Casting announced for Five Guys Named Moe at the brand new Marble Arch Theatre

Underbelly Productions have today announced full casting for a brand new production of Clarke Peters’ Olivier Award-winning and Tony-Award nominated musical, Five Guys Named Moe. The production will open on 14 September 2017 in a new temporary theatre in Marble Arch, London.

Edward Baruwa will play Nomax and the ‘Moes’ will be played by: Ian Carlyle (Four-Eyed Moe), Dex Lee (Know Moe), Idriss Kargbo (Little Moe), Timothy Martin (Big Moe) and Emile Ruddock (Eat Moe).

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Underbelly have also released the first look at how the inside of the new Marble Arch Theatre will look. Specifically designed for the production will be reminiscent of 1940s New Orleans Jazz clubs, occupying the whole space. There will be cabaret table seating in the centre of the space with a drinks table service.

In addition to the theatre, there will be a connecting foyer designed in the style of a New Orleans courtyard with hanging atmospheric foliage, festoon lighting, a beautiful bespoke bar, a performance area for a jazz trio and concession stands selling popcorn, sweets, snacks and merchandise as well as a cloakroom area.

Five Guys Named Moe was first seen at the Theatre Royal Stratford East in 1990, it transferred to the West End and played for four years, subsequently playing on Broadway from 1992. Clarke Peters’ career defining musical features the irresistible hits of trailblazing ‘King of the Jukebox’ Louis Jordan, including Early In The MorningIs You Is or Is You Ain’t My Baby, Choo Choo Ch’Boogie and Saturday Night Fish Fry. The soundtrack of soul, blues, gospel and early r ‘n’ b is performed on stage by a live band.

The production, which is to be directed by Peters himself,  is currently booking from 29 August to 25 November 2017, with an Opening Night on 14 September.

Five Guys Named Moe will be directed by Clarke Peters (The Wire, Treme, Person of Interest, Porgy and Bess, The Ice Man Cometh) with musical staging and choreography by Andrew Wright (Half a SixpenceSingin’ in the Rain, Guys and Dolls), inspired by Charles Augins’ original choreography, set and costume design by takis (Side Show, In The Heights, Hairspray, The Good Person of Sichuan), lighting design by Philip Gladwell (The James Plays, Cymbeline, Trainspotting, After Miss Julie, Hairspray), sound design by Ben Harrison (Cabaret, Dreamboats and Petticoats, Dancing in the Streets, The King & I, Starlight Express, Blood Brothers, Soul Sister) and musical supervision from Steve Hill (Fame, RENT, The House That Nat Built, Bent, Hair).

Cameron Mackintosh said: I am really thrilled that Underbelly are producing a brand new production of Five Guys Named Moe in London later this year. It’s a show that brought fun and joy to audiences in the West End for many years so it’s great to see its return for its 25th Anniversary. I am particularly excited that this new production is being staged in a Spiegeltent theatre specifically tailored for Five Guys so that Underbelly’s unique style will give audiences and the show a special intimate experience which will definitely make it the best party in town – a party which I’m delighted to support Underbelly in throwing.”

Clarke Peters said: “It’s a rare and wonderful thing to have the chance to direct a show that not only you have created but also performed in. It’s a show that is very close to my heart and soul and is so much of who I am. It’s an honour to return to it on its 25th Anniversary and reimagine the show in this new theatre space; one which is perfect for creating a closeness and dynamic energy between the story and the audience. Further to this it’s a treat to be working with a fantastic creative team and I can’t wait to transport audiences into the magical world of rhythm and blues. This rhythm will lift one and all from their blues!”

Robert Davis, Westminster City Council Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Business, Culture and Heritage said: “Westminster City Council is delighted to be working with Underbelly Productions to bring Five Guys Named Moe to Marble Arch in its very own, bespoke theatre. Bringing this internationally acclaimed musical to this world-renowned, iconic space is a truly mouth-watering prospect that will further increase the cultural offer available to residents, businesses and visitors throughout the City of Westminster.  To quote the show itself; ‘Let The Good Times Roll!’”

Five Guys Named Moe is at the Marble Arch Theatre from 29 August – 25 November 2017 

Photos by Graham Michael

Advertisements

Around the World in 80 Days comes to Cadogan Hall

The New Vic Theatre’s celebrated production of Jules Verne’s Around the World in 80 Days adapted by Laura Eason and directed by Theresa Heskins arrives at London’s Cadogan Hall, as part of a major six month tour.

