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50p ticket sale for Lanark - A Life in Three Acts

Written By Lisa Davidson on Friday, 31 July 2015 | 18:30

On Saturday 8 August, the Citizens Theatre will release 100 50p tickets for Lanark - A Life in Three Acts, an epic new stage adaptation of the novel by Alasdair Gray. At the sale, the 2000th 50p ticket will be sold since the scheme was re-instated in 2012.

One of the hottest tickets of this year’s Edinburgh International Festival, Glasgow audiences have the chance to see the landmark adaptation of Gray’s famous novel at the Citizens Theatre for only 50p. 100 tickets across 10 performances of the play will go on sale at 10am on Saturday 8 August, and the only way to secure a 50p ticket is in person at the theatre on the morning of the sale.

Alasdair Gray’s Lanark is a cult classic of 20th century literature. Part fantastical journey through a mythical city, and part semi-autobiography of a Glasgow School of Art student in the 1950s, the novel probes the politics, philosophy and art of modern-day Scotland. Writer David Greig has adapted the work for the stage to be directed by Graham Eatough. Sandy Grierson plays Lanark, having played the role in the BBC Radio 4 adaptation by Robert Brooks. Grierson last appeared on the Citizens’ stage in The Beautiful Cosmos of Ivor Cutler by Vanishing Point and National Theatre of Scotland. Lanark is a co-production between Edinburgh International Festival and the Citizens Theatre.


Citizens Theatre 

14 – 17 August 2015, 7pm (except Sunday 16 August)
3 – 19 September (no performances Sundays and Mondays)

Venue: 119 Gorbals St, Glasgow G5 9DS
Previews: Friday 14, Saturday 15, Monday 17 August 7pm
Matinees: Saturday 5, Wednesday 9, Saturday 19 September 1pm

Accessible performances: 
Audio Described performance: Wednesday 16 Sep 7pm
BSL interpreted performance: Friday 18 Sep 7pm 
Captioned performance: Saturday 19 Sep 1pm
Tickets: 50p - £20.50
Previews £8.50 │Tuesdays £12.50
50p Tickets | 10 tickets, 10 performances on sale at 10am Saturday 8 August
NB – 50p Tickets must be bought in person at the theatre, cash only.

Citizens Theatre Box Office, 119 Gorbals Street, Glasgow, G5 9DS
Monday – Saturday 10am – 6pm
0141 429 0022
(£2 transaction fee applied to online sales. No charges for sales made in person or by telephone)

Edinburgh International Festival

22 –31 August (except Wednesday 26 August)
Venue: Royal Lyceum Theatre, Edinburgh, Grindlay Street, Edinburgh EH3 9AX
Preview: Saturday 22 August 7pm
Opening Performance: Sunday 23 August 6pm (please note all other evening performances at 7pm).
Matinees: Tuesday 25, Thursday 27, Saturday 29, Monday 31 August 1pm.

Accessible performances:
BSL interpreted performance: Friday 28 August 7pm
Audio Described performance: Saturday 29 August 12.45pm
Touch Tour: Saturday 29 August 11.45pm
Captioned performance: Saturday 29 August 1pm
Tickets: £15 - £32 (concessions available).

The Hub, Castlehill, Edinburgh, EH1 2NE
0131 473 2000/

Acapella set to gobsmack the Edinburgh Fringe!

Written By Lisa Davidson on Tuesday, 28 July 2015 | 18:30

From  the  producers  of  The  Magnets  and  Soweto  Gospel  Choir  comes  Gobsmacked!  the
brand new all-singing theatrical experience that redefines the limits of the human voice.

From traditional street corner harmonies to cutting edge multi-track live looping the  multi-talented performers will produce mind-blowing soundscapes and songs that simply have to be seen and heard to be believed.

Giving this young cast their big break into the world of entertainment, seven young hopefuls
were chosen from over 600 who applied to be part of Gobsmacked! from around the world.

