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Sleeping Booty! - Leicester Square Theatre's adult panto

Preview by Lizzie Guilfoyle

THIS year, Leicester Square Theatre’s adult panto is Sleeping Booty! Written and directed by Stuart Saint and starring Miss Dusty ‘O’ as The Evil Mangelina, it runs from Tuesday, November 25, 2014 to Saturday, January 17, 2015.

The Evil Mangelina is wreaking havoc in pantoland, ruling with an unruly and slippery iron fist. Together with her randy but downtrodden sidekick Tit-Bit, she presides over proceedings in the filthiest manner! That is until Booty! arrives, a chavtastic ladette from the skanky Estate Upon Gusset.

Destined to become a huge star of the biggest reality show, The Only Way Is Panto Factor Made In Strictly Ice Box Challenge – The Next Chapter Rebooted, ‘Booty!’ embarks on an adventure of a lifetime, to break the mysterious ‘Christmas Curse’.

Guided by the legendary lounge singer Fairy Muff, Booty! enlists new friends – the sexually ambiguous Prince Willie Wontie and You Look Familiar – to help her discover the magical yet mythical island, Flickerty Clit and once and for all get completely and utterly pricked!

The cast also includes Alice Marshall (as Booty!), Leon Scott (Prince Willie Wontie), Paula Masterton (Fairy Muff), Rachael Born (Tit-Bit) and Alexander Beck (You Look Familiar).

Miss Dusty ‘O’ aka David Hodge is one of the most recognisable faces of the London club and cabaret scene. Dusty created, promotes and appears at iconic club Trannyshack and has done for over a decade. ‘She’ has also appeared in other infamous clubs for nearly 30 years. A regular on TV screens, Dusty most recently featured in London Live’s successful and international Drag Queens of London series.

In the summer of 2014, Dusty returned to Leicester Square Theatre to play Lady Veronica Burlington in The Music Hall Menagerie. This followed ‘her’ critically acclaimed performance in previous pantos, Dick! and Dick Comes Again!

Stuart Saint is a prolific writer, director, choreographer and performer, currently Associate Artistic Director for Leicester Square Theatre, where his credits include: Sheila Simmonds: Christmas Cracker, The Music Hall Menagerie, Sheila Simmonds: Quest for the Golden Name Badge, De Profundis, The New Musical Project, Dick! Comes Again, Saucy Jack and the Space Vixens, Dick!, A Saintly Affair, Toxic Bankers, Buchwald & Friends, Boudoir Star and Sideshow.

Sleeping Booty! is presented by Martin Witts and Lesley Ackland for Leicester Square Theatre.

Tickets: Previews: £15; November 27 to December 3: £18; December 4 to January 17: £22. To book, call the box office on 08448 733433 or visit www.leicestersquaretheatre.ticketsolve.com/shows.

Times: Vary.

For children, Leicester Square Theatre has Scamp Theatre and Watford Palace Theatre’s production of Stick Man (November 8, 2014 to January 4, 2015).

Do We Do the Right Thing? - New Diorama Theatre

Preview by Lizzie Guilfoyle

DO We Do the Right Thing?, the new production from contemporary theatre pioneers, BeFrank Theatre Company, will be performed for the first time in a seven date mini-tour, which kicks off at the New Diorama Theatre on November 3 and 4, 2014.

Having distanced himself from his military heritage, Neil Walker watched from a distance as the town of Royal Wootton Bassett stood respectfully still for the repatriated bodies of 345 military personnel that travelled through its streets on the way to their final resting place.

Affected deeply by what he witnessed, he began to wonder about the process of remembrance, the relationship between civilians and fallen servicemen, and why the thought and sight of these strangers can evoke such powerful emotions.

He began to talk to the people of Royal Wootton Bassett and others actively involved in military life and, through their testimonies, gradually came to terms with his own military childhood and connections with the armed forces.

Do We Do the Right Thing? is a compelling real-life story exploring the military traditions, rites of passage and conflicts that have shaped so much of British history, interspersed with stories of how this enormous establishment has impacted the protagonist’s life directly.

