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!
Whereas here at theatrebreaks.co.uk we concentrate on London theatre breaks, over at our friends at theatrebreaks.com they spread the net much wider and in 2014 theatre fans can enjoy a West End musical as part of a short break anywhere from Edinburgh or Cardiff to Stratford-Upon-Avon. In fact it doesn’t stop there as they have recently opened bookings for Broadway Breaks in New York!
Edinburgh Theatre Breaks
But my favourite destination after London is Edinburgh. I love Edinburgh and I have done so ever since my girlfriend’s flatmate showed me round one wet and rainy afternoon in February ’86. It wasn’t even Festival Season, but a few years later when I went up with a comedy group, that sealed the deal.
Compact, friendly, interesting, lively and romantic. So it is the perfect destination for a short break. And in 2014 some of the biggest West End shows are paying a visit to the Festival and Playhouse theatres in Edinburgh. Wicked ( the prequel to The Wizard of Oz which is still running on Broadway and The West End) will come to the Playhouse at the end of the year but before then you can enjoy War Horse, the stage adaptation Michael Morpogo’s children’s story about a boy and a horse, Evita, Fame, West Side Story, Priscilla Queen of the Desert and Singin’ in the Rain amongst others.
Theatre Breaks in Edinburgh operate in just the same way that they work in London. Book a show and a nearby hotel for the night and you can add rail travel or not as you prefer.
You can also add tours to make your trip more interesting: I always do as it gives a great introduction, or reminder to the city you are visiting. Having said that, the last time I was in Edinburgh on an open-top bus the rain chased us all down stairs and the windows steamed up so badly that all we could do was watch the torrent of water pour down the stairs from the top deck!