Visit London Blog » st james theatre Enjoy the very best of London Fri, 22 May 2015 15:57:32 +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: The Sound of Music; Ghost Stories; Miss Saigon; and the Park Theatre Thu, 29 Aug 2013 09:00:34 +0000 Michael Xavier as Captain von Trapp and the children. Photo by Johan Persson

Good news for fans of The Sound of Music: the Open Air Theatre’s production of the Rodgers and Hammerstein classic has extended to 14 September. Let’s hope the weather stays kind for the rest of the run.

It was a huge hit first time round, so I’m pleased to announce that Jeremy Dyson and Andy Nyman’s terrifying production of Ghost Stories is coming back to the capital. The spooky show will play from 13 February at Leicester Square’s Arts Theatre, four years after it first appeared in London.

If, like me, you’re eagerly awaiting more details about Miss Saigon returning to the West End, I’ve got some news for you. The Olivier Award-winning show will play at the Prince Edward Theatre from 3 May next year. Tickets go on sale on 9 September – put it in your diaries!

Finally, I’ve news of London newest theatre, the Park Theatre’s second season. Tim Pigott-Smith will star in the world premiere of a new play by Larry Belling; and Sean Holmes brings his production of Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night back to the capital. There’ll be another world premiere (Sarah Rutherford’s Adult Supervision); a run by the ever-brilliant Reduced Shakespeare Company; and a festive pantomime.

London Theatre Cast News

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London Theatre News: Punchdrunk; Curious Incident; Slava’s Snowshow; and Henry Winkler Thu, 09 May 2013 13:00:47 +0000 The Drowned Man: A Hollywood Fable by Punchdrunk

Yesterday one of the most closely guarded secrets in theatreland has been revealed: the location of Punchdrunk’s new show. The Drowned Man: A Hollywood Fable will take place in the largest space the innovative theatre company have ever taken over: a massive empty building next door to Paddington Station. Subject to licensing and planning permission, Punchdrunk will transform 31 London Street into the forgotten world of Temple Studios for its latest immersive theatrical experience. The show has also extended its London run to 31 December with 50,000 extra tickets now on sale.

The Curious Incident Of The Dog In The Night-TimeNext up, great news for fans of the multi-award winning The Curious Incident Of The Dog In The Night-Time. The National’s hit show has extended its booking period at the Apollo Theatre to October 2014, releasing an additional 250,000 tickets for the celebrated show. If you haven’t done so yet, book tickets to see it now! It’s a fantastic piece of feel-good theatre, with a real star at the centre of its cast in Luke Treadaway.

London’s theatre offering also expanded today with the opening of a brand new theatre in Finsbury Park. The Park Theatre is run by artistic director Jez Bond, and the first performance will be Melanie Marnich’s These Shining Lives, starting this week. Like last year’s new arrival, the St James theatre in Victoria, there are two spaces in the venue: a 200-seat theatre and a flexible 90-seat space. The Park Theatre will operate as a charity, relying on local support to keep it running. If you’re in the area – pop in! There’s a bar and a café inside too.

And speaking of the St James Theatre, I have news of their latest show. The American Plan is a transfer from Theatre Royal Bath, and will open at the Victoria venue in July. Richard Greenberg’s 1960s-set play is a tale of broken dreams, twisted motives and deceit. It stars Diana Quick as an overbearing mother intent on controlling her daughter’s life.

Finally, this year’s Greenwich+Docklands international theatre festival line-up has been announced. Organised by Bradley Hemmings, one of the team responsible for last year’s Paralympic Opening Ceremony, the festival will feature the best UK and international performers to streets, parks and public spaces in and around Greenwich. If you like immersive, unusual and eclectic performance, then make sure you’re in London between 21 to 29 June. And best of all, it’s all free!

Henry Winkler will play Hook at the Hampstead Theatre this ChristmasChristmas London Theatre News

Is it too soon to get excited about the festive season in London? Perhaps. But if you’re the type of person who loves to plan ahead, you might fancy putting one of the following into the very end of your 2013 diary:

  • Slava’s Snowshow returns to the Royal Festival Hall at the Southbank Centre for the third year running in December. The award-winning production, which mixes theatrical clowning and stunning visuals, will hit the venue just in time to create a white Christmas, playing from 17 December to 5 January
  • And this week’s other Christmas announcement is that the legendary Henry Winkler will play Hook in Peter Pan at the Richmond Theatre from 6 December. Start practising your booing now!


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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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London Theatre News: Olivier Awards, Wicked, Young Vic, Soho Theatre, Rutherford & Son Thu, 04 Apr 2013 10:00:21 +0000 Wicked, Apollo Victoria Theatre, LondonFirstly, congratulations to Wicked, which welcomed its 5 millionth audience member last week. Stewart Lyons, who was watching the matinee on 30 March with his partner Cristina Kane, was the lucky, unexpecting theatregoer to make Wicked history. Stewart, from Kirkcaldy in Fife, said it felt “fantastic”, saying, “We loved the show and even though it is our first visit to Wicked, it won’t be our last.”

