Cirque du Soleil’s OVO is coming to London! Here is all you need to know: Dates, tickets and what it’s about

What Is Cirque du Soleil: OVO about?

After the record-breaking success of Amaluna earlier this year, Cirque du Soleil returns to London’s Royal Albert Hall in January 2018 with its never seen before in the UK show, OVO.

OVO (meaning ‘egg’ in Portuguese), is a celebration of nature and co-existence, where insects work, eat, play, fight and search for love in a non-stop riot of energy and movement.

insect edit

After a mysterious egg appears in their midst, the insects become intensely curious as they work to uncover what this iconic object represents. When a quirky insect arrives in the bustling community, a fabulous ladybird catches his eye and it is love at first sight.
Since premiering in Montreal in 2009, OVO has thrilled more than 5 million people worldwide, and is sure to have the same effect in London in 2018.

insect edit 3

Who’s Performing In Cirque du Soleil: OVO?

50 performing artists from 17 countries, each specialising in various acrobatic acts, make up the cast of OVO. Amongst the artists is Alanna Baker, a gymnast from Greater London, who plays the Black Spider and has travelled to countries as far-reaching as Australia and Japan with the show. Having trained since the early age of five, she was crowned Gymnastics European Champion in 2011, and won Bronze in the World Championships in 2012.

spider

When Is Cirque du Soleil: OVO Playing in London?

Having toured North America and set to make its European debut in Zurich in October 2017, Cirque du Soleil will be performing OVO at London’s Royal Albert Hall for a five-week run from Sunday 7 January 2018 until Sunday 11th February 2018.

And so the UK’s longstanding relationship with Cirque du Soleil continues; this is the eighth time the group has debuted a show at the Royal Albert Hall since it was founded 22 years ago.

ovo prod 2

Where Can I Buy Tickets for Cirque du Soleil: OVO?

Tickets are now available at www.fromtheboxoffice.com/OVO from £44.

View the trailer:

Rehearsals begin for ANNIE, starring Miranda Hart + Full cast announced

Annie arrives in the West End 40 years after the original Broadway production opened in 1977 and received seven Tony awards including the Best Musical, Best Score and Best Book.  In 1982, Annie was adapted for the big screen, and in 2014 a further feature film was released, directed by Will Gluck, with a cast including Cameron Diaz and Jamie Foxx – both versions are now on Netflix – The much-loved score includes the classics It’s A Hard Knock Life, Tomorrow and Easy Street.

Rehearsals for the 2017 West End run have now started, 4 weeks before the first preview at the Piccadilly Theatre on 23 May 2017, with opening night on 5 June 2017.  The production is initially booking to 6 January 2018.

The title role of Annie will be shared by Madeleine Haynes, 13-years old from Hadley Wood, Barnet, Lola Moxom, 12-years old from Rochester, Kent and Ruby Stokes, 12-years old from Hampshire. They will be joined by three teams of young performers who will play the girls in Miss Hannigan’s orphanage (see below).  Amber, a 4 year-old Labradoodle, will play Annie’s dog Sandy.

Miranda Hart will play Miss Hannigan (Miranda, Call The Midwife, Chummy). Alex Bourne’s play Daddy Warbucks (Mama Mia!Rocky Horror Show, Kiss Me Kate for the BBC Proms, We Will Rock You and Beauty and the Beast at the Dominion, Chicago – Adelphi Theatre, Showboat for the RSC and Opera North and Annie UK Tour). Holly Dale Spencer’s  plays Grace Farrell (American Psycho – Almeida Theatre, Kiss Me Kate for the Old Vic and Annie on tour).

Further cast includes: Jonny Fines’ as Rooster (Avenue Q and Annie on tour), Djalenga Scott’s (West Side Story and Annie on UK tour, Chicago at the Garrick Theatre).

The role of Molly will be alternated by Aurelia BorrelliEllicia Simondswood and Nicole Subebe.

The role of Tessie will be alternated by Jessica CartledgeScarlet Grace and Dora Yolland.

The role of Kate will be alternated by Shani Roberts, Emily-May Stephenson and Maisie Thorn. The role of Pepper will be alternated by Drew Hylton, Eva MacLaughlan and Charlotte Ross Gower. The role of July will be alternated by Nancy Allsop, Carla Dixon and Isabelle Methven. The role of Duffy will be alternated by Kya Davis, Nicole Dube and Kathryn Whetter.

Book tickets today at www.fromtheboxoffice.com/Annie-The-Musical

Trump’s Pantomime to come to the West End this Xmas

The new pantomime is a story about a bunch of familiar fairytale characters who are expelled from the magical woods that are overrun by political overlords. They must then go on a quest over that elusive wall to the mystical land of Mar-A-LaLa-Go, seeking out the great and powerful TRUMP.

The story is set to touch on the various quirks of this year’s far from normal politics with the traditional filthy festive British humour.

Produced by Martin Witts and written/ directed by Stuart Saint (the same team behind the classics Pantos Dick! and Sleeping Booty), the new Trump – The Panto! will be at the Leicester Square Theatre from the 12th to the 30th December 2017.

