03/06/2014 – Return of the Lord

Hi Theatre-goers

Did any of your see the fascinating programme about Michael Flatley at the weekend? It’s like the world famous Irish dancer hasn’t aged in the last 20 years! And those legs are still insured for $1 million. Well, why not? He can obviously still bust some moves on stage.

The tv documentary wasn’t just a celebration of his amazing dance career but a subtle advertisement for the return of the Lord Of The Dance : Dangerous Games which will play at the London Palladium from 1st September until 25th October.

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Not only will you be able to see Mr Flatley’s elastic-band legs going here, there and everywhere but also former Girls Aloud singer Nadine Coyle will feature as a special guest at some performances.

The new dance show sees Flatley taking a smaller role in the production as he is joined by 40 more youthful dancers on stage to tell a tale based on Irish folklore. The story finds the Little Spirit travelling through time to help the titular noble defend his people from Don Dorcha.

Those of a certain age may well remember that the Lord Of The Dance premiered at the Eurovision Song Contest in Dublin in 1996 and quite frankly was the best performance on the night by far – a definite douze points. And since then the show has been seen by more than 60 million people world-wide and includes a five year residency in Las Vegas.

Flately and his dancers will be the inaugural production at the London Palladium which is hosting a line-up of short season shows that will take the theatre back to its variety roots.

Lord of the Dance theatre breaks will be available to book shortly.

In the meantime keep up to date with all the news by signing up for our free newsletter here

Have a great week


15/5/2014 Pre-theatre dining

Hi theatre-goers

I hope that wherever you are you are getting to enjoy some of this glorious May sunshine (even if it’s just a five minute glare in between hail storms!).

When the sun is out, there’s nothing I like more than wander the streets of London’s West End because, not only are Londoners generally more congenial when temperatures go over 15˚C, but I love the fact that the bars, cafés and restaurants are all jostling for the best table pitches on the pavements.

There’s no better way to have a reasonably leisurely pre-theatre dinner sitting outside with a cold beer or glass of wine, watching the world go by, soaking up all the exciting sights and sounds London has to offer.

A good percentage of Theatreland’s many eateries offer a set pre-theatre meal – with some offering post-theatre menus, too – from 6pm leaving you plenty of time to have an un-rushed two-course dinner arriving at the theatre with ample opportunity to order your intervals drinks and settle in your seats.

For those of you visiting theatres in the Aldwych area including the Lyceum (Disney’s The Lion King), the Duchess (Bakersfield Mist), the Novello (Mamma Mia!) and the Aldwych (Wolf Hall/Bring Up the Bodies) our top recommendations would be the fine pizza at Fire & Stone in Maiden Lane (Covent Garden underground) or The Strand Carvery on The Strand (Charing Cross underground) offering a cold buffet of seafood, asparagus, home-made terrines, quiches and salads plus roast meats with accompanying hot side dishes.

In West End “central”, you are spoilt for choice with a number of fabulous, well-priced restaurants from the glitz of Planet Hollywood to the Asian delights of Soho Thai.

planet-hollyood 150x150 If you are making a family trip to the theatre, our  recommendation would be aforementioned Planet  Hollywood, on the Haymarket, offering burgers, spaghetti  and grilled chicken in the surrounds of cool movie  memorabilia from James Bond films, Star Wars, Die Hard   and the Terminator.


Other great eats in the area are (in no particular order):

1. Bincho Yakitori, Old Compton Street, which offers modern Japanese food cooked on a charcoal grill on view to the customers. As well as chicken and seafood skewers, there is also a good vegetarian option.

2. Ruby Blue in Leicester Square cooks a range of dishes from all corners of the world including their signature BBQ rib racks, burgers, fajitas and veggie curries.

