Game of Thrones, The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit celebrated in a one-off concert at the London Palladium. 

They are the most beloved and recognisable big and small screen creations of all time – let alone just in the world of the Fantasy genre – and now, for the first time, the music of Game of Thrones, The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit will be celebrated in a one-off concert at the London Palladium.

The show, presented by Senbla and Silva Screen Live, will be a celebration of the music from the most memorable moments from across the world’s of Middle Earth and the Seven Kingdoms, with the stunning musical accompaniments performed live by a huge orchestra, creating an immersive live concert experience that is every bit as thrilling as the twists and turns in the world’s respective histories.

Game of Thrones is a TV show like no other – the hit HBO series has captured the hearts and minds of millions the world over, and had audiences hooked on it’s 7th season right up until last Monday’s finale. Composer Ramin Djawadi began creating the music for the show in 2011, with most of the eerie, magnificent score back then being penned for a small string ensemble. With the success of the next six seasons of the show, the music budget became bigger and bigger, allowing Djawadi to create even more emphatic pieces for large orchestras.

The success of HBO’s Game of Thrones is almost unfathomable. The small screen adaptation of George R.R Martin’s series of fantasy novels has drawn in record numbers of viewers all across the world, being awarded thirty-eight Emmy Awards so far.

One of the most successful film series of all time, The Lord of The Rings, as well as it’s prequel series The Hobbit, will also have their most memorable pieces performed live in the concert.

The original trilogy of The Lord of The Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring, The Two Towers, and The Return of the King, directed by Peter Jackson, are among the highest grossing film series of all time, as well as being critically acclaimed – winning a combined 17 out of the 30 Academy Awards they were nominated for.

Composed by Howard Shore, conceived the soundtrack as music of unparalleled power and invention, demanding of huge resources – a large symphonic ensemble, and scored around 95% of the films’ length – eventually having over 12 hours of music released over various formats / used in the films.

The success of the The Lord of the Rings’ soundtrack led Shore to also score Peter Jackson’s follow-up prequels to Lord of the Rings; The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, The Desolation of Smaug, and The Battle of the Five Armies.

Now audiences in the UK for the first time can experience a concert celebrating one of the most vital and stand-out aspects of the Fantasy genre in an all encompassing live concert experience at the London Palladium in November – though fans will have to be quick to snap up the precious tickets, as Winter is coming!

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Roll up, Roll up! Barnum is back in London

The Menier Chocolate Factory has announced the first major London revival of Barnum.

Barnum tells the story of P.T. Barnum, the Greatest Showman on Earth, who combines razzle-dazzle with charm and brass to sell “humbug” to cheering crowds. A joyful and moving musical portrait of the nineteenth century’s greatest show-biz legend, Barnum is a colourful, dynamic spectacle full of circus, side-show legends and heart.

With music by Cy Coleman (Sweet Charity and The Life), lyrics by Michael Stewart (book writer of Hello Dolly!and Mack and Mabel; and co-adaptor of 42nd Street), and book by Mark Bramble (co-author of 42nd Street and director of the current revival), this Tony Award-winning musical premièred on Broadway in 1980.

Gordon Greenberg’s production opens on 5 December, with previews from 25 November, and runs until 3 March 2018. The production goes on sale to supporters of the Menier on 31 August, and to the general public on 11 September.

www.menierchocolatefactory.com

Full casting announced for Dr. Seuss’s The Lorax at The Old Vic

The Old Vic today announces full casting for Dr. Seuss’s The Lorax, which returns to The Old Vic stage for a limited run opening on Tuesday 24 October, with previews from Sunday 15 October 2017, prior to international dates in Canada and the USA.

The irrepressible, big-hearted, moustachioed critter is back. This dazzlingly funny, moving, and inspiring show sees the go-getting Once-ler come face to face with the magical Lorax in a battle over the beloved truffula trees and the whole of Paradise Valley. Adapted for the stage by David Greig with music and lyrics by Charlie Fink and designs by multi-Olivier Award winning Rob Howell, Dr. Seuss’s The Lorax is a brilliant riot of eye-popping colour, gorgeous puppetry and infectious music to enchant adults and children alike.

Simon Paisley Day reprises his role as The Once-ler, and David Ricardo-Pearce will play The Lorax along with puppeteers Laura Caldow and Ben Thompson. The full cast includes Michael Ajao, Joseph Alessi, Josh Baker, Jack Beale, Hannah Fairclough, Owain Gwynn, Wendy Mae Brown, Kirsty Malpass, Kerri Norville, Ellena Vincent and Silas Wyatt-Barke.