Tickets can be booked via www.fromtheboxoffice.com/Trump-the-panto!

 

Seven things you never knew about Mamma Mia!

We’ve all been there: You have 3 one night stands in a row, fall pregnant and then 20 years later your daughter tracks all three possible fathers down on her wedding day using only the songs of ABBA. Sound familiar?

That’s the basic premise of Mamma Mia!, the hit musical featuring the songs of Björn Ulvaeus and Benny Andersson. The show has now been running in London’s West End for an incredible 18 years and since then, national tours and productions have sprung up around the world. So what is it that makes the show such an enduring hit? And who are the characters? Let’s take a tour through the Greek Islands to the fabulous world of Mamma Mia:

Here we have our Seven Things you never knew about Mamma Mia!, followed by pretty much everything there is to know about the show

  1. During early London previews, audiences laughed so hard at the actors’ serious delivery of dialogue like “Chiquitita, tell me…what’s wrong?” that scenes had to be hastily redirected with tongues firmly in cheeks – it worked and the show became a monster hit.
  2. Producer Judy Craymer met Benny & Björn while they were in London promoting their first musical, Chess. She loved the theatricality of The Winner Takes It All and suggested a musical using ABBA’s back catalogue. At first the boys were less than enthusiastic but thankfully Judy changed their minds!
  3. Mamma Mia! has strong female leads – and the team behind the show was also comprised of three amazing women: Producer Judy Craymer, writer Catherine Johnson and director Phyllida Lloyd.
  4. The cast gets through 121 bras per show – That’s a lot of underwire!
  5. And is the 8th longest running show in West End history. It first opened in the West End in 1999 at the Prince Edward Theatre, transferred to the Prince of Wales in 2004 and in September 2012 it transferred to the Novello Theatre.
  6. 33,000 Rhinestones have to be individually sewn on to the costumes used in Super Trouper. If just one rhinestone were to come loose, it’s believed the whole Swedish economy could collapse.
  7. Mamma Mia! is the shows with the most number of people per booking – more than The Lion King – with an astonishing average of 3.5 tickets per single booking. Groups of women, maybe? We don’t know, but it could be as there is plenty of male flesh on show in the show…

Meet the characters (in order of appearance):

MAMMA MIA! London 2016 - 2017 cast. Photos by Brinkhoff/Mögenburg
MAMMA MIA! London 2016 – 2017 cast. Photos by Brinkhoff/Mögenburg

Sophie Sheridan
Sophie managed to grow up in Greece without a trace of a Greek accent. She is getting married to Sky. Her mother, Donna, has a terrible habit of leaving her diary lying around. Sophie’s main hobbies are reading other people’s diaries and singing Abba songs.

Lisa & Ali
Lisa & Ali are Sophie’s best friends. They perform important Musical Theatre duties such as singing, acting and explaining elements of plot which cannot otherwise be explained through Swedish Pop Music.

Tania
Best friend of Donna, Tania has developed a deliciously cynical view of the world. Once a member of “Donna and the Dynamos” she has since made a living by divorcing as many times as possible.

Rosie
An unmarried British author and other best friend to Donna. Rosie also sang with “Donna and the Dynamos”. Now dumpy frumpy and middle aged but still a up for a laugh, she remains quite a man-eater if left unwatched.

Donna Sheridan
Mamma Mia is set on a Greek Island, so book writer Catherine Johnson decided to name the lead character after a kebab. To complete the cliché, Donna owns a taverna and wears dungarees – presumably to cover the chilli sauce stains.

MAMMA MIA! London 2016 - 2017 cast. Photos by Brinkhoff/Mögenburg
MAMMA MIA! London 2016 – 2017 cast. Photos by Brinkhoff/Mögenburg

Sky
Sky is the boyfriend of Sophie and soon-to-be-son-in-law of Donna. He set off around the world in search of himself, but only made it as far as the West End. He now earns a living designing Greek versions of Tripadvisor and taking his top off.

Pepper
The slightly crazy sidekick/best man to Sky, Pepper (not to be confused with the cartoon pig) tends bar for Donna and is quite the smitten kitten when he bumps into her best friend and Musical Theatre cougar, Tania.

Bill
One of Sophie’s three possible fathers. A writer and adventurer, Bill falls in love with Rosie. Bill is only Swedish in the film – presumably to keep Scandinavian cinema-goers, the chef in the muppets and the rest of ABBA happy?

Sam
An architect and the second of Sophie’s three possible fathers. Sam broke Donna’s heart 20 years before when he returned to his wife-to-be. But Sam soon realised he loved Donna and returned to win her back, only to find she had found a new way to keep her kebabs warm.

Harry
The third of Sophie’s three possible fathers, Harry confesses that Donna was the first – and last – woman that he loved. He then realised why – and ended up with two dogs and a husband.

