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Two Strangers (Carry A Cake Across New York)

Two Strangers (Carry A Cake Across New York) is agreeable enough – it’s rather sweet actually.

Set in New York, this festive caper is far from a work of art, but it’s a superior musical comedy, well written by Jim Barne and Kit Buchan and directed tactfully, by Tim Jackson.

First produced in 2018 in Northampton as The Season, reimagined last year at London’s Kiln Theatre, this upbeat show is now running at the Criterion Theatre, London until 31 August.

What holds this musical together is the warmth supplied by the two performers. Brit Dougal (Sam Tutty) has flown to the Big Apple for a 36-hour trip to attend dad’s wedding (whom he has never met). New York barista Robin (Dujonna Gift) is sister of the bride, his new step aunt. She has a great voice and an excellent counter to Tutty’s excitement. 

It is all good fun. Played with even more conviction it could be great fun.

Imagine a Richard Curtis movie combined with A Christmas Carol, and you get the general picture. Yet there is a sense here the creators are doing something more interesting than just adapting a popular movie for nostalgia. 

Jackson’s production and suitcase set and costumes by Soutra Gilmour ushers us into the syrupy world and skilfully allows the songs to seem part of an extended conversation. Honestly, I didn’t like the set at all. But that’s that. 

It seems churlish to grumble when so much of this show, with its entertaining book, hits the mark.

Tutty’s motor runs a little fast. As an actor, he has a singular smartness that takes the form of speed; he’s always a little ahead of everybody, and this quicker responsiveness makes him more exciting to watch. His grin could melt stone, and he and Gift are a magical pair. 

There are charming numbers about online dating, and a drunken night of ice-skating when the couple go rogue with the groom’s platinum credit card, “hitchin’ a ride on the American Express”. Most memorable is Tutty’s tender, tear-jerking song-warning to eager Dougal that, like the father’s in classic Christmas films, fathers “always seem bigger and better from farther away”. Poignant. 

Anyway, our emotions rise to meet the force coming down from the stage, and they go on rising throughout. The end is subdued. It would have been better with the last quarter lopped off. 

As I sat in the Criterion Theatre watching middle-aged men and women alike wiping away a tear, it was evident that, for all its flaws, the musical had indeed delivered.
The tears are the tokens of gratitude for the spell the production has put on the audience.

In short, a feel-good show that captures magic of New York City without exploding the concept, I suspect Barne and Buchan’s likeable musical will have a long life.

Two Strangers (Carry A Cake Across New York) runs until 31 August 2024

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Cabaret: The Kit Kat Club *in Selfridges, London*

Money makes the world go around
The world go around
The world go around
Money makes the world go around
It makes the world go ’round.

A mark, a yen, a buck or a pound
A buck or a yen
A buck or a pound.
Is all that makes the world go around
That clinking, clanking sound
Can make the world go ’round

Money money money money
Money money money money
Money money money

If you happen to rich
And you feel like a night’s entertainment
You can pay for a gay escapade
If you happen to be rich and alone
And you need a companion
You can ring (ting-a-ling) for the maid
If you happen to be rich
And you find you are left by your lover
And you moan and you groan quite a lot
You can take it on the chin
Call a cab and begin to recover
On your 14-karat yacht! What!?

Money makes the world go around
The world go around
The world go around
Money makes the world go aroung
Of that we both are sure
On being poor!

Money money money, money money money
Money money money, money money money
Money money money, money money money
Money money money, money money money

When you haven’t any coal in the stove
And you freeze in the winter
And you curse to the wind at your fate
When you haven’t any shoes on your feet
Your coat’s thin as paper
And you look 30 pounds underweight
When you go to get a word of advice
From the fat little pastor
He will tell you to love evermore
But when hunger comes to rap
Rat-a-tat rat-a-tat at the window
(At the window!)
Who’s there? (hunger) oh, hunger!
See how love flies out the door

For, money makes the world go around
The world go around
The world
Money makes the world go ’round
The clinking, clanking sound of
Money money money money
Money money money money.

CABARET: The Kit Kat Club at Selfridges  until 31 December 2023

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Aspects of Love

There is something off in the tone of Aspects of Love right from the start.

