A brand new British-Chinese musical, a hip hop version of Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Nothing and the return of Olivier winner Blue Boy Entertainment are among the delights in the new season at Theatre Royal Stratford East.
Takeaway, which plays from 10 June to 9 July, is a new musical by Robert Lee and Leon Ko who have been developing the piece for two years alongside Stratford East’s Artistic Director Kerry Michael. Set in London’s East End, Takeaway tells the story of Eddie Woo, a youthful dreamer and wannabe ladies’ man who works day and night in his father’s Chinese takeaway whilst dreaming about emulating his idol, Tom Jones.
Theatre Royal Stratford East has a successful record of producing new musicals, including The Big Life, which transferred to the West End and earned a Laurence Olivier Award nomination in 2006, and The Harder They Come, which enjoyed a run at the Playhouse theatre in 2008.
Takeaway is preceded by Chicago Shakespeare Theater’s production of Funk It Up About Nothin’, which plays from 8 April to 7 May. Billed as a “hip-hoptation” of Shakespeare’s romantic comedy Much Ado About Nothing which puts a “perfect spin on the wedding fever currently sweeping the nation”, the show features a live DJ and a cast of b-boys and b-girls.
Later in the summer the venue welcomes the return of Blue Boy Entertainment, whose street dance show Pied Piper originated at Theatre Royal Stratford East, picking up a 2007 Laurence Olivier Award before enjoying two runs at the Barbican theatre. Touch, which plays from 21 to 23 July, is the new work by Blue Boy’s founding duo, Kendrick ‘H20’ Sandy and Michael ‘Mikey J’ Asante, and promises a unique chance to see the pair “unplugged”.
Theatre Royal Stratford East’s summer season also includes a reworking of its 2008 knife crime drama Mad Blud (18-28 May), a comedy show from performance poet and playwright Kat Francois entitled Kat Got Your Tongue (10 & 11 July) and Nick Makoha’s one-man show about the journey from childhood to fatherhood, My Father And Other Superheroes (28-30 July).