During the past week, it looks as if the sun has finally decided to put his hat on and come out to play. Everyone has capitalised on this long-awaited event; sitting out in the pub gardens all afternoon, playing with their kids in the park, perhaps even a spot of gardening? – Living on the Kent coast, I grabbed the opportunity to spend some time soaking up the rays on the beach and splashing around in the sea with my daughter. This is England though, so a few days of summer sun will usually be offset by further torrents of rain. While these altogether more drab days can often scupper the plans of sunnier times, you can rest assured in the knowledge that a spot of theatre can be enjoyed come rain or shine. With that – and our English summers – in mind, let’s take a look at some of the great theatre coming up in August:
THE CURIOUS INCIDENT OF THE DOG IN THE NIGHT-TIME:
This dramatic theatrical production, based on the novel by Mark Haddon, starts with fifteen year old Christopher standing over the body of Mrs Shear’s murdered dog Wellington. Under suspicion, this boy with the exceptional brain but limited life skills records all the facts in the book he is writing to solve the mystery of ‘who killed Wellington?’, despite being forbidden by his father. Marianne Elliot directs this stage adaption by Simon Stephens, which features the likes of Matthew Barker, Niamh Cusack, Una Stubbs, Nicola Walker and Howard Ward in the talented cast. Already previewing at Cottesloe, National Theatre, it officially opens on 2nd August 2012 and is booking until 27th October 2012.
William Shakespeare’s famous work is brought back to the West End in this collaborative production from the Royal Shakespeare Company (RSC) and the World Shakespeare Festival. Gregory Dunan directs this story about the assassination of a dictator and who his replacement shall be, aided by a cast which includes Ray Fearon (Mark Antony), Paterson Joseph (Brutus), Jefferey Kissoon (Caesar) and Cyril Nri (Cassius). Music is by Akintayo Akinbode, with fight direction by Kev McCurdy. Julius Caesar begins previews at the Noel Coward Theatre (formerly Albery) from 8th August 2012 and opens on 15th August 2012, playing until 15th September 2012.
The playwright Noel Coward is so renowned that he was awarded the honour of having a theatre named after him; now theatre fans will have the chance to see a piece of his work that was never performed in his lifetime. Volcano is a scintillating insight into the island lifestyle that Coward himself previously enjoyed, centred on the interaction between four characters: there’s the recently-widowed Adela Shelly who is seduced by the charming Guy Littleton when he visits her home on the side of an island volcano. Then there’s Guy’s sparky wife Melissa, who flies out to put an end to the lovers’ tryst, unaware that there is the added complication of Adela’s best friend Ellen, who could just have an interest in Guy herself… Roy Marsden directs the Bill Kenwright/Thelma Holt production, which stars Jenny Seagrove, Dawn Steele, Jason Durr, Finty Williams, Perdita Avery, Robin Sebastian and Tim Daish. Volcano previews at the Vaudeville Theatre from 14th August 2012, opening on the 16th August 2012. It runs until the 29th September 2012.
Devised by Pete Brooks and John Miller, this musical centres on ill-fated couple Ike and Tina Turner. Soul Sister follows the passion and heartbreak of their lives as their careers flourish amidst the break down of their marriage, featuring such classic songs as ‘Proud Mary’, ‘River Deep Mountain High’ and ‘What’s Love Got To Do With It’. Directed by Brooks with Bob Eaton, it also features Emi Wokoma as the powerhouse songstress. Previews begin from 20th August 2012 at the Savoy Theatre, with opening night on 23rd August 2012. It plays there until 29th September 2012.
13 THE MUSICAL:
For four days only, The National Youth Theatre’s production of 13 The Musical is coming to the West End. Written by Dan Elish and Robert Horn, it tells the story of Evan Goldman, a boy of divorced parents who, in the lead-up to his 13th birthday, is also forced to deal with having to leave his home in New York and move to the Midwest of America. Featuring music and lyrics by Jason Robert Brown – who also directs – 13 explores the difficulty of a young teenager tying to find his place in the world, and the discovery of unexpected joy. 13 The Musical opens at the Apollo Theatre on 22nd August 2012 and is available to see for a limited time only, closing on 25th August 2012.
NICKELODEON’S DORA THE EXPLORER LIVE! SEARCH FOR THE CITY OF LOST TOYS:
Dora the Explorer is an animated character beloved by children all around the world, and now, she and her trusty sidekick Boots the monkey, along with many more of Dora’s friends, are being brought to life by the power of the stage. The musical adventure written by Chris Gifford sees Dora and friends embark on an adventure to the City of Lost Toys to find Osito the teddy bear – keeping one eye out for that sneaky fox Swiper along the way. The collaborative production from Nickelodeon, Life Like Touring and Daniel Sparrow & Mike Walsh Productions is a two-act interactive song-and-dance sensation, designed to teach kids how to explore, communicate and problem-solve, all in a fun and exciting way! Dora The Explorer opens at the Apollo Theatre on 28th August 2012 and is there until 16th September 2012.
By Julie Robinson (@missjulie25)
Tuesday 31st July 2012