Around the World in 80 Days first premièred at the New Vic Theatre in 2013 followed by a successful season at the Royal Exchange Theatre Manchester in 2014. This production has been nominated for both the UK Theatre Awards’ ‘Best New Production’ and the Manchester Theatre Awards’ ‘Best Show for Children and Families’.

The mysterious and fabulously wealthy Phileas Fogg wagers his life’s fortune that he can circumnavigate the globe in just 80 days. Join Fogg and his loyal valet, Passepartout, as they voyage from the misty alleys of Victorian London to the exotic subcontinent and the Wild West in a race against the clock.

An ensemble cast of 8 play over 125 characters in an imaginative and physically inventive high-spirited escapade including six trains, five boats, four fights, three dances, two circus acts and an elephant!

Theresa Heskins is currently Artistic Director of the New Vic Theatre. Recent directing credits include, The Snow Queen, Peter Pan in Scarlet, Kiss Me Quickstep, Robin Hood & Marian, Dracula, The Borrowers, The Hundred and One Dalmatians, Widowers’ Houses, A Christmas Carol, Far from the Madding Crowd and Where Have I Been All My Life? In 2015 she was awarded an Honorary Doctor of the Arts for services to theatre and for her cultural contribution to North Staffordshire.

The UK tour of Around the World in 80 Days reunites original cast members Andrew Pollard (Phileas Fogg),Michael Hugo (Passepartout), Dennis Herdman (Inspector Fix), Pushpinder Chandi (Mr Naidu) and Kirsten Foster (Mrs Aouda). They are joined by Matthew Ganley (Colonel Proctor), Simi Egbejumi-David (Captain Speedy) and Joey Parsad (Miss Singh).

Around the World in 80 Days is at Cadogan Hall from 2 August until 2 September.

Second Woman and War festival announced

Women and War: EXODUS is a month-long multi-disciplinary festival examining the impact of war on women and the roads they take and the changes they make to rebuild their lives elsewhere. Any time, any place, any war, any woman.

Now in its second year, Women and War: EXODUS will focus on displacement and what it is to be a refugee, from any period of history and any part of the world. It will celebrate the lives of some of the courageous women from across the world through theatre, music, dance, art, film, performance, poetry, craft, cuisine, and comedy.

Actress Rula Lenska leads this year’s festival fundraiser, An Evening With Rula Lenska at So & So At The Bridge, just by London Bridge Station on Saturday June 17th. She performs a dramatised reading of Peace And War: Extracts from the Memoirs of Elizabeth Carroll, Rula’s mother who came to the UK as a refugee from Poland in 1946.

The festival will host work from around the globe, visiting Colombia, Myanmar, Chile, Poland, Mali, Afghanistan, India and Iran documenting, exploring and giving voice to the experiences of women, before, during and after war.

This year, the festival is based in a pop-up theatre in South London breathing life back into Streatham Hill Theatre, just ten minutes from Brixton and right by Streatham Hill station.

Festival Director and Executive Producer Sarah Berger said: This year’s Women and War Festival,EXODUS, is a celebration and tribute to the resourcefulness and courage of women from across the world who have found themselves displaced because of war.

At a time when the rights of women are under attack in sharing our multiple cultures, we will demonstrate that even though we may feel helpless in the face of the greatest diaspora in living history, by listening, bearing witness, and sharing in these extraordinary stories, we can make a difference. Any of those women could be your mother, your sister, your daughter, or you. It is not a story of them; it is a story of us.”

 “This is a multi-disciplinary opportunity to laugh, cry, imagine, witness, and share the lives and cultures of women from across the world.

Supporter, actress and Fascinating Aida member Dillie Keane added: When first I visited Women and War last year, what shocked me was that it was the first of its kind – and that it was long overdue. This years festival focuses on refugeeism and displacement, and it seems to me it couldnt be timelier given whats happening in the world, politically speaking. Do yourself a favour and go to at least one of the events. Youll come away better informed, and maybe a little bit empowered. Go.

You can find more details and a full schedule of events on the website  www.womenandwar.co.uk

RT & Follow for a chance to win The Wind in the Willows Original London Cast recording

Producer Jamie Hendry and Sony Masterworks Broadway are pleased to announce the release of the original cast recording of new musical The Wind in the Willows with book by Julian Fellowes, music by George Stiles and lyrics by Anthony Drewe.

