Visit London Blog » vaudeville theatre Enjoy the very best of London Wed, 16 Apr 2014 09:00:50 +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: 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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Thursday Theatre News: Jumpy, Posh, The Sunshine Boys, Samantha Bond and Derren Brown Thu, 22 Mar 2012 18:15:24 +0000 Firstly for this week, news of two Royal Court shows transferring to the West End. From May, the 2010 hit Posh will open at the Duke of York’s Theatre; it’s followed by Jumpy from  last year’s hit season, starting on 16 August and running until November. Both plays tackle the subjects of class, gender and age. Laura Wade’s Posh is about a group of 10 elite Oxford university students, planning a night of debauchery. Jumpy stars Tamsin Greig as a 50-year-old wife and mother trying to find her place in the world, and tame her teenage daughter.

Second, following his Olivier Award nomination last week, Derren Brown is returning to the West End. His hit 2011 show, Svengali will play at the Novello Theatre from 12 July to 11 August only. Little is known, or talked about with this secretive show: I can tell you to expect psychological tricks, mind control, incredible stunts, and of course, lots of audience participation.

Finally, congratulations to Gregory Doran who, it’s been announced today, will succeed Michael Boyd as Artistic Director of the Royal Shakespeare Company in 2014.

London Casting News

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Thursday Theatre News: RSC, Omid Djalili, Shrek and The Globe’s West End Transfer Thu, 01 Mar 2012 18:00:30 +0000 Firstly, news of one of my favourite theatre company’s coming to the West End this year. The ever-brilliant Royal Shakespeare Company are bringing David Edgar’s Written on the Heart to the Duchess Theatre for a strictly limited run, opening on Shakespeare’s birthday: 23 April.

RSC veterans Oliver Ford Davies and Stephen Boxer will star in the drama, which marks the 400th anniversary of the publication of the King James Bible. Edgar’s play tells the story of two men translating the word of God into English: for one, it means death at the stake, for the other, it could bring an archbishop’s mitre.

Another exciting piece of transfer news this week: Mark Rylance’s Shakespeare’s Globe productions Richard III and Twelfth Night (the latter starring Stephen Fry) are moving to the Apollo Theatre in the West End from 2 November. It’s a long time to wait, but I think tickets are going to sell fast, so be quick if you want to see these shows!

An earlier play for your calendars is What The Butler Saw, also announced this week. Comic Omid Djalili, who you might’ve seen in Oliver at the Theatre Royal Drury Lane a couple of years’ ago, will lead the cast of this new production. What The Butler Saw is a comedy of twists, coincidences and sharp one-liners, by Joe Orton, and will play at the Vaudeville Theatre from 4 May to 25 August.

Fans of The Inbetweeners should look out for Blake Harrison (Neil from the show) making his West End debut in Rob Hayes’s Step 9 (Of 12) at the Trafalgar Studios, also in May. Step 9 (Of 12) sees Harrison playing Keith, a drug and alcohol addict, apologising for his past. But as his earlier actions are assessed, it becomes clear they have shocking repercussions for the present.

Finally, Shrek The Musical has announced a new “school night” performance schedule: starting Wednesday night shows at the more kid-friendly time of 7pm. The team have also introduced a new family ticket package for Wednesday and Thursday evening performances with prices starting at £99, making it more affordable for families to see the hit show.

And on 16 May, Shrek will play a special, relaxed performance for children with special needs: tickets are free for the kids, and just £5 for adults. This one-off show is presented by theatre educational charity, Mousetrap Theatre Projects. For more info on the work they do, check out their website.

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Six New West End Musicals to Look Forward to in 2012 Thu, 29 Dec 2011 14:00:43 +0000

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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Thursday Theatre News: Matt Willis, Adam Cooper, Laurie Metcalf and the Gruffalo Thu, 15 Sep 2011 16:30:00 +0000 London’s theatreland is planning ahead for Christmas (please don’t groan!).

I’ve got three Christmassy announcements, the first from the Old Vic, which is reviving Michael Frayn’s hugely successful comedy Noises Off, directed by Lindsay Posner, over the festive period. Second, a new musical version of Swallows and Amazons will be produced by the National Theatre at the Vaudeville for Christmas; with music by Neil Hannon of the Divine Comedy. And children’s favourite, The Gruffalo will be bringing its terrible tusks and terrible claws to the Lyric for morning and afternoon performances from November to January.

The other new shows announced this week are even further ahead. If you’re planning a theatre trip for next year, you can choose between Singin’ In The Rain at the Palace Theatre, starring Adam Cooper and Scarlett Strallen from February (a transfer of the Chichester Festival Theatre hit); or She Stoops To Conquer at the National Theatre starring Sophie Thompson, Steve Pemberton and Katherine Kelly from January.

And reaching even further into the crystal ball of theatrical future, Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre has announced its plans for 2012. It’ll stage A Midsummer Night’s Dream and contemporary musical Ragtime from May to September next year. Book before the end of April 2012, and you’ll get a special ticket price of £20.12 on all performances during the Games themselves (25 July to 12 August).

This week’s casting news:

More next week…

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In A Forest, Dark and Deep at the Vaudeville Theatre Mon, 21 Mar 2011 18:00:22 +0000 Neil LaBute’s newest play, In A Forest, Dark and Deep is a simmering pot of sibling rivalry. It’s set in an isolated log cabin on a thriller-typical dark and stormy night.

