Wednesday, 30 May 2012

Stage set for bumper West End Live

West End Live London
(Photo courtesy of LindaH on Flickr)

The line-up for West End Live in June has finally been revealed – and it’ll be bigger and better than ever before!
This year’s event in Trafalgar Square will feature performances from EVERY musical production in London’s theatreland for the very first time as part as what is billed as the biggest free theatre festival in the world.
Newcomers to the theatrical extravaganza include the likes of Matilda The Musical and Horrible Histories and they will join the cast of Jersey Boys, Chicago and many, many more for what promises to be a brilliant experience on the weekend of June 23/24.
Whether you’re a West End regular or a theatre virgin, we strongly recommend you head on down to Trafalgar Square next month to get involved.
And if you like what you see from the theatre tasters on offer at West End Live, which has been organised by Westminster City Council and Society of London Theatre (SOLT).
Councillor Robert Davis, Westminster City Council deputy leader, said on “This really will be a summer like no other and we are delighted to once again bring the magic of West End musicals to Trafalgar Square for free.
“This is part of the council’s wider commitments to help rejuvenate the West End, and as a way of showcasing the quality and diversity of entertainment in and around the local area.”
Julian Bird, SOLT chief executive, said: “West End Live will showcase exactly why nearly 14 million Londoners and visitors flocked to our theatres last year and give a taste of the world-class musicals they can enjoy this summer.”
Over 500,000 people attended last year’s West End Live – are you planning on going next month?!?!
Monday, 28 May 2012

Things to do in London during the Olympics

Heading to London for the Olympics?

The final preparations are being made ahead of the sporting extravaganza that’s expected to attract an extra five million visitors to the city between July 27 and August 12.

(Photo courtesy of Metro Centric on Flickr)

Some people will have day trips planned to the capital and others will be looking to combine a short stay in London with Olympic events if they are lucky enough to have tickets. If you fall into the latter category then check out our suggestions on things to do in London during the Olympics away from the stunning Olympic Park in Stratford.

Hit the West End

London’s theatre district is famous the world over and is hive of activity every night of the week as people of all ages flock here to soak up the atmosphere and see shows like The Lion King, Phantom of the Opera and Shrek The Musical. An assortment of music gigs and comedy stand-up shows are also scheduled to take place during the Olympics worth checking out.

Wine and dine in style

An exciting day of sporting action will leave you famished and fortunately London has some brilliant places to get a nice bite to eat and enjoy a few drinks. Perhaps you fancy having afternoon tea at iconic London hotels like the Dorchester, Ritz and Savoy? Or maybe a curry down Brick Lane is more up your street? For a really unusual culinary treat head to Dans le Noir, a restaurant where you dine in the dark to heighten the senses. Just off Regent Street, ICEBAR is another popular place for tourists to hang out and this is the UK’s only permanent bar made of ice. There are plenty of different things to do in London like this if you’re feeling adventurous, while areas like Soho and Camden have lots of bustling pubs and bars if you fancy a lively night out.

See the sights

You cannot come to London without a whistle-stop tour of the major sights. Things to do in central London like visiting the London AquariumThe MonumentTate Modern and St Paul’s Cathedral offer something to keep everyone happy. Here’s a little tip – it’s worth booking London Eye tickets in advance to avoid disappointment as it is a popular attraction. In fact, it’s the UK’s most-popular, paid-for attraction! Other free attractions like the Science Museum and Natural History Museum are perfect for families along with a nice stroll around places like Leicester Square, Covent Garden and Trafalgar Square. For one of the best things to see in London, watch Changing the Guards at Buckingham Palace.
Wednesday, 23 May 2012

Yes, Prime Minister returns to London theatres!

