West End Theatre.com - London Theatre Online

Last Chance to see Love Story

January 31, 2011 by  
Filed under Theatre Press Releases

The Chichester Festival Theatre production of Love Story which transferred to the West End will complete its run on 26 February 2011.

Producer Adam Spiegel said: “We are very proud to have brought Love Story to the West End and are looking forward to announcing a UK tour shortly as well as a number of further productions to be staged worldwide.”

The West End cast comprises Emma Williams as Jenny, Michael Xavier as Oliver Barratt IV and Peter Polycarpou who plays Jenny’s father, Phil, all of whom reprise their roles at the Duchess Theatre. They are joined by Richard Cordery, Jan Hartley, Gary Milner, Paul Kemble, Julie Stark and ensemble members Lillie Flynn, Christopher Killik, Jamie Muscato and Rebecca Trehearn. This new musical version of Love Story, inspired by Erich Segal’s novel, is directed by Rachel Kavanaugh, with music by Howard Goodall, book by Stephen Clark and lyrics by Stephen Clark and Howard Goodall. Love Story, which enjoyed an acclaimed run in the Minerva Theatre in Chichester earlier this year, is designed by Peter McKintosh, with lighting design by Howard Harrison, sound designer Matt McKenzie, musical direction by Stephen Ridley and musical staging is by Lizzi Gee.

Love Story, which is produced in the West End by Michael Ball, Adam Spiegel and Stephen Waley-Cohen.

Oliver Barrett IV went to Harvard and Jenny Cavilleri to Radcliffe. He was rich, she was poor. He was sporty, she played music. But they fell in love. This is their story.

Erich Segal’s best-selling novel, Love Story, became one of the most romantic films of all time, has sold over 21 million copies world-wide and has been published in 33 languages.

Release issued by: Premier PR


SPECIAL OFFER: Save £22.50 on tickets to Love Story at the Duchess Theatre in London

Photos: The Children’s Hour

January 31, 2011 by  
Filed under News, Show - Photos

Show images for The Children’s Hour at the Comedy Theatre in London, starring Elisabeth Moss, Keira Knightley, Ellen Burstyn, Carol Kane and Tobias Menzies. Photos by Johan Persson.


Book tickets to The Children’s Hour

RSC 50th Birthday Season April – November 2011 announced

January 31, 2011 by  
Filed under Theatre Press Releases

  • Jonathan Slinger and Aislín McGuckin return to play Macbeth and Lady Macbeth in Michael Boyd’s production
  • Patrick Stewart is Shylock in Rupert Goold’s The Merchant of Venice
  • Nancy Meckler returns to direct A Midsummer Night’s Dream
  • Anthony Neilson to direct Marat/Sade
  • Gregory Doran casts 25 year old newcomer Olly Rix as Cardenio
  • Sara Crowe to play Lady Frugal in The City Madam
  • David Greig’s Dunsinane reaches Swan Theatre
  • Major revival of Pinter’s The Homecoming

2011 is a significant year in the history of the Royal Shakespeare Company. It celebrates its 50th Birthday with a season of nine plays in the newly transformed Royal Shakespeare Theatre and the Swan Theatre in Stratford-upon-Avon.

Artistic Director Michael Boyd said: ‘It’s fifty years since Peter Hall founded the Royal Shakespeare Company: fifty years that have seen the Company play a vital role at the beating heart of British theatre, working with, learning from and training a who’s who of playwrights, actors, directors and theatre practitioners. Now we re-open with a season that celebrates this rich heritage and signals our intent for the decades to come.’

‘Two companies of actors will play across both the Royal Shakespeare Theatre and Swan Theatre, presenting a repertoire of work by Shakespeare and his contemporaries, new work and revivals of some of our greatest hits.’

Rehearsals for Macbeth, Cardenio, The City Madam and The Merchant of Venice began last week.

Royal Shakespeare Theatre

By William Shakespeare

16 April – 6 October 2011
Press Night: Tuesday 26 April at 7pm

Michael Boyd directs the first new production to open in the newly transformed Royal Shakespeare Theatre, and Jonathan Slinger takes the title role.

Boyd said of Jonathan Slinger: ‘Jonathan is without doubt one of the finest actors of his generation, and has more than proved himself in the role of disturbed Shakespearean Kings.’

Jonathan was part of the ensemble in Michael’s award-winning Histories cycle, which began in 2006 in The Courtyard Theatre during the Complete Works Festival and went on to play to sell-out houses at the Roundhouse in London. His roles included Richard II and Richard III. Other roles for the RSC include Puck in Greg Doran’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream, David Greig’s The American Pilot in The Other Place and Dromio of Syracuse in Nancy Meckler’s The Comedy of Errors (all in 2005). He recently played Richard in Dennis Kelly’s The Gods Weep at the Hampstead Theatre.