Following the initial performances at London’s New Diorama Theatre (where there will be a fundraiser on Tuesday, November 4), Salisbury Playhouse and Exeter’s BikeShed Theatre, Do We Do the Right Thing? will return for a number of shows in 2015, including historic performances for British troops stationed in Germany for the final time before the size of British Forces Germany is reduced by half in 2015.

Neil Walker was born on a military base but quickly chose not to pursue a military career which for many generations had been a thread in his family heritage. Initially, he went on to have a successful career with The Prince’s Trust followed by more than a decade in television management, including time as Head of Production Talent at the BBC and ITV Studios. Subsequently, he decided to fulfil a long-cherished ambition and dedicate his considerable abilities to a career in the theatre.

A BBC documentary about Royal Wootton Bassett’s unusual remembrance rituals stirred something in him and Walker, along with collaborator Rus Kallan, began to collect the testimonies from both residents of the Wiltshire town and military personnel that would eventually – along with his own childhood memories – form the basis for Do We Do the Right Thing?

Do We Do the Right Thing? is directed by BeFrank’s founder and Artistic Director Tommy Lexen, who started the company in 2010 after moving to London from his native Sweden, and has since forged a revolutionary model for creating and producing theatre shows, forging links with International Theatre Companies, Academic Institutions, Journalists, Charitable Organisations, Government Bodies and Diplomatic Services, as well as carrying out thorough, investigative first-hand research, including visiting the Democratic Republic of Congo to interview child soldiers for BeFrank’s first production, Like Enemies of the State.

Tickets: £12, £10 concessions – available from the box office on 020 7383 9034 or online at newdiorama.com/whats-on/do-we-do-the-right-thing.

Time: 7.30pm.

The UK premiere of Philipp Löhle’s dark comedy, Das Ding, continues at the New Diorama Theatre until November 1, 2014.

Sometimes There’s Light [sometimes there’s dark] - Asylum, Peckham

Sometimes There’s Light [sometimes there’s dark]

Preview by Lizzie Guilfoyle

TOURING nationally from November 8 to November 22, Moving Dust’s Sometimes There’s Light [sometimes there’s dark] will visit a new space, Asylum, Peckham, from November 11 to November 15, 2014.

Hosted in a variety of atmospheric, non-traditional spaces across the UK, Sometimes There’s Light [sometimes there’s dark] blends contemporary dance with lyrical text in a sculptural light installation which brings audiences into the heart of the work.

Allowing audiences to share space with the five performers and experience dance up close, the work will adapt to each of the spaces across the tour, creating a series of unique, one-off events.

Presented in unusual venues in London and the North East, this cross-artform work draws on the experience of borderlands (between countries and between sea and land) to create a meditation on the fluid boundaries between life and death, and our experience of loss and grieving.

Moving Dust hopes that engagement with the project will have a lasting effect on people’s own encounters with grief, by allowing them more freedom to express their emotional experiences of loss.

Artistic director Kate Sagovsky said: “I spent six months on a remote Scottish island where the style and pace of life is very different, and you have left behind many of the assumed norms of the modern world. It seems like life is stripped back to its elemental form: the sea, the sunlight, night and day, good food and the people around you. There was so much laughter, but tears too. It was a place where I could come to terms with lots of pain from loss I had stored up over the years.

“When I came back to the mainland I wanted to share this experience with other people – to bring them a window of space and a slowing of time to allow reflection on the beauty of life around us, filled as it is both with love and loss, great happiness and great sadness. Most of the text in the show was written on that island and this is my chance to bring a small bit of the island to people around the UK, to allow them to step out of their everyday lives for an hour and engage with something deeper, whatever that might be for them.”

Sometimes There’s Light [sometimes there’s dark] is performed by Charlie Ashwell, Sarah Calver, Simon Carroll Jones, Marc Saad and Joe Wild.

With direction, choreography and text by Kate Sagovsky, Sometimes There’s Light [sometimes there’s dark] has music composition and sound design by Garth McConaghie, and set and lighting design by Edmund McKay.

Sometimes There’s Light [sometimes there’s dark] is suitable for ages 16+.

To watch trailer visit vimeo.com/movingdust.

