London Theatre Weekly Round-Up: Meet the newest Phantom and welcome another Poldark star to the West End

Tim Howar in Chess London Tim Howar (soon to be the newest Phantom of the Opera) in 'Chess.' Credit: Brinkhoff/Moegenburg

New casts always get us excited. That, along with a new Robert Icke production and a cinema screening of a popular musical, mean there’s plenty to be excited about this week in the world of London theatre. As usual.

A new Phantom cast never gets old. Now heading into its 33rd year in the West End, Andrew Lloyd Webber’s musical sensation will welcome yet another round of new cast members. The latest actor to wear the mask will be Tim Howar, playing the Phantom of the Opera from 3 September to 8 December. Howar’s most recent roles include Freddie Trumper in Chess at the London Coliseum. (Fun fact: he had to leave in the middle of the first preview because his wife went into labor with their son.) He’s also played in Tonight’s the Night and Rock of Ages, and he’s the lead singer of Mike and the Mechanics. According to Cameron Mackintosh:

“Tim Howar’s exciting vocal take on the iconic score of the Phantom brings a contemporary fresh approach to this legendary role which blew us away at his audition.”

Another former Chess cast member, Kimberly Blake, will step in as the diva Carlotta, with Ross Dawes (Girl from the North Country) as Monsieur Firmin. Other cast members, including Kelly Mathieson as Christine and Jeremy Taylor as Raoul, will continue in their current roles.

Poldark stars are fast descending on the West End and we are 100% OK with that! Aidan Turner (Ross Poldark) is currently starring in The Lieutenant of Inishmore at the Noel Coward Theatre, and now Heida Reed (Elizabeth) will star alongside Iwan Rheon in Foxfinder, which makes its West End premiere next month at the Ambassadors Theatre.

Banner for Foxfinder at the Ambassadors Theatre

We’ve also got casting for the UK premiere of The Other Place: a psychological thriller written by Sharr White and directed by Claire van Kampen. Karen Archer — whose stage roles include The Mousetrap, a string of RSC performances, and the National Theatre’s Mourning Becomes Electra; and whose screen roles include Forever Young, EastEnders, and Law and Order UK — will play Juliana, a highly successful neurologist who suddenly witnesses a disturbing string of events. Appearing alongside her will be stage and screen veterans Eliza Collings, Okon Jones, and Rupinder Nagra.

Following the success of his Hamlet (featuring Andrew Scott) at the Almeida, Robert Icke returns to the same theatre with another classic production: Henrik Ibsen’s The Wild Duck. Icke’s production opens 23 October, with casting yet to be announced.

If you didn’t get to see Sheridan Smith as Fanny Brice in Funny Girl, you’ve got one more chance. Apparently, Digital Theatre filmed the hit production during its final week at the Manchester Palace Theatre, and on 24 October you can watch it in cinemas across the U.K.

And for all you Potter fans, we’ve got some great news. Starting 18 September, you’ll be able to book tickets for Harry Potter and the Cursed Child through July 2019. Wands at the ready!

Production still from Harry Potter and the Cursed Child London
Credit: Manuel Harlan.