Betty, played by the gorgeous Olivia Williams, is a blue jean-clad bluestocking; dean at a nearby university, and completely at odds with her redneck carpenter brother (Matthew Fox). She’s hastily clearing out her student-tenant’s stuff, and calls on her brother to help. But as they bicker about the past while they’re tidying up, it starts to become clear that they’re revealing an even bigger mess with every book they pack.

Even if, like me, you guess the slightly clichéd twists early on, there’s still lots to enjoy about this slick, shouty show. Matthew Fox proves himself to be an excellent presence on stage; there’s violence in every movement he makes. As Betty, Olivia Williams manages to convey both haughty disrespect for her bitter, Puritanical brother and an honest vulnerability when she admits how much she’s upset by her ageing, fading attractiveness.

In A Forest, Dark and Deep might not have the most depth of all the scripts currently available in the West End, but it certainly does have two of the best star performances.

In A Forest, Dark and Deep plays at the Vaudeville Theatre until 4 June. Book tickets here.

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An Ideal Husband at The Vaudeville Theatre Thu, 30 Dec 2010 16:30:05 +0000

The brilliant reviews for An Ideal Husband made me particularly excited to see the play. As the programme comments: Oscar Wilde‘s play is a “stylish critique of politicians and social morality”. I was immediately reminded of the J. B. Priestley play I saw a few weeks earlier, When we are Married. Both productions have a Victorian grandeur and an eloquent comedic buzz.

The action happens over 48 hours when a devastating political scandal about successful Government minister, Sir Robert Chilton is brought about by the conniving Mrs Cheveley. A secret from the distant past manages to turn all their lives upside down, with agonisingly hilarious consequences.

Elliot Cowan is absolutely delightful as the smug Viscount Goring. The play is a mixture of serious subject matter and farcical script and Cowan captures this combination beautifully. He strides about the stage with an air of calm charisma; he is clearly enjoying himself and that makes him very likeable. Rachael Stirling is powerful as the “ideal wife” Lady Chiltern, but I found her a tad irritating to watch after a while.  I was pleased to see Fiona Button as the chirpy Miss Mabel Chiltern, I previously saw her in TV series Lip Service and she interacts adorably with Cowan. Samantha Bond causes a stir as blackmailing Mrs Cheveley, known for her part in the Bond films, she is a familiar face to the audience. She occasionally stumbled over her words but was impressive and commands attention in her glorious gowns.

An Ideal Husband continues at The Vaudeville Theatre until 19 Feb 2011, book An Ideal Husband tickets here.

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Thursday Theatre News: Legally Blonde, Bedlam, Oscar Wilde, and More Kids Week Thu, 29 Jul 2010 17:22:54 +0000 First of all, I’m thrilled to tell you the original London cast of Legally Blonde are releasing a recording of the musical. Yes, you have to wait until 16 August, but just imagine how much fun it’s going to be singing along to Sheridan, Duncan, Jill et al once it’s out!

Secondly, there’s a lot of excitement in my household over the news that Complicite’s A Disappearing Number is coming back to London. Book now to see the production’s original cast at the Novello Theatre for a limited run between 10 and 25 September.

Casting news this week includes

And finally for this week, Kids Week is going to have to rethink its name, following a hugely successful promotion in 2010. The project, which offers one free child’s ticket (aged 5 to 16) with every full paying adult for a whole load of London’s most popular shows, has now extended into a THIRD week. It’ll now run from 13 August to 3 September. Apparantly, they’ve sold more than 40,000 tickets for performances during its original fortnight (13 to 27 August) since booking opened on 13 July. Incredible!

More information about Kids Week, including travel, accommodation and restaurants, can be found at

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Thursday Theatre News: Railway Extensions, Pam Ann & Kylie The Musical? Thu, 22 Jul 2010 16:29:19 +0000

Firstly, great news for anyone who’s still eager to see the great Railway Children, featuring that real life steam train at Waterloo Station. The show’s run has been extended until January, making this a great alternative to the flurry of pantos that are sure to grace London’s stages in the festive season.

Casting news for this week features a spot of déjà vu: Cold Feet duo Robert Bathurst and Hermione Norris are pairing up as husband and wife again, this time in Blithe Spirit at the Apollo Theatre. They’re joining the ever-brilliant Alison Steadman in Noel Coward’s ghostly comedy, which opens next year.

And I’ve got details about two hit shows returning to London too: the Olivier Award-winning Blackwatch comes to the Barbican this November as part of a season which features a Polish Macbeth and that birthday Les Miserables. And Pam Ann, the comedy air hostess creation of Aussie Caroline Reid, brings her stand-up show Flying High to the Vaudeville Theatre in September.

Finally, and most excitingly, I’ve heard rumours this week of a brand new musical featuring Kylie’s greatest hits! According to Company, Kylie says:

“Yes, (stylist and creative director) William Baker and I are working on getting the story written. I’m comfortable because it’s not my life story; it’s about the interpretation of my music.”

We’ve already been thinking of possible plot lines and titles here at VL towers. Better The Devil You Know? Fever? Tears on My Pillow? There are so many top hits to choose from! Add any other ideas to the comments below!

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