Capital theatres are spoiled for choice this winter. Here’s my top 10 shows of the coming season.
THE GLENN MILLER STORY
The Playhouse, Greenside Place, 26-30 January
IT’S 70 years since Glenn Miller vanished over the English Channel as he flew to entertain troops. Did he crash? Was he shot down? Will the mystery ever be solved?
Featuring a 16-piece orchestra, full supporting company and dazzling choreography, the story of one of the most iconic musical figures of the 20th century unfolds in this production starring the legendary Tommy Steele as the big band leader .
Festival Theatre, Nicolson Street, 16-20 February
FOOTLOOSE is back, this time with Gareth Gates as Willard, Maureen Nolan as Vi Moore, and Luke Baker as Ren McCormack.
Based on the 1984 blockbuster movie this musical tells the story of city boy Ren, who moves to rural backwater America where dancing is banned.
All hell breaks out as Ren breaks loose and soon has the whole town up on its feet.
Featuring classic 80s hits including Holding Out for a Hero, Almost Paradise, Let’s Hear it for the Boy and the unforgettable title track.
PETER JAMES’ THE PERFECT MURDER
King’s Theatre, Leven Street, 29 February - 5 March
EASTENDERS’ stars Shane Richie and Jessie Wallace team up again as husband and wife in their first stage show together, the Peter James’ thriller The Perfect Murder.
Victor Smiley and his wife Joan have been married for a long time.
But their marriage has reached crisis point and Victor has decided there is only one way to get Joan out of his life forever. But he’s about to get a nasty surprise.
As a young Detective Roy Grace starts to investigate his very first homicide case, dark forces intervene...
Based on James’ novel of the same name which spent 15 weeks at No 1 in the iBook Top 10.
The Playhouse, Greenside Place, 15-19 March
IT’S billed as the most dangerous show the West End has ever seen and it materialises at the Playhouse in March.
Impossible is the biggest magic show ever to tour the UK and promises to bring a host of world class illusionists to the Capital.
Featuring death-defying stunts, technological trickery, grand stage illusions and close-up magic in a fast-paced breath-taking performance, Impossible should mesmerise and amaze.
REHEARSAL FOR MURDER
King’s Theatre, Leven Street, 21 - 26 March
FANCY a good old-fashioned who-dun-it? Playwright Alex Dennison is left heartbroken when his fiancée and leading lady Monica Welles is found dead from an apparent suicide.
On the anniversary of that ill-fated night, Alex assembles the same cast and crew in the same theatre, for a reading of his new play.
But as the reading begins, it becomes clear that Alex believes that Monica was murdered and he intends to uncover her killer...
Starring Robert Daws and Amy Robbins (The Royal), Robert Duncan (Drop the Dead Donkey), Susan Penhaligon (Bouquet of Barbed Wire), Ben Nealon (Soldier Soldier), Steven Pinder (Brookside) and Lucy Dixon (Waterloo Road).
I AM THOMAS - A BRUTAL COMEDY WITH SONGS
Royal Lyceum. Grindlay Street, 23 March - 9 April
A RICH vein of black humour is explored in this account of the last person in Britain to be executed for blasphemy.
Welcome to Edinburgh. A cold town on the edge of civilisation, in the year of our lord, 1696.
The church has spies everywhere. Here, you keep your counsel and choose your words with care, unless you are Thomas Aikenhead, a loud-mouthed, smart-arsed and likable student at the university.
A man in the wrong place at absolutely the wrong time. Trouble is brewing for Thomas.
RICHARD O’BRIEN’S ROCKY HORROR SHOW
The Playhouse, Greenside Place, 28 March - 2 April
ARE you ready to do the Time-Warp? Since its first appearance at London’s Royal Court Theatre in 1973, Richard O’Brien’s Rocky Horror Show has become the world’s favourite rock ’n’ roll musical.
Combining science-fiction, horror, comedy, music and audience participation, this critically acclaimed version, as ever, tells the story of Brad and his fiancée Janet, two squeaky clean college kids who come across the bizarre alien scientist Dr Frank’n’Furter when their car breaks in the middle of nowhere.
Features Diana Vickers, Ben Freeman and Liam Tamne as Frank’n’Furter.
JACKIE THE MUSICAL
King’s Theatre, Leven Street, 12-16 April
ONCE there was a time with no mobiles and no Facebook, when teenage girls waited with bated breath by the letter box for their weekly issue of Jackie Magazine.
Jackie The Musical tells the story of a recent divorcée who seeks advice once more from the pages of her old Jackie annuals.
The fashion tips, the ‘do’s and don’ts on first date’ and above all the Cathy and Claire problem pages are all eagerly devoured by our plucky heroine as she revisits the dizzy world of the teen bible.
With her ex and a handsome new guy in tow, the valuable lessons she learnt as a girl begin to influence her future and Jackie discovers the one person in control of her life is... her.
Starring Janet Dibley and with a pulsating 70’s sound track of chart toppers from Donny Osmond, David Cassidy, Marc Bolan and many more.
LET IT BE
The Playhouse, Greenside Place, 18 -23 April
BEATLEMANIA took the world by storm in the sixties.
In April at the Playhouse, Let It Be allows you to relive The Beatles meteoric rise from their humble beginnings in Liverpool’s Cavern Club, through the heights of their fame and their later studio masterpieces.
With live performances of early tracks including Twist and Shout, She Loves You and Drive My Car, as well as hits like Yesterday, Hey Jude, and of course, Let It Be, travel back to a magical time when all you needed was love, and a little help from your friends.
Festival Theatre, Nicolson Street, 27 April - 21 May
AS I said in my column a few weeks back, after seeing this production in Dublin, Zizi Strallen was born to play Mary Poppins. She is not practically perfect, she is simply perfect.
With jaw-dropping special effects, spectacular sets and costumes that sparkle with Disney magic, Cameron Mackintosh’s new touring production of PL Travers’ much-loved tale of the magical nanny wished upon the Banks family of Cherry Tree Lane, is by far the best yet.
With a strong cast and quite brilliant supporting ensemble, it’s impossible not to get carried away during timeless favourites such as Let’s Go Fly A Kite, A Spoonful of Sugar and Supercalifragilisiticrxpialidocious, complete with song sheet.
And watch out for local lad Blair Anderson, returning home in a hilarious comic turn as the gloriously hapless Roberstson Ay.