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Antic Disposition's Henry V - casting announced

Freddie Stewart. Photo credit: Ella Sadika.

Preview by Lizzie Guilfoyle

RECENT RADA graduate Freddie Stewart (pictured) has been cast in the title role in Shakespeare’s Henry V. A site specific production that marks award-winning Antic Disposition’s 10th anniversary, it will be staged in London’s ancient Temple Church from Monday, August 24 to Saturday, September 5, 2015.

Freddie Stewart already has several theatre, television and film credits to his name, most recently playing Cassio in Othello at Shakespeare’s Globe.

The rest of the joint British/French cast are Floriane Andersen, Maurice Byrne, Marius Hesper, Andrew Hodges, Alex Hooper, Victor Klein, Mark Middleton, James Murfitt, Dean Riley, Louise Templeton and Geoffrey Towers.

Set in a French military hospital in 1915, Henry V marks both the 600th anniversary of the Battle of Agincourt and the ongoing centenary of the First World War. Using fast-paced storytelling, original songs and live music, the uplifting production celebrates the rich and turbulent relationship between Britain and France, from the Hundred Years War to the Entente Cordiale.

Before arriving in London, Henry V will also be performed in 10 open-air locations in France – one of only a handful of productions of the play ever to be performed in the country.

Henry V is directed by Ben Horslen and John Risebero, who also designs, with songs and musical direction by Christopher Peake, additional music by James Burrows and lighting design by Tom Boucher.

Tickets: £20 – £40. To book, call the box office on 0333 666 3366 or visit www.anticdisposition.co.uk/.

Times: Monday to Saturday at 7.45pm; Saturday matinees at 3pm.

Antic Disposition are also presenting A Christmas Carol in Middle Temple Hall as part of their 10th anniversary year celebrations.

Parade - London Theatre Workshop

Preview by Lizzie Guilfoyle

A NEW staging of Parade will play the intimate London Theatre Workshop for just two weeks – from September 1 to September 13, 2015.

This ambitious new production stars Ross Barnes (Carousel, Opera North, Little Shop of Horrors, White Bear and Landor Theatres) as Leo Frank and Lily De-La-Haye as Lucille Frank.

Daniel Holley, who was recently featured on Britain’s Got Talent as a member of the ‘Kingdom Tenors’, and Kerry Loosemore, making her professional debut, play the roles of Frankie Epps and Mary Phagan respectively.

Completing the cast are Brandon Force, Norton James, Dudley Rogers, Jennifer Webster, Jon Parry, Michael Moulton, Nazerene Williams, Samuel Clifford and Victoria Hope.

Originally staged on Broadway and in London at the Donmar Warehouse, the multi Olivier Award nominated show features music and lyrics by Jason Robert Brown (The Last Five Years, Songs For a New World, The Bridges of Madison County) and book by Academy Award-winner Alfred Uhry, who wrote the screenplay for Driving Miss Daisy.

Parade is based on the true story of Leo Frank, a Jewish factory manager from Brooklyn accused of the murder of a 13 year old employee. Set in Atlanta, Georgia at the beginning of the twentieth century, the story builds around Leo Frank’s trial as it becomes sensationalised by the bigoted, zionistic press, against a backdrop of National uncertainty and change.

Produced by London Theatre Workshop, the new production is directed by Jody Tranter, with musical direction by Erika Gundesen and choreography by Adam Scown.

Tickets: £15 – available online at londontheatreworkshop.co.uk/parade/.

Times: Tuesday to Sunday at 7.30pm; Saturday and Sunday matinees at 3pm.

London Theatre Workshop, 65 New King’s Road, London, SW6 4SG

The Tinderbox - a new Christmas show for all the family

Mandy Holliday

Preview by Lizzie Guilfoyle

THE Tinderbox, a new version of Hans Christian Andersen’s famous folk tale, is coming to Charing Cross Theatre this Christmas, with special daytime performances between Saturday, December 12, 2015 and Saturday, January 2, 2016.

Based on a Scandinavian folk tale Andersen learned in his childhood, The Tinderbox has been adapted by and features Mandy Holliday, who starred as inkeeper’s wife Madame Thenardier in the West End production of Les Miserables.

She was also in the film of the musical and the big screen adaptations of the stage musicals Sweeney Todd and The Phantom of the Opera.

In The Tinderbox, Brian the Brave, a penniless solider is returning from the war. He acquires a magic tinderbox and embarks on a quest to find his true love.