With music and lyrics by Olivier Award-winners George Stiles and Anthony Drewe, the album features the original West End cast of The Wind in the Willows, accompanied by a fourteen-piece band. The album is produced by George Stiles and Anthony Drewe and co-produced by Simon Lee. Tris Penna is the executive producer.

The original London cast is led by actor, comedian and presenter Rufus Hound as the amazing ‘Mr Toad’ with West End stars Simon Lipkin as ‘Rat’ and Craig Mather as ‘Mole’; EastEnders actor Neil McDermott as ‘Chief Weasel’; Coronation Street and Boy Meets Girl star Denise Welch as ‘Mrs Otter’ and West End legend Gary Wilmot as ‘Badger.  Also included are Chris Aukett, Joel Baylis, Jenna Boyd, Abigail Brodie, Abigail Climer, Jorell Coiffic-Kamall, Nicole Deon, Emilie du Leslay, Joshua Gannon,James Gant, Evan James, Michael Larcombe, Bethany Linsdell, Ryan Pidgen, Adam Vaughan, Georgie Westall and Natalie Woods. The cast album also features Dylan Mason, Patrick Sullivan and Karli Vale who recently appeared in the show’s pre-London tour.

Based on Kenneth Grahame’s treasured novel which has captivated generations of readers for over a century, The Wind in the Willows has been adapted for the stage with a book by Academy Award-winning screenwriter and Downton Abbey creator Julian Fellowes.

Tickets are on-sale from £15, with reduced price preview performances. Kids go free on Monday to Friday performances – terms and conditions apply. No additional booking fees or charges are applied to tickets booked via www.WillowsMusical.com.

This riotous comedy follows the impulsive Mr Toad whose insatiable need for speed lands him in serious trouble. With his beloved home under threat from the notorious Chief Weasel and his gang of sinister Wild Wooders, Toad must attempt a daring escape leading to a series of misadventures and a heroic battle to recapture Toad Hall. Featuring eye-poppingly beautiful design, exuberant choreography and a gloriously British score, The Wind in the Willows brings an explosion of anarchy, humour and heart to the world-famous London Palladium.

The Wind in the Willows CD competition Terms and Conditions
1. The promoter is The Sweet London Life
2. Employees of The Sweet London Life or their family members or anyone else connected in any way with the competition or helping to set up the competition shall not be permitted to enter the competition.
3. There is no entry fee and no purchase necessary to enter this competition.
4. Route to entry for the competition is via social media but retweeting and following the Twitter page or liking and sharing the Facebook page
5. Closing date for entry will be Friday 30th June 2017 . After this date no further entries to the competition will be permitted.
6. No responsibility can be accepted for entries not received for whatever reason.
7. The rules of the competition and the prize for each winner are as follows: One The Wind in the Willows CD Album
8. The promoter reserves the right to cancel or amend the competition and these terms and conditions without notice in the event of a catastrophe, war, civil or military disturbance, act of God or any actual or anticipated breach of any applicable law or regulation or any other event outside of the promoter’s control. Any changes to the competition will be notified to entrants as soon as possible by the promoter.
9. The promoter is not responsible for inaccurate prize details supplied to any entrant by any third party connected with this competition.
10. No cash alternative to the prizes will be offered. The prizes are not transferable. Prizes are subject to availability and we reserve the right to substitute any prize with another of equivalent value without giving notice.
11. Winners will be chosen by an independent adjudicator or panel of judges appointed by the Sweet London Life.
12. The winner will be notified by social media within 48 hours of the closing date. If the winner cannot be contacted or do not claim the prize within 7 days of notification, we reserve the right to withdraw the prize from the winner and pick a replacement winner.
13. The promoter will notify the winner when and where the prize can be collected.
14. The promoter’s decision in respect of all matters to do with the competition will be final and no correspondence will be entered into.
15. By entering this competition, an entrant is indicating his/her agreement to be bound by these terms and conditions.
16. The competition and these terms and conditions will be governed by English law and any disputes will be subject to the exclusive jurisdiction of the courts of England.
17. The winner agrees to the use of his/her name and image in any publicity material. Any personal data relating to the winner or any other entrants will be used solely in accordance with current UK data protection legislation and will not be disclosed to a third party without the entrant’s prior consent.
18. The winner’s name will be available 28 days after closing date by emailing the promotor  info@thesweetlondonlife.com
19. Entry into the competition will be deemed as acceptance of these terms and conditions.
20. This promotion is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with, Facebook, Twitter or any other Social Network. You are providing your information to The Sweet London Life and not to any other party.

