Showtime

by Hazel Kyte

The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Woodside Park Synagogue or the United Synagogue.

 

At long last, we hope there is light at the end of the tunnel.. the lights being not Broadway but Shaftsbury Avenue, and theatres re-opening, both on and off West End... Admittedly the majority of shows are returns  and revivals, - but after nearly 18 months of lockdown, many of us theatre lovers are happy to meet up with old friends (plays and musicals we know and love) and be inspired by new peformances.... so here goes...

 

JERSEY BOYS - Trafalgar Studios is the story of the rise of the popular group and their many hits.

 

ANYTHING GOES - Cole Porter's joyous musical, of on-ship chaos, with a star studded cast including Sutton Foster, Robert Lindsay, Felicity Kendal and Gary Wilmot is a real feel-good production - gorgeous costumes, great voices and brilliant choreography - receiving  well deserved stand up ovations at all  performances - Barbican.   I hear this is to be followed by THE MUSIC MAN also with Sutton Foster.

 

THE MIRROR AND THE LIGHT - Hilary Mantel, queen of historical books has adapted her latest for the stage, premiering at the Gielgud Theatre from 23rd September for 9 weeks only. 

 

MICHAEL FEINSTEIN - IN PERSON -  On Monday 25th October at Cadogan Hall, this major New York Cabaret Star makes his London visit, followed by 27th and 28th at the Radlett Centre - (where  they do not offer specials for disabled, as the venue is small, and they really want everyone to come masked) however quite a coup for this venue, for this authority on American Song Book to leave his own New York club venue to come over the pond and cheer us up... Radlett are also offering THE NEIL DIAMOND STORY11th November, and RABBI SANTA'S NIGHT OF COMEDY 28th November, cast includes Mark Maier.

 

CINDERELLA -  Andrew Lloyd Webber straining at the leash to bring back theatre, this new production now at the Gillian Lynne Theatre... Have now seen it, great sets, good music, lovely voices BUT certainly not for children! I would say l6+ as very adult story... no fairy godmother, no coach, no Buttons.... but good choreography, lovely costumes, amazing sets, and certainly different humour. The cast varies with different performances, but certainly enjoyed those that we saw.. particularly Cinderella, her prince, his mother,  her stepmother and sisters...audience most enthusiastic, though children somewhat bemused...

 

Upstairs at the Gatehouse are raring to go, firstly a political play A MODEST MAN based on Clement Atlee running early September, and later have scheduled THE FUNNY GIRLS, based on a meeting between Streisand and Joan Rivers, which should be well worth seeing.... waiting for news of the Christmas-cum-Chanukah production, which is always top musical theatre, and also hear they are hoping to a new Chris Burgess super entertaining review JEWISH HOLLYWOOD scheduled for February.

 

The Bridge Theatre has always given us brilliant theatre, and their new production of BACH & SON -  directed by Nick Hytner starring Simon Russll Beale, promises to live up to their reputation - You are given time of arrival and distanced seating.

 

Music minded? Look out for an afternoon of Gershwin at the Royal Festival Hall on September 12th.

 

NOT QUITE JERUSALEM...an old favourite makes a welcome return at the Finborough Theatre, Earls Court mid September. This will be followed by APOCOLYSE later in the season. A small venue above a pub, their productions are always first class, and offer Sunday matinees.

 

OLEANNA - I think one of David Mamet's best plays -Arts Theatre - brilliantly acted two hander. 80 minutes no interval, on status and power. Highly recommended. Not good on social distancing..

 

Another classic returning is THE NORMAL HEART - A classic play about the American AIDS crisis, which was taken off when the epidemic started, along with Torch Song Trilogy and Cage Aux Folles - now regarded as 'historical' theatre - by Larry Kramer at the Royal National Theatre.  RNT - also have a revival of their comedy EAST IS EAST in October.

