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May 29th

Tip Top Cast Announced for Top Hat Tour

By Cameron Lowe

UK TOUR: 12 August 2014 – 25 July 2015

Top Hat
Top Hat, winner of three Olivier Awards, for ‘Best New Musical’, ‘Best Choreography’ and ‘Best Costume Design’ from a total of seven nominations and winner of the Evening Standard Award for ‘Best Night Out’, is setting off on an epic 47-week UK tour, visiting 24 theatres nationwide. Opening at New Wimbledon Theatre on Tuesday 12 August 2014 the production will tour until Saturday 25 July 2015. 
 
The world premiere stage production of Top Hat opened in the West End at the Aldwych Theatre on 9 May 2012 where it played over 600 performances during its run of nearly two years. Prior to the West End, the production previously enjoyed a sell-out UK Tour in 2011.
 
Stepping into the shoes of Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers in the lead roles of Jerry Travers and Dale Tremont, are Alan Burkitt and Charlotte Gooch, who both return to Top Hat having previously performed these roles in the West End. They are joined by Clive Hayward who returns as Horace Hardwick, the role he played in the West End, Rebecca Thornhill as Madge Hardwick, Sebastien Torkia as Alberto Beddini and John Conroy as Horace’s valet Bates. 
 
Top Hat is directed by Matthew White and choreographed by Bill Deamer (Olivier Award winner for Best Choreography), set designs are by Hildegard Bechtler (Olivier Award nominee for Best Set Design), costume designs by Jon Morrell (Olivier Award winner for Best Costume Design), lighting design by Peter Mumford, sound by Gareth Owen (Olivier Award nominee for Best Sound Design), new orchestrations by Chris Walker, musical supervision by Richard Balcombe.
 
Jerry Travers (Alan Burkitt), the famous American tap dancer, arrives in London to appear in his first West End show. Travers meets the irresistible Dale Tremont (Charlotte Gooch), the girl of his dreams, and follows her across Europe in an attempt to win her heart.  
 
With music and lyrics by Irving Berlin and based on the RKO motion picture, the screenplay by Dwight Taylor and Allan Scott has been adapted for the stage by Matthew White and Howard Jacques and is presented by arrangement with RKO Pictures LLC, Warner Bros Theatre Ventures Inc. and the Irving Berlin Music Company.  
 
Performed by a cast of 29 and accompanied by 11 live musicians, this multi award-winning musical comedy includes Irving Berlin classics from the movie such as Cheek to Cheek, Isn’t It a Lovely Day to be Caught in the Rain and Top Hat, White Tie and Tails.  In addition, from Berlin’s 1200 strong back catalogue, a further ten numbers have been interpolated including well-loved favourites Let’s Face the Music and Dance and Puttin’ On the Ritz.

Alan Burkitt Alan Burkitt started his career winning the All England Tap Dancer of the Year award. A member of the original West End cast of Top Hat at the Aldwych Theatre, Burkitt understudied the lead role of Jerry Travers for both Tom Chambers and Gavin Lee. He received rave reviews when he stood in for Lee on press night, a success story documented by Channel 4 for the TV series ‘The Sound of Musicals’. Other recent stage credits include: Singin’ in the Rain, Andy Lee in 42nd Street (Chichester Festival Theatre), the Prince in Adam Cooper’s Shall We Dance (Sadler’s Wells), Cats (German Tour) and We Will Rock You (Dominion Theatre).

Charlotte Gooch Charlotte Gooch took over the lead role of Dale Tremont from Summer Strallen in the West End, performing alongside Tom Chambers as Jerry Travers. Gooch performed the lead role of Penny Johnson in Dirty Dancing in the West End at the Piccadilly Theatre and also in the original national tour. Other recent stage credits include: the lead role of Sandy in Grease (UK Tour), Cats (German Tour) and the workshop of Swing Time, dancing a duet with Anton du Beke.
Oct 10th

Disney's The Lion King's Reign Begins in Edinburgh

By Cameron Lowe
"From the day we arrived on the planet ... and blinking, stepped into the sun ..." With these words there is a real sense that something EPIC is about to happen ... AND IT IS!!

The Lion KingDisney’s legendary musical THE LION KING will begin performances tomorrow night at the Edinburgh Playhouse, in advance of its official opening on Tuesday 22nd October. This will mark the first time that Julie Taymor’s internationally celebrated production will have played in Scotland.

