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Reviews of Daytona at the Theatre Royal Haymarket

July 8, 2014 

Round-up of reviews of DAYTONA starring Maureen Lipman at the Theatre Royal Haymarket

Maureen Lipman in Daytona

Maureen Lipman in Daytona

David Grindley directs Maureen Lipman, Harry Shearer and the writer of Daytona, Oliver Cotton, in this transfer from the Park Theatre.


Book tickets to Daytona at the Theatre Royal Haymarket

Daytona at the Theatre Royal Haymarket starring Maureen Lipman

May 21, 2014 

Maureen Lipman and Harry Shearer join Oliver Cotton in the West End transfer of his acclaimed play, Daytona.

Following a sell-out season at the Park Theatre, Oliver Cotton’s new play Daytona transfers to the Theatre Royal Haymarket from 28 June 2014 for a limited 8 week run.

Directed by David Grindley, this funny and poignant drama stars award-winning actress Maureen Lipman, alongside American film and TV actor Harry Shearer and British actor Oliver Cotton.

Full of mystery, Daytona is a play with two love stories at its heart, and concerns moral dilemmas, personal identity and the relationships that bind us all.

An intelligent, haunting and emotionally-charged night at the theatre.


Set in New York in 1986, Joe (Harry Shearer) and Elli (Maureen Lipman) share a love of ballroom dancing and are practising their routines for the next big competition. Despite constant bickering, the love they have shared for nearly fifty years is clear. Then one night, out of the blue, Joe’s long-lost brother Billy bursts back into their lives with an extraordinary story to tell. What can this man possibly want of them on this cold winter’s night? What can possibly be gained from this uneasy reunion? When they discover the story behind his sudden return, Joe & Elli must confront a profound moral dilemma.


The play stars TV, film and stage star Maureen Lipman (A Little Night Music, Oklahoma!, Lady of Letters) as Elli, with Harry Shearer (The Simpsons) as Joe and Oliver Cotton (Passion Play) as Billy.


Original Park Theatre production

★★★★  Independent “Maureen Lipman’s delivery is utterly mesmerising”

★★★★  Daily Mail “John Bowe almost steals the show”

★★★★  Telegraph “This is a compelling and deeply humane production and one I warmly recommend”

★★★★ The Times “I have never seen Lipman stronger”

Maureen Lipman back with Glorious?

March 24, 2014 

Actress and comedian Maureen Lipman may be returning to the West End.

Her show Glorious, about eccentric (to put it mildly) American soprano Florence Foster Jenkins may be returning to Theatreland.

Maureen Lipman in Glorious!

Maureen Lipman in Glorious!

Lipman told Elaine Paige during a recording of forthcoming Sky Arts show The Elaine Paige Show that she would love to bring it back into the West End.  

Originally staged in the West End at the Duchess Theatre in 2005 and 2006, the show was Olivier nominated. She told Paige that performing as Foster Jenkins, often dubbed the world’s worst soprano, took her a long time to perfect over the West End run, and that now would be a great time for a revival for the show.

Maureen also revealed that despite her hugely successful career she has never starred in a TV drama series, and that playing a lady detective on TV would be a dream for her.

Maureen Lipman remains one of Britain’s most versatile comedians and actresses having played revue and vaudeville, starred in TV comedies, adverts and movies, written a series of best-selling books and performed in a number of major stage shows including Trevor Nunn’s Oklahoma! with Hugh Jackman at the National and her show Re: Joyce! about Joyce Grenfell.

Lipman was joined on the show by Hannah Waddingham, Clive Rowe and Christine Andreas.

The series will also feature Broadway and West End stars including Scarlett Strallen, Michael Feinstein, John Owen Jones, Alexander Hanson and Leigh Zimmerman.

The Elaine Paige Show starts on Sky Arts in May 2014.


Sky Arts: The Elaine Paige Show

Offers on classic comedy

December 6, 2010 

Theatre ticket discounts on classic plays including A Flea in her Ear, When We Are Married and An Ideal Husband.

The West End is packed full of classic comedies this Winter starring a wealth of showbiz talent including Tom Hollander, Maureen Lipman and Samantha Bond.

