The Strictly Curse has struck again: the top 10 Strictly Scandals

Uh oh, looks like Seann Walsh has become the latest victim of the Strictly curse. Every year it seems another couple is broken up by their partner’s participation on the show, so we’re counting down the 10 most high-profile #StrictlyScandals that the show has generated.

10. Brendan Cole & Natasha Kaplinsky

Breandan Cole and dance partner Natasha
Copyright: BBC/Strictly Come Dancing

Throwback to the very first series of the hit show in 2004, poor Brendan was the first to fall victim to what would become known as the Strictly Curse. When partnered with BBC newsreader Natasha, rumours spiralled, claiming that the pair were becoming more than just dance partners. While Natasha denied any romance between them, Brendan actually split with his then fiancé!

9. Daisy Lowe and Bradley Wade

Daisy Lowe in Strictly Come Dancing
Photo credit: Press Association

Not all contestants who split with their partners actually ended up dating their dance partner, though. Daisy Lowe appeared on the show in 2016 and was partnered with Aljaz Skorjanec, who is pretty dreamy by all accounts. Shortly after her appearance, she announced that she has split with her then boyfriend, Bradley Wade, stating that the gruelling schedule had caused the two to drift apart.

8. Giovanni Pernice & Georgia May Foote (2015)

Georgia and Giovanni
Photo credit: BBC/Strictly Come Dancing

But let’s be honest, most of the couples split because of their partners! Coronation Street star Georgia was dating one of her co-stars when she signed up to the show and was partnered with Giovanni. Foote then split with her boyfriend, and, in spite of reports, the dancing duo continued to deny that they were a couple… until they were pictured kissing. It wasn’t to last, though, as the pair split shortly before training for the 2016 series began.

7. Pasha Kovalev & Rachel Riley

Rachel Riley in Strictly Come Dancing
Photo credit: BBC/Strictly Come Dancing

Countdown star Rachel was quite newly married when she entered the show, but split from her then husband after just 15 months. While the pair denied that Pasha was involved in the split, the dance partners then confirmed that they were dating just a few months later. In fairness, this couple seems to have made it stick; four years later and they’re still together!

6. Kristina Rihanoff & Joe Calzaghe

Joe Calzaghe and dance partner Kristina
Photo credit: BBC Press Office

It’s not only the male dancers jumping into relationships with their partners! Sparks flew between Kristina and Joe when they were partnered on the show, enough for him to split with his then girlfriend in 2009. This wasn’t to last, though, as Kristina announced that the pair had split in 2013, stating that Joe “found it difficult when I dance with other men”. Perhaps he was afraid of the Strictly curse himself!

5. Kristina Rihanoff & Ben Cohen

Ben Cohen and Kristina Rihanoff
Photo credit: BBC/Strictly Come Dancing

Clearly not one to be put off by the Strictly curse, Kristina and former rugby player Ben were paired together on the 11th series of the show. Shortly after, Cohen announced that him and his wife of 11 years were separating, only to reveal a few months later that him and Rihanoff were in a relationship. The pair welcomed their first daughter in June 2016.

4. Flavia Cacace & Matt Di Angelo

Matt Di Angelo in Strictly Come Dancing
Photo Credit: Press Association

Also not afraid to blur the line between dance partners and relationships, Flavia was paired with Eastenders star Matt in 2007. Shortly after the show ended, the pair revealed that they were dating, after Flavia split with her then boyfriend and fellow professional dancer on the show, Vincent Simone. Their romance wasn’t destined to last, as…

3. Flavia Cacace & Jimi Mistry

Flavia and Jimi on Strictly Come Dancing
Photo Credit: BBC/Strictly Come Dancing

You guessed it, the curse struck again! Rumours have circulated that Flavia in fact got with Jimi while still in a relationship with Matt, as the pair announced their split just weeks before it was revealed that she was dating her newest dance partner. This pairing was seemingly more fated, though, as the pair got married in 2013.

2. Kevin Clifton & Louise Redknapp

Louise Redknapp in Strictly 2016
Photo Credit: BBC/Strictly Come Dancing

While her partner had nothing to do with their split, Louise and her famous footie husband, Jamie were perhaps the most high-profile of victims. The Strictly curse struck the Redknapps after Louise took part in the 2016 season and rediscovered her love for performing. She has since spoken out, claiming: ‘Sometimes I felt like crying because deep down inside me this voice was screaming: “This is what I have been missing.”’ After 19 years of marriage, Jamie and Louise divorced in 2017.

1. Kevin & Karen Clifton

Strictly stars Kevin & Karen Clifton
Photo Credit: Press Association

Taking the top spot, on a more positive note, are Kevin and Karen Clifton. The pair got together and were engaged before Kevin joined the Strictly cast in 2012, but announced their split earlier this year after three years of marriage. On the upside, the pair have publicly stated that they are still very close friends, and that they will in fact be going on tour together later this year! Who says exes can’t be friends?

 

If you love Strictly like we do and want to see the incredible talents of the contestants and their partners for yourself, you can grab tickets to the Strictly Come Dancing Live Tour right here!

 

Summer & Smoke Exclusive: interview with Rebecca Frecknall

Following an immensely successful run at the Almeida Theatre, we asked ‘Summer and Smoke’ director Rebecca Frecknall how it feels to see her latest production of the play transfer to the Duke of York’s Theatre…

Your production of Tennessee Williams’ classic has achieved incredible success, when you decided to work on this play for a second time, did you imagine that it would garner such critical acclaim?
Never! If someone had told me the week I started rehearsals at the Almeida what the trajectory of this production would be I would never have believed them. I was just thrilled to have the backing and trust of the Almeida and to be able to have the opportunity to make this piece in the way that I wanted. The way it was received took me completely by surprise. I’m still pinching myself!

Was working on the play easier the second time around?
Yes in many ways. It was great to be able to go into rehearsals knowing the play so well and so intimately and with a much clearer idea of why I was doing it and what I wanted to achieve. I had such a brilliant team around me too and we very much made the show together. Obviously the stakes were much higher the second time round as this was my first big production in London and I really wanted to prove myself and make something special. The pressure can make things harder but we all loved what we were doing so it was easy to have moments of forgetting what a big deal it was for me!