Musical cabaret about Princess Diana, Freddie Mercury & Kenny Everett’s secret night out at London gay pub to tour UK

In 1988, Freddie Mercury and Kenny Everett reportedly helped Princess Diana escape the pressures of palace life by dressing her in drag and smuggling her into London’s notorious gay pub: the Royal Vauxhall Tavern. Twenty years after her untimely demise and based on real accounts, Royal Vauxhall commemorates Diana’s death by reliving the night of her life.

As the princess, the clown and the rock king sing, drink and dance together, their wild night unfolds as the weight of responsibility and the spectre of AIDS looms over them.

Now the stuff of urban legend, details of the trio’s night at the Royal Vauxhall Tavern first came to the fore in the 1998 autobiography of Cleo Rocos: the longtime collaborator of Kenny Everett. Royal Vauxhall irreverently opens up this infamous evening as three high-profile friends explore their sexuality, their mortality and the claustrophobia of Royal family life.

Royal Vauxhall was developed and first aired at the Royal Vauxhall Tavern, the celebrated gay pub where this notorious event purportedly took place, and one of the few iconic gay cabaret venues still standing. The show was written partly in response to the widespread closing of iconic gay and gay friendly pubs and clubs in London and around the country. It explores the need for safety and sanctuary for minority communities, as well as for famous people who need a place to hide.

Royal Vauxhall stars international musical comedy sensation Carrie Marx as Princess Diana (The Segue Sisters, Arthur Smith Sings Leonard Cohen), cabaret favourite Joe Morrow as Kenny Everett (Café de Paris, Bungabunga) and the Edinburgh Spotlight Best Cabaret Award-winning performer and MC Desmond O’Connor (BBC Radio One’s Fun and Filth Scott Mills: The Musical).

Royal Vauxhall will embark on its Premiere UK Tour from 27th August – 5th October

www.royalvauxhall.co.uk

Nominations announced for the 2017 West End Wilma Awards

Theatre Blogger West End Wilma has announced that the fourth annual West End Wilma Awards (this year in association with Free@Last TV Ltd) will take place on Friday 3 November, 2pm at London’s Delfont Room (Prince of Wales Theatre).

The ceremony will once again be hosted by Tim McArthur and will feature musical performances (to be announced).

westendwilma.com is the mother/son blogging venture that has been taking over London’s theatre scene for the last five years, interviewing stars of the stage and reviewing all the latest productions. The 2016 awards was a star-studded event, with guests including Sam Bailey, Lesley Joseph, Kerry Ellis, Rachel Tucker, Mazz Murray, Martina Cole, Cassidy Jansen and Tracie Bennett. For all the winners of the 2016 awards and photos from the event check out http://www.westendwilma.com/wilma-awards-2016-winners/

Today, the shortlisted nominees have been announced, live on West End Wilma’s YouTube Channel

 

2017 West End Wilma Award Nominees

Best Touring Production

Billy Elliot
Rent
The Addams Family

Best Cabaret/Solo Show (Sponsored by Royal Vauxhall Tavern)

Rachel Tucker (Live At Zedel)
Christine Bianco (O Come All Ye Diva’s)
Audra McDonald (Leicester Square Theatre)

Rising Star (Sponsored by R&H Theatricals Europe)

Andrew Polec (Bat Out Of Hell)
Charlie Stemp (Half A Sixpence)
Abigail Carter Simpson (Newsrevue/Charming Dick)

Best Comedy (Sponsored by JHI Marketing)

Roller Diner (Soho Theatre)
Margaret Thatcher Queen Of Game Shows (Underbelly Festival)
Tina Turner Tea Lady (Gary’s Warehouse – The Bottle Shop)

Best Understudy

Jenny Gayner (The Girls)
Joel Montague (School of Rock)
Alice Fearn (Wicked)

Best Performer In An Off-West End Show

Zoe Doano (Death Takes A Holiday, Charing Cross Theatre)
Chris Jenkins (Tick Tick Boom, Park Theatre)
Jodie Jacobs (Lizzie, Greenwich Theatre)

Best Performer In A West End Show (Sponsored by Encore Radio)

Victoria Hamilton Barritt (Murder Ballad, Arts Theatre)
Fisayo Akinade (Saint Joan, Donmar Warehouse)
Emma Williams (Half A Sixpence, Noel Coward Theatre)

Best Off-West End Show (Sponsored by The Charing Cross Theatre)

Lizzie (Greenwich Theatre)
Sideshow (Southwark Playhouse)
Working (Southwark Playhouse)

Best West End Show (Sponsored by TodayTix)

Harry Potter And The Cursed Child (Palace Theatre)
School Of Rock (New London Theatre)
Half A Sixpence (Noel Coward Theatre)

Public voting opens at westendwilma.com on 1 September 2017.

