Thursday, 28 February 2013

News: Edward Fox To Join The Cast Of The Audience


The producers of The Audience today confirm that after Robert Hardy’s sad recent withdrawal through injury, the role of Winston Churchill in Peter Morgan’s new play will now be played by Edward Fox. 

The Audience Director Stephen Daldry said: “We are incredibly fortunate that at very short notice Edward Fox has kindly agreed to step in. We are particularly lucky to find an actor of such stature and great authority to play Winston Churchill and we are delighted to welcome Edward to the Company.”


Edward Fox, famed for his consummate performance as Edward VIII in Thames Television’sEdward and Mrs Simpson, has had a long and distinguished career on screen and stage. He won a BAFTA for Best Supporting Actor in Joseph Losey’s The Go Between and was “The Jackal” in Day of the Jackal directed by Fred Zinnemann. His many other film credits include A Bridge Too Far (for which he was also awarded a BAFTA), The Duellists, The Shooting Party, Ghandi, The Dresser andThe Importance of Being Ernest. His theatre credits include Knuckle (David Hare’s first play to appear in the West End), The Family Reunion at the Vaudeville, A Letter of Resignation in which his performance as Harold Macmillan drew widespread acclaim, Lloyd George Knew My Father, the idiosyncratic Earl in the 1999 revival of William Douglas Home’s The Chiltern Hundreds, The Old Masters (written by Simon Gray directed by Harold Pinter), Four Quartets, Legal Fictions at the Savoy and Trollope in Barsetshire at the Riverside Studios. His other television credits include Daniel Deronda, Oliver Twist and Hard Times. In 2003 Edward Fox was awarded an OBE.



Joining Helen Mirren who plays The Queen in the world premiere of Peter Morgan’s The Audience are Michael Elwyn as Anthony Eden, Haydn Gwynne as Margaret Thatcher, Richard McCabe as Harold Wilson, Nathaniel Parker as Gordon Brown, Paul Ritter as John Major, Rufus Wright as David Cameron and Edward Fox as Winston Churchill. The Equerry is Geoffrey Beevers and the role of Young Elizabeth is played by Bebe Cave, Maya Gerber and Nell Williams. David Peart plays James Callaghan who is joined by ensemble members Jonathan Coote, Ian Houghton and Charlotte Moore.

The Audience began previewing at the Gielgud Theatre on 15 February 2013, with press night on 5 March 2013 and is booking to 15 June 2013. Designs are by Bob Crowley with lighting by Rick Fisher, sound by Paul Arditti, music by Paul Englishby and video by Ian William Galloway.

For sixty years Elizabeth II has met each of her twelve Prime Ministers in a weekly audience at Buckingham Palace - a meeting like no other in British public life – it is private. Both parties have an unspoken agreement never to repeat what is said. Not even to their spouses.

The Audience breaks this contract of silence and imagines a series of pivotal meetings between the Downing Street incumbents and their Queen. From Churchill to Cameron, each Prime Minister has used these private conversations as a sounding board and a confessional - sometimes intimate, sometimes explosive. In turn, the Queen can’t help but reveal her own self as she advises, consoles and, on occasion, teases.

From young mother to grandmother these private audiences chart the arc of the second Elizabethan Age. Politicians come and go through the revolving door of electoral politics, while she remains constant, waiting to welcome her next Prime Minister.

The Audience is produced in the West End by Matthew Byam Shaw for Playful Productions,Robert Fox and Andy Harries.



LISTINGS INFORMATION

Theatre: Gielgud Theatre, 35 Shaftesbury Avenue, London, W1D 6AR

Dates: Until 15 June 2013

Performances: Monday – Saturday 7.30pm, Wednesday and Saturday matinees 2.30pm

Prices: £10.00 - £59.00, plus concessions

A limited number of Day Seats will go on sale from the Box Office, in person only, from 10am on the day of performance


Box Office: 0844 4825130

Wednesday, 27 February 2013

Review: The Tailor Made Man

The Tailor Made Man
Arts Theatre, London

Set in the 1920/30s, the Tailor Made Man tells the hitherto unknown story of William Haines (Dylan Turner) the "Tom Cruise" of his era who was unceremoniously buried by studio head Louis B. Mayer (Mike McShane) because of his homosexual tendencies, romance with Jimmy Shields (Bradley Clarkson) and his refusal to cover it up with a sham marriage to Pola Negri (Kay Murphy).  Having to leave the world of Hollywood he and partner Jimmie set up a interior design company that became very successful and ended up being supported by his friends in Hollywood, in particular Marion Davies (Faye Tozer) who was best friends with William and Jimmy.  The Tailor Made Man tells the story from the eyes of an elderly Jimmie (Clive Ward) as he is being interviewed by a determined reporter (Vivien Carter).

