London's West End Spring 2016 Theatre Preview
If you're anything like us you are rejoicing at the lighter evenings, slightly warmer weather and the distinctive whiff of Spring in the air. After what seems like an eternal winter the season has changed and London is starting to feel fresh once again.
Whilst the past few months have certainly brought some exceptional theatrical openings, the Spring season is also shaping up to be an exciting one. With the Olivier Awards now behind us, the new theatre season can kick-off in style and embrace a whole host of exciting new plays, musicals and revivals.
Whether you live in London and want to plan a theatrical excursion or you're visiting the city for a Spring trip, read on to find out which London theatre productions should certainly be on your radar...
This week saw screen legend Glenn Close make her West End debut in Andrew Lloyd Webber's hit musical based on the film of the same name by Billy Wilder. Returning to the role of fading screen star Norma Desmond following her 1994 Tony Award-winning performance, this glorious new production opened to a barrage of praise and adoration. Semi-staged at the beautiful London Coliseum, a 48-piece orchestra brings one of Lloyd Webber's most iconic scores to life in a thoroughly unique and original theatrical event. Having seen the show on press night, we can confirm that Close's star quality beams, and backed by a highly skilled company of actors, musicians and singers this is truly an unforgettable production. Following the rave reviews tickets are becoming scarce, so whatever you do make sure you don't miss this once in a lifetime event.
Legendary director Max Stafford-Clark brings his revival of Samuel Beckett's radio play to the Arts Theatre for a strictly limited season following a sell-out run at Wilton's Music Hall. One of Beckett's most accessible yet narrative works, the play was written to be listened to - and that's exactly what Stafford-Clark makes audiences do. Complete with blindfolds, audiences have their sight removed and listen to the drama played out in surround sound, as the actors perform the text moving around the space. It makes for a dazzlingly unique experience, and one that is completely refreshing. Something quite different for theatre fans, and a unique opportunity to see the impressive work of Out of Joint Theatre Company back in the West End.
Buy tickets for All That Fall at the Arts Theatre from 13 April to 14 May.
Direct from a sell-out and highly acclaimed run at the Menier Chocolate Factory, this first revival of the 1964 Jule Styne and Bob Merrill musical opens for a limited season at the Savoy Theatre. Starring double Olivier Award-winner Sheridan Smith as the legendary comic Fanny Brice, this classic musical includes a wonderful score that features numbers such as "People", "You Are Woman" and of course the anthem "Don't Rain on My Parade". Directed by Tony Award-winner Michael Mayer, the musical is given a fresh perspective and rides on Smith's charisma, charm and powerful voice. We're excited to see how the show has grown since the Menier run, and with a full orchestra at the Savoy Theatre we're expecting to be blown away once again.
Buy tickets for Funny Girl at the Savoy Theatre from 9 April.
Anyone who has enjoyed Mischief Theatre Company's West End productions of 'The Play That Goes Wrong' and 'Peter Pan Goes Wrong' knows how talented both the writers and performers are at creating side-splittingly funny theatre. Breaking from tradition, the original company have reformed with a brand new style of show based on the classic Hollywood film capers that's guaranteed to do exactly what it says on the tin. Having spoken to the cast and crew, we've been promised that this production is the boldest and most dangerous to date - so expect some excellent stunts, hilarious set pieces and of course more than a few brilliant gags.
The Jamie Lloyd Company continue their refreshing look at classic plays with a new production of Christopher Marlowe's popular play in a version by Colin Teevan. Having performed multiple seasons at the Trafalgar Studio, the company now move to the Duke of York's Theatre to bring their unique brand of theatrical magic to a more conventional venue. The production stars West End favourite Jenna Russell as Mephistopheles alongside Game of Thrones star Kit Harington in the title role. We can't wait to see how Jamie Lloyd brings this classic tale of overreaching and hubris to the stage in a thoroughly modern and visually striking production.
Buy tickets for Doctor Faustus at the Duke of York's Theatre from 9 April.
For those who like their musicals classic, there is no greater piece of musical theatre than Jerome Kern and Oscar Hammerstein II's 1927 Show Boat. Set aboard the Cotton Blossom, the musical spans four decades and follows three generations of lovers and families at the turning point of American history. Featuring a stunning score of breakaway hits such as "Ol' Man River", "Can't Help Lovin' That Man", "Bill" and "Only Make Believe", the show's legacy is undeniable. Directed by Daniel Evans, the show sails into London following a highly acclaimed run at the Sheffield Crucible Theatre and will no doubt delight a brand new generation of theatre fans.
Newly crowned Olivier Award-winning choreographer Drew McOnie brings a brand new dance production to the Old Vic, based on the popular story by Robert Louis Stevenson. Having collaborated on productions such as 'In The Heights', 'Bugsy Malone' and the upcoming UK premiere of 'Strictly Ballroom', McOnie's own company perform this haunting tale featuring music by Grant Olding. This sinister drama has been completely reimagined into a modern dance classic, and is set to be one of the Old Vic's most innovative productions in its new season. Book early for this show and don't miss what is sure to be another home run hit for McOnie.
Buy tickets for Jekyll and Hyde at the Old Vic from 20 May 2016.