Elaine Paige, Ashley Banjo & Diversity, Gary Wilmot and Charlie Stemp join Julian Clary, Paul Zerdin and Nigel Havers in the cast of Dick Whittington, playing for a strictly limited five-week festive run at the London Palladium from Saturday 9 December 2017 to Sunday 14 January 2018.
Multi-award-winning actor, producer, and broadcaster Elaine Paige returns to pantomime after more than 50 years to play Queen Rat. Her previous West End credits include Hair, Jesus Christ Superstar, Grease, Sunset Boulevard, Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street, and Follies, to name just a few. Elaine quickly took to Twitter following the announcement explaining that she is ‘so excited’ to star in her first panto since 1966!
Ashley Banjo is the founder and leader of innovative dance group Diversity (winners of ITV’s Britain’s Got Talent in 2009). Ashley and Diversity will star as The Sultan and his entourage!
Gary Wilmot is set to star as Sarah the Cook. Gary’s theatre credits include Big The Musical, Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang and many more! Wilmot is also starring as Badger in The Wind in the Willows, opening at the London Palladium later this month.
Award-winning Charlie Stemp currently plays the lead role in Half a Sixpence, which completes its West End run at the Noel Coward Theatre this September. Charlie will take the title role of Dick Whittington. Previous theatre credits include Wicked at the Apollo Victoria and the international tour of Mamma Mia!
Dick Whittington will be produced by Nick Thomas and Michael Harrison for Qdos Entertainment – the team behind last year’s London Palladium production of Cinderella, which was nominated for two Olivier awards!
The Wind in the Willows is the latest collaboration between Julian Fellowes (book) and song-writing team George Stiles and Anthony Drewe. Their adaptation of Half a Sixpence is enjoying rave review in the West End, and George and Anthony are no strangers to creating hit shows for the whole family to enjoy having previously won an Olivier Award for Honk! (which famously beat The Lion King to the top honours) and also written new songs for Mary Poppins.
The Wind in the Willows starts promisingly with company number Spring, its richly layered harmonies making full use of the large cast (and bearing more than a passing similarity to Riverdance). Read more →
Of the many great show business names synonymous with London’s iconic Palladium, there is none so legendary as Frank Sinatra. Sinatra: The Man and his Music brings Ol’ Blue Eyes back using rare footage – to the stage where he first performed 65 years ago. Read more →
The announcement of Nicole Scherzinger as Grizabella has blown The Palladium Box Office with bookings and tickets were sold out within a few weeks of their release.
Since the show opening in December, reviews have been raving and several celebrities have been spotted in the audience – it seems this is THE West End event of the year (including 2014!) and getting hold of a ticket for performances before the 7 of February can be challenging indeed! So we thought we would help you out so you don’t miss out on all the fun.
GRAB THOSE DAY SEATS!
You will have to queue up. Get up early and arrive at the London Palladium Box Office before 8 am on the day of the performance you are aiming for – Day Seats are for the same day ONLY. There are around 40 tickets available every day (only) and they cost £25 each, but each person can buy only 2 tickets. You also MUST BUY WITH A DEBIT/ CREDIT CARD – they don’t take any cash over the counter. I have rang the Box Office and they haven’t seen anyone staying overnight yet – but I would try arriving very early just to make sure. The Box Office opens at 10 am and it sells out within a few minutes.
TRY THE SECONDARY MARKET
If you have some cash to spare (like over £100 per ticket) and want to book a little bit in advance then try STUBHUB (I have seen some tickets for £35 which seems a fair price to me). If you can’t find then go to SEATWAVE (but the prices are high!)
You can also try GET ME IN and any other re-seller you can think of – but it’s good to have a little browse as prices vary.
WHAT ** NOT TO DO **
Don’t buy off ticket touts on the streets! On top of overpriced, they might be FAKE and you will not be allowed in. Never provide payments in advance to anyone and avoid Ebay. Buying from a ticket seller may be expensive but your entry is guaranteed.
I hope this little guide is useful and that you can still see this wonderful show!
Welcome to Christmas in Theatreland! If you’re unfeasibly excited, up to your eyeballs in wrapping paper and overdosing on eggnog, you’re not alone. The nights may be long and skies dark and gloomy, but fear not – the lights of Theatreland burn bright at this time of year. You’re not short of choices either – White Christmas, The Snowman, Slava’s Snow Show…it’s quite possible to see a different Yuletide favourite on each of the twelve days of Christmas.
I feel like I should be wearing wings and hovering above a stable for this bit, for I bring glad tidings of great joy to you and all mankind – the arrival of a new star in the West End sky. There’s a certain shudder of fearful anticipation in theatre circles when it’s announced that a celebrity is cast in a much loved show; for every Catherine Tate (currently wowing in Assassins at the Menier Chocolate Factory), there’s a Caprice Bourret (who mimed her way through so much of Rent that she became known as Marcel Marceau). So I’m delighted to report that Nicole Scherzinger is a whole different proposition – her acting is good and boy, can she sing!
Nicole, perhaps most famous for a stint alongside Simon Cowell on X Factor, joins a cast of West End singers and dancers for a much anticipated revival of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Cats. We’re not sure it really needed reviving, but it’s keeping that wonderful old beast, the London Palladium warm and toasty over Christmas, so who’s complaining? It’s somewhat ironic that the Palladium only became available following the premature flop of Cowell’s own show, I Can’t Sing.
A word of caution – if you’re booking to see Cats this Christmas or New Year, it’s worth noting that Scherzinger doesn’t perform in every show.
Nicole appears until 7 February 2015 except at performances on 30, 31 December 2014 and 1 January 2015, subject to illness, diva moments, catsorcisms, and arguments with Lewis Hamilton.
If a load of mangy old cats wailing about in a giant litter tray isn’t your thing, here are a few other ideas to brighten up the Christmas Break:
FASCINATING AIDA AT THE SOUTH BANK
Dillie Keane, Adèle Anderson and Liza Pulman are a comedy-cabaret trio with three Olivier Award nominations, three national tours and over ten million YouTube hits for ‘Cheap Flights’ (their infamous anthem to budget travel).
Fascinating Aida are cabaret royalty whose alumni include Russell Churney and Issy Van Randwyck. The show is filled with topical concoctions hot off the stove, along with treasured old jewels. Like a magnificent Stilton, these ladies just improve with age.
Charm Offensive, the fabulously decadent show from Fascinating Aida, returns to Queen Elizabeth Hall From 1st – 11th January 2015.
Between the 17th and early 19th Centuries, the magnificent river Thames regularly froze, giving birth to London’s magical Frost Fairs. It’s been a long time since anyone could walk on the Thames (barring Jesus or possibly David Blaine), but it’s still possible to continue the festivities courtesy of the southbankcentre’s wonderful winter festival.
Also on the Southbank, sandwiched between the Royal National Theatre and Borough Market, if Christmas is incomplete without a really good story told by candlelight you may still (if you’re very lucky) be able to snap up a ticket for Winter’s Tales:
Penelope Wilton (Downton Abbey) reads Anton Chekhov’s ‘The Lady with the Little Dog’, Juliet Stevenson (Truly, Madly, Deeply) brings life to ‘The Garden Party’ by Katherine Mansfield and Roger Allam will read ‘Odour of Chrysanthemums’ by DH Lawrence. These and more are all read by romantic candlelight in the Globe’s magnificent new indoor theatre, The Sam Wanamaker Playhouse.