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punkplay - Southwark Playhouse

Preview by Lizzie Guilfoyle

PHILIPPA Neels & Co. is presenting the UK premiere of punkplay at Southwark Playhouse. Written by Gregory S. Moss and directed by Tom Hughes, it runs from September 9 (previews from September 7) to October 1, 2016.

There’s Duck and there’s Mickey. They’re the kids of America and it’s the 80s apocalypse. They hate their parents and there’s no point in algebra. They’re grabbing at this thing called life: guitars, girls, love, fury, heartbreak and noise noise noise.

Punk is their escape from suburbia and it’s like nothing they have ever heard. It’s fast – it’s alive – it’s already dead.

punkplay is described as a riot of a play told at breakneck pace with a killer soundtrack. It’s a coming-of-age story about subcultures, friendship and not-fitting-in – all on rollerskates.

Playwright Gregory S. Moss is a writer, performer and educator from Newburyport, MA. His play, Indian Summers, is currently at Playwrights Horizon. Recent and upcoming productions include Reunion at South Coast Repertory (Best New Play of 2014, The OC Weekly), Billy Witch at Studio 42 and APAC (NY), House of Gold at La Comédie Française (Winner, Prix du Public) and at EST-LA (LA Times and LA Weekly Critics’ Pick) and sixsixsix at Antimatter Collective (NY) (Editor’s Pick, Flavorpill). For more information, visit

Director Tom Hughes is currently working as staff director to Rufus Norris on The Threepenny Opera at the National Theatre. In 2013, he directed the sold-out Late in the Day at the Hen & Chickens Theatre. He has also worked as assistant director to Carrie Cracknell on A Doll’s House (Young Vic), Wils Wilson on I Want My Hat Back (National Theatre) and Nancy Meckler on Brontë (Shared Experience/Tricycle Theatre).

punkplay is designed by Cécile Tremolieres, with lighting design by Sarah Readman and sound by Benjamin Grant. Casting and further creative details are to be announced.

Tickets: Previews (September 7 and 8): all tickets £12. From September 9: £20, £16 concessions. To book, call the box office on 020 7407 0234 or visit

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

The European premiere of Last of the Boys continues at Southwark Playhouse until June 4, 2016.

The Dresser - Ken Stott and Reece Shearsmith star

Preview by Lizzie Guilfoyle

KEN STOTT and Reece Shearsmith will star as lead actor “Sir” and Norman “the dresser” in a revival of Ronald Harwood’s The Dresser. Directed by Sean Foley, it runs at the Duke of York’s Theatre from October 5, 2016 to January 14, 2017.

Described as both hilarious and poignant, The Dresser explores the relationship between two men who are reluctantly and inevitably co-dependent.

As World War II rages, backstage in a provincial English theatre, an ageing, once-famous classical actor is troubled. Sir, the last in a dying breed of great English Shakespearean actors, is unwilling to take to the stage to deliver his renowned portrayal of King Lear. It falls to his faithful dresser Norman to rouse another great performance from him, to keep both the show and its star from falling apart.

This theatrical classic will be brought to life by Ken Stott (Rebus, God of Carnage), Reece Shearsmith (The League of Gentlemen, Inside Number 9) and Sean Foley (The Ladykillers, Jeeves and Wooster).

Renowned as Ronald Harwood’s greatest play, The Dresser has been nominated for Olivier and Tony Awards as well as an Academy Award for the screenplay of the film, which starred Albert Finney as ‘Sir’ and Tom Courtenay as Norman.

Doctor Faustus, starring Kit Harington and Jenna Russell, continues at the Duke of York’s Theatre until June 25, 2016.

Our Ladies of Perpetual Succour - National Theatre

Preview by Lizzie Guilfoyle

THE National Theatre of Scotland and Live Theatre’s co-production of Our Ladies of Perpetual Succour is transferring to the National Theatre.

Directed by Vicky Featherstone, Lee Hall’s critically-acclaimed stage adaptation of Alan Warner’s cult Scottish novel The Sopranos receives its London premiere at the Dorfman Theatre, where it runs from August 10 (previews from August 8) to October 1, 2016.

