March 8th marks 2019’s International Women’s Day and we are certainly feeling the empowerment here at From The Box Office. This year we’ve teamed up with Tina – The Tina Turner Musical and Wicked to talk to the cast members and production teams about the importance of the day itself and the progress of women in theatre. Check out our exclusive quickfire interviews below!
The cast and production team of TINA talk about women’s roles in theatre
It’s officially the hottest February on record and nothing gets us feeling happy quite like a warm, sunny day. What could raise the spirits more than this sunshine… how about a Winter Warmer sale? Take a browse of our current top picks but don’t delay – sale ends on 4th March!
Direct from its sold-out run at the Menier Chocolate Factory, Tony and Olivier award-winning director Trevor Nunn’s ‘exuberant revival’ (Daily Telegraph) of the classic Broadway musical Fiddler on the Roof transfers to the West End for a strictly limited run. Book selected tickets now with no fees!
Aladdin – from £25
From award-winning Disney movie to smash hit musical comedy, Aladdin is an exuberant West End spectacular, featuring all the unforgettable songs from the much-loved Disney film, as well as some brand new musical numbers for you to fall in love with. With the show closing in a matter of months, book now and pay no fees on selected tickets!
Company – from £13.50
Experience Company, the legendary Broadway musical, as never before… Winner of two Evening Standard Awards 2018, director Marianne Elliott’s new production of Stephen Sondheim and George Furth’s musical features a woman in the lead role of Bobby for the first time. Closing on March 30th, book now and pay no fees on final tickets.
Alex Kingston (ER, Doctor Who) stars in the award-winning and bitingly funny new comedy Admissions. Kingston plays Sherri, who is the Head of Admissions at a private school, fighting to diversify the student intake and she wants you to know about it. Book now to get a free upgrade on selected tickets.
Emilia – from £24
400 years ago Emilia Bassano wanted her voice to be heard. It wasn’t. Could she have been the “Dark Lady” of Shakespeare’s sonnets? What of her own poems? Why was her story erased from history? Celebrate women’s voices through the story of this trailblazing, forgotten woman. Book now and save up to 45% on selected tickets!
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time – from £18
A Hundred Words for Snow is about being an explorer in a melting world. It’s a coming of age story. With polar bears. Following a critically acclaimed run at VAULT Festival and a UK Tour, Tatty Hennessy’s ‘warm, witty and wonderful’ (The Stage) production transfers to Trafalgar Studios for a limited run. Book now and pay no fees on selected tickets!
The Price – from £12.50
‘David Suchet steals the show in Miller’s masterpiece…a blissfully comic creation. The Price now emerges in Jonathan Church’s superbly acted production as one of Miller’s best plays’
It’s the roaring twenties – an era of bootleg liquor, red hot jazz and hedonistic pleasures. The Great Gatsby himself has invited you to one of his infamous parties and that’s not an invite you want to turn down. Book now and save up to 51% on tickets to the hottest party in town!
After its thrilling 2018 run, the classical ballet and street dance mash up that is Beats on Pointe is back. As two opposing dance worlds clash, 16 dancers go toe-to-toe in this fun-fuelled fusion of ballet and hip hop. Book now and save up to 42% on tickets to see this dance extravaganza!
Decorations are down, the excitement of Christmas and New Year is over and it feels like it should at least be April by now… January is a drag! Thank goodness we’ve got a West End filled to the brim with fantastic shows to get us through the cold, long nights and get us feeling pumped again…
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 Olivier award-winners to brand new productions, there’s a musical for every taste.
Experience Company, the legendary Broadway musical, as never before. Winner of two Evening Standard Awards 2018, this riotous reimagining of Stephen Sondheim’s classic features all of the classic Broadway hits, with a new twist. Don’t miss out on the hilarious adaptation, book tickets now!
DIVORCED. BEHEADED. LIVE IN CONCERT! From Tudor queens to pop princesses, the six wives of Henry VIII finally take the mic to tell their tale, remixing five hundred years of her-storical and hilarious heartbreak. Book tickets now from just £21.60.
Showstopper! The Musical
★★★★★ ‘If this is what improv can do, you wonder why anyone bothers writing anything down’ -The Times
Do you want to be the first, and last, to see a brand-new musical? The Showstoppers transform audience suggestions into all-singing, all-dancing productions with hilarious results. Come watch an entirely different show every single night! Book tickets now from just £18.
