UK’s No.1 Rock & Roll variety production That’ll Be The Day returns with another brand new show

After an incredible three decades of touring, the UK’s No.1 Rock & Roll variety production That’ll Be The Day returns with another brand new show!

That’ll Be The Day is highly acclaimed for its special ability to recreate nostalgia with LIVE entertainment.

That'll be the Day

That’ll Be The Day. Click on the image to book your tickets now!

Having delighted audiences throughout the UK for over three decades, the show is back on the road once again this year entertaining crowds of fans with classic hits from the 1950s, 60s, 70s & 80s plus more hilarious comedy!

Originally established on the cabaret circuit in the late 1980’s, the show began playing regional theatres in the early 1990’s. Now it performs over 200 shows a year to capacity audiences across the UK. Trevor Payne (who first created the show back in 1986!) still directs, produces and stars in the production today.

Trevor rewrites all the material for the show for each year, and over six months is taken in planning and preparation. Complete with stunning costumes and incredible live music performances, That’ll Be The Day is the golden age of popular music…revived!

That’ll Be The Day are proud supporters of  Make-A-Wish UK – the charity which grants magical wishes to children and young people fighting life-threatening conditions. This year they’re celebrating 30 years of granting magical wishes – providing desperately ill children with hope for the future, strength to cope and resilience to fight their condition.

Now entering its third year of collecting, That’ll Be The Day is delighted to have raised over £130,000 in donations from its truly generous audiences across the UK!

“We are truly delighted to be supporting Make-A-Wish. The tireless work they do with children across the UK is inspirational and we look forward to a long and fruitful association with this amazing charity” – Trevor Payne


or call BH Live Tickets on 0844 576 3000/visit the Bournemouth Pavilion/BIC box office.

Event: That’ll Be The Day

Venue: Bournemouth Pavilion Theatre

Date(s): Saturday 03, Wednesday 07-Saturday 10, Wednesday 14-Saturday 17 September 2016

Time(s): 7.30pm


Last chance to see acclaimed headline show BARBU at London Wonderground

After a raucous summer season at London Wonderground at Southbank Centre, Canadian Circus Company Cirque Alfonse will bid au revoir to the Spiegeltent on 25 September. The spectacularly sexy and hairy cabaret, BARBU, will end its headline run at the recently expanded London Wonderground having delighted and astounded audiences for 14 weeks.

Barbu acrobatic troupe photocall on the Southbank - London

Barbu acrobatic troupe photocall on the Southbank – London

Hot on the heels of a storming run at Underbelly’s new Circus Hub venue last year, the first major venue dedicated solely to circus at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, BARBU opened at London Wonderground on Wednesday 15 June.

Wowing audiences in 2013 with their London debut of the madcap lumberjack circus Timber!, Cirque Alfonse’s BARBU takes this form of edge-of-your-seat, off-the-wall entertainment to a whole other level with breath-taking performances from a group of the world’s most extraordinary dare-devil acrobats, all set to a heart thumping score by a frenetic electro-trad band.

BARBU delves into the origins of the circus in Montreal at the end of the 19th and beginning of the 20th centuries. Imagine a fairground, where spectators are left spellbound by astonishing performances and outrageous feats, simple curiosities and unexpected eccentricities. Political correctness has no place in the madness and mayhem of this show.

Since it began, Cirque Alfonse has been exploring traditional iconic Quebec images and integrating them into a truly innovative form of contemporary acrobatics. In the Lanaudière region of Quebec, the Carabinier-Lépine family and their close friends joined forces in 2005, and the following year they created La Brunantewhich became the foundation for Timber! which premiered in 2010. This highly original production became an undeniable success with more than 300 performances in 13 countries to date.

London’s finest circus party and the Cirque Alfonse clan’s third show, BARBU, is an exuberant, bizarre and once-in-a-lifetime extravaganza.


First day of rehearsals images released for the new musical adaptation of The Wind in The Willows

Rehearsals have begun for the highly-anticipated major new musical theatre adaptation of THE WIND IN THE WILLOWS, created by Julian FellowesGeorge Stiles and Anthony Drewe. Premiering at Theatre Royal Plymouth from 8th October 2016, the production will then open at The Lowry in Salford and Mayflower Theatre in Southampton, prior to opening in London’s West End.