Westendtheatre.com has put together some extra special offers on these plays to ensure that your Winter goes with a bang.


An Ideal Husband

An Ideal Husband

Samantha Bond returns to the London stage in Oscar Wilde’s perfect comedy An Ideal Husband at the Vaudeville Theatre. This glittering new production of Oscar Wilde’s witty and stylish critique of social morality sees Bond (Outnumbered) play Mrs Cheveley, pitted against her real-life husband Alexander Hanson (A Little Night Music, The Sound Of Music) as Sir Robert. The play also stars Elliott Cowan and Rachael Stirling. Wilde’s 1895 play was last produced in London by Peter Hall in 1996, and this time the directing honours go to Lindsay Posner.

“This richly entertaining evening.” (The Telegraph)

BOOK NOW: Save £10.50 on tickets to see An Ideal Husband at the Vaudeville Theatre


When We Are Married

When We Are Married

Classic playwright J B Priestley is back in the West End and on fine comic form in When We Are Married, at the Garrick Theatre. An all-star cast feature in his beautifully witty play about three highly respectable couples who were all married in the same Yorkshire church on the same day – and are celebrating 25 years of wedded bliss. Then out of the blue, disaster strikes: the vicar was never licensed – they’ve been living in sin all these years! Directed by Christopher Luscombe, the play stars a who’s who of British comic acting talent including Lynda Baron, Roy Hudd, Sam Kelly, Maureen Lipman, Susie Blake, Michele Dotrice, David Horovitch, Rosemary Ashe and Simon Rouse. Not to be missed.

“A hugely enjoyable evening.” (The Independent)

BOOK NOW: Save £17 on tickets to see When We Are Married at the Garrick Theatre


A Flea in her Ear

A Flea in her Ear

Tom Hollander stars in A Flea in Her Ear at the Old Vic. Written by Georges Feydeau in 1907, A Flea In Her Ear is a classic French farce set against a backdrop of jealousy, misunderstandings and confrontation. Richard Eyre directs an all-star cast including Tom Hollander (Rev), Lisa Dillon (Design for Living) and Jonathan Cake (Mosely). This adaptation of A Flea in her Ear by John Mortimer is returning home to the Old Vic, where it was originally performed by the National Theatre in 1966 starring Albert Finney.

(Now previewing. Opening night 14 December)

BOOK NOW: Save Half Price on tickets to see A Flea in her Ear at the Old Vic Theatre


See all our special theatre offers here

Opening this week: When We Are Married

October 18, 2010 

When We Are Married and The Go! Go! Go! Show start previews this week in the West End. Plus special anniversaries for The Lion King and Dirty Dancing.

When We Are Married

When We Are Married


Classic playwright J B Priestley is back in the West End and on fine comic form in When We Are Married, starting previews on Tuesday 19 October at the Garrick Theatre.

An all-star cast feature in his beautifully witty play about three highly respectable couples who were all married in the same Yorkshire church on the same day – and are celebrating 25 years of wedded bliss. Then out of the blue, disaster strikes: the vicar was never licensed – they’ve been living in sin all these years!

Directed by Christopher Luscombe, the play stars  a who’s who of British comic acting talent including Lynda Baron, Roy Hudd, Sam Kelly, Maureen Lipman, Susie Blake, Michele Dotrice, David Horovitch, Rosemary Ashe and Simon Rouse. Not to be missed.

Special offer: Book tickets to When We are Married at the Garrick Theatre


The Go! Go! Go! Show

The Go! Go! Go! Show

This Saturday, 23 October, sees the return of The Go! Go! Go! Show to the West End. This fun family show features a clever story woven around five young pop stars, and includes brand new pop songs specially written for the show.  The production has impressive credentials, including  direction by Carole Todd (Dreamboats & Petticoats), choreography by Paul Domaine (The Saturdays, Sugababes, Dannii Minogue), an original story by Dean Wilkinson (Cbeebies, CBBC, Ant & Dec) and music by Mike Stock (one third of the legendary Stock, Aitken & Waterman) and Steve Crosby (who masterminded Steps). With plenty of audience interaction for kids of all ages it promises to be a big winter hit.