Tickets: £15, £12.50, £10 – available on 0207 582 7680 or online at www.ovalhouse.com/.

Times: 7.30pm, with Saturday matinee at 4pm.

Running Time: 1 hour.

Asylum, Caroline Garden’s Chapel, London, SE15 2SQ

The tour will also visit Gymnasium Gallery, Berwick-Upon-Tweed (November 8), Hindmarsh Hall, Alnmouth (November 9) and Boiler Shop, Newcastle (November 22).

The Collector - Arcola Theatre

The Collector

Preview by Lizzie Guilfoyle

HENRY Naylor’s highly acclaimed Fringe First winning Edinburgh Festival hit, The Collector, will receive its London premiere at Arcola Theatre, where it plays for one week – from November 17 to November 22, 2014.

The Collector is a timely tale of murder, evil and betrayal set in occupied Iraq in 2003. Mazrat Gaol was one of Saddam’s most notorious torture houses. More than 10,000 people died here. Now under Allied command, Nassir works as a local translator for American interrogators.

Nassir is pro-Western, determined to bring liberal values to his country, and he’s about to get married to his sweetheart. But when he is recognised by a psychotic prisoner, his life becomes a living hell…

Presented by Pipeline Productions, The Collector is directed by Henry Naylor and Michael Cabot and performed by Ritu Arya, Lesley Harcourt and William Reay.

Writer and co-director Henry Naylor was one of the head writers on Spitting Image, and has written for some of the most famous comedy names and shows on TV, including Alistair MacGowan, Lenny Henry, Rory Bremner, Smith and Jones and Dead Ringers. He scored another Fringe success 10 years ago with the political satire, Finding Bin Laden.

Co-director Michael Cabot is Artistic Director of London Classic Theatre, one of the UK’s most prolific touring theatre companies. He has a long association with Arcola, having directed Marat/Sade (2001) and Pera Palas (2007).

The Collector is suitable for ages 12+.

Tickets: £12, £10 concessions. To book, call the box office on 020 7503 1646 or www.arcolatheatre.com/. Pay What You Can Tuesdays (tickets in person from 6.30pm – limited and subject to availability).

Times: Monday to Saturday at 8pm; Saturday matinee at 3pm.

Running Time: Approximately 1 hour.

The Restoration Comedy The Rivals, starring Gemma Jones as Mrs Malaprop, continues at the Arcola until November 15, 2014.

The Play That Goes Wrong extends booking period

The Play That Goes Wrong

THE Play That Goes Wrong, which opened to great acclaim at the Duchess Theatre on September 14, 2014, has extended its booking period until September 6, 2015.

Following a sell-out national tour, the production has now been seen by over 100,000 people across the UK and in the West End.

The Play That Goes Wrong is proving to be a box office hit which promises high quality entertainment for all and, for a limited period – from now until the end of November – will be the only West End show offering a family ticket for under £100.

Co-written by Mischief Theatre company members Henry Lewis, Jonathan Sayer and Henry Shields, and directed by Mark Bell, The Play That Goes Wrong is a highly physical comedy packed with finely-tuned farce and Buster Keaton-inspired slapstick delivered with split-second timing.

The play introduces ‘The Cornley Polytechnic Drama Society’ who are attempting to put on a 1920’s murder mystery, but as the title suggests, everything that can go wrong… does, as the accident prone thespians battle on against the odds to get to their final curtain call.

Producer Kenny Wax said: “Our perverse (and reverse) marketing campaign has, in true goes wrong spirit, done everything it possibly can to dissuade people from coming to see the show. The tactic has not worked at all. We ran adverts telling people to ‘save their money and don’t come’ and another with ‘premium seats at the exorbitant price of £3950’. We even ran a strap line on a number of ads reminding people that the production starred ‘no one famous’. I think the only way to keep people away would be to cancel the production altogether – which is not going to be possible because of the extension to September 2015.”

The Play That Goes Wrong is suitable for ages 8+.

Tickets: £39.50, £29.50, £20; Family Ticket (4 seats: minimum of 1 Adult and up to 3 Children) £99; Premium Seats £65. To book, call 0844 412 4659 or visit www.theplaythatgoeswrong.com/.

