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Assassins at the Menier Chocolate Factory

September 8, 2014 

Stephen Sondheim’s acclaimed musical Assassins in a new production by Jamie Lloyd, starring Catherine Tate.


Multi Tony award winning musical Assassins is given a major new revival at the Menier Chocolate Factory this Autumn as Jamie Lloyd (Urinetown, The Commitments) directs Stephen Sondheim’s extraordinary musical.

An outstanding cast for Assassins includes Broadway star Aaron Tveit, Catherine Tate (until 8 February), Jamie Parker, Andy Nyman, Simon Lipkin and Mike McShane.

The Menier Chocolate Factory stages Assassins following their acclaimed productions of other Sondheim work including Olivier Award-winning hits Merrily We Roll Along, A Little Night Music and Sunday In The Park With George.

Assassins is designed by Soutra Gilmour with musical direction by Alan Williams, lighting by Neil Austin and sound by Gregory Clarke.

Assassins runs at the Menier Chocolate Factory from 21 November 2014 to 7 March 2015.


A superb cast includes Broadway star Aaron Tveit (Catch Me If You Can) as John Wilkes Booth, acclaimed comedian Catherine Tate as Sara Jane Moore (until 8 February), Jamie Parker as Balladeer/Lee Harvey Oswald, Andy Nyman as Charles Guiteau, Carly Bawden as Squeaky Fromme, Simon Lipkin as The Proprietor, Mike McShane as Samuel Byck, David Roberts as Czolgosz, Harry Morrison as John Hinckley and Stewart Clarke as Giuseppe Zangara. Marc Akinfolarin, Greg Miller Burns and Melle Stewart play Bystanders.


Michael Xavier will take over the role of John Wilkes Booth from Aaron Tveit, who leaves the show due to a change in filming schedule for his television series Graceland.

Anna Francolini plays Sara Jane Moore from 10 February, with Catherine Tate returning to the role on 24 February until the end of the run.


Thirteen people have tried to kill the president of the United States. Four have succeeded. These murderers and would-be murderers are generally dismissed as maniacs and misfits who have little in common with each other, and nothing in common with the rest of us.

Assassins suggests otherwise…


★★★★★ “Ferocious, twisted, funny and fearsome, this is a theatrical cocktail of bourbon and belladonna.” Express

★★★★★ “In [Jamie] Lloyd’s interpretation, on a set by Soutra Gilmour that resembles the fairground in a horror film, it feels thrilling.” Evening Standard

★★★★★ “An astonishing, audacious musical is given a staging that matches it for intensity and integrity” The Stage

★★★★ “A crackling production” Independent

★★★★ “Darkly entertaining… a terrific ensemble” Telegraph

“A joy to watch” Variety

“Director Jamie Lloyd’s sublime, potent production” Baz Bamigboye, Daily Mail

Photos: Victor/Victoria at the Southwark Playhouse starring Anna Francolini

November 1, 2012 

Production photos of Victor/Victoria at the Southwark Playhouse starring Anna Francolini.

Anna Francolini in Victor/Victoria at the Southwark Playhouse. Photo: Roy Tan

Anna Francolini in Victor/Victoria at the Southwark Playhouse. Photo: Roy Tan

Broadway musical Victor/Victoria is currently running at The Vault at the Southwark Playhouse until 15 December 2012.

Directed by Thom Southerland, the show stars Anna Francolini in the twin lead roles of Victoria Grant and Count Victor Grazinski

Created as a star vehicle for Julie Andrews in the 1982 movie and on Broadway, Victor/Victoria is set in Paris in the 1930’s as penniless British soprano Victoria is rescued by nightclub performer Toddy, who hatches a crazy plan to disguise her as a man called Count Victor Grazinski.

Victor becomes the toast of Paree as the world’s greatest female impersonator… But things get complicated when King Marchand, an American mobster from Chicago, becomes strangely infatuated with Victor.

Victor/Victoria has a book by Blake Edwards, music by Henry Mancini, lyrics by Leslie Bricusse and additional music and lyrics by Frank Wildhorn.

Other cast include Richard Dempsey as Toddy, Michael Cotton, Mark Curry, Matthew Cutts, Dafydd Gwyn Howells, Luke Johnson, Natalie Kent, Ashley Knight, Amira Matthews, Kate Nelson, Matthew Pennington, Jean Perkins, Kayleigh Ross and Nick Stuart.

Anna Francolini’s credits include a number of acclaimed Sondheim productions including Marta in Sam Mendes’ production of Company in 1995 and Gussie in Michael Grandage’s production of Merrily We Roll Along in 2000, both at the Donmar Warehouse, and the Baker’s Wife in the Royal Opera House’s Into the Woods in 2007. She won the 2009 TMA Award for Best Performance in a Play with Jean Brodie in Muriel Spark’s The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie at the Royal & Derngate in Northampton. In 2010, she starred as Maria Callas in Martin Sherman’s West End play Onassis. Screen credits include Mike Leigh’s film Topsy-Turvy and the TV mini-series Rome.