Book tickets to The Go! Go! Go! Show at the Leicester Square Theatre


The Lion King

The Lion King

The Lion King celebrates its 11th birthday tomorrow, 19 October, at the Lyceum Theatre in London. Disney’s award-winning show goes into its 12th year continuing to attract full houses. Its director Julie Taymor, who won a wealth of awards for the imaginative production, will open her new production of Spider-Man: Turn off the dark next month in New York.

Also celebrating a birthday this week is Dirty Dancing at the Aldwych Theatre, which turns 4 on Sunday 24 October. The show currently stars Dancing on Ice winner Ray Quinn as Billy Kostecki, Hannah Vassallo as Baby and Johnny Wright as Johnny Castle.

MAUREEN LIPMAN in When We Are Married

October 1, 2010 

Lipman returns to the West End stage in Priestley’s classic comedy

Maureen Lipman

Maureen Lipman

Born in Hull, Maureen Lipman trained at LAMDA before making her stage debut in The Knack at the Palace Theatre in Watford. An accomlished stage career has followed including being a member of Laurence Olivier’s Royal National Theatre Company at the Old Vic, playing Joyce Grenfell in Re:Joyce, Madame Armfeldt in Trevor Nunn’s A Little Night Music, Peggy Ramsey in Peggy For You, See How They Run (Olivier Award), Florence Foster Jenkins in Glorious and Live and Kidding and Aunt Eller in Oklahoma!

Her many TV and film appearances include Up The Junction, Educating Rita and The Pianist on film, and Agony, About Face and Ladies of Letters on TV. She has also written ten books.

In J B Priestley’s When We Are Married three highly respectable couples – the Parkers, Soppitts and Helliwells, who were all married in the same Yorkshire church on the same day – are celebrating 25 years of wedded bliss. Then out of the blue, disaster strikes: the vicar was never licensed – they’ve been living in sin all these years!

Directed by Christopher Luscombe, When We Are Married runs at the Garrick Theatre in London from 19 October, and stars Rosemary Ashe (Witches of Eastwick, Phantom of the Opera), Lynda Baron (Open All Hours, Fat Friends), Susie Blake (Coronation Street, Victoria Wood), Michele Dotrice (Some Mothers Do Have ‘Em), David Horovitch (Bedroom Farce, Taking Sides & Collaboration), Roy Hudd (Coronation Street, BBC Radio 2), Sam Kelly (‘Allo ‘Allo), Maureen Lipman (A Little Night Music, Peggy For You) and Simon Rouse (The Bill).

Book tickets to When We Are Married at the Garrick Theatre in London


Theatre: includes Madame Armfeldt in Trevor Nunn’s A Little Night Music (Menier and Garrick), Florence Foster Jenkins in Glorious and Live and Kidding  (Duchess Theatre), Dim Sum in Aladdin (Old Vic), Mrs Meers in Thoroughly Modern Millie (Shaftesbury), Surprise Guest in The Play What I Wrote (Wyndhams), Peggy in Peggy for You (Hampstead, West End and tour), Aunt Eller in Oklahoma! (National and Lyceum Theatre), Gorgeous in The Sisters Rosenwig, Bella in Lost in Yonkers, Kitty Twombley in The Cabinet Minister, Joyce Grenfell in Re-Joyce! (4 West End runs, tour and Long Wharf Theatre Connecticut), Miss Skillon in See How They Run, Ruth in Wonderful Town (Queens Theatre), Messiah, Maggie in Outside Edge, Candida, Nina in Sitting Pretty (Theatre of Comedy), Martha in Martha Josie and the Chinese Elvis (Birmingham Rep), Aunt Eller in Oklahoma!, Second Witch in Macbeth, Cathleen in Long Day’s Journey into Night, Jumpers, Molly Malloy in The Front Page, The School for Scandal, The National Health, Miss Richland in The Good Natur’d Man, Captain of Kopernick and Tyger (National Theatre), Celia in As You Like It (RSC), Joyce Grenfell in Choice Grenfell (The Actors Theatre), Live and Kidding (tour), Thank You for Having Me (Manchester Royal Exchange), Mrs Malaprop in The Rivals (Stratford East), Kitty McShane in On Your Way Riley (Unicorn Theatre), Meg in Meg and Mog (Lyric Hammersmith), Jenny in Chapter Two (Richmond), Smash, Gilda in Design for Living (Brighton), Night and Day, Wilkies the People’s Jack, Dracula, The Gingham Dog, Shakespeare’s Farewell, The White Devil, It’s Called the Sugar Plum, God Made the Little Red Apple and In a Cottage Hospital (Stables Manchester), The Ball Game, Loot, Live Like Pigs, Genie in Aladdin, Brenda in The Waiters and Cathy in Wuthering Heights (Watford), The Knack (Plymouth), Nancy in The Knack (Edinburgh Festival), The Burn, The Fourth World and The Centaur (Royal Court), Eleanor Rigby in No-One Was Saved.