Alan Warner’s novel and Lee Hall’s musical stage play tell the story of six girls on the cusp of change. Love, lust, pregnancy and death all spiral out of control in a single day. Funny, sad, rude and beautifully sung, Our Ladies…. is a tribute to being young, lost and out of control.

The production features a soundtrack of classical music and 70s pop rock, with music by Handel, Bach and ELO including the songs Mr Blue Sky, Don’t Bring Me Down, Long Black Road and more.

Vicky Featherstone, Artistic Director of the Royal Court Theatre, collaborates with Lee Hall, (Shakespeare in Love, Billy Elliot and The Pitmen Painters), to create a wild and tender play meets gig about singing, sex and Sambuca and suitable for those aged 16+.

The full cast includes Melissa Allan, Caroline Deyga, Karen Fishwick, Kirsty MacLaren, Frances Mayli McCann and Dawn Sievewright, with musicians Amy Shackcloth, Laura Bangay, Becky Brass and Emily Linden.

Music arrangement and supervision is by Martin Lowe, design by Chloe Lamford, lighting design by Lizzie Powell and choreography by Imogen Knight.

Our Ladies…. premiered at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe in August 2015, and enjoyed a successful sell-out run at the Traverse Theatre, earning critical and audience acclaim, and picking up four awards before embarking on a sell-out Scottish tour and run at Newcastle’s Live Theatre.

Our Ladies…. marks the National Theatre of Scotland’s return to the National Theatre in London, following the sell-out co-production of The James Plays in 2014 which is currently touring. The production also marks Vicky Featherstone’s directorial debut at the National Theatre and a return for Lee Hall whose Live Theatre’s The Pitman Painters was co-produced by the National Theatre of Great Britain in 2009.

Rufus Norris, Director of the National Theatre of Great Britain, said: “We’re delighted to be welcoming Our Ladies of Perpetual Succour to the National – not simply to give London audiences the chance to see this exhilarating play, but also because it reunites us with so many friends and neighbours: the National Theatre of Scotland, Live Theatre, Lee Hall and Vicky Featherstone. It will be a joy to have the uproarious Ladies at the Dorfman.”

Our Ladies of Perpetual Succour arrives at the National Theatre following a UK and international tour in 2016. Full tour details are available online at

To watch the cast of Our Ladies of Perpetual Succour sing ELO’s Mr Blue Sky live from BBC Edinburgh Nights at Potterrow during the Edinburgh Fringe 2015, click here.

To listen to the Spotify playlist, click here.

A Platform event with Vicky Featherstone and Lee Hall will take place on September 1.

An In Focus event on Cult Fiction will be held on stage on September 12.

Captioned performances will take place on September 12 and 21 at 8pm.

Audio Described performances will take place on September 9 and 10 at 5.30pm.

A pre-show Touch Tour will take place prior to the 5.30pm performance on September 10.

The Tempest - the Donmar at King's Cross

Harriet Walter at Kings Cross (photo by Holly Wren.

Preview by Lizzie Guilfoyle

IN 2012, Phyllida Lloyd’s all-female production of Julius Caesar at the Donmar Warehouse placed the play in a women’s prison. It stunned audiences on both sides of the Atlantic and challenged the idea of ‘who owns Shakespeare?’

In 2014, Phyllida reunited with actor Harriet Walter for Henry IV, the second instalment in what was then announced as a trilogy of works from these major artists.

With the Donmar’s education and outreach work in London and New York, both productions proved hugely popular with young audiences and showed how powerfully Shakespeare can develop individual confidence and creativity in those who have never experienced his work before. Importantly, they challenged the notion of who owns Shakespeare and inspired women from all backgrounds.

This autumn the project will conclude with The Tempest (from September 23, 2016), breaking free from the Donmar Warehouse, with a new 420-seat in-the-round temporary theatre, built at the King’s Cross Theatre site, in association with Theatre Tracks. Read more.

The Tempest reunites director Phyllida Lloyd with actor Harriet Walter, who will play Prospero. They will be joined by a number of the Henry IV and Julius Caesar cast – Jade Anouka, Shiloh Coke, Jackie Clune, Karen Dunbar, Clare Dunne, Zainab Hasan, Jennifer Joseph, Sophie Stanton, Sharon Rooney, and Caroline Valdés. Others joining the company include Sheila Atim and Martina Laird.