You’ve said in previous interviews that you started out dreaming of acting in theatre productions, is that a dream that we’re ever likely to see you revisit?
No! Definitely not. Honestly, the first time I ever directed something (it was in my first term of university) I knew that was what I was built for. I suppose I had wanted to be an actor when I was younger because I loved plays and the theatre so much and I maybe confused the two. It’s definitely the creating that I’m addicted to, I’ll leave the acting to the experts and stay in awe of them.

This is the first show that you’ve directed and taken to the West End – how does it feel?
Unreal. I honestly don’t think it’ll really sink in that it’s transferring to the West End until it opens and people (hopefully) start turning up to see it!

Your love for theatre started with musicals, could we ever see you working on or directing one?
I would really love to direct a musical one day. I was a complete musicals nut when I was a teenager and I think I probably owe it to my younger self.

Do you have any particular plays that you dream of directing?
Yes of course, I’d love to do more of Tennessee Williams’ work and I also love the plays of Eugene O’Neil and Arthur Miller. I’d love to do a Greek tragedy one day, too, and a Chekhov – the ‘big’ plays I grew up with I suppose. There are of course new playwrights I’d love to work with too. I hugely admire the work of Alice Birch and Cordelia Lynn and think they’re both making important, sophisticated work.

You’ve commented before on the lack of female presence in theatre, did this affect the direction that you took with the production at all, particularly with the character of Alma?
I suppose I am often drawn to plays that have female protagonists. I don’t think that’s an active choice, more a subconscious attraction. In the case of Summer and Smoke I certainly angled my production towards Alma. I wanted the audience to experience the play from her point of view, to be able to take them in and out of her head. I don’t, however, think that Alma’s experiences in the play are specifically female. Lots of young men who saw the production at the Almeida really saw themselves in her.

Was it hard to adapt a play that was written in the 1940s for a modern audience, or did you find that a lot of the themes are still prominent today?
I just really wanted us to focus on the characters and to take away all the trappings and signifiers of the time in which the play was written and set (it’s set in 1916). I didn’t want the audience to be able to take any assumptions about what a ‘Tennessee Williams’ play is into their experience of watching the production either. I think that the fact that we were able to create such an open and exposed production and that people were moved by it is a testament to the fact that Williams’ themes transcend the time in which the play was written.

Do you think if you were to direct the play again in another 5 or 6 years your interpretation or direction would have changed again?
I hope so. I think that as artists we change with time, experience and influence, and therefore the work we make inevitably evolves, changes and hopefully improves! In my 20s I read this play in a particular way. In my 30s this current production is my answer to it. In my 40s…who knows? I’m sure it would speak to me differently.

Summer and Smoke opens next month (November 10th) for a strictly limited engagement. You can get your tickets to the sultry sensation right here!

 

From The Box Office Reviews: Heathers The Musical

Following a hugely successful run at The Other Palace, Heathers The Musical officially opened on the West End last week. Rave reviews have poured in for the show, hailing it as ‘sheer, joyful exuberance’ (City AM) and praising Carrie Hope Fletcher as ‘dazzling’ (The Stage). Here at From The Box Office, we couldn’t agree more…

Based on the 1980s cult classic, Heathers The Musical is your typical story of a high school nobody who becomes a somebody under the wings of the popular girls. It’s also the classic story of (spoiler alert) boy meets girl, boy falls in love with girl, boy turns out to be a murderous psychopath who wants to blow up a school… okay, so not exactly your typical high school drama. It is JD’s psychotic tendencies that, in fact, make this show such a wildly enjoyable experience – among other things, of course.

Heathers The Musical

In terms of music and vocals, this production is stunning. Carrie Hope Fletcher delivers a powerhouse performance and Jamie Muscato is her perfect opposite; Seventeen may just be one of the greatest musical duets I have heard in recent musicals! With a score that features songs such as Candy Store and My Dead Gay Son (yes, you read that right), this show is guaranteed to deliver laughs while also providing poignant moments.

This is not simply a musical that stands on its songs, though. The characterisation is, in fact, what makes the show work as an overall production. Each element, the comedy, the stunning vocals, the film references, would all be useless if you couldn’t relate to the characters – but oh, how you can. While they begin as your stereotypical high school students, their problems soon come to the forefront. If anything, Seventeen highlights just how much pressure and heartache these students have to deal with at a young age, when they should be enjoying what will be their glory years.

In short, if you’re looking for a feel-good, riotously hilarious yet touching, sing-your-heart-out musical experience, you’ll more than find it with Heathers. (Note: it also doesn’t hurt that the high school hunks walk around the stage half naked for the majority of the show). This is a musical that ticks all boxes and shouldn’t be missed – we only wish it were going to be in the West End for longer!

 

Heathers The Musical ends on Saturday November 24th. If you don’t want to miss out, book now and pay zero fees on selected tickets here! (Book by 17th October) 

The Wider Earth: exclusive interview with David Morton

It’s the story that shaped not only a young man’s life, but the understanding of life as we now know it. Now, Charles Darwin’s inspiring journey will be put on stage for all to see in the first show of its kind at the Natural History Museum. We asked playwright David Morton for all of the exciting details, ahead of the production’s historic opening on Tuesday 2nd October…

The Wider Earth tells the story of Darwin’s voyage on HMS Beagle. How did that voyage affect the rest of his life and work?
On 25 October 1831, a 22-year-old Charles Darwin boarded a ship preparing for a voyage around the world. What he saw on the five-year voyage that followed led him to think deeply about the natural world, and to question received opinion about its origins. He also collected specimens – thousands of them – and these specimens, studied in the field and on his return to England, provided vital evidence in support of his ideas, especially on the theory of evolution.

Since this play is based on a real, historical voyage, how did you find the balance between giving a historically true account and telling a good story?
To strike the balance we’ve tried to include nothing in the story that doesn’t at least have some reference to actual events. There are definitely some leaps of imagination to heighten the drama but we’ve tried to keep true to the memories of the characters and the contributions they all made.

Was there any part of the writing or development process that you found especially challenging?
The most challenging part was trying to work out which parts of the history to use. The records of the voyage are so rich with information that it was hard not to include everything.

