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London Theatre News Today: Friday 24 January

Hira Desai

By Hira Desai First Published 24 January 2020, Last Updated 27 January 2020

Theatre fans, the weekend is finally upon us and boy, oh boy have we got news for you!

Mamma Mia! announced today that tickets for the Olivier Awards 2020 with Mastercard are now on sale!

If you’re a Mastercard cardholder and want to celebrate the best of London theatre while experiencing the glitz, the glam and once-in-a-lifetime performances, visit www.priceless.com or check out our article which gives you all the best tips on how to get your tickets.

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British comedy enthusiasts, brace yourselves…comedy icon, Paul Merton will be making his West End musical debut as he joins the new production of Hairspray The Musical.

Known as one of the UK’s greatest comedians and for starring in BBC’s Have I Got News For You, Paul will be making his West End musical debut as Wilbur Turnblad, starring alongside Michael Ball who returns to his legendary Olivier Award-winning role of Edna Turnblad in the huge-hearted, multi-award-winning smash-hit musical playing at the magnificent London Coliseum from 23 April – 29 August.

Joining Paul and Michael in the lineup is Lizzie Bea (Kinky Boots UK Tour, Becoming Nancy) in the iconic role of Tracy Turnblad, acclaimed West End Star Marisha Wallace (Dreamgirls, Waitress) as Motormouth, Rita Simmons (Eastenders) as Velma Von Tussle and Jonny Amies (Granchester, Sex Education) as Link Larkin.

The show-stopping, all-singing, all-dancing show tells the story of Tracy Turnblad; a big girl with big hair and big dreams. Can she make it on the local TV dance show, win the heart of teen heartthrob Link Larkin and bring everyone together – whatever their colour, size or hairdo? 

Packed with infectiously feel-good songs, this inspirational, fun-loving musical is back and bigger than ever! It’s the show that gives maximum lift.. but for 18 weeks only. Don’t miss out – book your tickets now.

The Comedy About A Bank Robbery today announced its closure after four years in the West End.

The critically acclaimed West End production will play its final performance on Sunday 3 May after completing a successful four-year run at the Criterion Theatre, and playing for over 2,000 performances in London and on tour. The smash-hit show opened at the Criterion Theatre on 21 April 2016 and went on to be nominated for Best New Comedy at the 2017 Olivier Awards.

Producer Kenny Wax said today: “After a fabulous four-year run at the Criterion Theatre, we have decided that now is the right time to draw an end to this incredible production. A four-year run is a remarkable achievement from which we all take much pride in. Mischief Theatre continue to have a magnificent presence in the West End and we hope audiences who enjoy The Comedy About A Bank Robbery will go on to see their other productions playing at venues across the UK.”

If you’ve yet to see the show, it’d be criminal to miss it! Don’t miss your last chance to see this Olivier Award-nominated West End comedy about one enormous diamond, eight incompetent crooks and a snoozing security guard. Full of twists on genre tropes, and packed with daring set-pieces, The Comedy About A Bank Robbery is a hilarious showcase of slick theatrical inventiveness and hilarious, quip-filled word play.

As the saying goes… all good things must come to an end. But don’t fret, as you’ll still be able to catch Mischief’s work across the UK with The Play That Goes Wrong playing at the Duchess Theatre and Magic Goes Wrong recently extending its run at the Vaudeville Theatre as part of the Mischief residency.

On a brighter note, Only Fools And Horses The Musical has extended its run for a further two months at the Theatre Royal Haymarket until 27 June.

The show – which opened in February last year to an array of fantastic reviews – has sold over 400,000 tickets so far and the extension means there will be a further 50,000 on sale!

Having recently returned to the musical to play the role of Grandad until the end of April, Paul Whitehouse said: “After a bit of a break from the show I was itching to return to the stage and it’s a great feeling to be back in Grandad’s armchair. After almost a year we’re still playing to packed houses throughout the week at the Theatre Royal Haymarket and to be extending the show for a fourth time is incredible. Mange Tout!”

John Sullivan’s iconic and record-breaking television series has been turned into a home-grown West End musical spectacular.  With a script and original score by John’s son, Jim Sullivan, and Paul Whitehouse, the musical reacquaints fans with Britain’s most loveable rogues, to experience the classic comedy brought to life once again through 20 ingenious and hilarious songs.

Sound cushty? Don’t be a plonker and book your tickets to see Only Fools And Horses The Musical now! Bonjour!

We caught a first look at production images from John Kani’s highly acclaimed play, Kunene And The King ahead of its first West End performance tonight.

