Archive for April 21st, 2017

When I plan a trip to London, one of the first things I do is check the theatre listings for what’s on in the West End – the home to London’s theatre scene ala New York’s Broadway. There is always a mix of long-running shows (Phantom, Les Miz, Lion King) and the latest hot shows (The Book of Mormon, School of Rock, Hamilton (arriving this fall)). However, I always look for the big productions that may be short runs and/or may never transfer across the pond.

On this recent trip I set my sights on two quintessentially British shows: a revival of Half a Sixpence and brand new musical, The Girls.

FF: Half a Sixpence

aa4First up is Half a Sixpence, a revival of a classic made famous by Tommy Steele. As a fan of musical theatre, I was totally charmed by the simple earnest story, and thoroughly impressed by the talent on stage whose energy sold the show and the wonderful production numbers.

About Half a Sixpence: “Starring newcomers Charlie Stemp as ‘Arthur Kipps’ and Devon-Elise Johnson as ‘Ann Pornick’ – alongside three times Olivier-nominated actress Emma Williams as ‘Helen Walsingham’ and Vivien Parry as ‘Mrs Walsingham’.Arthur Kipps, an orphan and over-worked draper’s assistant at the turn of the last century, unexpectedly inherits a fortune that propels him into high society. His childhood companion, Ann Pornick, watches with dismay as Arthur is made over in a new image by the beautiful and classy Helen Walsingham. Both young women undoubtedly love Arthur – but which of them should he listen to? With the help of his friends, Arthur learns that if you want to have the chance of living the right life, you need to make the right choices.”

Half a Sixpence continues through at least September 2017 at the Noël Coward Theatre on St. Martin’s Lane in London’s glittering West End.

FF: The Girls

aa3Next up is The Girls, a new musical based on the film Calendar Girls, which itself was inspired by the true story of a group of women from Yorkshire who created a charity calendar featuring themselves, well, in the nude. The Girls is very much a play with songs, as opposed to a traditional stage musical with big production numbers, which worked really well. The segment where the ladies finally “strip off” for their photo shoots is priceless.

About The Girls: “Gary Barlow and Tim Firth’s award-winning musical comedy The Girls is now at the Phoenix Theatre in London’s glittering West End having received fantastic 5 star reviews! Audiences are saying ‘I’ve laughed at musicals, I’ve cried at musicals, but I’ve never cried and laughed at the same time.’ The Girls is the true story of Yorkshire’s own Calendar Girls – a group of ordinary ladies who achieved something extraordinary.”

The Girls continues at London’s Phoenix Theatre through at least July 2017.