Malevolent forces shaping small communities is a strong premise for all kinds of drama, from the arrival of outsiders that tend to be the focus of horror to the power shifts of Pinter plays that upset the status quo with new authorities forming that overshadow the existing order. Zinnie Harris’ 2000 play Further Than the Furthest Thing combines these ideas with broader notions of industrialisation and the religious management of a community relatively untroubled by the outside world until one if its returning sons brings change.
‘For all its polish, the play feels oddly dated’: WOMAN IN MIND – Chichester ★★★
in Woman In Mind at Chichester Festival Theatre Susan finds herself in mid-life with a dull clerical husband (Nigel Lindsay really enjoying it), obsessed with his dreary parish history pamphlet. His gloomy beige sister lives with them; Muriel (Stephanie Jacob equally relishing every stumping step and grudge). She believes she can conjure up the spirit of her dead husband, and cooks the worst possible food (for an Alan Ayckbourn play this one is short on big laughs, but the good ones are about her omelettes and coffee). Their son has run off to join a cult in Hemel Hempstead.
‘It’s flashy, frank & fabulous’: STEVE – Seven Dials Playhouse
Steven (a demonstrative David Ames) is celebrating his 47th birthday at the Manhattan branch of Joe Allen’s, where posters from little-remembered shows line the walls.
‘Entertainingly put together & starrily cast’: STEVE – Seven Dials Playhouse
The Seven Dials Playhouse opens with the European premiere of Mark Gerrard’s gently amusing and affecting Steve.
Mark Shenton kicks off his new ShenTens podcast with a top ten favourite musicals
I’ve launched a brand-new weekly podcast, called ShenTen, in which I will countdown my personal top tens in different theatrical categories.
‘A chance for performers to come back & shine’: The Theatre Channel – The Theatre Cafe (Online review)
The Theatre Channel showcases classics from musical theatre in a variety of settings for the digital age, so fans can enjoy their favourite songs and stars from the comfort of home.
‘Superb & enjoyable musical treat’: GODSPELL THE CONCERT (Online review)
The marvellous Hope Mill Theatre in Manchester has co-produced Godspell The Concert with Ginger Quiff Media.
NEWS: West End revival of Hello Dolly!, starring Imelda Staunton, postpones ‘until the time is right’
The hugely-anticipated new West End production of Hello, Dolly! starring Imelda Staunton, which was due to begin performances at the Adelphi Theatre in London on Tuesday 11 August 2020, has been indefinitely postponed.
NEWS: Tyrone Huntley, Clare Halse & Harry Hepple join the West End production of Hello, Dolly!
Joining the previously announced Imelda Staunton, Andy Nyman and Jenna Russell in the West End production of Hello, Dolly! at the Adelphi Theatre this summer will be Clare Halse, Tyrone Huntley and Harry Hepple.
NEWS: Andy Nyman & Jenna Russell join the West End cast of Hello Dolly!
Andy Nyman and Jenna Russell are to join the cast of Hello, Dolly! when the iconic musical arrives at the Adelphi Theatre this summer.
NEWS: Imelda Staunton will headline new West End production of Hello, Dolly! in summer 2020
Imelda Staunton will star as Dolly Levi in Hello, Dolly!, alongside Jenna Russell as Irene Molloy, in a brand new London production of the musical at the Adelphi Theatre in 2020.
NEWS: Nominations are announced for the UK Theatre Awards 2019
The list of nominees has been revealed for this year’s UK Theatre Awards, the only nationwide awards to honour and celebrate outstanding achievements in theatre throughout England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. Best New Play nominees are Laura Wade’s The Watsons, Ulster American by David Ireland and Life Of Pi, adapted by Lolita Chakrabarti from Yann Martel’s novel, while Best Musical …
‘Captures the soul of the story perfectly’: THE BRIDGES OF MADISON COUNTY – Menier Chocolate Factory ★★★★
Jenna Russell’s stunning performance combined with Trevor Nunn’s delicately understated production captures the soul of the story perfectly in The Bridges of Madison County at the Menier Chocolate Factory.
NEWS: Jenna Russell will lead the company of The Bridges of Madison County at the Menier Chocolate Factory
Jenna Russell will lead the company for the UK premiere of Jason Robert Brown and Marsha Norman’s musical adaptation of Robert James Waller’s bestselling novel The Bridges of Madison County in a new staging by Trevor Nunn at the Menier Chocolate Factory.
‘Karimloo’s voice remains a thing of wonder’: BROADWAY @ LEICESTER SQUARE – Ramin Karimloo
The Broadway @ The Leicester Square brand is one which surfaces infrequently but always pays rich rewards when it does. Having attracted Patti LuPone, then Audra McDonald and John Barrowman into the intimate surroundings of an informal chat and sing-song arrangement with Seth Rudetsky, it is now Ramin Karimloo’s turn to deliver such a boutique concert.
‘Exceeds all expectations’: FUN HOME – Young Vic
Fun Home exceeds all expectations. It’s one of those productions where everything – book, music, performance, design – comes together in perfect harmony and by the final notes you know you’ve witnessed something sublime.
‘One of the best productions the theatre has housed’: FUN HOME – Young Vic ★★★★★
At last, the Young Vic has come of age. Fun Home marks one of the best productions it has housed and breaks new ground for musical theatre.
‘Bittersweetly funny, powerfully emotive & superlatively performed’: FUN HOME – Young Vic
It’s fitting that Fun Home should open in Pride month, not least because it is an all-too-rare show that focuses on the L in LGBT+. But as stirring and gratifying and significant as it is to have a lesbian protagonist, this musical works because it is straight-up fantastic.
NEWS: Jenna Russell, Kaisa Hammarlund & Cherrelle Skeete are cast in Fun Home at the Young Vic
Casting has been announced for Jeanine Tesori and Lisa Kron’s five-time Tony Award-winning musical Fun Home, playing at the Young Vic’s main house from 18 June to 1 September 2018 (press night is 27 June 2018). The line-up features Kaisa Hammarlund as Alison; Eleanor Kane as Medium Alison; Jenna Russell as Helen; Ashley Samuels as Roy, Mark and Jeremy; Cherrelle Skeete as Joan and Zubin Varla as Bruce, Alison’s father.
Year in Review: Ian Foster’s Best Actress in a Play & in a Musical
In addition to lists of top productions, Mates contributor Ian Foster reviews his reviews from the past year to award his personal prizes for the best performances for Best Actor and Best Actress, Best Supporting Actor and Best Supporting Actress in both plays and musicals…