What do you think will surprise audiences most about the Darwin you’re presenting versus the Darwin they think they know?
In the show we try and capture Darwin’s energy, his drive, and his excitement. We wanted to show the Darwin behind the long grey beard, and paint a portrait of Charles as the young man.

In your opinion, what do puppets add to the story (or to theatre in general)?
The process of bringing a puppet to life on stage takes an incredible degree of commitment and discipline. Unlike an actor who spends a rehearsal period developing a character, a puppet has to first learn how to be alive before we can even start to wonder as to what its character might be. Ultimately, the process isn’t complete until the imagination of an audience turns the movement cues that we give into the illusion of life. I think that puppets deepen the possibilities of storytelling in theatre, and can provoke a real sense of wonder in an audience.

Of the 30 puppets featured in this production, do you have a favourite?
The Galapagos tortoise! And the flightless cormorant.

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Since it’s a bit unconventional to stage a play in the Museum, have there been any logistical challenges?
Converting the Jerwood Gallery into a theatre for the first time has been a challenge, but the outcome is absolutely worth it!

What has it been like working with the Museum’s scientists?
Working with Professor Adrian Lister has been an absolute honour. To receive input into the story from someone who has lived and breathed everything Darwinian for so long has allowed the script to flourish. Adrian has an amazing sense of Charles as a person, and has been just as excited as us about making the story fresh, and bringing the voyage to life.

There are so many incredible and unique aspects to this production: its staging in the Natural History Museum, its 30 hand-made puppets, its blending of animations and live performance. What are you most excited to share with audiences?
The experience of the whole thing. I think what’s so special about this work is the integration of the elements. There’s so much to look at, and the world of the play is so rich. Also the amazing cast, their dedication to the characters and the story has been just awe inspiring and I’m so grateful to the whole team.

If you’re as excited as we are for this groundbreaking new production you can book tickets now! Watch the trailer below:

 

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From The Box Office Reviews: Missing at The Battersea Arts Centre

After its opening at The Battersea Arts Centre in 2015, the run of Gecko’s physical theatre production, Missing, was interrupted when a fire destroyed the iconic venue’s Grand Hall. After repairs and renovations, the show has been reintroduced as the opening of the centre’s Phoenix Season, and what an opening it is…

Missing is certainly not your average piece of theatre. The distinct lack of dialogue may initially intimidate viewers that do not usually expose themselves to such pieces, but I urge you to see it. What this show does so well is to communicate a kaleidoscope of emotions in the most human way possible: the movements of the cast, performed in an intricate and complex choreography for the duration of the show, express everything you need to know, and are even almost primal at parts. The cast, through their physicality, do not just tell you the story of Lily, a woman emotionally damaged by the breakdown of her parents’ marriage, but show you it and, more importantly, present it to you in a way that makes you feel her pain for yourself.

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The choreography and composition of this production is nothing short of mesmerising. There is not a single moment that does not demand your full attention, no movement wasted, and no action without significance or consequence. There is a risk, I think, when relying heavily on physical theatre to express a story such as this one, that you will lose the audience’s attention or fascination as the show goes on. That simply doesn’t occur with Missing. Before a sequence has the chance to become uninteresting, it is interrupted, sometimes only momentarily, with a flashback, or the glimmer of a memory from Lily’s childhood, and then snapped back into the present moment or into a new sequence.

The little dialogue that is present in the piece is spoken in a range of European languages, which, for me at least, merely reiterates the universality of the emotions that are evoked by the actors’ movements. You do not need to understand the words that they are saying, for their movements and how they speak communicate to you more than the words themselves could anyway.

While this kind of production may not appeal to every kind of theatre fan, it is the kind of show that is unmissable merely for what it achieves and how it does it. If you go only to appreciate the intricacy of the movements and experience the emotions that it evokes, Missing is guaranteed to leave a lasting impression.

 

Book your tickets to Battersea Art Centre’s Phoenix Season here

 

5 Reasons To See English National Opera’s La Bohéme

Jonathan Miller’s classic production returns to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the director’s ENO debut. Conducted by Alexander Joel, Puccini‘s moving score follows Mimì and Rodolfo’s love unfolding from its joyful beginnings to its heartbreaking conclusion. Here’s every reason you could ever need to see the most tragic tale of love since Romeo & Juliet

Be moved by opera’s greatest romance

When Mimì knocks at the door of four impoverished friends, Rodolfo answers and it’s love at first sight. Find out for yourself why this is still considered to be one of opera’s most captivating and poignant love stories. Plus, you’ll find it easy to follow the plot of this moving story as all English National Opera productions are sung in English, with English subtitles projected above the stage.

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Be transported to the heart of bohemian Paris

The set of this beautiful production is inspired by Brassaï’s photographs of 1930s Paris and Parisians. From the bustle of Café Momus to an intimate artists’ garret – you can take a look at the production’s stylish sets and classic costumes. With a stunning snowy setting to complement the 26 November – 22 February run, why not cool yourself down from this summer heatwave and watch the trailer.

Be swept away by Puccini’s sublime music

La bohème’s beautifully enchanting score features famous arias such as ‘Your tiny hand is frozen’. Hear it performed live with the sensational Natalya Romaniw as Mimì, alongside lyric tenor Jonathan Tetelman as her lover Rodolfo. The cast also includes British Soprano and ENO Harewood Artist Nadine Benjamin – who you may have seen perform at West End Live this year.

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It’s “one of the best Bohèmes to be heard in London…”
★★★★★ – The Guardian

Already enjoyed by thousands of people, this much-loved production returns to the London Coliseum having proved a hit with audiences and critics alike on its last run. The revival marks the 40thanniversary of director Jonathan Miller’s debut at English National Opera. Considered ‘one of the best things Miller has ever done’ (WhatsOnStage), it’s time you found out what all the fuss is about.

And it’s all in the spectacular setting of the London Coliseum

The beautiful surroundings of the West End’s largest theatre make for the perfect place to share an evening with friends and family. With 2,359 seats the London Coliseum is the largest theatre in the West End and was designed by the leading theatre architect at the time, Frank Matcham. A breath-taking venue, the London Coliseum is the ideal place to experience this classic romantic opera.

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Save up to 42% on tickets to this poignant production of Puccini’s classic tale – exclusively with From The Box Office! Book here. Ends 14th August.

