Last week’s #WestEndUpdate was dominated by the news of The Scottsboro Boys and Sunny Afternoon’s West End transfers. Over the past few days two more extremely exciting West End transfers have been confirmed!
Firstly producers of Urinetown, one of my favourite shows of 2014 (so far), have confirmed the production is set to transfer to the Apollo Theatre. Jamie Lloyd’s production of Urinetown will begin performances in the West End on Monday 29th September 2014.
The show ran earlier this year at the St James Theatre to huge acclaim starring Richard Fleeshman and Jenna Russell. Casting for the transfer will be announced shortly. There is nothing else like Urinetown in the West End, the show is stylishly gothic and I adored its satirical comedy. Urinetown follows Let The Right One In which concludes its run at the Apollo on Saturday 30th August 2014.
Discussing the transfer, director Jamie Lloyd (whose productions of The Commitments and Richard III are also currently running in the West End) said: "Having attracted a diverse audience of all ages at the St James earlier this year, I'm bursting to bring our production of this brilliantly off-kilter musical comedy to the West End, where I hope we'll make an even bigger splash. I'm delighted to return to the Apollo Theatre – the perfect home for our energetic and anarchic cast to run riot in.”
The second show to announce its West End transfer this week is Richard Bean’s new play Great Britain. Nicholas Hytner’s production, which runs at the National Theatre until August, will begin performances at the Theatre Royal Haymarket on Wednesday 10th September 2014.
Delving into the phone hacking scandal, Great Britain currently stars Billie Piper alongside Harriet Thorpe, Kellie Shirley, Robert Glenister and Oliver Chris. However, casting for the West End transfer is yet to be announced.
Jamie Lloyd’s production of Richard III has begun previews at Trafalgar Studios, marking the reopening of Lloyd’s West End season Trafalgar Transformed. Officially opening next Wednesday (9th July), Richard III stars Martin Freeman. The production runs until Saturday 27th September.
Best known for starring as Bilbo Baggins in The Hobbit trilogy for Peter Jackson, Martin Freeman was last seen on stage in 2010 in the critically acclaimed Clybourne Park at the Royal Court Theatre, directed by Dominic Cooke. His stage credits also include Kathy Burke’s Kosher Harry (Royal Court) and Blue Eyes and Heels by Toby Whithouse (Soho). Martin played Tim in The Office and went on to play Dr Watson in Sherlock (both BBC).
John Gordon Sinclair and James Lance have joined the cast of Jeeves and Wooster in Perfect Nonsense at the Duke Of York’s Theatre. The pair will star in the production until Saturday 20th September 2014. The play’s co-writer Robert Goodale has also taken over as Seppings, completing the cast of the hysterical comedy.
John Gordon Sinclair is best-known for playing Gregory in Bill Forsyth’s iconic 1981 film Gregory’s Girl. In 1995 he won the Olivier Award for Best Actor in a Musical for his performance in She Loves Me (West End). John most recently played Professor Marcus in the West End run of The Ladykillers.
James Lance is well-known for his numerous roles in comedy programmes including Teachers, The Book Group, Smack the Pony and I’m Alan Partridge. His stage credits include Celebrity Autobiography (Leicester Square Theatre) and Ingredient X (Royal Court).
Finally, there has been major excitement in theatreland following the news that Nikki Davis-Jones will take over from Willemijn Verkaik as Elphaba in the West End production of Wicked at the Apollo Victoria Theatre from Monday 27th October 2014. Davis-Jones will be joined by Liza Sadovy (Madame Morrible) and Philip Childs (Doctor Dillamond). Savannah Stevenson (Glinda), Jeremy Taylor (Fiyero), Martyn Ellis (The Wizard), Sam Lupton (Boq) and Katie Rowley Jones (Nessarose) will continue to star in the production.
By Andrew Tomlins