A Week Of Major Openings In The West End #WestEndWeek
| By Andrew Tomlins
With another week comes another major opening in London’s West End. On Wednesday (2nd April 2014) Dirty Rotten Scoundrels officially opens at the Savoy Theatre following three weeks of previews and two out-of-town tryouts.
Dirty Rotten Scoundrels is based on the legendary 1988 film which famously starred Michael Caine and Steve Martin and was directed by Frank Oz. The musical opened on Broadway in 2005 and ran for just under two years. The West End premiere stars Robert Lindsay, Rufus Hound, Katherine Kingsley, Samantha Bond and John Marquez.
During a recent exclusive interview with London Theatre Direct, Samantha told me she has never seen the film and as far as she is concerned Dirty Rotten Scoundrels is a new musical which is about to open, “I think a lot of people will come to the show very fresh” she said. “I don’t know much about the film and the show is going to be so different - it’s a musical! It’s singing, it’s dancing, and it’s Broadway glamour! But what we have from the film is an awfully good storyline. Jeffrey Lane has done a great book for the show and David Yazbek’s music is utter genius! It absolutely stands strong as a piece of theatre.”
Tom Conti and William Gaminara join Robert Vaughn and Jeff Fahey in Bill Kenwright’s production of Twelve Angry Men at the Garrick Theatre tonight (Monday 31st March 2014). Directed by Christopher Haydon and currently booking until 14th June 2014, Twelve Angry Men has proved popular with audiences and critics, having already extended its run three times.
Just a few of Tom Conti’s countless film credits include: Merry Christmas Mr Lawrence, Shirley Valentine, The Dark Knight Rises and Street Dance. He won an Olivier and Tony for his stage performance in Whose Life is it Anyway? William Gaminara is best known for playing Dr Leo Dalton in 11 series of BBC1’s drama Silent Witness.
From tonight the full cast of Twelve Angry Men includes: Tom Conti as ‘Juror 8’, Robert Vaughn as ‘Juror 9’, Jeff Fahey as ‘Juror 3’, William Gaminara as ‘Juror 10’, Luke Shaw as ‘Foreman’, David Calvitto as ‘Juror 2’, Paul Antony-Barber as ‘Juror 4’, Edward Franklin as ‘Juror 5’, Andrew Frame as ‘Juror 6’, Sean Power as ‘Juror 7’, Christopher Ettridge as ‘Juror 11’, Robert Duncan as ‘Juror 12’ and Jon Carver as ‘the Guard’.
I’d Do Anything winner and former star of One Man Two Guvnors, Jodie Prenger, joins the West End production of Spamalot at the Playhouse Theatre tonight. She’s reprising her performance as The Lady of the Lake (having played the role in the musical’s UK Tour) for the final two weeks of Spamalot’s West End run which concludes on Saturday 12th April 2014.
Finian's Rainbow opens at the Charing Cross Theatre on Wednesday (2nd April 2014) following its run at the Union Theatre earlier this year. Not performed professionally in the UK since its first West End run in 1947, Finian’s Rainbow is described as an "irresistible candyfloss confection that will send you away looking for rainbows with a song in your heart and a spring in your step". Phil Willmott’s production received praise from critics during its run at the Union and it will be interesting to see how the show works in a larger theatre.
Handbagged begins previews at the Vaudeville Theatre on Thursday (3rd April 2014) ahead of its official opening a week later on Thursday 10th. The production transfers to the West End from the renowned Tricycle Theatre in Kilburn. Marion Bailey, Stella Gonet, Fenella Woolgar, Neet Mohan and Jeff Rawle are all reprising their original roles alongside Lucy Robinson who joins the cast.
The Tricycle Theatre’s Artistic Director, Indhu Rubasingham, said: “It's thrilling to be transferring Moira Buffini's wonderful new play to the Vaudeville Theatre after our sold out run at the Tricycle. Having nurtured it since 2010 this is a fantastic opportunity to continue the Tricycle’s long tradition of bringing new work to the widest possible audience."
Finally, Stephen Mangan and Matthew Macfadyen leave the West End production of Jeeves & Wooster in Perfect Nonsense at the Duke Of York’s Theatre on Saturday (5th April 2014). The play, which is currently booking until 20th September 2014, has taken the West End by storm since opening last November. Mark Heap and Robert take over next week.