Following its premiere in Stratford-upon-Avon and a sold-out run in Cape Town, Kunene And The King will be playing at the Ambassadors Theatre until 28 March.

The story is set in South Africa, 2019. Twenty-five years since the first post-apartheid democratic elections, two men from contrasting walks of life are thrust together to reflect on a quarter century of change. Jack Morris is a celebrated classical actor who’s just been given both a career-defining role and a life-changing diagnosis. Besides his age, Jack has seemingly little in common with his at-home nurse Lunga Kunene, but the two men soon discover their shared passion for Shakespeare.

With a strictly-limited London run, this refreshingly funny and vital new play is one to add to your diaries!

Frantic Assembly are celebrating their 25th Anniversary with a brand new production, I Think We Are Alone by Sally Abbott, co-directed by Kathy Burke and Scott Graham.

Playing at Theatre Royal Stratford East from 25 Feb – 21 March, I Think We Are Alone is a bitter sweet and funny take on our ache to connect with those voices we need to hear again, those arms we need to feel around us and those faces we need to see again. It is about letting go and holding on to what we love the most. If you’re looking for a delicate and uplifting play, grab your tickets now! 

I Think We Are Alone

Yesterday, Hampstead Theatre hosted a special 60th birthday fundraising gala to celebrate its rich history and look to an exciting future.

Hosted by Zeinab Badawai and Lloyd Owen, the event featured a special reading of Mike Leigh’s iconic play Abigail’s Party – which premiered at Hampstead Theatre in 1977 – by former cast members Abigail Steadman, Janine Duvitski and Wendy Nottingham. There was also live music from Abiona Omonua (Caroline, or Change) and a live auction hosted by Christopher Biggins. All funds raised will support Hampstead’s Under 30s £10 tickets, helping the theatre to continue making ambitious new theatre for a new generation of artists and audiences.

Roxana Silbert, Artistic Director of Hampstead Theatre, said: “It is astonishing to think that it is sixty years since James Roose-Evans started the Hampstead Theatre Club at Moreland Hall in Hampstead Village.  From modest beginnings, Hampstead Theatre has grown into an internationally respected theatre, presenting world class productions of distinctive new work. I feel so privileged to be part of its history and I look forward to what we can achieve in the future.”

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ambassadors theatre criterion theatre Hairspray The Musical Hampstead Theatre kunene and the king london coliseum Olivier Awards Olivier Awards 2020 only fools and horses the musical Paul Merton royal albert hall the comedy about a bank robbery theatre royal haymarket

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We now sell our famous TKTS Booth discounts online here at Official London Theatre.

Monday 6 April: The following statement has been issued by the Society of London Theatre (SOLT) on behalf of the major commercial West End theatre operators and the Society of Ticket Agents and Retailers (STAR), to provide clear information for customers with regards to their theatre bookings and help ease the unprecedented strain on box offices and ticket agents in light of the Covid 19 pandemic.

We are now cancelling all performances up until and including 31 May 2020 to help us process existing bookings whilst we wait for further clarity from the government in terms of when we will be able to reopen. We are so sorry that in these testing and difficult times you are not able to enjoy the show you have booked for and hope the following helps clarify next steps in respect of your tickets.

There is nothing that you need to do if your performance has been cancelled, but we do ask for your patience.

If you have booked directly with the theatre or show website for an affected performance, please be assured that they will contact you directly to arrange an exchange for a later date, a credit note/voucher or a refund. If you have booked via a ticket agent they will also be in contact with you directly.

Theatre box office and ticket agents teams are continuing to work through the very high number of ticket orders affected by the cancellations. An average of 300,000 people a week attend West End theatres, so this a huge task. The situation is exacerbated by the fact that all our teams are now working remotely in response to government restrictions, many with reduced numbers of staff due to the virus, and this will be adding to the time it will take us to process your order.

We are processing in strict date order of performance, so you are likely to be contacted after the date you were due to go to the theatre. However, we want to reassure you that you will be contacted, and your order will be processed, but please do bear with us.

We’d like to thank everyone who has been patient and kind in dealing with their ticket providers so far and we are sorry that we cannot process your order as quickly as we would like.

Please do not contact your credit card company as that will slow the process down and put an additional burden on our box office and ticket agent teams.

In order for us to serve our audiences the best we can, please do not get in touch with your point of sale if you have booked for performances after 31 May. Please be reassured that if we have to cancel future performances you will be directly contacted by your theatre or ticket provider. Our producers continue to plan for all eventualities dependent on the individual needs of their shows and we will provide further updates on specific shows as and when they become available.

We look forward to welcoming you back into our theatres as soon as we are allowed to resume performances. In the meantime stay safe and healthy.