Slava’s Snowshow will return to London’s Southbank Centre for an unprecedented fifth season

The multi-award winning international sensation Slava’s Snowshow returns to the UK this autumn commencing its 2017 journey at the Wales Millennium Centre, Cardiff on Tuesday 17th November, with a national press night on Wednesday 18th October. The show tours to Salford, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Norwich, Bristol and Southampton before making a return to London’s Southbank Centre for an unprecedented fifth season of festive magic from 18th December – 4th January.

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A combination of theatrical clowning and stunning visual spectacle, Slava’s Snowshow is performed by a world-renowned company of clowns led by Slava Polunin, Artistic Director of the St Petersburg Circus.

Slava’s Snowshow is the internationally acclaimed winner of the Time Out, Olivier and Drama Desk awards for most unique theatrical experience. Now in its 25th  year since its inception, it had its UK premiere at the Edinburgh Festival in 1994, and has since toured all over the country, delighting audiences of all ages and winning an Olivier Award for Best Entertainment during its run at the Old Vic in 1998. The show’s popularity overseas has seen it performed in 80 cities around the globe including New York, Los Angeles, Paris, Rome, Hong Kong, Rio de Janeiro and Moscow.

Ahead of the opening of UK Slava Polunin visits the UK to launch his new book Alchemy of Snowness. The publication explores Slava’s role as an artist, a creator, a performer, and of his Snowshow, the theatre spectacle that has entertained, enchanted and touched audiences worldwide. The book traces Slava’s artistic journey and exhilarating exploration in his creation of “a show that would bring us back to our childhood dreams; a show which would help spectators be released from the jail of adulthood and rediscover their forgotten childhood”. With 27 stunning illustrations throughout by artist Quint Buchholz punctuating Slava’s poetic storytelling this book is a must-read for anyone intrigued by the creative process and for those longing for a little magic in their lives. The UK launches take place on Tuesday 23 and Wednesday 24 May at 6.30pm: Waterstones, 203-206 Piccadilly, St. James’s, London W1J 9HD. 

The show’s triumphant return to the Royal Festival Hall after four highly successful winter seasons will mark the culmination of the latest stage in an extraordinary journey, which has seen it become a key part of the UK cultural landscape.

Slava’s Snowshoe will run at the Royal Festival Hall from Mon 18th December 2017 – Thur 4th January 2018

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Casting announced for Terry Johnson’s Insignificance at the Arcola Theatre

The cast have now been announced for the first London revival in over 20 years of Insignificance by two-time Olivier Award winner Terry Johnson. Alice Bailey Johnson (The Libertine, Royal Haymarket; Oh What A Lovely War, UK Tour; Desdemona, Park Theatre), Simon Rouse (Tribes, Crucible Theatre; The Dresser, Duke of York’s Theatre; Hangmen, Wyndham’s Theatre), Tom Mannion (Hamlet Who’s There, Trafalgar Studios; The Autumn Garden, Jermyn Street Theatre; The Patriotic Traitor, Park Theatre) and Oliver Hembrough (Echo’s End, Salisbury Playhouse; Wasted, West Yorkshire Playhouse; A Further Education, Hampstead Theatre) will bring this hilarious and bittersweet comedy to life on stage at the Arcola Theatre.

Insignificance centres on an imagined meeting between Albert Einstein, who is deliberating whether to testify to McCarthy’s House Committee, and Marilyn Monroe, who is being pursued by her jealous husband Joe DiMaggio. Over one night in a hotel room, the characters grapple playfully with the difficulties of knowing the world, each other and themselves.

Director David Mercateli comments, When Insignificance premiered, America had a celebrity president in Ronald Reagan. Now it has a celebrity president once again. It’s a fascinating time to revive this play about four individuals who are also towering icons, at the top of their games. What’s the reality of that for them? And what happens when the fantasies we project on to people become part our reality, part of the world we live in?

Insignificance premiered at the Royal Court Theatre in 1982, and was voted one of the top hundred plays in the NT2000 Platform series. It won Terry Johnson the Plays & Players Award for Best Play, and the Evening Standard Award for Most Promising Playwright.

