Visit London Blog » the bodyguard http://blog.visitlondon.com Enjoy the very best of London Wed, 16 Apr 2014 09:00:50 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.8.3 London Theatre News: Benedict Cumberbatch, National Theatre and Old Vic seasons, Alexandra Burke, Thriller Live, The Commitments, Olivier Awards http://blog.visitlondon.com/2014/04/london-theatre-news-benedict-cumberbatch-national-theatre-and-old-vic-seasons-alexandra-burke-thriller-live-the-commitments-olivier-awards/ http://blog.visitlondon.com/2014/04/london-theatre-news-benedict-cumberbatch-national-theatre-and-old-vic-seasons-alexandra-burke-thriller-live-the-commitments-olivier-awards/#comments Wed, 02 Apr 2014 10:15:43 +0000 http://blog.visitlondon.com/?p=38276

There’ve been rumblings about it for months, but we finally know for sure that Sherlock and The Hobbit star Benedict Cumberbatch will get all Shakespearean and give London his Hamlet. The production, which already looks to be one of 2015’s highlights, will play at the Barbican.

I know we’re barely three months into 2014 and already we’re looking forward to next year, but Cumberbatch fans aren’t the only people getting excited about 2015.

The National Theatre has looked that far ahead and announced a season including new plays by David Hare, Tom Stoppard and Richard Bean alongside an adaptation of Treasure Island and Helen McCrory starring in Medea.

Hit musicals Thriller Live and The Commitments have also cast their eyes that way and announced extensions to their popular runs taking them into 2015.

Kevin Spacey’s not thinking quite that far in advance. The Artistic Director of the Old Vic has only announced plans until the end of 2014. He’ll be taking to the stage in May to play ground-breaking lawyer Clarence Darrow in a one-man show, followed by a modern take on The Crucible and Kristin Scott Thomas starring in Greek tragedy Electra.

At the Adelphi Theatre, one British music mega star will replace another as X Factor winner Alexandra Burke takes over from soul sensation Beverley Knight as The Bodyguard’s Rachel Marron from 2 June. By all accounts Knight has made a big impression since making her stage debut in the Whitney Houston musical; let’s hope Burke can do the same.

Just one more thing, if you’re wondering what to do on the evening of 13 April, the answer is watch the Olivier Awards with MasterCard. The show’s fantastic performances have been announced and include all the nominated Best New Musical and Audience Award shows, Broadway star Bernadette Peters and ABBA’s Benny and Björn joining the cast of Mamma Mia! to celebrate the show’s 15th birthday. Tune in to ITV from 22:15 to see all the best bits.

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London Theatre News: Made In Dagenham, Memphis, In The Heights, Ruthie Henshall, Arthur Darvill, Stephen Ward, Let The Right One In http://blog.visitlondon.com/2014/03/london-theatre-news-made-in-dagenham-memphis-in-the-heights-ruthie-henshall-arthur-darvill-stephen-ward-let-the-right-one-in/ http://blog.visitlondon.com/2014/03/london-theatre-news-made-in-dagenham-memphis-in-the-heights-ruthie-henshall-arthur-darvill-stephen-ward-let-the-right-one-in/#comments Wed, 05 Mar 2014 12:30:49 +0000 http://blog.visitlondon.com/?p=38000

My latest load of London theatre news is more musical than an old fashioned jewellery box.

Hot off the press is the missive that the much rumoured Made In Dagenham musical, based on the hit British film, is driving into the West End with acclaimed director Rupert Goold at the steering wheel and British big screen star Gemma Arterton in the passenger seat as his leading lady. It will open at the Adelphi Theatre, currently playing host to The Bodyguard, this autumn.

Current star of The Bodyguard, UK soul sensation Beverley Knight, has got a taste for the London stage having made her debut in the Whitney Houston musical. She’ll lead the cast of the Tony Award-winning Memphis when it opens at the Shaftesbury Theatre in October.

Another Tony Award-winning tuner, In The Heights, receives its London debut at the Southwark Playhouse this May.

Musical theatre superstar Ruthie Henshall, who’s previously stunned audiences in shows including Les Misérables, Miss Saigon and Chicago, is heading back to the stage to play dance teacher Mrs Wilkinson in Billy Elliot The Musical from 12 May.

Arthur Darvill, who may not be a musical theatre superstar just yet – give it time – but is certainly well known to anyone with a passing interest in sci-fi or family television having played Rory in Doctor Who, is taking to the London stage in Once. The actor and musician will play Guy, a role he previously played on Broadway, from 17 March.

Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Stephen Ward, which explores the story of the Profumo Affair, has announced the curtain will come down on its tale of scandal and scapegoats in late March.

In non-musical news, the National Theatre of Scotland’s production of vampire tale Let The Right One In will bring its story of unlikely friendship and brutal attacks to the Apollo Shaftesbury from 26 March.

Oooh, almost forgot, tune into the Olivier Awards website or Official London Theatre on 10 March from 11:30 (GMT) to discover who’s been nominated for this year’s Olivier Awards with MasterCard.

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London Theatre News: Blithe Spirit, Shakespeare’s Globe, Mojo, The Bodyguard, Miss Saigon, Urinetown and I Can’t Sing http://blog.visitlondon.com/2013/12/london-theatre-news-blithe-spirit-shakespeares-globe-mojo-the-bodyguard-miss-saigon-urinetown-i-cant-sing/ http://blog.visitlondon.com/2013/12/london-theatre-news-blithe-spirit-shakespeares-globe-mojo-the-bodyguard-miss-saigon-urinetown-i-cant-sing/#comments Wed, 11 Dec 2013 12:54:00 +0000 http://blog.visitlondon.com/?p=36691

Angela Lansbury in Blithe Spirit

If the closest you’ve come to seeing Angela Lansbury live on stage is watching Murder, She Wrote on your iPad during an interval – I’m giving away too much about myself, aren’t I? – I have good news. The esteemed actress is returning to London theatre for the first time in almost 40 years to star in Noël Coward’s Blithe Spirit in 2014. Downton Abbey’s Charles Edwards and Olivier Award winner Janie Dee will star opposite the five-times Tony Award-winning actress when the comedy opens in March.

Globe Theatre’s Summer Season

Speaking of murder, Julius Caesar is one of the Shakespearean offerings to be staged by Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre next summer. The 2014 Arms And The Man season, as it is being called, will also include Antony And Cleopatra, The Comedy Of Errors and the return of the venue’s hit 2006 production of Titus Andronicus. New plays by Howard Brenton, David Eldridge, Richard Bean and Simon Armitage will also be included.

Extended Runs

If you were worried about being too late to catch star-laden drama Mojo, Punchdrunk’s immersive The Drowned Man, or Beverley Knight’s stage debut in The Bodyguard, you can breathe a little easier as all of them have extended their runs.

New Star for Miss Saigon

One star-to-be who won’t be breathing easier at the moment, I’d imagine, is American teenager Eva Noblezada who may be a little nervous as she has been cast as Kim in the West End’s new production of Miss Saigon. The high school singer was discovered at a concert in New York and has never worked professionally on the stage before. What a way to make your debut!

Urinetown and I Can’t Sing

In other casting news, former EastEnders star Marc Elliott has joined the cast of the eagerly awaited Urinetown, while West End regular Simon Bailey will play imagined X Factor host Liam O’Deary in the Harry Hill-penned I Can’t Sing.

This is a Guest Post by Official London Theatre, the premier website for London theatre. With the latest news, fantastic features, comprehensive listings & incredible offers it is your one-stop shop for everything about the theatre capital of the world.

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London Theatre News: Olivier Awards, Wicked, Young Vic, Soho Theatre, Rutherford & Son http://blog.visitlondon.com/2013/04/london-theatre-news-olivier-awards-wicked-young-vic-soho-theatre-rutherford-son/ http://blog.visitlondon.com/2013/04/london-theatre-news-olivier-awards-wicked-young-vic-soho-theatre-rutherford-son/#comments Thu, 04 Apr 2013 10:00:21 +0000 http://blog.visitlondon.com/?p=32457 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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Theatre Review: The Bodyguard at the Adelphi Theatre http://blog.visitlondon.com/2012/12/theatre-review-the-bodyguard-at-the-adelphi-theatre/ http://blog.visitlondon.com/2012/12/theatre-review-the-bodyguard-at-the-adelphi-theatre/#comments Thu, 06 Dec 2012 17:15:59 +0000 http://blog.visitlondon.com/?p=30542

WHEN Whitney Houston died earlier this year, admirers worldwide mourned her passing. Her hits rang out from every radio station and friends, family and fans paid tribute to one of the most successful female singers of all time.

So it was hardly surprising when just months later it was revealed that a musical version of the film The Bodyguard, in which Houston starred, was to hit the West End.

Last night the production opened at The Adelphi Theatre on the Strand. While one might have expected it to be a rather schmaltzy tribute show, The Bodyguard is anything but.

I never saw the 1992 film and have never considered myself to be a Houstonfan, so my expectations for the evening were not especially high. Yet the truth is that neither is a prerequisite for seeing the show.