The decision to revive Andrew Lloyd Webber’s musical – based on David Garnett’s 1955 novella – about a love triangle in 2023 was Michael Ball’s idea.

Ball – who played Alex in the 1989 production – returns to sing Love Changes Everything, (lyrics by Charles Hart and Don Black) this time as uncle George. He does it nobly.

There are 39 random scenes. At some point through Alex (Jamie Bogoyo) shoots former lover Rose (Laura Pitt-Pulford) in the arm. His uncle (Ball) is more concerned about his Matisse wall art. 

The majority of the book and lyrics are stupefying. At the interval I thought my drink had been spiked.

“I only have one life,”‘ drones one character. Only judderingly to add: “Not two.”

In one bit, the chaotic singing collides with the unspeakable: “George used to say you can have more than one emotion at the same time.”

The actual dialogue seems almost an afterthought, and the actors speak their lines without much confidence that they’re worth saying. And so we’re aware of the performers as performers. They’re not all sure what they’re meant to be conveying. And we’re not either.

The other overriding issue with this toe-curling production is that it borders on misogyny. Grooming is overlooked. It’s grim viewing, obviously.

Theatre is an addictively evil thing, though, so once I’d watched act 1 I knew I’d sit through the lot, just to see if something deeply significant actually happened. It didn’t, obviously.

The second half of Jonathan Kent’s production is scattered – as if it had been added to or subtracted from at random. Everything is spelled out. 

Nothing you think could possibly be worth salvaging from this abomination.

The ones who really stand out in this mess, though, are Pitt Pullford and Bogoyo. But their work doesn’t really hold together here, how could it?

They deserve better.

One of the only other things I thought, though, that really elevated the occasion beyond the sum of its parts was the 13-piece band and Tom Kelly’s lush new orchestrations. Other redeeming moments come thanks partly to John Macfarlane’s design and Jon Clark’s lighting. 

But the set, expensive costumes and people seem to be sitting there on stage, waiting for the unifying magic that never happens.

Leaving the Lyric theatre where I saw Aspects of Love, I felt the same way the women must have when uncle George dropped dead: exhausted and relieved.

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Operation Mincemeat

How good is Operation Mincemeat?

When I saw it 12 months ago at Riverside Studios, I thought it a marvellously tart, wry, original musical that got away from the blundering cliches of the formula-bound movie musicals plaguing the West End. 

Second time round I admire it more; partly because its surface joy seems to conceal a great wit, partly because it has the whiplash precision of the best shows plus a good deal of intellectual prescience.

“I don’t know what’s going on!” “Welcome to the British government” goes one exchange.

It’s a bold and imaginative work—a fizzing work and it’s important to mention Operation Mincemeat was nurtured at that powerhouse of a London fringe venue, the New Diorama.

Rob Hastie has been brought in as director to finesse the piece and it has paid off. He is an intelligent, tentative director — see: Standing At The Sky’s Edge — which is another way of saying that his virtues are largely negative.

Stones’ sensational design places the audience in the MI5 headquarters, while Jak Malone merits a medal of honour as the staunch secretary Hester Leggett, who performs a standout love-letter song.

This clever spoof musical tackles a secret service ruse in which the body of an unknown homeless man was used as a decoy, leading German troops away from Sicily in 1943.

It has a powerful and gripping plot, hardly a single extractable tune, a fierce sense of self awareness. The triumph of Hastie’s production and Stones’ design lies in their visualisation of SplitLip’s ideas.

In this regard, the show was concocted by a genius young cast of five: Natasha Hodgson, David Cumming and Zoë Roberts, who were later joined by Jak Malone and Claire-Marie Hall.

It’s very neatly done, the fine quintet of actors rising to the technical challenges of a piece that worms its way into the brain and send you scurrying out into the city blinking – and more attuned to the majesty of serendipity.

The score — it was put together by Cumming, Hagan, Hodgson & Roberts — has a life of its own that gives the show a buzzing vitality. 

Indeed, Operation Mincemeat may turn out to be the most liberating musical ever made. The whole production is a joy; a five year overnight success story. 

I loved it.

Operation Mincemeat runs at the Fortune theatre, London, until 19 August

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Brokeback Mountain

Yeehaw!

I had an uneasy feeling that maybe it would be better if I didn’t go to see Brokeback Mountain— but, if you’re driven to seek the truth, you’re driven.

