Monday, 3 February 2014

All the world's a stage, What to see this month - Part III : LOCAL LOVES

Hello lovely London lovers! As promised, here is your monthly 'oh my god, you HAVE to see this show' list of suggestions from me and I've got three corkers - a wonderful West End transfer, a Downton delight and some Savoy sparkle.  



Ghosts, by Henrik Ibsen, is utterly heartbreaking. But it is so brilliantly heartbreaking that it’s been getting spectacular 5* reviews! It is the story of Helene, a long suffering wife, newly widowed, whose son returns from many years of travelling only to ask his mother to assist his suicide. Helene is played by the fabulous Lesley Manville who recently won Best Actress at the Critic’s Circle Awards for her performance. She truly grabs your heart and gives it an almighty squeeze. Helene has spent her life protecting her son Osvald from his philandering father but even now that he has gone Osvald is not safe. 

Osvald is played by Jack Lowden who I have had a huge talent-crush since I saw him in Chariots of Fire at the Hampstead Theatre – he is bloody brilliant. He goes from swaggering, opinionated lathario to helpless child within an hour and at no point do you question this transition. His commitment to the role, especially in his final scene, is completely blub-worthy. 

So, as you can see, this isn’t the cheeriest of evenings in the West End but it’s ‘proper theatre’ at it’s best – an hour and thirty minutes straight through this is a massive whack of of it. The Trafalgar Studios is wonderfully intimate, you honestly feel as if you are intruding on the sitting room in which the play is set. I won’t spoil the ending for you but the final scene is so horribly private that it almost feels like you shouldn’t applaud, that you shouldn’t break into that moment.  

It really is brilliant stuff and you should get yourselves over there before it ends! And with it being only 90 minutes long you can head out for dinner after.... ;)  

WHAT: Ghosts
WHERE: Trafalgar Studio 1, 14 Whitehall
WHO: This is a serious play for serious play lovers - go if you want to see a classic or if you want to see some truly fantastic acting
TUBE: Charing Cross or Embankment (remember the Northern Line is closed at the latter until November)
DATES: On until Saturday 22nd March 


This should could not be more different than Ghosts, even though it is housed under the same roof – it is ridiculously silly and unreservedly raucous. If there is even the smallest Downton fan in you it really is a must-see. 

Downton is in trouble; Lord Grantham has yet again lost the family fortune but there is a wedding to pay for. How will he keep this from the family? Who is getting married to who? And how can Downton be saved?? 

Now the character list for this is fairly lengthy so bear with will see Lord Grantham, Carson, Bates, Lady Mary, Thomas, Mrs Hughes, Cora, Daisy, Mrs Patmore, the Dowager Countess, Branson, Molesley, O’Brien, Cousin Matthew and Alfred. But that’s not it. You also meet Paul Hollywood, Mary Berry, Mel & Sue,  Alan Carr, Tom Daley, Rylan, the X Factor Judges, Dermot O’Leary, Alexander Armstrong, Bruno Tonioli, Andy Murray, Boris Becker and John name but a few.  

And here’s the impressive bit – all of those characters are played by ONE MAN. Yes, impressionist virtuoso, Luke Kempner plays every single one of them! Not only are his impressions spot on, the speed at which he switches between them is incredible. 

It is completely and utterly hilarious – my face ached from laughing. I won’t tell you what actually happens but that character list alone should get you to grab a ticket! 

Here’s a little sneak preview of those Downton delights from Luke’s Radio 2 appearance.... 


WHAT: The Only Way is Downton
WHERE: Trafalgar Studio 2, 14 Whitehall
WHO: Downton fans, big and small.
TUBE: Charing Cross or Embankment (remember the Northern Line is closed at the latter
DATES: On until Saturday 22nd February


Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, based on the film starring Steve Martin and Michael Caine, is coming to the West End! I'ts about to open in Manchester, pop to Aylesbury for a little bit, then jazz-hand its way into the Savoy Theatre – and it’s going to be fab.

I haven’t seen a full run just yet but was lucky enough to go along to the press launch at Alford House recently and it’s shaping up to be a great show. It is set in the French Riviera and revolves around ‘Laurence’ and ‘Freddy’, two professional con men, who are competing for the biggest swindle of the season. 

Starring Robert Lindsay (Laurence), Rufus Hound (Freddy), Samantha Bond and Katherine Kingsley it’s your all-singing, all-dancing go-to for a dazzling night in the West End. Robert and Rufus effortlessly bounce off of each other, having you laughing your socks of within minutes. As does Katherine in her dippy blondeness. And Samantha? She’s such a Bond Girl through and through, you just can’t stop watching her!

The show is opening at the Savoy Theatre at the end of March so why not book yourself in and before you head to the theatre pop into the Savoy Hotel next door for a thoroughly decadent cocktail in the Beaufort Bar?

WHAT: Dirty Rotten Scoundrels
WHERE: Savoy Theatre, Strand
WHO: Any and everyone really!
TUBE: Charing Cross or Covent Garden
DATES: The first performance is Monday 10th March and the show will be there for the foreseeable future - hurrah!