The storyline is pretty simple. Rachel Marron is a hugely successful pop singer who has a mystery stalker. Former Secret Service agent Frank Farmer is hired to protect her and try and track down the unsavoury character. The singer and her bodyguard clash at first, then gradually overcome their differences and fall in love.

There are no hidden depths to this tale, so don’t go expecting Shakespeare or Chekhov.

However, that does not stop it from being a thoroughly enjoyable show with something all too often absent from the theatre – the feel-good factor. US actress Heather Headley is outstanding in the lead role. Her powerful voice is magnificent and she glows with charisma.

Rachel’s sister Nicki is played by Debbie Kurup, another female powerhouse. The male lead is played by Lloyd Owen, who is not quite Kevin Costner but comes a pretty good second. Rachel has a son, Fletcher, who is played by one of six different boys. On the night I went, it was the turn of Malaki Paul – who you may recall from the semi-finals of Britain’s Got Talent last year.

If you’re someone who doesn’t especially like musical theatre, The Bodyguard could be the show to convert you. On the whole, the characters do not spontaneously burst into song. The music is integrated and the story has not been adapted to be told through Whitney’s greatest hits.

I was surprised at how many of Whitney’s songs I actually knew and just how catchy some of them are. By the end of the show, I was up in the aisles with the rest of the audience singing, dancing and – I confess – even whooping, to the sounds of I Wanna Dance With Somebody.

The Bodyguard at The Adelphi Theatre is currently booking until 27 April 2013

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Six New West End Musicals to Look Forward to in 2012 http://blog.visitlondon.com/2011/12/six-new-west-end-musicals-to-look-forward-to-in-2012/ http://blog.visitlondon.com/2011/12/six-new-west-end-musicals-to-look-forward-to-in-2012/#comments Thu, 29 Dec 2011 14:00:43 +0000 http://blog.visitlondon.com/?p=24559

It’s been an interesting year for West End musicals. 2011 has seen huge success stories like Matilda and Crazy For You transfer to the West End, as well as The Wizard of Oz, Shrek and Ghost The Musical.

How can 2012 top that? Well, if the rumours are true, we could be in for some pretty exciting new musicals for the Olympic year. There are whispers of Bridget Jones’ Diary The Musical (with the ever-brilliant Sheridan Smith as the lead); murmurs of Viva Forever The Musical (Spice Girls songs and Jennifer Saunders writing – what more could you want?!); hints about a musical version of The Bodyguard, complete with Whitney Houston’s songs; and suggestions of a Wind In The Willows musical too…

While I love rumours as much as the next person, my tips for 2012 are all based on facts. These shows are definitely coming, and you should be getting excited about them!

1. Master Class, Vaudeville Theatre, from 21 Jan
Tyne Daly has already wowed Broadway audiences with her performance as Maria Callas in Master Class. Next month, she’s heading to London to do the same. I can’t wait.

2. Singin’ In the Rain, Palace Theatre, from 4 Feb
One of my favourite films of all time, it’ll be great to see Singin’ In The Rain on the London stage in February. Particularly with star dancer Adam Cooper in the lead role, and Scarlett Strallen as Kathy.

3. Sweeney Todd, Adelphi Theatre, from 10 Mar
I’m thrilled that Michael Ball is heading back to the West End. He’s such a fantastic singer, and an all-round musical superstar. Sweeney Todd has already had rave reviews from Chichester; I’m so excited about seeing this show when it comes to London in the spring

4. Top Hat, Aldwych Theatre, from 19 Apr
I was a big fan of Tom Chambers when he was on Strictly Come Dancing, so I can’t wait to see him in Top Hat in the West End. My parents have already seen this show on tour, and promise that we’re in for a real treat when it comes to the Aldwych next year. And there’s another one of those Strallen sisters to look out for! (Summer, this time.)

5. Wah! Wah! Girls, Peacock Theatre, from 24 May
Just while you were thinking that all I was going to recommend for 2012 were revivals and transfers, I give you a sparkling new musical from Sadler’s Wells, Theatre Royal Stratford East and Kneehigh. It’s East London meets Bollywood, and part of the exciting World Stages London collaboration for 2012.

6. Porgy And Bess, London Coliseum, from 11 Jul
Finally for summertime (when else?!), the Cape Town Opera comes to the London Coliseum to mark 75 years since George Gershwin’s death. This vibrant, physical production of Porgy And Bess shifts the action to apartheid-era Soweto, with all the classical-jazz-opera musical combinations as strong as ever. It should be a real spectacle.

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

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