How you can go to the theatre for less than you think this summer…

It’s no secret that London’s West End has become more expensive than it once was. Lucky for you, From The Box Office is around to ensure that you can still enjoy seeing the most sensational shows, all while saving money! Read on to hear about the great offers that we have lined up for you in our Summer Sale

For Musical Lovers
Tap your toes, click your fingers, clap your hands and rejoice in the feel-good comfort of London’s finest musicals. From Tony award-winners to brand new productions, there’s a musical for every taste.

Dreamgirls 
Save up to 53% – tickets from just £18

Thirty-five years after the groundbreaking original Broadway production and 12 years after the Oscar-winning blockbuster film, Dreamgirls has finally made its West End premiereSet in America in the 1960s, this sensational musical tells the story of a trio of young female singers, following the group’s stormy journey from their hometown of Chicago, up the greasy pole of success and celebrity.

Chicago
Pay no fees on selected shows – tickets starting at £24

Starring incredible British talents Alexandra Burke and Martin Kemp, Chicago is officially back home in London’s West End. With the original Broadway choreography and a sizzling score featuring the classic songs “Razzle Dazzle”, “Cell Block Tango” and “All That Jazz”, Chicago is so good it should be illegal.

Knights Of The Rose
Pay no fees on selected tickets – starting at just £15

Knights Of The Rose is a new musical of Shakespearean proportions. Featuring the ultimate playlist of classic rock ballads, including hits from Bon Jovi, and woven from a rich tapestry of historic literature, the noble Knights of the Rose must battle to defend their House and their honour. Don’t miss out on this epic tale, which must end on August 26th.

For Families
Nothing beats a theatre trip with your nearest and dearest while on the long-awaited Summer Holidays! These shows are guaranteed to entertain children of all ages…

We’re Going On A Bear Hunt
Save up to 56% – ticket prices as low as £12.50

A great hour of song, dance and fun” – Time Out
Join an intrepid family of adventurers and their musical dog on a quest to find a bear. The smash-hit production of We’re Going on a Bear Hunt returns vividly and noisily to the West End stage in director Sally Cookson’s fun-filled adaptation, set to Benji Bower’s versatile and lively score.

Plays & Opera
From hard-hitting drama to side-splitting comedies, London’s theatre scene does not discriminate. So whether you want to immerse yourself in the world of a play or in the sensation of opera, we’ve got you covered.

The Jungle
Save up to 58% – see this five-star production for as little as £15

★★★★★ “Beautifully orchestrated. Wonderfully humane and illuminating” – The Independent

Meet the hopeful, resilient residents of The Jungle – just across the Channel, right on our doorstep. The Jungle tells stories of loss, fear, community and hope, of the Calais camp’s creation – and of its eventual destruction. Join the residents over freshly baked naan and sweet milky chai at the Afghan Café, and experience the intense, moving and uplifting encounters between refugees from many different countries and the volunteers who arrived from the UK.

The Importance of Being Earnest
Pay no fees for selected show – tickets from £22.43

The final show in Classic Spring’s Oscar Wilde Season, and it certainly does not disappoint. Wilde’s much-loved masterpiece throws love, logic and language into the air to make one of theatre’s most dazzling firework displays. Michael Fentiman’s witty new production stars Olivier-Award winner and five-time Oliver-Award nominee Sophie Thompson as the outrageous Lady Bracknell. For our take on the riotous production, read the review.

Lucia Di Lammermoor
Save up to 42% – tickets starting from £14.40

With themes of rival families, thwarted love, unhealthy obsessions, and a doomed political marriage, Lucia di Lammermoor is Donizetti‘s most compelling romantic drama. Olivier Award-winning David Alden directs this masterpiece on its return to ENO after eight years.

Salome
Save up to 42% – tickets starting from £14.40

Based on Oscar Wilde‘s lurid play, Strauss‘s opera Salome is an intense psychological exploration of the Salome story. Her brutality and power are the product of the warped cycles of masculinity that have been passed down through the generations. This new production marks the UK operatic debut of acclaimed theatre director Adena Jacobs.

For the full selection of awe-inspiring shows that feature in our fantastic Summer Sale, click here. Hurry – sale ends 27th August!

From The Box Office Reviews: The Importance of Being Earnest

It’s a play that has been performed to death, with a plethora of West End adaptations in the past decade alone. Each new staging promises to either revive the original humour, or offer some revolutionary new interpretation of Wilde’s final play, with most ending up underwhelming or forgettable. Enter Michael Fentiman, the director who, for me at least, has hit the nail square on the head in the Vaudeville’s latest production of the classic…

The atmosphere is charged from the very beginning, with the opening notes of the piano that Fehinti Balogun is ‘playing’ immediately setting the pace that the rest of the play is to follow and filling the stage with a certain air – an air which later proves to be rampant sexual tension.

The chemistry between the cast is electric, with Balogun’s Algernon serving as the perfect opposite to Jacob Fortune-Lloyd’s Jack; watching Algernon as he danced gleefully on Jack’s every last nerve, and seeing the latter unravel as a result, was the single most satisfying thing I’ve seen play out on a theatre stage for a long time. An unsurprisingly divisive element of Fentiman’s adaptation is Algernon’s bisexuality: while it could be viewed as a problematic plot element, personally it simply adds to the whimsical nature of this character and reflects the values that he himself expresses about love and romance.

I take great pleasure, however, in stating that it is the female cast members that steal the show. Pippa Nixon’s Gwendoline is truly hilarious: from her less-than-subtle flirtatious exchanges with her beloved ‘Ernest’ to her on-again-off-again friendship with Cecily, there is not a dialogue that is not seized upon and mined for its comedic value. Jack’s sweet ward, Cecily, is perfectly portrayed by Fiona Button – she is flirtatious, she is bold, she is fabulous, and does well to not be overshadowed by the heavyweight and audacious characters that she shares the stage with.

And, of course, Lady Bracknell. Sophie Thompson had big shoes to fill with the past iconic performances of this role, but if she was feeling the pressure to do it justice, it certainly didn’t show. From the moment she enters each scene, her dominance is apparent, with characters and audience alike holding their breath while she asserts her will in an operatic manner.

