One of my New Year resolutions is to reactivate this site and turn it into a lively, ongoing archive of my work for other outlets but also a source of original content written specially for here, including a weekly wrap-up of my picks of the week, reviews for shows I’ve not covered elsewhere, and a rolling news, views and features feed.
So today I am starting with a weekly feature of hot tickets of the week, including the week’s openings and closings, plus other events in my diary; and a round-up of my top fhree already-running plays and musicals of the week.
THIS WEEK: OPENINGS
After a slow start to the New Year last week that saw only the opening of Banaman the Musical at Southwark Playhouse (for which you can find my review here: https://www.londontheatre.co.uk/reviews/review-bananaman-the-musical-at-southwark-playhouse), this week is much busier. These are the openings:
Tuesday January 9:
My Mum’s a Twat opens at the Royal Court’s Theatre Upstairs, a new play by the Royal Court’s own in-house PR Anoushka Warden, an autobiographical monologue about her relationship with her mother who got caught up in a spiritual cult. Read an interview with Warden in The Observer, in which she reveals, “I’ve mentioned the play to my mum and told her the title and she didn’t really ask anything, except if ‘twat’ was a real word.” It is performed by Patsy Ferran (right).
Wednesday January 10:
Ovo opens at the Royal Albert Hall. This year’s annual Cirque du Soleil residency at the Royal Albert Hall is the UK premiere for Ovo, directed by Deborah Corker. The first woman to direct for Cirque du Soleil, she won the 2001 Olivier Award for Outstanding Achievement in Dance in 2001 for her show Mix. Originally premiered in Montreal as a Big Top show in 2009, it features 50 performing artists form 17 countries specializing in many acrobatic acts.
Thursday January 11:
Girl from the North Country transfers from the Old Vic, where it premiered last summer, to open at the West End’s Noel Coward Theatre. Threading Bob Dylan songs through a new play by Conor McPherson, it is set in Duluth, Minnesota in 1934, and portrays a community living on a knife-edge who huddle together in the local guesthouse. McPherson directs a cast that includes Finbar Lynch, Sheila Atim, Shirley Henderson, Ciaran Hands, Karl Johnson, Arinze Kene, Debbie Kurup and Jack Shalloo.
Rita, Sue and Bob Too is revived at the Royal Court, its original 1982 home. This planned London run for Out of Joint’s touring production was initially cancelled after the play’s original director (and this production’s originally billed co-director) Max Stafford-Clark was accused of sexual harassment. Reinstating the production, artistic director Vicky Featherstone wrote, “I have been rocked to the core by accusations of censorship and the banning of a working class female voice. For that reason I have invited the current Out of Joint production of Rita, Sue and Bob Too back to the Royal Court for its run. As a result of this helpful public debate we are now confident that the context with which Andrea Dunbar’s play will be viewed will be an invitation for new conversations.” It runs January 9 to 27, with press invited from January 11.
Friday January 12:
THIS WEEK: CLOSING
ALSO IN MY DIARY
Violet at ArtsEd — ArtsEd Sixth Form Musical Theatre Company will be presenting three performances of Jeanine Tesori’s wonderful 1997 Off-Broadway musical Violet on January 11-12; I can’t wait to see it again.
2) Glengarry Glen Ross — David Mamet’s 1983 play is revived at the West End’s Playhouse Theatre with an all-star cast that includes Christian Slater, Kris Marshall, Robert Glenister, Stanley Townsend and Don Warrington. As I wrote in my review (https://www.londontheatre.co.
3)The Mousetrap — Yes, I know its been running for 66 years now, but I was taken back to see it last week and instead of finding it wearying, I was genuinely amazed at how well it is wearing. The last time I’d seen it, it had felt like stuffy museum theatre — like a weekly rep in Weston Super Mare. But it has been newly galvanised by proper direction by Hugh Ross. It earns its place in the West End (and its occupation of the gorgeously old-fashioned wood-panelled St Martin’s) by sheer craft — and some graft by a very strong company, who make it feel fresh instead of stilted.
2) Young Frankenstein. This uproarious musical version of Mel Brooks’s cult 1974 comedy, with songs by Brooks himself, is one of the most liberatingly funny shows in town. Even before it opened, Mel Brooks was quoted on the ads as saying, “I think, modestly speaking, it will be sensational.” As I wrote in my review for londontheatre.co.uk, (https://www.londontheatre.co.
3) The Grinning Man. First seen at Bristol Old Vic in 2016, this is another musical based on a Victor Hugo novel — a bold, slightly demented original British musical written in dark cabaret colours, and gorgeously performed by a stellar cast that includes Louis Maskell and Julie Atherton.