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KING JOHN – Rose Theatre, Kingston

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

Of Shakespeare’s plays this is one of the least done and loved: there’s disputed authorship of some sections, parts of the plot missing and replaced from another text. Sir Trevor Nunn takes it on as the penultimate achievement in his intention to direct all 37 plays: I was agog, since I missed the Globe’s version (part of the Magna Carta anniversary, though oddly the play ignores that milestone in the life of “England’s worst king”).

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NEWS: John Malkovich directs Good Canary premiere, Trevor Nunn returns to Rose

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

With its Spring Season underway, including the London première of Maxine Peake’s Beryl which opens in March, and Peter Whelan’s The Herbal Bed – a co-production with English Touring Theatre and Royal & Derngate, Northampton – which opens at the theatre in April as part of its tour, Rose Theatre Kingston today announces three major new productions for 2016. In May, Trevor …

LES MISERABLES – West End

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

Les Miserables has long impressed me, not just for having such a stirring libretto, but also for the cheekily economic creativity of Alain Boublil and Claude-Michel Schoenberg that was able to hang quite so many different songs on just a handful of (oft repeated) melodies! Herbert Kretzmer deserves handsome credit for the lyrics. Kretzmer has compressed Victor Hugo’s panoramic vision of 19th century France into 3 hours of sung-through genius, with a wit and nuance perfectly tailored to the modern idiom.

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NEWS: Joely Richardson, Robert Sheehan and Kare Conradi lead Nunn’s revival of The Wars of the Roses … at the Rose

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

Rose Theatre Kingston today announces that Joely Richardson, Robert Sheehan and Kåre Conradi, lead the company for The Wars of the Roses. This autumn the Rose stage will be transformed into a battleground for The Wars of the Roses, a gripping adaptation of four of Shakespeare’s history plays, directed by Trevor Nunn. The productions will play in rep from 16 September until 31 October, with press performances for all three plays on 3 October.

Diary of a theatre addict: 11 shows across 8 days – (nearly) all great! A record?

In Features, London theatre, Musicals, Opinion, Plays by Mark ShentonLeave a Comment

Across the eight days and nights between last Sunday and tonight, I’ll have seen 11 shows, and (excepting tonight which I’ve not seen yet and one of which was a critics’ preview and I’m therefore not in a position to comment publicly on yet), I’ve loved eight out of the nine. That’s an incredible strike record for one week, and one of those runs of great shows that you only dream of. It helps, of course, that I was playing catch up on six of them, so I was in (comparatively) safer hands than going blind to yet-to-be reviewed shows. But there’s also a fear that a show won’t live up to the good reviews youv’e already read and absorbed.

NEWS: Beverley Knight To Play Grizabella In Cats

In by Matt MerrittLeave a Comment

Beverley Knight is to star in Andrew Lloyd Webber’s record-breaking musical Cats to play the role of Grizabella.   Returning to the London Palladium from 23 October 2015, Lloyd Webber’s record breaking Cats will run for a ten week season until 2 January 2016.  Tickets are from £20 with top price seats at £59.50 and children’s tickets at half price for Monday to Thursday performances.

Beverley Knight said: “To be asked to join the company of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s historic show was so exciting and totally unexpected as, vocally, I am so different to the many incredible women who have sung the classic Memory over the years. To follow in their footsteps is something to truly relish!  I am really looking forward to transforming into Grizabella with her fabulous costume and amazing make up and to be playing the role at the London Palladium. Working with Andrew will be a real privilege.”

Queen of British Soul Beverley Knight is a singer, songwriter and record producer who has been one of the UK’s most consistent artists since the release of her debut album in 1995.  Having sold over a million albums in the UK, scoring several top 10’s and four gold certified albums as well as the platinum selling Voice: The Best Of Beverley Knight, her latest critically acclaimed album Soul UK, was a top 15 charting album upon its release in July 2011.  To date, she has won three MOBO Awards, an Outstanding Achievement Award at the Urban Music Awards, been three times nominated for Best Female at the Brit Awards and twice nominated for the prestigious Mercury Music Prize. Knight has presented four series of Radio 2 showBeverley’s Gospel Nights and appeared in two series of hit BBC1 show Just The Two Of Us as well as appearing on stage with the likes of Prince, Stevie Wonder and Take That.  Last summer, she wowed a viewing audience of one billion with a rendition of the song I Am What I Am at the opening ceremony of the London 2012 Paralympic Games.  Knight, who in 2007 was awarded an MBE for her services to music and charity, is currently working on her eighth studio album.   Beverley Knight recently played the leading role of Rachel Marron in The Bodyguard at the Adelphi followed by Felicia in Memphis The Musicalat the Shaftesbury Theatre.

