FEATURE: West End Transfers, Openings And Cast Changes #WestEndUpdate

Posted on 27 June 2014

Hot off the press is the confirmation of Sunny Afternoon’s West End transfer. Following its sold out run at the Hampstead Theatre, the new Kinks musical will begin previews at the Harold Pinter Theatre on Saturday 4th October 2014.

Producer Sonia Friedman revealed to the Standard that she would have transferred the musical sooner; however, a smaller theatre was desired and none were available. Tickets for Sunny Afternoon, which tells the story of the rise of The Kinks, will be on sale soon.

Discussing the show, Friedman told the paper: “My secret view was that it was very very special but I wanted it to have the best possible birth, without necessarily facing the commercial pressures of opening a new show in the West End. But I was thrilled with the response. It pushes all the buttons. It feels like a celebration of our culture, a celebration of London and a celebration of English music and Britishness."

We’ve seen several transfers over the past few months. Sunny Afternoon follows the footsteps of The Scottsboro Boys which is transferring to the Garrick Theatre following its hugely successful run at the Young Vic. Kander and Ebb’s award-winning and final musical also begins performances on Saturday 4th October 2014. I had my ticket to see the musical last year at the Young Vic, but couldn’t make it at the last minute so was hugely relieved when the transfer was confirmed!

Daytona transfers to the West End on Saturday (28th June 2014). Starring Maureen Lipman, Harry Shearer and Oliver Cotton, the play runs at the Theatre Royal Haymarket for a limited season until Saturday 23rd August 2014. It is described as a “gripping, funny and poignant” piece of theatre which is “full of mystery”.

Daytona received its world premiere at London’s Park Theatre in 2013. The production marks the Theatre Royal Haymarket’s first collaboration with an off West End theatre venue and the Park Theatre’s first West End transfer.

The Curious Incident of the Dog In The Night-Time has resumed its West End run. Earlier this week previews began at the Gielgud Theatre ahead of its official reopening on Tuesday 8th July 2014. I was supposed to see the National Theatre’s acclaimed production back in January, but the performance was cancelled, so am hugely looking forward to finally see the show in two weeks’ time.

A new cast have joined Simon Stephens’ adaptation of Mark Haddon’s novel which is directed for the stage by Marianne Elliott. The company includes: Graham Butler as Christopher, Vivienne Acheampong (No. 40/Punk Girl), Daniel Casey (Roger Shears), Emily Joyce (Judy), Abram Rooney (Alternate Christopher), Gay Soper (Mrs Alexander), Paul Stocker (Mr Thompson), Nicolas Tennant (Ed), Tony Turner (Reverend Peters), Victoria Willing (Mrs Shears), Sarah Woodward (Siobhan) and Sam Bond, Penelope McGhie, Roxanne Palmer and Mark Rawlings.

Earlier today producers announced that Jeeves and Wooster in Perfect Nonsense has extended its West End run at the Duke of York's Theatre until Saturday 17th January 2015. As previously announced, John Gordon Sinclair and James Lance will play the title roles from 30th June, taking over from current cast members Robert Webb and Mark Heap who play their final performance on Saturday.

Sinclair and Lance will star in the production until 20th September with casting for the West End extension to be announced in due course. Based on and adapted from the established literary works of P.G. Wodehouse, Perfect Nonsense began performances at the Duke of York's Theatre last October and has since extended several times due to public demand.

Elsewhere Skylight continues its West End run after receiving strong reviews from critics. Stephen Daldry directs Matthew Beard (Edward Sergeant), Carey Mulligan (Kyra Hollis) and Bill Nighy (Tom Sergeant) in the major West End revival. The show runs at the Wyndham’s Theatre until Saturday 23rd August 2014.

Finally I’ve heard nothing but praise for the new West End cast of Les Miserables at the Queens Theatre. New cast members include Peter Lockyer as Jean Valjean, David Thaxton as Javert, Tom Edden as Thénardier, Celinde Schoenmaker as Fantine, Michael Colbourne as Enjolras and Emilie Fleming as Cosette. They star alongside Rob Houchen, Carrie Hope Fletcher and Wendy Ferguson who continue as Marius, Eponine and Madame Thénardier. 29 years following its opening, it seems Les Mis (aka the world’s longest running musical) is still in tip top shape!

​Photo Credit: Richard-Hubert-Smith