Yes Prime Minister play
(Photo courtesy of AndyRobertsPhotos on Flickr)

Yes, Prime Minister is returning to London’s West End next month.
This hilarious comedy, which has already enjoyed two successful West End runs and is a spin-off of the popular 1980s TV show, is back and promises to be bigger and better than ever as the much-loved duo of Sir Humphrey Appleby and Jim Hacker forge a somewhat controversial relationship with Foreign Minister of Kumranistan.
Expect laughs, laughs and more laughs in this riotous show at Trafalgar Studios in a production that has been well received by theatre critics.
‘Jim Hacker & Sir Humphrey are back! As sharp and blissfully funny as ever’ – Daily Telegraph.
‘A delightful stream of one liners’ – Evening Standard.
Sunday, 20 May 2012

Escaping the summer of sport in 2012

Theatre seats
(Photo courtesy of DeaPeaJay on Flickr)
A summer of sport that includes the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games and European Football Championships is now only a few weeks away.
While this is great news for sports fans, plenty of people will be looking at ways to avoid the mass hysteria that these events will cause.
For anybody keen to get out and about rather than spending day after day sat on the sofa or down the local pub, we’ve compiled an events guide to give you a flavour of what’s on in the UK from June through to September.
How to escape…
Euro 2012 (June 8-July 1)
The Udderbelly Festival returns to the Southbank Centre in London once more and the temporary theatre venue is set to play host to the likes of Andrew Maxwell and Sean Hughes, while Simon Amstell has a trio of stand-up gigs pencilled in at the O2 Shepherd’s Bush Empire.
June and July are stellar months for music fans hoping to catch a glimpse of some truly iconic performers.  Fresh from the release of his latest critically-acclaimed album Sonik Kicks, Paul Weller will roll out a hit-laden set in the unusual surroundings of Jodrell Bank Observatory in Cheshire. The Coldplay lads and Bruce Springsteen play Manchester City’s Etihad Stadium and Pearl Jam also head to Manchester for two dates at the MEN Arena.
Veteran crooner Tony Bennett and Elton John are still going strong and are set to appear throughout the UK, proving the old adage that age is just a number. Anticipation is building ahead of the first solo gig for former White Stripes star Jack White and summer 2012 also marks a return for Hot Chip. Operating at the opposite end of the music spectrum are Plan B and Russell Watson, who are both poised to wow the crowds this year.
A special performance of A Midsummer Night’s Dream  is due to take place outdoors inRegent’s Park, offering William Shakespeare aficionados the chance to watch this masterpiece away from a traditional theatre. What’s more, the usual array of West End shows will also run through the summer.
The Olympics (July 27-August 12)
Two comedy heavyweights will have audiences in stitches when Jimmy Carr and Jason Byrne hit the road for their latest tours.
The much-anticipated Steps reunion happens this summer as Claire, Faye, H, Lee and Lisa prepare to come together to perform smash-hit songs like 5, 6, 7, 8, Tragedy, Deeper Shade of Blue and One for Sorrow for the first time since the band went their separate ways in 2001.
Tom Jones is also back with fresh material as well as a back catalogue of memorable tunes, while Olly Murs continues to go from strength to strength after shooting to stardom during the 2009 X-Factor. Meanwhile, thousands of dance fans will descend on Long Marston Airfield for Global Gathering.
The Paralympics (August 29-September 9)
The gags will come thick and fast when Frankie Boyle and Michael McIntyre take to the stage later this year.
Pulled Apart By Horses, Ms Dynamite and Alex Winston are among the acts set to play Underage Festival in Shoreditch Park. Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds also commence a series of arena dates and the former Oasis star’s new project is bound to be given a rapturous welcome when it rocks up in Cardiff, Liverpool and Nottingham.
If you’re planning a trip to London to coincide with August bank holiday then why not take a ‘flight’ on the London Eye or marvel at the architectural brilliance of St Paul’s Cathedral. Alternatively, head to the British Music Experience at the O2 Arena for a fascinating collection of memorabilia charting the rise of iconic bans such as The Beatles, Spice Girls and Oasis.
What are you off to watch this summer? We’d love to hear from you!
Friday, 18 May 2012

London Staycation 2012 : The Definitive Guide

This year, thanks to the Queen, UK residents will be enjoying additional bank holidays. Many are planning short trips abroad to catch some sun while others are considering to ‘staycate’. Staycation, (defined by the urban dictionary as “a vacation spent at home or near home, doing enjoyable activities or visiting local attractions”) has many advantages, especially if you’re going on one in London!

In our opinion, all great vacations are made up of the same ingredients : great weather, sense of adventure, new discoveries, exploring cultures, lasting memories, relaxation and amazing food!

