London Theatre News - December 2017

The Grinning Man: 'Stunning and deliciously strange - a triumph'

Following an acclaimed run in Bristol last, Tom Morris' production of the new musical The Grinning Man opened at London Trafalgar Studios on 18 December 2017.
This new British musical is based on Victor Hugo's 1869 novel The Laughing Man, about a travelling sideshow freak whose face has been carved with a permanent smile.
When this production opened in London Dominic Maxwell in the Times hailed "this stunning new British musical," that "demands to be seen as its own deliciously strange thing... A triumph," while Claire Allfree in the Daily Telegraph praised "the show’s magnificent gothic theatricality," adding that it was "a dark-hearted Christmas treat."
The Grinning Man continues at London's Trafalgar Studio 1 up to Saturday 17 February 2018.

It's back! Chicago The Musical returns to London from 26 March 2018

It has been announced that Walter Bobbie's long-running, award-winning revival of the Kander and Ebb musical Chicago will return to London's West End from Monday 26 March 2018 - this time at the Phoenix Theatre.
A story of murder, greed, corruption, violence, exploitation, adultery, and treachery - all those things we all hold near and dear to our hearts... The kiss-and-tell tale of Roxie Hart, a nightclub dancer who kills her lover; Velma Kelly the glamorous double-murderess vying to keep her press supremacy; and Billy Flynn, the slick lawyer who has the power to keep them from death row and make them in to stars.
This revival production was first seen in London at the Adelphi Theatre in November 1997 before it transferred to the Cambridge Theatre, and then to Garrick Theatre, completing a combined West End run of just under 15 years - the longest running American musical ever to play in London's West End!
Chicago the Musical will play at London's Phoenix Theatre from Monday 26 March up to Saturday 30 June 2018.

Oscar Wilde's The Importance of Being Earnest opens 2 August 2018

Dominic Dromgoole’s Classic Spring Theatre Company has confirmed that their revival of Oscar Wilde's comedy The Importance Of Being Earnest will open at the Vaudeville Theatre on Thursday 2 August 2018, following public previews from Friday 20 July.
Subtitled 'A trivial comedy for serious people', Oscar Wilde's timeless comedy elegantly lampoons the hypocrisies of Victorian society resulting in a plot that twists and fizzles. Prim-and-proper Jack is in love with the equally prim-and-proper Gwendolyn Fairfax. His friend, Algy, is in love with Cecily Cardew. But both Gwendolyn and Cecily are in love with Ernest. What will the magnificently imposing Lady Bracknell say? And then there's the nanny with a dubious story about a handbag....
Casting and creatives for this revival are still to be announced.
The Importance of Being Earnest will play a twelve-week season at the Vaudeville Theatre in London, up to Saturday 20 October 2018.

Oscar Wilde's An Ideal Husband opens 3 May 2018

Dominic Dromgoole’s Classic Spring Theatre Company has confirmed that their revival of Oscar Wilde's comedy An Ideal Husband will open at London's Vaudeville Theatre on Thursday 3 May 2018, following public previews from Friday 20 April.
"Sooner or later, we shall all have to pay for what we do... No one should be entirely judged by their past" Sir Robert Chiltern is a successful Government minister, well-off and with a loving wife. All this is threatened when Mrs Cheveley appears in London with damning evidence of a past misdeed. Sir Robert turns for help to his friend Lord Goring, an apparently idle philanderer and the despair of his family. For the next 48 hours all their lives will be turned upside down.
Casting and creatives for this revival are still to be announced.
An Ideal Husband will play an eleven-week season at London's Vaudeville Theatre up to Saturday 14 July 2018.