The production stars Rufus Hound as the lovable menace Mr Toad, award-winning actor David Birrell as Badger, Irish actor and singer Fra Fee as Mole, Downton Abbey’s Thomas Howes as Ratty, EastEnders bad-boy and Shrek star Neil McDermott as Chief Weasel and Sophia Nomvete as Mrs Otter.

The full cast includes Rakesh Boury, Courtney Bowman, Jenna Boyd, Abigail Brodie, Jorell Coiffic-Kamall, Nicole Deon, James GantEvan James, Graham Lappin, Michael LarcombeBethany Linsdell, Dylan MasonEmma Odell, Ryan Pidgen, Patrick Sullivan, Karli Vale, Adam Vaughan, Georgie Westall and Holly Willock.

Based on Kenneth Grahame’s treasured novel which has captivated generations of readers for over a century, THE WIND IN THE WILLOWS has been adapted for the stage with a book by Academy Award-winning screenwriter and Downton Abbey creator Julian Fellowes and Olivier Award-winning composer and lyricist duo George Stiles and Anthony Drewe. Fellowes, Stiles and Drewe previously collaborated together on the hugely successful international hit musical Mary Poppins which ran for three years in the West End and six years on Broadway and on a new version of Half a Sixpence currently playing at the Chichester Festival Theatre.

Produced by Jamie Hendry and MJE Productions in association with Theatre Royal Plymouth, THE WIND IN THE WILLOWS is directed by Rachel Kavanaugh with design by Peter McKintosh, choreography by Aletta Collins, lighting design by Howard Harrison, sound design by Gareth Owen, orchestrations by Chris Jahnke and David Shrubsole and musical supervision by Simon Lee.

Kenneth Grahame’s wild tale about the thrill-seeking Mr Toad comes to life in a brand new stage musical. Ratty, Badger and Mole join the exuberant Toad and embark on a series of adventures and misadventures caused by his insatiable need for speed! Imprisoned for theft and with his existence under threat from the inhabitants of the Wild Wood, Toad must attempt a daring escape to defend Toad Hall. Featuring spectacular stagecraft and a company of over fifty, this sparkling new musical with a glorious original score brings this treasured British classic to life in what is set to be 2016’s wildest theatrical adventure.

Mayflower Theatre to open its doors for visitors for its 30th Anniversary Open Day on Saturday 3 September

Have you ever wanted to find out what it would be like to stand on Mayflower Theatre’s stage, or get up close to the beautiful costumes? Well now is your chance, as Mayflower Theatre will be opening its doors to the public for an access all areas day.

Mayflower Theatre Open Day

Mayflower Theatre Open Day

The day will give a chance for everyone to gain a rare insight into everything that happens on and off-stage at one of the biggest theatres in the UK.

Some guided tours will be available (register for tour on arrival) or you have the option to take a self-guided tour. With wig and makeup demonstrations, panto dames and a chance to get up close to some of the sumptuous costumes from classic productions, knowledgeable staff will ensure this day out is a must for all your family!

There will also be performances on stage throughout the day from our Summer Youth Dance Project performers, who have developed their pieces with Rambert and ZooNation Dance Companies.

And finally there will also be a chance to find out more about the exciting development plans for the theatre over the coming years and to take a look into our archive and share your stories and memories of the theatre as part of our My Story project (supported by the National Lottery through the Heritage Lottery Fund).

Visitors can arrive at 10am, 12pm and 2pm and stay for a unique experience.  Ticket prices are £5 for adults and under 16s are free with an accompanying adult (maximum 3 free ticketed children with one adult).

Don’t miss out on this unique event to go behind the curtain and feel like the star of the show.