This year’s Olivier Award nominations have been announced, with the National Theatre’s hit show The Curious Incident Of The Dog In The Night-Time leading the way with eight possible prizes, including Best New Play.

Simon Stephens’ adaptation is also in the running for Best Actor for Luke Treadaway, Nicola Walker for Best Supporting Actress, as well as its creative team, with nominations for director Marianne Elliott, sound designer Ian Dickinson, lighting designer Paule Constable and set designers Bunny Christie and Finn Ross.

Olivier Awards 2013Two other productions scoring highly in the nominations are Top Hat and The Bodyguard with seven and four nominations each. Both have received nods in the coveted Best New Musical accolade alongside Loserville and Soul Sister. The lovely Tom Chambers, star of Top Hat, fights for the Best Actor in a Musical against six-time nominated Sweeney Todd star Michael Ball; Kiss Me, Kate’s Alex Bourne; and musical theatre newcomer and star of Cabaret, Will Young. For full details, go to the Official London Theatre website. The winners will be announced at a star-studded ceremony, hosted by double Olivier Award-winner Sheridan Smith and Downton Abbey’s Hugh Bonneville, on 28 April at the Royal Opera House.

The Young Vic has announced three new productions for their Maria theatre later this year. The venue’s smaller auditorium will host Trash Cuisine, a co-production with Belarus Free Theatre; The Secret Agent co-produced with theatre O; and new David Greig play The Events between May and November this year. The three shows are linked by dark themes of political violence and terror. As if in contrast, Fevered Sleep’s acclaimed show for 3 to 5-year-olds, Brilliant, returns to the venue from 3 to 13 July, with its dreamlike world made of light.

Soho TheatreIn addition, the Soho Theatre has news of two new dramas with an international flavour as part of its summer programme. Kathrine Kressmann Taylor’s classic pre-war drama Address Unknown will be performed in a new French-and-English version in June with Belgian theatremaker Valentijn Dhaenens’ look at the manipulative nature of rhetoric, Bigmouth, following in July. The new pieces join a spring/summer line-up that includes The Life And Sort Of Death Of Eric Argyle, Verity Bargate Award winner Pastoral, and tale of returning soldiers developed with former servicemen, Glory Dazed.

Finally, Northern Broadsides critically acclaimed production of Rutherford & Son will transfer to the St James Theatre this summer. Directed by Jonathan Miller, Rutherford & Son will play at the Victoria-based theatre from 4 to 29 June with the Northern Broadsides Artistic Director Barrie Rutter in the lead role of John Rutherford.

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London Restaurant News: Balthazar, Radio, Salvador & Amanda Thu, 28 Feb 2013 17:21:05 +0000 There are plenty of exciting new restaurants and bars opening in London right now. The only problem is deciding which to try first…


One of this year’s most talked-about new openings, Balthazar brings a taste of New York to London’s Covent Garden. The restaurant is closely modelled on the original Balthazar, which opened in downtown New York in 1997. You can enjoy bistro-style food throughout the day: breakfast, lunch, afternoon tea and dinner as well as weekend brunch. As in New York, there’s a Balthazar boulangerie next door selling artisan breads.

Radio Bar at ME London

A stunning rooftop bar called Radio will open tomorrow at the trendy new ME London hotel on the Strand. The bar will offer panoramic views of London’s skyline including St Paul’s Cathedral, Tower Bridge, the Houses of Parliament and the river Thames. The hotel already boasts two new restaurants: STK London, an American steakhouse, and Cucina Asellina, an Italian based on the popular Asellina restaurant in New York.

Salvador & Amanda Bloomsbury

Bloomsbury is already home to one of London’s most popular attractions, the British Museum, and now there’s yet another reason to visit the area. Opening tomorrow, Salvador & Amanda Bloomsbury is reminiscent of the cosmopolitan cafés of Madrid, Bilbao and Barcelona. You can snack on tapas, order a proper meal or simply sip cocktails and dance into the early hours.

More New London Restaurants

Other recent new openings include:

Sushinho – This new eatery near Liverpool Street blends Japanese and Brazilian cuisine and features a 10ft sushi bar and a cocktail lounge

Carrara at St James Theatre – The elegant restaurant at the new St James Theatre is already attracting celebrities such as Eddie Izzard, Lenny Henry and Jools Holland

Voltaire – A new haunt for champagne drinkers and cigar smokers in the City

K-10 Broadgate – The Japanese “kaiten” (conveyor belt) restaurant has opened a second branch at Broadgate

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London Theatre News: Shakespeare’s Globe Season, Rupert Goold, & St James Theatre Thu, 14 Feb 2013 15:00:42 +0000 Firstly, two extensions for London theatre shows this week: Feast at the Young Vic is running for another week, until 2 March; while long-running musical Wicked at the Apollo Victoria is now booking until April 2014.