Described as an enchanting, fun-filled musical, The Tinderbox features an array of wonderful, colourful characters, cleverly combining classical music and story-telling with comedy, lots of audience interaction plus a few surprises along the way! Suitable for all the family.

Futher casting has still to be announced.

Tickets: £19.50. Family ticket: £60 (1 adult and three children or 2 adults and 2 children) valid for all performances. Schools groups (10+): £12.50 with teacher free for the first week of performances up to December 20. Groups rate (10+): £15 valid for all performances. To book, call the box office on 08444 930 650 or visit www.charingcrosstheatre.co.uk/ and www.the-tinderbox.com/.

Times: Vary. See www.charingcrosstheatre.co.uk/show/.

Dusty, a multi-media show celebrating the musical icon Dusty Springfield, has extended its run at Charing Cross Theatre until November 21, 2015.

Willemijn Verkaik In Concert - Ambassadors Theatre

Willemijn Verkaik in Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown. Photo credit: Jay Brooks

Preview by Lizzie Guilfoyle

DUTCH singer and actress Willemijn Verkaik will play a one-off solo concert at the Ambassadors Theatre on Tuesday, August 25, 2015.

Accompanied by a live band and joined by some special guests (not yet announced), Verkaik will take a journey through some of the greatest classic and contemporary musicals of all time, as well as celebrating some of the iconic songs that have defined her career so far.

Willemijn Verkaik is best known for playing the role of Elphaba in Wicked, having performed the role in the West End, on Broadway, and in Germany and the Netherlands. She is also the only actress to have performed the role in multiple languages.

Her other stage credits include Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown (West End), and Mamma Mia!, Aida and We Will Rock You in Germany. She also voiced Elsa in the Dutch and German versions of Disney’s smash hit animated film Frozen.

Verkaik’s recordings include the German cast recording of Wicked, and appearances on Scott Alan’s albums What I Wanna Be When I Grow Up and Live.

This one-off UK concert promises to be a magical and intimate evening with one of theatreland’s greatest contemporary vocalists.

Verkaik will also be taking her concert to New York for two performances only, playing at 54 Below on Thursday, August 27 and Friday, August 28, 2015 at 7pm.

Image: Willemijn Verkaik in Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown. Photo credit: Jay Brooks.

Tickets (for the London show): £17.50 and £29.50 – available from the box office on 08448 112334 or online at www.theambassadorstheatre.co.uk/.

Time: 8pm.

Tickets (for the New York shows): $40, $45, $50, $80 – available from the box office on (646) 476-3551 or online at 54below.com/.

Grand Hotel - last minute cast change

David Delve

Casting news

JUST days before its first preview, there has been a last minute cast change for the new production of the acclaimed Broadway musical Grand Hotel, which runs at Southwark Playhouse from August 5 (previews from July 31) to September 5, 2015.

Philip Rham, who played the Captain in Titanic, has had to reluctantly leave the production because of a family emergency.

Grand Hotel‘s producer DanielleTarento said: “We wish Philip well and are thrilled to welcome to the production the fantastic David Delve to take over and play Colonel-Doctor Otternschlag. We thank David enormously for stepping in at such short notice.”

David Delve’s many theatre credits include playing Squeers in the RSC’s epic Nicholas Nickelby in both London and the US; Thenadier the innkeeper in Les Miserables at the Palace Theatre in 1987; and Mr Sowerby in Oliver! at the London Palladium. He has also appeared in The Phantom of the Opera at Her Majesty’s Theatre (for three years), Anything Goes at the Theatre Royal Drury Lane and Carousel at the Savoy Theatre.

The Grand Hotel in 1928 Berlin is bustling with eccentric and sometimes dubious guests.

Amongst them are a fading prima ballerina being forced to dance again; a fatally ill Jewish bookkeeper who wants to spend his final days living in luxury; a young, handsome, but destitute Baron; a cynical doctor suffering from World War I wounds; an honest businessman going bad as he faces financial ruin and a typist dreaming of Hollywood stardom.

Over the course of a weekend, their extraordinary stories interweave with each other and the hotel’s hard-working staff.

Read more about Grand Hotel.

Miss Saigon - Carolyn Maitland rejoins cast

Casting news

CAROLYN Maitland, who previously understudied the role of Ellen, returns to Miss Saigon to take over the role from Siobhan Dillon.