Faking Summer

Saying that the weather in London is temperamental is an understatement. If you’re lucky to catch an afternoon of sun, make the most of your luck and have a picnic in Hyde Park (be sure to bring Pimm’s, snacks and a frisbee, if all else fails play charades)

If the weather is sunny now but looks like it might change soon, you can’t plan a grand outdoor event. Just take it easy and enjoy a laid back coffee at one of Soho’s numerous cafes (add a Mediterranean touch by challenging friends to a game of backgammon) – when it rains you can always hide inside.

Tuesday, 15 May 2012

Theatre Ticket Price Debate

The cost of theatre tickets is a topical issue right now.
Celebrities such as Felicity Kendal and Kevin Spacey have been particularly vocal in voicing their concerns over the price of going to see shows and how this is putting off younger people from attending.
We’re quick to acknowledge that going to the theatre can be an expensive experience, especially when you factor in the cost of travel, food and possibly accommodation.
As with most forms of popular entertainment at present – like a trip to the cinema, sporting event or comedy/music gig – theatre tickets have increased over the past decade or so. And this, of course, is a cause for concern when it comes to future generations being able to afford to do these types of activities.

Monday, 14 May 2012

Ten of the best-loved UK comedians

(Photo courtesy of comedy_nose on Flickr)
Everyone has a favourite comedian.
You know the one, that certain somebody who never fails to raise a smile and chuckle every time you see them on the box or in person.
We’ve been privileged to have produced some top UK comedians, with the current crop packing venues the length and breadth of Britain.
Here we profile 10 of the best-loved comedians that are doing the rounds in 2012:
John Bishop
It has been a stellar rise to stardom for Bishop, who turned his back on his job as a sales and marketing director for a pharmaceutical company back in 2006 to become a comedian. What a decision that has turned out to be as the likeable Liverpudlian is now a regular feature on our TV screens.
Rhod Gilbert
The gruff Welshman has successfully made the transition from stand-up comic to TV personality over the past few years and has won a cluster of awards along the way. His latest tour is intriguingly named ‘The Man With The Flaming Battenberg Tattoo’ and his act is bound to include his trademark rants.
Lee Nelson
Nelson is like marmite – you either love him or hate him. The plucky chav character has now gone from his own show on BBC Three to venues throughout the UK and his no-nonsense antics mean anyone attending one of his gigs should brace themselves for a lively evening.
Stewart Lee
Lee’s rollercoaster stand-up career is now firmly back on track after he quit the live scene for a few years in the early 2000s before picking up the microphone once more, much to the delight of his army of loyal fans.
Al Murray
Bringing his bar-room banter back after a short break, Murray will be flying the flag for everything that’s great about Britain in his own unique way in 2012. The Pub Landlord is not afraid to speak his mind.
Michael McIntyre
Man-of-the-moment McIntyre is touring again this year and his whirlwind delivery of gags and general buffoonery has helped him to become runaway success, so much so that he broke the record for the fastest-selling UK stand-up DVD of all time in 2009.
Frankie Boyle
Outspoken and often controversial, Boyle is captivating viewing whether on the TV or live in the flesh as he is unlike any other UK comedian in terms of his style, content and tone of voice. The Scot initially stopped touring after announcing plans to quit stand-up, but is definitely back with a bang.
Sarah Millican
The Geordie comic is flying high at present and is giving her male counterparts a real run for their money.  She’s down to earth, she’s genuine, she’s grounded and she’s extremely personable – it’s hardly surprising that she’s so popular at the moment.
Kevin Bridges
It’s hard to believe Bridges is still only in his mid-20s as the Scot has made it at a remarkably young age in an industry that is tough to make a breakthrough in. Bridges actually started his stand-up career shortly after turning 17 and less than a decade later is one of the most well-known comedians in the UK.
Simon Amstell
Amstell continues to switch backwards and forwards from small screen to stage and has been in the public eye since starting out as a Channel 4 presenter in 2000. His brand new stand-up tour is entitled Numb.
Who’s your favourite comedian? What’s the best comedy gig you’ve ever attended? Let us know if you’ve bought comedy tickets recently and tell us who you’re off to watch!
Sunday, 13 May 2012