RT & Follow for a chance to win a pair of tickets to join Erich McElroy and Friends celebrate 4th July

Erich McElroy and Friends ‘celebrate’ the 4th of July on THE 2ND of JULY

2 Northdown Street, London N1 9BG


Join comedian and pundit, Erich McElroy, and a brilliant trio of US talent – Rich HallDave Fulton and broadcaster Katie Puckrik – for a night of comedy, debate and chat about the State of the Union.

“The 4th of July is a celebration of America declaring its independence, of course, but in practical terms it’s a chance to have too much to drink and blow things up. The drinking we learned from our British founders, the blowing up we figured all on our own,” says McElroy.

“This year, it’s the first independence celebration under President Trump. Trump’s had about six months to ‘Make America Great Again’ – join us as we figure out if he’s done it!”

More information on Erich and his guests:

Erich McElroy

Erich has been in demand as a comedian and as a pundit, and has written for The Independent, The Herald, The Huffington Post and Saga. Erich’s broadcasting credits include BBC NewsBBC BreakfastGood Morning BritainNewsnight, BBC Radio 5 live, TalkRadio, Sky SunriseMurnaghan, STV and SomeNews Live on Fubar Radio.

‘Smart, sharp, endearing comic’
The List

Rich Hall

Rich Hall, the grouchy, deadpan, comic genius quit his job as a hurricane namer for the United States Meteorological Service eighteen years ago and has never looked back. Since then he has won an Emmy for writing on The David Letterman Show, won the Perrier Award (the comedy equivalent to a Oscar) with his excellent character Otis Lee Crenshaw, and won the Edinburgh Critics Award twice! Looking like a Pearl Jam roadie, Rich is a master of absurdist irony while eschewing the human condition. He particularly likes to lay it on Americans and life across the Pond at every opportunity. The world is a donkey ride to hell and Rich is your tour guide. Rich is well known in the States for his numerous appearances on The Letterman Show and Saturday Night Live. In the UK, Rich has appeared on Have I Got News For YouJack Dee’s Sunday Service, and a host of other shows.

‘Belly laughs and aching sides…..whimsical and splenetic. The man is and extempore powerhouse.’
The Times

Katie Pukrik

Katie Puckrik is a broadcaster, writer, and performer – and with the success of her YouTube channel and blog, Katie Puckrik Smells, a globally renowned authority on perfume. On TV she’s best known for The WordThe Sunday Show, and Pyjama Party,and is a presenter and contributor across BBC Radio 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6 Music! She began her career as a singer and dancer, and has performed with Pet Shop Boys, Michael Clark Company, DV8 Physical Theatre, and Sparks. She writes for the Guardian and the Sunday Times, among others. Reviewers called her memoir, Shooting From the Lip, ‘Gonzette journalism…an ammunition-packed bad girl’s guide to life.’

Dave Fulton

Whoever it was who decided that Americans don’t have any sense of irony, they forgot to tell Dave Fulton. This wry Seattle wag is positively brimming over with ironic invective. He even fronted an amusing and perceptive report – for Newsnight, no less – begging Brits to celebrate their own heritage, rather than aping American pop culture. He’s been seen on the BBC series The Stand Up Show, and The Comedy Store series where he took the roof off the prestigious club with his highly inventive perspective on life.

‘Whiplash delivery and relentless pace’
The List

Title: Erich McElroy and Friends ‘celebrate’ the 4th of July on the 2nd of July
Venue: 2 Northdown Street, London N1 9BG (nearest tube: King’s Cross)
Venue website: http://www.2northdown.com/
Ticket link: https://www.tickettext.co.uk/erich-mcelroy/erich-mcelroys-us-indepedence-celebration-02072017/
Tel: 020 8549 9790
Date: Sunday 2nd July
Time: 8pm (Doors 7.00pm)
Age: 18+
Duration: 150 minutes
Entry:  £13 plus booking fee, or £15 on the doorAll proceeds go to Velindre Cancer Centre in Wales.