TV: includes Ladies of Letters, Cold Enough for Snow, Eskimo Day, Shiftwork, Absent Friends, Absurd Person Singular, See How They Run, Love’s Labour’s Lost, Outside Edge, The Knowledge, Rogue Male, The Evacuees, Regan, Long Day’s Journey into Night. Series include Casualty, Sensitive Skin, Doctor Who, The Fugitives, Where the Heart Is, Winter Solstice, Jonathan Creek, Coronation Street, Agony Again, Exclusive Yars, About Face (2 series), The Little Princess, All at No.20 (2 series), Objects of Affection, Smiley’s People, Agony (3 series), A Soft Touch, The Sweeney, Couples, Crown Court, Doctor at Large, Code Name.

Film: includes Bridge of Lies, Supertex, Flight of Fancy, The Pianist, Discovery of Heaven, Oklahoma!, Solomon and Gaenor, Captain Jack, Carry On Columbus, Water, Educating Rita, The Wildcats of St Trinians, Gumshoe, School for Unclaimed Girls, Up the Junction.


When We Are Married – production images.

The cast of When We Are Married at the Garrick Theatre

The cast of When We Are Married at the Garrick Theatre

When We Are Married

August 9, 2010 

J B Priestley’s classic comedy about class and hypocrisy returns to the West End featuring an all-star cast including Maureen Lipman, Lynda Baron, Susie Blake, Roy Hudd and Sam Kelly.

OLIVIER AWARDS – Best Comedy Winners

June 14, 2010 

OLIVIER AWARDS – Best Comedy Winners

Best New Comedy

2010 The Priory
2009 God of Carnage
2008 Rafta Rafta
2007 John Buchan’s The 39 Steps adapted by Patrick Barlow from an original concept by Simon Corble and Nobby Dimon
2006 Heroes by Gerald Sibleyras translated by Tom Stoppard

Best Comedy

2003 The Lieutenant Of Inishmore by Martin McDonagh
2002 The Play What I Wrote by Hamish McColl, Sean Foley and Eddie Braben
2001 Stones In His Pockets by Marie Jones
2000 The Memory Of Water by Shelagh Stephenson
1999 Cleo, Camping, Emmanuelle And Dick by Terry Johnson
1998 Popcorn by Ben Elton
1997 Art by Yasmina Reza
1996 Mojo by Jez Butterworth
1995 My Night With Reg by Kevin Elyot
1994 Hysteria by Terry Johnson
1993 The Rise And Fall Of Little Voice by Jim Cartwright
1992 La Bête by David Hirson
1991 Out Of Order by Ray Cooney
1989/90 Single Spies by Alan Bennett
1988 Shirley Valentine by Willy Russell
1987 Three Men On A Horse by John Cecil Holm and George Abbott
1986 When We Are Married by J.B. Priestley
1985 A Chorus Of Disapproval by Alan Ayckbourn
1984 Up’N’Under by John Godber
1983 Daisy Pulls It Off by Denise Deegan
1982 Noises Off by Michael Frayn
1981 Steaming by Nell Dunn
1980 Educating Rita by Willy Russell
1979 Middle Age Spread by Roger Hall
1978 Filumena by Eduardo de Filippo, adapted by Keith Waterhouse and Willis Hall
1977 Privates On Parade by Peter Nichols
1976 Donkey’s Years by Michael Frayn