Other stage work includes Bernard in Yes, Prime Minister at the Chichester Festival Theatre and the West End and Astrov in Uncle Vanya at the Young Vic. His television credits include: The Adventures of Daniel (BBC), Vexed, Paradox, Krod Mondoon and Hustle. His films include The Veil of Maya (2010) and The Knight’s Tale (2000).

Also making a welcome return to the RSC is Aislín McGuckin as Lady Macbeth. In 2005/6 she played Olivia in Michael Boyd’s production of Twelfth Night, and in 2000 played Countess d’Auvergne and Margery Jourdain in his productions of Henry VI, Part 1 and Part II and Lady Anne in Richard III.

Her other theatre credits include: The Clearing (Shared Experience), and Emma in Our Father at the Almeida Theatre. Films include: Maria in The White Countess and Aislin in The Nephew. Her television work includes: Doctor Liz Merrick in Heartbeat and Emily in David Copperfield.

The cast also includes: Madeline Appiah (Gentlewoman) Jamie Beamish (Porter), Howard Charles (Malcolm), Scott Handy (Ross), Aidan Kelly (Macduff), Caroline Martin (Lady Macduff), Des McAleer (Duncan), Nikesh Patel (Donalbain), Daniel Percival (First Murderer), Daniel Rose (Second Murderer), Steve Toussaint (Banquo), Christopher Wright (Doctor).

Designs are by RSC Associate, Tom Piper, lighting by Jean Kalman, music by Craig Armstrong, sound by Andrew Franks, movement by Struan Leslie and fights by Terry King.

The Merchant of Venice
By William Shakespeare

13 May – 26 September 2011
Press night: Thursday 19 May at 7pm

Following his critically acclaimed production of Romeo and Juliet, RSC Associate Director Rupert Goold directs one of Shakespeare’s most controversial plays, The Merchant of Venice.

Patrick Stewart returns to the RSC to play Shylock. He last performed for the company in 2008 in Hamlet – in Stratford, London and on film playing Claudius and the Ghost opposite David Tennant in the title role. He previously worked with Goold for the RSC in 2006 during the Complete Works Festival playing Prospero in The Tempest. In that same season, Patrick played Antony in Antony and Cleopatra opposite Harriet Walter. Rupert recently directed Patrick as Macbeth – in the UK, New York and on film.

Stewart is probably best known for his television and film roles as Captain Jean-Luc Picard in Star Trek: The Next Generation and Professor Charles Xavier in the X-Men film series as well as the voice of William Shakespeare in the upcoming Disney animation Gnomeo And Juliet. In 2010 he received a knighthood in the New Year Honours list for his services to Drama.

Playing Portia is Susannah Fielding. Her recent stage work includes: An Enemy of the People at The Crucible in Sheffield, The Hour We Knew Nothing of Each Other, Hero in Much Ado about Nothing, Philistines and Rosa Delle Rose in The Rose Tattoo – all for the National Theatre. In 2006 she played Trinculo in the Guildhall School/RSC production of The Tempest. Her screen roles include playing the lead in the film, Kill Keith and on TV, Chloe in Pete Versus Life, Doctor Who and Wallander.

The cast also includes: Madeline Appiah, Jamie Beamish (Launcelot Gobbo), Howard Charles (Gratiano), Scott Handy (Antonio), Aidan Kelly, Caroline Martin (Jessica), Des McAleer (Duke of Venice/Old Gobbo), Jason Morell (Arragon), David Ononokpono (Morocco), Nikesh Patel (Balthasar), Daniel Percival (Lorenzo), Emily Plumtree (Nerissa), Richard Riddell (Bassanio), Daniel Rose, Steve Toussaint, Christopher Wright (Tubal)

Designs are by Tom Scutt, lighting by Rick Fisher, music by Adam Cork, sound by Gregory Clarke, choreography by Scott Ambler and music associate and orchestrations by Alex Baranowski.

A Midsummer Night’s Dream
By William Shakespeare

29 July – 5 November 2011
Press Night: Thursday 4 August at 7pm

Nancy Meckler returns to the RSC to direct A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Her previous productions for the RSC include The Comedy of Errors in the RST in 2005 and House of Desires (part of the Spanish Golden Age Season) in the Swan in 2004.

She said: ‘Having created work for the Swan and the former RST, I am thrilled to be returning to the RSC for the first season on the new stage with a new production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream.’

Pippa Nixon returns to the RSC to play Titania, the Queen of the Fairies and Hippolyta. Her previous work for the company includes Roy Williams’ Days of Significance in 2006 and in 2010, a version of Henry V in New York. Her other theatre credits include: the title role in Bea at Soho Theatre, Mad Forrest at the Battersea Arts Centre, Round 1, The Factory at Hampstead Theatre and a season at The Globe, when her roles included Hermia in A Midsummer Night’s Dream and Jessica in The Merchant of Venice. Her television work includes Law and Order UK, and Wannabes.