For a unique theatre experience…
The Great Gatsby
The Great Gatsby at the Gatsby Drugstore is now booking through the end of the year due to overwhelming demand!Step into a heart-racing immersive adaptation of F Scott Fitzgerald’s seminal jazz-age novel which puts you in the heart of the action. Slip on your dancing shoes and watch the story unfold around you. Book tickets for this unique theatrical performance here.
Plays If you prefer to have your heart strings pulled or your tummy aching with laughter, we’ve still got you covered with the best plays to see this January!
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time
The smash-hit National Theatre production of The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time has returned to London for a strictly limited season, following an acclaimed UK and International tour. Winner of 7 Olivier Awards and 5 Tony Awards® including ‘Best Play’, this is a perfect heart-warming tale to help you shake off the cold of January. Even better, you can book tickets now with no fees!
The Wider Earth
Join a 22-year-old Charles Darwin on HMS Beagle’s daring voyage to the far side of the world, and discover the gripping story behind one of the most important discoveries in history. A perfect theatre trip for families this January, book tickets now from £23.50.
The Royal Shakespeare Company’s ‘joyous’ (Guardian) production of this legendary comic novel is told by a company of 20 actors accompanied by a band of live musicians. Featuring riotous performances by Rufus Hound and David Threlfall, don’t miss out on this hilarious adaptation. Book now and save up to 56% on selected tickets.
The Comedy About A Bank Robbery
From the comedy masterminds behind five-star hits The Play That Goes Wrong (Olivier Award for Best New Comedy) and Peter Pan Goes Wrong, The Comedy About A Bank Robbery is fast-paced and riotously hilarious, masterfully uniting screw-ball comedy with real theatrical invention, and is guaranteed to have you rolling in the aisles. Book now from just £11.80.
As if the bright lights and dazzling shows of the West End aren’t enough to get us running to London’s illustrious theatres, the chance of seeing our favourite celebrities certainly gives us all the more reason to snap up tickets. Take a scroll through the list below to see the stars we’re most excited to see in 2019…
Pinter At The Pinter After what has so far been a star-studded, critically acclaimed season, there’s still plenty of excitement and celebrity appearances in store in Pinter At The Pinter. Don’t miss out on the likes of Martin Freeman, Danny Dyer, Gary Kemp and Rupert Graves in the final shows of the season, book tickets now.
Betrayal The final of the Pinter season plays is set to star Hollywood charmer and Golden Globe winner Tom Hiddleston. The Night Manager and Avengers star will be playing the lead role in Harold Pinter’s Betrayal for a strictly limited 12 week season from March 8th, book tickets here now.
Waitress Katharine McPhee (American Idol, Waitress on Broadway, Smash) joins the WAITRESS London cast to play Jenna, a waitress and expert pie-maker who dreams of a way out of her small town and rocky marriage. Pouring her heart into her pies, she crafts desserts that mirror her topsy-turvy life. Opening in February, book tickets now.
COMPANY Starring Rosalie Craig, Patti Lupone & Mel Giedroyc, experience Company, the legendary Broadway musical, as never before. Winner of two Evening Standard Awards 2018, don’t miss out on the limited run at the Gielgud Theatre. Book tickets now from £13.50 – ends March 30th.
Man of La Mancha The award winning musical Man of La Mancha returns to London, starring Kelsey Grammer and Danielle de Niese. Featuring the iconic song ‘Dream the Impossible Dream’, Man of La Mancha is inspired by Miguel de Cervantes’s masterpiece. Tickets start from just £18, book now.
True West Kit Harington (Game of Thrones, Doctor Faustus) and Johnny Flynn (Beast, Genius) star as warring brothers Austin and Lee in the West End Premiere of Pulitzer Prize-winner Sam Shepard’s ferociously funny, modern classic, True West. Book now and save up to 45% on tickets – ends 23rd February!
Dolly Parton Presents: 9 to 5 9 to 5 is about to get down to business – with a strictly limited season at the West End’s Savoy Theatre. Starring Louise Redknapp, Amber Davies, Natalie McQueen and Brian Conley, the smash-hit musical features a book by the iconic movie’s original screenwriter. Book tickets now from £24.
Home, I’m Darling Katherine Parkinson (The IT Crowd, Humans) reprises her acclaimed role as Judy, in Laura Wade’s fizzing comedy about one woman’s quest to be the perfect 1950’s housewife. How happily married are the happily married? You can find out from January 26th, book tickets now.