Also this year sees the introduction of the Achievement In Creating Accessible Theatre Award, recognising venues who not only ensure they are fully wheelchair accessible but also provide a good programme of adapted performances for those with disabilities that may mean they are unable to attend regular performances.

The shortlisted nominees are decided by West End Wilma and reviewing team of over forty people who have reviewed more than 500 theatre productions over the past twelve months (and seen many more for their own pleasure).

Tickets on sale

A limited number of tickets are on sale to the public (£20 each) for those who would like to mingle with the nominees and see the winners announced live at this super stagey event. Tickets on sale now https://www.delfontmackintosh.co.uk/tickets/west-end-wilma-awards-2017/

The 2017 West End Wilma Awards takes place on Friday 3 November 2017, 2pm at The Delfont Room, Prince of Wales Theatre, Coventry Street, London, W1D 6AS.

Review: “There’s a real classic in town” ★★★★ Salad Days, Union Theatre

If, like me, you’re a big fan of musicals, it’s likely that you will have a hit list of shows; revered masterpieces that you hope will be revived so you’ll get to experience them at least once, writes Nicky Sweetland.

Recently I’ve managed to tick off a couple (with wonderful productions of Side Show and The Wild Party) but with the return of the Julian Slade and Dorothy Reynolds’ Salad Days at the Union Theatre, there’s a real classic in town.

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The 1950s musical is well-known for its glorious and uplifting score, with songs like “It’s Hush Hush” and “We’re Looking for a Piano” immediately putting a smile on your face.

But if you look closely beneath the froth and frivolity you’ll find a huge amount of social comment. Written in the post war era, there are observations of the classist system and the pressures of entitlement as well as an insight into a time before the decriminalisation of homosexuality and all cleverly disguised as a kitsch and gentle piece of musical madness.

And it is completely bonkers. We find Timothy and Jane at the end of their university education wondering what the future holds, with overbearing parents breathing down their plummy necks. Timothy must find a job and Jane a husband, but after happening upon a magic piano, their fortunes take a different tack and a fairytale adventure ensues.

Director Bryan Hodgson extracts every inch of comedy from the script and, along with some vibrant choreography from Joanne McShane, there’s an addition of some jaunty innuendo to help alleviate the dated feeling of the action.

It’s magnificently over done, with Lowri Hamer steadying the ship as the enchanting Jane and keeping up the sunshiny pace throughout. Laurie Denman is charming as Timothy, although his somewhat cloudy diction does mean the dialogue is lost at times.

The musical highlight is provided by Maeve Byrne in an energetic Cleopatra Club scene and even with the ‘weird factor’ ramped up in act two (with the appearance of some aliens), the story is filled with touching subtext and intricate characters if you are observant enough.

Salad Days is at the Union Theatre until 9 September 

Photos by Scott Rylander

We talk to Jack Ellis about the ultra scary ‘Wait Until Dark’ at Richmond Theatre

Audrey Hepburn earned an Academy Award nomination for the 1967 psychological thriller Wait Until Dark, writes Nicky Sweetland.

But fans of the film will soon be able to experience Fredrick Knott’s terrifying play – upon which the screenplay was based – when a new production embarks on a nationwide tour next week.

The play, which is set amidst the social turbulence of 60’s London, stars Oliver Mellor (Coronation Street) and Karina Jones (The Vagina Monologues and Crystal Clear) alongside Jack Ellis (Prime Suspect and Bad Girls) who took some time off from rehearsals to tell us about the new production.

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The play follows the story of Suzy, a blind woman who, left alone in her apartment, becomes embroiled with a group of conmen hatching an elaborate scam and Jack explains, “It’s a fantastic piece made better by the fact that we have Karina Jones, who is a blind actress, playing the Audrey Hepburn part. I think it’s the first time it’s ever been done. I think, were we to do it with a sighted actress, it might be slightly dated but having Karina adds a huge amount of poignancy and a totally different feel. It underlines disability and our attitudes towards disability.”

