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The Sound of Music - Danielle Hope stars

Danielle Hope

Preview by Lizzie Guilfoyle

DANIELLE Hope will star as Maria von Trapp in a new production of The Sound of Music, which opens at the Churchill Theatre, Bromley on Thursday, January 15, 2015.

The production will then move to the Mayflower Theatre, Southampton to commence a major national tour, which will visit New Wimbledon Theatre from March 30 to April 11, 2015.

Produced by Bill Kenwright, directed by Martin Connor, choreographed by Olivier Award-winner Bill Deamer and with musical direction by David Steadman, this lavish new staging of the classic musical coincides with the 50th anniversary of the film version – the most successful movie musical in history.

It all began with the story of the Trapp Family Singers and Baroness Maria von Trapp’s 1949 autobiography, which inspired Richard Rodgers, Oscar Hammerstein II, Howard Lindsay and Russel Crouse to create a Broadway musical in 1959.

The Sound of Music tells the true story of the world-famous singing family, from their romantic beginnings and search for happiness, to their thrilling escape to freedom as their beloved Austria becomes part of the Third Reich at the start of WWII.

The unforgettable score features some of the most memorable songs ever performed on stage, including Edelweiss, My Favourite Things, Do-Re-Mi, Climb Ev’ry Mountain, So Long, Farewell and of course, the title song, The Sound of Music.

Danielle Hope captured the hearts of the country when she won BBC Television’s Over the Rainbow and made her professional debut as Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz at the London Palladium. She has since played Eponine in Les Misérables in London’s West End and Narrator in Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat.

Further casting for The Sound of Music will be announced soon.

The Sound of Music is presented by special arrangement with R&H Theatricals Europe.

As well as Bromley, Southhampton and Wimbledon, the tour will visit Sheffield, Glasgow, Carlisle, Cardiff, Hull, Milton Keynes, Woking, Bristol, Eastbourne and Leeds.

King's Head Theatre's new season includes a 21st Anniversary production of Trainspotting

Gavin Ross as Mark Renton in Trainspotting. Photo credit: Edinburgh Photography.

Season preview

KING’S Head Theatre Artistic Director, Adam Spreadbury-Maher, has announced the theatre’s work for the first six months of 2015, its 45th year of producing pub theatre in London.

The new season includes Richard Cameron’s new play The Flannelettes, directed by Mike Bradwell, and the 21st anniversary production of Irvine Welsh’s Trainspotting, with a nine-actor Edinburgh cast.

Also included is the long awaited stage premiere of Richard O’Brien’s Shock Treatment, the equal/sequel to his cult hit The Rocky Horror Picture Show.

Irvine Welsh, author of Transpotting, said of the Scottish revival, set to transfer to the King’s Head: “I’m not big on reading or watching my old stuff, but I was blown away by this new production of Trainspotting at the Festival”.

Richard O’Brien, creator of Shock Treatment, commented: “Shock Treatment has been waiting patiently in the wings for a stage premiere since the film was released in 1981. Just as Rocky began life upstairs at the Royal Court, it seems a perfect fit for Shock Treatment to start its stage life in the effervescent atmosphere of the astounding King’s Head Theatre next April.”

Celebrating their 45th birthday – the King’s Head opened in 1970 as London’s first pub theatre since Shakespeare’s time – the season also includes Lucy Skilbeck’s production of Mrs Roosevelt Flies to London, marking the 70th anniversary of VE Day, and a new adaptation of the classic Victorian satire The Diary of a Nobody, directed by Mary Franklin.

A new play, The American Venus, inspired by the story of Louise Brooks from Canadian-based playwright Leslie Mildiner, together with the internationally celebrated Between, by South African Oskar Brown, which returns to the King’s Head following sell-out seasons in Dublin, Edinburgh, Brighton and Cape Town, will feature alongside the first major London revival and 20th anniversary of Simon Block’s debut play Not A Game For Boys.

Spreadbury-Maher commented: “I can’t think of a better way to say happy 45th birthday than to announce a range of fantastic work which continues to redefine the theatre’s identity; with writers as varied as Irvine Welsh to Gilbert & Sullivan, helmed by directors from Mary Franklin at the exciting start of her career, to theatrical legend Mike Bradwell.

