July 2015 News, Reviews & Interviews

In July 2015, the theatre scene in London and across the UK continued to shine with an eclectic mix of classic revivals, innovative new plays, and unique theatrical experiences. This month was characterized by not only the traditional allure of the West End but also by groundbreaking performances and festivals that brought a fresh and diverse perspective to British theatre.

West End Highlights

  1. Musicals:
    • “Bend It Like Beckham” at the Phoenix Theatre brought the beloved film to the stage with a vibrant musical adaptation, celebrating cultural diversity and the journey of a young female footballer.
    • “The Phantom of the Opera” at Her Majesty’s Theatre maintained its enduring appeal, with audiences continuing to be enchanted by Andrew Lloyd Webber’s gothic romance.
  2. Plays:
    • “Hamlet” at the Barbican Theatre featured Benedict Cumberbatch in the titular role, drawing massive attention and selling out well in advance. Cumberbatch’s interpretation of Shakespeare’s tragic hero was a standout performance of the season.
    • “The Importance of Being Earnest” at the Vaudeville Theatre saw David Suchet take on the role of Lady Bracknell, bringing a fresh and humorous twist to Oscar Wilde’s classic comedy.

Notable Productions Outside the West End

  1. National Theatre:
    • “Three Days in the Country”, Patrick Marber’s adaptation of Turgenev’s “A Month in the Country”, offered a poignant and elegantly staged exploration of unrequited love and societal constraints.
    • “The Beaux’ Stratagem” by George Farquhar continued to charm audiences with its clever comedy and lively performances.
  2. Almeida Theatre:
    • The Almeida Theatre presented “Oresteia”, a bold and contemporary adaptation of Aeschylus’ trilogy by Robert Icke. The production was praised for its modern relevance and intense emotional impact.

Regional Theatres

Regional theatres across the UK showcased a variety of innovative and engaging productions:

  1. Chichester Festival Theatre:
    • “Mack & Mabel”, starring Michael Ball, continued its successful run, delighting audiences with the story of early Hollywood romance and ambition, featuring memorable music and dynamic performances.
  2. Manchester International Festival:
    • The biennial Manchester International Festival (MIF) featured a range of world premieres and special events. One highlight was “Tree”, a collaboration between Idris Elba and Kwame Kwei-Armah, blending drama, music, and dance to tell a powerful story about South Africa.

Unique Theatrical Events

  1. Shakespeare in the Park:
    • Shakespeare in the Park events took place across various UK cities, bringing accessible and free performances of Shakespeare’s works to open-air venues. This initiative aimed to democratize theatre and reach audiences who might not typically attend traditional venues. Productions like “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” and “Macbeth” were performed in parks, gardens, and other public spaces, drawing diverse crowds and fostering a communal spirit.
  2. Theatre on the Move:
    • Theatre on the Move, a unique project, involved mobile theatre companies performing in unconventional spaces such as buses, trains, and boats. One notable production was “The Tempest” performed on a Thames River boat, providing an immersive experience that intertwined the play’s themes of travel and discovery with the journey itself.

Trends and Developments

  1. Focus on Mental Health:
    • Mental health became a prominent theme in several productions, reflecting a growing societal focus on this important issue. Plays like “People, Places & Things” at the National Theatre delved into addiction and recovery, offering raw and realistic portrayals of mental health struggles.
  2. Interactive and Immersive Theatre:
    • The trend towards interactive and immersive theatre continued to grow, with productions encouraging audience participation and breaking the traditional boundaries between performers and spectators. Companies like Punchdrunk and Secret Cinema led the way with their innovative approaches.

Festivals and Special Events

  1. Edinburgh Festival Fringe:
    • Though primarily an August event, the buildup to the Edinburgh Festival Fringe in July was significant, with many companies previewing their shows across the UK. The Fringe is known for its diverse range of performances, from comedy and drama to experimental theatre and street performances, making it a crucial platform for emerging talent.
  2. Greenwich and Docklands International Festival:
    • The Greenwich and Docklands International Festival showcased outdoor performing arts, with a focus on large-scale, site-specific performances that transformed public spaces into dynamic stages. Highlights included “Prometheus Awakes”, a stunning piece that combined aerial acrobatics with pyrotechnics to tell a mythological tale.