If you are fed up with the conveyor belt of lavishly designed, hugely expensive, special effects laden souless productions, then The Tailor Made Man at the Arts Theatre, makes for a very welcome change.  Featuring a great cast, simple backdrops and a hugely engulfing story, the Tailor Made Man whisks you away and carries you through a majestically told story, full of romance, humour and sheer delight.  Thetare for too long now has moved too far away from what musical theatre is about, telling a story with music.  Not lots of lights, effects, smoke and mirrors and music so in your face that the general theatre going public turn into a relative form of the MTV generation.  The Tailor Made Man returns to the basics of musical theatre and is all the better for it.

With it being a true story, it brings it's own set of challenges with accuracy and making sure that the period is correct and the tale is as authentic as it can be.  However this production handles that with relative ease as the essence of that era is conveyed with loving care.  It helps that the cast are all terrific and that the choreography and script are top notch too.

From the outset the bar is set when Dylan Turner sweeps bare chested into the story he traverses throughout the production like a modern day Clarke Gable with his cool good looking swagger.  He's a terrific actor too, coupled with a great voice he really does justice to the character of Billy.  Then there's the mercurial Mike McShane, who delivers a towering performance as Louis B. Mayer the studio head who has things done his way or else.  he brings such an element of gravitas that despite being on a small stage makes the production come across like it's on a huge west end stage.  Then someone else who is no stranger to huge stages is Faye Tozer as Marion Davies.  Ms. Tozer looks like someone invented a time machine went back to the 20s and kidnapped her and brought her back for this production.  She simply is divine as Marion and she completely nails on the period and the diva quality's that will no doubt have many a theatre producer knocking down her door to get her to sign up to their next big production very soon.  Then there is Bradley Clarkson as Jimmy, who throughout is the heartbeat of the show.  He has an assured subtlety to his performance that really builds as the story continues.  The fact that you can really feel Billy's loss after Jimmy leaves him for a period speaks volumes for not only Mr Clarkson's ability but Dylan Turner's as well.

If there's any problems it's possibly that some of the change overs are slightly clunky, but if that's all there is to worry about, then it's the least of your worries.  The music and songs by Adam Meggido are excellent, Nathan Wright, puts together some wonderful choreography throughout especially the picture frame sequence with Kay Murphy's brilliant Pola Negri.  It's a delight to behold and a production that you should not miss.  It's on a very limited run (14th Feb - 6th April) so ensure that you get a ticket and see it before it's gone.

This is a production that deserves a big theatre to fill and to get the delightful story and music onto.  With the successes of Singing in the Rain, Top Hat and the movie success of The Artist (Which you can draw a lot of comparisons to) there is definitely an audience for this type of show.  This reviewer would be first in the queue if they decided to make that bold step too.  So make sure that you grab a ticket to see this little gem with the biggest heart soon.





Matt Bourne

Review: A Chorus Line

A Chorus Line
Palladium Theatre, London

The Legendary A Chorus Line, has returned to London's Theatreland for a revival of the hugely successful and longest running Broadway musical of the same name.  Based on true stories, this is the tale of an audition process for a new show, where Director Zach (John Partridge) whittles down the cast, which include Cassie (Scarlett Strallen) a former high flying star looking to go back to her roots,  Shelia (Leigh Zimmerman) a aging dancer looking for one last break, Mark (Harry Francis) A young dancer just breaking into the business, Diana Morales (Victoria Hamilton Barrett) the Puerto Rican girl who was ignored by her teachers, Al & Kristine DeLuca (Simon Hardwick & Francis Dee) a husband who looks after his wife and she can't sing.. among others.  Zach gets each of them to tell them "Something about themselves" and they each deliver their stories.  When Zach has heard from everybody, he has to make the final decision of choosing four male and four female dancers, to set some dreams off and crumble those of the others.