Terms and Conditions
1. The promoter is Textual Healing PR
2. Employees of Textual Healing PR and The Sweet London Life or their family members or anyone else connected in any way with the competition or helping to set up the competition shall not be permitted to enter the competition.
3. There is no entry fee and no purchase necessary to enter this competition.
4. Route to entry for the competition and details of how to enter are stated above
5. Closing date for entry will be Wednesday 28th June 2017 . After this date the no further entries to the competition will be permitted.
6. No responsibility can be accepted for entries not received for whatever reason.
7. The rules of the competition and the prize for each winner are as follows: Two tickets to see Erich McElroy and Friend’s Celebrate the 4th of July on 2nd July at 2Northdown on 2nd July.
8. The promoter reserves the right to cancel or amend the competition and these terms and conditions without notice in the event of a catastrophe, war, civil or military disturbance, act of God or any actual or anticipated breach of any applicable law or regulation or any other event outside of the promoter’s control. Any changes to the competition will be notified to entrants as soon as possible by the promoter.
9. The promoter is not responsible for inaccurate prize details supplied to any entrant by any third party connected with this competition.
10. No cash alternative to the prizes will be offered. The prizes are not transferable. Prizes are subject to availability and we reserve the right to substitute any prize with another of equivalent value without giving notice.
11. Winners will be chosen by an independent adjudicator or panel of judges appointed by the Sweet London Life.
12. The winner will be notified by social media within 48 hours of the closing date. If the winner cannot be contacted or do not claim the prize within 7 days of notification, we reserve the right to withdraw the prize from the winner and pick a replacement winner.
13. The promoter will notify the winner when and where the prize can be collected.
14. The promoter’s decision in respect of all matters to do with the competition will be final and no correspondence will be entered into.
15. By entering this competition, an entrant is indicating his/her agreement to be bound by these terms and conditions.
16. The competition and these terms and conditions will be governed by English law and any disputes will be subject to the exclusive jurisdiction of the courts of England.
17. The winner agrees to the use of his/her name and image in any publicity material. Any personal data relating to the winner or any other entrants will be used solely in accordance with current UK data protection legislation and will not be disclosed to a third party without the entrant’s prior consent.
18. The winner’s name will be available 28 days after closing date by emailing the promotor  textualhealingpr@gmail.com
19. Entry into the competition will be deemed as acceptance of these terms and conditions.
20. This promotion is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with, Facebook, Twitter or any other Social Network. You are providing your information to The Sweet London Life and not to any other party.

Review: “Unadulterated escapism” ★★★★ Bat Out of Hell – The Musical, London Coliseum

Jim Steinman had a musical theatre show in mind when he first wrote the classic album Bat Out Of Hell and the theatrical nature of both the lyrics and the music mean the songs perfectly lend themselves to the stage.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Although the story that’s been wrapped around them for the new musical is a bit flimsy, with spectacular staging and plenty of tongue in cheek fun, the result is an evening of unadulterated escapism.

It’s a joyful mix of power ballads and cheesy dialogue (also written by Jim Steinman) with some central performances that are so good, the dubious plot is somehow held together. You will, in fact, get so wrapped up in the spectacle of the show that you’ll almost find yourself believing that a dystopia in which adolescents are stuck at the age of 18 is actually a reality. Well, almost.

Andrew Polec’s Strat leads ‘The Lost’, a band of misfits rebelling against the tyrannical rule of Falco (Rob Fowler). Polec’s performance is reminiscent of the rock front men from yesteryear; a blend of Axel Rose and David Bowie, brimming with charisma and sex appeal, while smoothly meandering through the famed melodies.

The youth becomes obsessed with Raven (played with zeal by Christina Bennington), the daughter of the evil dictator in one those zingy love-at-first-sight moments, and decides he must liberate her from her prisoner like existence. The mesmerising chemistry between the couple makes their stage time a joy to watch and with just enough Addams Family like macabre humour provided by Rob Fowler (whose vocals are to die for) and a wine swilling Sharon Sexton, the action never feels too sickly sweet.

John Bausor’s set design is rumoured to be one of the largest in the world and in this instance bigger is definitely better, with huge futuristic video projections further giving a rock concert feel and some lovely little details – including a plunge pool amongst a rocky outcrop– adding to the overall otherworldly look.

As expected, motorbikes also play a big part in the show, but it’s a convertible car that provides the comedy highlight when it’s pushed into the orchestra pit, resulting in some of the musicians making a hammy exit across the stage with their broken instruments.

Mostly the songs bear little relevance to the plot, but they are nevertheless still extremely powerful and in act two the ensemble’s rendition of “Objects in the Rearview Mirror May Appear Closer Than They Are” feels particularly poignant.

Yes, it’s formulaic and the ending is predictable, but in the current political climate, a show, which takes you away from the real world, is just what is needed.