The West End is currently overrun with movie musicals and stage adaptations, they serve a useful purpose, because they lead people to see live theatre on which the films are based. Not a bad thing in my book.

The young producers who are pushing their way up don’t want to waste their time considering scripts or new ideas that may not attract stars. For them, too, a good show is a show that makes money.

God forbid it that they should have to sit through the whole thing.

But when you see a stage show after seeing the film, your mind is saturated with the actors (Jake Gyllenhaal & Heath Ledger in this instance) and the imagery, and you tend to view it in terms of the movie, ignoring characters and complexities that were not included in it, because they are not as vivid.

This 90 minute stage adaptation is directed by Jonathan Butterell, with a functional script by Ashley Robinson.

Anyway, Young cowboys Jack Twist (Mike Faist) and Ennis Del Mar (Lucas Hedges) meet in the early 1960s when they are hired to tend a huge flock of sheep up on Brokeback Mountain.

They begin a physical affair, but then go their separate ways. Both marry women. When they cross paths four years later, they resume their relationship behind their wives’ backs. Ugh.

Brokeback Mountain, here a memory play with songs, features a live band who perform throughout. Eddi Reader, perched on a stool, delivers these mediocre bluegrass numbers by Dan Gillespie Sells. 

On the one hand, it’s lightweight, and too stifled to be boring. On the other, it’s efficient and visually engaging.

But the colour imagery of Tom Pye’s set and design is so muted that I regretted the need to look at the older Ennis (Paul Hickey) haunting the proceedings. It took precious time away from the other two’s complex performances, their hint of something passive, brooding and repressed.

Technically, the production is slovenly, and the in-the-round staging at the clinical 602 seat sohoplace doesn’t always work. There are totally dead spots in Butterell’s direction. And I was sat by the bed.

There are, however, marvelous actors here, and now and then almost all of them demonstrate how wonderful they can be, but they can’t sustain their roles or blend them without the guidance of the director, because in a show only the director, finally, can be responsible for the coming together of the piece.

Add to that, young and handsome Faist who delivers the famous speech “I wish I knew how to quit you” with raw emotion. He is a remarkably intelligent casting selection for Jack. Faist, fortunately, can wear white pants and suggest splendour without falling into the narcissistic athleticism that juveniles so often mistake for grace.

I suppose it’s a bit crude to say there isn’t enough gay sex. But we do get a quick shadow fumble of belts and zippers in a tent. Apart from one tender embrace, the show mostly left me cold.

There is a chemistry void. Still, it’s a great play for people who don’t like plays.

At worst, Brokeback Mountain becomes a desolate souvenir of the movie, an extended reminiscence.

Brokeback Mountain runs at @sohoplace, London, until 12 August

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Unchecked Ticket Hikes Are Pricing People Out Of Theatregoing

Glow sticks. We’ll come on to that in a moment.

This week, The iPaper’s Kasia Delgado issued an indictment of A Streetcar Named Desire’s £305 ticket prices, stating: “Theatre needs to make money. It also needs to remain valued and loved, and if only people with loads of spare cash, or a very relaxed approach to credit card debt, end up being able to see it, I worry about where that’ll leave the best form of entertainment that exists. An art form, that – after all – Shakespeare famously put on stage for anyone and everyone.”

Inflation busting premium ticket prices of £305, plus booking fee, is not only absurd, it is criminal amid the cost of living crisis.

To the West End, currently a topsy turvy combination of premium pricing, day seats and even a ‘game of chance’ involving glow sticks.
Rip off

Heck, even leading lady Patsy Ferran is uncomfortable with it all, stating in an interview recently: “The last couple of years theatre prices have reached a point that is shocking to me, but maybe I should just get used to it.”

In reality, profit thirsty ATG’s dominant market position means the company does not face any pressure to continually innovate and improve.

Of course, our old friend dynamic pricing is at play. I get it. Streetcar is a commercial show entitled to charge whatever the market can take.

But affordability equals sustainability, and sensible ticket prices are key to the theatre’s survival.

Speaking on a panel entitled Building a Better Financial Model for Theatre at The Stage’s Future of Theatre conference, Lighting designer Paule Constable said that premium tickets have generated a “wave of discontent” within the industry.