“I’m pleased to announce that accessible high quality classical music will still have a home at the King’s Head with Ruddigore, a rarely seen gem by Gilbert & Sullivan. The King’s Head is a unique and special place, as our loyal audiences always tell us – so if you’ve not visited before, this is the year to do it.”

Ticket prices start from £10 for everyone, with under-26 £10 tickets available, plus the theatre is introducing a Pay What You Can night for every season. Tickets are now available from or 0207 478 0160. The King’s Head Theatre Pub has also had a makeover – with excellent food available pre and post theatre, great beers on tap and a serious wine list.


The Diary of a Nobody – January 20 to February 14 – transferring from the White Bear Theatre after a sell-out acclaimed run. Directed by King’s Head Trainee Director Scheme graduate Mary Franklin.

Between by Oskar Brown – January 24 to March 14 – returning following a sell-out summer season. Directed by Award-winning South African Geoffrey Hyland.

Ruddigore by Gilbert & Sullivan – February 18 to March 14 – maintaining the King’s Head’s commitment to accessible classical music, with a hammer horror twist. Directed by John Savournin.

Trainspotting by Irvine Welsh – March 17 to April 11 – the first major revival transfers from the Edinburgh Festival. Directed by Greg Esplin.

Mrs Roosevelt Flies to London by Alison Skilbeck – April 14 to May 9 – a new play marking the 70th anniversary of the end of World War Two. Directed by Australian Lucy Skilbeck.

Shock Treatment by Richard O’Brien – April 17 to May 9 – the anticipated stage premiere of the equal/sequel to The Rocky Horror Picture Show. Directed by Benji Sperring.

The Flannelettes by Richard Cameron – May 12 to June 6 – a new play set in a woman’s refuge of a Yorkshire mining town. Directed by veteran director Mike Bradwell.

Not A Game For Boys by Simon Block – June 10 to July 4 – the first major revival of his 1995 Royal Court Theatre breakthrough play. Directed by Jason Lawson.

The American Venus by Leslie Mildiner – July 8 to August 1 – a new play based on a true account of the latter life of actress Louise Brooks. Directed by Sarah Berger.

Also at the King’s Head Theatre: OperaUpClose’s Fifth Anniversary Season.

Fat Man - VAULT Festival

Fat Man

Preview by Lizzie Guilfoyle

WRITTEN and performed by Martin Bonger, and directed by Alex Swift, Fat Man runs at the VAULT Festival from January 28 to February 15, 2015, prior to a national tour (February 20 to April 18).

Alex Swift, director of Caroline Horton’s critically acclaimed production Mess, directs a reimagining of one of the most iconic characters of Greek Mythology, as Orpheus becomes a flailing, overeating musician-turned-comedian, presenting his familiar story as an autobiographical standup routine.

Martin Bonger, recent collaborator of NIE and The Plasticine Men, Fat Man bridges the celestial with the everyday, in a bitterly funny unraveling of a man stricken with grief.

Accompanied by an original score by Philipe Nash, Fat Man, which premieres at the VAULT Festival 2015, draws a sharp, contemporary story from the original myth through a series of painful jokes and anecdotes, told by a disheveled Orpheus with an ever-increasing waistline. The show previewed at Oval House in July 2014.

Martin Bonger said: “The Orpheus I’ve created in Fat Man is fat with shame and conceit, trying to cling onto the belief that because of his music he’s as powerful as a God. He starts at this place of godly confidence and ends up back down on earth, humbled by failure.

“The world of stand-up feels like a great fit for the story, and the show looks at the bittersweet way a comic is often putting grief out there to be laughed at while searching for a kind of catharsis. I’m interested in those familiarly human details of a person’s story that can throw you off balance unexpectedly, leaving you laughing to keep from crying.”

Martin Bonger is an actor and theatre-maker, often working in devised theatre. He performs this Christmas in Around the World in 80 Days by NIE (Cambridge Junction), a company he also collaborated with on North North North in 2012. Until 2012, he appeared in a nationwide tour of Plasticine Men’s Keepers, which premiered at the Edinburgh Fringe in 2009. His other credits include The Spellbound Horses (BBC Radio 4) and Of Women and Horses I Have Known (Camden People’s Theatre).