With her husband removed from the house, Suzy is left to fend for herself but with the phone line cut and the house plunged into darkness, how will she outwit her tormentors?

“Weirdly she becomes more and more resolute as the play unfolds.” Jack said.

Jack Ellis is perhaps best known for playing the dastardly prison guard Jim Fenner in the ITV television series Bad Girls. His previous theatre credits include A Clockwork Orange, Richard III and Hamlet (all for the Royal Shakespeare Company) but he was most recently seen onstage in the acclaimed UK touring production of Shawshank Redemption.

Jack, once again, portrays an unsavoury character in the new stage production of Waiting For Dark, which is often quoted as one of the top 100 scariest films of all time.

“Fans of the film will love it, but I think they’ll get a lot more from it. The film is just a scary film and this has got a lot of comedy in it as well.” Jack tells us, “It’s a bit like the Woman in Black, meets Hustle, meets Harold Pinter, meets the scariest film you’ve ever seen, particularly at the end.”

Waiting Until Dark will run at the Richmond Theatre from 4 – 9 September 

A Fantastic Festival of Film confirmed at the Royal Albert Hall

Bad Seed Barry Adamson, presenter and pianist Neil Brand, and Matt Johnson – frontman of The The, will join the likes of Michael Giacchino and James Newton Howard at the Royal Albert Hall’s Festival of Film in October.

Events confirmed in this eclectic, unmissable season – which brings movie music centre-stage – include Adamson discussing his work on Lost Highway as part of a celebration of David Lynch, Brand’s new silent comedy show for kids, and Johnson in conversation with Colleen ‘Cosmo’ Murphy – digging into what makes a truly great score.

Movie producer Mia Bays, meanwhile, will present ‘The Many Faces of Marilyn’ – an exploration of Marilyn Monroe’s legacy, with a panel discussion and the chance to see Billy Wilder’s Some Like It Hot and the blistering film noir, Clash by Night, on the big screen.

Mehdi Aoustin-Sellami, Head of Programming at the Royal Albert Hall, said: ““There is even more to choose from at this year’s Festival of Film, both on our famous main stage, and beyond. These fantastic shows will add to your love – and understanding – of some of the greatest movies ever made, and celebrate the music that gives them so much of their power and emotion, in the company of some of the most important voices in cinema today.”

The Festival of Film, running from 7 October to 3 November is headlined by Film in Concert presentations of Jaws, Fantasia and The Addams Family, alongside a celebration of the legendary James Horner (TitanicAliensAvatar), and world premiere career retrospectives of Michael Giacchino and James Newton Howard – featuring the composers themselves.

Giacchino is an Oscar, Emmy, BAFTA and Golden Globe-winner, whose work can be heard in two of the summer’s biggest films – Spider-Man: Homecoming and The War for the Planet of the Apes­ – as well as LostRogue One, the rebooted Star Trek series, and Pixar’s Up and The Incredibles. James Newton Howard worked with the likes of Elton John and Diana Ross before embarking on a big screen career that has immeasurably enhanced the likes of The Sixth SenseThe Dark Knight, The Hunger Games series and Fantastic Beasts.

The season comprises 25 events across seven spaces, including a special Late Night Jazz date starring Robert Habermann and dedicated to movie musicals, a soundtrack silent disco in the venue’s underground Loading Bay, and Ali Hood from The Shark Trust trying to debunk a few myths about his subject, ahead of Jaws.

Opera Holland Park’s new ‘Opera and the Silver Screen’ show will explore arias used in popular films like The Untouchables and The Shawshank Redemption, with the help of some extraordinarily talented singers, while

Family events including Neil Brand’s Silent Laughter, a new, hour-long clip show especially for kids, featuring fast and furious comedy from the likes of Laurel & Hardy and Buster Keaton – all accompanied by the fastest piano fingers in the business – as well as Patrick Monahan’s Film Quiz for Kids, the interactive Heroes and Heroines concert from Albert’s Band, and a Fun DMC Film Special, with special guest DJ Yoda.

The Celebrating David Lynch evening will feature a double-bill of the new documentary portrait, The Art Life, and the director’s 1997 masterpiece, Lost Highway, and include a post-film Q&A with composer Barry Adamson, while Matt Johnson – frontman of The The and a big screen composer – will discuss what it takes to make a great film score, in a revealing chat with Classical Album Sundays founder, Colleen ‘Cosmo’ Murphy. Johnson has scored feature films Tony and Hyena, and the documentaries Moonbug and The Inertia Variations.

