Goodbye To Beverley Knight And We Will Rock You, Plus More This Week #WestEndWeek
| By Andrew Tomlins
This Saturday (31st May 2014) marks the end of an era at the Dominion Theatre as We Will Rock You’s twelve year run comes to an end. Brian May and Roger Taylor will both make a special appearance during the finales of the two final shows. Tickets for the final week have been like gold dust, it seems everybody wants to see We Will Rock You one last time.
The jukebox musical closes having rocked over 6.5 million people in a record-breaking 12 years. It is the longest running show ever in the history of the Dominion by a margin of nine years and is one of the top 10 longest running musicals of all time.
Saturday is a day of goodbyes because as well as saying goodbye to one of its longest running shows, the West End bids farewell to two of its biggest stars. First of all Peter Polycarpou plays his final performance in The Pajama Game at the Shaftesbury Theatre before he heads back to Chichester to star in Guys and Dolls. Gary Wilmot takes over as Vernon Hines next week, starring alongside Joanna Riding and Michael Xavier.
Beverley Knight’s triumphant run in The Bodyguard at the Adelphi Theatre also comes to an end on Saturday. X Factor winner Alexandra Burke is currently finishing final preparations ahead of her first performance in the show next week.
Knight has won rave reviews for her West End and acting debut. She leaves The Bodyguard to begin preparations for her next West End starring role in Memphis. The musical opens later this year at the Shaftesbury Theatre and will also star Killian Donnelly who is currently leading the company of The Commitments.
Neil Morrissey celebrated his West End return last night (Monday 26th May 2014) after his first performance in Relative Values at the Harold Pinter Theatre. Morrissey will star in the production until Saturday 21st June, reuniting him with his former Men Behaving Badly co-star Caroline Quentin.
As well as playing Tony Smart opposite Quentin and Martin Clunes in Men Behaving Badly, Morrissey has starred in Paradise Heights, Murder in Mind, Waterloo Road and Me & Mrs Jones. On stage he was seen in the West End production of Victoria Wood's Acorn Antiques. Morrissey also played Nathan in Guys and Dolls and Fagin in Cameron Mackintosh's national touring production of Oliver.
The cast of Trevor Nunn’s production also features Patricia Hodge (Miranda) as Felicity and Leigh Zimmerman (A Chorus Line) as Miranda Frayle alongside Quentin as Moxie. It transferred to the West End following a successful run at the Theatre Royal Bath.
Bakersfield Mist officially opens at the Duchess Theatre tonight (Tuesday 27th May 2014). Stephen Sachs’ new play has been worked on over the past two weeks in previews and runs until Saturday 30th August 2014. Kathleen Turner and Ian McDiarmid star in the two-hander.
There is much excitement surrounding the play as it marks Turner’s first West End role since she starred in Edward Albee’s Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf. Sachs’ play, which is inspired by true events, asks vital questions about what makes art and people truly authentic.
Also this week, the new cast of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory continue performances at the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane, with Alex Jennings now leading the company as Willy Wonka. Miss Saigon also continues at the Prince Edward Theatre following its epic opening last week. Cameron Mackintosh has proudly revealed that the production has already recouped its costs. The musical looks set to bring audiences to their feet for years to come!