Full casting announced for The Exorcist

“I’m telling you that ‘thing’ upstairs isn’t my daughter…”

Forty-five years after William Peter Blatty’s best-selling novel terrified an entire generation, The Exorcist will be unleashed onto the West End stage for the very first time in a uniquely theatrical experience directed by Sean Mathias and adapted for the stage by John Pielmeier.

Jenny Seagrove will play Chris MacNeil opposite Peter Bowles as Father Lankester Merrin, Adam Garcia as Father Damien Karras, Clare Louise Connolly as Regan, Todd Boyce as Doctor Strong, Mitchell Mullen as Doctor Klein, Elliot Harper as Father Joe and Tristram Wymark as Burke.

Widely considered the scariest movie of all time, the film adaptation of The Exorcist sparked unprecedented worldwide controversy when it was released in cinemas in 1973. Winner of two Academy Awards, William Friedkin’s masterpiece saw audiences petrified to the point of passing out and went on to become one of the top ten highest grossing films of all time.

“Oh please, Mother, make it stop! It’s hurting.”

When the medical profession fails to provide answers to young Regan’s strange symptoms her desperate mother Chris turns to a local priest for help. But before Father Damien can tackle what’s before him, he must overcome his own shaken beliefs, as this fight is for more than just one girl’s soul…

Peter Bowles, star of stage, film and television, will play Father Lankester Merrin – the Exorcist of the title. Peter’s West End theatre credits include Hay Fever with Judi Dench at Theatre Royal Haymarket, Archie Rice in John Osborne’s The Entertainer (Shaftesbury) and several leading roles in classic plays for Sir Peter Hall. He is probably best remembered for playing the role of Richard DeVere in the hit BBC comedy series To The Manor Born as well as leading roles in The Irish RMThe BounderRumpole of the Bailey and Only When I Laugh. Peter can currently be seen on ITV’s Victoria as the Duke of Wellington.

Jenny Seagrove, one of the UK’s most respected actresses, will be playing the role of Chris, the mother of Regan, who suffers emotional turmoil in the search to find help for her daughter’s ever increasing strange behaviour. Her prolific theatre career has seen her play the lead in almost every West End playhouse, with recent credits including Alan Ayckbourn’s How The Other Half Loves at the Haymarket, Brief EncounterVolcano, Tennessee Williams’ Night Of The Iguana, David Rabe’s Hurlyburly and The Country Girl with Martin Shaw. Jenny recently appeared as Louisa Gould in the film Another Mother’s Son but perhaps is best known to TV viewers as QC Jo Mills in ITV’s BAFTA award winning Judge John Deed.

Adam Garcia plays Father Damien Karras. Adam is a two-time Olivier Award nominee, was last seen in the West End in the Kenneth Branagh Theatre Company’s The Winter’s Tale (Garrick) and recently starred in the world premiere of Kevin Elyot’s last play Twilight Song (Park Theatre, London). Musical stage credits include Kiss Me Kate, directed by Trevor Nunn (Chichester/Old Vic); Fiyero in the original London cast of Wicked with Idina Menzel (Apollo Victoria), Chip in On The Town (London Coliseum) and Tony Manero in Saturday Night Fever (London Palladium). Adam gained international recognition for leading roles in films including Coyote Ugly and Riding in Cars with Boys with Drew Barrymore, and he appears in Kenneth Branagh’s forthcoming film adaptation of Murder on the Orient Express.

Director Sean Mathias has worked at the National Theatre and many times in the West End and on Broadway, as well as extensively internationally. In 2009/2010 Sean’s production of Waiting For Godot played two seasons at the Theatre Royal Haymarket and toured the UK and internationally. In 2013 Godot played Broadway along with his production of Pinter’s No Man’s Land, the latter transferring to Wyndham’s Theatre in October 2016 starring Ian McKellen and Patrick Stewart, and won Best Revival at the Evening Standard Theatre Awards that year.