 

THE PRINCE OF EGYPT,  superb production of this new musical  - music and lyrics Stephen Schwartz and book by Philip Lazebnik - great performances as Moses, straight from Bullrushes goes to Palace of Egypt, until he realises his Jewish identity and frees his people from slavery.... everything about pesach except the matza!!! Wonderful voices, great staging, and if I heard a hint of Hava Negilla, there was nothing of Dayanu!  Highly recommended, at the Dominion Theatre - big theatre so offering distanced seating. Was there for reopening, with writers coming on stage to thank everyone....mega 'happening'.

 

TINA - THE TINA TURNER MUSICAL - was reckoned to be a mega hit and now returns to the Aldwych.

 

COME FROM AWAY - Great musical about 9/ll planes redirected - winner of many awards Phoenix, and worth seeing more than once!

 

 PANTOLAND comes into the Palladium Theatre from December 4th.

 

LEOPOLDSTADT - Tom Stoppard's brilliant family play, directed by Patrick Marber, returns to Wyndams.  This was the last production I saw before lock down, so leaves strong memories of a superb story and production.... welcome return to 30th October.

 

MARY POPPINS flies back to the Prince Edward, with book by Julian Fellowes, of Downton Abbey Fame, choreography by Matthew Bourne, and starring Zizi Strallen as Mary Practically Perfect Poppins. To 13th Feb.

 

EVERYONE IS TALKING ABOUT JAMI - Musical with a difference  at the Apollo to 26th Sept, then returnng some time in 2022.

 

THE GREAT GATSBY - (Immersive theatre) will be at the CDN Mayfair from Sept 24 to Jan l6. You are encouraged to join them in suitable l920s gear and join the roaring 20s... sounds fun!!

 

We are told to look out for BEDKNOBS AND BROOMSTICKS - the musical - my grandchildren were brought up on the film, as I had, in my time, loved the book....so watch this space.

 

If you are a fan of farce, you may well want to see one of the best, THE PLAY THAT GOES WRONG is back at the Duchess Theatre - great for all ages.

 

Another golden oldy back in town is Noel Coward's BLITHE SPIRIT, directed by Richard Eyre and starring Jennifer Saunders, this runs from l6th September to 6th November at the Harold Pinter Theatre.

Following this is FOUR QUARTETS  by T.S.Elliot. Directed by and starring Ralph Fiennes, from l8th November.

 

Hurrah for cabaret  - making a welcome return...look out for Sue Kelvin reviving her "Bette Midler and Me'' at the Crazy Coqs October 22, 23 and 24. Sadly both KT Sullivan and Mark Nadler have had to cancel their visits from New York, hope 2022 will give us a chance to welcome them again.

 

Also returning THE LAST FIVE YEARS - good songs and story Garrick l7th Sept  to l7th Oct.  AND JULIET, Have not seen it, but heard good reports, from 24th September. LES MIS, classic you can see umpteen times, Sondheim Theatre..

 

CAMP SIEGFRIED at The Old Vic is the story of an American camp for American youth of German descent, pre-war...said to be 'fascinating glimpse into infatuation and indoctrination', sounds interesting - from 7th September..

 

Moira Buffini's new play NW TRILOGY - is a 'three story' piece at the Kiln Theatre

 

Ronald Harwood's THE DRESSER, directed by Terry Johnson and starring Julian Clary and Matthew Kelly, will be on tour, coming to Richmond Theatre 26th to 30th October.

 

Nearer home Hampstead Theatre has announced its new programme, including MEMORY OF WATER, Stockard Channing in NIGHT MOTHER and PEGGY FOR YOU... these are all main theatreSeptember, October, November,  December and January, check with theatre for dates and availability.

 

Having barely put my head outside the door since March last year, it has been good to see live theatre - albeit masked and 'sprayed'... I hope that this list will encourage you to visit whatever genre you favour...they need us as much as we need them.

 

Wishing a happy and healthy new year to you all...Stay safe..... your, I hope,' favourite theatre maven,' Hazel Kyte

The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Woodside Park Synagogue or the United Synagogue.