Thursday, 25 October 2012

A Chorus Line - Open Auditions

Based on true stories, A Chorus Line revolutionised Broadway becoming the longest running musical in New York theatre history, breaking records, winning nine Tony Awards, seven Drama Desk Awards, the New York Critics’ Circle Award and the Pulitzer Prize for Drama.

Now for the first time since its award-winning London season premiered in 1975, the original creators join forces to bring this iconic musical to the world-famous London Palladium.

Open auditions for the Broadway spectacular, A Chorus Line, took place at the London Palladium. With 700 dancers and singers from around the world, life imitated art on stage for a place in the Chorus Line.  Below is some video footage of those open rehearsals   A Chorus Line opens from 2nd February for a strictly limited season at the London Palladium.  Theatre One will keep you up to date with the latest news from A Chorus Line including casting and a review when we get it!



All That Fall to transfer to the Arts Theatre in Nov

Following a sold-out run at the Jermyn Street Theatre, Trevor Nunn’s critically acclaimed production of Samuel Beckett’s radio play ALL THAT FALL starring Eileen Atkins and Michael Gambon will transfer to the Arts Theatre from 6 November, opening on Thursday 8 November, for a strictly limited run of 23 performances, closing on 24 November.

Specially commissioned by the BBC as a radio play, ALL THAT FALL was first broadcast in 1957.  Set in rural Ireland, the play follows Mrs Rooney (Eileen Atkins), struggling under her aged, rheumatic, large frame, on her way to meet her blind and ill-tempered husband (Michael Gambon) off the train.  Along the way, she encounters Christy with his dung cart, old Tyler on his bicycle, Mr Slocum, a racecourse clerk, and Miss Fitt, a pious spinster.  At once chilling and compassionate, intimate and expansive, ALL THAT FALL offers an inimitably idiosyncratic and at times hilarious perspective on loss, grief and old age.

Eileen Atkins and Michael Gambon are joined on stage by Oliver Barry-Brook, Ruairi Conaghan, Ian Conningham, Catherine Cusack, Aidan Dunlop, Frank Grimes, James Hayes and Gerard Horan.
ALL THAT FALL by Samuel Beckett is directed by Trevor Nunn, with sound by Paul Groothuis, design by Cherry Truluck and lighting by Phil Hewitt.

Richard Darbourne, Thelma Holt and Gene David Kirk will present the Jermyn Street Theatre production of ALL THAT FALL by Samuel Beckett at the Arts Theatre.


ALL THAT FALL by Samuel Beckett
Arts Theatre
6-7 Great Newport St
London WC2H 7JB

Performances:  Mondays-Saturdays at 7.30pm; Thursdays and Saturdays at 3pm
Running Time:  75 minutes (no interval) N.B. Latecomers will not be admitted
Tickets:  £20-£35 Monday-Thursday; £20-£39.50 Friday & Saturday
Box Office:  020 7836 8463

Wednesday, 24 October 2012

Watch Out The Mormons Are Coming!

After becoming Broadway's biggest success in years, The Book Of Mormon is now headed to London's West End.  Written by South Park's Matt Parker & Trey Stone alongside Avenue Q's Co-Writer & Composer Robert Lopez, Book Of Mormon is an outrageous musical based on two mismatched missionaries trying to save a local Ugandian tribe from a nearby Warlord and turn them to the Book of Mormon for Salvation.  With the South Park Boys and the co creator of Avenue Q, you know full well that this will not be a low key solemn affair.  Below is a video from a US based programme 60 minutes on the musical and at brief look at the careers of Parker & Stone.

Tickets went on public sale for the West End production of The Book of Mormon on 23 September 2012. Preview performances will begin at the Prince of Wales Theatre on 25 February 2013, with the official opening night on 21 March. Casting will be announced shortly.

The Book of Mormon will offer a limited number of top-price stalls tickets at £20 for each performance. These seats will be available through The Book of Mormon lottery. Entries to the lottery will be accepted in person at the Box Office two and a half hours prior to each performance. Names will be drawn at random two hours before each performance.

The Book of Mormon is produced in the West End by Anne Garefino, Scott Rudin, Important Musicals and Sonia Friedman Productions.