Bat Out of Hell The Musical is at the London Coliseum until 5 August 

Photos by Specular

Andrew “Freddie” Flintoff to make stage debut in Fat Friends – The Musical

Former England cricket captain, and star of SKY’s League of Their Own, Andrew “Freddie” Flintoff will swap the cricket pitch to tread the boards as he joins an all star cast for the world premiere of Kay Mellor’s Fat Friends – the Musical. Freddie will play Kevin Chadwick opposite the previously announced, Jodie Prenger as his fiancée, Kelly. Freddie takes to the stage for the first time on 7thNovember 2017 as Fat Friends – the Musical opens at Leeds Grand Theatre. He will then tour with the production to Southampton, Sheffield, Manchester, Birmingham, Bradford and Blackpool.

One of the world’s most recognised cricket stars, Freddie Flintoff won the BBC Sports Personality of the Year award in 2005 after playing a pivotal role in regaining the Ashes from Australia. Since the Lancashire Lad’s cricket career ended in 2010, he has forged a career as a much loved presenter and broadcaster. Appearing as a captain on Sky’s A League of Their Own, being crowned King of the Jungle in the first Australian version of I’m a Celebrity Get Me Out of Here!, Freddie has also launched a clothing range ‘Flintoff by Jacamo’. Having just filmed a part in Kay Mellor’s new ITV series, this role will see Freddie continue to affirm his acting credentials after bowling over the show’s creator, Kay Mellor and composer Nicholas Lloyd Webber during auditions!

Freddie Flintoff said: “I am really excited to be starring in Fat Friends – The Musical at Leeds Grand in November and at some other great venues around the UK in 2018. Having had the pleasure of recently working on an episode of Kay’s latest TV series, it’s great to have the opportunity to work with her again. I loved the TV series and think Fat Friends – The Musical, is going to give people a great night out. I’m really looking forward to it.”

Kay Mellor said: “I was introduced to Freddie at one of our TV casting sessions – it was clear to me that he could leave his cricket bat behind, embody a character, and understand the drama. It was a no brainer… he got the part. Then, as we were talking through Fat Friends – The Musical, I wondered if Freddie could sing. I was ecstatic when Nick met him and agreed his voice was perfect for the role. I am thrilled and delighted that Freddie is able to join us for our run at Leeds and part of the tour as well, playing our leading male and fiancee to Kelly played by Jodie Prenger. I can’t wait to start working with the super talented cast we’ve got so far!”

Nicholas Lloyd Webber said: “I am thrilled that Freddie will be joining our stellar cast of Fat Friends – the Musical. He immediately really impressed us in his audition and we are so excited to be working with him on our show. Our starting XI is now nothing short of sensational.”

The award winning TV drama has been adapted for the stage by its creator and one of the UK’s most prolific writers, Kay Mellor, whose extensive television credits include hit series of Band of Gold, The Chase, The Syndicate, In the Club and whose stage credits include A Passionate Woman. Freddie joins the award winning Jodie Prenger and X-Factor winner Sam Bailey with further casting to be announced.

Produced by Joshua Andrews and Adam Spiegel, with original music and songs composed by Nicholas Lloyd Webber, Fat Friends – The Musical will open at Leeds Grand Theatre in November ahead of an extensive UK tour, visiting Bromley, Newcastle, Hull, Southampton, Sheffield, Southend, Milton Keynes, Norwich, Manchester, Nottingham, Birmingham, Dartford, Edinburgh, Cardiff, Glasgow, Bradford, Aberdeen and Blackpool.

Fat Friends – the Musical is designed by Bretta Gerecke with choreography by Karen Bruce, musical supervision, orchestrations and arrangements from Simon Lee, sound design by two time Olivier Award winning Gareth Owen and lighting design from Tony Award nominated Nick Richings, Fat Friends – The Musical, sees the nation’s favourite group of dieters reunited as this new show bursts on to the stage.

The ‘weight’ is over; Packed full of warmth, life and weight loss, this brand new stage show reunites our favourite foodie friends in an original musical bulging with hopes, humour and heart. Join the infamous group of loveable characters as they are put through their Zumba paces at their local branch of Super Slimmer’s by the lovelorn Lauren whilst Kelly fantasises about fitting into the wedding dress of her dreams. Fat Friends offers a generous serving of hilarious fun with a sprinkle of romance on top!