Director Phyllida Lloyd said:

“The premise was to take the most voiceless group you might imagine – women prisoners. Refugees from our culture if you like – people without any access to the internet even – and watch them electrify an audience with nothing but Shakespeare’s language. Harriet’s work ethic defines the whole thing. Mighty verse speaking, the utmost humility and the greatest good humour. The company will follow her anywhere.”

The Tempest will transfer to New York’s St. Ann’s Warehouse in January 2017, concluding an unprecedented eight months of Donmar productions in the US.

Phyllida Lloyd returns to the Donmar after productions of Henry IV, Julius Caesar, Boston Marriage, The Threepenny Opera and Mary Stuart, which won the 2006 South Bank Show Theatre Award, and later transferred to the West End and Broadway. Her other theatre work includes The Taming of the Shrew (The Delacorte Theater in Central Park), Six Degrees of Separation, Wild East (Royal Court), Pericles, The Duchess of Malfi, What the Butler Saw, The Way of the World and The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie (National Theatre), The Virtuoso and Artists and Admirers (RSC) and Mamma Mia! (London, New York and worldwide, also 2008 film).

Her opera productions include La Bohème, Albert Herring, Gloriana, Carmen and Peter Grimes – Royal Philharmonic Society Award and a South Bank Show Award (Opera North), Macbeth (Opéra-Bastille, Royal Opera), The Carmelites (ENO, WNO), The Handmaid’s Tale (Royal Danish Opera, ENO), a staged Verdi Requiem and Wagner’s Ring Cycle (ENO) and an award-winning film of Gloriana (BBC2). Her most recent film was The Iron Lady, reuniting her with Meryl Streep.

Harriet Walter (playing Brutus, Henry IV, Prospero) returns to the roles of Henry IV, and Brutus, having appeared in the 2012 and 2014 productions which transferred to St. Ann’s Warehouse in New York. She also appeared at the Donmar, in the West End and on Broadway in Lloyd’s 2006 award-winning production of Mary Stuart.

Walter’s extensive theatre credits include Death of a Salesman, Women Beware Women, Dinner, Life Times Three, The Children’s Hour, Arcadia (National Theatre), Venus and Adonis, Antony & Cleopatra, The Hollow Crown, Much Ado About Nothing, Macbeth (RSC), The Royal Family (Theatre Royal, Haymarket), Ivanov (Almeida Theatre), Boa (Trafalgar Studios) and Hedda Gabler (Chichester Festival Theatre and tour).

Walter’s numerous screen credits include Black Sails, The Crown, London Spy and Little Dorrit (TV); Denial, Sense of an Ending, Star Wars: The Force Awakens, Man Up, Suite Française, From Time To Time and The Young Victoria (film).

The Tempest is designed by Chloe Lamford, with theatre environment design by Bunny Christie, lighting by James Farncombe, sound by Peter Malkin and movement direction by Ann Yee. Assistant Director is Ola Ince.

Public booking opens on Wednesday, June 15, 2016.

Booking for Donmar members begins on Tuesday, June 7.

For more information visit

Image: Harriet Walter at Kings Cross. Photo by Holly Wren.

Donmar at King’s Cross, King’s Boulevard, King’s Cross, London, N1C 4BU

Donmar Warehouse announces seasons at London's King's Cross and in New York

Artists impression of Donmar King's Cross

ARTISTIC Director Josie Rourke and Executive Producer Kate Pakenham announced today that the Donmar will launch two ambitious seasons of work in London’s King’s Cross and in New York.

Beyond its Covent Garden home, the Donmar is opening a new, in-the-round, 420-seat temporary theatre at King’s Cross in association with Theatre Tracks, immediately adjacent to King’s Cross station and directly accessible from King’s Boulevard.

The Donmar Shakespeare Trilogy – revivals of the sell-out Julius Caesar and Henry IV and a new production of The Tempest, all set in a women’s prison – will be directed by Phyllida Lloyd and star Harriet Walter in an all-female company, and will play a 13-week repertory season from September 23 to December 17, 2016.

On special Donmar Shakespeare Trilogy days, all three plays will be performed back to back.