Jo Stone-Fewings plays Oberon, the King of the Fairies and Theseus. His most recent work for the RSC includes Orsino in Twelfth Night in Stratford and the West End in 2009-10, and the Bastard in King John in 2002. Other theatre includes Dancing at Lughnasa at the Old Vic, Richard Hannay in The Thirty Nine Steps at the Criterion and Angels in America for Headlong Theatre at the Lyric Theatre, Hammersmith. Amongst his TV credits are: Misfits, New Tricks and Doctor Who.

Playing the young lovers are: Lucy Briggs-Owen as Helena, Alex Hassell as Demetrius, Matti Houghton as Hermia and Nathaniel Martello-White (Lysander).

The cast also includes: Maya Barcot (Fairy), Christopher Chilton (Fairy), Kammy Darweish (Egeus), Christopher Godwin (Quince), Michael Grady-Hall (Flute), Felix Hayes (Snug), Chiké Okonkwo (Snout) and Timothy Speyer (Starveling).

Joining Nancy on the creative team are designer Katrina Lindsay and lighting designer, Wolfgang Gobbel.

The persecution and assassination of Marat as performed by the inmates of the asylum of Charenton under the director of the Marquis de Sade
By Peter Weiss
English adaptation by Geoffrey Skelton
Verse adaptation by Adrian Mitchell

14 October – 5 November 2011
Press Night: Thursday 20 October at 7pm

RSC Literary Associate Anthony Neilson directs this new production of Marat/Sade in the 50th Birthday year. His previous directing work for the RSC includes God in Ruins (his own play) at the Soho Theatre in 2007 and The Drunks in 2009. He recently wrote and directed Get Santa for the Royal Court Theatre.

Neilson said: ‘I look forward to working with the new ensemble on the forthcoming revival of Marat/Sade a production which will, I hope, cast a fresh and contemporary light on Peter Weiss’ seminal play, both formally and contextually; and restore to it at least some of the forceful impact of Peter Brook’s and Adrian Mitchell’s legendary RSC production.’

The RSC’s 1964 production of Peter Weiss’ play, directed by Peter Brook, to this day, remains one of the company’s most important and acclaimed productions. Adrian Mitchell’s verse adaptation combined with Geoffrey Skelton’s English version seeks to present an unflinching and very human commentary on society and revolution.

The play is set in post revolutionary France. The inmates of an asylum present a play about the murder of Jean-Paul Marat under the direction of the notorious Marquis de Sade. As the director of the asylum and his family sit down expecting to see a patriotic display, they are confronted with a performance that is unruly, shocking and outspoken.

Movement is by Anna Morrissey and lighting by Chahine Yavroyan.

Swan Theatre

Shakespeare’s ‘Lost Play’ re-imagined

14 April – 6 October 2011
Press Night: Wednesday 27 April at 7pm

After extensive auditions, a newcomer has landed the part of Cardenio which will celebrate the re-opening of the Swan Theatre. RSC Chief Associate Director, Gregory Doran said: ‘Olly Rix, a 25 year old graduate from Oxford University and LAMDA can’t quite believe he’s landed this major new role. But I believe he will bring something quite exceptional to the role. He’s a very exciting new talent.’

In 1727, Lewis Theobold presented The Double Falsehood at the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane. He claimed it was an adaptation of a lost play by Shakespeare, based on the story of Cardenio in Cervantes’ Don Quixote. Such a play by Shakespeare and John Fletcher was indeed performed at court in 1612.

Gregory Doran has completed a piece of literary archaeology and attempts to reconstruct the extraordinary story of Cardenio, the subject of Fletcher and Shakespeare’s lost play.

The cast also includes: Maya Barcot (Nun), Lucy Briggs-Owen (Luscinda), Christopher Chilton (Priest), Liz Crowther (Duenna), Nicholas Day (Don Bernardo), Christopher Ettridge (Duke), Christopher Godwin (Don Camillo), Michael Grady-Hall (Shepherd), Alex Hassell (Fernando), Felix Hayes (Shepherd), Matti Houghton (Maid), Simeon Moore (Pedro), Harry Myers (Citizen), Pippa Nixon (Dorotea), Chiké Okonkwo (Gerardo) and Timothy Speyer (Master Shepherd).

Joining Gregory Doran on the creative team are: Niki Turner (designer), Tim Mitchell (lighting), Paul Englishby (music), Martin Slavin (sound), Michael Ashcroft (movement) and Terry King (fights).

The City Madam
By Philip Massinger

5 May – 4 October 2011
Press Night: Wednesday 11 May at 7pm

Dominic Hill, Artistic Director of the Traverse Theatre in Edinburgh joins the RSC for the first time to direct Massinger’s raucous satire on greed and misplaced pride.

In this biting comedy, wealthy merchant John Frugal takes pity on his penniless and dissolute brother Luke Frugal (played by Jo Stone-Fewings) and invites him to live under his roof together with his own haughty wife and two foolishly conceited daughters.