This is a comedic masterpiece through and through, from the obvious wit and epigrams of Wilde’s original text to the more subtle and playful elements that Fentiman adds, there was barely a moment that did not warrant a laugh from the audience. It was a simple joy to watch the riotous events play out with hilarious repercussions.

If you don’t wanto miss out on the final play of Classic Spring’s Oscar Wilde Season, grab tickets right here, and if you’re still not sure, click here for all the reasons why you need to see this latest production of Wilde’s classic.

Why You Need To See ‘The Importance of Being Earnest’

The latest production of one of Oscar Wilde’s most famous plays opens at London’s Vaudeville theatre next week (Friday 3rd August), and we’ve got all of the reasons why this is sure to be an unmissable event…

  1. The Importance of Being Earnest is Wilde’s most popular play Premiered in 1985 and published in 1898, there have been many stage productions and even three film adaptations of The Importance of Being Earnest, not to mention the hundreds of critical essays written, worldwide stage productions, and the fact that it’s included on school syllabuses… Is this the definition of a literary masterpiece? You decide!
  2. The play was the climax of Wilde’s career – and led to his downfall…Despite a successful opening that saw Wilde praised for his cleverness and humour, the show was closed after just 86 performances when it was revealed to a Victorian court that the writer was homosexual, and he was thrown in prison as a result. Upon his release, he published the play while in exile in Paris, but never wrote any comedic or dramatic works again.
  3. It is the last in the critically acclaimed Oscar Wilde Season What better way to celebrate the success of this fantastic run of shows at the Vaudeville Theatre than by seeing the final of four incredible productions? Following on from the wonderful new adaptations of A Woman Of No Importance, Lady Windermere’s Fan and An Ideal Husband, it only makes sense to see the climax of this special season of theatre. If you missed these other plays, this is your last chance to get in on the action of Oscar Wilde season! 

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  4. Between them, the cast have an Olivier Award, a Golden FIPA award and over 8 nominations from the Olivier’s, WhatsOnStage and Screen Actors Guild Awards!
    Want to know when a show is guaranteed to be worth seeing? When it has a whole host of critically acclaimed and award-winning actors! From Olivier award-winner Sophie Thompson to Screen Actors Guild award-winner Jeremy Swift, there’s enough acting heavyweights in this adaptation to.
  5. The British Library described the play as a ‘unique comic achievement…both of its time and ahead of its time’ In case we’re not being clear, this play was, and still remains, a big deal. Oscar Wilde had a gift for storytelling and for character creation, a gift that shines through the fibres of this play. Whether you’ve never seen it or you’ve seen it a thousand times, the characters and the comedy are timeless.
  6. It’s a piece of English heritage on stage Again: big deal
  7. Quintessentially British, Classic Spring’s The Importance of Being Earnest is the perfect Summer Play Notoriety aside, after an exciting British summer, full of sporting history and wonderful weather, what better way to carry on enjoying the spirit that has infected the country than to see one of its most famous plays, produced by one of its most famous writers?

     

  8. It’s the chance to watch star of stage and screen Sophie Thompson (Harry Potter, Eastenders, Coronation Street, Four Weddings, Celebrity Masterchef)
    She has appeared in some of Britain’s greatest television shows and films, and even cooked up enough of a storm on Celebrity Masterchef to take the title! Now Sophie Thompson can add one of Britain’s most iconic and historical plays to her already impressive list of credentials. Is there there no notorious show that Sophie can’t master?
  9. This is the return of Michael Fentiman, director of the 5-star revival of Joe Orton’s Loot, to the West End. If you’re not already impressed by the work itself, or by the multi-award winning stars of the show: 1) you are very hard to please and 2) perhaps the director will win you over. Fentiman is trained as both an actor and a director, and spent three years directing shows for the Royal Shakespeare Company that gained multiple five-star reviews. Suffice to say, this production is in very capable hands!

If this sounds like the ideal Summer show for you – grab tickets here!

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London Theatre News – Weekly Roundup

It’s been another busy week in the world of London theatre and we have got plenty of exciting stories and pictures to share with you today! From new castings in London’s biggest shows to special celebratory events and Oscar winners coming to the West End – read on for everything you need to know.

Wicked announced new casting this week, complete with pictures to tease us of the upcoming shows! Alice Fearn and Sophie Evans stay on as Elphaba and Glinda, with David Witts (Eastenders) and Chris Jarman (Harry Potter and the Cursed Child) stepping into the roles of Fiyero and Doctor Dillamond. You can see them on stage from Monday 23rd July and check out the pictures below for a little preview of what’s to come.

There’s excitement over at the Lyric Theatre this week: Thriller Live! will soon be celebrating its 4000th performance! To mark this record-breaking number of West End shows, the production has teamed up with the Prince’s Trust and will be holding a charity gala night on Wednesday 12th September. Names are yet to be announced, but the show promises to deliver some major guest stars exclusively for the occasion – watch this space!

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The Pinter at the Pinter season has added yet another glittering name to its impressive line-up this week. In case you hadn’t heard, ‘Pinter at the Pinter’ is a celebration of the one-act plays of the late Harold Pinter, put together by Jamie Lloyd and including some very special guests. It will run at the Harold Pinter theatre for six months, and includes a selection of big names, from Paapa Essiedu to Eastenders bad boy Danny Dyer.

Now, Oscar-winner Mark Rylance has been added to the line-up; for just two nights (October 2nd and 4th), he will be on the Pinter stage, but not to perform in the plays. Instead Rylance will be delivering the infamous lecture, ‘Art, Truth and Politics’, which was given by Pinter himself when he won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 2005. For tickets to what is sure to be a fantastic evening of iconic theatre, head here.

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The Old Vic’s new production of ‘A Monster Calls’ had its press night this week, and by the sounds of it, there weren’t many dry eyes by the end! General consensus of the reviews is that you’ll need tissues. – and plenty of them. Critics are in general agreement that the production, which had a sold-out run in Bristol before heading to the West End, is a success, and they were impressed with Sally Cookson’s latest adaptation of the much-loved novel. Excited to see and judge for yourself? Get tickets here. Check out the thrilling latest trailer below:

Finally for this week’s round up, the Natural History Museum has announced that it will be constructing a purpose-built theatre, with 350 seats, especially to house a play about the historic voyage of Charles Darwin. The show, which will be called The Wider Earth, will tell the story of his voyage on HMS Beagle and how it inspired his theories of evolution. A combination of science, history AND theatre – sounds pretty good to us!

