Following the long Easter weekend, an unusually quiet week lies ahead in theatreland.
Internationally renowned film and theatre director, producer and screenwriter Andrei Konchalovsky brings his productions of Anton Chekhov’s Uncle Vanya and Three Sisters from Moscow’s Mossovet State Academic Theatre to the West End this week. Performed in rep, performances begin on Wednesday (23rd April 2014) and both plays officially open on Thursday (24th April 2014).
Both Uncle Vanya and Three Sisters will be performed in Russian with English surtitles. Konchalovsky has utilized the same setting and cast for both productions, drawing on the striking similarities between Chekhov’s two most celebrated plays, providing a rare an exciting opportunity for West End audiences.
Speaking on the West End transfer, Konchalovsky said: "I am delighted to be bringing these two Russian productions to London's West End. No matter how many times you appeal to Chekhov, he is inexhaustible. Every time his work is seen on stage, you find something unnoticed, inexperienced and undiscovered."
While the idea of watching a play in another language may not appeal to some, last year I saw Doktor Glas in the West End which had transferred from Sweden’s National Theatre and was performed in Swedish with English surtitles. Although this isn’t a production I could have sat through nightly, I really enjoyed the experience as I had never before witnessed anything like it in a theatre.
John Lloyd Young leaves Jersey Boys on Sunday (27th April 2014). The performer made his West End debut in the production to mark its reopening at the Piccadilly Theatre. Young‘s performance should not be missed as the next chance to see him play Frankie Valli will be when Clint Eastwood's film adaptation is released in cinemas in June.
Young created the iconic role on Broadway in 2006, winning a Tony, Drama Desk, Outer Critics Circle and Theatre World Award - the most leading actor awards to date for an American in a Broadway debut. He can be heard on the Grammy-winning, certified-Platinum Jersey Boys Original Broadway cast recording.
An important week lies ahead for Cameron Mackintosh’s new production of Miss Saigon which is currently in tech rehearsals. The show doesn’t begin previews until late next week as Mackintosh ensured the production had a lengthy rehearsal period. When tickets went on sale, Miss Saigon set a new record for the largest single day of sales in West End and Broadway history - so it’s safe to say it is one of the most highly anticipated productions of the year.
The cast includes Jon Jon Briones as ‘The Engineer’, Eva Noblezada as ‘Kim’, Alistair Brammer as ‘Chris’, Tamsin Carroll as ‘Ellen’, Hugh Maynard as ‘John’, Kwang-Ho Hong as ‘Thuy’ and Rachelle Ann Go as ‘Gigi’.
Finally, I Found My Horn enters its final weeks at Trafalgar Studios 2. The production closes on Saturday 3rd April 2014. It isn't every day you see a piece of theatre which explores a character's relationship with a musical instrument, but I Found My Horn is an incredibly refreshing play. If you have a musical background you must make every effort to see it, I even found myself tempted to brush the dust off of my old keyboard!
By Andrew Tomlins