As Luke plots to steal from his brother and his daughters arrogantly spurn worthy suitors, John plans to teach them all a lesson.
Christopher Godwin makes a welcome return to the RSC to play Sir John Frugal. His many roles for the company include: Gregory Doran’s The Canterbury Tales in the Swan and on tour as well as his productions of The Taming of the Shrew and The Tamer Tamed in 2003 and in 1995 The Devil is an Ass and The Relapse. His recent television credits include: My Family, Forgotten Army and Lead Balloon.

Sara Crowe plays Lady Frugal. Sara has extensive credits on stage, television and film, and is probably best known for her comedy roles. Sara is currently appearing in Rattigan’s Less than Kind at the Jermyn Street Theatre. Her other theatre credits include: an RSC tour of A Woman of No Importance, Olivia in Peter Hall’s Twelfth Night and in she appeared in his West End production of Bedroom Farce. Sara played Ruth in Calendar Girls, Babs in a UK tour of Acorn Antiques and Camilla Parker Bowles in A Right Royal Farce at the King’s Head in Islington. On film she played Laura in Mike Newell’s film Four Weddings and a Funeral and Carry on Columbus and her many television appearances include: Skins, The Rory Bremner Show, The Harry Enfield Show and Doctors.

The cast also includes: Lucy Briggs-Owen (Anne), Christopher Chilton (Dingem), Liz Crowther (Millicent/Secret), Kammy Darweish (Old Tradewell/Fortune), Nicholas Day (Lord Lacy), Christopher Ettridge (Holdfast), Michael Grady-Hall (Scuffle), Alex Hassell (Maurice), Felix Hayes (Mr Plenty), Matti Houghton (Mary), Nathaniel Martello-White (Goldwire), Andrew Melville (Hoist/Old Goldwire), Simeon Moore (Stargaze), Harry Myers (Getall/Serjeant), Pippa Nixon (Shavem), Chiké Okonkwo (Tradewell), Olly Rix and Timothy Speyer (Penury).

RSC Associate Tom Piper is designing the costumes, lighting is by Tim Mitchell, music and sound by Dan Jones, movement by Struan Leslie and fights by Renny Krupinski.

The National Theatre of Scotland presents the Royal Shakespeare Company’s production in association with the Royal Lyceum Theatre, Edinburgh
By David Greig

15 June – 2 July 2011
Press night: Thursday 16 June at 7pm

RSC Associate Director Roxana Silbert revives her acclaimed production of Dunsinane which premiered at Hampstead Theatre in 2010.

Roxana said: ‘I’m thrilled to be bringing David Greig’s Dunsinane to the Swan. It was actually written for the space, so it’s like bringing it home. Wonderful, too, that it will be seen after Michael Boyd’s Macbeth on the new RST stage providing a gratifying sequel for those who wondered what happened after….’

David Greig added: ‘Dunsinane emerged for me around five years ago when there seemed to be several productions of Macbeth being performed. Macbeth is about the toppling of a king. But I found I was interested in what happened after that king was overthrown. How does an army restore a kingdom to peace? I also had a cheeky desire to respond to the fact that the most famous Scottish play was written by the most famous English writer. I wanted to look at the story from a Scottish point of view. And who could resist the chance to revisit Lady Macbeth, one of the greatest characters in all drama?’

Casting includes: Brian Ferguson (Malcolm), Lisa Hogg (Attendant), Joshua Jenkins (Soldier/Lord), Alex Mann (Egham), Mairi Morrison (Attendant) and Jonny Phillips (Siward) and Siobhan Redmond (Gruach).

Siobhan Redmond’s previous roles for the RSC include The Comedy of Errors, Twelfth Night, The Spanish Tragedy and Much Ado about Nothing. Her television work includes: The Catherine Tate Show, Eastenders, New Tricks, Sea of Souls, The High Life and Holby City.

Joining Roxana on the creative team is Robert Innes Hopkins (designer), Chahine Yavroyan (lighting), Nick Powell (music and sound), Anna Morrissey (movement) and Terry King (fights).

Dunsinane will receive its Scottish premiere at The Royal Lyceum Theatre, Edinburgh on Friday 13 May followed by dates at Glasgow’s Citizens Theatre in June 201. A version adapted for radio was broadcast on BBC Radio 3 on 30 January at 8pm.

The Homecoming
By Harold Pinter

28 July – 15 October 2011
Press Night: Wednesday 3 August at 7pm

Premiered by the RSC in 1965, The Homecoming is considered by many to be Pinter’s masterpiece. It is directed by David Farr, and is being revived as part of the RSC’s 50th Birthday celebrations.

David Farr, RSC Associate Director said:’I directed the 50th anniversary production of The Birthday Party at The Lyric shortly before Harold died. He was very much involved, displaying that characteristic passion for the simple act of making theatre. To direct one of the first productions after his death is a great honour. To direct The Homecoming, which I think is possibly his greatest achievement is a genuine thrill. It will be strange doing it without him.’

The cast includes: Des McAleer (Sam), Aislín McGuckin (Ruth), Richard Riddell (Joey), Jonathan Slinger (Lenny) and
Further casting to be announced.

