These Screen Stars Are Coming To London

romeo and juliet

Hi Theatre-goers

It would appear that stars of tv and film are falling over themselves to get into the West End this Spring with oodles of celebs treading the boards in the capital.

The End of longingWith the recent announcement of former Friends star Matt Le Blanc as co-host of the hugely anticipated new series of Top Gear, his tv flat mate Chandler, aka actor Matthew Perry, performs in his writing debut, The End of Longing at the Playhouse theatre which opened on 2nd February and is booking through to 14th May. Can’t wait to see it for myself on 9th Feb.

sunset boulevardAnother Hollywood famous, nay Hollywood royalty, Glenn Close will step back in time to play fallen silent film star Norma Desmond in Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Sunset Boulevard at the London Coliseum previewing from 1st April.

andrew garfieldThe dashing and easy-on-the-eye young stars of HBO’s Game of Thrones Richard Madden and Kit Harrington will be able to share some post-theatre drinks as they are appearing at the same time, but at different theatres, in Romeo and Julietand Doctor Faustus respectively. Madden’s star-crossed lover Juliet will be played Romeo and Julietby Lily James (War and Peace, Downton Abbey, Cinderella) and as you will see from the steamy publicity photo here it will possibly be a play to which you won’t be taking the children! Romeo and Juliet is part of the Kenneth Branagh season of plays at the Garrick theatre opening on 12th May, whilst Harrington sells his soul to the devil in Doctor Faustus at the Duke of York’s theatre from 9th April.

Pixie LottNumber 1 recording artist, (successful singer to you and me), Pixie Lott takes on the role of Holly Golightly in Truman Capote’s dark drama Breakfast at Tiffany’s which will open at the Theatre Royal Haymarket on 30th June after a UK tour. In fact, it’s the same theatre where Anna Friel played the same role back in 2009.

Looking ahead to 2017 the National Theatre, where coincidently Kit Harrington made his professional stage debut in War Horse back in 2008, has bagged a glutton on house-hold names with the Amazing Spider-man star Andrew Garfield returning to the stage for a revival of seminal drama Angels In America.

Other A-listers on the National Theatre stage next year will be Olivier Award winner Tamsin Greig in Twelfth Night and Downton Abbey’s Elizabeth McGovern in Alexi Kaye Campbell’s Sunset At The Villa Thalia.

Now if that’s not enough to get you to the theatre in the next six months I don’t know what else to do!!

Have a great weekend

Sara

And the Award goes to…

nicole-kidman200x200

sara A look at what might be at this year’s Olivier Awards

Hi Theatre-goers

  So the date for the prestigious Olivier Awards 2016 has been announced as Sunday 3rd April, plus this year we get a one-off 40th anniversary gala performance at the Royal Festival Hall featuring many past winners including Michael Ball, Elaine Paige, Maria Friedman, Daniel Evans, Katie Brayben, John Dagleish, Scarlett Strallen and Clive Rowe on 29th January .

So, I thought I’d take a look at who I think will be nominated, who I think will probably win on the night!

christmas-carol 200x200For Best Actor in a Play the nominations without a doubt will include Benedict Cumberbatch for his turn as the unhinged Hamlet (now closed) and probably Damian Lewis who put in an explosive performance in David Mamet’s American Buffalo in early summer (again since closed). Ralph Fiennes might get a nod for his performance in The Master Builder which opens at the Old Vic in January. I think others in the mix will be Jim Broadbent (right) as Scrooge in A Christmas Carol at the Noel Coward theatre until 30th January, Simon Russell Beale for Mr Foote’s Other Leg at the Theatre Royal Haymarket until 23rd January, Mark Rylance who starred in Farinelli and the King, and possibly David Morrissey as an ex-executioner in Martin McDonagh’s Hangmen at the Wyndham’s theatre until 5th March.
My winner prediction : Benedict Cumberbatch

nicole-kidman200x200Best Actress in a Play is a little more tricky as there are NEVER enough female parts written and performed. However, I think Nicole Kidman (right) is a strong contender for her almost “one-woman-show” in Photograph 51 back in September 2015. Then there is one of my favourite actresses Claire Skinner in The Father which was at the Wyndham’s theatre last November who could be in with a shot. Perhaps, Amelia Bullmore or Samantha Spiro who are both in A Christmas Carol could also get the judges’ approval.
My winner prediction : Nicole Kidman

