Archive for the ‘Music and Musicals’ Category


Air-conditioned Finborough on a hot streak

Wednesday, 30 May, 2012

“Events while guarding the Bofors gun,” is revived at the Finborough till 16 June

Latest productions at the Finborough Theatre in Earl’s Court are getting good reviews, which could make tickets for the small theatre even more difficult to get.

The main production at the moment is a well-regarded revival of the late John McGrath’s ‘Events while guarding the Bofors gun.” Directed by emerging director Robert Hastie, John McGrath’s depiction of young men coming to terms with a new, inhuman era of warfare is based on his own experience of National Service in the 1950s.

On Sundays and Mondays, the theatre is presenting Merrie England, a light opera from the early 1900’s.

More at


What could be more topical? Jubilee, at the Tabard

Tuesday, 15 May, 2012

13 June to 21 July

The poster from the original Broadway production

Almost-normal presents Jubilee, with music and lyrics By Cole Porter, book by Moss Hart, at the Tabard Theatre, a fringe venue in Chiswick, west London.

Directed by Neil Bull, choreography by James Houlbrooke, the cast includes Amy Cooke-Hodgson, Adam Dutton, Barry Joseph Keenan, Catherine Nicole, Robert Paul, Adam Pendrich, Hannah Powell, George Reeve, Holly Tyler, Emma Williamson.

Jubilee takes you on a royal 1930’s romp through early celebrity culture. The story is of a fictional royal family who, when an immanent revolution threatens their throne, decide to relinquish their responsibilities and pursue their dreams: the King sets off and meets socialite Eva Standing; the Queen becomes infatuated by the swimmer-come-actor Charles Rausmiller; the Prince pursues singer Karen O’Kane; and the Princess is charmed by playwright, composer and actor Eric Dare.

When it becomes clear that the impending uprising is nothing more than a hoax, the royals are presented with a problem, do they succumb to duty or continue to pursue passion and freedom?


Need to refresh your production ideas?

Thursday, 26 April, 2012

The Adventures of Thunder and Coal, 3rd May–5th May 2012

Maybe a trip to the Little Angel theatre in Islington might help?

This puppetry-driven theatre combines productions for children with those for adults too, and won a well-deserved Fringe Report Award a few years back. The emphasis here is always on stagecraft and each production usually provides a fresh slant on delivery and atmosphere. The next production for example, for an adult audience is: The Adventures of Thunder and Coal, running from 3rd May–5th May 2012.

The Adventures of Thunder and Coal explores the parallels between the lives of the mice in the London Underground and the bigger mammals fumbling darkly up above them. Probably one of the world’s first IT-contractor-step-parenting-shadow-musicals, the show features a live band, animation and songs about supermarkets, steamy beverages and shifty commuters. There is (apparently) no unicycling.

This is a brand new, full-blown musical aimed at principally at adult audiences (suitable for aged 10 and above).

Nonesuch is the new company set up by the composer-writer Ben Glasstone and other key artists behind Little Angel’s cult hit musical The Mouse Queen.


Opera Erratica at the Print Room from 14 May

Wednesday, 25 April, 2012

Toujours et Près de Moi combines holograms, music and live theatre

This is a fractured tale of absence and regret told through moving music, startling images and visual wonder.

Toujours et Près de Moi is a world premiere and the first UK production from critically acclaimed international performance company Opera Erratica.

Live physical theatre, Victorian theatrical illusion and the latest video technology combine to create a dislocated performance space in which puppet-sized holograms interact with their live, life-sized selves. Meanwhile, Renaissance madrigals by Carlo Gesualdo are mixed with startling contemporary vocal pieces by Salvatore Sciarrino, Christopher Fox and James Weeks, adding to the sense of past/present dislocation.

Toujours et Près de Moi promises audiences a challenging and haunting new theatrical experience exploring presence and absence, memory and loss, connection and separation.

The Print Room is a small venue in Westbourne Grove.

The production runs Monday 14 May – Saturday 26 May.


Listen to Africa, in Liverpool. Free music festival

Tuesday, 24 April, 2012

Sefton Park, Liverpool. Saturday 23rd and Sunday 24th June 2012 / 12:30pm – 9:30pm both days

In 2012 Africa Oyé are marking 20 years of bringing the best in African music and culture to Sefton Park, Liverpool.