The Exorcist is designed by Olivier Award-winning Designer Anna Fleischle (Hangmen), Lighting Design by Philip Gladwell (Five Guys Named Moe), Composition and Sound Design by Adam Cork (London Road), Projection Design by Jon Driscoll and Gemma Carrington(Brief Encounter) and Illusion Design is by Ben Hart (Impossible).

The Exorcist will play a strictly limited run at the Phoenix Theatre from 20 October 2017 to 10 March 2018.

60th anniversary production of Harold Pinter’s The Birthday Party starring Toby Jones, Zoë Wanamaker & Stephen Mangan to be staged

A new production of Harold Pinter’s The Birthday Party will run at the Harold Pinter Theatre, 60 years since the play’s debut.

Stanley Webber (Toby Jones) is the only lodger at Meg (Zoë Wanamaker) and Petey Boles’ sleepy seaside boarding house. The unsettling arrival of enigmatic strangers Goldberg (Stephen Mangan) and McCann disrupts the humdrum lives of the inhabitants and their friend Lulu, and mundanity soon becomes menace when a seemingly innocent birthday party turns into a disturbing nightmare. Truth and alliances hastily shift in Pinter’s brilliantly mysterious dark-comic masterpiece about the absurd terrors of the everyday.

Following critically-acclaimed productions of Betrayal, and Old Times, Ian Rickson returns to direct a new production of Harold Pinter’s landmark play, The Birthday Party. Starring in this comedy of menace are trio of Olivier Award winners, Golden Globe Award-nominated Toby Jones (The Girl, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, Infamous), Tony Award-nominated Stephen Mangan (The Norman ConquestsJeeves and Wooster, Episodes) and Tony Award-nominated Zoë Wanamaker CBE (ElectraPassion PlayMy Family). This will be the seventh Harold Pinter play that Sonia Friedman has produced, three of which have been directed by Ian Rickson, who also directed Pinter himself in his last performance as an actor in Krapp’s Last Tape. It is also the ninth production directed by Ian Rickson that Sonia Friedman has produced.

The Birthday Party will run at the Harold Pinter Theatre from 9th January to 14th April 2018 

Joe Pasquale to star in new stage version of Some Mothers Do ‘Ave ‘Em

Joe Pasquale will star as the loveable but accident-prone Frank Spencer in the first ever stage production of the classic 1970s TV comedy, Some Mothers Do ‘Ave ‘Em.  Sarah Earnshaw will play his long-suffering wife Betty and Susie Blake his disapproving mother-in-law, Mrs Fisher. The stage adaptation has been written by Guy Unsworth, based on the original TV series by Raymond Allen.  Guy Unsworth will also be directing, with design by Simon Higlett.

The UK Tour of Some Mothers Do ‘Ave ‘Em will open at the Wyvern Theatre, Swindon on Wednesday 21 February 2018.

Comedian Joe Pasquale has delighted audiences with his live stand-up tours for over 20 years and made his theatrical debut in 1999 in Larry Shue’s The Nerd, followed by the touring productions of Tom Stoppard’s Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead, Mel Brooks’s The ProducersThe Wizard of Oz and, more recently, the West End and touring productions of Spamalot, as King Arthur.  In addition, Joe was crowned ‘King of the Jungle’ in ITV’s I’m a Celebrity… Get Me Out of Here!  in 2004, and hosted the long-running television series The Price is Right for ITV.

Sarah Earnshaw will be starring as Jennifer Lore in the UK Tour of Nativity – The Musical this autumn, and other theatre credits include Travels With My Aunt (Chichester Festival), The Lady of the Lake in Spamalot (West End and UK Tour) and the original London cast of Wicked.

Susie Blake regularly appeared in the TV series and comedy specials of Victoria Wood, Russ Abbot and Stanley Baxter, and is perhaps particularly loved as the Continuity Announcer in Victoria Wood: As Seen on TV.  More recently, she played regular Bev Unwin in Coronation Street from 2003 – 2006 and then made a comeback in 2015, and regular Hillary Nicholson in Mrs Brown’s Boys.  Her films include Fierce Creatures and Nativity 3: Dude, Where’s My Donkey?!.  Her theatre credits include Grumpy Old Women Live 2 & 3When We Are Married (West End), Pygmalion(Chichester Festival Theatre), Madame Morrible in Wicked (West End) and Belinda Blair in Noises Off (National Theatre).