The Lehman Trilogy Critically-acclaimed director Sam Mendes (Skyfall, King Lear) returned to the National Theatre to direct Ben Power’s English version of Stefano Massini’s vast and poetic play, which was a hit across Europe, with Simon Russell Beale, Adam Godley and Ben Miles playing the Lehman Brothers, their sons and their grandsons. The West End transfer opens in May and you can book tickets now from just £21.60.
Christmas is undoubtedly a magical time of year for families. From classic pantomimes to stunning West End musicals, there’s no shortage of entertainment to be found in London’s theatres. Amongst our favourites this year are Horrible Christmas and Awful Auntie – in spite of their titles, they are wildly fun!
Awful Auntie From the award-winning West End producers of Gangsta Granny comes the world premiere of David Walliams’ amazing tale of frights, fights and friendship, featuring a very large owl, a very small ghost and a very awful Auntie!
When Stella sets off to visit London with her parents, Lord and Lady Saxby, she has no idea that her life is in danger! Waking up three months later, only her Aunt Alberta can tell her what has happened – but not everything Alberta tells her turns out to be true, and Stella quickly discovers she’s in for the fight of her life against her very own Awful Auntie!
★★★★★ “A triumphant adaption of David Walliams’ much loved book!” What’s Good To Do
★★★★ “A real gem! Exciting, thrilling, heart-warming and memorable – another huge dramatic hit!” What’s On Live
If you don’t want to miss out on the riotous adventure that is Awful Auntie before it leaves the stage on January 6th, grab your tickets here now!
Horrible Christmas Horrible Histories proudly presents the terrific tale of Christmas in a special production of Horrible Christmas.
When Christmas comes under threat from a jolly man dressed in red, it’s up to one young boy to save the day! From Victorian villains to Medieval monks, Puritan parties to Tudor treats, get set for a hair-raising adventure through the history of Christmas. Featuring famous faces, such as Charles Dickens, Oliver Cromwell, King Henry VIII, St Nicholas and Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer, witness these historical icons as they join forces to save the festive season!
It’s a celebration of Christmas in the most wonderful, wildly funny and moving way you’ll ever see! With performances running until December 30th, don’t miss out – book tickets now.
Get ready to celebrate #Hiddlestoners, Tom Hiddleston is set to return to the London stage following his acclaimed performance in Hamlet, directed by Kenneth Branagh, and his Evening Standard Award-winning performance in Coriolanus at the Donmar Warehouse in 2014.
Forty years to the day of the first ever performance of Harold Pinter’s Betrayal on 15 November 1978, The Jamie Lloyd Company announced that Golden Globe, Olivier and Evening Standard Award winner Tom Hiddleston will play Robert in Jamie Lloyd’s new production at the Harold Pinter Theatre from 5 March 2019 for a strictly limited season ending on 1 June. Further casting to be announced.
“Betrayal is a masterpiece. Jamie Lloyd’s Pinter at the Pinterseason is terrific and I am so pleased that he’s asked me to be part of it.” – Tom Hiddleston
With poetic precision, rich humour and an extraordinary emotional force, Betrayal charts a compelling seven-year romance, thrillingly captured in reverse chronological order. The complexities of the human heart are explored in this, “the greatest, and the most moving, of all Pinter’s plays” (The Daily Telegraph). Betrayal was first produced by the National Theatre in 1978. The original cast featured Pinter at the Pinter company members Penelope Wilton and Michael Gambon.
Pinter at the Pinter is the unprecedented season of Harold Pinter’s work, marking ten years since the Nobel Prize winner’s death. The season celebrates the most important playwright of the 20th century in the theatre that bears his name. Tickets for the final show of the critically-acclaimed season will go on sale on 30th November. You can book tickets now for the rest of the season, which stars Lee Evans, Martin Freeman, Danny Dyer and Gary Kemp, to name just a few.
Christmas is officially on its way! With the festive spirit filling the air, we’ve put together a handy list of all our favourite Christmas Shows for this year. From family friendly shows to classic ballet, read our top picks below!
For families If there’s one thing that Christmas is for, it’s spending time with your nearest and dearest. What better way to get together and enjoy the Christmas holidays than with a day out and a show in London? We recommend…
Circus 1903 Featuring sensational puppetry and daring feats, this is a show that will have the whole family in awe. Opening on December 19th, Circus 1903 is a sure-fire way to feel the magic this Christmas.