She added: “We need more transparency around how that money is spent. We, as a workforce, need to make the effort to understand that more and it needs to be talked about more.”

It’s hard not to admit that she has a point. Theatre has got to be kept accessible to everybody, because ultimately everything depends on keeping audiences excited about going.

Still, you can see A Streetcar Named Desire for a tenner. If you queue up 2.5 hours before performances for a glowstick (yes, really). Out of the 30, five glow sticks glow green when snapped. The lucky five can head to the box office and buy a pair of front row £10 tickets. There is a weekly lottery.

Send in the clowns. Ah, don’t bother. They’re here.

Phoenix Theatre Glowstick Day Seat Queue

Anyway, once I’d peeled myself off the ceiling, I went along to embrace the madness this week. Reader, my glow stick did not glow. But I was offered a £35 seat in the dress circle or a £10 standing ticket. I opted for the £10 standing ticket. Later my phone rang and I was put in a house seat. Lucky, eh.

A representative for A Streetcar Named Desire said that 83% of all its tickets have been sold at £100 or under. Hm.

Still, the average face value of top-price tickets in the West End has rocketed by a fifth since 2019, a recent survey by The Stage revealed. Glancing at a handful of West End shows £1-300 stalls seats are sadly standard now.

Of course, this fluctuates year on year and is frequently influenced by a small number of high-profile shows. Last year, Cock – starring Jonathan Bailey – saw producers disastrously try and flog £400 tickets, stating it was based on “supply and demand”

What are we to conclude from this?

As in many economic situations, there is a squeezed middle: theatre lovers who are neither wealthy enough to buy premium tickets and who don’t have a flexible work / life pattern to queue in person or online for discounted tickets. 

Seven Card Stud



Surely, extending personalised pricing to students or the unwaged, which was widespread in the 1980s, would maximise audiences. That said, personalised pricing can be progressive. In Finland, for example, speeding tickets are based on your income

All the same, I worry that we shall soon reach the point of no return, that the gap between the commercial and subsidised sector is growing ever wider and that the young will be put off by high prices. Of course, the system is broken, it’s not working for weary audiences.

But it’s not just the rising ticket prices that worry me. It’s also the sense of banality afflicting the West End. There are, as ever, 33 musicals of varying quality currently running. We should ponder both the escalating cost of tickets and the actual quality of what is on offer. 

Anyway, I’m with singer Neil Young who last week said it best: “It’s over” and that “the old days are gone” amid wider consternation at ticketing company’s pricing policies. And that is where we are. 

Paul Mescal and Patsy Ferran in A Streetcar Named Desire

Since the success of the subsidised and commercial sectors are intimately bound, it can’t just be left to subsidised theatre to take responsibility for building tomorrow’s audiences, the West End has to play – and pay – its part too.

A Streetcar Named Desire runs until 6 May

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Dolly Parton’s Smoky Mountain Christmas Carol: A Festive Fiasco (bring wine)

In one of the more camp events to hit the London theatre scene this Christmas – which is saying something when Ian McKellen is in panto – Dolly Parton arrives at the Southbank with her Smoky Mountain Christmas Carol.

It’s a story we all know but this time set in Tennessee, Dolly’s much-loved mountain home, with as much ‘rootin’ and ‘tootin’ as you can shake your jingle bells at. The set and staging is beautiful, and the songs (though there aren’t many, it’s just the same handful repeated for the most part) are toe-tappingly pleasing and delivered with great gusto by a cast eager to please.

Beyond the pleasantries though, this show is not good. It is, in fact, actively bad. It is the Hallmark Movie of festive theatre productions. Despite everyone’s commitment to having a good time, this has more rough edges than Scrooge has humbugs – the accents are all over the place, the choreography is pedestrian, and the whole thing could be about half an hour shorter.

It must be said there are some wonderful turns, the acting is upbeat, and Olivier award-winner George Maguire’s flamboyant turn as Jacob Marley is a stand-out portrayal. The cast presents itself with an emphatic and infectious glee, and there are plenty of chuckles along the way.

Often, though, the story it’s trying to tell doesn’t match up with what the rest of your senses are telling you. Everyone’s dying, everyone is poor, Scrooge’s past present and future are bleak, but all of this will fly over your head when delivered with whatever darn-tooting accent has been chosen for this particular line.