The UK Tour will be produced by Limelight Productions.

Website: www.somemothersdoaveem.com

Photos by  Michael Wharley

Christian Slater set to return to the West End Stage

Hollywood star Christian Slater will return to the London stage next month in David Mamet’s masterpiece, Glengarry Glen Ross.

He will be joined by  Kris Marshall (Death in Paradise, Love Actually, My Family), Stanley Townsend (Girl from the North Country, The Nether) and Don Warrington (Death in Paradise, Rising Damp) as the ‘deal chasing’ cut-throat sales team.

This trailblazing modern classic, directed by Sam Yates, runs at the Playhouse Theatre from 26 October to 3 February 2018 for a strictly limited 14-week season. The play has won every major dramatic award on both sides of the Atlantic, making it an extraordinary theatrical success story. Its sensational world premiere at the National Theatre in 1983, earned it the Olivier Award for Best Play, whilst its 1984 Broadway premiere garnered multiple Tony Award nominations and just a year later, it won the Pulitzer Award for Drama. In 1992 the play was adapted by Mamet into an Academy Award nominated film featuring an all-star cast including Jack Lemmon, Al Pacino, Ed Harris, Alan Arkin, Kevin Spacey and Jonathan Pryce.

At a time of fierce debate about the American Dream and what it represents, Glengarry Glen Ross is a lacerating satire for modern society, highlighting how economic austerity can affect the morality and greed of individuals under financial pressure.

Lies. Greed. Corruption. It’s business as usual.

Set in an office of cut-throat Chicago salesmen. Pitched in a high-stakes competition against each other, four increasingly desperate employees will do anything, legal or otherwise, to sell the most real estate. As time and luck start to run out, the mantra is simple: close the deal and you’ve won a Cadillac; blow the lead and you’re f****d.

Christian Slater (Ricky Roma) is an internationally acclaimed actor who recently won a Golden Globe and Critic’s Choice award for his role in Mr Robot, for which he is also a producer.

He was last on the London stage in Swimming with Sharks at the Vaudeville Theatre and One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest at the Gielgud/Garrick Theatre. His other stage credits include Spamalot at the Hollywood Bowl and The Glass Menagerie, opposite Jessica Lange, on Broadway.

Glengarry Glen Ross will be at the Playhouse Theatre from  26 OCTOBER 2017 – 3 FEBRUARY 2018

Suranne Jones to star in psychological thriller at Theatre Royal Haymarket

Theatre Royal Haymarket will host Bryony Lavery’s Award-Winning play Frozen early next year.

Suranne Jones (Doctor Foster, Scott & Bailey) and Jason Watkins (Line of Duty, Taboo, W1A) will star in the psychological thriller about a mother whose child goes missing.

One sunny evening a young girl walks to visit her Grandma, she never arrives. A play about retribution, remorse and redemption, Frozen explores the interwoven lives of three strangers as they try to make sense of the unimaginable.

Suranne Jones is about to reprise her BAFTA Award-winning title role in the second series of BBC One’s hugely successful drama Doctor Foster. She recently completed filming for Save Me opposite Lennie James and Stephen Graham for Sky Atlantic. Other recent television work includes five series of the popular ITV drama Scott & Bailey, playing ‘Rachel Bailey’ opposite Lesley Sharp, as well as The Brian Pern Show and The Crimson Field for the BBC. Other television credits include Lawless, Touch of Cloth, Doctor Who, Unforgiven and Coronation Street. Suranne’s theatre credits include Top Girls at Chichester Festival Theatre and in the West End, A Few Good Men at Theatre Royal Haymarket with Rob Lowe, for which she received the Theatregoers’ Choice Award for Best Supporting Actress, Blithe Spirit and Terms of Endearment. Suranne played the role of ‘Sandra’ in the 20th anniversary West End revival of Beautiful Thing at the Arts Theatre, as well as the title role in Orlando at the Royal Exchange in 2014.

