Audra McDonald’s sold out concerts at the Leicester Square Theatre may be the event of January 2016, but the New Year offers plenty of other chances to experience new work, new revivals and live theatre at its best.
Here are ten productions our Editorial Staff are looking forward to seeing in January.
Still water, deep ground, and underneath the Devil is turning around
(Afrikaner children’s rhyme)
Frikkie and Sussie were born into a South African Eden, an idyllic farm with loving and responsible parents, a black nanny as their second mother, and a benevolent God in Heaven to keep them all safe and sound.
But that was decades ago.
Now their parents are long gone, the farm a desolate ruin, and God has clearly forgotten them.
Written during the Apartheid era, Reza de Wet’s astonishing play (originally “Diepe Grond” – Deep Ground) held up a mirror to the dark heart of Afrikaner society, forcing it to take a long and uncomfortable look at itself and the myths that sustained it.
From the production team behind Muswell Hill (Park Theatre, February-March 2015) and My Children! My Africa! (Trafalgar Studios, August 2015).
Booking information: https://www.parktheatre.co.uk/whats-on/african-gothic
Everyone else is asleep. Not me. Not you. Not yet… No, not yet.
Botallack O’Clock is a funny, moving and thought-provoking journey into the creative mind of one of the most unique voices in postwar British art, Roger Hilton CBE.
Having premiered at the Half Moon, Herne Hill in 2011, Botallack O’Clock transferred to the Edinburgh Festival 2012 and then on to the 59E59 Theaters, New York as part of the Brits Off Broadway Festival 2013. Botallack O’Clock now returns to London by popular demand for a 4 week run at the Old Red Lion.
Booking information: http://www.oldredliontheatre.co.uk/botallack-oclock.html
This laugh-out-loud spin on Spielberg’s classic is a theatrical celebration of cinematic nostalgia and a powerful reminder of the ones we love. The perfect parody to blow away January cobwebs!
Welcome to the unlikely setting of Lyme Regis Community Centre, where the Park Family – Terry, Jade and Noah – embark on a journey to a misty past. When things go wrong, family feuds are faced with the rapturous roar of DIY dinosaurs.
An epic adventure of show-stopping, spine-tingling theatrics and megalithic mayhem.
Superbolt Theatre’s award-winnning production is presented by James Seabright, producer of previous Studio hits including The Lion, Oliver Reed: Wild Thing and Julie Madly Deeply.
Booking information: https://www.stjamestheatre.co.uk/studio/dinosaur-park/
Based on the iconic film,Grey Gardens tells the spectacular real life rise and fall of Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis’s aunt and cousin, Edith and Edie Bouvier Beale.
Starting in 1941 at an engagement party at Grey Gardens, the Bouvier’s mansion in East Hampton, Long Island, the musical tracks the progression of the two women’s lives from American aristocrats to reclusive social outcasts living in such squalid conditions, in a home overrun by cats, that the Health Department deemed the mansion ‘unfit for human habitation’.
Winner of 3 Tony awards and nominated for a further 7, along with 12 Drama Desk awards on Broadway, Grey Gardens finally gets its European première in London from the multi award winning team behindGrand Hotel, Titanic, Parade and Mack & Mabel.
Grey Gardens stars multi Olivier Award winnersSheila Hancock and Jenna Russell.
Based on the film Grey Gardens by David Maysles, Albert Maysles, Ellen Hovde, Muffie Mayer and Susan Froemke.
Booking information: http://southwarkplayhouse.co.uk/show/grey-gardens/
Guys and Dolls
Nathan Detroit is desperate: he needs money for an illegal dice game, and he needs it fast. Not to mention a 14 year engagement with night‑club singer Miss Adelaide whose patience is finally running out. Enter notorious gambler Sky Masterson, a guy who can never turn down a bet, and straight‑laced missionary Sarah Brown, a doll with a heart of ice. The wager: Sky has to romance Sarah by taking her to Havana for dinner and in return he’ll provide a dozen ‘sinners’ for Sarah’s mission. Surely this is one bet Nathan absolutely can’t lose?
The sizzling New York tale of gamblers, gangsters and nightclub singers will leave you ‘walking on air’ (Daily Telegraph) with a glorious evening featuring some of Broadway’s greatest show‑stopping tunes, including Luck Be a Lady, Sit Down You’re Rockin’ the Boat and My Time of Day. With dazzling choreography by world‑renowned Cuban ballet star Carlos Acosta and Andrew Wright (Singin’ in the Rain and Barnum), and direction from New York’s Gordon Greenberg, this ‘production leaves the whole audience purring with pleasure’.