Maitland, who recently starred as Kathy Selden in Singin’ In The Rain at Kilworth House Theatre, will play Ellen from July 30 to October 17, 2015 while Dillon takes a break to undergo treatment following an operation.

Maitland will join Eva Noblezada (as Kim) and Jon Jon Briones (The Engineer).

Miss Saigon is based on Puccini’s opera Madame Butterfly but with the setting relocated to Saigon during the Vietnam War, and tells of a doomed love affair between Chris, an American GI and Kim, a Vietnamese bar girl.

Miss Saigon recently announced its final extension and will complete its run at the Prince Edward Theatre on February 27, 2016. Read more.

Buy tickets.

Theatre and Dance at Rich Mix - August to September 2015

RICH Mix has several productions lined up for the coming weeks.

Rich Mix Youth Takeover Festival: The Fix – Audio Provocation by Alex Bulmer and Theatre Centre – in the Main Space on Wednesday, August 5 at 11am. Free.

Sarah just wants to get to her audition for drama school, but between her and her dream, there’s an escalator. Spend one journey with Sarah and her guide dog Cyprus, as they negotiate the London Underground, and help to find The Fix – the way we can help those disabled by society to achieve their dreams.

Rich Mix Youth Takeover Festival: Spora Stories presents East End Boys, West End Girls – Upstairs on Saturday, August 8 at 7pm (doors). Free.

East meets West across the education divide when four London teenagers compete for a prestigious scholarship. With their friendships tested, each is forced to consider their aspirations, values, and the cost of striving for what matters most.

Rich Mix Youth Takeover Festival: Young and Talented Double Bill: Hear Me Out + The Power of Youth – Upstairs on Friday, August 14 at 7.30pm (doors). Free.

Written and performed by young people age 15 to 18 years old, Hear Me Out is a special opportunity to see the work of young people from East London.

The Power of Youth, a sketch style comedy sharing the truths about being youths, is written by BBC award-winning director Roy Alexander Weise and performed by young people aged 14-18.

The Bogus Woman – Upstairs on Friday, September 4 at 7.30pm. Tickets: £12, £10 concessions.

An African woman flees for her life, seeking safety and asylum in England. But at what cost? The Bogus Woman is written by Kay Adshead, performed by Krissi Bohn (Coronation Street) and directed by Zoë Waterman. ‘Essential watching’ said The Independent.

Bubble Schmeisis – Upstairs on Saturday, September 5 at 7.30pm. Tickets: £10, £8 concessions.

Bubble Schmeisis is about Nick’s experiences in the steam baths of East London with his blind grandfather, featuring cigars, cab drivers and circumcisions…the whole magillah.

To buy tickets, call the box office on 020 7613 7498 or visit www.richmix.org.uk/.

The Mentalists to close ahead of schedule

Preview by Lizzie Guilfoyle

THE Mentalists, Richard Bean’s darkly comic two-hander starring Stephen Merchant and Steffan Rhodri, has posted closing notices at Wyndham’s Theatre. Originally booking until September 26, it will now complete its run on August 29, 2015.

Previously Posted: Award-winning actor Stephen Merchant (The Office, Extras, Hello Ladies) will make his West End debut in The Mentalists, Richard Bean’s darkly comic two-hander, which runs at Wyndham’s Theatre for a limited 12 week season – from July 3 to September 26, 2015.

Joining Merchant will be critically acclaimed actor, Steffan Rhodri (Gavin & Stacey, Posh, Cucumber), with Abbey Wright directing.

Holed up in a faceless Finsbury Park hotel room Ted (Merchant), and Morrie (Rhodri) are forced to confront the darker side of their unique relationship. Things unravel as the pressure mounts in what is described as an hilarious and touching tale of friendship and utopian visions gone awry.

As well as the highly acclaimed One Man, Two Guvnors, Richard Bean’s work includes Pitcairn (Shakespeare’s Globe); England People Very Nice (National Theatre); The Heretic, Harvest (winner of the 2006 Critics’ Circle Award for Best New Play), Honeymoon Suite, Under the Whaleback and Toast (Royal Court Theatre); and The Big Fellah (for Out of Joint at the Lyric Hammersmith and on tour).

Public booking for The Mentalists opens on Friday, February 27 at 10am.

Also at Wyndham’s Theatre: Ivo Van Hove’s five star Young Vic production of Arthur Miller’s A View from the Bridge, starring Mark Strong (until April 11) and David Mamet’s American Buffalo, with Damian Lewis leading the cast (April 16 to June 27, 2015).