The designer is John Bausor and lighting is by Jon Clark.

Young People’s Shakespeare:

The Taming of the Shrew
By William Shakespeare
Edited by Tim Crouch
In schools from 19 September
Press Performance in a school: 29 September (venue and time to be announced)
In the Swan from 24 September – 15 October 2011

Following its highly successful Young People’s Shakespeare productions of The Comedy of Errors and Hamlet the RSC continues its work with and for young people with a new production of The Taming of the Shrew edited and directed by Tim Crouch.

Tim Crouch, director, writer and performer said: ‘The Taming of the Shrew always felt like a natural choice for the RSC’s Young People’s Shakespeare. Its themes of sibling rivalry, bullying, love, identity and education make it a perfect play for a young, enquiring audience. Shakespeare tells a compelling story but it is not sugar-coated. Its provocation feels particularly relevant in 2011 when the messages of gender equality and emancipation in schools, colleges and elsewhere are still as confused as ever. I am excited about honouring the comedy and the challenge of Shakespeare’s play and enabling it to engage theatrically with young and old minds alike.’

He continued: ‘The cast for The Taming of the Shrew is led by two outstanding young actors, David Ononokpono and Madeline Appiah, as Petruchio and Katherina. I am excited to be putting Christopher Sly (played by Jamie Beamish) back where he belongs – deep into the heart of the audience with some opinions of his own.’

The cast also includes: Caroline Martin (Baptista), Jason Morell (Grumio/Gremio), Nikesh Patel (Lucentio), Daniel Percival (Tranio), Emily Plumtree (Bianca) and Daniel Rose (Hortensio).

The production is an introduction to Shakespeare for children aged eight upwards, and families.

Release issued by: RSC press office


RSC website


January 31, 2011 by  
Filed under Cast - Archive, Star Watch Archive

The League of Gentlemen’s Reece Shearsmith in Betty Blue Eyes.

Reece ShearsmithReece Shearsmith usually does the scaring rather than being scared: his recent work in Ghost Stories at the Duke of York’s Theatre and as part of The League of Gentlemen, have often left audiences feeling very unnerved.

But in Betty Blue Eyes, Cameron Mackintosh’s latest stage musical, he is the one scared to death – by a formidable wife!

Shearsmith plays hen-pecked, down-trodden husband Gilbert Chilvers, whose wife Joyce (played by Sarah Lancashire) is a social climber who will stop at nothing within their small Yorkshire village. Set just after the Second World War, when the locals of the village want to celebrate the forthcoming Royal wedding, post-war rationing prompts them to illegally raise a pig for the event. But Gilbert and Joyce have their own ideas for the animal – a plan that throws the village into chaos.

The show is based on Alan Bennett and Malcolm Mowbray’s acclaimed screenplay A Private Function, with husband and wife famously played by Michael Palin and Maggie Smith.

Reece Shearsmith has built up an impressive list of stage credits alongside his TV and movie work, including Comedians at the Lyric Hammersmith, The Common Pursuit (Menier Chocolate Factory), The Producers (Theatre Royal, Drury Lane), As You Like It (Wyndham’s Theatre) and Art (Whitehall Theatre), as well as The League of Gentlemen shows at the Theatre Royal Drury Lane and on national tour.

Reece’s TV work includes the biopic of Morecambe and Wise, scary and twistedly funny series Psychoville and, of course, The League of Gentleman. Film includes Burke and Hare, The Cottage, The League of Gentleman’s Apocalypse, Shaun of the Dead and This Year’s Love.

Produced by Cameron Mackintosh, Betty Blue Eyes opens at the Novello Theatre from 19 March 2011, directed by Richard Eyre and penned by George Stiles (music) and Anthony Drewe (lyrics), with a book by Ron Cowen and Daniel Lipman. The show also stars Sarah Lancashire (Coronation Street, Clocking Off) as Joyce Chilvers, Adrian Scarborough (After the Dance, Gavin & Stacey) as Wormold, David Bamber (My Night With Reg) as Swaby, Ann Emery (Billy Elliot) as Mother Dear, Jack Edwards as Allardyce and Mark Meadows as Lockwood.


Book tickets to Betty Blue Eyes at the Novello Theatre in London

Interview with Betty Blue Eyes composers Stiles & Drewe


January 31, 2011 by  
Filed under Cast - Archive, Star Watch Archive

Sarah Lancashire takes on Maggie Smith’s role in the new stage musical Betty Blue Eyes.

Sarah LancashireCameron Mackintosh’s latest stage musical, Betty Blue Eyes, is based on Alan Bennett and Malcolm Mowbray’s acclaimed screenplay A Private Function. In the film Maggie Smith played the formidable Joyce Chilvers, a role that accomplished TV star Sarah Lancashire will take on in the new stage production when it opens at the Novello Theatre from 19 March 2011.

