This Week in Theatreland
By Sam Wightman
8 May 2017
Keep your eyes peeled every Monday lunchtime for your regular dose of theatre news and what to look forward to in venues around the capital, country and globe. We reflect on the week that's passed, as well as the week ahead to bring you the freshest industry gossip, announcements and those all-important dates for your diary.
Last Week We Learnt...
There's no shortage of stars from the critics following last week's opening night of The Ferryman at the Royal Court. It marks playwright Jez Butterworth's long-awaited return to the venue's main stage where he lasted debuted the unforgettable Mark Rylance-led production of Jerusalum in 2009.
The Ferryman is "a shattering feast of intricate storytelling" (Evening Standard) fuelled by an uninvited guest's arrival at an annual harvest celebration in rural Derry in 1981. "Directed with detailed humane mastery" (Independent), Sam Mendes brings this all-Irish drama to the stage with a mammoth cast of 22 including Paddy Considine, Laura Donnelly and Genevieve O'Reilly.
The show has already picked up 5 star reviews from The Telegraph, Guardian, Evening Standard and Independent: "Butterworth has done it again. Miss this and you've missed a marvel" (Telegraph).
You heard what they said... Book your tickets for the West End transfer in June here.
Credit: Darren Bell
Big Boots To Fill
"Everybody Say Yeah" for the new Kinky Boots casting announced last week. Matt Henry will step down as Lola to make way for Simon-Anthony Rhoden, who has previously understudied the role in the West End. Emmerdale star Verity Rushworth will also join the cast to play Lauren in the show, that recently celebrated it's 700th performance at the Adelphi Theatre.
The new cast will play from Monday 10th July, and the hit feel-good show just announced a new booking period until Saturday 24th March 2018.
Tickets for the new cast can be bought now by clicking here.
Meet the Men
An exciting project for the Royal Court had further developments last week, with casting announced for Manwatching. 16 male comedians including Nick Frost, Phil Jupitus and Romesh Ranganathan have been roped in to perform the show's script alone for one performance each between 10th and 20th May.
The performers will not get the chance to see the text prior to being in front of an audience, which has been written by an anonymous female writer and expresses women's sexual expression and attitudes towards sex with men.
Audiences will be going in as blind as the unsuspecting comedians, as no information about which comedian will be performing on which date is revealed until the show goes up on the night.
Multi-arts festival Latitude has just announced its theatre line up for this year's event taking place on the 13th to 16th July. This year sees an eclectic mix of performance styles and companies that engage with empowerment and social change in line with this year's theme "Come The Revolution".
Large venue exports for the event include the Royal Court's Manwatching, an Old Vic production of Charlie Fink: Cover My Tracks by David Greig, and the Traverse Edinburgh's Donald Trump verbatim piece Locker Room Talk.
Experimental performance collective Clod Ensemble will make their Latitude debut with On the High Road, whilst other hot ticket regional companies making appearances include Sh!t Theatre who bring Dollywood and Middle Child's gig-theatre event All We Ever Wanted Was Everything.
Coming Up This Week...
Here Comes Holy Chaos
Good luck to the cast and crew for the first showing of Our Ladies of Perpetual Succour in the West End transfer tomorrow. The Olivier Award nominated production arrives at the Duke of York's Theatre following a visit to the National Theatre, Edinburgh Festival Fringe and UK tour.
Featuring the songs of the Electric Light Orchestra, Vicky Featherstone directs the adaptation of Alan Warner's novel about six Catholic Choir girls from Oban running riot in Edinburgh, brought to the page by Lee Hall, the force behind the theatrical adaptation of Billy Elliot.
The show warns of strong language and Sambuca, but tickets can be grabbed now for dates until 2nd September.
From the West End to Kyiv
Most theatre fans will be gearing up for the cultural phenomenon that is the Eurovision Song Contest this weekend. Last year's winner Ukraine plays host this year, and hoping to break the UK's bad spell finally is musical theatre performer and singer Lucie Jones.
Having recently performed in the acclaimed production of RENT at the St. James' Theatre, since rising to fame on The X Factor, Lucie has performed in Les Mis, American Psycho and UK tours of Ghost The Musical and Legally Blonde. Let's hope that as our entry with the song "Never Give Up On You", we can shake off the post-Brexit blues and avoid nil points...
Watch the final live on the BBC on Saturday 13th May.
Elsewhere in London
Other picks for the coming week:
Life of Galileo (Young Vic): BAFTA award-winning Joe Wright directs this adaptation of Bertolt Brecht's play featuring Brendan Cowell.
Don Juan in Soho (Wyndham's Theatre): There is an audio described performance of Don Juan in Soho on 9th May featuring a Touch Tour at 6.30pm followed by the 7.30pm performance.
The Pink Floyd Exhibiton: Need something to satisfy your cultural appetite between performances? Don't miss the first international retrospective of one of the world's most influential bands at the V&A from 13th May.
Don't forget to come back next week to see what's new in Theatreland...
The nominees for the 2015 Olivier Awards were announced this morning at an exclusive event in central London, hosted by this year's Best Actor nominee, James McAvoy, and last year's Best Actress winner, Lesley Manville.
To celebrate Spam Appreciation Week we've got some lovely fun facts about Spamalot.
After 49 years of successful entertaining, Brighton Festival returns to the south coast once more for another action-packed three weeks filled with theatre, film, literature, music, circus, art and debate.
Before the musical takes a final bow in the West End next month, we've Once again (get it..) scoured the web and stock-piled an extensive list of why we all love this Irish charmer. You may want to get yourself comfy..