Ahead of rounding up various publications #theatre2016 highlights, I’m taking a moment to reflect on my own theatregoing year and my favourite plays, musicals, performances and other events.
There’s something in the water with The Beggar’s Opera at the moment. Lazarus Theatre’s new, modern-dress, 80-minute version at Brockley Jack Studio Theatre is the third major London presentation of the story of womanising highwayman Macheath this year.
Nominations have been announced in the third annual West End Wilma Awards, which will be held, once again, in association with London’s Hippodrome Casino. Public voting to decide the winners opens online on 2 September 2016 at westendwilma.com
Rufus Norris may have commissioned a new adaptation of the Brecht by Simon Stephens to tick myriad boxes of contention from the politics of gender, sexuality, disability, and (naturally) the Middle East to the ever looming shadow of radical nationalism but no amount of theatrical panache and comic posturing can ever really disguise the fact that between the songs Threepenny Opera is a bore.
While the basic structure and characters are owed to Gay, the zany genius of The Buskers Opera calls more modern political and satirical influences most strongly to my mind. I’d liken it to a cross between Mike Bartlett‘s future history play King Charles III and Urinetown or, to bring it bang up to date with London’s current musical landscape, The Toxic Avenger.
The producers of The Buskers Opera, a brand new musical by Dougal Irvine (Departure Lounge, Laila, Britain’s Got Bhangra) and Park Theatre are today announcing the first-ever ‘relaxed’ performance at Park Theatre, to take place on Thursday 2 June 2016. The Producers of the show have launched a unique crowdfunding scheme in order help deliver this relaxed performance alongside their Arts …
In case you didn’t attend and/or missed the viral buzz – incredibly, this industry event was one of the UK’s top trending events on Twitter for nearly 48 hours – Beam was a two-day event, jointly organised by Mercury Musicals Development and Musical Theatre Network on Tuesday 8 and Wednesday 9 May at London’s Park Theatre, under the slogan “shining a light on new British musical theatre”. And it more than delivered on the promise of that slogan.
Direct from her current West End run in Bend It Like Beckham, Lauren Samuel will join Olivier Award winner George Maguire in the cast of the world premiere production of new musical The Busker’s Opera at London’s Park Theatre this April.
Looking ahead to this year’s highlights, from Broadway imports and Pulitzer prize winners to Kenneth Branagh and Matthew Warchus’s ongoing seasons.