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Bill Milner to star with Sheila Hancock in Harold and Maude at Charing Cross Theatre

Bill Milner

Casting news

BILL Milner is to star with previously announced Sheila Hancock in the London premiere of the black comedy romantic drama Harold and Maude, which runs at Charing Cross Theatre from Monday, February 19 to Saturday, March 31, 2018.

Bill Milner, who made his acting debut in 2007 in the film Son of Rambow, recently appeared in Christopher Nolan’s acclaimed WW2 film Dunkirk and played the role of young Erik Lensherr/Magneto (Ian McKellen’s character) in the superhero film X-Men: First Class. He also starred alongside Michael Caine in Is Anybody There? and portrayed Ian Dury’s son Baxter in the biopic Sex & Drugs & Rock & Roll.

Milner played the title role of iBoy, a teenager who suffers severe head injuries after a previous incident, and develops cybernatural powers, alongside Game of Thrones star Maisie Williams in the Netflix oiriginal film, IBoy.

The cast also includes Anthony Cable (The Woman in White, Death Takes a Holiday, Charing Cross Theatre), Rebecca Caine (Flowers For Mrs Harris, Crucible Sheffield, Christine in The Phantom Of The Opera, Cosette in the original cast of Les Miserables), Christopher Dickins (Ragtime, Charing Cross Theatre, War Horse, National Theatre), Joanna Hickman (Off West End Award Best Supporting Actress nominee for Ragtime, Charing Cross Theatre), Samuel Townsend (84 Charing Cross Road, Cambridge Arts Theatre), Anne White (Love in the Past Participle, The Other Palace), and Johnson Willis (Dido Queen of Carthage, Salome, RSC).

Written by Colin Higgins, Harold and Maude will reunite Sheila Hancock with director Thom Southerland after their acclaimed sold-out success with the UK premiere of the musical Grey Gardens in 2016.

Harold and Maude is an idiosyncratic romantic fable told though the eyes of the most unlikely pairing: a compulsive, self-destructive young man and a devil-may-care, septuagenarian bohemian.

Harold and Maude is directed by Thom Southerland and designed by Francis O’Connor, with costume design by Jonathan Lipman, lighting by Matt Clutterham and sound by Andrew Johnson. Composer is Michael Bruce and casting is by Stephen Crockett for David Grindrod Associates.

Read more about Harold and Maude.

The Old Vic to mark 100 years of women’s suffrage in Britain

Maxine Peake in Silk

Preview by Lizzie Guilfoyle

THE Old Vic is marking 100 years of women’s suffrage in Britain with a new monologues series and the world premiere of a modern musical.

ON Sunday, March 11, 2018 (7pm), Maxine Peake will curate One Hand Tied Behind Us, a One Voice performance of specially commissioned monologues to mark the 100th anniversary of the 1918 Representation of the People Act, which granted the first women in Britain the right to vote.

One Hand Tied Behind Us are six brand new monologues, written in response to the anniversary, which will be presented in a one-off performance at The Old Vic on March 11 following International Women’s Day. They will explore key moments in the history of women’s rights in the UK and look forward to the future of the fight for equality.

Writers will include Peake, with further writers and casting to be announced.

As previously announced, The Old Vic will also be marking this anniversary year with Sylvia, the world premiere of a modern musical, which runs from September 6 (previews from September 1) to September 22, 2018.

Sylvia combines dance, hip-hop, soul and funk, shedding a new light on a remarkable story at the heart of the women’s suffrage movement.

Co-written by Kate Prince and Priya Parmar with original music by Josh Cohen and DJ Walde, Sylvia is a modern musical celebrating the life of Sylvia Pankhurst, her pivotal role in the campaign for women’s rights and the price of the passion and politics that tore her family apart. Sylvia is co-produced by The Old Vic, Sadler’s Wells and ZooNation: The Kate Prince Company co-production, and co-commissioned by The Old Vic and 14-18 NOW.

The Old Vic celebrates its bicentenary on May 11, 2018. To mark 200 years of creative adventure, Artistic Director Matthew Warchus has programmed a season of world premiere productions, culminating in the production of Sylvia.

The One Voice series, funded by the TS Eliot Estate, continues this theme of creating pioneering, fresh new work which, inspired by the past, responds to the issues of today. Further One Voice performances coming up in 2018 will include monologues to mark the 70th Anniversary of the birth of the NHS and 100 years since the end of the First World War.

The Old Vic’s response to the anniversary of women’s suffrage is supporting the Mayor of London’s Behind Every Great City campaign (#BehindEveryGreatCity).

