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.
I 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.
On 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
Just had a look at the month ahead on my calendar and there is so much going on in the West End.
With 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).
Also 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.
Mid-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.
Another 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.
It’s been a long time and I didn’t realise just how much time had passed since my last blog until a colleague pointed out that it’s coming up for a month! Sorry about that, I’ve been busy reading up on all the new shows opening in the West End this Spring including one that I’m seeing next week … The Full Monty.
Those of you of a certain age will know this was an immensely successful British film back in 1997 starring Robert Carlyle, Mark Addy, Tom Wilkinson, Hugo Speer and Lesley Sharp - all who have had hugely successful careers since then.
It also catapulted its screen-writer Simon Beaufoy to Hollywood where he has since penned screenplays for Slumdog Millionaire (for which he won both a Golden Globe Award & Oscar), 127 Hours, Salmon Fishing in the Yemen and The Hunger Games : Catching Fire.
Mr Beaufoy has now adapted his own screenplay for the stage and The Full Monty played to packed theatres around the UK during 2013 with the final destination being the Noel Coward theatre in London where it opened last week to rave reviews. It will play for a limited season until June.
And I’m off to see it next Wednesday!
The cast of The Full Monty which opened at the Noel Coward theatre on 20th Feb 2014
The story focusses on the lives of 6 unemployed Sheffield men who dance their way out of the dole queue and into the city’s strip clubs giving the ladies exactly what they want – The Fully Monty.
Having enjoyed the film in my “youth” I’m looking forward to seeing the stage version (not to be confused with the ill-fated American musical of the same name that died a death in the West End back in 2000). I shall reveal what I thought of it (and if they really do go “the full monty”) in my next blog.
Until then - Have a great rest of the week
Hi there theatre-goers
I wonder if you’ve noticed that over the last few years there’s been a definite trend in the West End with either best selling books and/or box office successful film adaptations?
To be honest, there’s not THAT many original pieces that haven’t been read in print or watched in the cinema before making it onto the London stage. Of course, there are exceptions – like The Duck House starring the very funny Ben Miller, slap stick comedy One Man Two Guv’nors at the Theatre Royal Haymarket and Mojo with Harry Potter‘s Rupert Grint making his stage debut to name but three.
However, if you look at the theatre list this month (and what’s to come in the next six months) the majority of productions began life as novels or films.
For instance, we currently have the immensely popular WW1 drama War Horse adapted from the best selling Michael Morpurgo novel of the same name; comedy thriller The Thirty Nine Steps adapted from the Graham Green espionage novel and a welcome return in the summer of Harper Lee’s epic To Kill A Mockingbird which is superbly performed by the New Shakespeare Company at the Regents Park Open Air theatre.
Plays and musicals that were most well-known in their celluloid form have crossed over onto stage too, including the Hitchcock thriller Strangers on a Train at the Gielgud theatre; court-room drama Twelve Angry Men at the Garrick and the thoroughly entertaining The Bodyguard at the Adelphi.
Later, in February we can look forward to The Full Monty making us all blush at the Noel Coward theatre, followed by Oscar winning Shakespeare in Love and the Trevor Nunn directed thriller Fatal Attraction opening at the Theatre Royal Haymarket in March.
Are there any books or films you would like to see adapted for the stage?
I’ll leave you to sit & ponder it for another week…
Yes, it’s only a month away, so you’d better get organising that romantic theatre break for that certain special person in your life.
Fortunately, the West End is awash with romance to make this 14th February extra sensational.
For the traditional old-school romantic both Les Miserables and The Phantom of the Opera will not disappoint. Both have been wowing audiences for over 25 years and have been turned into Hollywood musicals with the former bagging itself a few Oscars to boot.
Three shows that started life as films and have now been successfully adapted for the stage are Dirty Dancing, The Bodyguard and Once. All ooze love, loss & passion with cracking musical scores that will defrost the most icey of hearts on a cold February night.
For the feel-good, fun factor you can’t beat a bit of Dancing Queen in Abba-tastic Mamma Mia, the victorious kids in Matilda the Musical and the sheer wonder of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.
And if you just want to sit down next to your loved one and laugh yourself silly One Man, Two Guvnors, The Duck House and Jeeves & Wooster in Perfect Nonsense will tick all the right boxes on the night in question.
Have a great day and may your hearts be filled with LOVE!