Best Comedy Performance

1995 Niall Buggy for Dead Funny
1994 Griff Rhys Jones for An Absolute Turkey
1993 Simon Cadell for Travels With My Aunt
1992 Desmond Barrit for The Comedy Of Errors
1991 Alan Cumming for Accidental Death Of An Anarchist
1989/90 Michael Gambon for Man Of The Moment
1988 Alex Jennings for Too Clever By Half
1987 John Woodvine for The Henrys
1986 Bill Fraser for When We Are Married
1985 Michael Gambon for A Chorus Of Disapproval
1984 Maureen Lipman for See How They Run
1983 Griff Rhys Jones for Charley’s Aunt
1982 Geoffrey Hutchings for Poppy
1981 Rowan Atkinson for Rowan Atkinson in Revue
1980 Beryl Reid for Born In The Gardens
1979 Barry Humphries for A Night With Dame Edna
1978 Ian McKellen for The Alchemist
1977 Denis Quilley for Privates On Parade
1976 Penelope Keith for Donkey’s Years

London theatre – summer preview

April 7, 2009 


London theatre is pulling out all of the stops this summer to ensure that the capital’s theatre scene remains a chief attraction for millions of UK and overseas visitors.

A host of big hitting stars and large scale musicals are lined up to showcase a range of new productions, including performances by Jude Law, Helen Mirren, Ethan Hawke, Gillian Anderson and Ian McKellen.

The death of drama in the West End has been greatly exaggerated given the wide ranging slate of classic and contemporary plays premiering this summer. One of the most high profile will be Jude Law, taking to the stage in Shakespeare’s most famous play, Hamlet, directed by Michael Grandage as part of his Donmar in the West End season. A strong supporting cast includes Penelope Wilton as Gertrude and Kevin McNally as Claudius, from 29 May at the Wyndham’s Theatre.

Hamlet with Jude Law
Hamlet with Jude Law

From Danes to Dames and Helen Mirren returns to London and the National Theatre from 4 June in Racine’s tragic play Phedre. The play concerns a woman (Mirren) consumed by passion for her stepson, which is highly plausible given that the stepson is played by hot young thing and Mamma Mia! The Movie star Dominic Cooper.

Helen Mirren starred in successful British movie Calendar Girls – which is now coming to the stage in a brand new production starring Patricia Hodge and Sian Phillips. Written by Tim Firth, the story of a group of middle-aged Women’s Institute members who pose for a calendar with a difference is playing at the Noel Coward Theatre.

Stage legends Ian McKellen and Patrick Stewart are reuniting after their onscreen antics in the X-Men movies to give us Waiting for Godot at the Haymarket Theatre from 20 April, in what promises to be a standout production of Samuel Beckett’s classic.

Waiting for Godot with Ian McKellen and Patrick Stewart
Waiting for Godot with Ian McKellen and Patrick Stewart

Talents from New York and London will converge at The Old Vic from 23 May for The Bridge Project – a three year partnership between The Old Vic, the Brooklyn Academy of Music and Neal Street Productions. Academy Award-winning director Sam Mendes will direct a new version of The Cherry Orchard plus Shakespeare’s The Winter’s Tale, in a cast that features Ethan Hawke, Simon Russell Beale, Sinead Cusack and recent star of Woody Allen’s Vicky Christina Barcelona, Rebecca Hall.

The Cherry Orchard is a new translation by Tom Stoppard, who will also see his 1993 play Arcadia revived in a new production at the Duke of York’s Theatre starring his son Ed Stoppard and Samantha Bond and Dan Stevens. In its first run at the National Theatre the play won a slew of awards including Critics’ Circle, Evening Standard and Olivier Awards.