Also at The Old Vic: the London transfer of Alan Ayckbourn’s new play The Divide (February 1 to February 10) and the stage adaptation of legendary filmmaker Ingmar Bergman’s masterpiece Fanny & Alexander (February 21 to April 14, 2018).

Images released of Hayley Atwell and cast in rehearsals for Dry Powder at Hampstead Theatre

Dry Powder Photo by SWD

Casting news

IMAGES have been released of Hayley Atwell and the cast in rehearsals for the UK premiere of Sarah Burgess’ Dry Powder. To view them, click here.

Previously Posted: Full casting has been announced for the UK premiere of Sarah Burgess’ breathtakingly witty and virtuosic comedy Dry Powder, which runs at Hampstead Theatre from February 1 (previews from January 26) to March 3, 2018.

Joining previously announced Hayley Atwell (as Jenny), Tom Riley (Seth) and Aidan McArdle (Rick) will be Joseph Balderrama as Jeff.

Joseph Balderrama’s recent theatre credits include The President’s Men (NT at the Vaudeville), Drones, Baby, Drones (Arcola Theatre), Labyrinth (Hampstead Theatre), The Rubber Room (Old Vic New Voices), The White House Murder Case (Orange Tree Theatre), The Miser (Royal Exchange, Manchester) and Wet Weather Cover (King’s Head, Islington and West End).

His screen credits include Stan and Ollie, The Current War, Tad Jones: The Hero Returns, Spectre, Meet the Firm: Revenge in Rio, Jack and Jill and The Nutcracker: The Untold Story (film); Press, Snatch, War on Drugs, Benidorm, Capital, I Live With Models, Not Going Out, The Armada: 12 Days To Save England, Episodes and Holby City (TV).

Directed by Anna Ledwich, Dry Powder explores the vision, the vulnerability, and the vilification of those shaping – and skewing – the economy.

Read more about Dry Powder.

Casting announced for Barney Norris’s Nightfall at the Bridge Theatre

Casting news

CASTING has been announced for the world premiere of Barney Norris’s Nightfall, which runs at the Bridge Theatre from May 8 (previews from April 23) to June 3, 2018.

Laurie Sansom will direct Ophelia Lovibond as Lou, Ukweli Roach as Pete and Sion Daniel Young as Ryan. Final casting will be announced shortly.

On a farm outside Winchester, Ryan struggles to make a living off the land. His sister Lou has returned home after the death of their father to support Jenny, their formidable mother. Not so long ago, when a neighbour’s Labrador strayed onto the farm, their dad reached for his shotgun. Now, when Lou’s boyfriend Pete reappears, flush with money from his job at an oil refinery, Jenny fights to hold her children to the life she planned for them.

Ophelia Lovibond is best known on television for playing Izzy Gould in the BBC’s W1A and was last on stage in Richard Eyre’s production of The Stepmother at Chichester Festival Theatre. Her other theatre credits include The Libertine (Theatre Royal Haymarket) and The Effect (Sheffield Theatres). Her other television credits include Hooten & the Lady, Elementary, Inside No 9, Mr Sloane and Nathan Barley.

Lovibond’s films include Tommy’s Honor, The Autopsy of Jane Doe, Man Up, Guardians of the Galaxy, A Single Shot, Gozo, Mr Popper’s Penguins, No Strings Attached, 4.3.2.1, Chatroom, London Boulevard, Nowhere Boy, Shadows in the Sun and Oliver Twist.

Ukweli Roach’s theatre credits include Romeo and Juliet and Helen (Shakespeare’s Globe) and 5, 6, 7, 8 (Royal Court). He has also appeared on screen in Humans, Hard Sun, Blindspot, The Royals, Grantchester and Silk (TV); Streetdance 3D, One Day and Venus and the Son (film).

Sion Daniel Young’s theatre credits include Killology (Royal Court), The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time and War Horse (National Theatre), Mametz and The Radicalisation of Bradley Manning (National Theatre Wales), The Welsh Boy (Theatre Royal, Bath) and Llwyth (Sherman Theatre). His screen work includes Commoners, Hinterland, Our World War, Casualty and Gwaith Cartref (TV); Another Me, Private Peaceful and Daisy Chain (film).

Upon graduating from university, Barney Norris founded Up In Arms Theatre Company, of which he is the co-Artistic Director. His first play Visitors ran at the Arcola Theatre before transferring to the Bush Theatre, winning him the 2014 Critics’ Circle Award for Most Promising Playwright. His other full-length plays are Eventide, Echo’s End and While We’re Here.