sherius-funny-girl 120x200Maybe not it’s so hard to guess who will be nominated for Best Actress in a Musical, but the winner could be a close call between Imelda Staunton (Gypsy) and Sheridan Smith (right) for Funny Girl – the latter fortunately will still be in the West End until September 2016. There also might be nominations for the female leads in musicals Bend It Like Beckham (Natalie Dew or Lauren Samuels) and In The Heights (Eve Polycarpou) which have proved very popular with the young theatre crowd.
My winner prediction : Sheridan Smith …. Or Imelda Stuanton!

kyle-riabko 120x200For Best Actor in a Musical, I imagine that we’ll see Kyle Riabko (right) nominated for his performance in Close to You at the Citerion theatre as well as Killian Donnelly for Kinky Boots and possibly Darius Campbell for Funny Girl. An outsider could be Steve MacKay who is the best thing from In The Heights.
My winner prediction : Killian Donnelly

So what do you reckon to my predictions? Will they come true? Have you got some of your own? Are there performances I haven’t even mentioned that you think were/are absolutely amazing and award-worthy? I’d love to hear from you.

Have a great week

Sara Signature

Sara

Winter Breaks in London

winter breaks in london

Hi Theatre Goers

Woo… just popped out for a quick breath of fresh air and came back inside with my hands feeling like blocks of ice! Yes, I think winter has definitely arrived and so I can safely say it’s time to write my annual Winter Breaks in London blog.

slavas snowshowWinter Breaks in London 2015/2016

I’ll start first with Winter at Southbank Centre with a theme focusing on family, charity and giving to others. There’s fun for all ages ranging from award-winning theatrical performances such as the delightful Slava’s Snowshow, the London premiere of We Are the Monsters plus a festive concert from The Choir with No Name. The event runs from 20th November to 31st December and as well as the theatre shows visitors can enjoy a BUMP Rollerdisco and the Southbank Centre Winter Market along the riverfront selling gifts, food and drink.

enchantyed woodlandOn the outside of London to the West side grow the beautiful oaks trees and gardens at Syon Park in Osterley. Here you will find the fauna and flora illuminated in spectacular fashion in the Enchanted Woodland. Visitors to the magical event are taken on a unique guided walk through a trail that leads around the 18th century lake – where the shapes and textures of the ancient winter trees are reflected in the water – and past intriguing corners of the estate, all of it floodlit to maximum Christmas effect! It’s open from Friday to Sunday from 20th November to 6th December 2015.

winter wonderlandNow a firm seasonal fixture in London is Hyde Park’s Winter Wonderland bringing lots of family fun to Winter Breaks in London, with its giant Ferris wheel, carousels and ghost rides. Then there’s the Artic Circle and Alpine Adventure to explore as well. And the world famous Zippo’s Circus is in residence too. Visitors can wander around the many shops picking up a Christmas gift or two for their nearest and dearest and even try their hand at ice skating. It runs from 20th November 2015 to 3rd January 2016.

Another regular event during the winter months is the ice skating rink behind the somerset houseimpressive Somerset House set on the banks of the River Thames. From now until 10th January 2016 visitors can don their woolly hats, muffs and skates and glide gently across the purpose built rink. You can make the occasion even more special by sampling Fortnum and Mason Champagne & Chocolate Truffles, Wine & Fondue for Two or Champagne & Smoked Salmon Blini which are all served in Fortnum’s Lodge onsite.

All the above events can be enjoyed during the day, leaving the evenings free for some a christmas carolexceptional theatre which London does SO well – especially at Christmas!

On offer for Winter Breaks in London this year we have zany ‘new kid on the block’ Elf at the Dominion theatre, the return of The Lorax to the Old Vic theatre and for families with older children there’s Jim Broadbent as Ebenezer Scrooge in A Christmas Carol at the Noel Coward theatre.

Plus, multi award winning musicals Matilda at the Cambridge theatre, Charlie and the chocolate factoryCharlie and the Chocolate Factory at the Theatre Royal Drury Lane, Disney’s The Lion King at the Lyceum theatre and Wicked at the Apollo Victoria.