The Donmar’s Young and Free Initiative

Young and Free builds on the success of the Donmar’s transformative Front Row ticket scheme. All of the front row for The Donmar Shakespeare Trilogy will be free to 25s and under through the Young and Free initiative, with tickets being released throughout the run on a weekly basis.

Support from Delta Air Lines, the Official Airline Partner of the Donmar Warehouse, alongside funding from individuals and trusts and foundations, has made possible 20% of Young and Free tickets. The Donmar will challenge the public to make up the final 5% by ‘paying forward’ £20 tickets into the Young and Free initiative.

As part of Young and Free, the Donmar’s Education and Outreach programme will enable 2,300 students from targeted London state schools to see these productions. Alongside these free tickets are creative projects and free workshops, targeted at schools, youth groups, community centres and organisations working with young people at risk of offending, designed to inspire and empower young people with limited experience of Shakespeare performance.

The Donmar New York Season begins with Artistic Director Josie Rourke’s production of Privacy by James Graham, starring Daniel Radcliffe, which has just extended its run at The Public Theater. The Broadway transfer of Christopher Hampton’s Les Liaisons Dangereuses starring Janet McTeer and Liev Schreiber and directed by Josie Rourke follows in October 2016 at The Booth Theater. And The Tempest, starring Harriet Walter and directed by Phyllida Lloyd, transfers to New York’s St. Ann’s Warehouse in January 2017.

Artistic Director Josie Rourke said:

“It’s exciting when the Donmar’s productions have a life beyond the Donmar stage. We want to share the work made by artists on the Donmar stage and we want to do that with generosity, with resonance, and with inspiring partners. Over the next eight months, the Donmar’s work will travel from the stage at the Public Theater that launched Hamilton, to The Booth Theater on Broadway, to St. Ann’s Warehouse in Brooklyn and into a purpose-built temporary theatre, right next to London’s King’s Cross.

“Although proud of this expansion, we’re most enthused about the launch of Young and Free. We’re living in a London where half our young people don’t attend a theatre, a museum or a music event each year. We want to make a quarter of Donmar Shakespeare Trilogy tickets free to those young people. We also hope that Young and Free will inspire seasoned theatre-goers to pay it forward, and we hope that young people, inspired by their generosity will walk through our doors to experience the Donmar Shakespeare Trilogy.

“I remember very clearly the furore created by the idea of an all-female Shakespeare, when Phyllida Lloyd first staged Julius Caesar with Harriet Walter in 2012. Phyllida Lloyd’s work with this diverse, all-female company has been genuinely ground-breaking and in the intervening four years, theatre has got into the fast lane of debate and change. It’s time, with these Young and Free tickets to join together our question about who gets to play these roles with a renewed mission for who gets to experience them.”

Equations for a Moving Body - Camden People's Theatre

Preview by Lizzie Guilfoyle

HANNAH Nicklin is presenting Equations for a Moving Body, a one woman show about what it takes to compete in a triathlon, at Camden People’s Theatre – from May 31 to June 4, 2016.

This is a story about the physiology of endurance, both physical and psychological. The story of what happens when our brains tell our bodies to stop but we keep going on.

Supported by a blend of documentary footage, blogs, diary entries and field expertise, Hannah Nicklin’s one-woman show follows the true life journey she took as she trained and attempted a full-distance triathlon, known as ‘Ironman.’

Her journey will push our minds into a world that our bodies can’t follow as Hannah prepares for a 2.4k swim, 112 miles of cycling and a running marathon. As she tests and pushes her body to limit, she discovers that it is the relationship with the self that is the scariest part.

Written and performed by Hannah Nicklin, using the expertise of top scientists and psychologists from the University of Northumbria, and with help and direction from collaborator Alexander Kelly (Third Angel), Equations for a Moving Body questions what carries us to the finish line and what is left at the end.

Hannah Nicklin is a theatre-maker, poet, game designer/writer, producer, and occasional academic. Recent projects include a Social Housing Arts Network commission, working in East London on a new piece of community-based storytelling; Your Home from Here, a headphone theatre piece in Hannah’s home town; and Songs for Breaking Britain, a show made up of stories from members of the public and turned into punk music.

Tickets: £12, £10 concessions – available from the box office on 020 7419 4841 or online at

Time: 9pm.