Photos by Roy Tan.

Viewing this on a tablet or mobile? Click here to see photos


Southwark Playhouse website

Onassis – Reviews Round-up

October 13, 2010 

A round-up of reviews for Onassis starring Robert Lindsay at the Novello Theatre

Onassis proves to be a text book show for the term “mixed notices”, with Martin Sherman’s play dividing critics at the Novello Theatre.

The play has polarised critics as much the infamous Greek shipping tycoon Artistotle Onassis did in his lifetime, with reviews veering from Michael Coveney in the Independent heralding it as a “fascinating new play” to Charles Spencer in the Telegraph dubbing it an “excuse to reheat a lot of high-class scandal and rehearse a few conspiracy theories about Aristotle Onassis”.

Based on the last years of the controversial Greek tycoon, the play was originally produced as Aristo at Chichester to mixed reviews but with glowing praise for Lindsay’s performance. Sherman and director Nancy Meckler have subsequently rewritten the piece.

Read round-ups from the Guardian, Telegraph, Independent, Express and Variety below.

Special offer: Save £23.50 on tickets to Onassis at the Novello Theatre in London

Opening this week: Onassis, Flashdance

October 11, 2010 

This week’s West End openings range from classic American drama to modern Greek tragedy, with Pittsburgh flashdancing and West End blues thrown in. Plus the 80th birthday of a Wicked West End theatre.


The Country GirlOpening tonight, Monday 11 October, at the Apollo Theatre is Clifford Odets’s classic drama The Country Girl, about a once-great theatre star who is given the chance to make a major comeback.

Jenny Seagrove and Martin Shaw reunite on stage after their onscreen appearance in Judge John Deed to star in the show.

Special offer: Book tickets to The Country Girl at the Apollo Theatre


On Tuesday 12 October at the Novello Theatre Robert Lindsay opens in Onassis, playing controversial Greek tycoon Aristotle in Martin Sherman’s new play. Based on the last years of this life, this powerful drama reveals his passionate and interwoven relationships with Jackie Kennedy and Maria Callas, and his son Alexandros. Stand-out supporting performances come from Anna Francolini as Callas and Lydia Leonard as Jackie.

Special offer: Book tickets to Onassis at the Novello Theatre


Flashdance The MusicalDespite technical problems with the rain machine that postponed the start of previews, Flashdance the Musical is set for a trouble-free first night on Thursday 14 October at the Shaftesbury Theatre.

Based on the 80s movie about an 18 year old girl from Pittsburgh who is a welder by day and a ‘flashdancer” by night, the musical features the star of the UK tour, Victoria Hamilton Barritt, and former Busted boyband member Matt Willis. Grease producer David Ian is the man behind the show, with direction by Nikolai Foster and choreography by the ubiquitous Arlene Phillips. The show’s well-known score includes Maniac, Manhunt, Gloria and the Academy Award winning title song Flashdance – What a Feeling. Ten original songs have also been created for the musical.

Special Offer: Book tickets to Flashdance the Musical at the Shaftesbury Theatre


Thursday also sees the opening night for the new venture at the King’s Head pub theatre in Islington: London’s Little Opera House opens with a new version of The Barber of Seville, directed by Robin Norton-Hale. Artistic director Adam Spreadbury-Maher is promising an exciting season of opera on a small scale including Madame Butterfly as a Bangkok lady-boy.

Book tickets to The Barber of Seville at London’s Little Opera House


Finally, on Friday 15 October Hartshorn – Hook Productions presents ‘The Music of the Blues Brothers – a Tribute’, the most electric rock’n’roll party of the year. Following spectacular success at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe this summer with a month of sell-out shows and 5-star reviews, this raucous live tribute show is now rolling into London. This Tribute is directed by the award-winning Patrick Wilde and is backed by the tightest rhythm and blues band in the city. We tear through the best in American Blues, Soul and Rock’n’Roll classics including Gimme Some Lovin, Think, Minnie The Moocher, Sweet Home Chicago, and Jailhouse Rock. So dig out your sunglasses and get ready to shake your tail feather because this supercharged high-octane Tribute is about to take London by storm.

Books tickets to The Music of the Blues Brothers – A Tribute


Apollo Victoria TheatreFriday also sees the 80th birthday of the Apollo Victoria Theatre in London. Celebrations have included an all-star charity gala yesterday, Sunday 10 October, featuring the cast of the venue’s current show, Wicked, and past productions including Starlight Express. The Apollo Victoria forms part of a historic year for West End theatres, with a number of venues celebrating their 80th anniversaries this year.

Designed by E. Wamsley Lewis and W E Trent, the Apollo Victoria originally opened as a cinema on 15 October 1930 showing George Arlis movie “Old English”.

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