Chosen  purely  on  talent  the  selected  seven  include  singers  trained  in  opera,  a  beatbox
champion,  an  ex-choral  scholar  and  a  television  actor  from  England,  the  States  and
Australia.  For  many  this  is  their  first  major  role.  The  seven  are  Joanne  Evans,  Ayanna
Coleman-Potempa, Ben Chambers, Alex Spinney, Sebastian Charles, Ed Scott and Ball-Zee.
Gobsmacked! tells an urban tale of trying to make it in the big city. The intertwined lives of
the  characters  reveal  stories  of  hope,  love,  triumph  and  loss  –  all  told  completely  in  a
completely unique a cappella style.

Udderbelly, Edinburgh Fringe Festival 2015.
Thursday 6 August – Monday 31 August, 4.30pm (not 17th)

DVD Review: The Yellow Balloon (1953) ✭✭✭

Written By Christina Benneworth on Sunday, 26 July 2015 | 17:10

The Yellow Balloon (1953) 

Now Available on DVD and EST

Set in post war Chelsea, London and shows rarely seen version of a bombed out London, The Yellow Balloon is about  a quiet well-behaved boy; Frankie Palmer (Andrew Ray), who catches the sight of a man selling yellow balloons from his bedroom window. Eventually convincing his parents to give him some money for the balloon Frankie runs out to buy one, tripping over and losing the money down the drain. Seeing his friend Ronnie with a yellow balloon, he snatches it away from him and Ronnie begins to chase Frankie, which ends in a terrible accident. 

Unfortunately for Frankie crook Len Turner (William Sylvester) was watching the whole incident, convincing Frankie that he was completely to blame and that if he doesn't do what he says he'll end up being taken away by the police. Too terrified to confide in his parents, Frankie becomes a pawn for Turner, coreced into a robbery that ends in murder. 

J. Lee-Thompson directed this film very well, although the film has a cheery and light first 10 minutes the film takes a dark and more dramatic turn very quickly. 

The photography and editing in this film is first class and very interesting to see the way London was in 1953 with still so many bomb sites. It makes for a great dramatic background, especially in the end scenes. With a strong story line, this film still seems quite current and definitely doesn't feel like an old film. 

The film is rated PG and even though not terrifying or scary, it might be one that most children may not understand. However great for stopping them speaking to strangers. 

The Yellow Ballon is apart of the BFI's Britain on Film project, in which 1000's of titles will be digitised and made available online via BFI Player, as well as physical release. The Digital Film restoration was funded by Studiocanal in collaboration with the BFI's Unlocking Film Heritage Programme. 

Cert: PG 
Running Time: 77mins 
DVD RRP: £17.99 

Gig Review: Supreme Fabulettes - Leicester Square Theatre, London ✭✭✭✭

Written By Christina Benneworth on Sunday, 19 July 2015 | 14:04

Supreme Fabulettes 

Photo credit: Supreme Fabulettes 

Leicester Square Theatre, London 

The Supreme Fabulettes - Miss Vicki Vivacious, Miss Portia De Fosse, Miss Silver Summers and Miss Vanilla Lush are in the West End for a summer season throughout the months of July and August. 

Oh what a night!! A fun and fabulous evening filled with big hair, sequins and popular songs. As said by one of the women "It's not Chekhov", so the audience are encourage to sing and dance as much as they would like. 

With a collection of old and new music, The Supreme Fabulettes take you on a journey through time, from their conception up to the current day. From Amy Winehouse to Tina Turner, to The Supremes. Moving the story along is Shelia Simmonds, the Australian manger of the Supreme Fabulettes, who hands out Werther's Originals to the audience, is a great addition to the show. 

Silver Summers sings an absolutley beautiful mash up of Diamonds Are Forever, Rihanna's Diamonds and Diamonds Are A Girl's Best Friend. Some amazing vocals and a great performance. 

All four singers bring a great sound to the act, all bringing their unique quirkiness. Without a doubt they have to be the best act in London at the moment. 