Alex Swift is a performer, director and theatre-maker whose work encompasses a range of forms, often including clown, comedy, physical, political and experimental theatre. His work has won Best Ensemble in the Stage Awards for Acting Excellence, The Bush Theatre Directing Award and The Buzz Goodbody Student Director Award. His credits include Mess by Caroline Horton (director, Traverse and National Tour), Violence by Kieran Hurley (Royal Court) and Travesty (writer, performer, Ovalhouse and national tour).

Produced by Dick Bonham for Little Mighty, Fat Man is designed by Harriet De Winton, with dramaturgy by Daniel Bye.

Watch trailer

Fat Man is suitable for ages 14+.

Tickets: £13.50 – available from

Times: Wednesday to Sunday at 7.45pm, February 7 and 14 at 3.15pm.

Running Time: Approximately 1 hour 5 minutes.

The Vaults, Leake Street, London, SE1 7NN

Also at the VAULT Festival: Camilla Whitehill’s Where Do Little Birds Go?, a colourful and poignant tale of crime, kidnap and lost innocence in the heart of 1960s East London (February 4 to February 8, 2015).

OperaUpClose's Fifth Anniversary Season

L'Elisir d'Amore

Season preview

THIS December marks five years since OperaUpClose opened their first production, La Boheme, at the 35-seat Cock Tavern Theatre in North London.

In the five years since, they have produced 21 new productions, including two world and one UK premiere operas, commissioned 19 new English librettos and 13 new orchestrations, and launched the careers of numerous talented singers.

To celebrate and to say a fond farewell to the King’s Head Theatre, OperaUpClose are reviving three of their best-loved productions for this 2014/2015 winter season – The Elixir of Love, La Boheme and The Barber of Seville.

The season opens with The Elixir of Love, which runs from December 2 to December 13, 2014.

This 1950’s Hollywood version of Donizetti’s The Elixir of Love had rave reviews when it opened in February 2013 and has been delighting audiences on tour around the country with its technicolour romance ever since.

Prudence Sanders reprises her critically-acclaimed performance as Adina, with Sarah Minns (Susanna in The Marriage of Figaro and the title role in Young Wife) sharing the role.

The Elixir of Love is musically directed from the piano by John Gibbons, in his own re-orchestration for piano, viola and saxaphone, in an English version by Verity Bargate Award-winner Thomas Eccleshare, directed by Valentina Ceschi.

The Elixir of Love is followed – from December 16, 2014 to January 3, 2015 – by La Boheme.

OperaUpClose’s inaugural production of Puccini’s tale of idealistic young artists trying to follow their dreams went on to three West End transfers, an Olivier Award, a WhatsOnStage Award and UK and international tours.

Featring some of the original cast members, including Anthony Flaum (who has just finished touring as Macduff with Scottish Opera) as Rodolfo, alongside newcomers to the production such as Louisa Tee (who received glowing reviews as Violetta in OUC’s La Traviata and whose recent Countess the Independent said “would sound at home in Covent Garden”) who sings Mimi for the first time.

La Boheme is musically directed from the piano by Elspeth Wilkes, and directed in her own English translation by OUC Artistic Director Robin Norton-Hale.

Lastly, The Barber of Seville runs from January 6 to January 17, 2015.

The final production of the season and OperaUpClose’s farewell to the King’s Head Theatre was, fittingly, their first opera at the venue in autumn 2010. This adaptation of Rossini’s joyful comedy is set in Jane Austen’s England and combines gentle irony with laugh-out-loud comedy.

OperaUpClose favourites Elinor Moran and Philip Lee reprise the roles of Rosina and the Count, with Rosie Middleton (Flora in La Traviata and multiple roles in Two Caravans) and Henry Grant Kerswell (Bartolo in The Marriage of Figaro) join the cast to share the roles of Rosina and Bartolo respectively.

The Barber of Seville is musically directed by Elspeth Wilkes, and directed in her own English version by Robin Norton-Hale.

Tickets (for each production): £10 – £25. To book, call the box office on 020 7478 0160 or visit

Upper Cut - Southwark Playhouse

Preview by Lizzie Guilfoyle

WRITTEN by Juliet Gilkes Romero and directed by Lotte Wakeham, Upper Cut runs at Southwark Playhouse (The Little) from January 16 (previews from January 14) to February 7, 2015.