Norris is also the author of a bestselling novel, Five Rivers Met on a Wooded Plain, and a book on theatre, To Bodies Gone: The Theatre of Peter Gill. His second novel, Turning For Home, was published this month.

As Chief Executive/Artistic Director of the National Theatre of Scotland Laurie Sansom directed Rona Munro’s The James Plays which were co-presented by the Edinburgh International Festival and the National Theatre of Great Britain and toured the world. Sansom was previously Artistic Director of Royal & Derngate, Northampton, where he directed the UK premiers of Tennessee Williams’ Spring Storm and Eugene O’Neill’s Beyond The Horizon and The Festival of Chaos for London 2012. He was also Alan Ayckbourn’s Associate Director at the Stephen Joseph Theatre, Scarborough.

Tickets: from £15 to £65 with a limited number of premium seats available. A special allocation of £15 seats are held for Young Bridge, a free scheme for those under 26.

Also at the Bridge Theatre: Nicholas Hytner’s promenade production of Julius Caesar (January 20 to April 15, 2018).

Child casting announced for the UK and Ireland tour of Matilda The Musical

Casting news

THE Royal Shakespeare Company has announced the child casting for the first five venues of the Matilda The Musical 2018/19 UK and Ireland Tour.

The title role will be shared by Annalise Bradbury, Lara Cohen, Poppy Jones and Nicola Turner.

Winner of over 85 international awards, including 16 for Best Musical, Matilda The Musical will open at Leicester Curve (March 5 – 24) before continuing to Dublin Bord Gáis Energy Theatre (April 4 – 28), Sunderland Empire (May 8 – June 2), Milton Keynes Theatre (June 5 – 30), Birmingham Hippodrome (July 3 – September 8), Manchester Palace (September 18 – November 24) and Cardiff Wales Millennium Centre (December 4 – January 12, 2019).

Further dates and venues are to be announced in due course.

The other young performers announced today join the UK and Ireland Tour in the three teams who play the roles of Bruce, Lavender, Amanda and the rest of the pupils at Crunchem Hall.

And they are: Louella Asante-Owusu, Isobelle Chalmers, Shaquahn Crowe, Kiana Dumbuya, Madeline Gilby, Sheldon Golding, Jobe Hart, Raphael Higgins-Humes, Dylan Hughes, Sam Lovelock, Tayah Marshall Brewster, Jaden Meek, Alfie Murray, Nicholas Seal, Daisy Sequerra, Elliot Stiff, Lyla Toplass, George Varley, Scarlett Weegram, Maisy-May Woods-Smeeth, Harrison Wilding, and Sophie Young.

The previously announced adult cast for the UK and Ireland Tour will see Craige Els reprise the role of Miss Trunchbull, having played her in the West End for three years between 2014 and 2017. He will be joined by Carly Thoms as Miss Honey, and Sebastien Torkia and Rebecca Thornhill as Mr and Mrs Wormwood. Read more about the adult cast.

The production will be accompanied by Change My Story, a new education programme inspired by Matilda The Musical which will engage young people in towns and cities across the UK and Ireland. With a travelling library of stories led by the musical’s librarian Mrs Phelps and whole school takeovers, the RSC aims to reach over 15,000 children, in collaboration with touring theatre partners. Further details can be found at uk.matildathemusical.com/tour/schools/matilda-school-resources/.

The West End production will continue to play at the Cambridge Theatre, where it is now in its seventh year and is booking until February 10, 2019.

Derren Brown: Underground on tour in 2018

Preview by Lizzie Guilfoyle

DERREN Brown, the multi-award winning master of mind control and psychological illusion, is bringing his latest sensational show Underground back to UK and Irish theatres in 2018.

From April 3 to July 5, 2018, Brown will be enthralling audiences with his 2017 ‘Best of’ hit show, Underground in which he fuses together a collection of his favourite work to create a jaw-dropping experience of magical genius.

Brown said: “Underground was originally written for audiences in other countries who hadn’t seen me before. It meant finessing and re-visiting past pieces and seeing them with fresh eyes.

“I sat down with my two co-writers and directors and we thought – ‘What would make the best possible Derren Brown show?’ None of us were sure what the UK would make of it, but the resulting show felt so good, and met with such a great response when warming it up in London, that we decided to tour it here too.

“The reviews have been astonishing, and people who’ve seen all the shows have said they love being surprised by them again, and those who don’t know me so well are getting to see the best material for the first time. It’s a huge, huge joy to perform.”