Times: Wednesday to Saturday at 7.30pm; Thursday and Saturday at 2.30pm; Sunday at 3pm and 7pm.

Read more about The Play That Goes Wrong.

Cast of The Glasshouse to run Poppy Half Marathon

Preview by Lizzie Guilfoyle

IN addition to starring in The Glasshouse, members of the cast will be runny the Poppy Half Marathon in full WWI costume before hopping on a train to London, running to the theatre and performing for their awaiting Saturday night audience.

Those lucky enough to have purchased tickets for this special performance are in for a treat because, undoubtedly, the mental and physical strain of the marathon running actors will enhance their already heartbreaking performances.

“We’re thrilled to be raising money for The Poppy Appeal”, said Glasshouse actor Simon Naylor. “The training has been intense and it’s going to be a huge challenge performing immediately afterwards but it’s incredibly exciting to be part of such a unique event!”

The Marathon takes place on Saturday, November 8 in Bexhill-on-Sea followed by a performance at the Tristan Bates Theatre at 7.30pm.

Previously Posted: In the 100th anniversary year of the outbreak of World War I, acclaimed emerging company Grindstone is presenting the world premiere of Max Saunders-Singer’s emotional new drama The Glasshouse at the Tristan Bates Theatre.

Based on extensive research into true stories of soldiers on the front lines, this powerful new work exploring a rarely seen side of trench warfare runs from October 28 to November 22, 2014.

Confined in a cramped, makeshift prison on the back line of the Somme, two men stand charged with cowardice and desertion. Trapped inside the damp, cold and oppressive walls of this ‘Glasshouse’, a beautiful friendship crystallizes between them. But how long can friendship last? And how much can a man withstand before he breaks?

Following the intertwined stories of the misfits, idealists and tragic victims who pass through this hastily constructed trench prison cell, The Glasshouse is described as a moving, blood-pumping and powerfully original new play.

Through these stories, it also shines a stark new light on the effects of ‘Shell Shock’ and failures in the treatment of so called ‘Cowards’ and ‘Conchies’ who were unable or refused to fight.

Directed by Sebastien Blanc, The Glasshouse will be vividly staged in a claustrophobic, immersive style in the intimate Tristan Bates Theatre. Blanc’s previous credits include his acclaimed revival of Howard Korder’s Boy’s Life, which transferred to the Kings Head Theatre in 2013 following a hit run at the Etcetera Theatre, and MOJO at The White Bear which garnered over six 5 star reviews and an Off West End Award nomination.

Playwright Max Saunders-Singer’s last play, 500 Miles, was a triumph at the Edinburgh Festival and received three NSDF writing commendations.

Grindstone’s previous work includes the world premiere of new musical RIP by Sonnie Beckett and Joe Morrow.

Tickets: £16, £14 concessions. Previews (October 28 – 31) £12. To book, call the box office on 020 7240 6283 or visit www.tristanbatestheatre.co.uk/.

Times: Tuesday to Saturday at 7.30pm, Sunday at 3pm.

Potted Sherlock - Vaudeville Theatre

Dan Clarkson, Lizzie Wort and Jeff Turner.

Preview by Lizzie Guilfoyle

FOLLOWING the worldwide success of Potted Potter and Potted Panto, Dan (Clarkson) and Jeff (Turner) will star in the London premiere of their new show Potted Sherlock, which runs at the Vaudeville Theatre from December 8, 2014 to January 11, 2015.

Potted Sherlock sees the duo return with their greatest challenge yet: the entire works of one of the greatest detectives in literary history, Sherlock Holmes.

However, Dan and Jeff quickly learn that Sherlock, having appeared in four novels, 56 short stories and over 200 films, is a bigger challenge than they had anticipated!

This is a more sophisticated Potted adventure than the previous three shows, set in the rich and vibrant world of Arthur Conan Doyle where plot twists, elaborate disguises and secret passages are compulsory!

For the first time, the double act will be joined on stage by a third performer, Lizzie Wort, to help them work their way through the numerous Holmes characters in just eighty minutes.

Described as a delicious romp through the canon of Arthur Conan Doyle, Potted Sherlock is fabulous fun for the whole family.