At one point we were told that seven people had died and the US Army had been brought in, which almost gave the audience whiplash as they tried to marry it with the non-stop hoedown the line was sandwiched between.

“It’s two o’clock, the clock has just struck two,” says Scrooge, in just one example of a piece simultaneously over and underwritten as it tries to slam together a Dickens classic and a Parton playlist. At one point we find Ebeneezer speaking to a violin in a way one would converse with a clanger (this was the ghost of Christmas Future). I don’t know either, nobody in the audience did.

None of it works. It has the air of a fever dream. But at the heart of this ‘Christmas Carol’ message is that of love and goodwill to all men. It’s a goodwill it asks of its audience, and one it gleefully receives. It’s terrible, and yet I wholeheartedly loved it in spite of its flaws, and if that’s not the true meaning of Christmas I don’t know what is.

Ollie Cole is a journalist and broadcaster based in London. His writing credits include The Stage, Secret London, The Times, KentOnline & EachOther.

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God Bless Tammy Faye!

If you need a hit show, you get Rupert Goold on the phone.

Tammy Faye Bakker gets the 325-seat Almeida treatment in a new musical penned by Elton John, James Graham and Jake Shears.

Katie Brayben in Tammy Faye, at the Almeida credit: Marc Brenner

And now, at last, directed by Goold, Tammy Faye – A New Musical starring Katie Brayben and Andrew Rannells, officially opens. He and choreographer Lynn Page deliver the glitterball goods.

Quick recap: Jim and Tammy Faye Bakker helped expand Christian broadcasting from a niche into an insane empire via their Praise The Lord (PTL) satellite network. A Christian couple who spectacularly fell from grace.

I went to the very first preview (two have been cancelled due to cast injury and technical delay) and thought it was a tart, wry and quirky show with legs.

First, let’s unpack what this new (largely) British musical gets right. It understands Faye as a gay icon, earning both sympathy and ridicule, and our heroine emerges with a measure of dignity intact. 

Olivier winner Katie Brayben (Beautiful) stars as Tammy Faye with Tony nominee Andrew Rannells (The Book of Mormon)

Granted, in the cold light of 2022, it’s easy to argue that the sold out run was simply the latest power move from a theatre whose ascent to theatre dominance has been signposted by a succession of smart marketing, big names and artistic brilliance.

Similarly, it would be easy to blame one’s emotional response on the ongoing disintegration of civilisation.

Religion, politics, sex and money are all equal and the story of the rise is much more substantial than that of the fall. 

That said, Tammy Faye gives you everything you could possibly want, and maybe it’s a victim of its own gargantuan accomplishment at times. (Each cast member has roughly 10 looks, with Tammy Faye’s character coming in at around a dozen — there are 15 poppy-slash-rock-slash-honky songs.)

Tammy Faye curtain call

Still, once you add Elton John‘s songs into the mix — and Tammy (Brayben) sings in most of them — there’s no time for coherence, let alone subtlety. (There is a song called ’He’s Inside Me’)

Yet most effectively, concluding Act One gospel ballad ‘Empty Hands’ things click. There are several poignant vignettes, that strike a chord with anyone who’s come face to face with the fact that an idol – whether it’s a televangelist, or even a lover – is a human being.

Rannells is entertaining and effective as closeted husband Jim.

Bunny Christie’s snazzy Celebrity Square-style designs, a reliable star of any show, do everything they can to convey the kooky world of the right wing televangelist.

Elsewhere in the musical, the ensemble are working overtime to keep things interesting. There is a lot of breaking of the fourth wall. A lot.

Furthermore, it’s a funny, smart script, loaded with jokes. Graham’s book puts the ‘fun in Christian fundamentalism’.

Andrew Rannells and Katie Brayben star as Jim Bakker and Tammy Faye Messner in “Tammy Faye.”

Things pick up in Act Two. Here Faye is seen as a woman who made a career of living her best life. Slick 11’ O Clock number ‘Prime Time’ is exhilarating, I think.

A dazzling and award-worthy performance from Brayben playing a central character full of tensions and contradictions, is reason enough to see this show. Her performance transcends the show.