Tickets are on sale from Mayflower Theatre Box Office tel: 02380 711811 or online at

International Ibsen award winners Forced Entertainment to livestream their sellout Complete Works: Table Top Shakespeare, 36 Plays over nine days between 1-9 September 2016

The boundary-breaking Sheffield based Theatre Company Forced Entertainment are to livestream their Complete Works: Take Top Shakespeare project over nine days following a sold out run at the Barbican earlier this year. In Complete Works six performers create condensed versions of every Shakespeare play ever written, intimately retelling them using a collection of everyday un-extraordinary objects on the one metre stage of a table-top. The performances feature objects such as pepper pots, knives and forks and cheese graters in place of Shakespeare’s characters. Complete Works will be presented at and livestreamed from Theaterfestival Basel from 1-9 September 2016 giving those who weren’t able to get a ticket at the Barbican earlier this year the opportunity to see all of the hour-long pieces online.  Forced Entertainment is working in conjunction with the British Council who will livestream the performances on their site, in addition to the festival site and Forced Entertainment’s.

Forced Entertainment Complete Works

Forced Entertainment Complete Works © Hugo Glendinning

Later in September Forced Entertainment will become the first ever UK based recipients of one of theatre’s most prestigious awards, The International Ibsen Award, honouring extraordinary contribution to art and culture. Given every two years by the Norwegian government on Henrik Ibsen’s birthday, the prize is 2.5 million Norwegian Kroner, equivalent to around £200,000. The first ever group to win the prize, Forced Entertainment join a distinguished list of previous winners including Peter Handke, Heiner Goebbels, Jon Fosse, Ariane Mnouchkine and Peter Brook. The ceremony will take place during the International Ibsen Festival at the National Theatre in Oslo from 20 – 24 September where Forced Entertainment will showcase a selection of their groundbreaking work including The Coming StormAnd On The Thousandth Night and The Notebook. Ahead of the festival Forced Entertainment have today announced their intentions for the prize money, they said: “Forced Entertainment will invest monies from the International Ibsen Award in new opportunities for collaboration, training, knowledge exchange, mentoring and creative practice for artists in the field of contemporary performance. These additional projects lie outside the group’s regular programme of activity and will focus on creating opportunities for less established artists.

Making a dynamic contribution to the field of contemporary performance in this way, and turning the Ibsen Award into a generative force,  the group hope to celebrate and strengthen the sector that has long inspired and sustained them, working to unlock the creative and subversive potential of performance in ways that benefit artists and audiences alike.”

The full programme for the Festival can be found here.

The company has been making work since 1984 and is a key part of the contemporary European and UK theatre landscape, having shaped its development significantly over the last three decades. Their work is widely studied across UK and European university syllabuses as pioneering, trailblazing theatre.


Hidden City announces six month extension for hugely popular Moriarty’s game

Due to overwhelming public demand Moriarty’s Game, which was due to end in September, announces a 6 month extension, booking until 1st March 2017. Tickets are now available, throwing open the chance for hundreds more teams to solve the mystery and explore the city’s secret side. Teams now have until March 2017 to discover London through a series of cryptic clues inspired by Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes Short Story, The Final Problem.

Moriarty’s Game  © Soda Visual 

Launched in December 2015, Moriarty’s Game, created by cryptic city trail innovator HiddenCity, received critical and public acclaim and continues to sell-out its weekend dates. Teams of up to four have taken to the streets of London to crack cryptic clues and discover the city’s hidden gems.

Time Out says, “Puzzle fans will love this cross-London game”

Radio Times calls it, “As an entertaining activity to do with your friends, it was perfect – but as an offbeat tour around London it was also a slam dunk.”

The Stage says, “Fascinating urban adventure game that invites participants to explore hidden corners of the city”

Moriarty’s Game is the 28th trail created by HiddenCity and is inspired by characters from Arthur Conan Doyle’s short story, The Final Problem, published in 1893. Players find themselves exploring exhibitions, celebrating contemporary architecture and drinking in Georgian public houses as they solve puzzles sent via text messages, in search of Moriarty’s hidden safe house.

‘Professor James Moriarty invites you to celebrate the finest minds of London by solving his cryptic challenge, which he has personally prepared. Your goal is to find his safe house. Succeed and he will present you with an offer you won’t refuse.’

Each clue directs participants to a hidden location within walking distance, and asks a specific question about the surroundings. If participants reply with the correct answer they receive the next clue.

In Moriarty’s Game, explorers interact with the real world: studying botanical books, inspecting classical French paintings and delivering codewords to people they meet, as they uncover Moriarty’s true nature.

