December 2015 News, Reviews & Interviews

In December 2015, the theatre scene in London was a festive blend of beloved classics, innovative new works, and unique immersive experiences that captivated audiences during the holiday season. This month was marked by a rich variety of performances that showcased the creativity and diversity of British theatre.

West End Highlights

Musicals

  1. “Elf: The Musical” at the Dominion Theatre brought holiday cheer to the West End, adapting the popular Christmas film into a joyous stage production filled with festive songs and heartwarming moments.
  2. “Matilda the Musical” at the Cambridge Theatre continued to delight audiences with its clever lyrics by Tim Minchin and enchanting story based on Roald Dahl’s beloved book, making it a perfect family outing for the holidays.

Plays

  1. “The Winter’s Tale” at the Garrick Theatre, part of the Kenneth Branagh Theatre Company season, featured Branagh himself alongside Judi Dench. This production of Shakespeare’s play was praised for its emotional depth and stellar performances.
  2. “A Christmas Carol” at the Noël Coward Theatre starred Jim Broadbent as Ebenezer Scrooge, bringing Charles Dickens’ classic holiday tale to life with wit and charm.

Notable Productions Outside the West End

National Theatre

  1. “Jane Eyre”, an innovative adaptation of Charlotte Brontë’s classic novel, returned to the National Theatre, combining dynamic staging and live music to tell the story of the strong-willed heroine.
  2. “Husbands & Sons” by D.H. Lawrence, adapted by Ben Power, continued to impress with its powerful depiction of life in a Nottinghamshire mining community, offering a rich and immersive theatrical experience.

Donmar Warehouse

  • “Les Liaisons Dangereuses”, starring Janet McTeer and Dominic West, captivated audiences with its intricate plot of seduction and betrayal, brought to life through compelling performances and elegant staging.

Unique Theatrical Events

Immersive Theatre

  1. “The Great Gatsby”:
    • An immersive adaptation of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s novel, “The Great Gatsby”, transported audiences to the roaring twenties. Held in a secret London location, this production allowed attendees to dance, drink, and interact with the characters, creating an engaging and lively experience.
  2. “Alice’s Adventures Underground”:
    • Continuing in the Vaults beneath Waterloo Station, “Alice’s Adventures Underground” offered an interactive journey through Wonderland, where audiences could choose their own paths and encounter characters in a fantastical setting.

Regional Theatre Highlights

Royal Shakespeare Company (RSC) in Stratford-upon-Avon

  • “The Merchant of Venice”, directed by Polly Findlay and starring Makram J. Khoury as Shylock, provided a fresh and powerful interpretation of Shakespeare’s play, focusing on themes of justice and mercy.

Chichester Festival Theatre

  • “Guys and Dolls”, a high-energy revival of the classic musical, prepared to transfer to London’s Savoy Theatre. The production, with its memorable songs and vibrant choreography, was a hit with audiences and critics alike.

Trends and Developments

  1. Focus on Inclusivity and Diversity:
    • There was a strong emphasis on inclusivity and diversity in theatre, with productions and casting reflecting a broader range of voices and experiences. Venues like the Bush Theatre and Theatre Royal Stratford East led the way in championing new works by diverse playwrights.
  2. Integration of Technology:
    • The use of technology in theatre continued to grow, with productions incorporating multimedia elements to enhance storytelling. Digital projections, interactive features, and live streaming were increasingly used to create immersive and dynamic experiences.

Festivals and Special Events

Winter Wonderland Theatre

  • Hyde Park Winter Wonderland featured a range of festive performances, including circus acts, ice shows, and pantomimes, adding to the holiday magic in London. Highlights included the “Cinderella on Ice” show and the “Zippos Christmas Circus”.

Shakespeare’s Globe

  • “The Sam Wanamaker Playhouse offered intimate candlelit performances of “Cymbeline” and “The Little Matchgirl”, creating a magical and atmospheric theatre experience. These productions highlighted the Globe’s commitment to presenting Shakespeare and other classic works in innovative and engaging ways.

In conclusion, December 2015 was a vibrant and festive month for theatre in London. The blend of high-profile West End shows, innovative regional productions, and unique immersive experiences provided a rich and diverse array of performances for audiences. The focus on inclusivity, technology, and festive programming highlighted the creativity and dynamism of the British theatre scene, ensuring a memorable and enchanting holiday season.