Inspired by true political events, this provocative new work by the Writers’ Guild Award-winning playwright of At the Gates of Gaza unravels the fight for diversity and representation in contemporary politics, dissecting one of the most controversial issues concerning our parliamentary process today.

The performance is staged just months after the Labour Black Network relaunched a campaign for all-black shortlists, which made headlines after it was announced at the party’s annual conference in September.

The play follows the story of promising Labour politician Karen, who risks her career and reputation on the eve of a general election in a contentious fight over whether to allow all-black parliamentary short lists.

Deselected by her party, and betrayed by two men she loves, Karen embarks on a relentless road to power and political redemption, taking the audience on a journey through today’s coalition politics, the hope and rebirth of New Labour and the heart of a troubled party under the might of Thatcher’s Tory revolution.

Upper Cut stars Andrew Scarborough, who is best known for his role of Tim Drewe in Downton Abbey. His other TV roles include Magistrate Bassat in Jamaica Inn, Dr Jonathan Ormerod in The Royal Today and Kevin Spiers in Bad Girls.

Scarborough will be joined in the cast of Upper Cut by rising stars Emma Dennis-Edwards and Akemnji Ndifornyen.

Director Lotte Wakeham said: “I’ve been wanting to work with Juliet ever since I read At the Gates of Gaza. I don’t think there’s anyone better than her to tackle this compelling drama about race, politics and relationships. I’m particularly excited to be directing it at Southwark Playhouse at the start of an election year.”

Lotte Wakeham is a theatre director, who recently directed Lizzie Siddal at the Arcola Theatre (winner of two Off West End Awards). Her other credits include The Kissing-Dance (Jermyn Street Theatre, nomination for Best Director in the Off West End Awards), Rumpelstiltskin (Theatre Royal Bath) and Before They Were Famous (BBC Radio 4/ Hat Trick).

Wakeham, who trained at the National Theatre Studio and at Oxford University, is also associate director of the Royal Shakespeare Company’s award-winning production of Matilda (West End and Broadway).

Produced by W14 Productions, Upper Cut is designed by Rachel Stone, with lighting by Derek Anderson and sound by Andy Graham.

Upper Cut is suitable for all ages.

Tickets: £18, £16 concessions, £10 previews – available on 020 7407 0234 or online at

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

NB: On Tuesday, January 20 there will be a Q&A with writer Juliet Gilkes Romero and director Lotte Wakeham; and on Tuesday, January 27 a discussion with Simon Woolley, the Director of Operation Black Vote (an organisation dedicated to promoting greater racial justice and equality in the UK) and the writer Juliet Gilkes Romero.

Also at Southwark Playhouse: a brand new production of Bat Boy (January 9 to January 31, 2015).

Rules for Living - casting announced

Preview by Lizzie Guilfoyle

CASTING has been announced for Sam Holcroft’s new play, Rules for Living, which opens in the Dorfman Theatre on March 24, 2015, following preview performances from March 13.

The line up includes Deborah Findlay (Timon of Athens, The House of Bernarda Alba, National Theatre), Stephen Mangan (Jeeves and Wooster in Perfect Nonsense, Duke of York’s Theatre), Miles Jupp (Neville’s Island, Duke of York’s Theatre) and Maggie Service (Table, Collaborators, Earthquakes in London, National Theatre).

Previously posted: Rules for Living, a new play by Sam Holcroft, directed by Marianne Elliott, will open in the Dorfman Theatre on March 24, 2015 (previews from March 13) before continuing in repertoire.

Everyone creates their own coping strategies or rules for living. But what happens when an extended family gathers in the kitchen for a traditional Christmas and they each follow those rules, rigidly?

In what is described as a theatrically playful, dark comedy, the family does just that. And when the instructions are there for all to see, audience included, there’s really no place to hide.

As long-held mechanisms for survival are laid bare, even Mum, who’s been preparing this lunch since last January, becomes embroiled. Long-held rivalries and resentments will out. Accusations fly, relationships deconstruct, the rules take over.

