Curtain Up: The news from the last week

In Features, London theatre, Musicals, News, Opinion, Plays, Regional theatre, Touring by Matt MerrittLeave a Comment

It’s not been a good end to the year for me… I returned from a much-needed holiday in September with a torn hamstring that made sitting in one place for any length of time agony. It started to heal and I re-tore it. Just when I’m back to fighting fitness I manage to go and contract pneumonia!

So, 2015 is not ending the way I had hoped and I’m missing out on a lot of good theatre (as is MyTheatreMates co-founder Mark Shenton who wrote about his own injury).

That said, being laid up on the sofa has allowed me to keep my head above water with the volume of theatre news emerging lately, so I thought this would be a good time to start my new weekly round-up of what is happening in the West End and beyond…

The picture at the top of this post is one of the things we’re most excited about this week… The West Yorkshire Playhouse production of Chitty Chitty Bang Bang started previews this week (without the “star” casting it will have when it heads out on tour) and although we have to wait until next
week to see what critics will think of it, the images so far leave me with high hopes for what looks like a colourful and fun production!

Elsewhere the full cast for Red Velvet at the Garrick was announced. We already knew Adrian Lester would be starring in the
addition to the Plays at The Garrick
season, but he’ll be joined by Ayesha Antoine (Connie), Simon Chandler (Bernard
Warde/Terence), Alexander Cobb (Henry Forrester/Casimir), Mark Edel-Hunt
(Charles Kean), Emun Elliott (Pierre Laporte), Charlotte Lucas (Ellen Tree),
Caroline Martin (Halina Wozniak/Margaret Aldridge) and Amy Morgan (Betty
Lovell). Indhu Rubasingham directs
the production based on her original version at the Tricycle Theatre in 2012.

Our friends at Lazarus
Theatre
have announced their first production of 2016, they’ll be heading
to the Brockley Jack with their take on
Brecht’s The Caucasian Chalk Circle.
Artistic Director Ricky Dukes stated
We are thrilled to be starting our
season with such an iconic piece, in a beautifully rich and provocative translation
by Frank McGuinness. Lazarus Season 2016 is going to be about revolution and
rebellion, there’s no better way to start that season than with arguably the
father of modern political theatre, Bertolt Brecht.

Okay, so this one was actually last week, but we didn’t
write about it at the time. Gemma
Arterton
will be leading the cast as director Christopher Luscombe takes his production of Jessica Swale’s Nell Gwynn
out of the Globe’s ‘wooden O’ and onto the stage of The Apollo (where the Globe’s
excellent Richard III/Twelfth Night double bill transferred in 2012). This was
one of the productions we most regret missing this year so the opportunity to see
it, albeit on a regular stage, is hugely exciting!

Last, but by no means least, Jamie Lloyd and his company are currently celebrating 50 years of Harold Pinter with a production of
perhaps his best work. The Homecoming
is currently running at Trafalgar Studios and following Wednesday night’s performance
there will be a recital of Pinter poetry by a roll call of superb actors
including Celia Imrie, Indira Varma, Douglas Henshall and Homecoming cast
members Ron Cook & Gray Kemp among others. Tickets will be free to anyone
attending that night’s performance of the play.

We’ll try and keep you posted on all the news that happens
during the week, but check back next Sunday for another roundup of news that
caught our eye over the previous seven days!

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Matt Merritt
Matt has been a theatre fan since childhood, regularly visiting theatres in his native Portsmouth and surrounding areas. He has been reviewing for some time, initially for local press outlets before starting his own site, Sitting in the Cheap Seats, in 2013. These days he can generally be found in the front row of the balcony in a theatre in the Southwest (or on trips to London), quietly thankful he is short enough not to notice the lack of legroom!
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Matt Merritt on FacebookMatt Merritt on RssMatt Merritt on Twitter
Matt Merritt
Matt has been a theatre fan since childhood, regularly visiting theatres in his native Portsmouth and surrounding areas. He has been reviewing for some time, initially for local press outlets before starting his own site, Sitting in the Cheap Seats, in 2013. These days he can generally be found in the front row of the balcony in a theatre in the Southwest (or on trips to London), quietly thankful he is short enough not to notice the lack of legroom!

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