Theatre Highlights in London this Christmas

saraHi theatre-goers

Only five weeks to go until Christmas folks… that’s a scary thought isn’t it?

Have you paid any attention to what theatre show you are going to see over the festive season? What will be your theatre highlight in London this Christmas?

nicole in catsWhen I was growing up our big family Christmas treat was always to see the latest West End hit and probably the first musical I saw was the 1972 version of Jesus Christ Superstar, then there was Barnum, Blondel, Evita, Chess, Starlight Express and Cats to name but a few.

I’m very excited that Cats is coming back into the West End. It opens on 6th December and goes througt h to early February, so don’t delay book today! I already have and now very much looking forward to seeing global superstar Nicole Scherzinger in the role of Grizabella. I know it will bring back such great memories for me.

sunny-afternoon 320x240If you are a regular reader of my blogs you will know that I’m off to see Sunny Afternoon at the Harold Pinter theatre tonight. After a sell-out run at the Hampstead theatre earlier in the year, it has now transfered to the West End and before it even opened extended its booking period not once, but twice. That can only be a good sign, right? Just in case you don’t recognise the musical’s name as a song title, Sunny Afternoon tells the story of the rise to fame of London based group The Kinks who had a shed load of hits during the 1960s & 70s including Waterloo Sunset, Dead End Street, You Really Got Me, Lolo, Days, Apeman and of course thier sensational No 1 song Sunny Afternoon.

jones-and-chambers 350x260Then next month I’m off to see White Christmas on Boxing Day which will be a fantastic way to round off the Christmas festivities. All those memorable songs, the feel-good factor, people dancing in red & white santa suits… oh, it’s making me go all tingley inside just thinking about it. Stars Aled Jones and Tom Chambers will, I’m sure, give a rousing performance of White Christmas that will bring a tear to everyone’s eye.

So, it’s Cats for me, but what musical brings back childhood memories for you? I’d love to hear from you.


30/10/14 Winter in the West End

Hi Theatre-goers

Well, for some of you it’s half term week with the kids around and wanting to “do stuff”. I’m in the same position and one of our holiday highlights was to see the production of The Woman in Black at the Fortune Theatre, London. Now I wouldn’t call this a family friendly fun filled couple of hours of theatre, but both my children are in there teens and enjoy a good ghost story plus it tied in nicely with the impending Halloween! Suffice to say that even on my 4th outing to see the play it was still just as spine-tinglingly brilliant as the first time.

Next month I have tickets to see Sunny Afternoon the Kinks inspired musical which, whilst still in previews, extended its run not once but twice and is now booking through to May 2015. Under the astute direction of Edward Hall (son of Sir Peter) – who also brought us the acclaimed Chariots of Fire two years ago – it is bound to be nominated many times when the award seasons comes around early next year.

Then on Boxing Day I’m going to keep the season’s festivities alive with a trip to see White Christmas starring one of my childhood idos Aled Jones and also Tom Chambers (Top Hat) who take over the roles made famous by Bing Crosby and Danny Kaye in the 1954 film of the same name.

Nicole Scherzinger as Grizabella

Photo : Uli Weber

And finally, in February I will see Cats 33 years after first watching it in the West End. Then the tragic Grisabella was played by Elaine Paige who gave a searing performance of Memory which left the whole audience in tears, this time around former Pussycat Doll and X-Factor judge Nicole Scherzinger (pictured left) will don the furry coat and no doubt leave us as a lump of emotional jelly with her rendition.

And, looking way, way ahead to the summer I am very excited by the announcement of the new Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre season which culminates in a production of Lord of the Flies – this is definitely one “biro” onto the calendar. I cannot wait…

So, what’s on your theatrical calendar in the coming months?


21/10/14 Made in Dagenham

Hi Theatre-goers

made-dagenham-gemma 340x285There’s a new musical in town and its called Made in Dagenham.

Now, I really enjoyed the 2010 film of the same name starring Sally Hawkins in the lead role of Rita O’Grady who famously campaigned for equal pay rights for the female work force at the Ford car plant in Dagenham in 1968.


The film has now been adapted by Richard Bean (One Man, Two Guvnors) for the stage with music and lyrics supplied by David Arnold (Casino Royale, Quantum of Solace) and Richard Thomas (Jerry Springer : The Opera) respectively.