The much-loved adaptation of Julia Donaldson’s children’s book returns to the West End stage this Christmas and is the perfect show for young children. With a running time of just 55 minutes, and plenty of hilarious action to keep them entertained, kids will love this award-winning production. Book tickets now and save up to 48% – tickets start at just £15!
Rumpelstiltskin A treat for older children (8+ is advised), this classic fairy tale is re-imagined with twists, turns and supreme silliness. Opening on 13th December, this five-star, ‘outrageous rocking musical’ (Sunday Mail) stars Australian singer and cabaret star Paul Capsis. Book now and save up to 44%.
Nativity! The Musical Full of your favourite hits from the much-loved films, Nativity! returns to the Hammersmith Eventim Apollo this Christmas, with Danny Dyer, Jo Brand and Dani Dyer in tow! With tickets selling fast, don’t miss out on this star-studded smash-hit.
A Christmas Carol with Simon Callow Following three previous sell-out seasons, this heart-warming and critically acclaimed production of Charles’ Dickens classic tale returns to the Arts Theatre from 8th December for a strictly limited season. A must-see Christmas story for all generations, if you don’t want to miss out, book your tickets now.
Ballet There are few things more magical than taking a trip to see ballet in London at Christmas. Our top ballet productions this year are…
The Nutcracker Tchaikovsky’s classic Christmas tale never fails to warm the heart. Opening at the London Coliseum on December 12th, this production from English National Ballet is as traditional and as enchanting as it gets at Christmas! Book now from just £16.80.
The Snowman From The Peacock Theatre comes a show that is ‘guaranteed to melt the heart of even the most cynical scrooge’ (The Guardian). Based on the book and film of the same name, The Snowman is returning to the London stage for a record-breaking 21st year. Children under 2 go free and you can book tickets from just £18.
Girls (or boys!) night out Celebrate Christmas with your friends with a riotous night out on the town. We’ve got a fabulous selection of shows to keep you more than entertained this Winter…
Briefs: Close Encounters Grab your red lipstick and prepare for a fierce night of drag, burlesque, circus and everything else you could possibly want with the Briefs boys! Beat the Christmas chills with this super-hot and thrilling show, with tickets starting from £15.
The Silent Disco Show
Grab your dancing shoes, grab your glowsticks and prepare yourself for a sensory party experience unlike any other. Donning your very own special glowing headphones, this unique club night experience is guaranteed to have you feeling the party spirit this Christmas. Book now from £18.60.
Burlesque Carol Concert Carol singing with one hell of a twist, House of Burlesque invites you to raise your voices and your glasses to all of your favourite Christmas songs as they put on a show that’s sure to raise your pulse. With tickets from just £15.60, you can’t go wrong with this one!
He’s the man behind the show that is currently taking the West End by storm: From The Box Office chatted with Misty writer and star Arinzé Kene about the success of the show, diversity in the West End and what we can expect from him next… Read his answers below.
Misty opened on the West End to rave reviews and standing ovations after every performance. Did you imagine when you were first trying to write the play that this would be the outcome? No, not at all – that doesn’t really cross my mind when I’m working. I try not to let that come into the creative process; I try and keep the creative process as pure as possible and focus on the art. That sometimes means having certain people in the room at certain phases [of creation], some at early stages, some at later stages. We have created a piece that was very honest. I think that having a piece that is as pure as [Misty] is, as untamed as it is, that was the dream, and the success is really just a bonus of that.
What have you most enjoyed about working on Misty?
Firstly, the way that we’ve managed to continue to improve the show, even now that it’s on. Mostly I’ve enjoyed the creative process, though – from the very beginning it’s been an artist’s dream. We began in a bubble, but we’ve been able to go with our instincts which has been really liberating. I’d also say that the getting here and getting to play to this audience every night. The play is structured, but there are elements within it that can change every night, depending on how I feel every night, and I love playing the audience back and forth. I also love the comedy, that’s definitely in the top 3 bits that I love. When I’m on stage I love playing the comedy because it’s so much fun.
What would you say was the most challenging aspect of the play’s creation?
