London Theatre Weekly Round-up: Queen’s Theatre renovations, celebrity ‘Chicago’ casting, record-breaking immersive show, and more!

Production Still from Les Miserables London 'Les Miserables,' Queens Theatre, London. Credit: Johan Persson.

It’s another busy week in the world of London theatre, and we’ve rounded up all the latest and greatest news just for you. Learn which actress will be the latest to take on the iconic Roxie Hart, which immersive show just set a U.K. record, and whether or not Les Misérables may be taking a break.

Wait, Les Misérables may take a break? Is this the end of the world?

Nah, we’re just messing with you. But the show may take a brief respite from its 14-year stint at The Queen’s Theatre. Cameron Mackintosh is restoring a number of West End theatres so that these venues can continue hosting shows for years to come. Following the successful restoration of the Victoria Palace Theatre (now hosting Hamilton), Mackintosh has announced plans to similarly restore Wyndham’s, Noël Coward, Gielgud, the Novello, and The Queen’s Theatre. Work on The Queen’s Theatre won’t begin until 2019 or 2020, and arrangements will be made for Les Misérables to continue its run elsewhere during renovations, so never fear.

Fresh from her star turn in Chess at the London Coliseum, Alexandra Burke will soon join the cast of Chicago. She’ll play Roxie Hart in the West End production from 13 August to 13 October.

Alexandra Burke
Alexandra Burke

Meanwhile, we have further casting announced for Pinter at the Pinter: the season of one-act plays by Harold Pinter starting at the Harold Pinter Theatre in September. Penelope Wilton will play in Landscape and A Kind of Alaska alongside Tamsin Greig and Keith Allen. Antony Sher (King Lear) and Kate O’Flynn (The Ferryman) will join the previously announced casts of One For The Road, New World Order, Mountain Language, and Ashes to Ashes. Russell Tovey (Angels in America) and Hayley Squires (Cat on a Hot Tin Roof) will join the casts of The Lover and The Collection. Also announced is Jessica Barden in Night School, and Luke Thallon in The Room, Victoria Station, and Family Voices.

Kevin Elyot’s celebrated play Coming Clean will transfer to the West End starting next January. Adam Spreadbury-Maher, the King’s Head Theatre’s artistic director, will direct. Elyot’s first play, Coming Clean premiered in 1982, and tells the story of a gay couple whose relationship is breaking down. Spreadbury-Maher directed the show’s first London revival and its 35th anniversary production. So needless to say, this transfer is in good hands.

Put on your dancing shoes and grab your flapper headbands, because The Guild of Misrule’s production of The Great Gatsby just became the longest running immersive show in the U.K. That means, among other things, that its cast have now said “Old Sport” 9,088 times. Running since June 2017, The Great Gatsby has extended (yet again) to the end of the year. Will it extend again after that? It’s quite possible, but you never know….

The Great Gatsby immersive production, London

Another West End show that just extended is Jim Steinman’s Bat Out of Hell. The rock musical with songs by Meat Loaf is now booking through 5 January 2019.

Acclaimed dancer and stage and screen actor Richard Windsor will play Tony Manero in a new touring production of Saturday Night Fever that kicks off in August.

John Logan’s London production of Red, starring Alfred Molina and Alfred Enoch, will play the big screen this fall. On 7 November, you can catch it in movie theatres throughout the U.K. and North America. Watch the trailer here:

Sir Ian McKellen is at it again: dazzling critics in his latest performance as King Lear at the Duke of York’s Theatre. In what’s rumoured to be his last major Shakespearean role, McKellen gives a performance critics are calling “magnificent” and “a Shakespearean masterclass.” McKellen got his acting start at The Duke of York’s, so the wheel has come full circle. But that doesn’t mean we’re ready for him to retire just yet.