All of this makes me believe, in the words of Bing Crosby, “it’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas” and I absolutely love it!

Looking Forward to May 2016 in London’s Theatreland

Hi Theatre-goers

Wow! What a week it’s been for fans of He Who Shall Not Be Named and his nemesis Harry Potter. The excitement of tickets finally going on sale for the much anticipated new Potter stage show over-shadowed by the fact that they sold out within a milli-second and more tickets had to be hurriedly released to placate the Hogwart loving public only for the same thing to happen again with the system asking fans to pay now for tickets in 2017.

Cursed  child

May 2016 is going to be an amazing time for families visiting London anyway because the Broadway transfer of Disney’s Aladdin which will begins its previews at the Prince Edward theatre after Miss Saigon has made its final helicopter trip on 27th February next year.

The Aladdin theatre break buying experience should be much less traumatic too – not quite as easy as rubbing a lamp, but up there none-the-less!

Of course we know the story of Aladdin. The same could not be said of Harry Potter.

So what exactly JK Rowling has in store for us in Part 8 of the worldwide phenomenon that has followed 11 year old Harry from the cupboard under the stairs to young adulthood culminating in the ultimate battle with evil magic?

At the end of the Deathly Hallows book and film, we saw Harry had married Ginny and become a father to three children. His oldest two James and Albus were off the Hogwarts at the beginning of the school term and there in the background of the commotion on Platform 9 ¾ was Harry’s arch rival Draco Malfoy – himself a father sending his off-spring away to school. There was a slight moment between the two which leaves the reader/audience to wonder what might happen in the future.

And so, here it is not in book or film form but as a stage play written by Ms Rowling herself in collaboration with Let Me In writers Jack Thorne and John Tiffany. The story centres around Harry’s second son Albus who must come to terms with being born into a family legacy he doesn’t have the power to change and how Harry, now an over-worked Ministry of Magic employee, cannot leave the past behind him. The tag-line being “that darkness sometimes comes from unexpected places”.

It all sounds fantastically tantalising doesn’t it? Plus it’s being offered as a 2 part package – a trend that was first started by the RSC in 1980 when they produced The Life and Times of Nicholas Nickelby in 2 parts. And I’m all for getting children to the theatre twice in one week!

As I am probably not going to stand a chance of seeing the plays until 2017 at the earliest, that gives me a nice long time to sew together my wizard outfit, train my Owl and find an Elder wand… or maybe I’ll just head to Watford again and enjoy the Harry Potter Studio Tour – it’s cheaper too!

Happy theatre-going!

Sara

Theatre Breaks Guests Get Poetic

It was National Poetry Day yesterday and we had great fun writing our own theatrical poetry… yes Hail Poetry!

We’ve already published a few stanzas – and we think William Shakespeare himself would have been proud of us – if not for the skill, at least for the enthusiasm!

So here are some more verses… why don’t you have a go – it’s like painting – when you get to adulthood we just don’t seem to have the time to do the simple things we loved as achild – so why not write a poem. No-one is judging you: it’s just great fun! Details are at the bottom.

Annette Brampton gave us “The Thrill”

I love going to the theatre
It such a thrill
When your favourite actor
Comes onto the stage
It is really Brill

Very apt as we have been discussing seeing stars in shows in this year’s Survey

“Theatre!” is by Caroline McCabe

Going to the theatre is a treat, it’s really quite neat.
Plays and musicals, pantos and all,
So much choice – it says it all.
For young and old, may I be so bold,
Theatre is a joy to behold!

Nikki Hayes’s “Theatre Day” says it all for me

I love going to a show
To see which way its going to go
Singing, dancing or a play
I do so love a theatre day

But my favourite at the moment is Linda Coomber’s simple

Roses are red, Violets are blue
I’d be so happy to watch a play with you.

If you want to write your own theatre-inspired poem, just do it! On your lap top, on a piece of paper or just in your head.

If you want to see it published send it in. More poems and a way to upload your poem is at www.theatrebreaks.ws. I think the ws stands for Word Smith or William Shakespeare – I am not sure which yet.