Sam Holcroft’s work for the National Theatre includes Edgar & Annabel, staged as part of Double Feature in the Paintframe, and The Wardrobe for NT Connections; she was the 2013 Writer-in-Residence at the National Theatre Studio. Her recent work elsewhere includes The House Taken Over (Festival d’Aix-en-Provence and Académie Européenne de Musique), Dancing Bears (Soho Theatre), and While You Lie (Traverse Theatre).

Marianne Elliott is an Associate Director at the National Theatre where her work includes The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time (winner of seven Olivier Awards including Best Director), The Light Princess, Port, Season’s Greetings, Women Beware Women, All’s Well That Ends Well, Mrs Affleck, Harper Regan, Saint Joan (Olivier Award for Best Revival, South Bank Show Award for Theatre), Thérèse Raquin, Pillars of the Community (Evening Standard Award for Best Director) and War Horse (co-directed with Tom Morris, winning a Tony Award for Best Direction of a Play).

Rules for Living will be designed by Chloe Lamford, with lighting by Neil Austin, music by Adrian Sutton, fight direction by Kate Waters and sound by Ian Dickinson. Casting has not yet been announced.

On Thursday, March 26 at 6.30pm, Marianne Elliott and Sam Holcroft will discuss Rules for Living in the Dorfman.

Also in the Dorfman: the award-winning New York production of David Byrne and Fatboy Slim’s musical Here Lies Love (until January 8, 2015) and The Hard Problem, a new play by Tom Stoppard (previewing from January 21, 2015).

Obama-ology - Finborough Theatre


Preview by Lizzie Guilfoyle

OBAMA-OLOGY, the European full-length debut of multi-award-winning American playwright Aurin Squire, receives its European premiere at the Finborough Theatre, where it runs Sundays, Mondays and Tuesdays from November 30 to December 16, 2014.

When African-American college graduate Warren takes a job with the 2008 Obama campaign, he’s fired up and ready to go – until he lands in the troubled streets of East Cleveland. But somewhere between knocking on doors, fending off cops, and questioning his own racial and sexual identity, he learns that changing society isn’t as easy as he imagined…

Obama-ology is described as a compelling journey into the lives of the black minority of East Cleveland. This invisible underclass – despondent after a lifetime of presidential campaigns with only the educated, white candidate to represent them – have the flame of hope reignited by a passionate young man canvassing for Obama.

Obama-ology is a stunning new play that demonstrates the resilience of the human spirit to overcome defeat at the hands of social repression and financial hardship.

Tommo Fowler directs a cast that includes Peter Caulfield, Edward Dede, Pearl Mackie, Katherine Newman and Amanda Wright.

Discovered by the Finborough Theatre and part of its 20 Premieres season, Obama-ology is presented by ABG Productions in association with Neil McPherson for the Finborough Theatre.

Designs are by Anna Lewis, composition and sound design by Finn Keane, lighting design by Rob Mills and movement direction by Ita O’Brien.

For more information or to book, call the box office on 0844 847 1652 or visit

Also at the Finborough Theatre: the world premiere of Eve Leigh’s Silent Planet (November 25 to December 20, 2014).

Bush Theatre - Spring/Summer 2015

Season preview

MADANI Younis, Artistic Director of the Bush Theatre, has announced the venue’s Spring/Summer 2015 season, which comprises four plays with the theme justice.

The season opens with the world premiere of Islands, a dark comedy by Caroline Horton about tax havens, little empires, enormous greed and the few who have it all. Directed by Omar Elerian, it runs from January 15 to February 21.

Islands is followed – from March 13 to April 18 – by The Royale, a play from American writer Marco Ramirez (Orange is the New Black) that focuses on the life of Jay ‘The Sport’ Jackson, who dreams of being the undisputed heavyweight champion of the world.

Scripted in 12 rounds and directed by Younis, the play examines society’s relationship with our present-day cultural heroes and the responsibilities that are thrust upon them when they find themselves outside of the ropes.

Next comes the London premiere of The Angry Brigade, which runs from April 30 to June 13.

A bold new play by James Graham, writer of sell-out hits This House (Royal National Theatre) and Privacy (Donmar Warehouse), The Angry Brigade is set against a backdrop of Tory cuts, high unemployment and the deregulated economy of 1970s Britain.

Directed by Paines Plough’s James Grieve as part of the company’s 40th anniversary, the play was first seen at the Theatre Royal Plymouth earlier this year. Grieve and Graham previously collaborated at the Bush in 2010 on The Whisky Taster.