WEEKLY ROUND-UP: Disney Pop-Up, Casting News, Closing Dates & More!

Another week, another exciting 7 days of theatre news. How could you possibly keep up with it all? Lucky for you, From The Box Office is here to deliver all of the week’s top news stories, from exciting new summer events and the latest casting news. You’re welcome!

Our friends at Disney have made a special announcement just in time for the summer holidays: they’ll be running a pop-up in Covent Garden from 31st July through to 26th August! Get an up close look at the props, puppets and special effects of both The Lion King and Aladdin, and take part in fun treasure hunts to win exclusive prizes. There will be a spectacular range of activities every day but be sure to arrive early; guests are admitted on a first come, first-served basis. Find the full schedule of events here.

Sad news coming from the Theatre Royal Drury Lane this morning – 42nd Street will be closing on 5th January 2019, when the theatre will also close for planned refurbishment. That means time is running out for you to see London’s most glitzy and glamorous showbiz musical. Make sure you don’t miss out before it bows out of the West End, get your tickets here! The company has also announced that Eastenders star Bonnie Langford will be taking over the role of Dorothy Brock from September 3rd.

42nd Street weren’t the only ones making casting announcements this week, with School of Rock, Dance Nation and Company all revealing the newest stars in their line-ups.

Craig Gallivan (Footballer’s Wives) will be heading up the cast of School of Rock from 22nd August, and will be joined by THREE teams of incredibly talented young musicians, all aged between just ten and twelve years old! Full casting list can be found here. You can check out the latest trailer below and book your tickets right here.

Dance Nation, which lands at the Almeida Theatre in September, announced its full cast yesterday (Thursday 12th July) and it’s certainly not lacking in talent. Sarah Hadland, Brendan Cowell, Nancy Crane, Karla Crome and Miranda Foster are all set to star in this exciting UK premiere of the highly acclaimed off-Broadway show, which will be directed by Bijan Sheibani. Full cast and creative here.

Finally in casting news this week, the full line-up for Company has been revealed. The roles have been gender swapped, with Rosalie Craig playing the central character in Marianne Elliot’s production. This, of course, means that Bobby’s girlfriends have also been gender swapped and are now boyfriends, with George Blagden playing PJ (originally Marta), Matthew Seadon-Young playing Theo (replacing Kathy), and Richard Fleeshman playing Andy (instead of April). Get your tickets for this modern adaptation here!

Finally this week in London Theatre News, Britain’s stage and film legend is at it again, proving just why we love him so much. Sir Ian McKellen, of Macbeth, Lord of the Rings, X-Men and Beauty and the Beast, to name just a few, is currently starring in King Lear in the very theatre where he began his multi-award winning West End stage career. As an added bonus, 16-25 year olds could see this West End transfer for just £5. No, it’s not a typo – we really mean five pounds! It’s part of the Prologue Scheme, and all you have to do to get your hands on the limited tickets is head down to the Duke of York’s theatre on the day of the performance with some ID to prove your age. The tickets are available from 10am each day, and we can’t imagine it would take long for them all to get snapped up!

LONDON THEATRE NEWS THIS WEEK: New Shows On Sale, West End Transfers, #PRIDE, And More!

It has certainly been an exciting week in the world of theatre, and thanks to From The Box Office, you don’t have to worry about missing a beat. From brand new shows, to exciting opening nights and colourful parades, we’ve got all this week’s top theatre stories right here!

The big news story this week, of course, was that Heathers The Musical is transferring to the West End! Following its sold-out run at The Other Palace, the wildly popular smash-hit, which stars Carrie Hope Fletcher, will move to Theatre Royal Haymarket later this year. Tickets went on sale just a couple of days ago so grab them while you still can!

Following on from last week’s news that Maisie Williams will soon be adding stage performer to her already impressive resumé, Game Of Thrones looks set to continue its conquering of London’s West End. Westeros’ most infamous villain, Iwan Rheon (Ramsay Bolton), will be returning to his stage roots in the West End premiere of Dawn King’s Foxfinder at the Ambassadors Theatre London. Click here for more on this chilling production and get your tickets here.

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A new production of Shakespeare in Love, directed by Philip Breen, is heading on a UK tour starting in October. First stop is the Theatre Royal Bath on 4 October. After that, the production will play in Nottingham, Malvern, Oxford, Cambridge, Edinburgh, Chichester, and further cities (to be announced).

Last but by no means least in the new shows category this week is the rapturously hilarious Nine Night. Following a highly successful run at the National Theatre, this touching comedy will be calling Trafalgar Studios home from the 1st December this year until 9th February 2019. Tickets went on sale this morning so make sure you get yours! If you want to know more about the riotous debut from Natasha Gordon, we’ve got you covered right here!

Sticking with the theme of new productions, The King And I had its official opening night this week, and by all accounts it was a roaring success. Reviews poured in, praising both the leading stars, Ken Watanabe and Kelli O’ Hara for their stunning performances, and also director Barlett Sher for making the show so much more than a condescending depiction of Far Eastern culture. For our take on this new classic, check out our review.

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More news has finally been revealed this week on the musical adaptation of the much-loved film The Devil Wears Prada! Since the announcement of plans for a Broadway show over a year ago, little more has been said, but now it’s been revealed that the soundtrack will be written by none other than Sir Elton John, who said that the project is “super exciting”. Our friends across the pond may be benefitting from the British songwriter’s talent before us, but we’re sure there’ll soon be a West End transfer of what is sure to be a groundbreaking production.

If you didn’t hear, legendary choreographer Dame Gillian Lynne passed away Sunday evening in London, at age 92. Lynne’s works included Cats and Phantom of the Opera. Andrew Lloyd Webber, who collaborated with Lynne on several projects, tweeted: “Farewell dearest Gillie, three generations of the British musical owe so much to you. With love, Andrew.” Just two weeks before her death, Lynne celebrated the opening of the newly renamed Gillian Lynne Theatre in the West End. As part of the ceremony, she was carried to the stage in a golden throne, flanked by dancers from Cats in full costume. If you ask us, that’s a pretty good way to go out.

