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The Ambassador Theatre Group

Autumn/Winter 2009

Sheridan Smith Duncan James John Simm Matt Lucas Jane Asher Joanna Page and more...




The Ambassador Theatre Group



John Simm So cute... and a detective as well! Guaranteed I’ll be first in the queue for Speaking in Tongues at the Duke of York’s Box Office:

OMIGOD You Guys - It’s Elle!

0844 871 7623

The ultimate feel-good musical!

Theatre this Autumn.

The Master At Work

1 3

John Simm centre stage just where we want him


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staff, readings, debates - and a

Little Britain’s Matt Lucas

tackles a tragic tale

Sweeney - seduced by panto

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The Car’s The Star



Top gear as Chitty Chitty Bang Bang goes on tour

What’s On In London





Win a Legally Blonde-style party!

I shall go to the ball!

Basque In Glory


Fish out your fishnets for the

for the very best in panto

Rocky Horror Show


Starry Nights Broadway’s hit musical comedy


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For love letters... or lecture notes.

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the Savoy Theatre. I can’t wait.

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The brief - have fun with

AMBASSADOR GROUP PRODUCTIONS AMBASSADOR THEATRE GROUP LONDON THEATRES Comedy Theatre 0844 871 7622 Donmar Warehouse 0844 871 7624 Duke of York’s Theatre 0844 871 7623 Fortune Theatre 0844 871 7626 Phoenix Theatre 0844 871 7629 Piccadilly Theatre 0844 871 7630 Playhouse Theatre 0844 871 7631 Savoy Theatre 0844 871 7687 Trafalgar Studios 0844 871 7632 AMBASSADOR THEATRE GROUP REGIONAL THEATRES Theatre Royal Brighton 0844 8717 650 Churchill Theatre Bromley 0844 8717 620 Kings Theatre Glasgow 0844 8717 648 Theatre Royal Glasgow 0844 8717 647 Milton Keynes Theatre 0844 8717 652 Richmond Theatre 0844 8717 651 Regent Theatre & Victoria Hall Stoke-on-Trent 0844 8717 649 New Wimbledon Theatre & New Wimbledon Studio 0844 8717 646 Ambassadors Cinemas Woking 0844 8717 643 New Victoria Theatre & Rhoda McGaw Theatre Woking 0844 8717 645 Online booking at Jessamy Hadley Editor Pat Westwell, Mark Shenton, Benedict Nightingale, Al Senter, Robin Stringer, Vicky Brown, Barry Grant, Dan Hadley, Mark Bouman, Neena Dhillon, David Bradbury Contributors Shaun Webb Design Design and Art Direction John Good Print The Ambassador Theatre Group Ltd 39 - 41 Charing Cross Road, London WC2H OAR The views expressed in this magazine are those of the authors and not necessarily those of the Ambassador Theatre Group Ltd.

Legally Blonde photography by Uli Webber

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Savoy Theatre

Legally Blonde The Musical From 5 Dec 2009 Box Office 0844 871 7687 Online booking at

OMIGOD YouGuysIt’s Elle! Sheridan Smith and Duncan James star in the award-winning Broadway sensation

Interview by Mark Shenton

A word from Duncan James: Hi everyone - I’m really excited to be playing Warner in Legally Blonde - it’s going to be fantastic! From the minute the curtain comes up, you are being entertained. There’s singing, dancing (and dogs!) and I think that everybody is going to leave the theatre with a huge, huge smile on their face. Not a lot of Blue - but there’ll definitely be some pink - see you there!

28-year-old Sheridan Smith is

Theatre: ‘I learnt a lot from

the Menier Chocolate Factory’s

already a West End veteran,

them. And what I’ve done ever

production of Little Shop of

having made her debut there

since is to take a little bit from

Horrors and admits that she was

heads to Harvard to study law,

aged just 16 when she starred

each job I do.’

daunted by the prospect: ‘When

Sheridan says about herself,

I first came to London and

‘Elle’s much more intelligent

in the National Youth Music

She’s just filmed a Jonathan

I can carry on eating burgers!’ Unlike her character Elle, who

Theatre’s production of Bugsy

Creek special with Alan Davies

realised how amazing everyone

than me. Everyone sees her as a

Malone. ‘It was lucky that my

that will be shown next Easter,

in the West End is, I didn’t think

dumb blonde but actually she’s

agent saw me in that,’ she notes

and uses it to prove the point:

I would be getting to play

pretty bright.’

now, ‘as I don’t think I would

‘He’s got detective acting down

leading ladies like this!’

have been able to afford to go

to a tee - he’s a master at it. I can

to drama school! I blagged my

see the cogs turning in his head.

