This week in the West End kicks off with a special gala performance tonight (20thJan) at the Playhouse Theatre to welcome Joe Pasquale back to Spamalot. The actor and comedian previously starred as King Arthur last summer receiving rave reviews and, following a brief stint on the current all-stars final series of ITV’s Dancing on Ice, Joe is now returning to the production to star opposite ex-Hollyoaks actress Carley Stenson who plays The Lady of the Lake.
The gala performance will also see renowned TV presenter and physicist, Professor Brian Cox, begin his short stint playing God. The pre-recorded cameo role features in Spamalot when King Arthur and the Knights of The Round Table are given their quest to find The Holy Grail. Professor Brian Cox is playing God to raise money for The University of Manchester Student Access Program and can be seen in the role for one week only until Saturday 25th January.
Speaking about being asked to play god, Professor Brian Cox said: “It is a reasonable no-brainer. If Eric Idle says to you ‘do you want to be God in Spamalot?’ then I’d be surprised if anybody had ever said no.” Throughout Spamalot’s run God has been played by the likes of Hugh Bonneville, Michael Palin, Barbara Windsor, Larry Lamb, Bradley Walsh, Simon Callow, Gary Lineker, Michael Ball and Christopher Biggins.
You can catch sneak previews of two musicals on your television screens this week. Firstly the cast of I Can’t Sing (the X Factor Musical) will give an exclusive performance during the National Television Awards (ITV1, Wednesday 22nd Jan from 7.30pm). The cast previously stole the show when they performed ‘Please Simon’ and Cynthia Erivo belted out the most incredible rendition of the musical’s title song during the Royal Variety Performance.
The cast will perform a previously unheard number from the show entitled ‘Fabulous’ which sees judge Simon explain why he always wears his trousers so high. Simon is played by the Olivier Award winning Nigel Harman who brought the house down every night whilst playing Lord Farquaad in Shrek The Musical at the Theatre Royal Drury Lane. He is also known for his stints in Downton Abbey, Hotel Babylon and EastEnders.
Also this week Robert Lindsay and Rufus Hound can be seen on The Jonathan Ross show (ITV, Saturday 25th Jan from 9.30pm) discussing their roles in Dirty Rotten Scoundrels which receives its West End premiere at the Savoy Theatre in March. The musical is directed and choreographed by Tony Award winning Jerry Mitchell who was last seen in the West End directing and choreographing the sensational Legally Blonde The Musical.
Robert Lindsay and Rufus Hound will star in Dirty Rotten Scoundrels as the conmen Lawrence Jameson and Freddy Benson who compete for the riches and heart of the young impressionable heiress, Christine Colgate (played by West End regular Katherine Kingsley). Samantha Bond and John Marquez also star.
Conor McPherson’s play The Weir officially opens at the Wyndham’s Theatre on Wednesday (22nd Jan) following a week of previews. The production didn’t need a long preview period as it transfers to the West End following a sold-out run at the Donmar last year and all the cast are reprising their roles.
Finally, this week a new West End series entitled ‘Encounters: Performers on Performance’ begins at the Lyric Theatre. The series gives theatre fans a unique opportunity to witness one to one conversations with high profile performers discussing their life and art.
Lenny Henry is the first performer to be interviewed by Fiona Lindsay as part of ‘Encounters: Performers on Performance’ tonight (20th Jan). The series will then run monthly on Monday evenings throughout 2014. David Suchet will follow Lenny Henry on Monday 24th February with further performers to be announced.