I know many a person who breathed a sigh of relief when the last weekend of January rolled around and brought with it that much needed end-of-month pay cheque. As wonderful as Christmas can be, there’s no doubting that it’s an expensive time of year and the days between receiving December and January’s wages can seem very long indeed. Jubilant in your new-found wealth (I know, if only right?), the question now is what to do with it. Of course, as responsible adult members of society we have to pay bills, stock up the kitchen and squirrel money away for rainy days… and so forth; what’s the point of life without doing a little something for yourself though? Many theatre fans who agree with this will surely be heading straight to the theatre with their bank card gleefully in hand, and with that in mind, here’s a guide to some of the best productions coming to the West End in February:
The television programme Strictly Come Dancing is one of the BBC’s most popular reality-based shows, featuring various celebrities pairing up with professional dancers in the ballroom dancing competition. Now, two of the show’s dancers have joined forces for Midnight Tango, which ‘brings to life all the drama, sensuality and elegance of the tango.’ Set in a late-night bar in downtown Buenos Aires, Midnight Tango explores this intoxicating city where danger and excitement, joy and jealousy, pain and passion collide in one spectacularly explosive evening. Created by professional dancers Vincent Simone and Flavia Cacace, who also star in the production, it features live music by tango band Tango Siempre and vocals by Miguel Angel. There is also an appearance from former SCD contestant Russell Grant as ‘Carlos’. Produced by Arlene Phillips and Adam Spiegel, Midnight Tango started previews yesterday (30th January 2013) at the Phoenix Theatre. It opens there on 5th February 2013 and runs until 2nd March 2013.
There are authors whose work transcends time and Charles Dickens is certainly one such author. His books are classics in the literary world and for very good reason, but they also translate well into other mediums. Another film adaption was recently released in UK cinemas, and in February, Jo Clifford’s stage adaption hits the West End. The story follows orphan boy Pip from his youth through to his development into a Victorian gentleman, featuring the many characters he encounters along the way who help to shape his life. This stage version of the famous tale is produced by Bruce Athol MacKinnon on behalf of Beckman Unicorn Ltd and Satis House Productions Ltd. Under the direction of Graham McLaren, it stars Taylor Jay Davies as ‘Young Pip’ and Paul Nivison as ‘Adult Pip’, alongside Paula Wilcox (Miss Havisham), Grace Rowe (Estella), Jack Ellis (Jaggers) and Chris Ellison (Magwitch). The first preview of Great Expectations is tomorrow (1st February 2013) at the Vaudeville Theatre. It opens there 6th February and is booking until 1st June 2013.
FIESTA (THE SUN ALSO RISES):
This is an adaption of a classic story, that of Ernest Hemingway’s first novel The Sun Also Rises. Alex Helfrecht directs his new stage version, in which he has also incorporated live jazz performance and choreography to display the ‘sensual beauty and the raw brutality of Hemingway’s tale of love, loss and decadence.’ American writer Jake, is one of ‘the lost generation’ post WWI living a bohemian lifestyle in Paris in the 1920s with fellow expat novelist Robert Cohn, until the arrival of the irresistible Lady Brett Ashley throws their lives into turmoil. Jake’s obsession with bullfighting takes them to Pamplona, Spain, to experience the testosterone fuelled world of bullfighting. In the sweltering heat of Spain they meet the beguiling bullfighter Romero and a violent spectacle unfolds. Produced by Philip Munger, George Warren and Jorg Tittel, the play stars Gideon Turner (Jake), Jye Frasca (Robert), Josie Taylor (Brett) and Jack Holden (Romero). Three-piece jazz band Trio Farouche also feature. Fiesta starts previews at Trafalgar Studios 2 from 5th February 2013 and opens two days later on 7th February 2013. It closes on 2nd March 2013.
This six strong performance group from Sendai, Japan bring their electronic multimedia dance theatre extravaganza to the West End this month. The group fuse modern technology with mime and movement, set to an electro beat which is mixed live each night. They aim to break the language barrier with a non-verbal performance in this interactive, physical/dance theatre show, flexing their ‘finest techno muscle’ as they accentuate their human body performance with video projections and optical illusion. Produced by Prospero in association with World Dance Management, this is a unique theatrical experience which can be enjoyed by people of all ages. The first preview performance by SIRO-A begins tomorrow (1st February 2013) at the Leicester Square Theatre (Main House). They open on 4th February 2013 and can be seen there until 22nd April 2013.