David Hare's Glyndebourne play - The Moderate Soprano - opens 12 April 2018

Following a sold-out run at North London's Hampstead Theatre in 2015, it has now been announced that Jeremy Herrin's production of David Hare's play The Moderate Soprano will open at the West End's Duke of York's Theatre on Thursday 12 April 2018, following public previews from Thursday 5 April.
The story of the birth of John Christie and Audrey Mildmay's world famous Glyndebourne Opera House, with help from the conductor Fritz Busch, director Carl Ebert and manager Rudolf Bing.
Both Roger Allam and Nancy Carroll will be reprising their roles as 'John Christie' and 'Audrey Mildmay' in this re-designed staging by Bob Crowley.
When it was seen in 2015, Dominic Cavendish in the Daily Telegraph described it as being an "entertaining digest of a notable chapter in our national cultural life," that was "sensitively directed by Jeremy Herrin." Paul Taylor in the i newspaper praised how "Roger Allam delivers a stunning performance - killingly funny and achingly sad" and "Nancy Carroll is pitch-perfect as the finally wheelchair-bound Audrey Mildmay."
The Moderate Soprano is scheduled to play a 12-week season at the Duke of York's Theatre up to Saturday 30 June 2018.

Dick Whittington: "Pantomime gold . . . flashy, flamboyant evening is lots of camped-up fun"

Michael Harrison's 'all-star' production of the pantomime Dick Whittington opened at the London Palladium on Wednesday 13 December 2017.
A traditional family pantomine featuring Julian Clary, Elaine Paige, Nigel Havers, Gary Wilmot, Ashley Banjo and Diversity and, in the title role - Charlie Stemp as 'Dick Whittington'.
When this production opened Lyn Gardner in the Guardian exclaimed that the "London Palladium strikes pantomime gold this year with Dick Whittington, which looks as if it has been staged with a budget bigger than the GDP for the UK," adding that Michael Harrison's production is aimed very much at an adult musical theatre audience rather than the family market. The smut outdoes the sparkle... this flashy, flamboyant evening is lots of camped-up fun." In the Daily Telegraph, Claire Allfree described it as being a "gloriously funny, not very family-friendly follow-up to last year's Cinderella... this is an absolute corker of a panto... Michael Harrison's high-gloss production treads that tricky high wire between tightly drilled wit and giddy, improvised chaos."
Dick Whittington continues at the London Palladium up to Sunday 14 January 2018.

Rhys Ifans in A Christmas Carol: "A remarkably powerful performance"

Matthew Warchus' production of Jack Thorne's new stage adapation of Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol opened at the Old Vic Theatre on 29 November 2018.
On a bitter Christmas Eve night a cold-hearted miser is visited by four ghosts. Transported to worlds past, present and future, Ebenezer Scrooge witnesses what a lifetime of fear and selfishness has led to and sees with fresh eyes the lonely life he has built for himself. Can Ebenezer be saved before it's too late?
The cast features Rhys Ifans as 'Ebenezer Scrooge' along with John Dagleish as 'Bob Cratchit' and Alex Gaumond as 'Father / Marley'.
When this production opened Ann Treneman in the Times hailed it as being "a gorgeous production... Jack Thorne is responsible for this adaptation and it is traditional but with a modern twist that delights... It's a magical night. Enjoy." Paul Taylor in the i newspaper praised how, in "Matthew Warchus's magnificent staging... Rhys Ifans gives a remarkably powerful performance," adding that "this is both a witty and deeply affecting take on A Christmas Carol. Ifans is excellent at every phase of Scrooge's journey."
A Christmas Carol continues at the Old Vic Theatre in London up to Saturday 20 January 2018.

James Graham's "highly entertaining" play Quiz transfers to London 10 April 2018

It has been confirmed that, following a run at the Chichester Festival Theatre's Minerva Theatre, Daniel Evans' production of James Graham’s new play Quiz will transfer to London's West End, opening at the Noel Coward Theatre on Tuesday 10 April 2018, following public previews from Saturday 31 March.
This new play is a provocative re-examination of the conviction of Charles Ingram, 'the coughing Major', for cheating, following his appearance on television's Who Wants To Be A Millionaire? while providing a celebration of the great tradition of the British quiz show and an analysis of the 21st century's dangerous new attitude to truth and lies.
When this production was seen at Chichester, Michael Billington in the Guardian hailed it as being a "highly entertaining play... James Graham reminds us that we live in a quiz-obsessed culture," while Dominic Cavendish in the Daily Telegraph said: "James Graham has hit the jackpot," adding that "Daniel Evans directs with the certain inside knowledge that he has a winner on his hands. Phone a friend and go."
Quiz will play a strictly limited 12-week season at the Noel Coward Theatre in London up to Saturday 16 June 2018.