Leicester Square Theatre
6 Leicester Place

Box office: 020 7734 2222 

Tickets: £20.00 - £25.00

Friday 31 July at 8.00pm

Saturday 1 August at 8.00pm

Friday 7 August at 9.15pm

Saturday 8 August at 9.15pm

Friday 14 August at 9.15pm

Saturday 15 August at 9.15pm

Friday 21 August at 9.15pm

Saturday 22 August at 9,15pm

Friday 28 August at 9.15pm

Saturday 29 August at 9.15pm

Join Alexander S Bermange and guests at The Pheasantry this September

Written By Lisa Davidson on Friday, 17 July 2015 | 20:30

BBC comic songwriter - and award-winning musical theatre composer/lyricist - Alexander S. Bermange is bringing his unique blend of wit and whimsy to The Pheasantry in London this autumn.

Alexander has received recognition for his many stage musicals (including The Route To Happiness, which has recently been recorded and released by Kerry Ellis, Ben Forster and Louise Dearman) and has entertained millions with his many appearances on Radio 4’sBroadcasting House and the World Service’s Weekend. His funny songs - some topical, others timeless - have not only tickled national and international radio audiences, but have also acquired a formidable following through performances and recordings by dozens of West End stars.

Following his sell-out success last year at The Pheasantry - a beautiful and historic venue in the heart of London’s fashionable Kings Road - Alexander is returning with a brand new show. He will be premiering an array of specially written material in addition to presenting some of his best-loved comedic musical creations about second-rate singers, tube-travelling trainspotters, and popular personalities.

Alexander will be joined on stage by a selection of leading West End musical theatre artists as special guests, currently scheduled to include:
Gina Beck (whose credits include Glinda in Wicked and Christine in The Phantom of the Opera)
Michael Colbourne (who has just been playing Enjolras in Les Misérables)
Kim Ismay (who has just been playing Tanya in Mamma Mia!)
Sam Lupton (who is currently playing Boq in Wicked)

Alexander S. Bermange and his special guests are appearing at The Pheasantry, 152 Kings Road, Chelsea, London SW3 4UT onSunday 6th Sepember at 8pm. Tickets are available at or on 0845 6027 017. Further information about Alexander’s work, and video extracts of him in performance, can be found at

UK tour of TOM - A STORY OF TOM JONES - THE MUSICAL to open at Wales Millennium Centre, Cardiff in March 2016

Theatr na nÓg presents a TNN Production




Theatre na nÓg are delighted to present the UK tour of the TNN production of “TOM. A STORY OF TOM JONES. THE MUSICAL”, opening on Monday 7 March 2016 at Wales Millennium Centre, Cardiff. Tour schedule below with further dates to be announced shortly.

Step back in time to the dance halls, working men’s clubs and recording studios of the ‘60s where the legend of Tom Jones was born: a Valleys boy with a heart-stopping voice who dreamed of making the big time, no matter what it took.

This inspirational story of self-belief and determination is performed live on stage by a phenomenal cast of actors and musicians, celebrating an ordinary man with an extraordinary talent who became a superstar on a world stage.

Featuring hits of the era including ‘Ghost Riders in the Sky’, ‘Spanish Harlem’ and ‘Lucille’, we track Tom’s climb to stardom. Ending with some the hits that made him one of the most charismatic stars of the day: ‘It’s Not Unusual’, ‘Delilah’, ‘Green, Green Grass of Home’, ‘What’s New Pussycat’ and more.

TOM. A STORY OF TOM JONES. THE MUSICAL” is Written by Mike James and Directed by Geinor Styles, with Musical Direction by Ben Goddard, Set Design by Sean Crowley and Sound Design by Mike Beer.

Director Geinor Styles said: “Just very occasionally an opportunity comes along that has the words ’perfect fit’ written all the way through it like a stick of rock.  In this case it’s rock and roll and the compelling story of the early days of this county’s most famous son – the living legend that is Sir Tom Jones.” 

The development of this production has been supported by the Arts Council of Wales, Welsh Government, RCT, NPT Theatres and Wales Millennium Centre.


ON SALE 31 JULY 2015





ON SALE 31 JULY 2015

Emma Hatton and Savannah Stevenson extend roles in West End hit WICKED as new cast members join in September



WICKED, the award-winning classic musical that tells the incredible untold story of the Witches of Oz, is pleased to announce that the current acclaimed stars, Emma Hatton (Elphaba) and Savannah Stevenson (Glinda), have both extended their contracts and will continue with the long-running hit into 2016.

