in the coming months:

Quartermaine's Terms1. Quartermaine’s Terms, Wyndham’s Theatre from 23 Jan
See Rowan Atkinson return to the London stage for the first time in 25 years this month. He’s starring as the well-meaning but hopeless teacher St John Quartermaine in Simon Gray’s tragicomedy at Wyndham’s Theatre. Quartermaine’s Terms is set in a 1960s English language school and is a humorous but moving account of several years in the lives of seven teachers.

2. Old Times, Harold Pinter Theatre from 12 Jan
If you enjoyed watching the BBC adaptation of Restless over the Christmas holidays, here’s a chance to catch the ever-brilliant Rufus Sewell in the flesh. He’s playing opposite Kristin Scott Thomas and Lia Williams in Harold Pinter’s erotically charged and compelling drama, Old Times. Directed by Ian Rickson, Old Times will be the first Harold Pinter play to be staged at the newly named Harold Pinter Theatre.

Macbeth3. Macbeth, Trafalgar Studios from 9 Feb
Another month, another big name comes to the West End. From February, you can see James McAvoy, best known for his big-screen roles in films like Atonement and The Last King of Scotland playing Macbeth, directed by Jamie Lloyd at the Trafalgar Studios. This Macbeth is part of a longer season of political plays under the banner “Trafalgar Transformed”.

4. The Audience, Gielgud Theatre from 15 Feb
If you’re a fan of 2006 film The Queen, you’ll love The Audience opening at the Gielgud later this year. Like that film, The Audience is also written by Peter Morgan, and stars Helen Mirren as Queen Elizabeth II. Directed by Stephen Daldry, The Audience imagines the weekly meetings between The Queen and her 12 Prime Ministers. Look out for Haydn Gwynne as Thatcher, Robert Hardy as Churchill and Rufus Wright as David Cameron.

Peter And Alice5. Peter And Alice, Noel Coward Theatre from 9 Mar
In March, the Michael Grandage Company presents Peter And Alice, a new play exploring a meeting between the real-life inspirations for Alice in Wonderland and Peter Pan. Written by John Logan, Peter And Alice is the story of Alice Liddell Hargreaves and Peter Llewelyn Davies who meet at the opening of a Lewis Carroll exhibition in 1932. It stars Judi Dench and Ben Whishaw as the eponymous leads.

6. Relatively Speaking, Wyndham’s Theatre from 14 May
Following the success of A Chorus of Disapproval, another Alan Ayckbourn play opens in the West End in May. Relatively Speaking stars Felicity Kendal, Kara Tointon, Jonathan Coy and Max Bennett at Wyndham’s Theatre in what’s sure to be a brilliant comedy of British manners.

What London theatre shows are you looking forward to in 2013? Let us know in the comments below.

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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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Thursday Theatre News: Celia Imrie, America Ferrera, Joley Richardson, Million Dollar Quartet & The Kings Speech Thu, 13 Oct 2011 17:00:00 +0000

Sad news to start this week: Million Dollar Quartet is closing. After nearly a year in the West End, the musical which celebrates the four greats of rock’n’roll (Elvis, Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis and Carl Perkins) will close on 14 January at the Noel Coward Theatre. (The producers are planning to take the production on a tour of the UK, so this isn’t necessarily the end for this show!)

Are you a fan of The Kings Speech? The Oscar-winning film actually started life as a play by David Seidler, which is happily being produced at the Richmond Theatre next March. The Kings Speech is directed by former RSC Artistic Director Adrian Noble and stars Charles Edwards as King George VI. I think it’ll make a fantastic play; can’t wait to see it!

And now this week’s cast news:

More next week!

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Million Dollar Quartet at the Noel Coward Theatre Sun, 06 Mar 2011 13:00:52 +0000

You may have seen the bright Million Dollar Quartet sign near Leicester Square, it has been up for some time. The show celebrates the night that four of the greatest rock’n'roll legends came together: Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis and Carl Perkins under the guidance of Sam Phillips, record producer at Sun Records.

On this night in 1956 the four have an epic jam session and make music history.

This show is lots of fun, and the score will delight visitors of all ages. The production is less a musical than a tribute act, with four very talented impersonators. There is little narrative, so if you need the loo halfway through, the most you’re going to miss is a favourite Elvis number. While watching, I found many parallels with Woody Sez, the show on just round the corner showcasing folk artist Woody Guthrie’s life and music. There are also similarities with box office success Jersey Boys, particularly in the staging that favours dramatic static poses and strong silhouettes.  

Of the four performers, Ben Goddard sparkles brightest, playing the cheeky Jerry Lee Lewis; he has a magnetic spirit and an irresistible charm. He is an exceptional pianist and has a voice that is full of fire. Goddard energises the score matching the original Lewis’s star quality. Robert Britton Lyons has a tricky task playing the less famous musician Carl Perkins, luckily his guitar skills make up for the slightly bland characterisation. Both Derek Hagen (Johnny Cash) and Michael Malarkey (Elvis Presley) fulfil the brief as their respective legends; it’s a pleasure to listen to their renditions of some classic numbers and they seem to love being up there. There is secure back-up too from Francesca Jackson as Presley’s squeeze Dyanne, and Bill Ward as the enthusiastic ringleader Sam Phillips.

