‘Tis the season to be jolly – well, almost – but London’s theatregoers can certainly be merry in the knowledge that this November sees plenty of world-class theatrical treats opening in the West End. If you’re struggling for seasonal gift ideas for a theatre fan, then look no further – here’s our pick (read: Christmas list) of the month’s top tickets…
Charlie Stemp in Half A Sixpence (Photo: Manuel Harlan)
Now previewing, opening night 17 November, Noel Coward Theatre
Robin: Ever wished you could wake up one morning and have unexpectedly inherited a vast fortune? As a London rent payer: yes, yes please! But for now, I’m looking forward to seeing Cameron Mackintosh and Chichester Festival Theatre’s majestic revival of the classic musical Half A Sixpence, which explodes into Theatreland with a triumphant Flash Bang Wallop! later this month, following the spectacular journey of newly-wealthy orphan Arthur Kipps. Ah, a man can dream…
The School Of Rock press launch (Photo: Craig Sugden)
Now previewing, opening night 14 November, New London Theatre
Jim: I was lucky enough to see School of Rock twice in New York and it was so much fun. I couldn’t wait for the next moment I could hear the kids play, and when they take to the stage, it’s pure magic. I’m really looking forward to seeing how David Fynn makes the role of Dewey (famously played by Jack Black in the film) his own. Alex Brightman was Tony-nominated for the role in New York and made it completely his own. It’s a star-making role for David and I can’t wait for him to rock London.
Previews from 3 November, opening night 9 November, The Vaults
Rachel: Any cult film that makes its way to the stage always piques my interest, and Trainspotting is no exception. This 75 min production promises to be immersive, so as well as looking forward to raving with the cast to a 90s soundtrack, I’ve also got an unquenchable morbid curiosity as to just how they are going to do the ‘worst toilet in Scotland’ scene.
An Inspector Calls on tour
Previews from 4 November, opening night 10 November, Playhouse Theatre
Rachel: This production marks the 25th anniversary of its first staging at the National Theatre. I was lucky enough to see it at the Garrick Theatre (‘that one by Portrait Gallery, with the outside balcony’, according to my Dad) when it transferred there in 1995. I was only eight at the time but I still vividly remember it. 20 something years on, I can’t wait to re-experience what so clearly caught my imagination as a child.
Satya Bella in La Soirée
Previews from 11 November, opening night 16 November, Spiegeltent Leicester Square
Dan: The very welcome return of La Soirée will have you longing to run away and join the circus; although if you’re as uncoordinated as I am it’s best you don’t practice any of these stunts at home. This Olivier Award-winning show has a new home in a beautiful Spiegeltent in the heart of Leicester Square, and boasts a jaw-dropping line-up that includes everything from juggling to hulu-hooping and death-defying trapeze artists.
Ed Harris in Buried Child
Previews from 14 November, opening night 1 December, Trafalgar Studios
Jim: I’m really looking forward to the Pulitzer-Prize winning Sam Shepard’s Buried Child. This was the talk of New York last season and Ed Harris is making his West End debut. I loved this play because it was a bit shocking how relevant this play is, even though it’s almost 40 years since it first hit the American stage. The more things change the more they stay the same. Don’t miss this explosive drama.
Jim Lichyscheidl and Mark Rylance in Nice Fish
Previews from 15 November, opening night 25 November, Harold Pinter Theatre
Robin: Easy fish puns aside – cod you believe how many there are? – the Harold Pinter Theatre reel-y is the plaice to be for me this month. Put the one and only Mark Rylance in a critically acclaimed comic play, add in what looks like a storming (no pun intended, I promise) set, and throw in some subtle mystery about what lies beneath the ice upon which he sits, and you’ve certainly got me – wait for it – ANGLING for a ticket – ha-hey!
The company in This House at Chichester Festival Theatre (Photo: Johan Persson)
Previews from 19 November, opening night 31 November, Garrick Theatre
Dan: As a former Politics and International relations undergrad I’ve always been fascinated by the murkier side of politics and few plays have captured that as well as James Graham’s This House. Given the state of world affairs, this transfer couldn’t be timelier. This acclaimed play strips away the historic sheen of Westminster and transports you back to 1974 where an economic crisis looms over a hung and divided parliament. Politicians aren’t afraid to get their hands dirty and do whatever it takes to secure votes in the House of Commons.
Amber Riley as Effie White, Liisi LaFontaine as Deena Jones, Ibinabo Jack as Lorrell Robinson in Dreamgirls (Photo: Greg Williams)
Previews from 19 November, opening night 14 December, Savoy Theatre
Sinead: To say I was excited when Amber Riley was announced to star in the West End premiere of Dreamgirls would have been an understatement of epic proportions. My feelings have only grown in anticipation since the Glee actress joined The Dreams. With Olivier award-winning director and choreographer Casey Nicholaw at the helm, enough sparkle to outshine the sun and did I mention Amber Riley? This show is not something you would want to miss And I Am Telling You I’m – most certainly – Going.