An international cast of 52 performers from 18 different countries are today undergoing final preparations for their debut in Edinburgh. A fleet of 23 trucks has been utilised to transport Disney’s enormous production to Edinburgh, making it the largest theatre production ever to tour Europe.

 

Excitement has been building across the region since the season was announced in January. Ticket sales have been extremely strong, with over 210,000 seats already sold. Great seats are still available, particularly for midweek performances during the month of November.

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The company is led by 11 principals; Gugwana Dlamini as Rafiki, Cleveland Cathnott as Mufasa, Meilyr Sion as Zazu, Stephen Carlile as Scar, Me’sha Bryan as Shenzi, Daniel Norford as Banzai, Philip Oakland as Ed, John Hasler as Timon, Lee Ormsby as Pumbaa, Nicholas Nkuna as Simba and Ava Brennan as Nala.

Four years in development, this first ever UK tour of Disney’s THE LION KING will play a four-month season in Edinburgh. The award-winning production will then play seasons in, Plymouth, Bradford and Liverpool, with additional cities to be announced shortly. In total, the production will visit 10 cities in the UK and Ireland over two and a half years.

 

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Jo Beale, General Manager of The Edinburgh Playhouse, said:

"We are thrilled that Disney’s The Lion King opens it’s only Scottish season at The Edinburgh Playhouse tomorrow for a spectacular four month run. We look forward to welcoming several hundred thousand people to the Scottish premiere of this wonderful production, making it undoubtedly the greatest theatrical event the venue has ever seen.”

A free exhibition – EXPLORING THE LION KING – From Inspiration to Realisation – is also on display at Edinburgh’s City Art Centre until 12 January. This interactive exhibit includes costumes, masks and puppets from the production, along with original character models, sketches, set model and more.

The acclaimed stage adaptation of Disney’s 1994 animated film was first seen on Broadway in 1997, where it recently celebrated its 15th anniversary. The production has now been seen by over 70 million people across five continents and the acclaimed West End production continues to sell out at London’s Lyceum Theatre in its 15th triumphant year.


Disney’s THE LION KING will play the EDINBURGH PLAYHOUSE:

 

FRIDAY 11th OCTOBER 2013 – SATURDAY 18th JANUARY 2014

 

BOOKING: www.thelionking.co.uk

EXPLORING THE LION KING (The Lion King Exhibition)

From Saturday 28th September

 

City Art Centre

2 Market Street, Edinburgh EH1 1DE

0131 529 3993 / www.edinburghmuseums.org.uk/Venues/City-Art-Centre.aspx
Sep 27th

SHREK is Coming to Glasgow!

By Cameron Lowe

SHREK the MusicalProducers of SHREK THE MUSICAL® today announced that the larger-than-life production will coming to the King’s Theatre on 29 April - Sunday 17 May 2015,  direct from London, where it was seen live on stage by nearly a million people. SHREK THE MUSICAL® will be directing by Nigel Harman who starred as Lord Farquaad in the west end production, winning him the 2012 Laurence Olivier Award for Best Performance in a Supporting Role in a Musical.

 

King’s Theatre General Manager, James Haworth said: "We are delighted to be hosting the Scottish Premiere of Shrek The Musical  on this, its first ever tour. The King’s has been attracting some large scale productions such as Dirty Dancing and Wicked and to host a show of this scale and profile is a huge reflection of the importance theatre producers place on the Glasgow audience."

 

Producers Caro Newling, Neal Street Productions, and Nick Salmon, Playful Productions say: "We are very excited to be bringing SHREK THE MUSICAL to the Kings Theatre in April 2015 as part of our tour of the best venues across the UK and Ireland. Many years of fun with some of the best talents working in theatre today have gone in to its making and as a result it has thrilled audiences all over the world with its boundless enthusiasm and fun- we know that the people of Glasgow will take SHREK to their hearts, just as we did at Drury Lane!"

 

SHREK THE MUSICAL®, originally directed (in the west end) by Jason Moore and Rob Ashford, is based on the story and characters from William Steig’s book Shrek! and the Oscar®-winning DreamWorks Animations feature film.

 

Bill Damaschke, Chief Creative Officer of DreamWorks says:

 

"We are thrilled that Shrek and his fairy-tale friends will be heading out on tour across the UK and Ireland and delighted that our very own Nigel Harman will be directing SHREK THE MUSICAL® on the road. It has been such a joy to bring this loved story to life and we can’t wait for families up and down the country to experience their beloved swamp-dwelling ogre, Princess Fiona, Donkey and all their pals live on stage, as so many have on Broadway and in the west end."

