The arrival of March means waving goodbye to the cold of winter and beckoning in a brand new season. The sun is already out to brighten our days, and helping to light the way is the new influx of shows to the West End this month. Spring is about celebrating all that is new after all. There is a wonderful array of productions joining the West End theatrical family in March and here are a few of the top picks:
LESLIE JORDAN – FRUIT FLY:
The pint-sized playwright and stage/screen actor is back with another autobiographical one-man play which this time asks the question: ‘Do gay men really become their mothers?’ He takes us back to a time before he became known for such roles as Brother Boy in Sordid Lives and his Emmy Award-winning role as Beverly Leslie in Will and Grace; to his youthful years growing up in the red Deep South. Over the course of 90 minutes, Jordan details the experiences of his early life in Tennessee with his grandma, twin sisters, father and mother, Peggy Sue, who continues to inspire him today. He entertains the audience with a series of anecdotes, outrageous revelations and revealing family photos, with a particular emphasis on his puberty years and what led him into performing as a drag artist at the age of 17. The limited run of Fruit Fly, written and performed by Jordan, is directed by David Galligan and produced by Martin Witts for London International Arts Theatre Ltd (LIAT) in association with Reaction Productions. The show opens at the Leicester Square Theatre (Main House) on 12th March 2013 and closes four days later on 16th March 2013 – there will also be an exclusive one-night-only performance at The Lowry in Salford on 18th March 2013.
POTTED POTTER – THE UNAUTHORISED HARRY EXPERIENCE:
One for kids and adults alike, Potted Potter is an amalgamation of all seven Harry Potter books, compressed into a whirlwind 70 minute show. Created by Daniel Clarkson and Jefferson Turner the two also star in the production, helped along by a wide selection of costumes, songs, ridiculous props and a big dollop of Hogwarts magic. Audience participation is a big part of the experience too, with the audience invited to join in with a real-life game of Quidditch. Directed by Richard Hurst, Potted Potter begins previews on 23rd March 2013 at the Garrick Theatre. It opens the following day (24th March 2013) and is booking until 14th April 2013.
BURN THE FLOOR:
Dance is a big part of the theatre industry and here the art form is celebrated in style in a journey through the passionate drama of dance. From the Harlem birth of the Lindy, Foxtrot and Charleston at the Savoy, to the Latin Quarter where the Cha-Cha, Rumba and Salsa reigned supreme, the audience are whirled and twirled through the elegance of the Viennese Waltz, the exuberance of the Jive and the intensity of Paso Doble. Burn The Floor, which is choreographed by Jason Gilkison, showcases such classic dances as the Tango, Samba, Mambo, Quickstep and Swing, performed by a cast of outstanding dancers. Strictly Come Dancing stars Robin Windsor, Kristina Rihanoff and Karen Hauer all feature in the show alongside some of the best dancers from around the world, including Kevin Clifton (UK), Robbie Kmetoni (Australia), Janette Manrara (USA), Keoikantse Motsepe (South Africa), Giulia Dotta (Italy), Shem Jacobs (Poland), Ash-leigh Hunter (Australia), Patrick Helm (Germany), Giselle Peacock (USA), Jack Chambers (Australia), Natascha Dejong (Holland), Santo Costa (Italy), Jemma Armstrong (Australia), Aljaz Skorjanec (Slovenia), Faye Huddleston (UK), Vonzell Solomon (USA), Peter Saul (UK), Joe Malone (USA). Burn The Floor starts previews at the Shaftesbury Theatre on 6th March 2013 and opens on 11th March 2013. It appears there for a six-month run, closing on 1st September 2013.
Peter Morgan’s play offers an imaginative insight into the world of Queen Elizabeth II behind the doors of Buckingham Palace. In the sixty years of her reign there have been twelve prime ministers and the Queen has met up with each of them for a weekly meeting, a meeting so private that there is an unspoken agreement between both parties to never repeat what is said; not even to their spouses. In The Audience, we are invited to sit in on a series of these secret meetings, witnessing the confessions and conversations that take place between the Queen and her prime ministers, from Churchill to Cameron. In turn, the Queen’s own self is revealed through her advice, consolations and humour. Helen Mirren leads this star-filled cast as Queen Elizabeth II, alongside the likes of Haydn Gwynne (Margaret Thatcher), Edward Fox (Winston Churchill) – Robert Hardy was forced to withdraw due to injury, Paul Ritter (John Major), Michael Elwyn (Anthony Eden), Richard McCabe (Harold Wilson), Nathaniel Parker (Gordon Brown), Rufus Wright (David Cameron), David Peart (James Callaghan) and Geoffrey Beevers (The Equerry), with Jonathan Coote, Ian Houghton and Charlotte Moore. Directed by Stephen Daldry, The Audience has been in previews since 15th February. It opens at the Gielgud Theatre today (5th March 2013) and is booking until 15th June 2013.
PETER AND ALICE:
Enchantment and reality come face to face in John Logan’s new play. Peter and Alice is an account of the 1932 meeting at the opening of a Lewis Carroll exhibition between Alice Liddell Hargreaves and Peter Llewellyn Davies – the ‘original’ Alice in Wonderland and Peter Pan. Michael Grandage, former AD of the Donmar Warehouse, directs a talented cast which stars stage veteran Dame Judy Dench as Alice and Ben Whishaw as Peter. The rest of the cast includes Olly Alexander, Ruby Bentall, Stefano Braschi, Nicholas Farrell and Derek Riddell. The Michael Grandage Company production starts previews from 9th March 2013 at the Noel Coward Theatre. It opens there on 25th March 2013 and runs until 1st June 2013.
THE BOOK OF MORMON:
The smash-hit Broadway musical has been one of the most highly anticipated shows to come to the UK this year, let alone this year. The creators of South Park, Trey Parker and Matt Stone, wrote the book, music and lyrics for The Book of Mormon, in collaboration with Robert Lopez and it has already won 9 Tony Awards, including Best Musical. Now the West End have their very own production, led by American performers Gavin Creel (Elder Price) and Josh Gertner (Elder Cunningham) who reprise their roles from the US touring production. The musical follows two Mormon missionaries who are sent from Salt Lake City on a mission to a remote village in Northern Uganda. Directed by Parker and Casey Nicolaw – who is also choreographer – the rest of the cast includes Mark Anderson, Stephen Ashfield, Benjamin Brook, Daniel Buckley, Daniel Clift, Ashley Day, Terry Doe, Candace Furbert, Patrick George, Nadine Higgin, Tyrone Huntley, Evan James, Chris Jarman, Michael Kent, Alexia Khadime, Matt Krzan, Oliver Liddert, Daniel McKinley, Luke Newton, Terel Nugent, Haydn Oakley, Olivia Phillip, Lucy St. Louis, Giles Terera, Kayi Ushe, Tosh Wanogho-Maud and Liam Wrate. Previews for The Book of Mormon began on 25th February 2013 and it opens at the Prince of Wales Theatre on 21st March 2013. It is currently booking until 24th August 2013.
By Julie Robinson (@missjulie25)
Tuesday 5th March 2013