Musicals are difficult and expensive. I won’t reveal too much more, except to say that the finale (when it arrives) is euphoric, poetic, and moving. 

In the Bible love is mentioned 489 times, hate 89 times.

“Love more than hate,” Tammy Faye cautions.

Amen.


Tammy Faye is at the Almeida theatre, London, to 3 December.

New video released of the four performers playing Matilda in the RSC’s multi award-winning musical which reopens in the West End on 16 September

L-R Alex, Zoe, Elliot, Alyssa and Imogen from RSCs Matilda The Musical

Images and a brand-new video have been released today of the four young performers who will share the title role in the Royal Shakespeare Company’s production of Matilda The Musical when it reopens on 16 September at the Cambridge Theatre in the West End. In the video, Imogen Cole, Alyssa D’Souza, Alex Munden and Zoe Simon can be seen getting to grips with their gymnastic ribbon skills under the watchful eye of Elliot Harper (Miss Trunchbull).

https://youtu.be/H80Jt-S3Uu8

Celebrating 10 years since the multi award-winning show opened in London, this iconic British musical has won 99 international awards including 24 for Best Musical and has been seen by more than 10 million people across more than 90 cities worldwide. Matilda The Musical is now booking through to 13 February 2022. For further information visit www.matildathemusical.com.

A tonic for audiences of all ages, this anarchic production about a strong and determined heroine with a vivid imagination has welcomed almost 4 million audience members in London. Matilda The Musical will also visit the Netherlands for the first time, translated into Dutch for a run at the Oude Luxor Theater Rotterdam. The theatre hopes that the musical will bring visitors to the city as it emerges from the Covid-19 pandemic. It has also announced plans to work with partners in Rotterdam to develop an education programme around the show. Tickets are now on sale for Matilda De Musical in Rotterdam visit matilda-demusical.nl

Adapted from Roald Dahl’s much loved 1988 book and commissioned by the Royal Shakespeare Company, the musical premiered at the RSC’s Stratford-upon-Avon home in 2010, before transferring to the West End in October 2011, where it opened to rave reviews.

Matilda The Musical swept the board at the 2012 Olivier Awards, with a record-breaking seven awards, and won four Tony Awards and a Tony Honor for Excellence in the Theater for the four girls sharing the title role on Broadway. It has since toured North America, Australia, New Zealand, the UK and Ireland, South Africa and China and played its first non-English language production in Seoul, South Korea in 2018/19.

With the upcoming film adaptation from the same core creative team as the theatre production (direction by Matthew Warchus, adapted for the screen by Dennis Kelly, with the music and lyrics of Tim Minchin), Dahl’s themes of bravery and standing up for what you believe in will continue to inspire young audiences all over the world. Produced by Tim Bevan and Eric Fellner of Working Title, Jon Finn, and Luke Kelly of The Roald Dahl Story Company. Sony Pictures U.K. and Tristar Pictures will release Matilda across the U.K. and Ireland exclusively in cinemas on 2nd December 2022 for Christmas. Netflix will release the film in the rest of the world in December 2022.

Written by Dennis Kelly, with music and lyrics by Tim Minchin and developed and directed by Matthew Warchus, the theatre production is designed by Rob Howell, with choreography by Peter Darling, orchestrations, additional music and musical supervision by Christopher Nightingale, lighting by Hugh Vanstone, sound by Simon Baker and the special effects and illusions are by Paul Kieve.

Matilda The Musical is the story of an extraordinary little girl who, armed with a vivid imagination and a sharp mind, dares to take a stand and change her own destiny.

Matilda The Musical is produced by Executive Producers Denise Wood and Griselda Yorke for the Royal Shakespeare Company.  The production was developed with the support of Jeanie O’Hare and the RSC Literary Department.

André Ptaszynski had worked as one of the Executive Producers of the production from 2011 until his untimely death in 2020.  He is much missed by all of his colleagues.

Join stars of the West End stage at West End Wonderland

Westend Wonderland
Join stars of the West End stage for festive fun galore at West End Wonderland, a week of unique performances with plenty of stardust. All right in the heart of theatreland at the Welsh Chapel, Charing Cross Road.