Frozen will play a strictly limited twelve-week season at the Theatre Royal Haymarket from Friday 9 February 2018 FrozenThePlay.com

Emma Williams and Lukus Alexander will join all-star cast of Dick Whittington at the London Palladium

Emma Williams and Lukus Alexander complete the principle casting for the London Palladium Pantomime this Christmas playing the role of Alice Fitzwarren and Eileen the Cat respectively.  They will join the previously announced Julian Clary (Spirit of the Bells), Elaine Paige (Queen Rat), Ashley Banjo (The Sultan) and Diversity (The Sultan’s Special Advisors), Paul Zerdin (Idle Jack), Nigel Havers (Captain Nigel), Gary Wilmot (Sarah the Cook) and Charlie Stemp (Dick Whittington).

Dick Whittington will run at the London Palladium for five weeks only over the festive season from Saturday 9 December 2017 to Sunday 14 January 2018.

Dick Whittington is produced by Nick Thomas and Michael Harrison for Qdos Entertainment, the team behind last year’s twice Olivier-nominated London Palladium production of Cinderella, which broke box office records for the highest grossing week in West End theatre history.

Emma Williams completes an award-winning run as Helen Walsingham in Half A Sixpence at the Noël Coward Theatre tomorrow having also played the role at Chichester Festival Theatre alongside Charlie Stemp. She returns to the Palladium where she made her West End debut as Truly Scrumptious in the original cast of Chitty Chitty Bang Bang.  Her other theatre credits include Mrs Henderson Presents at the Noël Coward Theatre, Zorro at Garrick Theatre and Love Story for Chichester Festival Theatre as well as in the West End.  Her television credits include Silent Witness, Casualty, Bleak House, Doctors, Marple: The Body in the Library, Heartbeat and Where the Heart Is.

Lukus Alexander’s recent theatre credits include the UK Tour of The Who’s Tommy, Dick McWhittington at the SECC, Glasgow, Dick Whittington at the Theatre Royal, Plymouth, Guys and Dolls at Cambridge Arts Theatre and Doctor Atomic at the London Coliseum.

As the world’s biggest pantomime producer, over the past 35 years Qdos Entertainment has established itself as one of the largest entertainment companies in Europe. Over the past three decades the pantomime giant has staged 684 pantomimes and this season expects over two million people will see one of its shows this season.

Artemis Fitzalan Howard tells us about the inspiration behind new play Gate at The Cockpit Theatre

We all question our mortality at some time or another and ponder what happens to our loved ones when they die. In fact, many of us will have extensively discussed our beliefs with family and friends, writes Nicky Sweetland.

In a new play – written by Artemis Fitzalan Howard – Deadpan Theatre is delving into the realms of the afterlife and the work entitled Gate promises to pose the awkward questions in an unusual and amusing way.

“It’s not supposed to be grim. It’s a slightly light-hearted look at it”, writer Artemis explains, “I found the conversation of what happens to us after we die a very interesting one because everyone has a different opinion.”

Writer Artemis Fitzalan Howard

But it’s a pretty unusual subject matter for a comedy,

“I’d never really seen anything on stage that covers this area in the tone I wanted to see. I hope it will spark an interesting conversation, or make people ask themselves what they think.”

The play is set on a seemingly ordinary Thursday morning at ‘The Gate’ in Wapping.

“Four souls have arrived at this gate but they don’t realise why they’ve got there until it’s revealed that they are actually dead.” Artemis tells me, “It’s not explicitly said but ‘The Gate’ is a modern idea of what purgatory would be like, so these poor souls spend a day together before they pass on through this gate and into the next stage of their lives.”

The Gate is guarded by the ferociously officious Eve, like every first-born child in the generations before her.

“She acts as this facilitator, comic receptionist type of character, who slightly hates her job and wishes she wasn’t there.”

Gate follows on from the acclaimed success of Predrinks/Afterparty and with this new production, Deadpan Theatre return with a poignant and witty story of love and loss that asks what really happens to us after we die, what we leave behind and what we will become.

Gate will run at The Cockpit Theatre from 13 – 24 September

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.