Sweeney Todd Musical - Our Reader's Review

Today we want to share one of our readers' review for Sweeney Todd musical. Thank you Allison for taking the time to share your experience with other theatre lovers!!
I was so excited as my son had surprised me with a trip to the theatre for my birthday and it was a musical that we both wanted to see.
As you look at the posters outside the theatre, a shiver runs down your spine. The menacing stare of Sweeney Todd looking at you gives you goosebumps. What awaits inside?
sweeney-todd-musical-posterWe took our seats in the stalls about 15 minutes before the performance and notice people on stage already. I thought it was just backstage crew getting the stage ready, but it was actually actors going about their business. I have never seen this before. The lights went down and the music belted out around the theatre. Sweeney Todd (Michael Ball) appears with a dark look and a fantastic voice. The story begins with Mr Todd returning to London after being imprisoned for the past 15 years and is seeking his wife and daughter. He arrives with a young man he met on the ship, Anthony Hope. They are then propositioned by a beggar woman, who recognises Mr Todd but is soon dismissed. Sweeney Todd finds out that his wife committed suicide and his daughter is being brought up by Judge Turpin (the judge who imprisoned him). Mr Todd wants revenge!

Thursday, 10 May 2012

No Booking Fee Promotion – The Lion King Tickets

The Lion King Tickets just announced a fantastic new offer on The Lion King tickets! No booking fees on shows until September 2012!
You can enjoy savings by booking before the 31st May 2012. The offer applies to Lion King performances up to the 9th September 2012 so now’s the time to see why critics rate this spectacular show so highly.
“The Lion King was one of the best ever musicals I attended..” and “a beautiful dazzle of invention and imagination” are some of the comments we’ve received on this top London theatre show.
Venue: Lyceum Theatre, London
Dates applicable: now until 9th September 2012
Offer ends: 31st May 2012
Exclusions: The discount does not include Saturday performances.
View Lion King Ticket Availability >
Saturday, 5 May 2012

Win tickets to see The Bodyguard, the new London musical!

bodyguard-musical-tickets are running a special competition to win a pair of tickets to see The Bodyguard to celebrate the release of a stage musical version of the smash-hit film.
All you need to do to be in with a chance of getting to see the most-anticipated theatre release of 2012 is to get involved in our exclusive Twitter giveaway by heading over to our Competwition page and hitting the ‘enter now’ button.
Good luck!
Friday, 4 May 2012

The Bodyguard comes to London’s West End!

The Bodyguard Musical London

Exciting news – a stage version of The Bodyguard will open in London’s West End later this year! 
If you’re anything like us at then you’ll have no doubt watched The Bodyguard film time and time again since its release in 1992 and will know the words to I Will Always Love You and the other tunes from the movie’s soundtrack off by heart.
Hopes are high that Bodyguard the musical can live up to the hype ahead of its much-anticipated theatre release as Heather Headley and Lloyd Owen take on the lead roles made famous by Whitney Houston and Kevin Costner respectively in a production directed by Thea Sharrock.
Featuring a string of Houston’s hits including One Moment in Time, Saving All My Love, I Wanna Dance With Somebody and, of course, the timeless classic I Will Always Love You, Bodyguard the musical is a romantic thriller that sees former Secret Service agent Frank Farmer fall head over heels in love with his employer Rachel Marron, who is a music superstar attracting some unwanted attention.
Preview showings of The Bodyguard start at the Adelphi Theatre in November and the adaptation will open to the public in early December.
Don’t miss out on what promises to be a fantastic stage production – get your tickets today!!!
Tuesday, 1 May 2012

Michael’s on the Ball at West End Eurovision 2012

(Photo courtesy of M. Pratter on Flickr)

Some of the biggest names from West End theatre came together recently for a late-night sing-off to help raise money for the Make A Difference Trust – and Michael Ball stole the show!
The fifth annual West End Eurovision competition took place at the Dominion Theatre and finished in the early hours of Friday morning as Ball and his Sweeney Todd co-stars wowed the crowd and saw off competition from the cast of shows like Billy Elliott and Mamma Mia!.
As usual, the brief for the evening was to recreate a classic Eurovision hit, which for Ball proved a pretty easy task as he performed his 1992 Eurovision entry ‘One Step Out Of Time’.
Ball had to settle for second place 20 years ago in Malmo, but got one better at the latest West End Eurovision. Thanks to a little help from his theatrical colleagues.
You can check out the winning entry from Michael here.
Tony Blackburn and Kerry Ellis were among the panel of celebrity judges, while Gaby Roslin and John Partridge both took to the microphone to co-host for the evening.
Well done to everyone who took part and attended!