I watched the film of this the other day (it's a cracker BTW) and on the back of it am getting preeeetty excited about the musical version, which is coming to London in March 2014. It's a blooming great story for starters (two seasoned swindlers attempt to hoodwink a millionaire heiress) but incredible director and choreographer Jerry Mitchell has also lined up a stellar cast. If the film's cast - Michael Caine, Steve Martin and Glenne Headly - are bona fide stars of Hollywood, then Robert Lindsay, Rufus Hound and Katherine Kingsley are their West End equals. I'm excited.
Let's be straight here - if you're chatting 'classic musicals', Miss Saigon has got to spring to mind. Which means we're even more excited to announce that...(drum roll)...it's BACK! (Or will be in May 2014 anyways). It hasn't been in the West End for 25 years (when it had one helluva record-breaking run) but in the meantime the show's been busy, touring around 300 cities, playing in 15 different languages, and winning awards by the armful. Make sure you catch it when it lands.
Sam Mendes makes Charlie and the Chocolate Factory the latest Roald Dahl classic to get a West End makeover. Boasting an incredible cast, this much-loved children's novel comes to life in all the sticky, sweetie splendour you could want. Grab your golden ticket now to join Charlie on this magical adventure and get ready to see sweet treats beyond your wildest dreams.
When I saw Jersey Boys a couple of years ago, I bought the CD and genuinely didn't stop singing it (badly) for the next month. Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons are responsible for some of the very greatest hits ever so it's a pretty great treat to find out about their remarkable rise to stardom whilst listening to a very talented cast belt out their toons.
It is a truth universally acknowledged that theres something about nostalgia that warms the cockles of your heart. And if thats a given, it then surely follows that Disneys musical of The Lion King stokes up a right blaze. With Elton Johns superb songs and all the classic one liners that you love to love, theres not much that can beat this if you fancy a trip down memory lane. The African splendour of the thing is still as mind-blowing as ever and personally I think made even better by all the Lion King fun facts you can find out here.
With awards for the Most Popular Show and Best West End Show under its belt (2010 and 2011), this record-breakingly successful musical cant fail to astound every audience every night. After you see its kaleidoscopic array of magical sensations, youll be defying gravity too as you bounce off the ceilings at the sheer joy of it all.
If you thought Billy Elliot brought politics to musical theatre, Stephen Ward goes one better. Dealing with the victim of the 1963 Profumo Affair, this superb show exposes 'bent coppers, lying parliamentarians, a bed-hopping elite and grubby newspapermen' (Daily Mail). Sound familiar?
If you've ever swooned over Patrick Swayze, swayed to 'Hungry Eyes', or sung to 'I've Had The Time of My Life', then Dirty Dancing is the perfect show for you. With all the best features from the film: the passionate romance between Baby and Johnny, to the sensational dancing, this classic musical is the ultimate live experience.
I Can't Sing!
X Factor has finished but DO. NOT. FEAR. There are other things to do with your evenings: namely, check out this musical based on the amaze-balls show. Harry Hill and Steve Brown have got together with Simon Cowell to create a musical that has FUN as its middle name. So don't worry if you don't have the X factor and won't be heading for the auditions: this is your chance to see behind the microphones and under the judges' desks.
We know Coriolanus (well, Tom Hiddleston especially) gives everyone the thrills, but the next set of Donmar shows are set to be real stormers too. Availability is pretty low (obvs - because the Donmar's amazing) but if you don't manage to get your mitts on tickets through conventional means, sign up for Donmar's Barclay Front Row Monday tickets to have weekly shots at getting yourself into one of London's finest theatrical places.
The Donmar's getting well into producing freshly written plays: Peter Gill's Versailles exposes some rather alarming similarities between the end of WWI and the world we live in today, while James Graham forensically examines the digital age in a play appropriately named Privacy. And if you're a fan of Irish playwright Brian Friel then another of his plays, Fathers and Sons, is coming to the Donmar, after the phenomenal success of Philadelphia Here I Come back in 2013.
The Only Way is Downton
Have you got 4 minutes 43 seconds to spare? Because if so, you most certainly won't regret checking out Luke Kempner's Downton Abbey impressions. In fact, I hazard a guess that after watching this extraordinary tour de force on YouTube, you'll be queuing around the block to watch the lovely lad live at Trafalgar Studios, where he's a-headed in Jan and Feb this year.
There's something quite delicious about this stage adaptation of the classic comedy TV series. It's a sort of new Noises Off, as Jeeves and Wooster battle with the trials and tribulations of staging one of their well-known stories for a live audience's enjoyment. And enjoy it we most certainly do: I can promise you spectacular performances, cross-dressing aplenty, raucous laughter, and a memorable scene with a bath and a toy duck. I'll say no more.
The Weir (transferring from The Donmar Warehouse)
I couldn't be more in awe of the host of incredible playwrights around and about today. And one of the greatest has to be Conor McPherson, whose modern ghost story The Weir transfers from The Donmar to the West End, towing its five stars along with it.
The film of The Full Monty has (at least in my house) a firm place in the list of absolute family classics. The world would most definitely be a poorer place without the scene of six Sheffield steelworkers stripping off to Hot Chocolate's 'You Sexy Thing'. So the prospect of actually witnessing this happen in the flesh is not one to be sniffed at.
I couldn't be much more excited about this adaptation if I tried. Surely this is the dream combination: Shakespeare and Love - but without the funny language. I reckon its quality is a dead cert: it's being adapted for the stage by the same genius who did Billy Elliot, directed by bona fide Cheek by Jowl theatre legends, and Disney and Sonia Friedman are producing it. Oh, and there's a dog. I'm so sold.