December 2015 News, Reviews & Interviews

What makes a good musical?
Seasonal run of PETER PAN GOES WRONG at The Apollo Theatre
A Table Set For Two at the Etcetera Theatre – Review
5-star Aladdin at The Queen’s Theatre Hornchurch – Review
The Sugar Plum Fairy sings Land of The Sweets
The Tiger Who Came To Tea at the Lyric Theatre – Review
The Sun Shining On Her Hands at The Bread and Roses Theatre – Review
The Sawyer Studies at the Etcetera Theatre – Review
Interview with Emmanuel Kojo
Leading actors to perform Harold Pinter’s poetry as part of 50th anniversary celebrations
John Owen-Jones returns to Broadway for final run of Les Miserables
Aladdin at the Churchill Theatre Bromley – Review
In The Heights nominated for 9 Whatsonstage awards
Review of Jackson’s Way: The Christmas Top-Up Power Seminar at Battersea Arts Centre
World Premiere of Edward Bond’s Dea at Sutton Theatres
Review of Linda at Jerwood Theatre Downstairs The Royal Court Theatre
Andy Capp The Musical first professional revival in 30 years
Review of The Infinite Line Between Dating and Dying
Full casting announced for Red Velvet at the Garrick Theatre
Review Round-up: Funny Girl at the Menier Chocolate Factory
Review of Around The World In 80 Days at St James Theatre
Through the Mill at London Theatre Workshop – Review
Interview with Martin Ball
Piaf at Charing Cross Theatre – Review
Different Breed presents The Night Before Christmas – Review
5-star A Christmas Carol at The Rose Theatre Kingston – Review
Jenna Russell sings Another Winter In A Summer Town
Kali Theatre Company presents TALKBACK
Jeremy Corbyn meets Prince Corbyn at Park Theatre
School of Rock The Musical to open at London Palladium Autumn 2016
Hangmen at Wyndham’s Theatre London – Review
REVIEW: A Better Woman at the Marlowe Theatre Canterbury
Samuel Beckett’s All That Fall at Wilton’s Music Hall
Debbie Kurup, Krysten Cummings and Damien Flood cast in SEASONS OF LARSON
New production images released for Beautiful The Carole King Musical
5-star The Mikado at the London Coliseum – Review
Review of Dracula The Musical at London College of Music
Rapunzel at London’s Park Theatre – Review
You For Me For You at The Royal Court Theatre – Review
Experiental Dance Company presents BRIDGING THE VOID
The Dazzle at Found 111
Nutcracker! The Musical at The Pleasance Theatre – Review
SHADOWLANDS 2016 National Tour cast announced
Wonder.Land at the Olivier Theatre – National Theatre – Review
Billy Elliot The Musical to close in West End April 2016
The Haunting at The Jack Studio Theatre – Review
Sunny Afternoon National Tour announced opening at Manchester Opera House
Lisa Maxwell, Gary Wilmot and Sam Attwater star in End of The Rainbow
Arthur Miller’s No Villain at The Old Red Lion Theatre – Review
Sean Holmes’ Bugsy Malone returns to Lyric Hammersmith Summer 2016
Carlos Acosta A Classical Selection at the London Coliseum – Review
Good King Richard at the White Bear Theatre – Review
Aladdin at The Mercury Theatre Colchester – Review
KIM NOBLE: YOU’RE NOT ALONE – Review
The Wasp: intense, absorbing and gripping theatre – Review
A Christmas Carol at Noel Coward Theatre – Review
Review of Red Riding Hood at The Pleasance Theatre – Review
Victorian and Gay at The Hope Theatre – Review
Tom Stoppard’s Hapgood at Hampstead Theatre – Review
Mirror Mirror at The King’s Head Theatre – Review
F*cking Men at the King’s Head Theatre – December 2015
Ockham’s Razor’s Tipping Point announce more tour dates
The National Youth Theatre to hold auditions and interviews
Kitten in Heels at the Lost Theatre – Review
Sheila Hancock and Jenna Russell in Grey Gardens
Flare Path announces 2016 Tour and new cast
Review of Snow White and The Seven Dwarfs at Hoxton Hall
The Tinderbox at Charing Cross Theatre – Review
Elf The Musical’s record-breaking run at the Dominion Theatre
Bewitchment on Black Ice at the Landor Theatre – Review
Pride and Prejudice: The Panto at the Cockpit Theatre – Review
The Three Kings at St James Theatre – Review
Review of Richard Greenberg’s The Dazzle at Found111
The Fitzrovia Radio Hour’s Christmas Special – Review
The Restoration of Nell Gwyn at Park Theatre London
Bare Essentials at The Amersham Arms – Review
Interview with Emma Earle Co-Artistic Director…
Lucie Jones to perform solo London cabaret in January 2016
Chancers at The Bridewell Theatre – Review
Richmond Theatre announces new 2016 season
5-star Dr Seuss’s The Lorax at the Old Vic Theatre – Review
The Godling at The Etectera Theatre – Review
Agatha Christie’s The Mousetrap announces new West End cast
Fantastic alternative Dick! at Leicester Square Theatre – Review
Robin Hood at Theatre Royal Stratford East – Review
Show Boat at The Crucible Theatre Sheffield – Review
Review of How To Keep An Alien by Sonya Kelly at Soho Theatre
Review of Goodnight Mister Tom – Duke of York’s Theatre
Goodnight Mister Tom at the Duke of York’s Theatre – Review
Adult casting announced for UK and Ireland Tour of Billy Elliot
Pre-West End UK Tour of AFTER MISS JULIE announced
PIAF extends West End run and celebrates 100th anniversary…
The Critics’ Circle Theatre Awards 2015 January 2016 Prince of Wales Theatre
A Christmas Carol By Candlelight in St Mary Abchurch – Review
Review of The Gruffalo at Vaudeville Theatre – ‘Magic’
Whistleblower the story of Edward Snowden returns
Weald by Daniel Foxsmith at Finborough Theatre
Known Unknowns by Vinay Patel added to VAULT Festival 2016
Cast announced for Pink Mist at The Bush Theatre
RSC Shakespeare on Screen film season at the Barbican January 2016
Fabulous Fanny: Songs and Stories of Fanny Brice – Review
Seasons Greetings from the world of theatre…
Clementine’s Seasonal Spectacular at Rosemary Branch Theatre
The Print Room announces Spring 2016 Season
Tim McArthur to play Azdak the judge in The Caucasian Chalk Circle
Daniel Koek to play Hipprodrome Casino
Review of The Three Kings at St James Theatre
Lyn Paul returns to the role of Mrs Johnstone in Blood Brothers UK Tour
5-star A Christmas Carol at Middle Temple Hall – Review
Alan Ayckbourn’s Confusions & Hero’s Welcome to tour UK and US
I Believe in Unicorns at The Orange Tree Theatre – Review
London Theatre 2015 – Top London Shows 2015
Andrew Lloyd Webber’s School of Rock smashes Broadway Box Office Records
Fantastic Legally Blonde The Musical Upstairs At The Gatehouse – Review
What Lies Beneath: An exhibition of photographic portraits of dancers
Union Theatre announces new productions for 2016

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