·    Running 18-23 December, West End Wonderland is a star-filled line-up of intimate West End concerts
·    Featuring West End stars including Joe Stilgoe, Sarah-Louise Young, George Maguire, Rachael Wooding & many more
·    Cutting edge opera from the renowned Kings Head Theatre
·    Enjoy a night out for all the family, in our Covid-secure venue

West End Wonderland is a packed programme of shows featuring the stars of opera and the West End. Join us for a line-up that will transport you to a Christmas Wonderland.

West End Wonderland is the perfect family experience, designed to bring theatre lovers closer to their favourite West End stars. With just 100 seats, this is a beautifully intimate concert space where every seat feels close to the stage and everyone has the perfect view of West End superstars performing their favourite songs. All in a venue that will blow your socks off – the gorgeous 19th Century Welsh Chapel.

The safety of our audiences, performers and staff is our utmost priority. We have put in place a number of Covid-secure measures to ensure that social distancing is at a maximum, including reduced capacity, one way systems, separate entry/exit points, and audience bubbles.

Highlights Include:

Cabaret Whores, Sarah-Louise Young’s brilliant musical character comedy is packed with hilarious original songs, bitingly funny stories and lightning quick changes. Named as one of Time Out’s Top Ten Cabaret Acts of the Year, Sarah-Louise has appeared in the West End with Fascinating Aida, Julie Madly Deeply, La Soirée and Showstopper! The Improvised Musical.

Yes Queens is the West End’s first female-led improvised comedy night, featuring top UK improv talent from Olivier Award-winning productions such as Showstopper! The Improvised Musical, Austentatious and Mischief Theatre. Interactive Theatre at its best.

Joe Stilgoe is an internationally acclaimed singer, pianist and songwriter. With 3 chart-topping albums, Joe has appeared in High Society (Old Vic), Guys and Dolls (Albert Hall) and performed at the Olivier Awards. He is the composer & lyricist of The Jungle Book and The Midnight Gang.

Join West End stars Rachael Wooding and George Maguire in Anyone for Christmas, an intimate evening of cool covers, fresh original music and possibly a Christmas tune or two. Rachael Wooding has played leading roles in some of The West End’s biggest shows including starting in Pretty Woman at the Piccadilly Theatre. George Maguire won the Olivier award for his performance as Dave Davies in Sunny Afternoon.

Join The Kings Head’s Olivier Award nominated singers, as they present radically distilled and reimagined opera classics in Opera Undone. These beautiful voices will share their favourite sumptuous and sultry arias, a mix of well known and loved classics; it’s a wintry treat that’s sure to thrill. Featuring Honey Rouhani, Robert Barbaro and Hugo Herman-Wilson.

Relive the magic of Frankie Valli & the Four Seasons with The Other Guys, a remarkable tribute to the most successful band in music history. Charisma, choreography and classic hits – come find out why these boys get standing ovations every night. Featuring Danny Whitehead (Les Misérables, Wicked, Sweeney Todd, Phantom of the Opera), Ashley Stillburn (Les Misérables, The Woman in White, Phantom of the Opera), Joey Bishop (Jersey Boys, Doctor Doolittle) and Louis Maskell (Doctor Faustus, West Side Story).

About the Venue
The Welsh Chapel is a truly unique space, ideally located in the heart of the West End on Shaftesbury Avenue. The Grade II listed former chapel, formerly the infamous Limelight Nightclub, is a stunning venue which retains many of its 19th century architectural features, including a beautiful galleried central space with arched windows and an umbrella dome ceiling.
Full Listings information
Show: Joe Stilgoe: Live at Christmas
Dates/Time: 19:00 & 21:00, 18 December, 2020 (1h15m)

Show: The Other Guys: A Tribute to Frankie Valli & The Four Seasons
Dates/Time: 19:00, 19 December, 2020 (1h15m)

Show: Cabaret Whore
Dates/Time: 21:00, 19 December, 2020 (1h15m)

Show: Anyone for Christmas? George Maguire & Rachael Wooding
Dates/Time: 21:00, 20 December, 2020 (1h15m)

Show: Opera Undone
Dates/Time: 19:00 & 21:00, 21 December, 2020 (1h15m)

Show: Yes Queens
Dates/Time: 19:00, 23 December, 2020 (1h15m)

Tickets from £15. To purchase tickets, go to www.westendwonderland.com