News, Reviews and Features


These are all of our in-house news and features as well as syndicated article excerpts from our 45+ theatre bloggers. You can also access All Our Mates' Posts in comprehensive list form and view individual author pages.

BAKKHAI – Almeida Theatre

In London theatre, Plays, Reviews by Libby PurvesLeave a Comment

“Cleverness is not wisdom,” warn the Maenad chorus, as king Pentheus determinedly resists the rise of new god Dionysos’ cult in Thebes. Euripides’ Bacchae tells how the young god returns to his mother Semele’s home city to visit her grave, only to wreak terrible vengeance on Thebes’ young and arrogant king Pentheus, who refuses to respect his godhead. The Greek term for divine power, daimon, becomes a touchstone of Anne Carson’s new version for the Almeida: even the spelling of Carson’s title, Bakkhai, proclaims her intention to stay closer to the original texture of Greek. Euripides’ formal structure remains intact, lyrical choral odes alternating with intense scenes, and while Carson’s clear, crisp language (which retains ancient Greek cries of Euoe! Euoe!) mainly inhabits a timeless poetic world, she touches the contemporary from time to time: “Shall we call a cab?” elderly patriarch Cadmos asks the blind seer Teiresias as they set off in Bacchic regalia to join the revels. “It doesn’t sound very Dionysian,” Teiresias ruefully replies.

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TOMMY – Greenwich Theatre

In London theatre, Musicals, Reviews by Jonathan BazLeave a Comment

Amidst the present day plethora of so called “juke box” musicals, in which bands’ and singers’ back catalogues are ruthlessly plundered to provide musical highlights for a show that is either autobiographical or worse still, downright anodyne in its narrative, it is an absolute joy for London to be re-united with Tommy.

TOMMY – Greenwich Theatre

In London theatre, Musicals, Reviews by Jonathan BazLeave a Comment

Amidst the present day plethora of so called “juke box” musicals, in which bands’ and singers’ back catalogues are ruthlessly plundered to provide musical highlights for a show that is either autobiographical or worse still, downright anodyne in its narrative, it is an absolute joy for London to be re-united with Tommy.

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TOMMY – Greenwich Theatre

In London theatre, Reviews by Caroline Hanks-FarmerLeave a Comment

It’s been 19 years since we last saw The Who’s Tommy in London. Coming from Portsmouth where they filmed the iconic pinball scenes in the Kings Theatre in Southsea and a lover of the music I was keen to see this new production at the Greenwich Theatre. As you see below the production shots by Claire Bilyard of Scarab Pictures had us salivating before it went on stage so did it live up to the expectation?

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NEWS: American star Tom McGowan plays Wizard in West End Wicked

In Broadway, London theatre, Musicals, News, Press Releases by Press ReleasesLeave a Comment

WICKED, the award-winning classic musical that tells the incredible untold story of the Witches of Oz, is delighted to welcome the American stage, television and film actor Tom McGowan to the role ofThe Wizard from Monday 21 September for a limited season until Saturday 12 March 2016. He will be making his West End debut.

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NEWS: Almeida’s Oresteia transfers to West End’s Trafalgar Studios

In London theatre, News, Plays, Press Releases by Press ReleasesLeave a Comment

The Almeida Theatre’s critically acclaimed, sold out production of Oresteia, by Aeschylus, re-imagined for the modern stage by Almeida Associate Director Robert Icke (The Fever, Mr Burns, 1984) will transfer to the Trafalgar Studios in the West End from 22 August. Press night 7 September 2015. Robert Icke’s Oresteia was acclaimed during its Almeida run as one of the theatre …

OF THEE I SING – Royal Festival Hall

In London theatre, Musicals, Reviews by Jonathan BazLeave a Comment

All credit to Elliot Davis, Senbla and the genius of casting director Anne Vosser too, for assembling such a platinum plated cast to perform the little known Of Thee I Sing. But whilst this one-night-only’s company was majestic, the show itself plumbs the crassest depths of jingoistic prejudice, sexism and febrile farce. Quite how it won the 1932 Pulitzer Prize (the first musical ever to do so) beggars belief.

ANNE REID & STEFAN BEDNARCZYK IN CABARET – The Pheasantry

In Cabaret, London theatre, Reviews by Jonathan BazLeave a Comment

Most famous perhaps for the story and screenplay of Singin’ In The Rain (though incredibly their only contribution to that movie’s musical numbers was Moses Supposes), the Comden & Green partnership was to last the best part of 60 years, going on to include On The Town and Wonderful Town amongst a string of successes.