That Catholic Thing - Camden People's Theatre

That Catholic Thing

Preview by Lizzie Guilfoyle

SKY Blue Theatre is presenting That Catholic Thing, a new comedy by Anne Bartram, at Camden People’s Theatre – from June 21 to July 17, 2016.

It’s not easy being a catholic; living in Ireland it’s difficult to escape a Catholic upbringing. There are so many rules and rituals that are impossible to make sense of, unless you have faith.

But what will happen when a devout woman and her sceptical brother experience a change of heart and decide to start their own religion? Will making the deaf hear and the bacon holy become part of the Messiah’s mantra and will the homeless contingency become a help or a hindrance?

In this new dark comedy, Sky Blue Theatre explores the origins of a conventional religion and what happens when a new religion is founded.

Tickets: £14/£12 (£10 previews). To book, call 020 7419 4841 or visit

Times: Tuesday to Saturday at 7.30pm; Sundays at 5pm.

NB: No performance on June 25.

Also at Camden People’s Theatre: Equations for a Moving Body (May 31 to June 4, 2016).

A staged concert of Ragtime: The Musical at Bishopsgate Institute

Preview by Lizzie Guilfoyle

UNDER amateur licence from Josef Weinberger Ltd, Bishopsgate Institute and Centre Stage London are presenting a staged concert of Ahrens and Flaherty’s Ragtime – The Musical.

Based on the 1975 novel Ragtime by E L Doctorow and featuring music by Stephen Flaherty, lyrics by Lynn Ahrens and book by Terrence McNally – all of whom won Tony Awards in 1998 – the production runs at the Bishopsgate Institute from June 14 to June 19, 2016 (six performances only).

Set against the backdrop of pivotal moments in American history, most notably the emergence of ragtime music, Ragtime presents the colliding lives of three groups in the early 20th Century – white suburbanites, Eastern-European Jewish immigrants and Harlem-resident African-Americans.

The lush score features Back to Before, Wheels of a Dream, and the haunting classic Your Daddy’s Son.

Featuring the full, original, Tony Award-winning orchestrations performed by twenty-one outstanding musicians, and an onstage cast supported by an offstage choir, this is a fully-realised, performer-focused reimagining of a Broadway classic.

This new staged concert production is directed by Toby Hine, with musical direction by Ben Ferguson and choreography by Lemington Ridley.

The cast includes: Michael Onabanjo-Whittaker (Coalhouse Walker Jr.), Sara Rajeswaran (Sarah), Tasha Msanide (Sarah’s friend), Michael Smith (Father), Trudi Camilleri (Mother), Will Howells (Younger Brother), Chris Hughes-Copping (Boy), Philip Doyle (Tateh), Marsha Blake (Girl), Tal Hewitt (Emma Goldman), Masimba Ushe (Booker T Washington), Siobhan Aarons (Evelyn Nesbit), Gabi Benton-Stace (Harry Houdini), Stephen Hewitt (JP Morgan/Henry Ford), Daisy Simpson (Admiral Peary), Daniel Haswell (Charles S Whitman), Lauren Nixon (Kathleen), Lesley Birch (Mrs Whitstein), Lora Jones (Policeman), Sean Westwood (Willie Conklin), Stephanie Da Silva Jardim (Brigit) and Basil Zafiropoulos (Stanford White).

Ragtime: The Musical

Ragtime: The Musical premiered in Toronto in 1997 and the following year opened on Broadway, where it ran for 834 performances, winning the Tony Award for Best Book, Best Original Score and Best Orchestrations. Audra McDonald, playing the role of Sarah, won the Tony for Best Featured Actress in a Musical.

In 2003, the show had a limited run in the West End, winning Maria Friedman an Olivier Award for the role of Mother, and in 2012, a re-imagined staging was presented at the Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre.

With a creative collaboration that has lasted thirty years, Lynn Ahrens and Stephen Flaherty are the prolific and well-loved writers of shows ranging from Seussical, which remains one of the most-performed musicals in the US, the Olivier Award-winning Once On This Island, to the lesser known My Favourite Year, Lucky Stiff and A Man of No Importance. The stage musical adaptation of their animated feature Anastasia will have its world premiere in Hartford, USA in May-June 2016.

Tickets: Available at, on 020 7392 9200 or in person at Bishopsgate Institute.