It was a combination [of things] actually, because the play is quite unique in its structure, and so I had to battle some insecurities that I had about writing this piece. I’d also never made anything like it before, so it’s not tried and tested and that was intimidating. In many ways, though, the actual subject matter was the most challenging part; I’m putting my life on stage, and I’ve been quite a private person. I’d never put myself on stage before, and to do that, to put [my life] on stage was quite intimidating but it’s also been really rewarding.
You’ve spoken candidly about the gentrification that you’ve seen taking place as you’ve grown up in London, do you hope that this play can raise awareness of this to a wider audience?
Yeah (sic) definitely. I hope that as an artist I can shed some light on it and open a discussion about it. I think one of the jobs of the artist is to bring something that’s in the dark, into the light, and so that’s what I’ve done. I don’t think the play is answering any questions, I think it’s organising ideas and looking at what’s happening. Gentrification has happened the world over and will continue to, but it leaves a lot of people feeling displaced and, in a way, homeless. It erases people, and it erases their culture. There’s many ways of looking at it, though, and we do that in the play, and we laugh about it too. Half the time [of the play], we’re laughing at a serious matter. You know, one of my favourite books ‘Not Without Laughter’ [by Langston Hughes] deals with some serious issues, but does so in a way that inspires people to see the best of a situation. That’s what I wanted to do [with Misty]: say “let’s look at this” and explore ways to cope with it, but not without laughter.
When you were writing the play, did you consider your audience? Did you hope that you would attract a new audience to theatre?
Yeah, it was considered. The theatre wasn’t somewhere that I’d always felt welcome growing up in London, and I thought Misty was an opportunity to open [theatre] to other audiences. I didn’t exactly step out to do that, I think it’s just the kind of work that I create. I don’t write or create art for any one person, it’s inclusive. I look out every night and see so much diversity in the audiences and that’s what I want. That’s my London. We always knew Misty had the capacity to do that. All the extra marketing and press that we did was just to make sure that those audiences knew that they were included.
You’ve got an upcoming show at The Old Vic, can we expect more Misty-like shows after that?
Well you can expect some more work from me. It might be Misty-esque just because it’s going to be my play, but I don’t know. I’m really focused on telling the stories that I want to tell. I’m constantly trying to find new stories that I want to tell and that I think people need to hear. I love seeing stories and telling stories with people that are misrepresented or under represented. I think more diversity is definitely needed [in the West End].
Do you hope that Misty will be the beginning of a more culturally and racially diverse West End?
It could be. I hope it will be. I think it will help to open doors. I wouldn’t be here if it weren’t for people before me and [the West End] is getting better. We’ve got Kwame [Kwei-Armah] over at the Young Vic, for example, and others on their way up. I hope [Misty] opens more doors for creators and for people looking to make less mainstream work. The nature of the play in itself isn’t what usually would makes it into the West End, so I hope it changes what people think will make a successful West End show.
Still haven’t seen the smash-hit sensation that is Misty? Book your tickets now and get a free seat upgrade* here!
★★★★ ‘Arinzé Kene is blazingly charismatic’ (Evening Standard)
★★★★ ‘Inspiringly individualistic’ (Daily Telegraph)
★★★★ ‘This firecracker of a show arrives with a bang in the West End’ (Metro)
With thanks to Arinzé Kene.
*Upgrade offer ends 17th November
In case you’ve been living under a rock and haven’t heard, Only Fools & Horses, the much-loved television show, will be making its way to London’s West End in 2019, reimagined as a musical. With so much excitement surrounding this announcement, we’ve decided to take a trip down memory lane, and have rounded up our top 10 all time favourite moments from the classic BBC show.
10. Pranking Grandad Bless Grandad and his dimwittedness! In this classic scene, Del Boy gets a bit of karma and a taste of his own medicine while scaring his dear old Grandad.
9. Blow up dolls As if it wasn’t hilarious enough that Del Boy had managed to accidentally get his hands on a faulty stock of naughty dolls, they then also turn out to be deadly!
8. Baby names Oh, Trigger. Perhaps one of the most simpleminded characters ever written, you can’t help but love him and his lack of sense! In one of his many classic moments, here we see him discussing Del Boy’s baby names with ‘Dave’.
7. Dave Another classic Trigger moment takes the number 7 spot. Only Trigger, after finally being told Rodney’s real name, could still miss the mark and continue to call him Dave!
6. The Poker Game In what could be classed as one of the most intense poker games we’ve ever witnessed, Del Boy gets one up on Boycie. Let’s be honest, it was about time that somebody put Boycie in his place!