Legally Blonde is one she actively

way into the business, and I’m

So I’ve been watching how he

chased.’ ‘When I heard it was

still blagging it!’ she jokes.

does it, and I’m always learning.’

coming over from Broadway, I

Actually, she’s being modest: by the time she did Bugsy Malone, she’d already earned her

The role of Elle Woods in

got my agent to ring up and find

A mega hit.’

out when they were auditioning!

‘A non-stop sugar rush of a show.’ New York Times Sheridan identifies with Elle,

I then got the original cast

whom she calls ‘so adorable, so

recording and listened to it every

positive and so loyal: she loves

day. My recall was in front of

her friends and family, and I

some of the best, notching up an

about 15 people, including the

hope I’m similar in a way. I love

impressive array of credits along

composer and writers, and I was

going home to Epworth, outside

out on a formal training,

the way. She’s appeared on TV

the most nervous I’ve ever been

Doncaster - I’m really a country

performing was in her blood

in The Royle Family with Caroline

in an audition. My legs were

bumpkin. But Elle is very pink

Aherne, and starred in such

literally shaking! But it went all

and girly, whereas I’m a bit more

acclaimed series as Two Pints

right, and they called me later

of a tomboy.’ And Legally Blonde

I danced

of Lager and a Packet of Crisps,

that day and said I had the part -

couldn’t be a better showcase for

from the

Grown Ups, Eyes Down (with

and I screamed for the next hour!’

her: ‘There’s so much comedy

age of four

Paul O’Grady), Gavin and Stacey

stage dues, having appeared in the title role of the musical Annie no less than three times. Though she may have missed

from an early age: ‘It’s all I ever wanted to do!

to 16, and

Wall Street Journal She’s managed to learn from

She adds, ‘I loved the film, but

and pathos and dancing and

and Benidorm - a new series of

this is even better - it’s more pink

singing and live dogs too - plus


the latter is now airing. ‘I play

and camp and fabulous as a

I get to kiss Duncan James every


a Scouse slapper in that, and

musical!’ She’s had to put herself

night. It couldn’t get any better!’

I loved it, and I

a Cockney chav in Gavin and

in serious training for the role -

Stacey, so it’s been quite a

she’s taken singing lessons and

year,’ she quips.

has hired a personal trainer, too.


‘You have to be fit, and I have

Meet Duncan James at our

always wanted to be onstage.’ She also spent

And it is now crowned by the

three summers

leading role in another major

a very healthy appetite and I

after-show Q&A: Sunday 17

with the National

West End musical. Three years

love chocolate and crisps, but at

and Sunday 24 Jan 2010 only!

Youth Music

ago she headlined as Audrey in

least I’ll be working it off! I hope

Supported by


that’s when he has spent the day

restlessness that led Simm to

Lancashire, to join students he

doing short takes in front of the

annoy the BBC by turning down

found dauntingly sophisticated

camera. One of the reasons he’s

a third series of the hugely

and intellectual at London’s

returned to the theatre is that,

successful Life on Mars and to

Drama Centre. He willingly

instead of learning and then

tell me now that, at 39, he’s

admits he’s self-educated, a big

forgetting his lines, he could

not ready to retreat to the

reader of the classics, and thinks

explore character in depth,

comfort zone of playing, say, a

one of the joys of the job is the

carry an entire role in his head -

nice detective in Jersey for year

research that comes with it:

and become the troubled Leon

after year. Mark you, he found

devouring Dostoevsky when he

as fully as he became the

playing Elling eight times a

played Raskolnikov in Crime

oddball Elling.