HiddenCity was created by two brothers who wanted to organise an alternative city experience for friends. HiddenCity now has trails operating in London, Manchester and Brighton.

For more information and to book tickets visit

Mayflower Theatre has an exciting line up to keep children entertained!

In Peppa Pig’s Surprise (15 – 16 October) audiences will enjoy interactive fun, games and, of course, surprises. This charming, colourful new show features new songs and new life-size puppets. Peppa Pig’s Surprise promises to be the perfect theatre show for all pre-schoolers.

Shows for children at Mayflower Theatre

Shows for children at Mayflower Theatre

Northern Ballet are bringing a classic children’s story to life, Goldilocks & the Three Bears (2nd of December) is the perfect opportunity for your little ones to enjoy live ballet, music and theatre for the first time.

 Birmingham Royal Ballet’s first steps (27 January 2017) is an hour-long, interactive show, specially adapted for children aged from three to seven, features ballet excerpts from Cinderella, performed by Birmingham Royal Ballet’s amazing dancers and orchestra, interspersed with scenes in which a storyteller introduces the children to the music and the leading characters, and shares some technical magic. A feast of dance, music, costumes and lots of fun, this is a perfect introduction to ballet.

From the makers of Peppa Pig comes Ben and Holly’s Little Kingdom (5-6 May 2017). The BAFTA award-winning television animation live on stage! Ben and Holly, and their friends take you on this exciting musical adventure packed full of games, songs and laughter on an enchanting journey through the Magical Kingdom. With actors, masks and colourful costumes this beautiful story of elves, princesses and childhood innocence will delight all the family.

CBeebies’ Mister Maker and The Shapes Live! is on 4 June 2017.  Packed full of arty adventures there’ll be a big ‘make’ to take part in, super songs to join in with, a fabulous supporting cast, and not forgetting, The Shapes! Yes, you’ll be able to share the fun with Mister Maker’s colourful all-dancing friends Circle, Square, Rectangle and Triangle too! Mister Maker and The Shapes will also be joined by a team of all-singing, all-dancing friends! This talented cast will really make our interactive arty adventure fun for all the family!

Tickets for all shows are on sale from Mayflower Theatre Box Office tel: 02380 711811 or online at Ovation Restaurant bookings: 02380 711833


The Roundabout, Park Theatre: Inside The Rehearsal Room

I am delighted to see that JB Priestley is back in vogue.  The Roundabout, directed by Hugh Ross opened at Park Theatre last night. The play is a recently rediscovered comedy by JB Priestley – I popped down to Park Theatre, London during the second week of rehearsals and had a lentil salad with Hugh Ross and some of the talented cast including newcomers: Bessie Carter and Charlie Field.

Hugh Ross

Hugh Ross

This is the first major revival of this play in 80 years, so why now? And what have been the biggest challenges getting it up on its feet? Director Hugh explains, “Like anything – finding the right people; every actor brings something different,” he adds: “The one rule for a director is to remember and that every single actor works in a different way. I always think about a line from Sunday in the Park with George ‘Anything you do, let it come from you – then it will be new’.”

Ross has a varied career as an actor and director appearing in a wide variety of British tv, film and theatre. He is surprisingly laid back about it all. It’s all the more remarkable, because he is bringing a play by one of Britain’s leading playwrights to the stage for the first time in nearly a century. I wonder what keeps him awake at night, “A lot of little things, most days it’s thinking that actor is not happy about something, I’m a great believer in the play,” he pauses and grins: “What happened this morning was we ran the second act and I said let’s just put this together and we went through the third act and it was like they were all trying to remember the last time, it was all too big and too rushed, nobody was thinking, nobody was listening. But, we pushed through,” says Ross.

“The play is entertaining without being stupid. It’s positioned in a sense as a drawing room comedy but because of the format of the theatre, I got together with our designer, Polly Sullivan and we decided that it should take place in the conservatory of this family home. I’m a great believer that less is more,” says Ross.