5. We’re finally millionaires Taking the number 5 spot is the moment that finally saw Del Boy and Rodney’s dreams of being millionaires come true. Of course, they celebrated in true Trotter style!
4. The Canary Only the Trotters could find a dead canary and make the situation worse! At number four is the riotously hilarious moment that saw Del Boy forking out £50 to replace a bird he hadn’t even killed.
3. Batman & Robin Perhaps one of the most notorious moments in British TV history, Del Boy and Rodney took to the streets as the caped crusader and his winged partner – with all the hilarious consequences that you’d expect from the Trotters.
2. The Wrong Chandelier Just missing out on the top stop (it was a pretty tough decision) is the moment that saw Del Boy and Rodney smash a near priceless chandelier – as only they could!
1. Del falls through the bar Of course, irrefutably taking the top spot, is the infamous moment in which Del Boy redefines ‘playing it cool’, by falling through the open bar behind him. In a move that rivals even Trigger’s stupidity, even Del Boy can’t style out the embarrassment of this moment!
What do you think of our top ten classic #OFAH moments? Sound off in the comments below! Make sure you don’t miss out on tickets to see the new musical when it lands in the West End; book tickets here.
While the idea of sitting through 7 hours of theatre may seem daunting, it’s important to note that each part of The Inheritance is a self-contained play, i.e., you can technically see one without seeing the other. If you are determined to only see one of the plays, I highly recommend that it is Part 1, however, I recommend more strongly that you see both.
Following a highly successful run at The Young Vic theatre, Matthew Lopez’s two-part, seven-and-a-half-hour play The Inheritance transferred to the Noël Coward Theatre in London’s glittering West End – and rightly so. This is a play that should have a permanent feature in London’s theatre landscape; in every city’s theatre landscape, in fact. This is a play that will make you laugh, move you to tears and teach you about the harrowing events that the LGBTQ+ community has survived, as well as the issues still facing the community today. I would go as far as to say that this is not merely a play; it is far more profound, far more transcendent. It is, in short, the epitome of what theatre should be.
Matthew Lopez’s writing is nothing short of genius. From hilarious quips and quick wit to poignant monologues and graphic accounts of sexual experiences, there is no line without purpose, no word wasted, and not a single fault to be found in this script. The production, masterfully directed by Stephen Daldry, is staged with practically no set and very few props, yet every scene is bursting with such vivid descriptions that it comes to life right in front of you, without the need for assistance from physical objects or sets. What Lopez does with flawless precision, though, is create humans: his are not just characters in a play, they are men who are complex and conflicted, and who yearn for a place in this world, just as any other person does. From the inherently kind-hearted Eric Glass (played by Kyle Soller) to the deeply damaged Toby Darling, child of privilege (played by Andrew Burnap), you’ll become whole-heartedly invested in every character and the stories they have to share.
Each cast member deserves recognition for their incredible performances. Even the characters with the shortest stage time are wholly entrancing, which only serves as a demonstration of the incomparable talent of this cast. However, it would be impossible for me to not mention Samuel H. Levine, who plays both the well-off actor, Adam, and the young rent boy, Leo, who’s story was one of the most captivating features of the play. Also deserving a special mention is Paul Hilton, who doubles as E.M. Forster (Morgan), upon whose work this play comes to fruition, and as Walter, perhaps the most remarkable of the characters. Both actors are, quite frankly, too remarkable for words.
I could write endlessly about these plays, trying, and probably failing, to explain in any comprehensible way just how thought-provoking, triumphant, moving and profound they are. In truth, I cannot recommend them enough and I cannot praise them enough – nor could anybody else for that matter. All I can really say is: when you see them, you’ll understand.
Don’t miss out on The Inheritanceat the Noël Coward Theatre until January 19th 2019!
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!
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.
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)
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.
David Morton’s The Wider Earth
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.
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:
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.
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.
Previews began last week for Classic Spring’s new production of the esteemed English comedy An Ideal Husband by Oscar Wilde.
Exploring corruption and morality, and bringing an act of political sin into the heart of the English home, An Ideal Husband is Classic Spring’s latest offering from their year-long celebration of Wilde.
Real life father and son, Edward and Freddie Fox, star together for the first time, playing fictional father and son.
Edward Fox, who is most well-known for his performance in The Day of the Jackal and ITV’s Edward & Mrs Simpson, will play the Earl of Caversham.