Charlie & The Chocolate Factory The Musical headed to London

ROALD DAHL's deliciously dark tale of young Charlie Bucket and the mysterious confectioner Willy Wonka comes to life in a brand new West End musical directed by Academy Award® winner Sam Mendes

When Charlie wins a golden ticket to the weird and wonderful Wonka Chocolate Factory, it's the chance of a lifetime to feast on the sweets he's always dreamed of. But beyond the gates astonishment awaits, as down the sugary corridors and amongst the incredible edible delights, the five lucky winners discover not everything is as sweet as it seems. 

Featuring ingenious stagecraft, the wonder of the original story that has captivated the world for almost 50 years is brought to life with music by Marc Shaiman, and lyrics by Scott Wittman and Marc Shaiman (Grammy® winners for Hairspray; Smash), a book by award-winning playwright and adaptor David Greig (The Bacchae; Tintin In Tibet), set and costume designs by Mark Thompson (Mamma Mia!; One Man, Two Guvnors) and choreography by Peter Darling (Billy Elliot The Musical; Matilda The Musical). 

A chocolate garden, an army of squirrels and the curiously peculiar Oompa-Loompas must be believed to be seen in this spectacular new musical that is choc-full of fantastical treats to dazzle your senses.

Warner Bros. Theatre Ventures, Neal Street Productions and Kevin McCormick today announced that Olivier and Tony Award®-winning actor Douglas Hodge will play Willy Wonka in Roald Dahl's Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, which opens at the Theatre Royal Drury Lane on 25th June next year. 

Tickets for the new musical go on public sale on Monday 15th October, for performances from 18th May 2013 until the end of the current booking period on Saturday 30th November 2013. 

Douglas Hodge is a four time Olivier-nominated actor/director, who has worked at the National Theatre, the RSC, Shakespeare's Globe and the Royal Court Theatre. On Broadway, he is currently starring at the American Airlines Theatre in the title role of Cyrano de Bergerac, for the Roundabout Theatre Company. He won the Tony, Drama Desk and Outer Critics Circle Awards for his Broadway debut in La Cage Aux Folles, having already won the Olivier Award for the same performance in London. For ten years he worked closely with Harold Pinter, and he was Associate Director at the Donmar from 2007 to 2009. He has released two albums of his own compositions 'Cowley Road Songs' and 'Nightbus', and he won the Stiles and Drewe 2012 Best New Song Award for 'Powercut'. Alongside numerous television credits, his feature films include Vanity FairRobin Hood, the soon to be releasedSerena, and Diana – in which he plays Paul Burrell, butler to Diana, Princess of Wales. 