 

Director of SHREK THE MUSICAL® UK and Ireland Tour, Nigel Harman says:

 

"I am delighted to be returning to Shrek as its director. This show is very special to me with its dizzying blend of great characters, a hilarious script and sublime music. This production is visually stunning, and the story has the magic ingredient of moving at great pace while still being surprisingly intimate. In short, there was no way I was going to say no to the challenge of realising the production for the UK and Ireland.  I really can't wait to take this show on the road!"

 

SHREK on TourSHREK THE MUSICAL® opened on Broadway in 2008 before touring to nearly 150 cities in the USA and Canada. Productions of SHREK THE MUSICAL® have played in Spain, Poland, France, Malaysia, China, Brazil, Italy, Denmark, The Netherlands, Estonia, Israel and Turkey. The UK and Ireland tour will be presented by Dreamworks Theatricals, Neal Street Productions, Playful Productions, Lee Menzies, Ron Kastner, Robert G Bartner, Mark Cartwright, Gavin Kalin, Peter Clayton and Adam Blanshay.

With "Wicked" confirmed to run at the King's in April 2014, Glasgow is fast becoming the West-End of Scotland!
Jul 29th

Shakespeare's Globe Takes 'Hamlet' to the World!

By Cameron Lowe

On 23 April 2014 – the 450th anniversary of Shakespeare’s birth – Shakespeare’s Globe will embark on a two-year global tour of Hamlet that will aim to take in every country in the world. The ‘Globe to Globe Hamlet’, directed by the Globe’s Artistic Director Dominic Dromgoole, will be a completely unprecedented theatrical adventure.

The company will travel to all 205 nations in the world to stage Hamlet in a huge range of unique and atmospheric venues, from village squares to national theatres, from palaces to beaches. They will travel by boat, sleeper train, jeep, tall ship, bus and aeroplane across the seven continents.

The Globe to Globe Hamlet will reinforce the Globe’s continuing commitment to internationalising Shakespeare following the runaway success of the 2012 ‘Globe to Globe’ festival. During the festival 110,000 people – 80% of whom were first-time visitors to the Globe – flocked to watch 37 works of Shakespeare performed in 37 different languages over just six weeks. This new tour will bring one of Shakespeare’s best-known plays to some of the most inaccessible places in the world.

Theatre director Peter Brook said: The six simplest words in the English language are TO BE OR NOT TO BE.  There is hardly a corner of the planet where these words have not been translated. Even in English, those who can't speak the language will at once recognise the sound and exclaim 'Shakespeare!' Hamlet is the most all encompassing of Shakespeare's plays.  Everyone, young or old can today find an immediate identification with its characters, their pains and their interrogations. To take Hamlet in its original language around the world is a bold and dynamic project. It can bring a rich journey of discovery to new audiences everywhere.”

The Globe’s Artistic Director Dominic Dromgoole said: “In 1608, only five years after it was written, Hamlet was performed on a boat – the Red Dragon – off the coast of Yemen. Just ten years later it was being toured extensively all over Northern Europe. The spirit of touring, and of communicating stories to fresh ears, was always central to Shakespeare’s work. We couldn’t be happier to be extending that mission even further. By train, coach, plane and boat we aim to take this wonderful, iconic, multifarious play to as many fresh ears as we possibly can.”

Globe on TourThe small-scale production, which toured the UK, Europe and the United States in 2011 and 2012, is a fresh version of Shakespeare’s classic tragedy of deferred revenge that emphasizes the play’s gallows humour and celebrates the exuberance and invention of its language. A new cast of just eight actors will perform over two dozen parts on a stripped-down booth stage in a brisk two hours and forty minutes. The New York Times applauded “a production that prizes efficiency, clarity, accessibility and above all energy”, the Mexican newspaper La Jornada called it “bright, light and nimble” and in Austria Die Presse described it as “boisterous, funny, fast-paced and highly musical”, while the Daily Telegraph praised its “young, unjaded and open-hearted” portrayal of the Danish prince.

The tour will finish on 23 April 2016, the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death. This will also be the date of Dominic’s departure from the Globe, after a decade as Artistic Director. 

Feb 28th

Interview with Alexander Wright, writer of 'Some Small Love Story'/'Beulah'

By Sue Casson

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As a double bill of new musical theatre, ‘Some Small Love Story’ (a four-handed boutique piece) and ‘Beulah’ (featuring original folk music and puppetry), billed as ‘the next generation of must-see musicals’, sets off on national tour, I caught up with writer, the Flanagan Collective’s Alexander Wright, for a quick chat.