Following a sold-out run at the Bush Theatre, Arinze Kene’s Misty will transfer to Trafalgar Studios, playing from 8 September to 20 October. Omar Elerian directs.

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Aidan Turner in The Lieutenant of Inishmore

Aidan Turner is “a revelation” in Michael Grandage’s production of The Lieutenant of Inishmore. And those aren’t our words. The critics are thrilled all around, calling Turner’s performance “masterful,” “intense,” and “smolderingly virile.” Meanwhile, The Independent calls the entire production “exuberantly gruesome” and “blackly uproarious.” The general consensus seems to be that this revival is worth seeing

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child seems to be taking the world by storm. First Broadway, now Germany. Another production of the London-originated show will open in Hamburg, Germany in spring 2020.

And finally this week, the arrival of glorious sunshine and an abundance of colour in the capital can only mean one thing: London Pride has come around again! The West End, as always, has certainly been getting into the Pride spirit this year, with cast videos, special performances and artwork recoloured in the rainbow flag colours to show solidarity with the LGBT+ community. If you’re heading to London for the parade and other festivities tomorrow afternoon, be sure to head to Trafalgar Square before 12.25 so that you can catch a special performance from the spectacular cast of Everybody’s Talking About Jamie!

Whether you’re heading to London or not, we hope you have a day full of celebration, acceptance and, of course, love.

From everybody at From The Box Office, have a Happy Pride x

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What is a Foxfinder?

He may now be known as Westeros’ most sadistic tyrant, or Misfits’ socially awkward, ASBO-committing ‘hero’, but before his highly successful TV appearances, Iwan Rheon was an Olivier Award-winning stage actor. Now, much like many of the Game of Thrones cast members, he is returning to the West End – but what can we expect from this new role?

Foxfinder will make its West End debut in September of this year, completing a limited run at the Ambassadors Theatre until early January 2019. Its only the second ever production of Dawn King’s critically acclaimed play, which first debuted back in 2011 at the Finborough Theatre, but this original production was received well critically, earning multiple four and five star reviews.

Iwan Rheon will be taking the stage in the titular role of this latest production, which has already been described as “a darkly thrilling new play” (The Telegraph). In short, the story is set in a dystopian world that’s been plunged into chaos and fear. William Bloor (Rheon), who has been trained to find foxes since he was a child, arrives at the farm of Judith and Samuel Covey to investigate a suspected infestation and provide an explanation as to why their harvest failed to meet targets.

While all of this may sound like a trivial topic and plot for a West End play, it is, of course, a giant metaphor. As Rheon himself explained, this darkly comical production is “an exciting, fresh play with questions to ask of our society now.”  The last time Rheon was on stage was in the 2009 production of Spring Awakening, for which he won an Olivier Award. Suffice to say, our expectations for this next venture are pretty high!

Are you excited to see this chilling new play? Grab your tickets here!

From The Box Office Reviews: The King & I

After a fantastic opening night, The King & I looks set to become a West End smash-hit. Reviews are pouring in, hailing it as a five star unmissable show. From The Box Office blogger Kennedy Porter was lucky enough to see the production during previews and has written us our very own review.

Heart-warmingly nostalgic are the two words that predominantly stuck with me after seeing this incredible adaptation of the classic film. Having never actually seen the film, I wasn’t sure if I would experience the full effect of the magic or understand the humour, however I wasn’t just pleasantly surprised, but genuinely blown away.

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Kelli O’ Hara is sensational as Anna, perfectly capturing the essence of a woman who is not afraid to stand for what she believes in. Vocally, her performance is stunning, reminiscent of Julie Andrews’ Mary Poppins, which only adds to her charming air and the heart-warming feel of the production as a whole.

The chemistry between O’ Hara and Watanabe simmers from the moment they first share the stage, building subtly with every scene, right up until the explosive climax between Anna and the stubborn King. Even as he lies weakened by illness, it seems as though the final ounces of strength that he needs come from the fire that she ignites within him.

Of course, the King and Anna aren’t the only ones involved in a complicated relationship. The show’s young lovers, Dean John-Wilson (Lun Tha) and Na-Young Jeon (Tuptim), both shine as young souls separated by old traditions and provide a Romeo and Juliet-esque tragedy that will bring tears to your eyes and have you cursing the powers that be for daring to keep them apart.

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Ken Watanabe is nothing short of spectacular. From humorous confusion to intimidating, domineering and child-like stubbornness, there is no moment in which his performance doesn’t demand your complete attention, just as you would expect from a King.

Overall, this new production of a classic tale ticks every box, even the ones that you wouldn’t have thought you wanted ticked. It’s funny and light-hearted, and provides a comic look at outdated attitudes that you’ll realise still exist even today, all while also being intense and suspenseful. It will make you laugh, it will melt your heart, it will dazzle you. In short, it’s sensational.

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If you don’t have plans to see The King and I, you need to change your plans as soon as possible. It’s two delightful hours of light-hearted humour and touching romance that will leave you feeling nostalgic and like a child all over again.

Have you seen the show already? Sound off in the comments and let us know what you thought!

Who is Martin Kemp?

With Cuba Gooding Jr. departing the Phoenix Theatre Stage last Saturday, all eyes are on his replacement, Chicago The Musical’s new silver-tongued and silver-haired Billy Flynn. While Martin Kemp may not be quite as internationally renowned as his Academy award-winning predecessor, the star has some very impressive credentials of his own.

He was in one of the U.K.’s most successful bands
The 80’s were a golden age of pop music, and Kemp was right in the forefront of the U.K. music scene in one of the biggest boy bands on offer at the time. Before there was One Direction, Boyzone or even Take That, there was 80s phenomenon Spandau Ballet and their feel-good, now legendary tunes. We guarantee that you’ve heard at least one, even if you didn’t know it was them!

After music came acting
Kemp famously shared the big screen with his older brother (who was also in Spandau Ballet) when the pair portrayed notorious London gangsters The Krays in the 1990 film of the same name. Martin also famously spent four years in one of the U.K.’s most popular soaps, starring as Walford’s biggest and baddest, Steve Owen, in Eastenders.