Dan and Jeff have earned widespread acclaim and a fan base that crosses generations. Potted Potter played five sold-out Fringe seasons in Edinburgh, five sold-out London runs and extensive UK and international tours prior to its critically acclaimed US Premiere at the Little Shubert Theatre in New York City in 2012.

Dan Clarkson, Lizzie Wort and Jeff Turner.

They have recently been nominated for two Olivier Awards – Best Entertainment and Family Show for Potted Potter’s 2011 run at the Garrick Theatre and Best Entertainment Show for Potted Panto at the Vaudeville Theatre in 2010.

Written by Daniel Clarkson and Tom Clarkson, and performed by Daniel Clarkson, Jefferson Turner and Lizzie Wort, Potted Sherlock is directed by Hanna Berrigan and designed by Simon Scullion and Louie Whitemore, with lighting by Tim Mascall and sound by Tom Lishman.

Potted Sherlock is recommended for ages 6+.

Tickets: As a nod to Sherlock’s famous address of 221B Baker Street, tickets for the season are priced at £22.18, with a special family rate available of £20 when four or more seats are purchased together. And for super-fans of all things Sherlock there is a special late-night show on Saturday, December 13 at 9.45pm.

To book, call the box office on 0844 482 9675 (0844 412 4650 for groups, 0844 482 9677 for Access) or visit www.nimaxtheatres.com/.

Times: Vary. See www.nimaxtheatres.com/vaudeville-theatre/potted_sherlock for details.

Running Time: 90 minutes including a 10 minute interval.

Jacques Brel Is Alive and Well and Living in Paris - Charing Cross Theatre

Daniel Boys and Gina Beck. Photo credit: Scott Rylander.

Preview by Lizzie Guilfoyle

GINA Beck, Daniel Boys, David Burt and Eve Polycarpou are starring in a major new production of the hit revue Jacques Brel Is Alive and Well and Living in Paris, which is playing at Charing Cross Theatre for a strictly limited season – until Saturday, November 22, 2014.

Often haunting, sometimes funny, heart-wrenching and vividly poetic, the songs of Belgian Jacques Brel – from Jackie and Amsterdam to Ne Me Quitte Pas and Carousel – explore the human condition through honest storytelling, with themes of joy and sorrow, love and loss, war and peace and life and death.

Jacques Brel is Alive and Well and Living in Paris is a musical revue of the greatest works by one of the most prolific singer-songwriters of all time, with what are regarded as the definitive English translations of his works by Eric Blau and Mort Shuman and fresh orchestral arrangements by Eric Svejcar from the award-winning 2006 Off Broadway production.

That production was the longest running and most successful revival of the show, nominated for several awards including the Drama Desk, Drama League, and Outer Critics’ Circle.

Jacques Brel is Alive and Well and Living in Paris is directed by Andrew Keates, whose recent productions include the European premiere of Stephen Flaherty and Lynn Ahren’s Dessa Rose at Trafalgar Studio 2, Passing By (Tristan Bates Theatre), and the first London revival of As Is by William M. Hoffman and the European premiere of ROOMS – A Rock Romance (Finborough Theatre).

Other productions include directing and developing the award-winning professional premiere of A Winter’s Tale, co-written with Howard Goodall and Nick Stimson, The Thing About Man and The Hired Man (Landor Theatre), Conjugal Rights (Courtyard Theatre) and Just So (Tabard Theatre). His awards include Best New Musical (A Winter’s Tale) and Best Musical Production (The Hired Man) in the OffWestEnd Awards.

Award-winning Daniel Boys became a household name while appearing on BBC’s Any Dream Will Do in 2007. Since then he has starred in several West End musicals including three years playing the central character of Princeton/Rod in Avenue Q (winning him a Whatsonstage Award) and as Sir Lancelot in Spamalot. He has just starred as Oliver Barrett IV in Love Story at Bolton Octagon.

Boys other major roles include Captain Walker in Tommy (Prince Edward Theatre), Mike in High Society (UK tour), Judas in the 40th Anniversary concert of Godspell (Palace Theatre, Manchester), Mark in Rent (European tour) and Anthony in Sweeney Todd (Royal Festival Hall).