A Chorus Line first came to London in 1976, so it has been nearly 40 years since it was last seen.  Time has moved on in the Theatre with all manner of Gizmos and effects to make shows more lavish and appeal to a broader computer age audience.  So it comes as a refreshing change that A Chorus Line stays true to it's original foundation with just a panel of revolving mirrors as it's backdrop, the stage remains barren throughout so that the individual actors have a platform to shine & shine they do.

If your a fan of pure song & dance then this show will deliver in spades.  With some simply stunning choreography throughout there are some astonishing solo numbers.  None more so than Scarlett Strallen who is absolutely brilliant, with crisp movement, kicks and spins, you cannot take your eyes off her for one minute, even when she isn't the focal part of the story.  There simply are none better than the Strallen's when it comes to big broad dance numbers in the West End today.  However she isn't the show's highlight as hard as that may to believe, that honour goes to the sumptuous  Victoria Hamilton-Barrett as Diana, who explodes with an incredible vocal performance on "Nothing" & "What I Did For Love" which brought the crowd to life on both occasions.  It's a subtlety played Zach from John Partridge, who for the most part you are caressed with his baritone voice as he sits to watch his auditionees 'And Relaaaxxxx' but when he's on stage involved in the dance numbers, he also leaves nothing out and throws his whole soul into his performance.

Where A Chorus Line really scores is the ensemble being right on the money with each of their characters.  From James T. Lane's stand out dance number through the comedy moments from  several cast members, this really is the best Song and Dance show to see in the West End currently.  Where it does niggle though is the show is a real slow burner and takes a good 20 minutes to hit it's stride.  Also, there's no intermission.  Not that this is necessarily a problem, but when you have to sit insome uncomfortable seats in the Palladiumin a sold out show, it can be Butt bustingly hard to sit through, which is not a knock on the production as everythign is grat.  But the comfort level does at times take you out of the story as you and several others around shift in theri seats trying to find the perfect position.  Also, your knees will likely take a battering too.  Another minor grumble is that the show has several moments of bad language, which will prevent the younger audience from seeing the show and if we are to inspire a new generation of dancers and singers, the script could have been trimmed a little bit.  Coupled with the 2 hour performance this certainly won't be suitable for families.

However those minor issues aside you should certainly get yourself tickets during A Chorus Line's short run at the Palladium as original director and choreographer Michael Bennett puts on a razzle dazzle show for the ages here, with a stunning cast, great bombastic songs and a thrilling set of dance numbers.  It's a solid show which is well worth the trip out. "And.. 5, 6, 7, 8!"





Matt Bourne

Monday, 25 February 2013

Tailor Made Man Interviews (Faye Tozer Dylan Turner & Bradley Clarkson)

On this edition of the Theatre One Podcast we interview the main cast of the new musical Tailor Made Man, which is on a limited 8 week run at the Arts Theatre in London. Interviewed are Faye Tozer (Of Steps fame), Dylan Turner & Bradley Clarkson. They discuss the show, the comparisons to The Artist & the loyal fan-base.


(You can read our review of The Tailor Made Man here: http://www.theatreone.co.uk/2013/02/review-tailor-made-man.html)



THE TAILOR-MADE MAN

Arts Theatre
6-7 Great Newport St
London WC2H 7JB







Performances: Monday-Saturday 7.30pm*; Thursday and Saturday 2.30pm**
*Tuesday 21 February at 7.00pm; **extra 2.30pm matinee on Wednesday 20 February
Tickets: £20.00, £30.00, £39.50 (Previews: £10.00, £20.00, £29.50)


Box Office: 020 7836 8463

Website: www.thetailormademanlondon.com


Facebook: Tailor Made Man


Twitter: @TailorMadeManUK

Saturday, 23 February 2013

A Chorus Line: Full Casting Announced


A CHORUS LINE
The Broadway Production at the London Palladium



Music by Marvin Hamlisch
Book by James Kirkwood and Nicholas Dante
Lyrics by Edward Kleban
Conception, Original Direction and Choreography by
Michael Bennett
Direction and Original co-choreography by Bob Avian Will Rogers Follies, Crazy For You and A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the
Forum.

The production will be directed by Broadway and West End veteran director and
choreographer Bob Avian. Avian was Michael Bennett’s long term collaborator and
his co-choreographer on the original production. Avian was also responsible for
directing the 2006 Broadway revival of A Chorus Line.