Brian Protheroe will star as Lord Kettlewell and Richenda Carey as Lady Knightsbridge. Both join me for a chat about what audiences can expect. They are visibly excited to be working on the play. “It’s a very different play to make work completely from beginning to end but when you get – what I think is a miraculously well cast play – I think it stands a chance. It’s part farce, part light comedy; but there are extreme moments of comedy,” he adds: “There is a wonderful relationship between the father and the daughter, communism is at the heart of it,” says Protheroe.

Priestley’s plea for a shared humanity is as relevant as ever today, this is prescient theatre. “The Roundabout is a very clever play and I love the bits I’m not in! People can expect something interesting that is very fun too,” says Carey. “The political element of when it was written – 1931- after the Revolution there was a big movement in Europe towards the idealism of Soviet Russia. Rather like now where there are huge tectonic plates shifting,” says Carey.

The Roundabout at Park Theatre.

The Roundabout at Park Theatre. Click on the link to book your tickets now!

The industry can be notoriously difficult for many and I’m curious to hear from a seasoned performers perspective. “My theory is you get a go every two years – you get a really good go – and then it’s someone else’s go, that’s what has seen me through,” she pauses: “Women’s parts? There’s practically none in existence – I would rather scrub lavatories than do a part that I don’t want to play – I really would,” says Carey.

At this point Lisa Bowerman starring as Lady Kettlewell joins us. She is nervous because this is her first theatre role in eight years, usually in radio. “I did the scratch reading of the play last year and at that point it was very difficult to know if there was going to be a future in it. The fact that they have raised the money is terrific,” says Bowerman. She adds: “Some people will have a preconceived idea about JB Priestley, it’s about topics that you wouldn’t expect and it turns the table on you – it has a serious heart, yet remains incredibly entertaining.”

This staging of The Roundabout not only celebrates Priestley’s legacy but salutes a man with an exceptional eye for character. Even if he occasionally lapses into cliche, Priestley understood the nuts and bolts of the theatre better than anyone. Nonetheless, this is a terrific example of a work in progress, hard work, finance and schedules all coming together. The Roundabout is in safe hands.


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Seiriol Davies: “It was important to me that when it hit Edinburgh, it was totally bullet proof”, talking about How to Win Against History.

Few Edinburgh Fringe shows make the kind of impact that How to Win Against History has. Having received high praise from (basically everyone) Janet Ellis and Complicite, the show is surely destined for another life.
We meet at Assembly Hall, George Square for a pint and a chat about the show, rejection, working the Fringe and more.

How to Win Against History

How to Win Against History runs at Assembly George Square Theatre until 28th August. Click on the image to book your tickets now!

I start by asking him how the show came to be, a musical focussing on Henry Paget, 5th Marquess of Anglesey who enjoys cross-dressing, he starts “The whole time we’ve made the show I was entirely convinced I was going to get pipped to the post by someone else, because it is – to me – such an obvious story. Henry was theatrical, what the French would call flamboyant, he spent all his family’s money putting on plays, with him in them and often dressed in lovely dresses made of diamonds. Upon his death his entire internal life had been deleted, so he’s the perfect kind of cypher character in a way.”

This is theatre at its most alive. We discuss the rave reviews, taking it in his stride. He appears genuinely humbled. “They are really lovely. They certainly impact the show in the way that they get people in. It will help us to tour it as well, which is my primary goal. I like reading reviews from audiences who get it on many levels and I like that the show has a broad appeal, it’s about using mainstream-ness to talk about what it means to be rejected by society.” He adds “To my knowledge, the worst review we’ve had said it would only appeal to a niche audience and that our Henry should have been more butch.”

I ask what the biggest challenges that he has faced with this piece were. “I was terrified going into the venue, because it’s so mini, but it’s been decked out beautifully. It’s actually eerily similar to the upstairs studio we first developed it in at Ovalhouse. Ovalhouse is an amazing engine for creating new work, and they’ve been instrumental in getting it off the ground. We’re really grateful to them and Pontio in Bangor, who are our Welsh partner, who made it possible for us to get to Edinburgh.”

One of the best things about Edinburgh Fringe is that it rewards risk-taking audiences, and everything is up for grabs. You hear people raving about it, and want to see it for yourself. How to Win Against History is doing very well here but I bet most of the audience never imagined they’d ever love a show dedicated to the lives and times of a cross dressing dancing Marquess, or would have booked to see it at their local theatre.