Full Casting for The Bodyguard Announced


Opening Autumn 2012 at The Adelphi Theatre
Joining the previously announced Heather Headley and Lloyd Owen in the new musical THE BODYGUARD, to be directed by Thea Sharrock, will be Debbie Kurup, Mark Letheren, Ray Shell, Nicolas Colicos, Mark McKerracher, Sean Chapman, David Page and Oliver Le Sueur. They are joined by Luis Buddy, Caius Duncombe, Jaydon Fowora Knight, Kwame Kandekore, Taylor Lockhart and Malakai Paul who will share the role of Fletcher, Rachel Marron's young son. Ensemble members are Nigel Barber, Jordan Darrell, Yasmin Harrison, Shanay Holmes, Holly James, Robert Jezek, Melissa Keyes, Gil Kolirin, Janet Kumah, Nicholas Maude, Richard Murphy, Gloria Onitiri, Ashley-Jordon Packer, Dharmesh Patel, Lucinda Shaw, Paul Smethurst, Charlotte Watts and James Wooldridge.
Based on Lawrence Kasdan's 1992 Warner Bros. film, this brand new musical of THE BODYGUARD, with book by Alex Dinelariswill open at the Adelphi Theatre in Autumn 2012. Previews begin on 6 November 2012, twenty years after the release of the Oscar nominated film. Press performances are 1 December at 7.30pm, 4 December at 7.30pm as well as opening night on 5 December at 7pm with reviews under embargo until 6 December 2012.
Former Secret Service agent turned bodyguard, Frank Farmer, is hired to protect superstar Rachel Marron from an unknown stalker. Each expects to be in charge; what they don't expect is to fall in love. A romantic thriller, The Bodyguard features a whole host of irresitable classics including Queen of the Night, So Emotional, One Moment in Time, Saving All My Love, I'm Your Baby Tonight, Run to You, I Have Nothing, I Wanna Dance With Somebody and one of the greatest hit songs of all time - I Will Always Love You.
With designs by Tim Hatley, lighting by Mark Henderson, sound by Richard Brooker and video designs by Duncan McLean. Choreography is by Arthur Pita, orchestrations byChris Egan with musical supervision by Mike DixonThe Bodyguard is produced by Michael Harrison and David Ian.
Tony and Grammy award-winning Heather Headley will make her West End stage debut as Rachel Marron. Having originated the role of Nala in The Lion King on Broadway, Headley went on to play the title role in Aida for which she won the Tony Award for Best Actress in a Musical. Her debut solo album, This is Who I Am, was nominated for two Grammy Awards. Her third studio album,Audience of One, won the Grammy Award for Best Contemporary R&B Gospel Album. In recent years she has worked extensively with Andrea Bocelli on his American and international tours and sung at the inauguration of President Barack Obama.
Lloyd Owen was last on stage in London playing leading roles inLoyalty at Hampstead Theatre and Blood and Gifts at the National Theatre. Previously his theatre credits include The York Realist for the Royal Court, Julius Caesar for the Young Vic, Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? for the Almeida Theatre and The Way of the World for the Royal Exchange Theatre. On television Owen is best known for playing Paul Bowman-MacDonald in the BBC's long running drama Monarch of the Glen and Indiana Jones' father Professor Henry Jones, Sr, in The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles. His other television credits include Ghost SquadThe ViceCoupling, Wire in the Blood and Dead Gorgeous. His film credits include Apollo 18, Miss Potter, The Republic of Love, Between Dreams and the forthcoming Free Ride with Anna Paquin and Drea de Matteo.
Alternating the role of Rachel Marron’s young son Fletcher will beLuis Buddy (aged 11 from Ealing, London), Caius Duncombe(aged 11 from Shepherd’s Bush, London), Jaydon Fowora Knight(aged 11 from Lambeth, London), Kwame Kandekore (aged 9 from Leicester), Taylor Lockhart (aged 10 from Lower Earley, near Reading) and Malaki Paul (aged 10 from Edmonton, London).
Thea Sharrock’s production of Neil Simon’s The Sunshine Boyswith Danny DeVito and Richard Griffiths opened at the Savoy Theatre earlier this year, reuniting her with Griffiths who she directed in Equus both in the West End and on Broadway and inHeroes at the Wyndham’s Theatre.  Her production of 13completed a run at the National Theatre last year where she previously directed After The Dance for which she won the 2011 Olivier Award for Best Revival, Happy Now? andThe Emperor Jones.  Her other theatre credits include Cause Célèbre for the Old Vic and The Misanthrope at the Comedy Theatre.  Sharrock was previously Artistic Director at the Southwark Playhouse (2001-2003) and the Gate Theatre (2004-2006).

Christmas Performance Schedule
Monday 24 December 2012 – no performance
Tuesday 25 December 2012 – no performance
Wednesday 26 December 2012 – 7.30pm
Thursday 27 December 2012 – 3pm & 7.30pm
Friday 28 December 2012 – 3pm & 7.30pm
Saturday 29 December 2012 – 3pm & 7.30pm
Sunday 30 December 2012 – no performance
Monday 31 December 2012 – 7.30pm
Tuesday 1 January 2013 – 7.30pm
Wednesday 2 January 2013 – 3pm & 7.30pm
Thursday 3 January 2013 – 3pm & 7.30pm
Friday 4 January 2013 – 7.30pm
Saturday 5 January 2013 - 3pm & 7.30pm
Sunday 6 January 2013 – no performance
Listings Information
6 November 2012 - 27 April 2013 (first booking period)
Adelphi Theatre, Strand, London WC2
Performance Schedule: 
Monday – Saturday at 7.30pm
Wednesday and Saturday matinees at 3pm
Box Office:
0844 579 0094 (no booking fee)
Ticket Prices: 
in previews £20 - £57.50 including £1 theatre restoration levy
then £20 - £67-50 including £1 theatre restoration levy
No booking fee for tickets purchased directly from the Adelphi Theatre
Day Seats: 
A limited number of £25 day seats will go on sale from the Box Office at 10am on the day of the performance (no booking fee)

Tuesday, 23 October 2012

Review: Loserville

Loserville  - Garrick Theatre, Charing Cross Road.