Reid and Bednarczyk are as enlightening as they are enchanting with a shared respect for Comden & Green that is infectiously appealing. Together, these talented performers bring a masterful combination of humour and pathos to a selection of numbers that reflect some of the best of the American Songbook.

NEWS: Willemijn Verkaik To Perform Solo Concert at Ambassadors Theatre

In London theatre, Musicals, News by Matt MerrittLeave a Comment

The wonderful  Willemijn Verkaik has announced a solo concert next month and we’re very excited! Read on for more details…

Dutch vocal powerhouse Willemijn Verkaik will play a one-off solo concert at the Ambassadors Theatre on Tuesday 25 August 2015.

Accompanied by a live band and joined by some to-be-announced special guests, Willemijn will take a journey through some of the greatest classic and contemporary musicals of all time, as well as celebrating some of the iconic songs that have defined her career so far.

Willemijn Verkaik is best known for playing the role of Elphaba in Wicked, having performed the role in the West End, on Broadway, in Germany and the Netherlands. Willemijn is also the only actress to have performed the role in multiple languages. Other stage credits include Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown in the West End, and Mamma Mia!, Aida and We Will Rock You in Germany. Willemijn also voiced Elsa in the Dutch and German versions of Disney’s smash hit animated film Frozen. Recordings include the German cast recording of Wicked, and appearances on Scott Alan’s albums What I Wanna Be When I Grow Up and Live.

This one-off UK concert promises to be a magical and intimate evening with one of theatreland’s greatest contemporary vocalists.

Willemijn will also be bringing her concert to New York for two performances only, playing at 54 Below on Thursday 27 and Friday 28 August 2015 at 7.00pm.

TUESDAY 25 AUGUST 2015, 8.00pm

THE AMBASSADORS THEATRE

West Street, London, WC2

Tickets: £17.50 and £29.50

Box Office: 08448 112334 | www.theambassadorstheatre.co.uk

ON SALE NOW

THURSDAY 27 and FRIDAY 28 AUGUST 2015, 7.00pm

54 BELOW

254 W 54th St, Cellar, New York, NY 10019

Tickets: $40, $45, $50, $80

Box Office: (646) 476-3551 | www. 54below.com

ON SALE NOW

NEWS: RSC Announce Full Cast for Hecuba

In News, Plays, Regional theatre by Matt MerrittLeave a Comment

Full casting is announced for the Swan Theatre production of Marina Carr’s new play based on the epic tale of Hecuba, directed by RSC Deputy Artistic Director Erica Whyman with Derbhle Crotty in the title role, opening on Thursday 24 September 2015.  

Derbhle Crotty returns to the RSC to play Hecuba, having previously played Lady Macbeth and Lady Duncan in the 2007 repertory season ofMacbeth and Ionesco’s Macbett. Derbhle is currently playing Bolingbroke/Henry IV in DruidShakespeare, which has played various venues in Ireland, New York and at the Kilkenny Festival. She is known for her film roles in Notes on a Scandal (2006), Rory O’Shea Was Here (2004) andNoble (2014).

Also returning is RSC Associate Artist Ray Fearon as Agamemnon, who has worked extensively with the RSC, most recently as Mark Antony inJulius Caesar and as the title role in Othello (1999). His recent theatre credits include playing Macduff in Macbeth at the Manchester International Festival; Ray also appeared in the 2006 series of Strictly Come Dancing. Joining him is Edmund Kingsley who plays Polymestor. Edmund can currently be seen in the BBC 2 mini-series Life in Squares as John Maynard Keynes. His RSC credits include Antony and Cleopatra, Julius Caesar and The Tempest, as part of the Complete Works Festival, Richard III, King John and Lord of the Flies. His film credits include Hugo (2011) and Stonehearst Asylum (2014).

The full cast includes: Nadia Albina (Cassandra); David Ajao (Nepotolemus); Derbhle Crotty (Hecuba); Ray Fearon (Agamemnon); Edmund Kingsley (Polymestor); Amy McAllister (Polyxena); Chu Omambala (Odysseus) and Lara Stubbs (Hecuba’s Woman).