Joining them from Monday 21 September 2015 will be Oliver Savile (The Phantom of the OperaLes Misérables and the UK Tour of Cats as ‘Rum Tum Tugger’) as Fiyero; Sean Kearns (The CommitmentsThe 39 StepsBilly Elliot The Musical) as Doctor Dillamond; current West End ensemble cast member Daniel Hope as Boq and Carina Gillespie, who played Nessarose (and the role of Glinda on many occasions) on Wicked’s multi record-breaking UK & Ireland Tour, as Standby for Glinda.

Also continuing with the show are current cast members Liza Sadovy (Madame Morrible), Katie Rowley Jones (Nessarose) andNatalie Andreou (Standby for Elphaba). Further casting to be announced.

Jeremy Taylor (Fiyero), Martyn Ellis (The Wizard), Steven Pinder (Doctor Dillamond, from 10 August 2015), Sam Lupton (Boq) and Sophie Linder-Lee (Standby for Glinda) will all play their final performances on Saturday 19 September 2015. Philip Childsplays his final performance as Doctor Dillamond on Saturday 8 August 2015.

Acclaimed as one of the greatest musicals of our time (Daily Mail) and “one of the West End’s best-loved shows(, Wicked is now the 10th longest-running show in the West End and has already been seen by almost 7 million people and played over 3700 performances.

Wicked was recently awarded a coveted Certificate of Excellence by Trip Advisor® and is the first ever UK stage production to be Reader Recommended by both Good Housekeeping and Cosmopolitan magazines. It also won the 2015 ‘This Morning’ Audience Award, presented by the Olivier Awards with Mastercard. 

Around the world, Wicked has been seen by nearly 50 million people in 13 countries and won over 100 international awards. The original Broadway production remains “Broadway’s biggest blockbuster” (The New York Times) after almost 12 years at the Gershwin Theatre.

Wicked has music and lyrics by multi GRAMMY® and Academy Award® winner Stephen Schwartz, a book by Winnie Holzman,musical staging by Wayne Cilento and is directed by two-time Tony Award® winner and Olivier Award nominee Joe MantelloWicked is based on the novel ‘Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West’ by Gregory Maguire.

Wicked is produced by: Marc Platt, Universal Stage Productions, The Araca Group, Jon B. Platt and 
David Stone. Executive Producer (UK): Michael McCabe.

Apollo Victoria Theatre, Wilton Road, London, SW1V 1LG

Official UK



Apollo Victoria Theatre, Wilton Road, London, SW1V 1LG
The theatre is 1 minute from London Victoria Mainline and Underground Stations

Official UK website:

Box Office and 24Hour Credit Card Bookings:
ATG Tickets 0844 871 3001* / (*Calls cost 7p per minute, plus your phone company’s access charge)
A £3.00 ATG Tickets processing fee per transaction applies for online and telephone bookings. An up to £2.75 per ticket ATG Tickets booking fee is included in the ticket price.

No booking fees or transaction charges for tickets booked in person at the Box Office
Box Office Opening Hours: Monday - Saturday 10.00am - 7.45pm

Ticket prices: from £17.25 - £97.75 plus transaction fee
A £3.00 ATG Tickets processing fee per transaction applies for online and telephone bookings. An up to £2.75 per ticket ATG Tickets booking fee is included in the ticket price.

Group Sales (10 tickets or more): Group Line 020 7420 9700
No booking or processing fees for group bookings of 10 or more. Sales subject to terms and conditions.

Day Seats£29.50 - twenty-four front row Stalls seats released daily at 10.00am at the Box Office.

Students: Best available seats £29.50 from 10.00am at Monday-Friday 7.30pm and Wednesday & Saturday 2.30pm at the Box Office with student ID. Subject to availability. One ticket per ID.

Standby Concessions: Best available seats £29.50 from 6pm at Monday-Friday 7.30pm performances and from 12 noon at Wednesday and Saturday 2.30pm performances at the Box Office for Senior Citizens, Jobseekers, Equity, BECTU and MU members and registered disabled. Subject to availability. One ticket per ID.

All ticket prices include a £1.50 Theatre Restoration Levy.

