One couldn’t help but notice the slight hysteria surrounding understudies this week but is this really anything new? Cast your minds back to missing performances from Martine McCutcheon in My Fair Lady, Tamsin Outhwaite in Sweet Charity… the list goes on. If I see the ‘At this performance’ sign in the box office my heart…
Top ten of the week, with new addition for Simon McBurney’s phenomenal The Encounter.
A Broadway comedy and two British created musicals arrive in the West End this week – one from last summer’s season at Bath’s Theatre Royal, the other after a long stage life of touring regionally and internationally for the last eight years. Will any of them make it to next week’s Top 10 list? This week’s main openings In London: …
Mark Shenton’s top ten of the week, including Florian Zeller’s The Mother that has followed his play The Father (soon to return to the West End) to London from Bath. Plus, this week’s biggest openings.
Top ten of the week, including Bend it Like Beckham, Close to You and In the Heights, three shows I’ve already re-visited again and again, and intend to yet again!
People, people who need people are, allegedly, the luckiest people in the world. I’d argue that those who are emotionally and financially self-sufficient have a hell of a bigger reason to feel lucky than those who depend needily on others for their wellbeing. But I’m not a character in a musical – and neither, really are the people who need people who appear in Funny Girl a narrative so far removed from the actual history of kooky kosher comedienne Fanny Brice and her deeply dodgy gangster hubby Julius ‘Nicky’ Arnstein as to be a complete fiction.
After my two-week Christmas roadtrip in the US, I’m finally back at my desk and able to catch up on all the 2015 UK theatrical year round. Have you been keeping up in my absence? Fear not either way, because once again, I’ve rounded up the round-ups to give you an essential overview.
As 2015 draws to a close, here is my personal look back on the performance highlights of the last 12 months. This list is entirely subjective – and marks out the shows I have seen, that, as Sondheim’s Mary Flynn put it so eloquently in Merrily We Roll Along, ” will stay with me for a long time….”My list includes musicals, drama, cabaret and concert performances – together with an eclectic Best Of The Rest. Here’s are my favourites.
This week the London theatre bloggers – including Mates co-founder Terri Paddock – discuss Sheridan Smith in Funny Girl, Caryl Churchill’s Here We Go and Linda, starring Noma Dumezweni (taking over at short notice from Kim Cattrall) at the Royal Court.
I’ve been consciously taking it easy (or at least easier than I usually do!) over the last week after dislocating my newly replaced hip the week before, as I described in a posting here last week was a bit of a wake-up call — I had actually scheduled some ten shows (including out-of-town trips to Leicester and Leeds) just ten days after coming out hospital the first time; but then had the wake-up call that took me out of commission entirely.
Reviews digest of openings in London, Leicester and Leeds from national critics for new productions of Linda, Funny Girl, The Girls, Oliver!, Barbarians and Macbeth.
Following a critically acclaimed opening at the Menier Chocolate Factory this week, the smash hit production of Funny Girl extends its booking period at the Savoy Theatre due to popular demand. Michael Mayer’s “exhilarating embrace of a production – Independent” will now run until 10 September 2016 – marking the musical’s 50th anniversary year. Tickets for the extended booking period production starring Olivier and BAFTA award-winning actress and “phenomenal talent – Independent” Sheridan Smith as Fanny Brice go on sale today.
Today’s #MatesChoice ticket recommendation: after today’s reviews, how can it be anything other than Sheridan Smith in Funny Girl in its West End transfer?
In musical theatre happenings, the big news last night was London’s first major revival of Jule Styne’s Broadway classic Funny Girl. The big question: could Sheridan Smith lay to rest the ghost of Barbra Streisand, who originated the role of Fanny Brice on stage and (Oscar-winning) screen? And the big answer: a resounding yes.
It’s hard not to invoke the B word – Barbra, that is, not Brice – and I speak as one who bunked off school to catch her at a mid-week matinee. It was standing room only at the Prince of Wales but by then she was pretty much phoning in her performance and only the thrill of that voice (smaller than one expected but laser intense) carried her through.
For half a generation there has been a truism in the musical theatre world that nobody can do Jule Style and Bob Merrill’s Funny Girl, because Streisand played the 1920’s eccentrically comic Ziegfeld star and nobody can beat her. So why try? Thus not many have done so: one Broadway revival got “postponed”. But nothing daunts the Menier, fount of daring musical revivals. Michael Meyer from New York directs, the Savoy transfer is already in the bag, and the starring role is our secret weapon: Britain’s own high-voltage electric waif, Sheridan Smith.
Imelda Staunton may have just wowed in Styne and Sondheim’s Gypsy, but hard on her heels is Sheridan Smith’s take on Fanny Brice. In a role that famously demands an unconventional beauty – and which, from both Broadway and Hollywood launch pads Barbra Streisand was rocketed into the highest of stellar orbits – Smith has enormously famous shoes to fill.
UPDATED, Mon 16 November 2015: Tickets are now on sale for Funny Girl in the West End via your Mates! And to tantalise, we’ve added pictures below from the rehearsal room of Sheridan Smith, Darius Campbell and the cast in action… 30 October 2015: Due to unprecedented demand the Menier Chocolate Factory Production of Funny Girl transfers to the Savoy …
The Menier Chocolate Factory today announces full casting for their production of Funny Girl. Joining Sheridan Smith as Fanny Brice are Valda Aviks (Mrs O’Malley), Natasha J Barnes (Emma/Mrs Meeker), Darius Campbell (Nick), Marilyn Cutts (Mrs Brice), Maurice Lane (Mr Keeney), Bruce Montague (Ziegfeld), Joel Montague (Eddie), Gay Soper (Mrs Strakosh); with Emma Caffrey, Matthew Croke, Joelle Dyson, Rebecca Fennelly, Luke Fetherston, Leah Harris, Kelly Homewood, Sammy Kelly and Stuart Ramsay completing the ensemble.
The Menier Chocolate Factory today announces that award-winning actress Sheridan Smith returns to the theatre to play Fanny Brice in a major new revival of Funny Girl. The multi award-winning Michael Mayer directs the production, which opens on 2 December 2015, with previews from 20 November, and runs until 5 March 2016. This production is presented in association with Sonia …