In conclusion, July 2015 was a vibrant and diverse month for theatre in London and the UK. With a mix of high-profile West End productions, innovative regional performances, and unique theatrical events, the British theatre scene demonstrated its versatility and ability to engage audiences in new and exciting ways. The focus on mental health, interactive experiences, and accessibility highlighted the industry’s commitment to addressing contemporary issues and reaching broader audiences.

July 2015 News, Reviews & Interviews

Pixie Lott to star in Breakfast at Tiffany’s Theatre Royal Haymarket
New cast announced for Jersey Boys UK & IRELAND Tour from 18th August 2015
The Face To Face Festival at the White Bear Theatre
1984 is a gripping, superbly staged and realistically acted play
The Curious Incident of The Dog in The Night-Time welcomes new cast
New magic show IMPOSSIBLE seeks child performers
Review of Bare Essentials at Take Courage Theatre
Review of The Dreamers at St James Theatre London
Nat Sweeney is the forty-first Billy Elliot at the Victoria Palace Theatre
Malachite Theatre Company’s Twelfth Night
Review of ENDURANCE at Tristan Bates Theatre
BETWEEN THE SHEETS: An Intimate Cabaret at London Wonderground
Nat Sweeney is the 100th Billy Elliot in Billy Elliot The Musical Worldwide!
Review of Much Ado About Nothing at Camden People’s Theatre
Review of I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change Above The Arts Theatre
Review of The Picture of Dorian Gray at Bread and Roses Theatre
AS IS a really awesome piece of theatre at Trafalgar Studios
Review of Black Cat Cabaret: Nocturne at London Wonderground
Review of Joe Bor and Jasper Cromwell Jones at the Museum of Comedy
Joe Calarco’s Shakespeare’s R and J at the Tabard Theatre
The Supreme Fabulettes at Leicester Square Theatre
Review of East is East at Churchill Theatre Bromley
Agatha Christie’s The Mousetrap announces new UK Tour dates
Madalena Alberto In Concert with Don’t Cry For Me
Review of Orson’s Shadow at Southwark Playhouse
Exhibitionism The Rolling Stones Exhibition
Review of SimG Record’s A SPOONFUL OF SHERMAN
Sir Bruce Forsyth will host and interview Liza Minnelli at the London Palladium
Review of STANDBY FOR TAPE BACK-UP at Soho Theatre
Review of THE KREUTZER SONATA and Other Works
Review of The House of Mirrors and Hearts at Arcola Theatre
All-female production of King Henry V at the Union Theatre
Review of 4.48 Psychosis at the Crypt under St Pancras Old Church
Review of Dutch National Ballet’s Cinderella by Christopher Wheeldon
Review of Ann Hampton Callaway and Liz Callaway in Sibling Revelry
Review of Mozart’s Don Giovanni at the Tricycle Theatre
Review of The Hampstead Players’ The Tragedy of King Richard II
She Called Me Mother starring Cathy Tyson to tour in Autumn 2015
Review of Helen Foster in The Diver at The Rag Factory
Review of The Rhythm of Life at St James Theatre
Review of Lesere at Jermyn Street Theatre
Review of The Young Idea and Hands Across the Sea
Review of Little Malcolm and his Struggle Against the Eunuchs
Review of The Mentalists at Wyndham’s Theatre
National Youth Theatre presents HOMEGROWN
Cast announced for CROSSING JERUSALEM by Julia Pascal
Interview with Mark Kane from the cast of Hetty Feather
Review of The King Of Tiny Things at Udderbelly
Hamlet rehearsal photos with Benedict Cumberbatch
Review of Constellations at Trafalgar Studios
Review of Gypsy at the Savoy Theatre London July 2015