MAMMA MIA! London 2016 - 2017 cast. Photos by Brinkhoff/Mögenburg
MAMMA MIA! London 2016 – 2017 cast. Photos by Brinkhoff/Mögenburg

The Creative Team

The Writer
Catherine Johnson wrote the book for both the Stage and Screen versions of Mamma Mia, spurred on by earlier successes including writing many of the best lines in series 9 of Byker Grove.

The Producer
Judy Craymer reportedly made £90m from the success of Mamma Mia. She later turned her back on success by developing Viva Forever, a musical featuring the songs of the Spice Girls. Sadly it turned out to be Viva Not Forever and the show quickly waved Goodbye.

The Director
Now a CBE, Phyllida Lloyd directed Mamma Mia on both stage and screen. She loved Meryl Streep so much that she stalked her until she finally gave in and agreed to play Margaret Thatcher in The Iron Lady.

Mamma Mia: The Movie
Following the incredible success of Mamma Mia on stage, in 2008 the decision was taken to make as much money as possible by releasing a movie version. This also gave several screen hunks, including Pierce Brosnan and Colin Firth, the chance to demonstrate why singing is sometimes best left to the professionals. Despite some bum notes, the film became the highest grossing British movie of all time.

MAMMA MIA! London 2016 - 2017 cast. Photos by Brinkhoff/Mögenburg
MAMMA MIA! London 2016 – 2017 cast. Photos by Brinkhoff/Mögenburg

Top Five reasons people love Mamma Mia on Stage:

  1. It reminds them of being on holiday
  2. The show is packed full of great Abba songs and Pierce Brosnan doesn’t sing any of them
  3. The cast is full of young pretty people dancing and singing
  4. You always leave the theatre on cloud nine
  5. The French and Saunders spoof of Mamma Mia for Comic Relief

Mamma Mia also has its own YouTube channel, where you can find a series of behind-the-scenes videos, see them all here:

Abba Songs featured in Mamma Mia (in order)

Act I
Honey Honey (Sophie)
Money, Money, Money (Donna, Tanya, Rosie, Pepper & Ensemble)
Thank You for the Music (Sophie, Sam, Harry & Bill)
Mamma Mia (Donna & Ensemble)
Chiquitita (Donna, Tanya & Rosie)
Dancing Queen (Donna, Tanya & Rosie)
Lay All Your Love on Me (Sky, Sophie, Male Ensemble)
Super Trouper (Donna, Tanya, Rosie, Female Ensemble)
Gimme! Gimme! Gimme! (A Man After Midnight) (Male ensemble)
The Name of the Game (Sophie and Bill)
Voulez Vous (Ensemble)

Act II
Under Attack (Sophie and Ensemble)
One of Us (Donna)
SOS (Donna & Sam)
Does Your Mother Know (Tanya, Pepper & Ensemble)
Knowing Me, Knowing You (Sam)
Our Last Summer (Harry & Donna)
Slipping Through My Fingers (Donna & Sophie)
The Winner Takes It All (Donna)
Take a Chance on Me (Rosie & Bill)
I Do, I Do, I Do, I Do, I Do (Sam, Donna and Company)
I have a Dream (Sophie)

Encore

Mamma Mia (Company)
Dancing Queen (Donna, Tanya, Rosie & Company)
Waterloo (Company)

MAMMA MIA! London 2016 - 2017 cast. Photos by Brinkhoff/Mögenburg
MAMMA MIA! London 2016 – 2017 cast. Photos by Brinkhoff/Mögenburg

So, what are you waiting for? Unleash your inner Dancing Queen and book tickets for Mamma Mia today – it’s about the most fun you can have in a theatre!

Mamma Mia is now showing at London’s Novello Theatre.
Running Time (including interval): 2h 45m

Could you see Mamma Mia again and again and again? Check out our feature on Musical Theatre Superfans!

MAMMA MIA! London 2016 - 2017 cast. Photos by Brinkhoff/Mögenburg
MAMMA MIA! London 2016 – 2017 cast. Photos by Brinkhoff/Mögenburg

Are you a Musical Genius?

Only a Musical Theatre Genius can name a show from just two song lyrics! Test your Musical Theatre Lyrics IQ – and then challenge your friends… We’ve compiled 25 lyrics from West End & Broadway shows, from the simple to the fiendishly difficult. How many shows can you name? The answers at the end –  but no peeking!!

Ready? Steady? GO! Read more

Test your Musical Theatre IQ with our Anagram Quiz

Think you know your Cats from your Evita? Just for fun we’ve mixed up 20 musicals – how long will it take you to untangle the anagrams? It’s tougher than you think! Share your score but don’t give the game away….

No. 1) A Theft Prone Homeopath

A Theft Prone Homeopath
Well if you leave your surgical mask lying around what do you expect?

No.2) Ow – hot abs Read more

London Theatre Guide – a cat’s eye view of West End theatre

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I’m Winston. The Theatre Cat.

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Want to bag front row seats on the day for twenty quid? Fancy a gamble on the Book of Mormon Lottery? Missed out on City of Angels at the Donmar Warehouse?

Maybe you want to avoid wasting money on a complete turkey, but don’t have time to plough through endless reviews?

Read more