 

SC       So what are you up to?

                                                                                                

AW      The show consists of two new pieces of musical theatre. Often, when someone mentions a musical, you think of a quite glitzy, high spec show, with a big chorus, orchestra and dance routines, but these two shows are very much about the relationship between the people on stage and the people sitting with them, so there’s no set as such. In ‘Beulah’, everything is about the instruments that the two guys make all the music on, object manipulation and projections, while ‘Some Small Love Story’ is just four people standing on stage, talking to you. Nothing else. So they’re both very stripped back; not at all what you might expect from a traditional musical whatsoever. Both are very open, honest, accessible pieces. I’ve written both scripts and all of the lyrics, although all credit due to the original cast who helped to put everything in the right order! My editing process is quite lengthy. It can start with giving the actors and director a big, rambling thing and they, thankfully, far more intelligently that I could, pare it down in the right way.

 

Q. Are the two shows linked?

 

They were developed independently rather than as a double bill, but I watched them for the first time together at an open dress rehearsal two days before the tour started, and I thought ‘I hope these work together’. Rather stupidly, I hadn’t thought of that until that point but they seem to work together remarkably well. ‘Beulah’ is a very colourful, busy, and fanciful piece, while ‘Some Small Love Story’ is very still and very much about us and our real world. Both pieces are about the joy, beauty and love you can find in the world and how important other people are to us, but both articulate this in different ways. I guess they both have a similar, I guess clichéd, notion that it’s better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all. So they’re two very different pieces, but they complement each other beautifully

 

SC       What does the musical element add to the show?

 

AW      The music for ‘Beulah’ was composed by Jim Harbourne, who’s in the show and Ed Wren. Ed’s on another tour at present, so Ryland Teifi, a multi-award-winning Welsh musician has joined our cast. Jim and Ryland play about twelve different instruments between them, all live, so there’s harmoniums, accordions, bazukis, guitars, whistles—you name it, we’ve probably got one. The music for ‘Some Small Love Story’ was composed by Gavin Whitworth, who’s a musical director and theatre composer. It’s stunning, with some very moving, soaring harmonies for the four-strong cast. The two shows have very different sounds but they’re both very deeply woven. Unlike in ‘Les Mis’, where the whole story is sung, the songs in these shows sit just sit within the narrative, adding a lot of texture and feeling.

 

SC       Have you used music in all of your productions?

 

AW      I think I’m just a frustrated band member really! If I could choose whether to be a playwright or be in a famous band, I’d choose the latter! If you listen to a song, it can move you in a moment, even if you’ve never heard it before. You might not know what they’re singing about, but music does something to you which is quite remarkable. I think that a well-written piece of music can do something that’s so much greater than any words I could ever write, so I find it a very important aspect of telling a story. I think we hear music far more in our lives than we listen to constructed narratives. I always have the radio or a CD on, but we don’t always have someone walking around with us reciting a script so I think it’s a really nice way to articulate a story and something we can easily connect with. I just like music really. It’s stunning.

 
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Alexander Wright. Photo: Luke Thompson

SC       How did the team come together for the show?

 

AW      The show is produced by Hartshorn-Hook, who’re based in Manchester. I’ve got to know them quite well over the past few years. They do quite a lot of work at the Edinburgh Fringe, and in London and Manchester, and so our paths cross quite often. They came to see ‘Some Small Love Story’ in Edinburgh in 2011, loved it, and wanted to do more with it and for it to be seen by more people, so they really helped this project get off the ground. They secured funding, very kindly, from the Arts Council for ‘Some Small Love Story’, to take it to bigger audiences, so it’s been really nice to work with a new group of people. Due to circumstances, we needed to recast and change the team slightly so it’s exciting to work with Noreen Kershaw, a BAFTA-winning director, and for her to have her input into ‘Some Small Love Story’, and then to get Ryland in on ‘Beulah’ and modify some of the music to suit the instruments he can play. It’s really exciting to bring new people in to the stories. It helps you as a director/writer to re-understand what’s exciting about that story and why you wrote it in the first place. These are scripts that I wrote quite a while ago now and it’s exciting to have a new, fresh, set of eyes on them. You go, ‘Oh, yes I remember what this bit was or why I put that bit in’. It’s really exciting.

 

SC       Have you found anything particularly challenging about this project?