3. Leon de Bruxelles, Cambridge Circus, sitting opposite The Cambridge theatre where energetic musical The Commitments is currently playing. As the name suggests, it’s a Belgium restaurant offering the finest mussel dishes as well as tradition fish and chips and, on my visit, an excellent butternut squash risotto (although this changes daily).

pad-thai 150x1504. Soho Thai in St Anne’s Court, in the heart of Soho, has very a efficient and pleasant pre-theatre set menu of pan-
fried dishes, curries and noodles. I can personally recommend the Pad Thai here!

5. Salvador and Amanda, Great Newport Street, five minutes walk from Leicester Square has a great Spanish atmosphere and fantastic tapas dishes to suit all palates.

Should you be taking the family, friends or loved one a little further South to see either Wicked or Billy Elliot, do not fear… Victoria boasts some excellent bars and restaurants all within walking distance of the tube/mainline station and both theatres.

For families Prezzo Victoria offers a warm welcome to children as does the Old Masters Carvery which is housed in The Rubens at the Palace Hotel in Buckingham Palace Road.

The former is a chain of Italian restaurants which serves good quality pizza and pasta dishes and the Old Masters is a traditional carvery with a appetising vegetarian option always available.

BBar 150x150 If dining as a couple or with friends, we can recommend 2  Bridge Place in the Doubletree by Hilton London-Victoria  hotel serving pre-theatre set menus of meat, poultry and  seafood; the BBar & Restaurant (pictured left) claims to have over 110  wines and 60 cocktail available to customers as well as  offering burgers, chicken schnitzel and ravioli in the way of  food.

Another place I can personally recommend is The Brasserie at the Grosvenor hotel slap bang next door to the Victoria station. This imposing building is a amazing from the outside and just as regal inside. The Brasserie has a really nice atmosphere with very good service. The kitchen is overseen by Executive Chef Robert Prendergast offering sumptuous steaks and other speciality signature dishes.

So there you have it… eating in London in a nutshell. But don’t trust my word for it… you can book all these restaurants with theatre tickets on our sister-site London Show

Enjoy the weather…



23/4/2014 West End… Broadway… Broadway…. West End?

Hi Theatre-goers

In the words of the gorgeous Doris Day “(I’ve) just got in from the windy city…” Yes, I spent a wonderful Easter in Chicago and the surrounding area. I didn’t get to see a theatre show, but did note that The Sound of Music (with blue-eyed Billy Zane, no less) and Million Dollar Quartet were both showing in the city. I was also pleased to see that the amazing arena production of Jesus Christ Superstar was destined for Chicago later on this summer. For this, I definitely urged my Illinois friends not to miss it!

Anyway, it got me thinking about whether we Brits have the same taste in musical theatre as our American cousins and so when I got back to the UK I checked out what is currently on Broadway to see if it greatly differs from what is drawing in the crowds in the West End.

The Book of Mormon – a mega hit on both sides of the Atlantic

It was pleasing to see that great entertainment is appreciated on both side of the big pond with a number of the same shows playing in both New York and London simultaneously, including Disney’s The Lion King, Wicked, The Book of Mormon, Les Miserables (just recently re-vamped & re-opened), The Phantom of the Opera (Broadway’s longest running musical) Jersey Boys, Matilda and Once.

Actually looking at that list five out of the eight shows opened in New York first before transferring to London. Do you know which five they are? (Answers at end of blog).

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Queen of the British musical theatre Elaine Paige as The Drowsy Chaperone

There have been some HUGE successes on Broadway that have tried to enthral the London audiences with zero or moderate success… Thoroughly Modern Millie starring Amanda Holden, The Drowsy Chaperone with (I thought) a brilliant performance by Elaine Paige, Billy Joel inspired musical Movin’ On and Pippin - which has tried several times to inspire British audiences to no avail – to name a few.

When I researched BIG West End hits that have transferred and flopped on Broadway I came to a bit of a stumbling block… that’s not to stay there haven’t been any : The Rocky Horror Show and Enron both died a death on the New York stage. I’m sure there are plenty more, but I can’t find any articles written about British failures. So if any of you out there have that information I would be very interested to see it!

Feeling the need to see a Broadway show up close and personal? We have a number of fantastic New York theatre breaks available to book for the intrepid traveller.