Andrew Lloyd Webber said:  “I am delighted to welcome  A Chorus Line into The
London Palladium. This classic Broadway production has not been seen in the West
End for almost 35 years. Marvin Hamlisch was a great friend and supporter in my
early career  and I can think of no more fitting tribute to him than this major
revival.”

This long anticipated revival will become a tribute to the show’s composer Marvin
Hamlisch who tragically died in early August last year. Hamlisch’s contribution to
the stage and screen is widely recognised as being seminal. Perhaps his best known
songs include  The Way We Were and  Nobody Does It Better and along with his
musical theatre work his scores for films include  Ordinary People and  Sophie’s
Choice.



Victoria Hamilton-Barritt (Diana),  John Partridge (Zach), Scarlett Strallen (Cassie)
and Leigh Zimmerman (Sheila)  will be joined by Lucy Adcock (Judy), Georgie
Ashford (Trisha), Ed Currie (Bobby), Frances Dee (Kristine), Segun Fawole (Butch),
Harry Francis (Mark),  Simon Hardwick (Al), Rebecca Herszenhon (Val), James  T
Lane (Richie), Marc Leslie (Roy), Vicki Lee Taylor (Maggie), Daisy Maywood (Bebe),
Alice Jane Murray (Lois), Alastair Postlethwaite (Larry), Andy Rees (Greg), Adam
Salter (Mike), Alexzandra Sarmiento (Connie), Michael Steedon (Tom), Gary Watson
(Don) and Gary Wood (Paul). Further casting includes  Rebecca Giocopazzi,
Genevieve Nicole and Ashley Nottingham.


The role of imperious director Zach will be played by West End leading man and TV
star John Partridge, best known for his role as Christian Clarke in EastEnders. John
has appeared in numerous musical theatre productions including Cats, Starlight
Express, Tommy, Grease,  The Drowsy Chaperone,  Rent  and Miss Saigon. John is
currently one of the presenters of the National Lottery programme and  he was
selected by the BBC to join Andrew Lloyd Webber, Charlotte Church and Sheila
Hancock as a judge on BBC1’s Over The Rainbow.

Scarlett Strallen is currently starring as Kathy in the West End production of Singin’
in the Rain,  for which she received an Olivier Award nomination. Her previous
theatre work includes Clara in Passion at the Donmar Warehouse, the title role in
Mary Poppins in the West End and on Broadway and  Truly Scrumptious in Chitty
Chitty Bang Bang at the London Palladium.

Leigh  Zimmerman has appeared twice in the West End production of  Chicago
playing Velma Kelly and in 2005 she was Olivier nominated for her role as Ulla in
The Producers at the Theatre Royal Drury Lane.


Alice Jane Murray and Marc Leslie were selected to join the cast of A Chorus Line
from the open auditions that were held at the London Palladium back in September
2012. Selected from 2000 hopefuls, 19 year old Alice will be making her west end
debut.


Victoria Hamilton-Barritt was most recently seen playing Gypsy Rose Lee in
Leicester Curve’s production of  Gypsy. She also  played the lead role of Alex in
Flashdance in the West End and the role of Anita in the international tour of West
Side Story.

Michael Bennett’s production of  A Chorus Line won nine Tony Awards and the
Pulitzer Prize for Drama when it opened on Broadway in 1975 and went on to
become the then longest running musical on Broadway achieving an astonishing
6137 performances. It features some of musical theatre’s best loved songs:  One
(Singular Sensation),  What I Did For Love,  I Can Do That,  Hello Twelve, Hello
Thirteen, Hello Love and Hope I Get It.


For the first time since its first London season, which opened in 1976 and won the
Olivier Award for Best Musical, a full London revival of the Broadway Production
will be staged at the London Palladium from February 5th 2013, with a press night
on Tuesday February 19th
.
Following the announcement of a limited season through to July 2013, booking has
now been extended to January 2014.






A Chorus Line
The London Palladium
8 Argyll Street, Soho, London, W1F 7TF

Box Office 0844 412 2957

www.achoruslinelondon.com

First preview: February 5tat 7.45pm

Booking until: January 2014

Tickets: £19.50 - £65

Preview prices: £10 off top three prices

Access rate: £25
Monday – Saturday 7.45pm, Wednesday and Saturday 3pm (first midweek matinee on February 13th)