In the words of The Full Monty’s tagline – Drop Everything – it’s a New Year and that means a new 12 months of theatre awaits so I wanted to look ahead at some of the productions arriving during the next 12 months and there is certainly a few exciting prospects. People tend to ask me what I would recommend they see, so here are the new productions already announced for 2014 that I am most excited about, plus a few offerings already running that I’d urge you to see if you can.
1. Birdland – Royal Court Theatre – 3rd April – 24th May – I’m very much looking forward to this new play by Simon Stephens (who brilliantly adapted Curious Incident and the Young Vic’s A Doll’s House and whose wonderful Seawall was a highlight of 2013 for me). It will also reunite him with the supremely talented Andrew Scott.
2. A Streetcar Named Desire – Young Vic summer 2014 – Firm dates have yet to be announced but I await them eagerly as I was sorry to miss the Donmar’s fairly recent production. It will also be very exciting to see Gillian Anderson in the main role.
3. Blithe Spirit – Gielgud – 1st March – 7th June – A transfer from New York has been rumoured for a while now and I’m thrilled it’s finally on its way, as I’ve still never seen this play and it will be lovely to see Angela Lansbury on stage.
4. The Full Monty – Noel Coward Theatre – 20th February – 14th June – I’m cheating slightly as I saw this in Sheffield last year, but it’s a fantastic show that will certainly make you smile and I’m definitely planning to go again.
5. Shakespeare In Love – Noel Coward Theatre – opens in July – Following The Full Monty in to this theatre is this adaptation. I enjoyed the film and am intrigued to see how it translates to the stage. With the right cast I think it could be lovely and I look forward to casting announcements in the future.
6. Henry IV Parts 1 and 2 – Royal Shakespeare Theatre & Barbican – March – September, followed by a London transfer – Greg Doran’s tenure in charge of the RSC has started strongly with Richard II and I look forward to seeing this standard continue this year with Henry IV starring Antony Sher and some of the current Richard II ensemble. The entire Swan season also looks very interesting too.
7. Boeing Boeing – Sheffield Crucible – 15th May – 7th June – I have never seen this comedy performed, although I did see the sequel Don’t Dress For Dinner in New York in 2012. It would be lovely if Adam James could be in it as Bernard again, but I’m not sure I’m that lucky!
8. Rapture, Blister, Burn – Hampstead Theatre – 16th January – 22nd February – Adam is at least popping up on stage later this month in this new production at the Hampstead Theatre. The plot sounds interesting and it also stars Emilia Fox.
9. The Duchess of Malfi – Sam Wanamaker Playhouse – 9th January – 16th February – I’m very excited to experience a production inside this newly opened theatre and it will be nice to compare this production to the Old Vic’s recent production with Eve Best.
10. Other Desert Cities – Old Vic – 13 March – 24 May – Announced yesterday, I am thrilled this is coming to London, as I was able to see it at the Booth Theatre in New York in 2012. Casting is yet to be announced but I’d love Stockard Channing to come to London with it. It is also going to be performed in the round which will add another wonderful dimension to the production.
11. Hamlet with Benedict Cumberbatch – No further details are known about this production, other than that Benedict himself has said he is hoping to play Hamlet in autumn 2014 and Sonia Friedman is possibly involved. Hamlet is possibly still my favourite Shakespeare play and a production of it starring not only one of my favourite actors, but one of the finest British theatre actors is incredibly exciting. The choice of ensemble cast will be crucial to ensure a strong overall production, but I have high hopes for this already. Watch this space!
I would also strongly urge anyone who hasn’t already seen the following productions to make it a resolution to book tickets this year:
1. Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time – Once this wonderful production reopens at the Apollo (currently scheduled for 13 January) I urge everyone to go. It is simply superb and remains one of the best shows currently running in London.
2. American Psycho – Almeida Theatre – You have until 2 February to try and see this new musical starring Matt Smith as Patrick Bateman. Chances are it will require an early morning queue for the approximately 10 seats released every day at the box office (or checking at the theatre in person closer to the start of the performance for any returns) but I promise it’s worth the effort. Odd tickets are popping up on the theatre’s website but you have to be quick to nab those!
3. Richard II – Barbican until 25 January – Although sold out, returns are appearing fairly regularly on the Barbican’s website and 30 stalls seats are released at 10 am every day for £10. Again, there is likely to be an early queue required but this really is a superb ensemble production not to be missed.
4. Matilda – Cambridge Theatre – It’s been just over three years since I first saw this fantastic musical in Stratford-Upon-Avon and it is thrilling to see what it has gone on to achieve. Funny, fun and heartfelt, with brilliant music and the lyrics by Tim Minchin, it is one of the best musicals around.
5. War Horse – New London Theatre – this production continues to thrill audiences in London. It is visually incredible and emotionally powerful and is not to be missed.
6. Les Miserables – Queen’s Theatre – yes you may have seen the film (which I also enjoyed) but have you seen the live stage version yet? If not, then I cannot recommend it highly enough. The songs are stunning and I never fail to be moved by its intensity, which is why it remains my favourite musical. If you’ve yet to go then you really should!
It will be exciting to see just what else is announced over the coming months!