Other notable players making their way into town include Prunella Scales (Fawlty Towers) in Carrie’s War at the Apollo Theatre, and Gillian Anderson, who will star in Henrik Ibsen’s A Doll’s House at the Donmar Warehouse, joining a stellar cast that includes Christopher Eccleston, Toby Stephens, Tara Fitzgerald and Anton Lesser.

Musical theatre is firmly “based on a film” this year as a blockbuster stage production of Sister Act joins a West End brimming with adaptations of movies, including recent addition Priscilla Queen of the Desert starring Jason Donovan and long-runners Hairspray with Michael Ball, Dirty Dancing, The Lion King, Billy Elliot, Andrew Lloyd-Webber’s Sunset Boulevard – and Grease, which will star Dancing on Ice winner Ray Quinn as Danny from 11 May.

Sister Act with Sheila Hancock and Patina Miller
Sister Act with Sheila Hancock and Patina Miller

Sister Act, which runs from 7 May at the London Palladium, is produced by the film’s original star Whoopi Goldberg and features Sheila Hancock and rising star Patina Miller, with music courtesy of Alan Menken (Disney’s Beauty & The Beast).

Other movie-to-stage shows on the horizon include the Broadway production of Legally Blond opening at the Savoy Theatre at the end of the year and a stage adaptation of Oscar winning film Ghost, directed by Matthew Warchus, set for 2010.

Chief amongst the new musicals opening in London in the later part of 2009 will be Andrew Lloyd Webber’s world premiere of The Phantom of the Opera sequel Love Never Dies at the Adelphi Theatre in early November. The show is set to star current London Phantom Ramin Karimloo and will follow its London opening with productions in Toronto, Shanghai and then Broadway.

A number of shows that have run successfully in other venues are also making their way into the West End including Juliet Stevenson (Truly Madly Deeply) and Henry Goodman in Duet For One at the Vaudeville Theatre; the acclaimed production of Steven Sondheim’s A Little Night Music starring Maureen Lipman at the Garrick Theatre; the National Theatre’s War Horse, a family drama set during World War I about a boy’s adventures to find his beloved horse, at the New London theatre; and following its smash-hit run on Broadway – a new UK production of uber hip musical Spring Awakening at the Novello Theatre.

Spring Awakening
Spring Awakening at the Novello Theatre

Other long running musicals that continue to extend their runs and pack them in include Avenue Q – now at the Gielgud Theatre, Blood Brothers, We Will Rock You, Chicago, Wicked, Jersey Boys, Stomp, Oliver!, Mamma Mia!, Les Miserables, Andrew Lloyd-Webber’s Joseph, Roger’s and Hammerstein’s Carousel, Thriller Live featuring the songs of Michael Jackson and an award-winning production of La Cage Aux Folles.

Long-running plays in London include scary thriller The Woman in Black, hilarious comedy The 39 Steps based on Alfred Hitchcock’s film and Agatha Christie’s The Mousetrap.

Finally, the V&A Museum in London has opened its new Theatre and Performance galleries following the closure of the Theatre Museum in Covent Garden in 2007. The new galleries will celebrate the UK’s heritage in culture and performance with hundreds of exhibits including costumes, set models, stage props, original posters and playbills, theatrical prints, paintings and photographs from some of London’s most famous theatrical productions.


Transfer News: Night Music and Awakening

February 20, 2009 

A Little Night Music

After much speculation, Trevor Nunn’s critic-pleasing revival of A Little Night Music will wing its way across the river and into the Garrick Theatre from 28 March, replacing Zorro. Following the Menier Chocolate Factory’s sell out production of Stephen Sondheim’s lyrical musical, the talented and accomplished cast includes Hannah Waddingham as Desiree, Maureen Lipman as Madame Armfeldt, Alexander Hanson as Fredrik, Kelly Price as Countess Charlotte Malcolm and Jessie Buckley as Anne Egerman.

Spring Awakening

Also controversial and oh so hip musical Spring Awakening based on Frank Wedekind’s classic play, will transfer from the Lyric Hammersmith to the Novello Theatre in mid March after Avenue Q has vacated the building. Spring Awakening shocked Broadway recently when it closed on 18 January after a respectable but all-too-brief run of two years despite winning eight Tony awards.

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