Fame runs in the family
While the Kemps may have shared the stage for over a decade and starred in a film together, it certainly wouldn’t be fair to say that Martin eclipsed his brother. Gary Kemp starred alongside industry heavyweights Whitney Houston and Kevin Costner in the iconic film The Bodyguard and has been in films as recently as 2015. Martin’s son is also establishing a name for himself around the U.K. as a DJ on London’s popular Capital FM.

He was a judge on a TV talent show
You know you’ve made it big when somebody asks you to judge new up and coming talent for TV (except you, Louis Walsh… you don’t count). Martin starred alongside fellow boyband legend Gary Barlow, as well as former Dreamgirl Amber Riley and Australia’s Dannii Minogue on BBC’s Let It Shine.

This isn’t his first time on the stage
While it may be his first time in a West End musical, Kemp is no stranger to performing on a theatre stage. He has previously played the role of the Childcatcher in a U.K. tour of Chitty Chitty Bang Bang and performed in the London leg of Million Dollar Quartet as Sam Phillips, the man who discovered the King – Elvis Presley.

We can’t wait to see how Kemp fairs as Chicago’s new smooth-talking lawyer,
Mr. B-I-DOUBLY-L-Y Flynn. We wish him good luck in all the shows to come!

Nine Night is coming to the West End!

Casting is yet to be announced and tickets don’t go on general sale until next week Friday (6th July) but one thing is for sure; Nine Night is going to have its spectacular moment in the spotlight of London’s West End.

From the 1st December 2018 to 9th February 2019, the stage of Trafalgar Studios will be home to this beautifully touching and uplifting play, the first from London born actress and writer Natasha Gordon. Following its successful sold-out run at the esteemed National Theatre, a run that saw the play garnishing five-star reviews which labelled Gordon’s debut as ‘remarkable’ (The Evening Standard), all signs point to the West End premiere being a roaring success.

Don’t miss out on the chance to see this poignant but hilarious exploration of family, grief and culture – book tickets from July 6th!

What is Come From Away about?

There’s exciting news coming from our friends across the pond this week – a new show will be transferring from Broadway to London’s West End! Come From Away will first land in the U.K. in Dublin late this year for a limited engagement and then will make its way to the esteemed Phoenix Theatre in January of 2019. We are certainly excited for the arrival of this joyous new musical, but if you’re not convinced yet, let us explain why you should be as buzzed as we are…

Its a heart-warming story
First and foremost, this is a musical that showcases all of the best parts of humanity. In the wake of one of the world’s worst modern tragedies, Come From Away tells the tale of what happened when seven thousand people from all over the world landed in the tiny town of Gander, Newfoundland (Canada).  The characters are based on the real people that lived and were stranded in the town following the horrific 9/11 attacks.

No story is left untold
Almost 7000 people were forced to land in Gander, and the town itself was inhabited by around 9000 people at the time – that’s around 16,000 stories to tell. The co-authors, Irene Sankoff and David Hein, wanted to ensure that no story was left out of their adaptation, so they interviewed the real-life people that were actually there and discovered just how special and warm the people of Newfoundland are. The show stars only twelve actors, but each character has elements of the thousands of incredible people that Sankoff and Hein spoke to.

It has won some pretty impressive awards
Following shows in Toronto and, of course, on Broadway, the show was nominated for an impressive seven Tony Awards! Categories included Best Musical, Best Original Score and Best Choreography, to name just a few, with the Broadway production taking the crown for Dest Direction of a Musical. It’s not just the Tony’s that recognised the wonder Come From Away: the show won three Drama Desk Awards, including Outstanding Musical!

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It’s one of TIME’s Best Musicals of 2017
As if being recognised in award ceremonies isn’t enough TIME lists it as number four of its top ten plays and musicals of 2017. They describe it as “a deeply moving, optimistic show about helping each other that arrived on the scene at exactly the right moment.” Note to self: take tissues when you see it!

Justin Trudeau loves it
Granted it tells the story of his people, but you know something is good when the much-loved Prime Minister of Canada loves it! He spoke on stage when seeing the production in Toronto and said: “The world gets to see what it is to lean on each other and be there for each other through the darkest times,” adding, “This story, this amazing show, is very much about that, and it’s about friendship as well.”

It’s being made into a film
It was announced back in November 2017 that Mark Gordon Co. would be funding a feature film adaptation of this fantastic new musical. Even better, Hein and Sankoff will be adapting their work into a screenplay, and the very director that won a Tony award for his work on the stage production has signed on to helm the film version, too!

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UPDATE: Tickets for the West End premiere of this spectacular production are on sale now and, trust us, you don’t want to miss this one! Get tickets here.

For more info on the show, head to the official site, and you can check out the trailer here.

Everything You Need To Know About Don Quixote

Tickets are on sale now and we couldn’t be more excited for the Royal Shakespeare Company’s transfer to London’s West End. If you’re wondering if you should be as thrilled as we are about this production of Don Quixote, let us tell you a little bit more about the hilarious show, which will see David Threlfall and Rufus Hound returning for another stint… 

 

 

The Story
The most fundamental part of any show is, of course, the story itself. Don Quixote tells the tale of an eccentric old man who heads out across Medieval Spain on a swashbuckling quest, taking his equally ill-equipped and ill-suiting servant, Sancho Panza, with him. As we’re sure you’ve probably guessed, their journey has some chaotic and pretty hilarious results, but we won’t spoil the details for you too much. Rest assured, the trouble they get into together will have you roaring with laughter.

The Cast
As we mentioned earlier, the show will again star David Threlfall and Rufus Hound as Don Quixote and Sancho Panza. Forgive the understatement, but critics love the pair, with a myriad of tabloids complimenting both the stars’ individual performances, as well as their comedic chemistry together onstage. The Times gives the show four stars and describes Threlfall and Hound as “a double-act of effortless comic elan”. Need we say more?

The Show
If the hilarious story and raucous performances of its cast aren’t enough to convince you that this is a show worth seeing, perhaps the fact that it completed a sold-out run back in 2016 will tempt you? James Fenton’s triumphant adaptation is 2 and a half hours of side-splitting, tear-inducing comedy and, if you ask us, that’s an evening well spent.

★★★★★ – Financial Times & Mail On Sunday

★★★★ ‘Riotously performed by David Threlfall and Rufus Hound’ – The Times

★★★★ ‘An infectious excellent production’ – The Guardian

 

You can book tickets now right here!