A cast and orchestra of over 40 is led by Sophie Thompson as the long-suffering Miss Adelaide, David Haig as Nathan with Jamie Parker reprising his terrific Sky Masterson and Siubhan Harrison as the pious Salvation Army sergeant, Sarah Brown.
Booking information: http://www.guysanddollsthemusical.co.uk/
Five Finger Exercise
The earliest stage success from the writer of Amadeus and Equus, Five Finger Exercise was first presented in 1958 under the direction of John Gielgud at the Comedy Theatre, London, where it won the Evening Standard Drama Award. The show moved to New York the following year and won the New York Drama Critics Circle Award for Best Foreign Play, firmly establishing Peter Shaffer’s reputation as one of Britain’s best playwrights.
The Print Room is excited to start the year with a new production of this play directed by Jamie Glover, following the success of his production of The Dumb Waiter by Harold Pinter at The Print Rooms previous space at Hereford Road. Designer Andrew D Edwards will design the set having previously worked with Jamie on his productions ofThe Dumb Waiter, Educating Rita and Measure for Measure.
When a handsome young German arrives in 50’s Britain from a traumatised Europe and takes up the position of tutor for the Harrington family, it appears that he has found comfort in the bosom of their home. But his arrival is the catalyst that reveals the deep, impacted layers of this family’s dysfunction.
Shaffer himself has admitted the autobiographical nature of the play, stating in the preface to his collected plays that it “expressed a great deal of my own family tensions and also a desperate need to stop feeling invisible.”
Booking information: http://www.the-print-room.org/theatre/spring-2016-season/five-finger-exercise-by-peter-shaffer/
Jekyll & Hyde
London’s streets are awash with fear.
A dark and sinister figure prowls through the fog…. but what is the link between this mysterious man and the respectable Dr Jekyll?
Set against a backdrop of sultry Jazz, The Blue Orange Theatre brings Robert Louis Stevenson’s classic tale of addiction, murder, sex, violence and desire skillfully to the stage.
Having produced over 40 shows in over 30 venues within the last 4 years alone, the Blue Orange Theatre’s unique style of quick-paced, high energy theatre is rapidly making a name for itself across the UK.
Focusing on new writing and the retelling of classic tales, The Blue Orange Theatre has created a style which beautifully counterpoints a stylised directorial approach with naturalistic honest dialogue.
Booking information: http://www.thecockpit.org.uk/show/jekyll_hyde
Seasons of Larson
The life and music of legendary Broadway composer Jonathan Larson will be celebrated in a special one-off concert on Monday 25 January 2016, when Seasons Of Larson will play for one night only at the Lyric Theatre, Shaftesbury Avenue.
On 25 January 1996, the day of the first preview of RENT Off-Broadway, its composer Jonathan Larson died unexpectedly at the age of 35. Tragically he would never live to see the impact his work would have, not only on the face of musical theatre but also on a generation of young artists and performers. Nor would he get to hold the numerous awards he posthumously received. 20 years to the day, Seasons Of Larson will explore how Larson become a voice for a new generation on the stage, and celebrate his musical legacy that continues to resonate with people all over the world.
Jonathan Larson is best known for his rock musical RENT, for which he posthumously received the 1996 Pulitzer Prize for Drama and the 1996 Tony Award for Best Musical.
Anne loved that time in her life when she prepared breakfast each morning for her two young children, Sara and Nicholas. Now her children have grown up and have lives and loves of their own. Spending hours alone, Anne’s world begins to twist around her. Has her favoured son Nicholas really returned to her? And what of the suspicious actions of her husband?
The Mother is a compelling and moving production that will leave you questioning the very nature of reality.
Molière Award-winning playwright Florian Zeller returns to the Tricycle following 2015’s critically-acclaimed sell-out run of The Father with this compelling show starring the BAFTA Award-winning and Olivier nominated actress Gina McKee. Completing the cast are Richard Clothier, Frances McNamee and William Postlethwaite.
Booking information: http://www.tricycle.co.uk/current-programme-pages/theatre/theatre-programme-main/the-mother/
This Will End Badly
You can’t even shit… You’re being outskilled by the most primitive life forms on Earth.
Repressed rage; entrenched isolation; compacted bowels.
Staring deep into the destructive ego of the modern man, Rob Hayes masterfully dissects the world of relationships, defecating and surviving in this testosterone-triggered tragi-comedy.
Collaborating with critically acclaimed director Clive Judd, Hayes injects dark humour, candid observation and arresting imagery to confront our existing understanding of masculinity at blistering pace.