The Playboy of the Western World - Southwark Playhouse

The Playboy of the Western World

Preview by Lizzie Guilfoyle

FOLIE à Deux Productions are presenting JM Synge’s The Playboy of the Western World at Southwark Playhouse. Directed by Polina Kalinina it runs in The Little from August 14 (previews from August 12) to August 29, 2015.

In a local village pub, deep in rural Ireland, a charming stranger swaggers in with a bold claim: that he has killed his own father. As drunken men gather round to hear tales of his bravado and young ladies vie for his attention, the traveller becomes a hero. But not all is as it seems…

One of Ireland’s most celebrated plays, JM Synge’s savagely witty masterpiece draws audiences into the sleepy traditions of rural County Mayo through the exuberance of one dreamer.

The cast includes Timothy Block (as Old Mahon), Greer Dale-Folulkes (Sara Tansey), Sophie Dickson (Pegeen Mike), Christopher Logan (Shawn Keough), Tom Marshall (Michael Flaherty), Pandora McCormick (Honor Blake), Barney McElholm (Jimmy Farrell), Ciaran O’Brian (Christopher Mahon) and Natalie Radmall-Quirke (Widow Quinn).

JM Synge was an Irish playwright, poet, prose writer, travel writer and collector of folklore. He was a key figure in the Irish Literary Revival and was one of the co-founders of the Abbey Theatre. The Playboy of the Western World is his best-known play, having caused riots in Dublin during its opening run at the Abbey Theatre. Other works include In the Shadow of the Glen, Riders to the Sea, The Well of the Saints, The Aran Islands, The Tinker’s Wedding, Deirdre of the Sorrows and In Wicklow and West Kerry.

Folie à Deux Productions return to Southwark Playhouse following their critically acclaimed productions of Summer and Smoke and I Am A Camera.

The Playboy of the Western World is designed by Emma Bailey, with lighting and sound by Jonathan Jewett.

Tickets: £18, £16 concessions (Students, Under 16’s, Unwaged, Registered disabled, Over 65’s); Previews £10. Registered disabled patrons can take one companion free of charge. To book, call 020 7407 0234 or visit www.southwarkplayhouse.co.uk/.

Times: Monday to Saturday at 8pm; Saturday matinees at 3.30pm.

Also at Southwark Playhouse: a new London production of the acclaimed Broadway musical Grand Hotel (July 31 to September 5); the hit Broadway musical comedy Xanadu (October 16 to November 21); and Sam Shepard’s The Late Henry Moss (September 2 to September 26, 2015).

Here We Go - National Theatre (Lyttelton)

Preview by Lizzie Guilfoyle

HERE We Go, a new, short play about death by Caryl Churchill, opens in the National’s Lyttelton Theatre on November 27 (previews on November 25 and 26) and continues until December 19, 2015.

A funeral party for a man with an adventurous past and a ginger cat that needs a home. Where is he now? Is his heart lighter than a feather? How did he die? And what happens to his friends?

Caryl Churchill’s seminal plays include Light Shining in Buckinghamshire (recently revived at the National Theatre), Cloud Nine, Top Girls, Serious Money, The Skriker, A Number and Love and Information. Her new version of Strindberg’s A Dream Play was seen at the National in 2005.

Here We Go will be directed by Dominic Cooke, an Associate Director of the National Theatre, where he directed The Comedy of Errors in 2011. His production of Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom will open in the Lyttelton next January.

Cooke was Artistic Director of the Royal Court from 2007 – 2013, where his productions included Caryl Churchill’s Identical Twins, This is a Chair, Seven Jewish Children and Ding Dong the Wicked; plus The Low Road, In the Republic of Happiness, Choir Boy, Chicken Soup with Barley, Clybourne Park, Aunt Dan and Lemon, The Fever, Wig Out!, Now or Later, The Pain and The Itch and Other People.

For the BBC, he directed the forthcoming The Hollow Crown: The Wars of the Roses.

Here We Go will be designed by Vicki Mortimer and have sound by Christopher Shutt.

Also in the Lyttelton: Stephen Adly Guirgis’ The Motherf**ker with the Hat (until August 20); Patrick Marber directing his own new version of Three Days in the Country, after Turgenev (until October 21); and Bristol Old Vic’s highly praised staging of Charlotte Brontë’s masterpiece Jane Eyre (September 8 and to October 25, 2015).