The Turn of the Screw Tower Theatre Company Upstairs At The Gatehouse
Review of I Sing! at The Drayton Arms Theatre London
MASTER OF THE MACABRE at The Vaults Theatre
Review of Shakespeare’s R&J at the Tabard Theatre
Review of Taken In Marriage at Waterloo East Theatre
Wicked Cast News Apollo Victoria Theatre September 2015
Review of The Gathered Leaves at Park Theatre
Review of Romeo and Juliet at Brockley Jack Studio Theatre
Review of What’s It All About? Bacharach Reimagined
Review of One for My Baby at the Royal Central School of Speech and Drama
Review of Lovett + Todd at the King’s Head Theatre
Review of The Supreme Fabulettes at Leicester Square Theatre
Review of MONUMENT in Central London
Review of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland at Holland Park
Review of James Bustar: Hilarious Antics and Mayhem
Review of HECUBA at the White Bear Theatre
Review of The Play That Goes Wrong London West End
Matilda The Musical London new cast and Matilda to premiere in Sydney
F*CKING MEN King’s Head Theatre cast announcement
SU POLLARD leads the cast of Side by Side by Sondheim
Our House Madness Musical at Union Theatre
Queen’s Theatre Hornchurch offers two theatre apprenticeships
Full Company announced for THE WARS OF THE ROSES
IAN KELSEY and PATRICK ROBINSON cast in THE SHAWSHANK REDEMPTION
Charlotte Moore shines in The Audience at the Apollo Theatre
Review of VOLPONE at the RSC’s Swan Theatre Stratford-upon-Avon
Review: 5 Star American Idiot at the Arts Theatre
Review of SINATRA: THE MAN AND HIS MUSIC at the London Palladium
Review of The Bald Prima Donna at Upstairs At The Gatehouse
Phantom Cabaret New Beginnings… No More Talk of Darkness
Review of Twelfth Night or What You Will at The Space Theatre
Debut playwright Angela Clarke wins The Young Stationers’ Prize 2015
Review of House Of Burlesque Straight Up at Wonderground Spiegeltent
Full cast announced for Sheffield Theatres’ Romeo and Juliet
Review of Songs For a New World at St James Theatre
Review of The Hideout – Theseus and the Minotaur
Review of The Spitfire Grill at the Union Theatre
Seven Brides for Seven Brothers – Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre
Three Days In The Country starring John Simm at The National Theatre
Review of Love, Bombs and Apples at the Arcola Theatre
Review of BOYS OF THE BARRICADE LIVE in concert at Charing Cross Theatre
Review of Heartbreak Hotel at The Jetty, Greenwich Peninsula
Review of Nightflyer at the Tristan Bates Theatre
Tom Conti and Gwen Taylor in BEFORE THE PARTY
Review of COME IN! SIT DOWN! at The Tricycle Theatre
Review of Shaun Kitchener’s play Positive at Park Theatre
Clive Rowe with Debbie Kurup in JACK AND THE BEANSTALK at Hackney Empire
Recent RADA graduate Freddie Stewart cast as Henry V
Cast and Creative Team announced for THE STING at Wilton’s Music Hall
Bend It Like Beckham The Musical Live Video Footage
Review of The Woyzeck Theory at the Courtyard Theatre
Review of Jekyll and Hyde at The Platform Theatre
Review of Dissocia at The Bread and Roses Theatre
CRUSH New Musical opens at Belgrade Theatre Coventry
Auditions for ALADDIN which opens London’s West End Summer 2016
Review of Impossible at the Noel Coward Theatre
TOM McGOWAN joins the cast of Wicked as The Wizard
CATS starring Beverley Knight first look video
Harvey Fierstein’s International Stud starring CJ de Mooi and Reed Stokes
Review of Smoke and Oakum’s Cornermen
Impossible at Noel Coward Theatre London

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