Snow White, the latest pantomime at the London Palladium, stars Dawn French and Julian Clary. Love London Love Culture rounds up the reviews…
Mark Shenton offers the week’s news, reviews, quotes and tweets in theatre from both sides of the Atlantic, including an interview with Sonia Friedman, reviews of Shakespeare in three different abbreviated versions, and a YouTube star appearing on Broadway.
Charlie Stemp will return to the London Palladium to play The Prince in this year’s pantomime, Snow White at the London Palladium along with Danielle Hope who will play the title role of Snow
Dawn French and Julian Clary will lead the cast of Snow White when Qdos Entertainment brings pantomime back to the West End for a third year, playing at the London Palladium from 8 December 2018 until 13 January 2019 and directed by Michael Harrison.
Following critical and commercial success with last year’s Cinderella, QDOS Entertainment have again invested millions to make Dick Whittington the biggest, boldest and glitziest pantomime on the London circuit.
The reviews are in for Dick Whittington, QDOS’ second annual, big-budget, blockbuster pantomime in the West End, running at the London Palladium until 14 January 2018. What is the critical verdict? Here Love London Love Culture rounds up the reviews.
Following critical and commercial success with last year’s Cinderella, QDOS Entertainment has again invested millions to make Dick Whittington the biggest, boldest and glitziest pantomime on the London circuit with what looks like a degree of overkill, taking a sledgehammer to crush a rat perhaps.
In an at turns hysterically funny and extremely touching post-show discussion, Julian Clary, co-star James Nelson-Joyce and director Christopher Renshaw talked about the legacy (and still-tangible presence) of author Stephen Clark as well as speaking in verse while cooking, onstage nudity, willy socks, life and death and much more.
Julian Clary and James Nelson-Joyce star in Stephen Clark’s intense and gripping drama that lacks in purpose and direction.
Trafalgar Studios, London
Written by Stephen ClarkDirected by Christopher Renshaw
It is a rare treat these days to see a play written for its star. So it is with Le Grand Mort, penned by Stephen Clark and created specifically with Julian Clary in mind. Amidst a whirlpool of emotions, the unintended and unspoken sadness of the night is that Clark tragically died last year, never seeing the play brought to life.
Clark has written an exquisite piece that places Clary as Michael, a 50-something architect with a lifestyle that’s a fusion of Hannibal Lecter with, for those who can remember back that far, Graham Kerr’s Galloping Gourmet. (Younger readers may prefer to context Come Dine With Me.) Indeed as the play opens and Clary’s cookery commences, the air inside the compact Trafalgar 2 becomes quickly thick with the scent (stench?) of frying onions.
The action never leaves Michael’s kitchen, a fully functioning showpiece of a set from designer Justin Nardella, in which the preening professional is preparing pasta puttanesca (literally whore’s pasta) as he awaits the arrival of the much younger, rough-trade Tim. We learn that this is the first potentially romantic liaison of the two men after a period of pub-based flirting, but with a rack of chic kitchen knives ever prominent, menace is clear from the outset.
Clark’s writing has a cadence that’s rarely found these days, conjuring up images from a prose that is as assonant as it is meticulous. The whole piece runs for a non-stop 90mins, the first third of which is virtually a Clary monologue. One could almost be witnessing a grown-up version of The Joan Collins Fan Club such is Clary’s wit and persona – even if the patter he regales is a gruesome comment on death and necrophilia.
The arrival of James Nelson-Joyce’s Tim catapults the evening into a 21st century Sleuth. We learn that little of what the young man says is true – however it is clear from both his perfect physique and razor sharp wit that matches Michael word for word, that he is irresistible to the architect.
Clark’s writing is graphic and as his narrative unfolds to encompass incestuous paedophilia it is clear that his two protagonists are deeply damaged souls. But whilst the play’s language and its acting soar, it is hard to care too much for either man – even if Nelson-Joyce’s impressive nudity does briefly shift one’s attention from cook to cock.
The performances here are unquestionably first class and while Le Grand Mort may not be quite the comedy it set out to be, treat yourself to a large glass of Montepulciano and savour the work that’s on offer. Clark truly proves that there’s no fool like an old fool.
Runs to 28 OctoberPhoto credit: Scott Rylander
It’s a show about the delicious intimacy that exists on the cusp of life and death, those dying moments when one is at their most vulnerable.
As part of her ongoing post-show Q&A series, on Wednesday 27 September 2017, Mates co-founder Terri Paddock will talk to Julian Clary, his co-star and director of Le Grand Mort, the new play written especially for him about to receive its world premiere in a strictly limited season at Trafalgar Studios 2. Got any questions?
Summer’s officially over, but don’t be sad – there’s plenty of great theatre to keep you happy. Love London Love Culture’s Emma Clarendon has rounded up the productions she’s most looking forward to in September. With Mates ticket links!
Emma Williams reunites with her Half a Sixpence co-star Charlie Stemp this Christmas for Dick Whittington at the London Palladium, where the pantomime cast also includes Julian Clary, Elaine Paige, Nigel Havers and Gary Wilmot.
Julian Clary is to star in the world premiere of Le Grand Mort, written specially for him by four-time Olivier Award-nominated Stephen Clark, who died last year.
Fresh from Half a Sixpence, Charlie Stemp will join Elaine Paige and Gary Wilmot, along with the previously announced Julian Clary, Paul Zerdin and Nigel Havers in Dick Whittington, this year’s Christmas pantomime at the London Palladium.
Following the success of Cinderella last year, Julian Clary, Nigel Havers and Paul Zerdin will return to the London Palladium for this Christmas’ West End pantomime, Dick Whittington.
The final line-up of guest presenters have been announced for this year’s Olivier Awards, which take place this Sunday 9 April 2017 at the Royal Albert Hall.
If you don’t, you are not in the panto zone, and as O’Grady’s ever alarming Lily Savage would put it, “shaddup, if I wanted your opinion I’d slap it out of ya.” For this really is the mother-lode of pantomime: heavy on stars but, more importantly, getting every ounce of hard work out of every one of them, mercilessly.
This isn’t an exhaustive list because there’ll be a panto somewhere in practically every postcode come December, but it is a rundown of your options – financial and artistic – for a special Christmas outing. I’ve averaged six pantomimes in recent years, so am already adopting the ‘brace’ position …
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