It's been 10 years since a musical has opened in London's West End that has not been based on a movie, an established band's extensive back catalogue or a 'classic' musical being revitalised.  Loserville is set to change all of that.  With influences from James Bourne's Welcome to Loserville album (Yes, he of Busted, Son of Dork & now the Future Boy project), comes Loserville, kicking in the doors of Theatreland's establishment to breath new life into what is in danger of becoming a stuffy old boys club.

The year is 1971 and Micheal Dork (Aaron Sidwell), is on the verge of making a major breakthrough in computer technology.  His best friend, Lucas Lloyd (Richard Lowe) is wring a Sci Fi novel he hopes will one day get published.  New girl in town Holly Manson (Eliza Hope Bennett) wants to be the worlds first female astronaught. But Eddie Arch (Stewart Clarke), the Alpha male around school and son of the owner of Arch Computers who are also racing to make the breakthrough first, just wants to make Michael's life a misery.  Eddie's long suffering girlfriend Leia (Charlotte Harwood) just wants to marry Eddie and live the life of a lady of leisure.

They all go to the same high school and for Micheal, Lucas and their nerd in arms friends  Francis (Lil' Chris) & Marvin (Daniel Buckley) their lives are turned upside down upon the arrival of Holly who happens to know a thing or two about computers herself.  Aiding Michael in his quest, Holly and Micheal are soon smitten with each other, but with Eddie and his gang not to far away, the course of true love is unlikely to run anything but smooth.

Loserville the Musical, written by Elliott Davis & James Bourne could not have arrived in the West End a moment too soon.  Like a breath of fresh air, it comes in with it's carefree pop/rock panache and busts wide open the doors and ushers in a new era to the place.  Featuring a young cast with so much burgeoning talent, that you can't believe that it's all been contained in one place!  

The show whips along at thunderous pace with songs that burst into your soul and make you just tap, clap and sing away, it's unbelievable that nothing like this has come along sooner.  The first thing that strikes you is the incredible set design & staging which is like walking onto the set of the new Tron movie with its futuristic look and electric blue pulses running through the stage.  But when the show takes off, the place comes alive and you are catapulted into a very clever 70's show style opening complete with character credits and the simple genuis of using larger than life notebooks, pencils & comic books to create the period feel and also make the futuristic backdrop just disappear and reappear from view as the story takes you on through the characters journeys.

Then there's the cast, who are individually outstanding.  As a group they are brilliant.  From the simply delightful Eliza Hope Bennett's Holly, who is like a young Mary Poppins gliding across the stage , drawing you into her characters innocent charms, but underneath has a real fire and passion which exudes from every pore.  Aaron Sidwell up until this point may have been best known for playing Steven Beale in Eastenders, but now has created in Michael Dork a brilliant fusion of latter day computer geniuses (Jobs, Zuckerberg & Gates et al) and makes it easy to root for him.

The hidden gem though is Richard Lowe as Lucas who is straight out of drama school and straight into a leading role in the West End.  The casting team couldn't have got it more right to take a chance with a newcomer.  He makes it look a) effortless and b) like he's a seasoned pro as he allows Lucas journey to unfold before your eyes and ears.  Stewart Clarke's villain of the piece Eddie Arch is absolutely immense.  His timing, ticks and facial expressions are absolutely hysterical for all the right reasons.  A bad guy you can absolutely love to hate, an deep velvety voice that will have all the ladies swooning over the bad guy.  Played by Gareth Gates when the show was in Leeds, it's hard to imagine how he could have done a better job.  Then there is the stunning Charlotte Harwood, who as Leia may not command the best lines, but she commands the stage every time she is present and you can't help but be beguiled by her in every scene she appears in.