Fat Friends hit television screens in October 2000, following the lives of a group of overweight friends as they struggle with the absurdities of modern dieting. Running for five years on ITV, the show starred Alison Steadman, Gaynor Faye and Lisa Riley and launched the careers of James Corden and Ruth Jones. Written by Kay Mellor, the show was nominated for multiple awards including the BAFTA for Best Drama Series.

Online: www.fatfriendsthemusical.com

Joanne Clifton and Ben Adams to star in new production of Flashdance – The Musical

Flashdance – The Musical returns to the UK for the first time since 2011 starring Strictly favourite Joanne Clifton and singer-songwriter Ben Adams.

Strictly Come Dancing Champion Joanne Clifton is no stranger to being at the top, as she is also a World & European Champion ballroom dancer, and is one of very few pro dancers to have won both the main Strictly glitter ball with Ore Oduba last year and the Christmas Special in 2015 with Harry Judd.

Joanne made her musical theatre debut in the role of Streetwalker in the UK premiere of the Irving Berlin musical Face The Music, for which she was nominated for an Off West End Award. She followed this up with a turn as Marilyn Monroe in the Norma Jeane Musical and then tread the boards as Millie Dillmount in the No. 1 UK Tour of Thoroughly Modern Millie for which she garnered rave reviews.

She is now excited to take on her latest starring role as Alex Owens in the UK Tour of Flashdance. Joanne says,

“This is just another dream come true! I think everyone in the world whether dancer or non-dancer, as soon as they hear ‘What a Feeling’, remember that iconic scene at the end of the film and I’m so incredibly lucky that I get to do that every night in a UK TOUR along with fabulous numbers like “She’s a Maniac.” I’m over the moon! It’s another amazing opportunity in my musical theatre career and I can once again sing and act alongside dancing! I just hope the water’s not too cold when it falls on me!’

Ben Adams who will join Joanne on stage as Nick Hurley has been singing and performing since the age of 8. His career started as head chorister at St. Margaret’s, Westminster Abbey, singing at royal weddings, touring all over Europe, recording 2 classical albums and frequently singing for the likes of the Queen and the Pope.

At 16, he became the lead singer of the band a1, who racked up 10 million record sales, 2 UK number ones, 5 studio albums and toured throughout the world, winning a Brit award among many others.

When the band split, Ben took to the studio and is now a successful song writer and producer, working with the likes of Robin Thicke, Craig David, JLS, Ward Thomas, Sam Bailey, Boyzone and Alexandra Burke to name but a few. He also reached the final of Celebrity Big Brother, the Norwegian version of Strictly Come Dancing, and Master Chef in Denmark. As well as writing for other artists, he went straight to number 1 in the itunes charts with his classical album titled One Beautiful Mourning. His first solo album 1981 will be launched early 2018.

In 2010, A1 reformed and having successfully completed stadium tours in Asia and 68 sold out arena concerts across Europe, they starred in The Big Reunion on ITV2 and played arenas across the country.  They continue to tour throughout the world.

Ben has also written a brand-new musical called ‘EUGENIUS!’ Which after a sold-out London Palladium performance, is set to hit the West End stage next year.

Ben says of taking to the stage in Flashdance:

“It’s amazing to be part of such an iconic story, and as an 80’s child I was brought up on this music so I couldn’t be happier playing Nick in the theatre production of Flashdance. Whilst I continue with my own music career and touring with a1, Musical Theatre has always been a real passion of mine, so to be asked to play this role, and to be working with such an amazing cast and crew is a real honour. I look forward to seeing you all out on the road in the coming months”

Additional cast includes: Colin, Kiyani, Rikki Chamberlain, Garry Lee Netley, Carol Ball, Sia Dauda, Hillie Ann Lowe, Simeon Beckett, Rhodri Watkins, Demmileigh Foster, Emily Kenwright, Ameila Rose Fielding, Alex Christian, Matt Concannon

Flashdance – The Musical tells the inspiring and unforgettable story of 18-year-old Alex, a welder by day and ‘flashdancer’ by night, who dreams of going to the prestigious Shipley Dance Academy and becoming a professional dancer. When a romance complicates her ambitions, she harnesses it to drive her dream.

Producers are promising audiences will be blown away with an astonishing musical spectacle and phenomenal choreography to the iconic score, which includes the smash hits “Maniac, Manhunt”, “Gloria”, “I Love Rock & Roll” and the award-winning title track “Flashdance – What a Feeling”.

