January Theatre Round-Up
COR there’s a lot of good stuff being announced at the moment isn’t there?! I was glued to my twitter timeline during the National Theatre’s announcements of their upcoming season and STONE THE CROWS they’ve got some corking stuff coming up. I’m theatrically wet with anticipation.
Anyway, here’s what I’ve been busy seeing of late!
Guys and Dolls at the Savoy Theatre
I caught this glitzy Chichester transfer in its new home at the Savoy just before press night. The Frank Loesser classic of gambling gangsters and salvation army chicks is very hard to get wrong. When a show has a strong script and wonderful music, on some level it’s always going to be a good show. Given the recent string of hits that have transferred up from Chichester, I was super excited to see this, especially with such a glittering line-up of principals- Jamie Parker as Sky Masterson and Sophie Thompson as Miss Adelaide in particular.
Sadly I was a little bit underwhelmed. There was nothing WRONG with the show, it was just a bit…safe. Nothing was really that exciting about it. It sounded fine, looked fine, the choreo was fine. I enjoyed it, I just wasn’t WOWED by it. Jamie Parker was, reliably, ace (UGH THAT VOIIIIIICE THO) but everything else I was just a bit indifferent about. Maybe it’s because I know it so well as a show, lord knows the critics have been gushing about it, but for me…well, it was nowhere near the level of innovation and punch as I was hoping to see from my favourite regional producing house. A BIT OF A SHAME.
At the Savoy until March 20th, then the Phoenix from 19th March.
Goodnight Mister Tom at the Duke of Yorks Theatre
Another export from Chichester, this stage adaptation of one of my FAVVVVVOURITE books of all time had me tingling and blubbing in equal amounts. David Troughton plays Tom beautifully, gruffly and curmudgeonly whilst the entire young cast brought lovable energy and fizziness to the stage. The whole cast actually excelled in their gorgeous ensemble play with moments of real humour and affirming warmth providing a welcome contrast to the brutal, darker moments of the story. Robert Innes Hopkins’ set is wonderful, with the entire thing lifting like Tower Bridge to reveal Will’s London home, with Melle Stewart playing a fittingly shrill, erratic Mother. We laughed, we cried. A wonderful story brought to life in a brilliant way. Plus, they’re still using my friend Jack (now 18) in the publicity for it from when he played Will as a kid. JACK U SO CUTE BOO <3
Until February 20th, then touring.
Close To You at the Criterion Theatre
OH MY GOD HUBBA HUBBA GIRD MY LOINS IF I COULD MARRY THIS SHOW I WOULD. A big sexy, dreamy, mashup of Burt Bacharach songs all performed by a brilliant cast of actor-musos led with ease and skill by Kyle Riabko. All of Bacharach’s most loved songs are ingeniously reinterpreted with medleys, imaginative staging and arrangements ranging from tongue-in-cheek through to utterly heart-wrenching (if there was one dry eye in the house during Anastacia McKlesky’s rendition of Don’t Make Me Over, I’d like to see it.). Also, how many bloody bangers has Bacharach written?! We spent the whole show going OMIGOD I LOVE THIS ONE! to each other, ending with us all on our feet belting out What’s New Pussycat? along with the cast. THIS is how jukebox shows should be done. Fresh and fucking fabulous. CAST RECORDING NOW PLZ.
Until February 14th. GO GO GO.
Peter Pan Goes Wrong at the Apollo Theatre
The reigning champions of theatrical tomfoolery, Mischief Theatre, once again quite literally brought the house down with their festive offering of mayhem and mishaps. If you’ve seen their first offering, The Play That Goes Wrong (if not,WHY NOT), then you’ll be familiar with their relentless style of slick physical comedy. Add in a revolving set, roller skates and flying on wires and you have a recipe for sheer comedic bliss. We were in pain with laughter. Just bloody brilliant from start to finish. Sadly, the run has finished now, but FEAR NOT the gang are back with their new play The Comedy About A Bank Robbery at the Criterion Theatre from the 31st March. SEE YOU THERE.