EXTRA SHOWS ADDEDThursday 20 August, Thursday 27 August, Thursday 29 October, Monday 21 December, Thursday 24 December, Monday 28 December, Thursday 31 December 2015; Thursday 18 February, Thursday 7 April 2016 All extra shows commence at 2.30pm

Christmas 2015/16 performance schedule:

Monday 21 December – 2.30pm & 7.30pm              Monday 28 December – 2:30pm & 7:30pm
Tuesday 22 December – 7:30pm                             Tuesday 29 December – 7.30pm
Wednesday 23 December – 2:30pm & 7:30pm       Wednesday 30 December - 2.30pm & 7:30pm
Thursday 24 December – 2:30pm                            Thursday 31 December – 2:30pm
Friday 25 December – No Performance                   Friday 1 January – 7.30pm
Saturday 26 December - 2.30pm & 7.30pm             Saturday 2 January - 2.30pm & 7.30pm

Theatre Review: The Mentalists - Wyndhams Theatre ✭✭

The Mentalists
photo by Helen Maybanks
Wyndhams Theatre

Wednesday 15th July 2015: The success of playwright Richard Bean's One Man, Two Guvnors has been remarkable, playing to sell out audiences in the West End, on tour and on Broadway. But alas,  this revival of one of his plays from way back in 2002, leaves me feeling, how do I put it nicely... less than impressed.

Holed up in a faceless Finsbury Park hotel room Ted (Stephen Merchant), and Morrie (Steffan Rhodri) are forced to confront the darker side of their unique relationship. Things unravel when they enter the room so Ted can record his Utopian video message to sell at £29.99 to willing people. The pressure mounts in this tale of friendship and his visions gone awry.

As a two hander, the pace seems slow, and there is only so much you can do in a static hotel room set, it's a rather underwhelming play, and not a great choice for Stephen Merchant's West End debut. Yes he can act, but the material here isn't the greatest. Yes there a few laughs along the way, but it still leaves you wanting more from the piece.

Steffan Rhodri is very good as the hairdressing friend of Ted, and shines throughout the piece, especially at the end when consoling Ted. But again, the story is rather boring to watch. There's not a lot more I can say about this show really.

Would I recommend it? In a word, no.

The actors are good, don't get me wrong, but at £96.75 for a premium ticket... You will be left very short changed indeed.

Two stars (literally) ✭✭

Listings info

THEATRE: Wyndham’s Theatre, Charing Cross Road, London WC2H 0DA
BOX OFFICE: 0844 482 5120
TWITTER: @MentalistsPlay
DATES: until 26 September 2015
Monday – Saturday 7.45pm
Wednesday and Saturday 3pm

Standard Prices* from 17 July – 26 September
£59.50, £49.50 & £19.50

Premium price £96.75

*All ticket prices include a £1 theatre restoration levy and a £2 booking fee

Theatre Review: Memphis the Musical - Shaftesbury Theatre ✭✭✭✭✭

Memphis the Musical

Shaftesbury Theatre

Thursday 16th July 2015: Olivier and Tony® Award-winning MEMPHIS THE MUSICAL opened at the Shaftesbury Theatre to huge audience and critical acclaim in October last year. Nine months down the line, and there is a huge cast change, and tonight was the first night I have seen the show. Inspired by true events from the underground dance clubs of 1950s Memphis, Tennessee, Memphis the Musical follows the fame and forbidden love of radio DJ Huey who wants to change the world,  and club singer Felicia who is ready for her big break.

The music is rather fabulous in this show, and the songs pack a punch throughout. David Bryan has done a great job writing the music and lyrics along side Joe DiPietro. And a show like this needs good music as the cast certainly showed off their performing skills.

Where do I start with Beverley Knight playing Felicia? Faultless is one word to describe her, absolutely breathtaking vocals and acting to go with it. The last time I saw Beverley was when she made her West End debut in The Bodyguard, and she blew me away then with her talent. Tonight she has just gone to show how much of a star she is with her emotions and a controlled powerful performance.