A CHORUS LINE:
This 1975 Broadway musical is to enjoy a 2013 West End revival as it arrives at the London Palladium this month. Featuring a book by James Kirkwood and Nicholas Dante, and with music by Marvin Hamlisch and lyrics by Edward Kleban, the musical is all about Broadway dancers auditioning for spots on a chorus line. The audience are given a glimpse into the personalities of the performers and the choreographer as they describe the events which shaped their lives and decisions to become dancers. The hit show features such musical numbers as ‘I Hope I Get It’, ‘I Can Do That’, ‘Hello Twelve, Hello Thirteen, Hello Love’, ‘What I Did For Love’ and ‘One’. A co-production from Mark Goucher, Adam Kenwright, ACT Productions, Tim Lawson, Daniel Sparrow & Mike Walsh Productions, this newly-revived production is directed by Bob Avian and features a starry line-up which includes John Partridge (Zach), Scarlett Strallen (Cassie) and Victoria Hamilton-Barritt (Diana). Making up the remainder of the cast are: Leigh Zimmerman (Sheila), Lucy Adcock (Judy), Georgie Ashford (Trisha), Ed Currie (Bobby), Frances Dee (Kristine), Segun Fawole (Butch), Harry Francis (Mark), Simon Hardwick (Al), Rebecca Herszenhon (Val), James T Lane (Richie), Marc Leslie (Roy), Vicki Lee Taylor (Maggie), Daisy Maywood (Bebe), Alice Jane Murray (Lois), Alastair Postlethwaite (Larry), Andy Rees (Greg), Adam Salter (Mike), Alexzandra Sarmiento (Connie), Michael Steedon (Tom), Gary Watson (Don), Gary Wood (Paul), Rebecca Giocopazzi, Genevieve Nicole and Ashley Nottingham. The musical, which is choreographed by Bob Avian and Michael Bennett, starts previews at the Palladium from 5th February 2013. It officially opens on 19th February 2013 and is currently booking until 18th January 2014.
THE TAILOR-MADE MAN:
This was originally written as a play by Claudio Macor. The musical version features a book by Amy Rosenthal (with Macor), with music by Adam Meggido and lyrics by Meggido and Duncan Walsh Atkins. It is the true story of 1930’s silent screen star William Haines who was fired by MGM Studios for being gay and refusing to give up his life-long partner Jimmy Shields to marry fellow actress Pola Negri. A tale about the hypocrisy of the Hollywood ‘system’, it is also about the passionate love affair between Haines and Shields which lasted over 50 years. Produced by Stephen McGill, it features choreography by Nathan M. Wright and musical direction by Duncan Walsh Atkins. Macor directs the musical’s cast, which stars Dylan Turner as ‘William Haines’ alongside Bradley Clarkson (Jimmy Shields), Mike McShane (Louis B. Mayer), Faye Tozer (Marion Davies), with Michael Cotton, Kay Murphy, Matt Wilman, Lauren Grant, Vivien Carter, Holly Easterbrook and Edward French. The Tailor-Made Man starts previews at the Arts Theatre from 14th February 2013(a nice Valentines Day treat perhaps?) and opens there on 21st February 2013. It runs until 6th April 2013.
THE CAPTAIN OF KOPENICK:
Ron Hutchinson brings this new English version of Carl Zuckmayer’s play to the West End in a National Theatre in-house production. Set in 1910 Berlin, the story follows petty criminal Wilhelm Voight who has been released after 15 years in prison. In a search for identity papers, he discovers a military uniform in a fancy dress shop and finds himself at the head of six soldiers and with a city ready to obey him. At the Mayors office he cites corruption and confiscates the treasury, but ultimately, he still seeks official recognition that he exists. Adrian Noble directs the play’s cast, featuring: Antony Sher, Sandy Batchelor, Paul Bentall, Jason Cheater, Paul Chequer, Alan David, Robert Demeger, James Hayes, Barnaby Kay, David Killick, Siobhan McSweeney, Nick Malinowski, Anthony O’Donnell, Olivia Poulet, Iris Roberts, Nick Sampson, Adrian Schiller, Robin Weaver, Joseph Wilkins, Lynne Wilmot, Damian Davis, Neil Ditt, Jonathan Dryden Taylor, Colin Haigh, Kaisa Hammarlund and Peter Howe. The Captain of Kopenick began previews on 29th January 2013 and opens at Olivier, National Theatre on 5th February, where it runs until 4th April 2013.
Shakespeare’s tragic play about the murderous Scottish lord Macbeth is one of his most well-known, and now it comes to the West End again as part of Trafalgar Transformed – ‘’a season of politically-charged power plays on the doorstep of Whitehall, accompanied by a festival of platform events, discussions and readings.’ Jamie Lloyd’s production, in association with Ambassadors Theatre Group, sees the dark drama played out in a Scotland brutalised by war where, under a toxic fog, Macbeth’s tormented struggle for power begins. Lloyd also directs the production, which stars stage and screen actor James McAvoy in the title role. The rest of the cast features: Claire Foy (Lady Macbeth), Jamie Ballard (Macduff), Graeme Dalling (Donalbain), Lisa Gardner (Witch), Kevin Guthrie (Lennox), Richard Hansell (Ross), Forbes Masson (Banquo), Allison McKenzie (Witch), Olivia Morgan (Witch), Catherine Murray (Caithness), Callum O’Neill (Angus), Mark Quartley (Malcolm) and Hugh Ross (Duncan/Doctor). Macbeth begins previews from 9th February 2013 at Trafalgar Studios 1. It opens there on 22nd February 2013 and closes on 27th April 2013.
By Julie Robinson (@missjulie25)
Thursday 31st January 2013