London Theatre Weekly Round-up: Reviews for ‘Chicago’ and ‘Quiz,’ Olivier winners, casting news, and more!

Extra! Extra! Read all about it! Find out what the critics have to say about Quiz and Chicago, who’s playing Hamlet at Shakespeare’s Globe this summer, and who nabbed the most Olivier Awards on Sunday (hint: it’s not a surprise).

Reviews are in and the critics are pleased! James Graham’s new play Quiz (about the man who famously cheated on Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?) receives four and five star reviews across the board, with Time Out calling it “an extremely fun evening” and The Times labeling it “a winner.” As The Evening Standard observes, “James Graham is the playwright who can do no wrong.”

The other big play opening this week was Chicago. Unfortunately, reviews for the musical revival starring Cuba Gooding Jr. are a little more mixed. Time Out gives it three stars, noting that the female stars are solid, but the show itself is “starting to show its age.” And The Guardian seems to agree, observing that, while the revival is a faithful recreation, Chicago “is beginning to resemble an animated corpse.” Has the razzle dazzle simply been with us for too long? Meanwhile, Cuba Gooding apparently can’t sing, but is charismatic enough to win some guarded praise. According to Time Out, he’s “likeable.” The Stage is even less enthusiastic, remarking of Gooding’s West End debut, “It’s not great.” Oh, dear. To be fair, Gooding apparently had a terrible case of stage fright heading into opening night. We believe in you, Cuba.

Production still from Chicago London
Cuba Gooding Jr. and Sarah Soetaert in ‘Chicago’

A female Hamlet? It’s not a new concept, but it’s pretty uncommon. Apparently, uncommon is right up Michelle Terry’s alley. The artistic director of Shakespeare’s Globe announces casting for her first two productions: Hamlet and As You Like It. Terry will be playing the Danish prince in the former and the melancholy Adam in the latter – both gender-blind casting choices.

Power to women directors! Indhu Rubasigham, artistic director of the Tricycle Theatre, renames it the Kiln Theatre and announces a season of six premieres and a revival of the musical Blues in the Night.

And if you haven’t heard, Hamilton completely dominated at this year’s Olivier Awards, bringing home seven prizes including Best New Musical. The National Theatre also picked up some awards (five total) for Angels in America, Follies, and Network. And The Ferryman got some love, too – winning the awards for Best New Play, Best Actress (Laura Donnelly), and Best Director (Sam Mendes). Bryan Cranston won Best Actor for his performance in Network.

Who’s ready for some casting news?

We already know Orlando Bloom will play the title role in Tracy Letts’ Killer Joe, but now we know who the rest of the cast will be. Joining Bloom in the production directed by Simon Evans will be Sophie Cookson (TV series Gypsy, Kingsman), Adam Gillen (Amadeus with the National Theatre), Neve McIntosh (Dr. Who), and Steffan Rhodri (Gavin and Stacey, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part One). We hear they’re all going to give killer performances. (Sorry, couldn’t resist.)

And we now know who will be starring in Jennifer Marsden’s rock musical Knights of the Rose, directed by Racky Plews. The cast thus far includes: Adam Pearce, Chris Cowley, Oliver Saville, Rebecca Bainbridge, Rebekah Lowings, Matt Thorpe, Ruben Van keer, Katie Birtill, Bleu Woodward, Ian Gareth-Jones, Kelly Hampson, and Tom Bales.

Heathers the Musical banner

OK, who loves Carrie Hope Fletcher? (We do!). The singer-songwriter and West End musical actress will star in a new London production of Heathers the Musical opening this summer. Adapted from the 1988 film, Heathers started workshop performances at The Other Palace in 2017 under artistic director Paul Taylor-Mills. Carrie Hope Fletcher will play Veronica – a high school girl who suddenly becomes popular, then realizes that may not be what she wanted after all. The musical runs at The Other Palace from 9 July to 4 August. Tickets go on sale today!