Olivier Award-nominated David Burt is one of the West End’s most respected and in-demand leading men. He has appeared in many notable West End productions, including playing Enjolras in the original cast of Les Misérables, Magaldi in the original cast of Evita, Pontius Pilate in Jesus Christ Superstar and Count Fosco in The Woman in White.

Burt’s other credits include Cats, Chess, The Far Pavilions, Closer to Heaven, Taboo and Kiss Me, Kate, as well as seasons at the National Theatre and RSC. He was nominated for a Best Actor Olivier Award for his performance as Macheath in the RSC’s The Beggar’s Opera. This December, he can be seen playing Scrooge in Antic Disposition’s musical adaptation of A Christmas Carol at Middle Temple Hall.

Gina Beck, who recently starred as Glinda in Wicked at the Apollo Victoria Theatre and on the US national tour, previously appeared in the critically acclaimed The Belle’s Strategem at Southwark Playhouse and as Maria Von Trapp in The Sound of Music in Kuala Lumpa. Her other recent credits include The Les Miserables 25th Anniversary Concert at the O2 Arena. In September 2010, she completed two years in the West End production of The Phantom of the Opera playing Christine.

Eve Polycarpou recently starred in the central role of Abuela Claudia in the UK premiere of In The Heights (for which she was nominated for an OFFIE Best Actress Award) at Southwark Playhouse. Her other major roles include Mother Courage and Her Children (Manchester Library Theatre Company), The Bacchae and Palace of the End (Manchester Royal Exchange), and Threepenny Opera (National Theatre).

Polycarpou received awards as ‘Manchester Evening News Best Actress of the Year’ and the ‘Amnesty International award for freedom of expression’, given for her impressive body of work at Manchester Royal Exchange.

Jacques Romain Georges Brel was a Belgian singer-songwriter who was widely considered a master of the modern chanson. With over 25 million records sold worldwide, he is the third best-selling Belgian recording artist of all time.

Although he recorded most of his songs in French, he became a major influence on English-speaking songwriters and performers such as David Bowie, Alex Harvey, Leonard Cohen, Marc Almond and Rod McKuen. English translations of his songs were recorded by many top performers in the United States, including Ray Charles, Judy Collins, John Denver, the Kingston Trio, Nina Simone, Frank Sinatra, Scott Walker, and Andy Williams.

In French-speaking countries, Brel was a successful actor, appearing in 10 films. He also directed two films, one of which, Le Far West, was nominated for the Palme d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival in 1973.

Jacques Brel Is Alive and Well and Living in Paris has music by Jacques Brel, lyrics by Jacques Brel, Eric Blau and Mort Shuman and a book by Eric Blau and Mort Shuman.

The production has musical direction by Dean Austin, choreography by Sam Spencer Lane, design by Chris de Wilde, lighting by Mike Robertson and sound by James Nicholson.

Jacques Brel Is Alive and Well and Living in Paris Gallery.

Tickets: £10 – £22.50. To book, call the box office on 08444 930 650 or visit www.charingcrosstheatre.co.uk/.

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

Running Time: 2 hours including interval.

Not About Heroes - Trafalgar Studios

Preview by Lizzie Guilfoyle

THE National tour of Feelgood Theatre’s production of Stephen MacDonald’s play, Not About Heroes, concludes at Trafalgar Studios, where it plays from November 10 to December 6, 2014.

1917. After protesting against the continuance of the war, Siegfried Sassoon, a decorated war hero and celebrated poet is sent to Craiglockhart War Hospital to silence him. There he meets shell-shocked Lt Wilfred Owen and they begin a friendship that transforms them both and creates some of the greatest war poetry of the twentieth century.

Returning to the front, Sassoon was shot in the head but survived. Owen went on to win the military cross, but was machine-gunned to death at the Sambre Canal, near Ors, seven days before the Armistice.

Not About Heroes charts the extraordinary friendship of two men whose poetry became the voice of a lost (scarred) generation and a world changed forever.

Not About Heroes is directed by Caroline Clegg, founder of Feelgood Theatre, and performed by Alasdair Craig as Siegfried Sassoon and Simon Jenkins as Wilfred Owen.