Have a great weekend everyone


Answer : Disney’s The Lion King, Wicked, The Book of Mormon, Jersey Boys and Once


21/3/2014 March Musical Madness

Hi theatre-goers

Over the last week I’ve been treated to two new musicals which are currently previewing in the West End – I Can’t Sing and Dirty Rotten Scoundrels.

cynthia-eviro 400x250I must admit of the two I Can’t Sing was more my cup of tea because I have a penchant for comedian Harry Hill’s humour and as the show was written by him it is full of his signature wacky wit and zany off-the-wall characters. The show is a parody on the X Factor phenomenon, but not in a completely cruel way. It even has the seal of approval by the man himself Mr Simon Cowell who co-produces the show. The female lead Cynthia Eviro (pictured right) has the voice of a superstar who would definitely win X Factor hands down – just gob-smackingly brilliant! The technical aspect of the show has given stage crew some issues during the interval scene change, but on the night we went there was no delays or mishaps that were apparent to us.

katherine-kingsley 200x200On an entirely different note was the musical adaptation of 1988 Hollywood comedy Dirty Rotten Scoundrels (which starred Michael Caine and Steve Martin as two con-men on the French Riviera). On stage we see Robert Lindsey and Rufus Hound taking over the two lead roles ably aided by leading ladies Samantha Bond and Katherine Kingsley (pictured left – who also has the voice of an angel!). Robert Lindsey is entirely at home on the stage playing a lot of his lines directly to the audience and the musical score is quirky with some great humorous lines. I wasn’t ever a huge a fan of the original film, but now I’ve seen the musical I’m thinking of re-watching it just to remind myself of Steve Martin’s comic genius if nothing else. Maybe because I’d only just seen I Can’t Sing I didn’t get the same sense of silliness and fun from Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, but my colleague enjoyed it much more than he did I Can’t Sing, so its all swings and roundabouts, I guess.

Next week, I’m off to see the Theatre Royal Bath’s production of Noel Coward’s Relative Values which stars Patricia Hodge, Caroline Quentin and Rory Bremner of all people!! I’ll tell you what I think next Thursday…

Until then, have a good weekend


6/3/14 Busy Month of March

Hi Theatre-goers

Just had a look at the month ahead on my calendar and there is so much going on in the West End.

kristen-davis 370x240With the hilarious comedy One Man Two Guvnors taking its final curtain call at the Theatre Royal Haymarket at the beginning of March, the venue is now clear to begin previews of chilling thriller Fatal Attraction – the stage adaptation of the 1987 hit film – which stars Sex and the City’s Kristen Davis (pictured left).


dirty-rotten-scoundrels 200x200Also about to start previews next week is another film-to-stage make-over with comedy Dirty Rotten Scoundrels hoping to keep its audience laughing at the Savoy theatre. With comedian Rufus Hound and seasoned musical theatre star Robert Lindsay starring, there shouldn’t be too many glum faces in the auditorium.



Alistair-Brammer 300x200Mid-March sees a major cast change at the jaw-droppingly good War Horse with current Albert Alistair Brammer (pictured left) moving across town to the Prince Edward theatre where he’ll star as Chris in Cameron Mackintosh’s revival of tear-jerker Miss Saigon. Former Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time star Jack Loxton will take over the role in the war-time drama.

john-lloyd-young 630x320Another move – but this time a whole production – will be Jersey Boys leaving its home of the last 5 years the Prince Edward theatre (to make room for the afore mentioned Miss Saigon) to take up residence at the Piccadilly theatre which has recently played host to sell-out performances of Dirty Dancing. American musical star John Lloyd Young (pictured right), who has been starring in the Broadway production, of the show will take over the role of Frankie Valli.

Towards the end of the month there is the official openings of Fatal Attraction and the Harry Hill penned I Can’t Sing : The X Factor Musical and finally the cast of political comedy The Duck House take their last bow at the Vaudeville theatre.




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