Speaking of West End debuts, what a magnificent performance tonight from Matt Cardle playing Huey. Everyone knows he can sing from way back in the day on his time on X Factor, and I've reviewed a few of his gigs over the years here on Backstage Pass giving him rave reviews then. But tonight showed a different side to Matt, a side that shows he is to be taken seriously in the West End as the casting for this is genius. He fits in well to the role, has good comedy timing, is very likeable, can do a Memphis accent very well and to top it all off, his singing voice is sounding better than ever. One word to describe his performance tonight - "Fantastical".

But it's not just Beverley and Matt who make the show, the whole cast are a huge talented bunch, and when they are all singing together, the harmonies and the emotion brought to the music give you goosebumps at times. And again, there are some very powerful vocals on that stage, notably Rolan Bell playing Felicia's brother Delray, and Jason Pennycooke playing Bobby - superb stuff!

The show looks good, its a nice set design, which is wonderfully lit, and the hard working band sound great. Its everything a musical should be, storyline, good music, looks and sounds good, what more can I say - go and see it!

Five stars ✭✭✭✭✭

Photo credits -  Johan Persson

Listings Info

Shaftesbury Theatre, 
Shaftesbury Avenue, 
London WC2H 8DP
Performances          Monday to Saturday at 7.30pm
                              Wednesday & Saturday at 2.30pm
Ticket Prices           £20 to £67.50         

Wild Zebra makes Scottish debut at the Edinburgh Playhouse

Written By Lisa Davidson on Thursday, 16 July 2015 | 20:00

“The Chinese Dream” is the overarching  theme of the new Chinese leadership under President Xi Jinping. And for one primary school in Haidian, Beijing, a small part of that dream will come true this summer, when its pupils perform in the UK's largest theatre, The Edinburgh Playhouse on Thursday 13th August.

Wild Zebra is a spectacular fantasy ballet created by General Zhang Jigang, one of the famed "Three Zhangs" who produced the opening and closing ceremonies for the Beijing Olympics in 2008. For more than a year 150 pupils aged from 8 to 12, from the Zhonguancun No. 2 Primary School, have been rehearsing. Their show has a full ballet corps of 75 dancers, and a full symphony orchestra of similar size.

Wild Zebra's debut made a splash in China – covered on CCTV national news (China's equivalent of the BBC). And several TV stations have committed to following the tour to the UK, along with newspapers including Global Times, and Tencent, the Chinese social media operator that is the biggest in the world.

The show tells the story of the struggle between an evil bear and a wild zebra who is willing to sacrifice all to save her loved one.

One of the key messages of Wild Zebra is a theme of common interest that inspires young people throughout the world today - the importance of protecting wildlife and nurturing the environment. This is now a critical issue in China, and the Chinese government has made environmental protection one of its very highest priorities.

"I should emphasize that this is a not-for-profit project," says Jiang Tao. "We are trying to secure support and sponsorship at the highest levels in China and Scotland. So far, the results have been very encouraging – but we are still looking! We need sponsorship because we do have to cover our costs – and the best venues in Britain don't come cheap. But our sponsors will get great exposure in China through coverage by the biggest television broadcasters, newspapers, and social networking sites in the country."

"If we can generate a surplus," he adds, "We'll try to make donations to appropriate charities such as WWF, and we'll reinvest the money in supporting children on cultural exchanges between China and the UK.

2015 has been formally designated as China-UK Year of Cultural Exchange, and Wild Zebra is part of the official program of events. It has been entered in the "Fringe Firsts" competition.

Underpinned by a government-to-government agreement set out at the UK-China Summit in London in 2014, and launched during the visit of Prince William to China in March, the 2015 UK-China Year of Cultural Exchange will showcase the very best of UK culture in China and Chinese culture in the UK. The Year will comprise two ‘seasons’ of culture – a UK season in China in the first half of 2015 and a China season in the UK in the second half of 2015. Hundreds of millions of people in China, the UK and globally will have access to the very best of British and Chinese arts.

Oriental FairyTales - Wild Zebra,
The Edinburgh Playhouse
13 August @ 19:30
Tickets: £18; Concessions £14; Family ticket (x 4) £40.
Playhouse Box Office: 0844 871 3014
Fringe Box Office: 0131 226 0000

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