The national tour of Not About Heroes opened at Craiglockhart War Hospital where the two met and goes on to tour significant venues in the poets’ lives, including Owen’s home town of Shrewsbury and a performance by special invitation of the Mayor of Ors at The Wilfred Owen Memorial (The Foresters House) in France, where, in 1918, Wilfred spent his last few nights in a smoky cellar and wrote his last letter home.

The show concludes in the West End at Trafalgar Studios just a stone’s throw from London’s Cenotaph.

Samuel Grey of the Wilfred Owen Association said: “I am delighted that Feelgood are touring a new production of this wonderful play; we couldn’t ask for a better company to do justice to Wilfred and Siegfried’s story. I urge people to see it, especially in the places that were special in the lives of Owen and Sassoon, as this adds a level of intimacy and reality.”

And director Caroline Clegg said: “Not About Heroes is an exquisite play of love, courage and conflict. As a director I continue to grapple with the unfathomable questions of the First World War, a conflict that still reverberates deep in our psyche. Whilst this play can’t answer those questions it explores them with wit and dexterity – the poetry enables us to bear witness on a personal level that affects the head and heart.”

The tour is accompanied by a national poetry competition to find the war poets of today. With the actor Jason Isaacs as patron, Whispers of War aims to find the war poets of today by building a link between the First World War and the 21st Century and encouraging amateur poets from the military and civilian community to work together to create bridges of understanding through the written word. The competition winners will be invited to a special ceremony in London and an online anthology published as a legacy of new perspectives. To find out more, visit www.notaboutheroes.co.uk/.

Tickets (for Trafalgar Studios): £15 – £25. To book, call the box office on 0845 505 8500 or visit www.atgtickets.com/shows/not-about-heroes/trafalgar-studios/.

Also at Trafalgar Studios: The Trials of Oscar Wilde (until November 8, 2014) and Dickens with a Difference (December 9 to January 3, 2015).

Dirty Rotten Scoundrels - Alex Gaumond joins cast

Casting news

ON November 11, 2014, Alex Gaumond will replace Rufus Hound as Freddy Benson in the critically acclaimed and Best New Musical of 2014, Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, which is currently booking at the Savoy Theatre until March 7, 2015.

Gaumond joins the Olivier, Tony and BAFTA award-winning Robert Lindsay as the French Riviera’s chief conman, Lawrence Jameson; Gary Wilmot as Andre Thibault, Beaumont-Sur-Mer’s Chief of Police and Lawrence’s sidekick and partner in crime; Bonnie Langford as Muriel Eubanks, a glamorous divorcee looking for love; and Katherine Kingsley as Christine Colgate.

Dirty Rotten Scoundrels is a laugh out loud comedy about two conmen competing for the riches and the heart of a young impressionable heiress.

Alex Gaumond’s most recent stage credits include playing Agatha Trunchbull in Matilda for the RSC at the Cambridge Theatre, Alberto Beddini in Top Hat at the Aldwych Theatre, Galileo in We Will Rock You at the Dominion Theatre and original UK tour (for which he received a WhatsOnStage Award nomination for Best Takeover in a Role) and Emmett Forrest opposite Sheridan Smith’s Elle in Legally Blonde at the Savoy Theatre (for which he received nominations for both an Olivier and WhatsOnStage Award for Best Actor in a Musical).

His other theatre credits include Desperately Seeking Susan (Novello Theatre), Guys and Dolls (UK Tour of the Donmar Warehouse production), Sunday In The Park With George (Wyndham’s Theatre), Scrooge (London Palladium), The Full Monty (Prince Of Wales Theatre and UK tour), Unity 1918 (Old Vic), Gone (New Ambassadors Theatre) and Miss Saigon (UK tour).

Dirty Rotten Scoundrels has been running since February 2014. The show has been seen by over 200,000 audience members who have between them quaffed 9,660 glasses of champagne at the Savoy Theatre and the Savoy Hotel’s Doormen have commented on the laughter from the theatre hitting the doors of the hotel on a nightly basis!

Read more about Dirty Rotten Scoundrels.