Based on the Paramount Pictures film (Screenplay by Tom Hedley and Joe Eszterhas, story by Tom Hedley) Flashdance is an inspiring musical about the power of holding onto your dreams and love against all odds. Flashdance proved a hit with audiences, and remained in the Top 10 Box Office in the States for 15 weeks after release. The original score also proved hugely popular, with the soundtrack album selling 700,000 copies within two weeks of release. The platinum selling hit title track “Flashdance – What A Feeling” won both an Academy Award and a Golden Globe in 1983, with the soundtrack winning the Grammy Award for Best Album of Original Score Written for a Motion Picture or a Television Special in 1984.

Flashdance will open in Glasgow on 4 August before embarking on a UK tour with visits to Wimbledon, Woking and Dartford all on the schedule. For full details of tour venues and dates, visit www.flashdanceuktour.co.uk

 

 

Brand New Production of Agatha Christie’s ‘Witness For the Prosecution’ to open on the South Bank This Autumn

A major new production of Agatha Christie’s Witness for the Prosecution is to open on London’s South Bank this October in a unique court room setting inside County Hall.  Lucy Bailey (Comus, The Graduate, Titus Andronicus) will direct this gripping tale of justice, passion and betrayal, with the audience thrillingly placed in the thick of the action in a spectacular location. This will be the first major London production of a play written by Agatha Christie to open since the 1960s.

Director Lucy Bailey at The Chamber in London County Hall. Photo by Helen Maybanks

Leonard Vole is accused of murdering a widow to inherit her wealth. The stakes are high. Will Leonard survive the shocking witness testimony?  Will he be able to convince the jury of his innocence and escape the hangman’s noose?

Witness for the Prosecution was one of Agatha Christie’s favourites of all her works.  In her autobiography, she said: ‘One night at the theatre stands out in my memory especially; the first night of Witness for the Prosecution. I can safely say that that was the only first night I have enjoyed…. It was one of my plays that I like best myself.’ 

The new production has been developed with the support and involvement of the Christie family. Christie’s Great Grandson and Executive Chair of Agatha Christie Ltd, James Prichard said “It is really exciting to see this innovative approach to one of my great grandmother’s best plays. The amazing setting of County Hall will help raise the production to great heights, and with Lucy Bailey directing it will be a must see theatre event. This show will help demonstrate that Christie’s works are as relevant today as they have ever been, and 21st century London is in for a treat.”

Witness for the Prosecution is part of an exciting new wave of adaptations of Christie’s work on stage and screen that are giving audiences a fresh perspective on her canon. It follows the highly acclaimed BBC One adaptation of the short story which aired last Christmas and starred Toby Jones, Andrea Riseborough and Kim Cattrall, as well as the BBC’s And Then There Were None which starred Aidan Turner, Charles Dance and Sam Neill. The BBC has commissioned seven new adaptations with the first of these, Ordeal By Innocence going into production this summer. In November, 20th Century Fox’s feature film adaptation of Murder on the Orient Express will be released, directed by and starring Kenneth Branagh. The all-star cast also includes Judi Dench, Johnny Depp, Michelle Pfeiffer, Penelope Cruz, Olivia Colman, Willem Dafoe, Daisy Ridley, Tom Bateman, Derek Jacobi, Josh Gad, Leslie Odom Jr, Sergei Polunin and Lucy Boynton.

Witness for the Prosecution will run from 6 October – 11 March 

Under the Bridge welcomes Moon Hooch as part of EFG London Jazz Festival

Under the Bridge welcomes explosive horn and percussion trio Moon Hooch and their thunderous brand of cult techno jazz. The three-piece were so popular as student buskers on New York’s subways that the NYPD famously banned their impromptu shows as a public-order hazard. They’ve since gone on sell out major US venues, tour globally and are due to release a new live album later this month.

Comprised of tenor saxophonist Mike Wilbur, baritone sax/bass clarinet Wenzl McGowen, and drummer James Muschler, the trio will deliver their high-energy, intoxicating sound, that merges elements of indie rock, virtuosic jazz and pulse-pounding electronic dance music with a DIY aesthetic.

Onstage, the band now plays through a “Reverse DJ” setup, in which the live sound from their horns runs through laptops to process recorded effects. In addition, they utilize Moog synthesizers, as well as an EWI (an electronic wind instrument that responds to breath in addition to touch) and other more traditional instruments like clarinets.

Moon Hooch will be at Under the Bridge on 16 November