The full lineup now includes The Rasites (UK), Brinsley Forde (UK/Jamaica), Yaaba Funk (Ghana/UK), The Endless Journey (Niger), Dele Sosimi Afrobeat Orchestra (Nigeria/UK), Samba Mapangala & Orchestra Virunga (Democratic Republic of Congo), Jaliba Kuyateh (The Gambia) and Diabel Cissokho (Senegal)


Sonata Movements – Drama and Music at the Blue Elephant until May 5

Monday, 23 April, 2012

Sonata Movements is a combination of drama and music put together by AT Concert Theatre. Four short pieces of theatre make up the programme. Three are ‘proper’ scripts, and one is an accompanied reading of TS Eliot’s ‘Portrait of a Lady’. In counterpoint to them is the music – piano playing of great style and intensity performed by An-Ting Chang.

If you went along solely for the music, I don’t think you’d be disappointed. An-Ting Chang, currently studying for a PhD in music performance at the Royal Academy of Music, plays with a lot of verve and has taken on here some of the monstrously intricate and well-known pieces in the piano repertoire. Pieces by Shubert, Chopin, Prokoviev and Beethoven all feature.

Alongside these are the dramatic performances. First is a two-hander, ‘Abortive’, an early piece by Caryl Churchill in which the piano becomes a part of the presentation. The play describes quite painfully a couple whose assumptions about their relationship have been fractured. Kenneth Emson’s ‘Other People’s Gardens’ follows, a short piece enlivened by the fresh and honest performance of Darren Douglas-Letts. James Northcote is next tasked with delivering TS Eliot’s ‘Portrait of a Lady’ and finally, Jonathan Newth gives us Svetlovidov, the embittered actor whose powers are failing fast, in Chekhov’s ‘Swan Song’.

All are very competently played and it is an interesting programme, but from an audience’s point of view, the question to be answered is whether the music adds to the dramatic presentation. Some of the pieces unquestionably worked better than others, and a familiarity with them would certainly help. Sometimes the music, stylishly played though it was, did seem to fight against the actors’ delivery, rather than enhancing it. Sometimes too, it was impossible not to make a choice of concentration between the music and the drama.

Probably the most effective piece overall was the dramatised TS Eliot poem, which seemed to fit nicely with the Chopin Nocturne, each ‘positioning’ the other in terms of style and character. The others were harder work for this member of the audience certainly, and this is not the kind of production that allows you to drift along under its spell. There are some great moments, when the music really does underscore the text of the plays (in the Chekhov particularly when Svetlovidov redicovers some of his old youthful intensity), but more often the audience is faced with a difficult choice of where to address its concentration, largely because of the quality of both music and dramatic presentation.

More at:

Pianist – An-Ting Chang; Cast – Abortive; Mark Denham, Tiffany Wood; Cast – Other People’s Gardens; Darren Douglas-Letts, Mary Sheen; Cast – Portrait of a Lady; James Northcote, Tiffany Wood, Joyce Greenaway, Mary Sheen; Cast – Swan Song; Jonathan Newth, Joyce Greenaway

Music Designer – An-Ting Chang; Director – Jude Christian; Designer – Louis Carver; Lighting – Sarah Louise Colgan; Associate Designer – Gary Thorne; Executive Producer – Chi Ying (Mandy) Leung; Stage Manager – Hugh Allison


Finborough announces its summer season

Wednesday, 21 March, 2012

The Finborough Summer Season features rediscoveries from two UK dramatists, a classic British musical, and new writing from two of Canada’s living playwrights, as well as the debut of a brand new US playwright.

The season opens with the European premiere of Daniel MacIvor’s His Greatness playing 24 April – 19 May 2012, and directed by Ché Walker who returns to the Finborough Theatre following his show Fog in January. On Sundays and Mondays 29, 30 April and 6, 7, 13 and 14 May, there is the first UK production in nearly 40 years of Trevor Griffiths’ All Good Men.