Times: Tuesday to Saturday at 7.30pm, Sunday at 2pm.

Guys and Dolls - Rebel Wilson joins cast for eight weeks

Pitch Perfect 2

Casting news

AWARD-winning actress Rebel Wilson is joining the West End cast of Guys and Dolls for a strictly limited eight weeks, playing the role of Miss Adelaide from Tuesday, June 28 to Sunday, August 21, 2016.

The musical, which has music and lyrics by Frank Loesser and book by Jo Swerling and Abe Burrows, has also extended its run at the Phoenix Theatre until January 7, 2017.

Rebel Wilson commented: “A lot of people who know me from my more recent film work have no idea how much theatre has influenced my life. I saw my first musical at age 14, a show called 42nd Street, after one of my family’s dogs had unsuccessfully auditioned to be in it. It blew me away and I’ve loved musical theatre ever since.

“Training at the Australian Theatre for Young People gave me the opportunity to perform onstage in eight productions ranging from new Australian musicals to classic plays. I then went on to write and perform in my own productions before being snapped up to do screen work. I am delighted to be making my West End debut in Guys and Dolls and to be playing such an iconic role as ‘Miss Adelaide’ is truly an honor. Hopefully I crush it….but you’ll have to come and see me to find out!”

Wilson, who is well known for her award-winning role of Fat Amy in the Pitch Perfect films, made her American comedy film debut in Paul Feig’s Bridesmaids alongside Kirsten Wiig. The film, produced by Judd Apatow, was named one of AFI’s top ten films of 2011 and received a Critics’ Choice Movie Award for Best Comedy. Her other film credits include How to be Single, Grimsby, Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb, Bachelorette and Ice Age: Continental Drift. She will also make a cameo appearance in Absolutely Fabulous: The Movie, which is released this July.

The current cast of Guys and Dolls includes Nigel Lindsay as Nathan Detroit and Samantha Spiro as Miss Adelaide who will have their final performance on Saturday, June 26, 2016. Further casting will be announced in due course.

A joyous and vibrant celebration of Prohibition-era New York, Guys and Dolls is based on the colourful stories by American journalist Damon Runyon, renowned for his vivid fictional depictions of the gamblers, hustlers and nightclub singers of New York, and features some of Broadway’s greatest musical numbers including My Time of Day, Luck be a Lady and Sit Down You’re Rockin’ the Boat.

Read more about Guys and Dolls.

Whose Line Is It Anyway?...Live - Charles Esten joins cast for one night only

Charles Esten

Preview by Lizzie Guilfoyle

PHIL McIntyre Entertainments, Angst Productions and Hat Trick Productions have announced that Charles Esten, star of hit US TV series Nashville, will be joining the stage line-up of Whose Line Is It Anyway?…Live at the London Palladium.

Presided over by original host Clive Anderson, Whose Line regulars Colin Mochrie, Josie Lawrence, Greg Proops, Brad Sherwood and Jeff Davis will be joined by Esten for one night only – Sunday, June 12, 2016.

After starring as Buddy Holly in the West End, Charles Esten, then known as ‘Chip’, auditioned for legendary televised improv show Whose Line Is It Anyway? and in 1992 made his debut in the UK version’s fourth series, going on to appear regularly on the Channel 4 show. He made the move to the US version of Whose Line in 1999, and was a firm favourite on the ABC show for six years.

Esten currently stars as the ruggedly handsome but troubled singer songwriter Deacon Claybourne in ABC’s hit musical drama Nashville. Heading to the UK in June for the Nashville In Concert tour, he will also be making a welcome return to Whose Line Is It Anyway?.

On returning to Whose Line Is It Anyway? in June, Esten said: “I am so excited by the perfect timing that made it possible to reunite with my old friends for one night of Whose Line Is It Anyway?. It’s a special honour to be returning to the West End, on a night off from my UK Nashville In Concert tour, and even more thrilling to be playing at the world famous London Palladium!”

Dates: June 9 to June 19, 2016.

Tickets: from £30 to £75 + booking fees – available from the box office on 0844 412 4655 or online at

Times: 7.30pm, with matinees on Saturdays and Sundays at 3pm.

Also at the London Palladium: Cinderella (December 9, 2016 to January 15, 2017).