This is the second leg of the Underground tour, direct from the West End production at the Playhouse Theatre, which ran for thirty-five packed out performances in September and October 2017. The sixty-three day tour will embrace Dublin and Cork and include Belfast, Cardiff, Glasgow, Liverpool, Norwich Hull, Canterbury, Nottingham, Eastbourne, Bournemouth, Dartford and Southend.

Brown’s live shows have won him two prestigious Olivier Awards – Something Wicked This Way Comes (2006) and Svengali (2012). He has played to sold-out houses across the country every year since 2003 to over 1.5 million people. His previous UK shows, Infamous (2013, 2014) and Miracle (2015, 2016) have toured to great success, enjoying critically acclaimed seasons in London’s West End. He recently made an enthusiastically embraced stage debut at the Atlantic Theater in New York with Derren Brown: Secret.

Derren Brown: Underground is presented by Michael Vine, Andrew O’Connor, Derren Brown and Paul Sandler for Vaudeville Productions Ltd. and David Binder. It is directed by Andrew O’Connor and Andy Nyman and written by Andy Nyman, Andrew O’Connor and Derren Brown. Setting is by Will Bowen, lighting design by Charlie Morgan Jones and General Manager is John Dalston.

Full casting announced for The Cherry Orchard at Bristol Old Vic and Manchester’s Royal Exchange

The Cherry Orchard

Casting news

FULL casting has been announced for Michael Boyd’s much anticipated production of The Cherry Orchard, which runs at Bristol Old Vic from March 1 to April 7, and Manchester’s Royal Exchange Theatre from April 19 to May 19, 2018.

Rory Mullarkey’s brand-new translation will be directed by Michael Boyd, celebrated former Artistic Director of the Royal Shakespeare Company (RSC). Having studied Russian and trained as a director in Moscow, he will be directing Chekhov – the literary love of his life – for the first time.

Chekhov’s final masterpiece is full of wild humour and piercing sadness in this fresh, funny and honest new translation. A portrait of changing times, it maps the bittersweet tensions between the desperate longing to hold onto what is familiar, and the restless lure of the new. Revolution hangs in the air, the poor and hungry are pushing at the doors, and a civilised and complacent culture is on the brink of collapse…

Leading the ensemble will be Kirsty Bushell and Jude Owusu.

Kirsty Bushell plays Ranyevskaya, a woman whose liberal world of privilege and pleasure is beginning to show cracks while she and her family live on in denial. Bushell was recently seen on television in BBC’s Motherland, but it is on stage where she has earned her renowned reputation.

Her career is one of dynamic variety, spanning roles from Olivia in the RSC’s Twelfth Night and Juliet for Shakespeare’s Globe to Vittoria in The White Devil (RSC), the title role in Hedda Gabler, and the recent “pitch-perfect” Regan opposite Ian McKellan’s King Lear. Her career also spans new works such as the recent Boys will Be Boys (Headlong/Bush), Torn (Royal Court) and Disgraced (The Bush). She regularly works with some of the leading directors in the world, including Ivo Van Hove, Michael Grandage and Maria Aberg, appearing regularly with the RSC, National Theatre and Royal Court.

Jude Owusu plays the successful businessman Lopakhin, who has loved Ranyevskaya since childhood and now hopes to be her salvation. Owusu’s recent theatre work includes A Tale of Two Cities (Regent’s Park), Gregory Doran’s Julius Caesar, Tim Crouch’s I, Cinna (both RSC/West End) and The Comedy of Errors (National Theatre). His television work includes the acclaimed The Hollow Crown series for BBC.

They will be joined by Simon Coates as Ranyevskaya’s well-intentioned but delusional brother Gayev, Togo Igawa as Gayev’s elderly servant Firs, Julius D’Silva as landowner Pischik, Éva Magyar as Charlotta, Jack Monaghan as the clerk Yepikhodov, Emma Naomi as the family’s maid Dunyasha and Enyi Okoronkwo as the eternal student Trofimov.

Completing the cast will be Verity Blyth as Ranyevskaya’s daughter Anya, Rosy McEwan as Varya, Hayden Mclean as Yasha, Joseph Hardy and Harry Humberstone.

The Cherry Orchard will be designed by Tom Piper.

Mental health in millenials is examined in Breathe at the Lion and Unicorn Theatre

Preview by Lizzie Guilfoyle

FOLLOWING readings at the Young Vic and scratch night performances at the Bread and Roses, new play Breathe will be staged in a full production at the Lion and Unicorn Theatre – on February 1 and February 2, 2018.