 

AW      I think that touring as an activity is quite challenging. The idea that every three days you up sticks, make friends with a new venue, figure out how they work, hopefully attract a new audience, try to have a conversation with ten different audiences around the country. It’s tough. A new experience for us. Neither Flanagan Collective nor Harsthorn-Hook have done a traditional tour in this sense, where you do Monday to Wednesday in one venue and then Thursday to Saturday in another. It’s a great learning curve and something that very valuable to do. How to make two shows and get them out on tour. Again, it’s how to be economical with it, so the practical side is very interesting and it’s great that the Arts Council can support our learning and development in that way.

 

SC       How have audiences been reacting to the show so far?

 

This is why Twitter is such a great invention! Cos I can listen to what people are saying in Manchester, when I’m not there. We’ve had an excellent response, and you forget, when you’re so attached to something, quite what it’s like to watch it for the first time. I went to see the shows in Hull the other day and remembered how much I loved them and what it would be like to go and see them for the first time and find yourself in the magical world of ‘Beulah’ and the heart-breaking world of ‘Some Small Love Story’. It’s been clear from listening to people’s responses that they find themselves lost in a place that they weren’t necessarily expecting to be on a Tuesday night when you’re in Hull and it’s snowy outside but you end up in a warm, loving story, so we’ve had really good responses. I’m looking forward to going to York because that’s where I’m based and where we spend a lot of time making stuff, so it’ll be really exciting to take the shows there. Then on Saturday 9th March, we’re at the Fauconberg Arms in Coxwold, a pub in the town where I grew up, so that all the local folk who I grew up with and my family can see the show. It’s great having such a diverse bunch of venues because you get a diverse audience with lots of different opinions, which is lovely.

 

SC       Do you have any future plans for these two shows?

 

AW      We’ve got a week at the Arts Theatre in London, which will be a great opportunity, hopefully, to get a lot of conversations started about the future of the shows, where they can go next and how we carry on this journey. We’re not over yet. We’ll carry on making new work, but I definitely think there’s more life in these shows. I’m also busy trying to wrestle a massive story down into a tellable tale for a piece called ‘Bablyon’, a romping, stomping folk party, that’ll be a nice jolly evening full of fantasy, drinking and singing, and I’m also writing a more delicate piece called ‘The Cloud People’ which will be mainly visual with lots of puppets. We’re starting some conversations with a great company called The River People about collaborating on some work, so there’s plenty going on.

 

SC       What kind of people inspire you as a writer/director?

 

AW      I get excited by people who lead you into a world, whether it’s a physical one, like when an entire warehouse is transformed so that you can run around in it for three hours, or an imaginative one, where someone quietly leads you into an imaginative place. There are performers who just stand on stage and introduce themselves, like Tim Crouch, but an hour later you’re lost in quite a wonderful story, believing something which is by no means in front of you but all in your imagination. There’re people who allow audiences into their pieces and the imaginative world of the narrative, which I find remarkable.

 

SC       Any final comments?

 

AW      I hope people will come and watch. We’re all still quite young and trying to figure out how to best make things work. In the Flanagan Collective particularly, we’re always up for a chat. People are very welcome to talk to us after the shows, or get in touch with us on Twitter or online or give me a ring. We want to know what people think, so we hope they’ll be involved in the conversation.

 

‘Some Small Love Story’ and ‘Beulah’ Tour Dates:

 

South Hill Park, Bracknell, 14 - 16 Feb

Slung Low’s The HUB, Leeds, 18 - 20 Feb

The Lowry Studio, Salford Quays, 21 - 23 Feb

The Fruit Space, Hull, 25 - 27 Feb

Summerhall, Edinburgh, 28 Feb - 2 March

York Theatre Royal, Cocktail Room, York, 5 - 7 March

Fauconberg Arms, Coxwolds, 9 March

The musicals will show independently at The Arts Theatre

Beulah only – The Arts Theatre, West End, 18 – 20 March

Some Small Love Story only - The Arts Theatre, West End, 21 – 23 March

 

Samples of the music are available at:

Beulah: https://soundcloud.com/flancol/sets/beulah

Some Small Love Story: https://soundcloud.com/hartshorn-hook-ltd/sets/some-small-love-story

 

Jan 31st

Graham Fellows on…John Shuttleworth’s ‘Out of Our Sheds’ tour

By Sue Casson

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As John Shuttleworth, the former sweet factory security guard from Walkley, South Yorkshire, turned radio, TV and recording star, embarks on a national tour, accompanying songs such as ‘Pigeons in Fight’ on his Yamaha keyboard and sharing his thoughtful observations on village shops, the joys of midweek, and supermarket check-out etiquette, Graham Fellows, his alter ego,  found time for a quick chat backstage just before a preview at Stamford Arts Centre.