Commemorating the tenth anniversary of the death of playwright John McGrath, and unseen in a professional production in London since 1966, John McGrath’s Events While Guarding The Bofors Gun plays 22 May – 16 June 2012, directed by Robert Hastie. On Sundays, Mondays and Tuesdays, 27, 28, 29 May, 3, 4, 5, 10, 11 and 12 June 2012, there is a celebration of both the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee and the 150th anniversary of the birth of composer Sir Edward German with the first professional London production for 52 years of his spectacular Elizabethan operetta, Merrie England.

The season culminates with the London premiere of the international hit play, The Drawer Boy by Michael Healey, one of Canada’s pre-eminent dramatists, playing 19 June – 14 July 2012. On Sundays and Mondays 24, 25 June, 1, 2, 8 and 9 July 2012, there is emerging American playwright Joshua Conkel’s The Sluts of Sutton Drive.

The return of the Papatango New Writing Competition is also happening after its huge success with the world premiere of Dawn King’s Foxfinder in 2011. The closing date for competition entries is 1 May.


Finborough Celebrates British Music Theatre

Wednesday, 14 March, 2012

Gilbert and Sullivan’s Grand Duke – only six performances

The Finborough Theatre’s ‘Celebrating British Music Theatre’ series continues with the first fully staged professional UK production of Gilbert and Sullivan’s final operetta, The Grand Duke, since the original 1896 production. It opens at the Finborough Theatre for a limited run of six Sundays and Mondays from Sunday, 1 April 2012.

In the Grand Duchy of Pfennig Halbpfennig, the theatrical troupe of Ernest Dummkopf is plotting a conspiracy to overthrow the tyrannical Grand Duke Rudolph. Ludwig, the troupe’s leading comedian, fights a number of “statutory duels” and finds himself taking the place and the title of the Grand Duke, but when legions of women arrive to claim Ludwig in marriage to become his Grand Duchess, including an indignant leading lady, an enormously wealthy old battleaxe, and even the Princess of Monte Carlo, how will matters resolve themselves?

With the aid of an eclectic array of travelling players and aristocrats, four weddings and enough sausage rolls to last several lifetimes, Gilbert and Sullivan’s final ‘Savoy Opera’ is full of Topsy Turvy paradoxes, legal conundrums and absurdities of etiquette. Far more than just a historical curiosity, The Grand Duke displays a much sharper satirical edge than any of Gilbert and Sullivan’s other works.


Piaf – The Songs, at the Pleasance London

Tuesday, 6 March, 2012

Wednesday, 14th March – Saturday, 17th March, 7.30pm

To mark the 50th anniversary of Edith Piaf’s death, Eve Loiseau sings the songs of Piaf with Fiona Barrow, violin and Edward Jay, accordion. The show features: La vie en rose, Sous le ciel de Paris, Bal dans ma rue, Autumn Leaves, Padam Padam as well as a narrative thread.

Edith Piaf has become synonymous with French Cabaret of the 1940s & 50s from her dramatic rise from Paris Street urchin to international star. Towards the end of her life, ravaged by pain and injury, Piaf tragically turned to drugs to find comfort and solace, never able to believe that she was indeed loved by thousands.

Tickets £15



Open Audition for British Musical

Wednesday, 18 January, 2012

Show opens at West Yorkshire Playhouse 16 June

Young, fresh and undiscovered performers from across the country have the opportunity to audition for new British musical Loserville, written by Elliot Davis and James Bourne (a former member of pop-rock bands Busted and Son of Dork). On Saturday 28 January at West Yorkshire Playhouse in Leeds, and on Monday 6 February in London, open auditions are being held to find talented actors, singers and dancers to fill principal roles for this original musical. Loserville – if you can’t predict the future…invent it!

Internationally renowned director Steven Dexter and the creative team behind Loserville are throwing open the doors of their auditioning rooms and inviting everyone with a passion for performance to come and showcase their talent. Strong actors/singers/dancers are required with a playing age of 17 – 19. All performers must be available from 14 May – 14 July for all rehearsals and performances. To audition performers must be at least 16 on the day of the auditions. All audition spots must be booked in advance.

To book an open audition in Leeds at West Yorkshire Playhouse call the box office on 0113 213 7700.

To book an open audition in London please visit to download an application form.