Loserville doesn't just score top marks in the lead roles either, as the supporting cast are just as great too. Michael & Lucas best friends in Francis & Marvin are a perfect match too.  Lil' Chris comic timing is impeccable and Daniel Buckley is ace as well.  All of them compliment the show so well.  The other outstanding cast member is Whitney White as Samantha, one of Leia's 'Pink' friends, who herself has a secret to share.  Her voice is as sweet as honey, which you could listen to all day.

What Davis & Bourne have created here is simplicity.  But simplicity in it's finest form.  It's so clever and at times it doesn't even realize how clever it is.  The lyrics are great, the music (And band) are superb and the cast couldn't be any better.  It's almost sickening how talented everyone involved in the show are, but instead it's to be celebrated. Because London's theatreland can rest assured that it's future is safe in the hands of all of this upcoming talent.

If your looking for something away from the musical norm, then this geekfest is for you.  It's also one of the few shows that is truly for all the family as you don't have to worry about the content.  The music will be enjoyed by everyone.  The cast are so lovable  you will want to take them all home with you.  The sheer passion and energy will have you worn out by the end of the first half, but make sure you re-energize yourself for the second half so you can get to your feet at the end and deliver the standing ovation that Loserville so richly deserves.  

Welcome to the dawn of the next generation of West End superstars & welcome to the world of Theatre Geek Chic.  Forget 'Ticket Outta Loserville', you'd be the loser if you don't get a ticket INTO Loserville!!

Matt Bourne

Tuesday, 2 October 2012

Review: Shrek The Musical

Shrek The Musical - Theatre Royal, Drury Lane

It's been a while since the West End had some truly family orientated musicals that has something for everyone.  Now there are two, firstly Matilda which opened to rave reviews recently and also Shrek The Musical which is the subject of our attention here.

Shrek the Musical follows the recent reverse trend of bringing popular movies and turning them into stage musicals (Footloose, Dirty Dancing, Sister Act, The Bodyguard etc.) and it follows the events of the first movie where Shrek meets Donkey and they get sent out to rescue Princess Fiona to return her to Lord Farrquaad so that Shrek can get his swap back and get rid of all the fairy tale characters that have been banished there by Farquaad.  However, Fiona and Shrek fall in love and Fiona has a secret that she's afraid of letting anyone know about.

Over the years Shrek has had 3 sequels to varying degrees of success and a theme park ride created, so only using the first story of Shrek pantheon seems a little bit blinkered when they had a whole realm of the stories to play with.  However keeping it in this time frame at least keeps the story concise.  However it also, suffers from predictability as the story doesn't deviate from any part of the movie.  It would have been nice to add maybe a couple of flourishes in to proceedings.  However this is a minor grumble as Jason Moore keeps proceedings taught and whip smart.

The cast is where the show really shines, with Neil McDermotts Farquaad the show stealer du jour here.  He's an absolute joy to watch as he brings the house down with a rapturous performance that delivers on every level.  Richard Blackwood too as Donkey, performing the UKs Eddie Murphy role with aplomb, but actually manages to steal a lead on Murphy as the seminal Donkey.  Richard Blackwood has been the UKs best kept secret for far too long and hopefully off the back of Shrek we will start seeing a whole lot more of him once again. Dean Chisnell & Carly Stenson as Shrek and Fiona respectively are solid enough in the lead roles and seem happy to allow the other characters around them to flourish while they keep the ship steady although a show highlight for many is the burping and farting competition which had the younger members of the audience rooling in the aisles while most of the parents look on in abject horror before allowing themselves to get swept away in the moment.  It certainly gives the camp fire scene in Blazing Saddles a run for it's money thats for sure.

The music in the show is great, without being fantastic.  There's no real swell in the tunes to allow you to really get behind the music, the songs lean to heavily on knowing influences such as Freak Flag (Les Mis) and Morning Person (Snow White).  The crowd is finally lifted in the much anticipated finale (I'm a Believer), but by then half of the crowd (The adults) will have disengaged from proceedings.  Which is fine for the most part, as the show is aimed squarely at the younger members of the audience and fans of the movie.  But really needed that extra je ne sais quoi to make it truly spectacular.  A great night out for the kids, but the parents may leave a little unfulfilled.

Matt Bourne