GF          I started doing 20 minute spots with John in comedy clubs in London and decided to get an hour-long show together. I performed John Shuttleworth’s ‘Guide to Stardom’ at the Edinburgh Festival in 1992 and was lucky enough to get nominated for the Perrier Award (he was pipped to the post by Steve Coogan and John Thompson), so then I was off doing gigs and tours and that’s kind of what I’ve done ever since. I used to do them once a year and now it’s every two years but this one is sort of stretching out. Other tours have been called ‘Miditations’, ‘One Foot in the Gravy’, ‘Pillock of the Community’, ‘2000 & John’, The ‘Minor Tour - and other Mythological Creatures’ - I just love a good pun (or a bad one). For this tour, I saw the Rolling Stones’ ‘Out of our Heads’ album cover, and thought of the title ‘Out of our sheds’ with John talking about sheds but, in the end, he doesn’t talk that much about sheds. I keep trying to introduce more shed material. In fact, tonight, I’ll try to.

SC          What do you enjoy most about being John?

GF          Well, the facetious answer would be not being him any more when I come offstage and pull off his sweater, but that’s unfair and untrue because John’s been very good to me. You see – I talk about him in the third person which is a bit frightening! It’s a lovely escape from one mundane world into another because, on paper. John’s life is very drab and suburban but I love playing places like this. It’s great. You get free, complementary sandwiches and everyone is great and you get up on stage, hopefully make people laugh and you come off and get paid for it! I trained as an actor and performed in theatre for several years with moderate success. I never got to the RSC, which I wanted to do. I’m still waiting for the call, but my big problem is remembering lines. I had some hypnosis for memory loss, which worked to some extent but, of course, with John Shuttleworth, it doesn’t matter if I forget the words to some extent because that’s part of the character.

SC          Anything you dislike about playing John?

GF          If I do him too much, my head goes a bit, but the only thing that gets me down about touring is the travelling. Everyone says that but it’s true. You’re in the car a lot of the time. We try to pace it so that’s it’s perhaps three gigs then you go home for a couple of days but there’s a stretch coming up with about nine gigs in a row down in the south west so that’s going to be a bit tiring.

SC          Do audiences around the country react differently to John?

GF          No. They don’t. All I would say is that they are more reserved in some areas and more up for it and interactive in others. In Manchester, Liverpool, Leeds, and Glasgow, the big cities, audience is more likely to be quite raucous. I played Pocklington as a warm up the other day and now Stamford. The audiences are more reserved in smaller towns, but seem to enjoy the show just as much.

SC          Does the show evolve much during the tour?

GF          I try and change it every night. One of the reasons for that is that I’m a perfectionist and I’ve never got it right yet. Sometimes I feel I get close, but I always come off stage and think, ‘Oh, why didn’t I say that? It’d have been funnier if I’d said that’, if something goes wrong. I’m always trying to hone little stories that I have. You always try to add new bits to old material and see if they can improve it and sometimes some old material will suddenly not feel right any more so I’ll drop it.

SC          Finally, is there anything you’d like to do with John that you haven’t done yet?

GF          We’re trying to put him in a cartoon and I’d like to make another feature film. We’ve done two films so far - ‘It’s Nice up North’ and ‘Southern Softies’.  Both were bought by Sky Arts and are still available on DVD. A guy called Keven Baldwin has been doing drawings of John for ages and he made a short film called ‘Unaccompanied Lady’ which is quite nice and appeared at a few film festivals. We’re trying to develop it into a full-length cartoon so that we can get a TV series but it isn’t easy. Very few cartoons are commissioned in Britain. This one would be very cheap to make because I’d be providing all the voices and he’s doing all the drawings so if we can get it to a certain length, hopefully we can get commissioned to do more. I’m trying to get another radio series at the moment and there will be more tours, so who knows? I’m still enjoying doing him. I’m probably catching him up. I’m 53 now and John’s about sixty (I try to be non-specific about his age), but when I started, I was 25 and he was 46, so you see how we’ve narrowed the gap. Will that do you? I’d better go and get ready.

John Shuttleworth ‘Out of our Sheds’ tours until 30th May.