Sarah trained at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama and is best known for her TV work, including playing Raquel in Coronation Street, All The Small Things, Dr Who, Clocking Off, Cherished, Fiver Daughters, Murder Most Horrid, Where The Heart Is, Rose and Maloney, Wurthering Heights, Seeing Red and The Cry.

Her stage work includes playing Miss Adelaide in the Donmar’s production of Guys and Dolls at the Piccadilly theatre, Audrey in Little Shop of Horrors at the Oldham Coliseum and Linda in Blood Brothers at the Albery (now the Noel Coward) Theatre.

Produced by Cameron Mackintosh, Betty Blue Eyes is directed by Richard Eyre and penned by George Stiles (music) and Anthony Drewe (lyrics), with a book by Ron Cowen and Daniel Lipman. The show also stars Reece Shearsmith (The League of Gentlemen) as Gilbert, Adrian Scarborough (After the Dance, Gavin & Stacey) as Wormold, David Bamber (My Night With Reg) as Swaby, Ann Emery (Billy Elliot) as Mother Dear, Jack Edwards as Allardyce and Mark Meadows as Lockwood.

The story is set in a small Yorkshire village just after the Second World War. When the locals want to celebrate the forthcoming Royal wedding, post-war rationing prompts them to illegally raise a pig for the event. But social climber Joyce (Lancashire) and her down-trodden husband Gilbert (Shearsmith) plot a scheme of their own that throws the village into chaos.


Book tickets to Betty Blue Eyes at the Novello Theatre in London

Interview with Betty Blue Eyes composers Stiles & Drewe

The Woman in Black the Movie starring Daniel Radcliffe

January 30, 2011 by  
Filed under Movies and TV

Having scared West End audiences for over twenty years at the Fortune Theatre in London, Susan Hill’s terrifying ghost story The Woman in Black is set for a big screen remake.

Daniel Radcliffe in The Woman in Black

Daniel Radcliffe in The Woman in Black

Hammer Films, the cult British film studio that made stars out of Christopher Lee and Peter Cushing with its horror movies such as Dracula and The Curse of Frankenstein, is back in production – this time with a hotly anticipated movie version of The Woman In Black.

Now in post-production, the film has been adapted by Jane Goldman (Kick-Ass) and is directed by James Watkins (Eden Lake).

A starry cast includes Daniel Radcliffe (Harry Potter, Equus), Ciaran Hinds, Janet McTeer and Roger Allam.


Daniel Radcliffe as Arthur Kipps
Ciaran Hinds as Daily
Liz White as Jennet
Janet McTeer as Mrs. Daily
Alisa Khazanova as Mrs. Drablow
Tim McMullan as Mr. Jerome
Roger Allam as Mr. Bentley
Daniel Cerqueira as Keckwick
Shaun Dooley as Fisher
Mary Stockley as Mrs. Fisher
Cathy Sara as Mrs. Jerome
David Burke as PC Collins
Victor McGuire as Gerald Hardy
Lucy May Barker as Nursemaid


SPECIAL OFFER: Save £20 on tickets to The Woman in Black at the Fortune Theatre

Hammer Films website

War Horse the Movie starring Benedict Cumberbatch, directed by Steven Spielberg

January 30, 2011 by  
Filed under Movies and TV

One of Steven Spielberg’s big projects for 2011 is a movie version of War Horse.

Steven Spielberg on the set of War Horse

Steven Spielberg on the set of War Horse

Already an enormous hit for the National Theatre – first at their South Bank home and currently at the New London Theatre – the movie goes back to Michael Morpurgo’s novel and features a screenplay by Billy Elliot writer Lee Hall and Love Actually’s Richard Curtis.

Dreamworks, which now sits within Disney, has moved forward the planned release date of the film to 28 December 2011 such is the excitement surrounding the project.

The cast features rising young star Jeremy Irvine as Albert, plus Sherlock’s Benedict Cumberbatch as Major Stewart, who is about to star in Frankenstein at the National Theatre. The movie also includes Tom Hiddleston as Captain Nichols, David Thewlis as Lyons, Emily Watson as Albert’s mother and Patrick Kennedy as Lt. Waverly.

Music comes courtesy of close Spielberg collaborator John Williams (ET, Schindler’s List, Indiana Jones).


Jeremy Irvine

Jeremy Irvine

Benedict Cumberbatch as Major Stewart
Tom Hiddleston as Captain Nichols
David Thewlis as Lyons
Emily Watson as Albert’s mother
Toby Kebbell as Geordie
Peter Mullan as Albert’s Father
David Kross as Gunther
Jeremy Irvine as Albert
Niels Arestrup as Grandfather
Geoff Bell as Sgt. Sam Perkins
Sarah Jane O’Neill as French Refugee
Christian Black as British Soldier

Benedict Cumberbatch

Benedict Cumberbatch

Patrick Kennedy as Lt. Waverly
Nicolas Bro as Friedrich
Rainer Bock as Brandt
Michael Koltes as German Lieutenant
Mark Shrimpton as WWI British Lewis Gunner
Michael Kranz as Young German Officer
Pauline Stone as Devon Villager
Peter Benedict as German Officer on the Bridge
Robert Emms as David Lyons
Chris Bowe as Scottish Highlander
Leonhard Carow as Michael (as Leonard Carow)
Celine Buckens as Emilie
Irfan Hussein as Sgt Major Singh


Book tickets to War Horse at the New London Theatre

Robbie Williams Musical to London?

