Nigel Harmon must be breathing a sigh of relief this week with the announcement of the main cast in comedian Harry Hill’s new musical I Can’t Sing : The X-Factor Musical which opens at the London Palladium theatre in March 2014. For a while it looked like a one-man show for Mr Harmon!
Nigel Harmon (left) first found fame in Eastenders not that I ever saw it, but have seen him in quite a few of his theatre ventures including Guys & Dolls, Three Days of Rain (with James McAvoy), A Chorus of Disapproval (with Rob Brydon) and Shrek for which he won an Olivier Award for Best Supporting Actor in a Musical.
Nigel will play the part of high waisted trouser wearing head judge Simon (ring any bells?) and he is set to be joined by West End regulars Simon Lipkin (right) who for the last two and half years has been the back-bone of musical Rock of Ages at both the Shaftesbury & Garrick theatre plus Ashley Knight who was last seen at the Piccadilly theatre in Ghost the Musical.
If Harry Hill’s TV Burp programmes are anything to go by, then “I Can’t Sing” should be a barrel of laughs all around.
Have a great Tuesday everyone
Where oh where has the time gone? I take one day off this week and suddenly we’re on Friday-Eve! What’s that all about then?
Eva Noblezada, Jon Jon Briones & Alistair Brammar will star in Miss Saigon when it opens at the Prince Edward theatre, London in 2014
I like the fact that producers of Miss Saigon are sticking to what they know best by casting a complete unknown actress into the lead role of Kim. They did this first time around when they held open casting in the Philippines and secured the acting talents of Lea Salonga (and Monique Wilson as alternate Kim) both who have continued their musical theatre careers with great success. In 2014 audiences will be introduced to American teenager Eva Noblezada and having just listened to a bit of her audition tape I can honestly say she will not disappoint. She is joined on stage by an international cast of actors including hugely successful double-platinum Philippine recording artist Rachelle Ann Go as Gigi, compatriot, Jon Jon Briones as the Engineer – a part he has played many times before and Australian Tamsin Carroll as Ellen.
A young British actor, Alistair Brammar, will play the pivotol role of Chris and Hugh Maynard will reprise his role as Chris’ best friend John. Alistair can currently be seen as Billy in War Horse at the New London theatre. He has also appeared as Marius in Les Miserables at the Queens theatre and was cast as one of the rebelling students in the 2012 film version. Hugh was recently seen on the X-Factor fronting his group Tenors of Rock who made it into Gary Barlow’s final six only to lose their place at the enth hour to girl group Stop Look Listen.
All of the above mentioned can certainly hold their own when it comes to singing and the show will undoubtedly be another huge success second time around!
You may get the impression that I’m very excited by the prospect of Miss Saigon returning to the West End. You would be spot on. It’s my all time favourite musical and I’ve already got my tickets for July. What about you?
Going to the theatre is great way to entertain all the family all at the same time and during December when the Regent Street Christmas lights sparkle London’s West End has some great shows ready, willing and able to spread a good dose of Christmas cheer to all ages.
For the family with under 11s I can suggest the following shows
- Suessical Based on the much-loved Dr. Seuss books at the Arts Theatre
- Horrible Histories – Barmy Britain is on during the day at the Garrick Theatre
- Peter Pan – Never Ending Story entertains over the 1st weekend in January at Wembley Arena
- Puss In Boots panto always a treat at the Hackney Empire
- Slavas Snowshow at the Royal Festival Hall – a beautiful seasonal show which ends in a magical snowstorm.
- The Gruffalo is on during the day at the Lyric Theatre from 20th November 2013 to 12th January 2014.
- Seasonal favourite of The Royal Opera House The Wind in the Willows will be on at the Duchess Theatre
For families that have children of an age who can sit for longer periods of time there’s the classic shows that are on all year round, but are particularly magical during the Christmas season such as Disney’s The Lion King, Matilda the Musical, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and Wicked.
For families with older children there’s all the drama of multi-award winning War Horse as well as the right royal silliness of Monty Python’s Spamalot and also the slapstick comedy of One Man, Two Guvnors.
Face it, you are spoilt for choice!
Long time no write, but here I am back again from my hols in Northern Ireland (and very nice it was too – I can highly recommend it).
Last time I wrote, I was pretty certain that I was not going to see new West End musical The Commitments at the Palace theatre, however, the stars were shining down on me and I did actually get to go. So glad I did. It is so funny and the music is so good. Top marks to the lead Killian Donnelly who was outstanding!
Darius Campbell and Rebecca Thornhill as lovers Milt and Karen let the waves wash over them on the beach in From Here to Eternity
The next show I saw was another new musical from the pen of Oscar winning lyricist Tim Rice From Here to Eternity at the Shaftesbury theatre. Adapted from the 1951 controversial novel by James Jones, this musical does not shy away from the subject matter that was censored in both the book and the Oscar winning film. It is “very Tim Rice-esque” which is by no means a bad thing and I had another enjoyable evening here – especially watching the delectable Darius Campbell taking his shirt off in the first half!
Dick ‘n’ Dom aka Richard McCourt and Dominic Wood are sure to bring their own style of humour to Spamalot from 2nd December at the Playhouse theatre
Next up for us is a return to Spamalot at the Playhouse theatre. I’m taking the boys with me as CBBC presenters Dick ‘n’ Dom are taking over the roles of King Arthur and his side-kick Patsy during December so I imagine a lot of “bogie” jokes will be worked into the script. Haven’t told the boys yet that we’re going as I think this will be a really good surprise for them. We’re all fans of the comedy duo, so should all have an great evening on 4th December.
And finally on Christmas Eve it’s a family outing to see Charlie and the Chocolate Factory which has broken all box office records at the Theatre Royal Drury Lane. I saw it way back in June but the kids haven’t seen it yet and I’m certain they are going to be very. very impressed with the sheer spectacle of the show. Bring on the Oompa Loompas!
Have a great rest of the week everyone
This week I was hoping to be going to see The Commitments at the Palace theatre in London, but sadly the date got changed and I now can’t go. Anyhoo, my colleagues will attend in my absence and will, I’m sure, give me their critique.
You may well have read the many great reviews the show’s picked up since its opening night last week.
Charles Spencer from the Daily Telegraph called it “A vibrant, raucous joy.” And Mr Spencer can sometimes be a hard man to please when it comes to musicals, so that’s a big thumbs up that he liked it so much.
The Independent wrote something that those of us who’d seen actor Killian Donnelly in Billy Elliot knew already… “Killian Donnelly is phenomenal as the obnoxiously big-headed Deco, his mighty voice ranging from a snakily sexy falsetto to a deep rasping boom.”
Whilst author Roddy Doyle shy’s away from calling it straight out musical – rather a play with music in it – by all accounts the best bits are when the cast spew into the auditorium to sing the many memorable songs made famous by the 1991 BAFTA award winning film.
You can expect The Commitments “soul saving” continuing in the West End for long time to come.
Stop press : I did get to see the show and it’s fantabulous!