Freddie Fox plays Lord Goring, son of the Earl of Caversham. His stage credits include Hampstead Theatre’s The Judas Kiss.
Starring alongside the duo as Mrs Cheveley is Frances Barber – best known for her role as Caroline Warwick in BBC’s Silk.
Susan Hampshire stars as Lady Markby
Sally Bretton stars as Lady Chiltern
Also starring the production is Sally Bretton(Not Going Out, BBC) as Lady Chiltern, and Susan Hampshire(Monarch of the Glen, BBC) as Lady Markby.
An Ideal Husband plays at London’s Vaudeville Theatre until 14th July 2018, with a press night on 3rd May 2018 at 7pm.
Evening performances begin at 7.30pm from Tuesday to Saturday, and matinees begin at 2:30pm on Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday.
2017 was a great year for London theatre, and there were certainly more than just 12 things we loved about it. But it’s Christmastime… which means we feel obliged to put a holiday spin on everything. Inspired by “The Twelve Days of Christmas”, here are 12 gifts given to the London theatre world in 2017:
On the 12th day of Christmas, my true love gave to me…
12,000 performances of ThePhantom of the Opera in London
That’s right: Andrew Lloyd Webber’s musical The Phantom of the Opera has now played over 12,000 performances at Her Majesty’s Theatre in London. In fact, it’s the second longest running musical in the West End.
On the 11th day of Christmas, my true love gave to me…
11 years of Wicked in London
The popular musical about the witches of Oz opened in London in September 2006. That means it’s now been defying gravity for a little over 11 years.
On the 10th day of Christmas, my true love gave to me…
£10 lottery tickets to Hamilton
But seriously, if your true love did get you tickets to Hamilton, marry him or her immediately. The Tony-winning musical from Lin-Manuel Miranda transferred to the West End earlier this month, but tickets are hard to come by. If you’re feeling lucky, try entering the £10 ticket lottery.
On the 9th day of Christmas, my true love gave to me…
9 Olivier Awards
That’s what Harry Potter and the Cursed Child got for an early Christmas present this year. In racking up all those Tony wins, the play broke a record. Magic? Quite possibly.
On the 8th day of Christmas, my true love gave to me…
8 theatres owned by Sir Cameron Mackintosh
This year, Delfont Mackintosh Theatres (owned by Sir Cameron Mackintosh) finished restoring the Victoria Palace Theatre just in time for Hamilton. Sir Cameron Mackintosh, producer of shows like Les Misérables and Phantom of the Opera, owns a total of eight theatres in London: Prince Edward, Prince of Wales, Novello, Gielgud, Queen’s, Noël Coward, Wyndham’s, and the Victoria Palace.
On the 7th day of Christmas, my true love gave to me…
7½ hours of Angels in America
That’s the runtime for the National Theatre’s production of Tony Kushner’s landmark play. With a great cast including Andrew Garfield (who won Best Actor at the Evening Standard Theatre Awards for his performance), no one seems to mind the incredible length of this production.
On the 6th day of Christmas, my true love gave to me…
6 autism-friendly performances
We counted at least six theatre performances this year that catered to autistic audiences – including plays in both London and New York. Here’s to even more autism friendly performances in 2018.
On the 5th day of Christmas, my true love gave to me…
That’s what Jez Butterworth’s new play The Ferryman got this year – in addition to a host of awards and a great deal of hype – which according to The Evening Standard is fully justified. The Ferryman received five-star reviews from The Independent, The Stage, The Guardian, The Evening Standard, The Financial Times, and others.
On the 4th day of Christmas, my true love gave to me…
You’re very likely to see four ghosts if you attend The Old Vic’s new production of A Christmas Carol this holiday season. This version of the Dickens classic, which looks gorgeous, stars Rhys Ifans and features a script by Jack Thorne.
On the 3rd day of Christmas, my true love gave to me…
2017 was the year of Hamlet. At the same time last summer, there were not one, not two, but three productions of Hamlet running in London. In one production, Kenneth Branagh directed Tom Hiddleston in the role of the Danish prince; in another, Robert Icke directed Andrew Scott; and yet another starred Gyles Brandreth at the Park Theatre. Now, which one to go to? That was the question.