January 28, 2011 by  
Filed under Stage Spy

Could the city of Stoke-on-Trent be about to get the full London stage treatment? That’s the plan if a new musical about the life of one of the city’s most famous sons, Take That star Robbie Williams, is reportedly produced in the West End.

Owner of the Old Vic Theatre, Sally Greene, is set to be behind the project, which would combine the story of the best-selling pop star’s life with his impressive catalogue of music.

The show would come on the heels of Never Forget, the Take That tribute musical which ran at the Savoy Theatre in London in 2008 and has toured extensively round the UK.

That musical was never endorsed by the Take That boys, whereas Robbie is said to be fully behind this new project.


  • Show: Robbie William stage bio
  • Theatre: TBC
  • Casting: TBC
  • Producer: Sally Greene
  • Opening: TBC
Note: all information is unconfirmed. Source: The Sun (26/01/11)

Madame Tussauds

One of the world’s great tourist attractions continues to delight millions of people every year.

At the heart of the enduring success of Madame Tussauds is good, old-fashioned curiosity. Enjoy a truly unique, emotionally-charged journey through the worlds of the powerful, rich and famous. Get up close and personal with A-list celebrities, sporting legends, political heavyweights and historical icons, reliving the times, events and moments that made the world talk about them.

Madame Tussauds Studios London has been making wax figures for over 150 years. Each masterpiece takes four months, and a team of 20 dedicated sculptors, to create. Over 500 precise body measurements are referenced, real head hairs are inserted one by one, and countless layers of paints and tints are applied to build up skin tones – all to achieve the kind of astonishing realism that has kept Madame Tussauds world renowned for over two centuries.

In Madame Tussauds London you can mingle with the stars by getting up close to incredibly lifelike replicas of 21st century stars such as Kate Moss, Lady Gaga, Robert Pattinson, Helen Mirren, Johnny Depp and Kylie Minogue, plus sports stars, royalty and infamous figures from the past. Also brave the scariest Chamber Of Horrors ever seen, complete with actors as bloodthirsty serial killers, take a time-travelling taxi ride through 400 years of amazing London history, and soak up the iconic Stardome, featuring out-of this world 360-degree animation by Oscar-winning movie-makers Aardman.

Book tickets to Madame Tussauds


Disabled Access:
Madame Tussauds welcomes everyone to their famous attraction regardless of their ability or disability. The majority of facilities and entertainment spaces are designed to be fully accessible to disabled guests. However one area, the themed ride ‘Spirit of London’ is unfortunately not accessible as it is a continuously moving ride which requires some physical endeavour to board and disembark. Madame Tussauds staff will ensure that all guests with disabilities are transported safely from floor to floor within the building by means of a specially designated lift.

Open Daily 9.30am to 5.30pm
Closures:25th December
Modified Opening hours: 24th December 9am to last admission 2.30pm, 26th December 1030am to last admission at 6pm, 1st January 9.30am to last admission 6pm

Child ages: 5-15. Children aged 4 and below are free

Please take your voucher/confirmation to the Fast Track Ticket Holders entrance along with photo ID for fast track entrance to Madame Tussauds.

