Cats Returns Whilst Curious Incident & Richard III Open Triumphantly #WestEndUpdate
| By Andrew Tomlins
The show everybody is talking about this week is Cats. Tickets for the production, which returns to the West End in December for a limited run at the London Palladium, are now on sale. Cats opens on Thursday 11th December 2014 (previews from 6th December) and runs until Saturday 28th February 2015.
Earlier this week the original creative team – including Director Trevor Nunn, Associate Director and Choreographer Gillian Lynne and Composer Andrew Lloyd Webber – reunited to officially launch the highly anticipated production.
The trio appeared to be incredibly excited about revisiting the show which “changed their lives”. Lloyd Webber said, “The four of us have been discussing looking at Cats again for what must be about a year. We wanted to rework the material and examine the show. Then I found we had this extraordinary opportunity over Christmas at the Palladium!"
There will be some changes to the iconic musical which is based on T. S. Eliot’s Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats. Firstly the composer plans to rewrite 'Growltiger's Last Stand' as he was never happy with the number. Secondly the Rum Tum Tugger looks set to become a rapping street cat.
Gillian Lynne said, "We have to remember that the Tugger isn't one number, or just a piece of a number, it's a whole theme that grows through the show. It tells a very distinct story about his character. Street dance is already old hat - I mean rap and street have happened. It's a question of taking that and weaving it into what we have and also finding new stuff just as we did with the show originally.”
Elsewhere the National Theatre’s hit production of The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time officially reopened at the Gielgud Theatre on Tuesday (8th July). Celebs and theatre stars in attendance included Richard Fleeshman, Samantha Barks, Sam Bailey, Dave Berry, Andrew Scott, Lesley Manville, Matt Di Angelo and Natascha McElhone.
Winner of seven Olivier Awards, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time is based on Mark Haddon’s award-winning novel, adapted by Simon Stephens and directed by Marianne Elliott. The new cast is led by Graham Butler as Christopher who gives an exceptional performance.
The stage adaptation of Curious Incident premiered at the National’s Cottesloe Theatre in August 2012 where it played to almost 27,000 people. Following the sell-out run, the show transferred to the Apollo Theatre in March 2013 where almost 300,000 people saw the show, and hundreds of thousands of theatregoers look set to see the production at the Gielgud.
Trafalgar Transformed has also returned to the West End. Jamie Lloyd’s season has been kicked off with a refreshing production of Shakespeare’s Richard III starring Martin Freeman. Running at Trafalgar Studios until Saturday 27th September 2014, Richard III follows in the footsteps of Lloyd’s critically acclaimed productions of Macbeth starring James McAvoy, The Hothouse starring John Simm and The Pride starring Hayley Atwell and Mathew Horne.
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).
Finally, Hugh Jackman supported his friend Maureen Lipman by attending press night of Daytona on Monday evening (7th July). Lipman stars in the play which has transferred to the Theatre Royal Haymarket for a limited run ahead of Great Britain’s West End premiere.
Photo Credit: Dan Wooller