Take a sneaky peek at the upcoming season at Glasgow's King's Theatre and Theatre Royal!

Preview by Sharman Prince

Backstage Pass were lucky to be treated to a fantastic sneak preview of the highlights of the glittering selection of shows forthcoming to Glasgow's two primary theatres last night. The evening was jovially presented by Glasgow stalwart Des Clarke whose humour and warmth unified the evening and who interacted easily with both audience and the special guests who appeared to give the audience a sneaky glimpse into the upcoming productions.

The first preview was for "Avenue Q" which will be at the King’s Theatre 25-29 August. The quirky musical was well represented by a performance between human and puppet of the song "Schadenfreude". Parents be warned that this is not a production for those under 15 years of age as it consists of rather naughty material but is nonetheless a most hilarious production. 

"East is East" was previewed next and we were treated to actress Sally Bankes talking along with her producer about a play that has become somewhat iconic and which remains relevant given its themes of family and cultural divides in 1970s Salford. Ayub Khan Din's semi-autobiographical play about life in a multi-cultural family will star Pauline McLynn who recently appeared in "Eastenders" and will run at the Theatre Royal Aug 10-15.

One of the world's most popular choreographers Matthew Bourne made an appearance and discussed his new tour of "Sleeping Beauty" which will run at the Theatre Royal 17-21 November. Bourne, in discussion with Clarke, talked about his approach in taking a simple story-line that most people think they know and to add a twist that creates a new, excitement element that is inherently theatrical and dramatic whilst retaining the power of story-telling through movement alone. Bourne also commented on his links with Glasgow where he first worked with a group of young men on his production of "Lord of the Flies" and how it felt like 'coming' home' for him. The world-famous choreographer also hinted at his next project which is to be based on a classic British movie about Ballet.

Next we were treated to a lovely rendition of the classic "I Don't Know How To Love Him" from "Jesus Christ Superstar" which is coming to the King’s October 5-10. The classic, epic rock musical will star Glenn Carter in the title role, a role he has portrayed in the West End, on Broadway and in the 2000 Really Useful film. Royal Conservatoire of Scotland graduate, Kara Swinney, understudying the role of "Mary Magdalene", sung to a simple piano accompaniment showcasing her broad, emotive vocals. The production is an impressive one and features one of Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice's most exciting scores.

Nigel Havers and Christine Kavanagh treated us to an impromptu performance of part of the Oscar Wilde classic "The Importance Of Being Earnest". Proving that Wilde's comedy is still as powerful as ever the duo managed to convey the joy and effervescence inherent in a production that uses a framing device of an amateur company performing Wilde's play to facilitate the more mature actors performing such youthful roles whilst creating a new take on a true classic. Additional material is written by Simon Brett and promises to be a charming and funny event. Sian Phillips is also starring in the production that will run November 24-28 at the Theatre Royal.

The new Elvis Presley-inspired musical "Love Me Tender" will run at the King’s theatre 3-8 August and will star Mica Paris in a production that took ten years to mount. Loosely based around the Broadway musical "All Shook Up", the plot centres around a romance between a tomboy mechanic and the stranger who rides into town. The production will feature many of the hits of the "King of Rock-n-Roll".

Producer Adam Spiegel, who is producing "Love Me Tender", is also presenting the hilarious Mel Brooks musical "The Producers” which will star Jason Manford, Ross Noble and Olivier award winner David Bedella in a show about a producer and his accountants plot to make money by creating the worst musical ever made. Based on Brooks’ film and featuring "Springtime For Hitler" the show will, no doubt, be a riot from start to finish and runs Jun 15-20 at the Theatre Royal.
Spiegel is also presenting what could be called the farewell tour of former "Strictly Come Dancing" stars  Vincent Simone and Flavia Cacace in a piece that centres around the passion of the tango. Appropriately named "The Last Tango" the production will run from the 30 November to December 5 at the Theatre Royal.

"Britain's Got Bhangra" will be presented at the King’s Theatre September 21-26 and will follow "Twinkle" from farmer's son to Bhangra star. The musical will feature energetic, exuberant song and dance as demonstrated in this preview by Shin DCS who, despite being a lone figure on the Royal stage, managed to get the audience involved with a gusto that is a promising example of a different kind of musical. Prepare those Bhangra moves!

The penultimate preview was for the forthcoming King’s theatre pantomime which, this year, is "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs".  Starring Des Clarke, Gregor Fisher and Juliet Cadzow the 51st King’s panto will, no doubt, be as successful as the previous 50. In a humorous, relaxed chat with Clarke both Fisher and Cadzow reminisced about the panto legends they had worked with and how the legacy of pantomime is an enduring one. The pantomime will run from December 4 to January 10 2016 with a special, relaxed performance on January 8.

The final preview of the evening was for the classy musical "Dirty Rotten Scoundrels". Star Michael Praed presented a number from the show and, given his effortless, elegant performance will probably be worth the ticket price alone. The touring production will also feature Noel Sullivan, Carley Stenson and Mark Benton and may be one of the classiest productions around, despite its subject matter of two conmen and the trouble that ensues following the appearance of a beautiful woman in their midst. Based on the classic film that starred Michael Caine the show will, I am sure, be a highlight at the King’s Theatre running 23-27 June 2015.

Given such a wonderful variety in this fantastic highlight selection there is undoubtedly something for everyone at the King’s theatre or the Theatre Royal this coming year. 

For tickets and information for all productions visit