Shakespeare's Globe TheatreOne of my favourite London theatres, Shakespeare’s Globe has announced details of its forthcoming season. In 2013, there’ll be appearances from Roger Allam as Prospero in The Tempest, alongside Colin Morgan (from Merlin) and Jessie Buckley (from I’d Do Anything). The Tempest plays alongside A Midsummer Night’s Dream and Macbeth; plus there’ll be a new musical Gabriel, a modern play called Blue Stockings and a new take on Euipides’ The Bacchae called The Lightning Child. Three of last year’s astonishing Globe To Globe plays return too: South Africa’s Venus & Adonis, a Georgian production of As You Like It and Belarus Free Theatre’s King Lear, along with Footsbarn’s Indian Tempest. Head to their website to find out more!

Congratulations to Rupert Goold, the acclaimed Artistic Director of the Headlong Theatre Company, who is going to replace Michael Attenborough as Artistic Director of the Almeida Theatre in August. Attenborough steps down after 11 years at the venue; Goold’s first production as leader will be in January 2014. Before that, you can catch the director’s handiwork in the world premiere of the new musical based on Bret Easton Ellis’ best-selling novel American Psycho at the venue in the autumn.

Following the successful Our Country’s Good at the St James Theatre, new play The Thrill Of Love opens next month. Running from 27 March to 4 May, The Thrill Of Love tells the story of Ruth Ellis, the last woman to be executed in the UK, after she is convicted of murdering her lover David Blakely, and features music by Billie Holiday. The show’s original cast (including Fate Castelow, Hilary Tones, Maya Wasovicz and Katie West) transfers with the production.

London Theatre Cast News:

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Thursday Theatre News: The New St James Theatre, Let It Be Launch, Mamma Mia Moving and Loserville Thu, 23 Aug 2012 18:30:22 +0000 This week’s top London theatre news stories:

Let It Be Rootfop Launch

One London rooftop echoed with the sounds of 1969 earlier today as the boys from the new Beatles musical, Let It Be, copied their heroes with a gig at Vista bar on top of the Trafalgar Hotel. In a nod to the famous 1969 concert on top of the Apple Corp building on Savile Row, Emanuelle Angeletti, Gordon Elsmore, Reuven Gershon and Stephen Hill, (who play Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr, John Lennon and George Harrison) entertained an audience of journalists and guests. I was lucky enough to get to the front of the busy scrum of people to hear songs including Hard Day’s Night, Twist And Shout and, of course, Let It Be.

A Sneak Preview of the St James Theatre
Yesterday I had a sneak preview of the new St James Theatre in Victoria. The new complex includes a state-of-the-art 312-seat theatre and an intimate 100-seat studio, perfect for comedy, cabaret and jazz nights. There’s also a swanky foyer bar and a lovely first-floor restaurant with space for 60 covers. Some of the space reminded me a little of the Trafalgar Studios, but with more luxurious touch (fitting for a venue so close to Buckingham Palace!). The first show, Bully Boy, opens on 18 September. Check out some more photos of the venue here.

Top Hat Cast Release Album
Great news for any fans of the lovely Top Hat musical, currently running at the Aldwych Theatre: they’re releasing a cast album recording of the acclaimed show. If you want a sneak preview, you can listen to some teaser clips on the production’s Facebook page:

Loserville Comes to London’s West End
Loserville, the new musical from Busted star James Bourne, is coming to London’s Garrick Theatre this October, following a successful regional run. The 1970s-based musical tells the story of a computer geek and his misfit friends, who are all set to change the course of history… but don’t know it yet! The good news? There will be 25,000 tickets available for £25 or less during the first booking period. Find out more here.

Mamma Mia Charity Show for Children in Need
Following last week’s news about the West End supporting Children in Need, there’s another gala performance taking place in aid of the charity, this time of Mamma Mia! on 12 September. Celebrating the musical’s move to the Novello Theatre, this special show will feature appearances by BBC Radio 2 presenters Vanessa Feltz, Anneka Rice and Penny Smith, alongside a celebrity-packed audience.

London Theatre Casting News:
Just one piece of casting news this week: The Royal Court’s much-anticipated new show, The River will star Dominic West, Laura Donnelly and Miranda Raison. The reason this new play is such a hot ticket? It’s by the same team as the Royal Court’s previous smash: Jerusalem. That’s writer Jez Butterworth, director Ian Rickson and designer Ultz. All I know about the story is that it’s about a man, a woman, and a remote cabin on some cliffs. It runs from 18 October to 17 November, and (unusually) there are no tickets available for advanced purchase – instead you can buy tickets on the day of the performance.

Check out London’s top theatre shows, musicals, watch videos, and book tickets here

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