The Festival of Film tour, running throughout the season, will take you on a fascinating journey through the Hall’s history on the big screen, from the films of Alfred Hitchcock and Michelangelo Antonioni to Spice World, via Julie Andrews, Michael Caine and Woody Allen.

For a full list of events, or to buy tickets, go to www.royalalberthall.com

Martin Shaw returns to the Richmond Theatre

Martin Shaw leads the cast in the timely UK premiere of Gore Vidal’s award winning political thriller about ambition, political scandal, ruthlessness… and the race for the white house.

Written before the battles of Trump vs Clinton and May vs Corbyn, Vidal’s drama of dirty politics never seemed more real or relevant. At a time of political chaos, The Best Man mirrors the often surprising results of campaigning and the unscrupulous world of politics.

Two opposing presidential party candidates are neck and neck in an unscrupulous battle for the nomination. The only thing that separates the esteemed ex-Secretary of State and his newcomer populist opponent is an endorsement from a respected ex-President. But where does compromise end and corruption begin? And who in the end will be proven to be “the best man”?

One of the UK’s most respected actors, Martin Shaw, rose to stardom in the late seventies in The Professionals, launching a career that has hardly seen him out of the limelight. He is best known for starring in the multi award winning BBC drama Judge John Deed and more recently Inspector George Gently. On stage, his revelatory performance as Lord Goring in Peter Hall’s production of An Ideal Husband earned him a Tony nomination and the coveted New York Drama Critics’ Circle Award. Other West End triumphs include the acclaimed Twelve Angry MenAre You Lonesome Tonight? and A Man For All Seasons. He returns to the stage in a role made famous by Henry Fonda in the award-winning film adaptation of The Best Man.

Born into a distinguished political family, Gore Vidal was a prolific writer known for the waspish wit, which peppered his essays, novels, screenplays and Broadway plays. Among his most famous works are Myra Breckinridge and Lincoln. The Best Man premiered on Broadway in 1960 and was nominated for six Tony Awards, including ‘Best Play’. Vidal adapted it into a film with the same title in 1964 starring Henry Fonda,Cliff Robertson, and Lee Tracy who was nominated for an Oscar for his portrayal of the crafty ex-President. The play received a major revival on Broadway in 2012 starring James Earl Jones and Angela Lansbury, and earned two Tony award nominations including ‘Best Revival of a Play’.

The Best Man will visit Richmond Theatre as part of its UK tour from Monday 2nd – Saturday 7th October prior to a West End run. 

Cel Spellman joins the cast of Talk Radio at the Old Red Lion

Cel Spellman (Host of the Sunday Chart Show on Radio 1; Cold Feet, ITV; Cucumber, Channel 4) will join the cast of Talk Radio at the Old Red Lion.

He will costar alongside George Turvey (No Villain, Old Red Lion, Trafalgar Studios; Batman, Live arena tour; Artistic Director of PapaTango theatre company), Andy Secombe (Star Wars: The Phantom Menace, Attack of the Clones; Mr Gillie, Finborough Theatre) Molly McNerney and Matthew Jure (Grantchester, ITV; Downton Abbey, BBC1; The Great Train Robbery, BBC1 and EIFF Best Actor in a Feature Film nominee 2017) in Eric Bogosian’s Pulitzer Prize-nominated play, thirty years after its inaugural production in New York.

Barry Champlain is abrasive and forthright, the ultimate devil’s advocate, willing to argue just about any point. He lives for his radio show and the minor fame it brings him but his on-air persona is just that: a persona. Barry despises the people he talks to every day; he loathes their views and he abhors their adoration.

His listeners think they know him but Barry is not even sure he knows himself. He is careless and cold with his lover Linda, downright ugly to his best friend and collaborator Stu and spiteful of his producer, the man who made him, Dan. But above all, he detests himself for the lie he is living.

While freedom of the press has always been viewed as important, Bogosian’s play highlights that, in the wrong hands, this freedom can be used to baffle and create prejudice. In a post-truth age of fake news and continued attacks against the press, this landmark hit has never felt more relevant.

Director Sean Turner comments, I’m elated by the cast we’ve put together. Cel is an extraordinary talent and having a bona fide radio guy in the cast helps too! Matthew is going to be a phenom in the central role and I’m thrilled to be building on previous work with George and Andy. Molly is a rare find – she’s going to be huge.

Talk Radio will run at the Old Red Lion from 29th August – Saturday 23rd September