At the beginning of the year you were teased with snippets of information about what’s planned for the west-end post Olympics. As we enter the final sprint towards it’s opening at the end of July I come bearing gifts. Well not exactly – but more news about plans for one of the big budget movie-come-musicals I tantalised and teased you with back in January. As well as looking ahead to what’s planned later this year, there’s still loads to look forward this month too.
It’s maybe pure coincidence, or perhaps strategic planning by Hampstead Theatre’s Eric Hall that their latest production, Chariots of Fire will transfer to the Gielgud Theatre at the end of June. Mike Bartlett’s new adaption about hope, honour and belief promises to transfer the Shaftsbury Avenue venue into an impressive stadium, in a bid to evoke the spirit of the 1924 Paris Olympic Games. The cast will be led by Jack Lowden (Eric Liddell) and James McArdle (Harold Abrahams), and run until the 10th November.
Matthew Bourne’s Oliver winning Play Without Words is set to stop off in London at the Sadler’s Wells Theatre on its whistle stop tour of the country, starting later this month. Opening at the Leicester Curve on the 29th June, this tale of power struggles, role reversal and sexual domination will leave the Midlands of the 7th July. Bourne’s 2002 revival hits London on the 12th July before moving to Norwich for a limited run between the 7th-11th August. For more information and tickets go to the individual venues websites.
A potentially dark and disturbing evening lies ahead for some, if Bash at the Barons Court Theatre is your type of thing. World renowned and familiar face of the west-end Neil LaBute opens on the 5th June with a brand new trilogy of separate short plays which sets to explore the taboos of murder and whether we are all capable of such evils tendencies. Directed by Olivia Rowe, this darkly collection runs until the 17th June.
Following years of false imprisonment, for a murder he didn’t commit, Sam Hallam was finally released from prison last month. Only a few weeks before his release Tess Berry-Hart’s verbatim play Someone To Blame ran at The Kings Head in Islington. It used the transcripts of police interviews used to convict the young man word for word. Now he’s a free man the north London venue will bring Someone to Blame back for a strictly limited run for three nights on the 3rd-5th June.
As probably one of the most iconic movies of a decade it’s perhaps surprising a musical about The Bodyguard has never been penned before. Tickets have now gone on sale for Thea Sharrock’s new musical about a pop diva and her protector – a movie that turned the already world renowned artist, Whitney Houston into a global acting sensation. It’s sad, and possibly ironic that it will open less than a year after her sudden and untimely death. Tony and Grammy award winning Heather Headley will make her west-end debut as the demanding and sometimes dislikeable Rachel Marron. Lloyd Owen steps into Kevin Costner’s shoes as Frank Farmer, the brave man tasked with being the pop stars bodyguard. Tickets are on sale for shows from the 6th November until the end of April 2013 for what is sure to be an emotional, almost true to life love story.
Bitch! Dyke! Faghag! Whore! – no I’ve not gone mad, it’s the name of the long running experience by Penny Arcade, about sex, freedom and art which is set to open at the Arcola Theatre in Dalston on the 27th June. The name more or less says it all – other than it promises to be stuffed with outrageous humour, razor sharp satire punctuated with both male and female erotic go-go dancing. It also attempts to deal with the shenanigans at a downtown brothel, the rearing of a faghag, the evolution of the New York gay scene and the heartbreak of Aids and HIV. But don’t expect to leave this event all sad and distraught as I imagine none of these somewhat serious subjects will be dealt with the respect they obviously deserve.
Freebie time now – and the summer season at The Scoop More London, just outside City Hall, kicks off on the 6th June with a unique production of Much Ado About Nothing. Celebrating its tenth year of free arts and cultural events, this year all of the fringe theatre, music and film screenings will have an Olympian theme. As well as Shakespeare’s opening gambit, the programme will also include La Traviata, The Trojan Horse; music by The Gay Men’s Chorus and Ronnie Scott’s Rejects, as well as movies such as Great Expectations and A Street Car Names Desire. For a full list of events and dates go to www.morelondon.com/thescoop
And finally some sad news about the new musical reported in last month’s column. Street of Dreams starring Paul O’Grady has been put on hold until further notice. Apparently changes are being made, in a bid to improve the final production.