Hecuba is designed by Soutra Gilmour with lighting by Charles Balfour. The music is composed by Isobel Waller-Bridge with sound byAndrew Franks. Movement is by Ayse Tashkiran.

NEWS: RSC Announce Full Cast for Hecuba

In News, Plays, Regional theatre by Matt MerrittLeave a Comment

Full casting is announced for the Swan Theatre production of Marina Carr’s new play based on the epic tale of Hecuba, directed by RSC Deputy Artistic Director Erica Whyman with Derbhle Crotty in the title role, opening on Thursday 24 September 2015.  

Derbhle Crotty returns to the RSC to play Hecuba, having previously played Lady Macbeth and Lady Duncan in the 2007 repertory season ofMacbeth and Ionesco’s Macbett. Derbhle is currently playing Bolingbroke/Henry IV in DruidShakespeare, which has played various venues in Ireland, New York and at the Kilkenny Festival. She is known for her film roles in Notes on a Scandal (2006), Rory O’Shea Was Here (2004) andNoble (2014).

Also returning is RSC Associate Artist Ray Fearon as Agamemnon, who has worked extensively with the RSC, most recently as Mark Antony inJulius Caesar and as the title role in Othello (1999). His recent theatre credits include playing Macduff in Macbeth at the Manchester International Festival; Ray also appeared in the 2006 series of Strictly Come Dancing. Joining him is Edmund Kingsley who plays Polymestor. Edmund can currently be seen in the BBC 2 mini-series Life in Squares as John Maynard Keynes. His RSC credits include Antony and Cleopatra, Julius Caesar and The Tempest, as part of the Complete Works Festival, Richard III, King John and Lord of the Flies. His film credits include Hugo (2011) and Stonehearst Asylum (2014).

The full cast includes: Nadia Albina (Cassandra); David Ajao (Nepotolemus); Derbhle Crotty (Hecuba); Ray Fearon (Agamemnon); Edmund Kingsley (Polymestor); Amy McAllister (Polyxena); Chu Omambala (Odysseus) and Lara Stubbs (Hecuba’s Woman).

Hecuba is designed by Soutra Gilmour with lighting by Charles Balfour. The music is composed by Isobel Waller-Bridge with sound byAndrew Franks. Movement is by Ayse Tashkiran.

Revealing yourself with care

In Features, Inspiring people, Opinion by Chris GradyLeave a Comment

This week has been a mix of preparing papers to run the MA in Creative Producing at Mountview, taking on the co-ordination of the Producers’ Pool network, re-editing my own book “Your Life in Theatre” and going to celebrate the launch of Alison Goldie’s “The Improv Book” published by Oberon Books. I’m really enjoying understanding […]

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Weekly Theatre Podcast: Constellations, As Is, Bugsy Malone

In Audio, London theatre, Musicals, Native, Plays, Reviews by As Yet Unnamed London Theatre PodcastLeave a Comment

Every week, a group of regular, dedicated, independent theatre bloggers gather together for intelligent discussion “from the audience’s perspective” about plays and musicals they’ve recently seen in London. Lively, informed and entertaining. My Theatre Mates is delighted to syndicate the (still) As Yet Unnamed London Theatre Podcast (AYULTP). Shows discussed (with timings) in this week’s podcast: Orson’s Shadow – The …

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NEWS: Stephen Campbell Moore joins Nicole Kidman in Photograph 51, Full cast announced

In London theatre, News, Plays, Press Releases by Press ReleasesLeave a Comment

The Michael Grandage Company today announces the full company for the UK première of Anna Ziegler’s Photograph 51. Nicole Kidman who leads the company as Rosalind Franklin is joined by Will Attenborough (James Watson), Edward Bennett (Francis Crick), Stephen Campbell Moore (Maurice Wilkins), Patrick Kennedy (Don Caspar) and Joshua Silver (Ray Gosling). Photograph 51 opens at the West End’s Noel Coward Theatre on 14 September, with previews from 5 September, and runs until 21 November.

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Could unisex be the answer to the West End’s toilet troubles?

In Features, London theatre, Native, Opinion by Susan ElkinLeave a Comment

I am available for hire as theatre lavatories consultant. My rates are reasonable. And if any venue, especially in the West End, thinks it doesn’t need my services then I have news for you. You do. I hope you’re reading this, Cameron Mackintosh, because I know your plans for the Ambassadors Theatre have been submitted to Westminster City Council. And …