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  • From initial sitting to press launch, a typical Madame Tussauds figure takes around four months to make, utilises a team of around 20 skilled artists and costs £150,000.
  • 500 precise body and facial measurements are taken over two hours at a standard sitting session with the celebrity subject. This gives expert Madame Tussauds sculptors all the information they need to create a strikingly realistic figure.
  • A staggering 2,400lbs of wax is used in nearly 400 figures currently on show in the London attraction. That’s roughly equivalent to 16,000 candles, even though the ‘Japan’ wax used to create figures is incapable of melting.
  • Around 500 million people have visited Madame Tussauds London since it was first established – that’s more than the population of North America and Australia combined!
  • ‘Sexyback’ pop singer Justin Timberlake gets more hugs than any other figure, and the dry cleaning bill for his super sharp white Savile Row suit proves it! That said, the yearly cost of maintaining the entire Madame Tussauds wardrobe would cover Justin’s bill for the next 30 years!
  • A dedicated ‘clean up’ squad inspects every figure at 7.30am each morning to ensure that guests can get up, close and personal with stars looking their very, very best.
  • The biggest figure ever created is that of Marvel comic book hero, The Hulk. 15ft tall and 8ft wide, this green giant has fingers thicker than a grown man’s arm! At the other end of the scale, Madame Tussauds’ smallest figure is Tinker Bell – the world’s most famous fairy stands less than 16cm tall!
  • The oldest figure in the attraction also breathes. Sculpted in 1765, The Sleeping Beauty is Madame Tussauds’ earliest example of an interactive figure; capturing Louis XV’s mistress Madame Du Barry in peaceful slumber
  • Most kissed female figure is pop princess Kylie Minogue, now in her fourth incarnation. ‘Showgirl’ Kylie, perched on a crescent moon mid-concert performance, is second only to The Queen in terms of wax re-creations. Her Majesty has had an incredible 22 figures made in her lifetime.
  • A ‘colour’ by top celebrity coiffeur Daniel Galvin would set Nicole Kidman back around £300; compare that to a brand new hairdo for her Madame Tussauds figure, which comes in well over £1,000 – but at least that includes round-the-clock styling!
  • Many A-list stars donate clothes for their figures to wear. Jean Paul Gaultier’s likeness is wearing one of his trademark kilts – boxer shorts were quickly added when he realised thousands of guests were peeking underneath it! Beyonce’s mum designed a dress for her daughter’s double to wear; Kylie’s latest figure shines in a CHANEL number from her global ‘Showgirl’ concert tour; and Madame Tussauds’ new eco-friendly Prince Of Wales proudly shows off an official suit, shirt and tie – bespoke collars, cufflinks and all!
  • Madame Tussauds has escaped destruction in three major 20th century catastrophes. The world famous attraction survived a huge fire in 1925; earthquake in 1931 (the tremors of which topped the head off of Dr Crippen’s figure in Chamber Of Horrors); and devastating Blitz bombing during World War II in 1940 – ironically Hitler was one of the few figures to emerge unscathed.
  • Madame Tussauds’ figures did their bit for the ‘War Effort’ – they, too, were subject to strict clothes rationing during the early 1940s , and even had coupon books!

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London theatre buoyant in 2010

January 27, 2011 by  
Filed under Theatre Press Releases

The Society of London Theatre (SOLT) today announced that London theatre bucked the trend of economic gloom with excellent box office performance in 2010. Strong ticket sales led to record revenues and near-record attendances for the capital’s plays, musicals, opera and dance.

For the seventh year running, total Box Office Revenues posted a new record level at £512,331,808, up 1.46% on a like-for-like basis on 2009 and topping £500 million for the second time ever.

Attendances totaled 14,152,230, 0.79% down on 2009 levels, topping the 14 million mark for only the second time. Like other industries, London theatre was inevitably hit by the poor weather towards the end of the year.

London theatre ticket sales generated VAT receipts for the Treasury of £76,304,737. The year also saw a record number of performances (18,615), and continued success for Plays which saw audiences grow by 2%.

Against a backdrop of economic uncertainty – with an estimated 0.5% contraction in the UK economy in the final quarter of 2010 recently announced – the results reflect the vibrancy of London’s unique mix of commercial and subsidized theatre, as well as ongoing industry investment in new people and product.

Commenting on the figures, Nica Burns, President of the Society of London Theatre said: “Another great year for London theatre. Despite economic woes, volcanic ash, and huge transport disruption notably during our busiest time of the year at Christmas, we have managed our seventh successive year of growth at the box office. A huge range of superb productions ensured that a visit to the theatre was a must-do for large numbers of the public. London theatre is something for everyone to be proud of and is a great ambassador for UK plc.”

Julian Bird, Chief Executive of the Society of London Theatre, added: “People have voted with their feet again by flocking to London’s theatres. Our customers experience the huge variety of shows that we stage each year, and in these difficult economic times are enjoying the theatre just as much. 2011 promises to be another exciting year for theatre and we look forward to entertaining people again.”


Box Office figures are compiled on behalf of the industry by the Society of London Theatre, and relate to the 52 major theatres, both commercial and grant-aided, in Central London.

2010 Key Results (with percentage comparisons to 2009):
Total attendances: 14,152,230 (-0.79%). Previous best year was 2009’s 14,257,922.
Total revenues: £504,765,690 (+1.46%). Previous best year was 2009’s £504,765,690.

2010 attendances and revenue by genre (with percentage comparisons to 2009):
Musicals: Attendances 8,423,430 (-3%) Revenue £324,357,255 (-1%)
Plays: Attendances 3,702,031 (+2%) Revenue £107,099,335 (+10%)
Other (Opera, Dance, Performance pieces, Entertainments): Attendances 2,026,769 (+3%) Revenue £80,875,218 (+3%)

The Society of London Theatre (SOLT) is the trade association which represents the producers, theatre owners and managers of the 52 major commercial and grant-aided theatres in central London. The organisation exists in order to promote theatregoing, develop audiences, and to serve, protect and promote the interests of those engaged in theatre across London, through activities including The Laurence Olivier Awards, tkts ticket booth, the Official London Theatre guide, Theatre Tokens and the annual promotions Kids Week in the West End and Get Into London Theatre.

The Laurence Olivier Awards: the Society of London Theatre will present the 2011 Olivier Awards on Sunday 13 March at the Theatre Royal Drury Lane.

Release issued by: SOLT press office

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