Although Million Dollar Quartet may not be as durable as its competitors, no-one can deny the talent and fun that the show displays by the bucket-load.

Million Dollar Quartet is booking at the Noel Coward Theatre until 1 October 2011. Book tickets here

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Deathtrap at the Noel Coward Theatre Thu, 09 Sep 2010 14:00:05 +0000 Playwright Sidney Bruhl (Simon Russell Beale) hasn’t written a hit play for years.

When a student sends him an excellent script for a new comic thriller called (funnily enough) Deathtrap, Sidney and his nervy wife Myra joke about killing the young upstart and claiming the play, and the money it’s sure to make, for themselves.

That’s really all I can reveal about the plot of the twisty, pacy, comic thriller Deathtrap which opened in the West End this week. Anything more, and I’d be giving the game away. Although, I can say it’ll make you laugh.

And it’ll definitely make you jump.

Deathtrap takes place in Sidney’s study; a room you’ll instantly spot is littered with potential weapons. Designer Rob Howell’s impressive set is a murderer’s dream: curtains over doors, a spooky staircase leads upstairs, and there’s a slight feeling that there’s nowhere to hide… The constant references to the fact that the house is in the middle of nowhere just enhance the tension.

Russell Beale plays the ageing playwright Sidney with a suitably self-loathing air. In contrast, Jonathan Groff’s naive but precocious young writer, Cliff, really sparkles with irritating confidence. (Glee fans will be pleased to hear there’s more than a little of Jesse St James in this, Groff’s West End debut: the same smarmy insincerity, as well as those sudden flashes of buried, manic anger…)

Less convincing is Estelle Parsons as batty psychic neighbour Helga ten Dorp. The constant references to the fact that she’s a funny character only serve to highlight that she’s not, and her final summing up of the play in the last act felt like a real waste of time.

But if you like comic, knowing, self-referential melodrama, with an element of the thriller and a touch of silliness mixed in, you’ll love Ira Levin’s witty play. And it’ll probably have you double checking you’ve locked the back door at night…

Deathtrap at the Noel Coward Theatre is booking until 22 January. Book tickets here

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Opening Night: Enron at the Noel Coward Theatre Wed, 27 Jan 2010 17:46:48 +0000

Yesterday, when the economists declared the recession officially over, I went to see a play about Enron, a financial “adventure” that could well be seen as related to our recent depression.

As opening nights go, it was pretty spectacular. The show’s already had rave reviews in Chichester and at the Royal Court. (You’ll remember we sent city worker Will to give us his views on the play back in September.) In addition, Rupert Goold had won the Critics Circle Award for Best Director earlier in the day, so excitement was running high in the theatre.

Add to that the swathes of stars also seeing the show, and I was struggling to stop myself staring, starstruck. Sharing a row with Charles Dance and Lindsay Duncan was one thing.

Spotting John Simm, Frank Skinner, David Dimbleby, AA Gill, Felicity Kendal, Cillian Murphy, Micky Dolenz and Benedict Cumberbatch spread throughout the rest of the theatre was another. I’m sure there were loads more famous faces there – the place was teeming with (really random) celebrities! Rupert Goold was also there, big-haired and relaxed in a brown suit.

Without a ticket to the after-party (sniff), I can’t tell you about anyone else, but I can tell you that Enron seems to be *the* West End play of the moment. It’s a fantastically fast-paced show; exciting, dramatic and revealing even to someone who understands incredibly little (and possibly cares less) about the financial world of the 1990s. Because Lucy Prebble’s play is about the characters as well as the money, combined with Goold’s trademark directorial craziness, it’s a brilliant piece of theatre.

Eron is booking at the Noel Coward Theatre until 8 May.

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Enron – A View from The City Wed, 30 Sep 2009 13:19:26 +0000 Enron, Royal Court Theatre, London

Enron, Royal Court Theatre, London

City worker Will H offers his take on Enron at the Royal Court Theatre:

I recently had the pleasure of seeing Enron. This new play lays bare the archetypal corporate crime of the 1990s. White-collar crime may not be traditionally fertile ground for drama, but writer Lucy Prebble and cast have done an excellent job of bringing to life the story of Enron: blowing up the bubble and then blowing up the company. 

At the heart of the play is a classic and well-crafted tragedy and morality tale. Accounting geeks Jeff Skilling (Samuel West) and Andy Fastow (Tom Goodman-Hill) find success exploiting aggressive interpretations of accounting rules. Amid ever-growing adulation and constant pressure, the pair double-up their bets and become ever more detached from the operating realities. Thus a minor sin snowballs into the fraud of the decade.

As the executives help corrupt – and are corrupted by - the “irrational exuberance” of the age, the audience is entertained by a series of well-aimed vignettes on the financial system. Expressed via the media of sassy Texans, Jedi energy traders and a pack of raptors, even mark-to-market accounting and off-balance-sheet finance can make for a riveting, thought-provoking night out.

Enron has sold out its run at the Royal Court. The production transfers to the Noël Coward Theatre from 16 January 2010 and is currently booking until 8 May.

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