For further details, please see www.shuttleworths.co.uk or follow John’s comments on Twitter (@johnshuttlewrth)


February 2013

Fri 1st SHEFFIELD Crucible 0114 249 6000
Sat 2nd LIVERPOOL Playhouse 0151 709 4776
Sun 3rd BRISTOL Tobacco Factory 01179020060
Mon 4th BATH Komedia 0845 293 8480
Tues 5th GREAT TORRINGTON,Plough 01805 624624
Weds 6th FALMOUTH Princess Pavilion 01326 211222
Thu 7 WIMBORNE Tivoli 01202885566
Fri 8th WINCHESTER, Theatre Royal 01962 840440
Sat 9th CANTERBURY Gulbenkian
Tues 12th LEEDS, City Varieties 0113 2430808
Thu 14 LEICESTER Little Theatre 0116 255 1302
Fri 15th BUXTON Opera House 0845 127 2190
Sat 16th HERTFORD Hertford Theatre 01992 531500
Tues 19th/Weds 20th/Thurs 21st LONDON Leicester Square Theatre 08448 733433
Fri 22nd NEWCASTLE, Tyne Theatre 0844 4939999
Weds 27th LOUTH Riverhead 01507 600350 (ALL PROCEEDS TO FROGLIFE)
Thurs 28th DURHAM Gala 0191 332 4041

March 2013

Sun 3rd March CHELTENHAM, Town Hall 0844 576 2210
Mon 4th NEWCASTLE UNDER LYME New Vic 01782 717962
Weds 6th March YORK Grand Opera House 0844 847 2322
Thursday 7th March CAMBRIDGE Junction 01223 511 511
Tues 19th COLCHESTER Arts Centre 01206 500900
Fri 22nd LANCASTER, Dukes Theatre 01524 598507
Thursday 28th March GLASGOW Citizens Theatre 0141 429 0022
Friday 29th March STIRLING Macrobert Arts Centre 01786 466666

April 2013

Thu 25th SCARBOROUGH, Spa Theatre 01723 357 869
Fri 26th TUNBRIDGE WELLS, Trinity 01892 678678
Sat 27th WORTHING, Connaught 01903 206206

May 2013

Weds 8th WOLVERHAMPTON Civic Hall 0870 3207000
Thurs 9th HEREFORD Courtyard 01432 340555
Thurs 30th OLDHAM Coliseum 0161 6242829 

Jan 3rd

Agatha Christie’s “The Mousetrap” - 60TH ANNIVERSARY UK TOUR

By Cameron Lowe

For over 50 years, Agatha Christie’s The Mousetrap has been the world’s longest running stage production. The first ever tour of the record-breaking production tours through to 2014, and it is coming to The Regent Theatre from Monday 18 – Saturday 23 February.

The Mousetrap - UK Tour

Due to extraordinary demand, extra performances have now been added in Canterbury, Cardiff, Manchester, Southampton, Malvern and Newcastle. Overall, the tour has sold well over 100,000 tickets so far.

The cast includes: Steven France (Eastenders, The Bill) as Christopher Wren, Thomas Howes (Downton Abbey, The History Boys (National Theatre UK Tour)) as Sgt Trotter, Karl Howman (Brush Strokes) as Mr Paravicini, Bruno Langley (Coronation Street, Doctor Who) as Giles Ralston, Graham Seed (Yes, Prime Minister UK Tour, BBC Radio 4’s The Archers) as Major Metcalf and Jemma Walker (Family Affairs, Eastenders) as Mollie Ralston. Jan Waters will reprise her west end role as Mrs Boyle and Clare Wilkie (Eastenders) will play Miss Casewell.

This classic murder mystery play is now in its 60th year in London’s West End, and on 18 November 2012 celebrated the actual 60th Birthday with a gala in aid of Mousetrap Theatre Projects.

Mousetrap Productions has licensed 60 productions of The Mousetrap world-wide to mark the 60th year. During this period the world’s longest running show will be seen in every continent, with professional productions scheduled for Australia, China, Korea, Turkey, South Africa, Russia, Czech Republic, Hungary, France, Germany, Holland, Italy, Poland, Spain, Scandinavia, Venezuela, and across the United States and Canada.

As part of the 60th year celebrations, Mousetrap Theatre Projects will run an educational writing project for Year 6 pupils at 60 primary schools across London. Pupils will be encouraged to write their own short mystery. The best stories or plays will be read by professional actors on the set of The Mousetrap at the St. Martin’s Theatre. Thousands of year 6 pupils will attend matinee performances of The Mousetrap as part of the project.