On the 2nd day of Christmas, my true love gave to me…
2 Norwegian diplomats
After making a name for itself on Broadway, J.T. Rogers’ Tony Award-winning play Oslo touched down in the West End in September and is now playing at the Harold Pinter Theatre. The play tells the story of two Norwegian diplomats who arranged top-secret meetings between Israel and Palestine, culminating in the Oslo Accords of 1993.
On the 1st day of Christmas, my true love gave to me…
1 Day More
The Act I finale from Les Misérables is officially Britain’s favourite showtune – according to a recent poll by theatre website WhatsOnStage. “Defying Gravity” ranked as the second most popular, followed by “The Phantom of the Opera”, “Bring Him Home”, and “Being Alive.” All good songs, indeed.
What was the best theatre-related gift you received this year?
They say that laughter is the best medicine, and we’re inclined to agree! Luckily, there’s jokes aplenty out there in theatre-land, from stand-up superstars to cheesy panto banter. Being the geeks we are, we can’t resist a theatre funny or two, so here are a few of our favourite jokes that only theatre nerds would truly understand…
Two neighbours in Stratford have a dispute about whose house is the authentic birthplace of William Shakespeare. Officials kept the peace by putting a plaque on both their houses.
A Stage Manager’s View of the World: The tech crew trips over clearly marked ledges. Actors trip over tape on the floor. Dancers trip over tape that was pulled up yesterday.
How do you drown an actress?
Place a mirror at the bottom of a pool.
How many actors does it take to change a light bulb?
100 of course! 1 to screw the bulb in and 99 to stand around, saying, “It should be me up there!”
How many producers does it take to change a light bulb?
Sorry, a new light bulb isn’t in the budget.
A sound technician, a lighting designer and a stage manager find an old lamp, backstage at the theatre. One of them gives it a rub, and out wafts a genie!
“Since you all found me,” he says, “You each get one wish!”The sound technician steps up and says, “I wish to be sitting poolside in my own multi-million-pound mansion!” And POOF, he is gone.
The lighting director takes his turn and says, “Well, I wish to be sitting on the beach on my own multi-billion-pound private island!” And POOF, he is gone.
Then stage manager turns to the genie and says, “I wish to have them both back in 10 minutes.”
The funniest part of Macbeth is when the soldiers all cut a branch of a tree to hold in front of them while they march on the castle; pretending to be innocent trees instead of an army.
The second funniest part is that it actually works.
And a few one liners for luck…
A friend of mine got sacked as a set designer for not getting the work done. He didn’t make a scene.
Tried acting on a farm once. It went terribly; I got mooed off the stage.
Planning to open a new shadow puppet show. Business plan says we’ll make a fortune, but those are just projected figures.
Whether they make you giggle or groan, if you have any funny theatre gags to add to our list, we’d love to hear them! Or perhaps leave the comedy to the experts and treat yourself to tickets for a professional stand-up show… Browse upcoming comedy shows here!
The producers of the new musical-ballet production An American in Paris, currently playing at the Dominion Theatre in London, have announced last night that the show will not continue beyond its current last booking date, Saturday 6 January 2018.
They have also announced that the London stage production has been filmedfor future release in cinemas, featuring the original cast led by Robert Fairchild and Leanne Cope. Further announcements included plans for a major North American tour of the show.
An American in Paris premiered in 2014 at the Théâtre du Châtelet in Paris to ecstatic reviews before transferring to the Palace Theatre on Broadway, where it received 12 Tony® nominations, from which it won: Best Choreography, Best Orchestrations, Best Set Design and Best Lighting Design. The musical also won several other awards, including Drama Desk Awards, Theatre World Awards and more.
The storyline follows an American GI who decided to stay in France after the end of the second world war, in the hope of following his dream career as a painter in the lively city of Paris. He meets a young ballet dancer, with whom he inadvertently falls in love.
An American in Paris is produced in London by Stuart Oken, Van Kaplan, Roy Furman, Michael McCabe and Joshua Andrews by special arrangement with Elephant Eye Theatrical, the Pittsburgh CLO and Théâtre du Châtelet.
An American In Paris is currently playing at the Dominion Theatre, 268-269 Tottenham Court Road, London W1T 7AQ
Monday to Saturday 7:30pm
Wednesday & Saturday matinees 2:00pm until Saturday 30th September
From Wednesday 4th October 2017: Wednesday & Saturday matinees at 2:30pm Running time: 2 hours and 35 minutes, including one 20-minute interval.