The musical version stars former Bond girl Gemma Arterton who recently showed off her muscles as crossbow-wealding Gretel in Hollywood blockbuster Hansel and Gretel : Witch Hunters. She was also in the marvelous British bitter-sweet comedy Song for Marilyn with Terrence Stamp and Vanessa Redgrave (if you’ve not seen this film yet  – make it number 1 on your to do list this coming weekend)

From what I’ve read on the show’s official website, it appears the paying public are thoroughly enjoying what they are seeing with many tweets consisting of the words “amazing”, “hilarious” and “brilliant” so I should be in for a real treat when I see it.


Have a great week


7/10/14 Tennis Stars in London

Hi Theatre & Event-goers

It’s that exciting time of year again when the world’s elite mens tennis players are vying for a place in the top 8 of the Emirates ATP Race to London rankings in order to play at the ATP World Tour Finals next month

ATP World Tour Finals 2014.

It’s no surprise that Novak Djokovic, Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal have already qualified for the ATP World Tour Finals which take place at London’s O2 Arena between 9th – 16th November. But what of the contenders to fill in the other 5 spaces … and more importantly, why haven’t I mentioned Britain’s Andy Murray yet? Doesn’t he ALWAYS qualify you might be asking? Isn’t it a given?

Well, Murray hasn’t qualified yet – although last week following his win in Shenzhen (his first title since winning Wimbledon in 2013) and his semi-final appearance at the China Open he has moved up 2 places in the rankings to number 9. In fact he’s only 200 points behind 6th placed Tomas Berdych and if he does well this week in Shanghai (a tournament he’s won twice before) and again in Paris at the end of October he could well leap-frog over several players possibly ending up ranked as high as 5.

However, what ever the outcome of Murray’s next 2 tournaments, the ATP World Tour Finals are a brilliant opportunity for any tennis fan to watch outstanding players in the mens game which this year could include Stan Wawrinka, Kei Nishakori, David Ferrer, US Open Champion Marin Cilic and “next big thing” Grigor Dimitrov. And of course, the doubles offer the unbeatable Bryan brothers who are back to defend their title this year.

So, we all wait with baited breath to see just who will fill in the top spots…

Have a great week


6/11/14 : So, now we know who’s going to be at the O2 Arena next week…

Novak Djokovic, Roger Federer, Stan Wawrinka, Kei Nishikori, Andy Murray (yes, he made it!), Tomas Berdych, Milos Roanic and Marin Cilic. Rafael Nadal has pulled out due to undergoing surgery.

16/09/14 A Sunny Afternoon this Winter

Hi Theatre-goers

Very pleased to hear that the Hampstead Theatre’s sell-out show Sunny Afternoon, which is transferring to the Harold Pinter theatre, next month as now been extended through to the New Year – even before its opened!

Sunny Afternoon is the smash-hit musical charting the rise to fame of Britain’s own The Kinks and it features their most memorable songs played and sung live on stage by the actors portraying the 60s group.

sunny-afternoon 320x240I have a personal interest in Sunny Afternoon not least because it has a great lead actor in the form of John Dalgleish (playing Kinks front-man Ray Davies) who has recently been seen on our tv screens as hapless summer camp counsellor, Barry, in C4’s Beaver Falls for two series as well as in Sky 1’s Starlings with Downton Abbey’s Brendan Coyne.

I am also pleased that an ex-drama school peer of mine, Edward Hall, is directing and another drama school classmate Vince Leigh is a cast member. And if that’s not enough to get me to buy a ticket, George Maquire, who plays band member Dave Davies, attended the Italia Conti Academy of Theatre Arts where I used to work (and in fact I acted as George’s agent whilst he was a student there). Oh, and finally, I think Helen Hobson, also in the cast, used to go to the drama school where I went – in fact, I think there’s even a Helen Hobson scholarship offered to promising students (not that I was awarded it, you understand).

Anyway, the fact that advance sales for this show has meant its already extended its booking period leads me to believe that its going to be brilliant (well, we know it was brilliant from the rave reviews it recieved at the Hampstead theatre).

Hopefully, like me, you will be seeing this show sooner rather later this side of Christmas.

Have a great theatre-going week



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