For tickets please visit The Regent Theatre Box Office counter, call 0844 871 7649 or visit www.atgtickets.com/stoke or BOOK OTHER VENUES
Nov 30th

Disney's Lion King Tour Adds 3 More Weeks in Manchester

By Cameron Lowe

Disney’s legendary musical THE LION KING will begin performances tonight at Manchester’s Palace Theatre, in advance of its official opening on Thursday 6th December. This will mark the first time that Julie Taymor’s internationally celebrated production will have played in the city.

 

Lion King TourCoinciding with the first performance, The Walt Disney Company today announced that following record-breaking sales in the city, THE LION KING will extend its Manchester season by three weeks. The show will now finish its run on Saturday 20th April, 2013.

 

An international cast of 52 performers from 17 different countries are today undergoing final preparations for their debut in Manchester, where excitement has been building across the region since the season was announced in February. A fleet of 23 trucks has been utilised to transport Disney’s enormous production to Manchester, making it the largest theatre production ever to tour Europe.

 

The company is led by 11 principals; Gugwana Dlamini as Rafiki, Cleveland Cathnott as Mufasa, Meilyr Sion as Zazu, Stephen Carlile as Scar, Gbemisola Ikumelo as Shenzi, Daniel Norford as Banzai, Philip Oakland as Ed, John Hasler as Timon, Mark Roper as Pumbaa, Nicholas Nkuna as Simba and Carole Stennett as Nala.

 

Nicholas Nkuna as Simba

"After years of planning, we are thrilled that tonight the curtain will go up on our first performance in Manchester," said Fiona Thomas, Vice President, Live Entertainment, The Walt Disney Company EMEA
 . "Our company is already  thoroughly enjoying their time in this vibrant city, and they cannot wait to share Julie Taymor's extraordinary production with Manchester audiences who have welcomed them so warmly."

 

Four years in development, this first ever UK tour of Disney’s THE LION KING will now play a 21-week season in Manchester. The award-winning production will then play seasons in Dublin and Birmingham, with additional cities to be announced shortly. In total, the production will visit 10 cities in the UK and Ireland over two and a half years.

 

The acclaimed stage adaptation of Disney’s 1994 animated film was first seen on Broadway in 1997, where it recently celebrated its 15th anniversary. The production has now been seen by over 65 million people across five continents and the acclaimed West End production continues to sell out at London’s Lyceum Theatre in its 14th triumphant year.
Nov 23rd

Hormonal Housewives 2013 Tour

By Cameron Lowe

Starring TOYAH WILLCOX AND JULIE COOMBE

Spring Tour 2013 Announced Today

 

Hormonal Housewives

Following 2012's celebrated reception as they caused mayhem and mania in theatres across the land, the irrepressible Hormonal Housewives are back and return this spring to commence a second national tour. Opening at Bromley's Churchill Theatre the show tours through to May.
 

"Ticked all the right boxes. The audience loved it." Edinburgh Evening News

 

The show for all the women out there whose man more James May than Christian Grey, Hormonal Housewives is a hilarious comedy written by husband and wife team Julie Coombe and John McIsaac. Following on from their hugely successful 2012 tour, The Hormonal Housewives are back with hilarious all-new sketches, as well as all the very best bits from last time round, covering everything that makes today's woman tick (or ticked off) - from the joys of teenagers, to the challenge of IKEA, the madness of holiday reps and the insanity of DIY.

 

A side-splitting evening - what they can't teach you about modern womanhood isn't worth knowing!

 

With previous Hormonal Housewives including Margi Clark and Carol Smillie, this year, the ladies are led by British pop icon Toyah Willcox and writer Julie Coombe, with further casting to be announced.

 

From punk princess to high priestess of TV, Toyah is a uniquely gifted performer. Charismatic, outspoken and impossible to categorise, she is one of Britain's iconic household names - an award-winning rock legend as well as a much-loved actress and music composer.

 

In a career spanning thirty years Toyah has had thirteen top 40 singles, recorded twenty albums, written two books, appeared in over forty stage plays, made ten feature films and presented television programmes as diverse as The Good Sex Guide Late, Watchdog and Songs Of Praise.

 

Anyone who caught last year's tour will need no introduction to Hormonal Housewives hilarious writer and star - Julie Coombes. Since graduating in 1992 Julie has enjoyed a varied career in theatre, radio and television in productions ranging from Shakespeare to new writing to pantomime. Julie has also been a regular at Scotland's number one comedy venue, The Stand Comedy Club in Edinburgh, for the past ten years. She and her husband, John, run a monthly new comedy writing night there called 'Melting Pot,' which offers a platform to aspiring authors.

Full tour listings available at http://hormonalhousewives.co.uk/tour/