Based on T. S. Eliot’s Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats, Cats returned to the West End in December last year reuniting the original creative team – Director Trevor Nunn, Associate Director and Choreographer Gillian Lynne, Designer John Napier and Composer Andrew Lloyd Webber.  Nicole Scherzinger and then Kerry Ellis played the role of Grizabella in this sell-out Palladium run.  In July this year Jane McDonald will play Grizabella in an 8 week season at Blackpool Opera House.

On just one special night of the year, all Jellicle cats meet at the Jellicle Ball where Old Deuteronomy, their wise and benevolent leader, makes the Jellicle choice and announces which of them will go up to The Heaviside Layer and be reborn into a whole new Jellicle life.

Cats, one of the longest-running shows in West End and on Broadway, received its world premiere at the New London Theatre in 1981 where it played for 21 record-breaking years and almost 9,000 performances.  The production was the winner of the Olivier and Evening Standard Awards for Best Musical.  In 1983 the Broadway production became the recipient of seven Tony awards including Best Musical, and ran for eighteen years.  Since its world premiere, Cats has been presented in over 30 countries, has been translated into 10 languages and has been seen by over 50 million people world-wide.  Both the original London and Broadway cast recordings won Grammy Awards for Best Cast Album.  The classic Lloyd Webber score includes Memory which has been recorded by over 150 artists from Barbra Streisand and Johnny Mathis to Liberace and Barry Manilow.

Cats was originally produced by Cameron Mackintosh and The Really Useful Group Limited.

LISTINGS INFORMATION          

Theatre:                           London Palladium, Argyll St, London W1F 7TF

Dates:                              23 October 2015 – 2 January 2016

Box Office:                        0844 874 0667 (no booking fee)

                                     www.catsthemusical.com/london (no booking fee)

                                     www.london-palladium.co.uk (no booking fee)            

Prices:                              £20 – £59.50, Children Go Half-Price (Monday to Thursday performances, top three prices, subject to a maximum of 3 children aged 16 or under with each full paying adult)

All ticket prices include a £1.25 Theatre Restoration Levy

Performances:                   Monday – Saturday 7.30pm, Wednesday & Saturday matinees 2.30pm

Website:                           www.catsthemusical.com/london

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NEWS: Beverley Knight to play Grizabella in Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Cats

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

Beverley Knight is to star in Andrew Lloyd Webber’s record-breaking musical Cats to play the role of Grizabella. Returning to the London Palladium from 23 October 2015, Lloyd Webber’s record breaking Cats will run for a ten-week season until 2 January 2016. Tickets are from £20 with top price seats at £59.50 and children’s tickets at half price for Monday …

Diary of a theatre addict: Scott Alan, Alison Jiear, Carrie and more

In Cabaret, Features, London theatre, Musicals, Opinion, Plays by Mark ShentonLeave a Comment

I feel like I’ve been at the St James Theatre and Studio all week — I went to three consecutive nights of Scott Alan performing his own work from last Sunday to Tuesday (joined by a host of guests in his first night in the main house, then just Cynthia Erivo and one more guest a night on each of the other more intimate gigs in the downstairs Studio), then also saw Paul Baker on Friday and tonight I’m seeing Jamie Parker. All that, and Alison Jiear on Britain’s Got Talent, last night too — what a week it has been for cabaret.

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Diary of a theatre addict: Musical theatre returns from Goodall to Carrie

In Features, London theatre, Opinion, Plays, Reviews by Mark ShentonLeave a Comment

Critics are in a mad rush all over town at the moment to keep up with the flood of openings. Just the other night Michael Billington was telling me that he’s got a straight run of 10 openings to cover, night after night. The Evening Standard’s Henry Hitchings told me just yesterday that he’s got 20 consecutive theatre trips in his diary (he usually does three or four a week).