Finally, the premiere of award-winning playwright Rebecca Lenkiewicz’s new play, The Invisible, runs from July 3 to August 15.

Specially commissioned by The Bush, it tell the stories of The Invisible – ordinary people fighting for their right to justice.

Speaking about the new season, Madani Younis said:

“In programming our 2015 season, we were of course confronted by the general election. All of the plays in this season are not only outstanding pieces of new writing, but they also challenge significant injustices in our society.”

For more information or to book, visit

Where Do Little Birds Go? - VAULT Festival

Where Do Little Birds Go? starring Jessica Butcher.

Preview by Lizzie Guilfoyle

FROM February 4 to February 8, 2015, Duckdown Theatre and Heavy Weather are presenting Camilla Whitehill’s Where Do Little Birds Go? at the VAULT Festival.

A colourful and poignant tale of crime, kidnap and lost innocence in the heart of 1960s East London, Where Do Little Birds Go? is directed by Sarah Meadows and stars Jessica Butcher.

It’s 1966 and Lucy Fuller is 18 years old and working at Winston’s Nightclub. One night, Lucy is kidnapped by the Kray twins and locked in a flat with an escaped murderer.

Where Do Little Birds Go? is the terrifying story of Lucy’s time with Ronnie, Reggie and Frank “The Mad Axeman” Mitchell.

Lucy’s story is about a vulnerable young woman who is hopeful, optimistic and has a dream. The men around Lucy manipulate her dream and ambitions and she is passed between them with little control or choice.

Where Do Little Birds Go? is based on a real story, where all the media coverage and research is written from a male perspective. In the newspaper articles, she is simply and briefly referred to as ‘the girl’ and ‘petite and shapely’.

In Where Do Little Birds Go? ‘the girl’ is finally given a voice and her side of these extraordinary events can be heard for the first time.

Tickets: £13.50.

Running Time: 65 minutes.

The Vaults, Leake Street, Waterloo, SE1 7NN

Tommy Steele to star in The Glenn Miller Story

Scrooge, New Wimbledon Theatre

Preview by Lizzie Guilfoyle

NEXT year, music legend Tommy Steele turns master storyteller when he takes to the stage to narrate the extraordinary tale of the world’s most famous big band leader, Glenn Miller.

With a live 16-piece Glenn Miller orchestra and a full supporting company of singers, dancers and actors, The Glenn Miller Story will tour the UK in Autumn 2015 – dates to be announced.

Tommy Steele was Britain’s first rock ‘n’ roll star. Dubbed the UK’s answer to Elvis Presley, he landed his first UK No.1 with Singing the Blues in January 1957, reaching the top spot before Elvis, whose first UK No. 1, All Shook Up, wasn’t until June that same year.

The film, The Tommy Steele Story, dramatised his rise to fame and was one of the first British rock ‘n’ roll movies. A soundtrack of the same name was released to coincide with the film’s opening and became the first album by a UK-based act to reach No.1.

Steele’s legendary career includes over twenty hit singles, twelve hit movies and countless award-winning stage musicals such as Half a Sixpence, Hans Andersen and Singin’ in the Rain.

In recent years, he has starred as Christmas miser Ebenezer Scrooge in Bill Kenwright’s spectacular production of the festive musical, which enjoyed two successful runs at the world-famous London Palladium. It was a role that also made Steele the theatre’s all-time record breaking performer, having headlined more performances than any other star in the history of the Palladium.

It’s been seventy years since Glenn Miller vanished over the English Channel as he flew to Paris to entertain the troops during the Second World War. Did he crash? Was he shot down? Will the mystery ever be solved?

His music defined an era; his disappearance stunned the world, and now the story of one of the most iconic musical figures of the 20th century will be brought to spectacular life in this brand new production. It promises to have audiences on their feet jiving, swinging and jitterbugging as it takes them back to the big band days of the 1940s.

The Glenn Miller Story is directed and produced by Bill Kenwright, who also directed Whistle Down the Wind, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, Jesus Christ Superstar, Blood Brothers and recently Evita at the Dominion Theatre. Choreography is by Olivier Award-winner Bill Deamer (Evita, Save The Last Dance For Me and Top Hat).