The play tackles the thorny issue of mental health amongst millenials trying to make their way in life.

Breathe pans across the struggles of four housemates living in London trying to successfully accomplish their dreams. Personal secrets, fears and dreams emerge as their lives intertwine, revealing the importance of human connection and friendship in the face of anxiety and depression. Will they choose security or transform their fears into fuel to conquer their dreams?

Writer and director Lucrezia Pollice is a freelance theatre and film director and producer based in London. After training as an actor at the famous Italian drama school Paolo Grassi Academy and the RADA foundation course at CSVPA, Lucrezia Pollice graduated with a First Honours Degree from the Royal Central School of Speech and Drama, in Drama, Applied Theatre and Education – focusing her degree on Directing, Producing and Playwrighting.

She recently produced and directed the critically acclaimed short documentary IDENTITY, which premiered at the United Nations WTP Film Festival at the BFI Southbank. She will soon be producing and directing a documentary short film for Westminster Council.

Producer Aretusa Campagnolo worked as an assistant producer for MDA Contemporary Dance Company and as an executive producer for RedWedge Srl, a film production company based in Rome. She moved to the UK to undertake a Master’s degree in Culture, Policy and Management at City University of London, where she graduated in October 2017. Prior to moving into assisting in producing Metal Rabbit Productions in 2017, she interned as a Company Administrator for circus company Gandini Juggling.

Tickets: £12.50, £10 concessions – available online at www.seetickets.com/tour/breathe.

Time: 7.30pm.

Running Time: 60 minutes.

Kinky Boots celebrates its 1000th performance

Theatre news

KINKY Boots, the winner of every major Best Musical award, today (January 15, 2018) celebrates its 1000th performance and has now received its 1,000,000th customer at the West End’s Adelphi Theatre.

The production has also announced the opening of a new booking period, with tickets now available until Saturday, June 30, 2018.

Kinky Boots has won three Olivier Awards – for Best New Musical, Best Costume Design and Best Actor in a Musical for Matt Henry who previously played Lola. Kinky Boots also won the London Evening Standard BBC Radio 2 Audience Award for Best Musical as well as three WhatsOnStage Awards for Best New Musical, Best Actor in a Musical and Best Choreography.

With a book by Broadway legend and four-time Tony Award-winner Harvey Fierstein (La Cage aux Folles), and songs by Grammy and Tony Award-winning pop icon Cyndi Lauper, this joyous musical celebration is about the friendships we discover, and the belief that you can change the world when you change your mind.

Inspired by true events, Kinky Boots takes audiences from a gentlemen’s shoe factory in Northampton to the glamorous catwalks of Milan. Charlie Price (David Hunter) is struggling to live up to his father’s expectations and continue the family business of Price & Son. With the factory’s future hanging in the balance, help arrives in the unlikely but spectacular form of Lola (Simon-Anthony Rhoden), a fabulous performer in need of some sturdy new stilettos.

Kinky Boots is directed and choreographed by two-time Tony Award-winner Jerry Mitchell (Legally Blonde, Hairspray).

Stuffed - Jack Studio Theatre

Preview by Lizzie Guilfoyle

RED Squash Theatre is presenting Stuffed at the Jack Studio Theatre. Written by Lucy Joy Russell and Holly McFarlane, it runs from Tuesday, March 6 to Saturday, March 17, 2018.

Do you know what I think the secret to getting pregnant is, Kim? Being happy. Every time I’ve got pregnant I’ve just felt…unbelievably happy.

Kim and Jack are trying for a baby. Trying pretty hard. Their friends are having kids left, right and centre. A small army of doctors offer well-meaning advice but no actual answers. And nobody’s getting any younger…

But the further they go, the more they start to wonder, what is this all for?

Stuffed is a brand new comedy about friendship, fertility and the choices we make.

One in seven couples in the UK has difficultly conceiving a baby, and on average 75% of IVF cycles will fail. Stuffed, based on personal experience, is the story of a couple who go through the process, and how they come out the other side.

Rory Fairbain directs a cast that includes Faye Maughan, Ben Scheck, Dorothy Cotter, Alexander Tol, Holly McFarlane and Rory Fairbairn.

Stuffed is suitable for ages 14+.

Tickets: £15, £12 concessions – available from the box office on 0333 666 3366 (£1.50 fee for phone bookings only) or online at www.brockleyjack.co.uk/.

Time: Tuesday to Saturday at 7.30pm.

Also at the Jack Studio Theatre: an all-female production of William Shakespeare’s The Tempest (February 13 to March 3, 2018).