Davies is bringing a fresh approach, “I think it’s a shame when a musical is all like ‘scene scene plot talking talking scene SONG which-is-a-divergent-soliloquy-about-what-someone-is-feeling-inside then back to scene scene talking talking plot…’ I mean it can be that, sure, but you’ve got access to such an amazing breadth of ways of expressing stuff in musicals, and do so in ways that seem effortless to take in as an audience. So, you can move the story forward with a song, and at the same time subvert or mess with what the words are saying, using the music. There’s a song in the show about touring an increasingly difficult show, which moves the plot and characters forward a fair but, but also digs up all of our actorly bitterness towards critics, audiences, other actors and our own poncy ways and failures. But the song is a chirpy barbershop style, so it contrasts. I’m not sure that’s the best example of what I’m saying, but I’m tired and I’ve had a cider, so that’s my excuse.”

At this point, I pipe up that rejection is the greatest aphrodisiac. “I have not found this to be the case,” he says, smiling. “Except if you mean that people with low self esteem are easy to pull?” His humour is still intact.

Creatives at the festival pour their hearts and souls into shows to deliver the goods. How is he feeling right now, two thirds into the run? “I feel good. It feels really great to have momentum behind something like this when it has been so long in the making. It was important to me that when it hit Edinburgh, it was totally bullet proof.”

These origins make perfect sense. It has an unique energy behind it. The show’s incredible achievement is that it completely defies categorisation and that many, myself included, would probably never see outside a festival context.

His favourite musicals are a given, in terms of what you see of him, he is a very intelligent theatre creature. He says “Southpark the Musical, which is so unbelievably clever.” He smiles. “Oh God. Cabaret and Matilda!”

And there we have it.

How to Win Against History is at Edinburgh Fringe Festival until Aug 28.


Click here to read the review of How to Win Against History by Dominic Cavendish in The Telegraph



The Screwtape Letters – The US hit production makes its European premier at Park Theatre, this Christmas

The Screwtape Letters, the provocative and wickedly funny theatrical adaptation of the C.S. Lewis novel about spiritual warfare from a demon’s point of view, will play the Christmas season at Park Theatre from 8 December 2016 – 7 January 2017, with a press night on 9 December.

The Screwtape Letters -Max Mclean

Max McLean as Screwtape

In the European premiere of the smash New York hit, The Screwtape Letters creates a morally inverted universe that reveals unseen spiritual powers and principalities in humorous, vivid and surprising ways.

“Clever and Satirical”


Set in an eerily stylish office in hell, where God is called the “Enemy” and the devil is referred to as “Our Father Below”, the play follows His Abysmal Sublimity Screwtape – Satan’s top psychiatrist due to his profound understanding of human nature – and his slavish creature-demon Toadpipe, as they train an apprentice demon, Wormwood, on how to ruin the life and damn the soul of an unsuspecting human on earth.

Max McLean returns to the role of Screwtape, which he originated and performed to sold-out audiences in New York City and across the U.S.

“One Hell of a Good Show”


Along with The Chronicles of Narnia (including The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe), The Great Divorce and Mere ChristianityThe Screwtape Letters remains one of Lewis’ most popular and influential works. When first published in 1942 it brought worldwide fame to this little-known Oxford don including the cover of Time Magazine.

The idea for Screwtape came to Lewis after listening to Hitler’s Reichstag Speech on July 19, 1940, while it was simultaneously translated on BBC Radio. Lewis wrote, “I don’t know if I’m weaker than other people, but it is a positive revelation to me how while the speech lasts it is impossible not to waver just a little. . . . Statements which I know to be untrue all but convince me . . . if only the man says them unflinchingly.”

The Screwtape Letters was conceived and adapted for the stage by Max McLean and Jeffrey Fiske. McLean is Founder and Artistic Director of New York City-based Fellowship for Performing Arts. Scenic Design is by Cameron Anderson, Costumes by Michael Bevins, Lighting Design by Jesse Klug and Original Music and Sound Design by John Gromada.