week exhausting, especially

and Punishment on TV, learning

on matinee days. ‘I’d never done

everything about Van Gogh

challenge of a tricky but

such a long run and there were

when he took that part.

fascinating play. Bovell asks his

times when I felt, I can’t do this

actors to double their roles,

any more. But other actors have

film adaptation of a major novel,

plays tricks with time, and uses

told me that’s normal: you’re

one whose identity he can’t yet

overlapping dialogue that’s

terrified at first, then it’s really

reveal but potentially as fulfilling

tough to learn and demands

enjoyable for quite a while, then

as Edward Sexby, the 17th-

But the main reason is the

His next project could be a

I needed to feel those awful nerves you get on first nights, when you say, what on earth am I doing to myself? But that’s exhilarating and makes you feel alive.

musical precision to deliver. At

you feel you’ve hit a brick wall,

century puritan he played in

one point, Simm’s onstage Nick

then you know it’s the home

The Devil’s Whore. After that,

even has to be interviewed by

run and you enjoy it again.’

who knows? Hollywood is well

Simm’s offstage Leon. ‘I was

For reasons he can’t

aware of him, though the

beginning to find film work too

understand, though maybe

investigative reporter he played

easy. The muscle I used to keep

because he lives what he calls

in State of Play on the small

lines in my head was getting far

‘quite a boring life’, preferring

screen ended up going to Russell

too relaxed. I needed a kick up

the company of his wife and

Crowe on the big one. But he’d

the arse and to get back to work,

young children to celebrity

love to have a go at Hamlet,

work, work. I needed to feel

antics, Simm has a reputation

‘before it’s too late’, and other

those awful nerves you get on

for disliking interviews. Well, I

classic roles. And why not? The

first nights, when you say, what

have to say he’s one of the least

living theatre may unsettle him -

on earth am I doing to myself?

defensive people I’ve met. He’s

‘I’m terrified of this play, I’m

But that’s exhilarating and makes

also as unpretentious as he surely

terrified of being back onstage’ -

you feel alive.’

was when, the son of a musician,

but it’s where many of us want

he came down from Darwin,

him to be.

That’s a sign of the creative

Top image: Elling Bottom image: Life on Mars

The Master At Work John Simm on the highly charged thriller Speaking In Tongues

John Simm is known to the world

of prissy disdain so meticulous it

over a sexual lapse that imperils

as the time-travelling detective

extended to his voice, his uptight

his marriage, and Nick, an

in Life on Mars, one of David

carriage, even a twitching of

ordinary bloke wrongly

Tennant’s more formidable foes

the mouth.

suspected of murder.

in Dr Who and other characters

Interview by Benedict Nightingale


Elling marked Simm’s return

When we met between

that demonstrate the strength

to the theatre after an absence

rehearsals Simm looked his usual

of British television. But I last

of 11 years and brought him

dapper self but was, he

recall seeing him in 2007 at the

a deserved Olivier nomination.

apologetically said, having bouts

Duke of York’s Theatre

Trafalgar Studios as a nerdy loner

And now here he is at the Duke

of insomnia that explained why

and agoraphobic called Elling.

of York’s in a play that gives him

his head felt like scrambled eggs.

Speaking in Tongues

Looking and sounding like a

no less than two chances to

But maybe that wasn’t surprising,

blend of a white mouse and

prove again that he’s as much

since he thought that a guilt-

the late Kenneth Williams, he

at home onstage as onscreen.

ridden Leon would be having

Photography by

half-padded, half-scuttled out of

Andrew Bovell’s Speaking in

sleepless nights. Usually Simm

Johan Persson and

the wardrobe in which he’d slept

Tongues, in which Simm is both

can, as he said, ‘go home and

the night to present a portrait

Leon, a detective anguishing

leave the role at the door’, but

Mark Campbell

By Andrew Bovell Starring John Simm, Ian Hart, Lucy Cohu and Kerry Fox Box Office 0844 871 7623 Online booking at 4

Presented by



Theatre Royal, Brighton

Peter Pan 4 Dec 2009 - 3 Jan 2010 Box Office 08448 717 650

New Victoria Theatre, Woking

Cinderella Starring Joanna Page, Michael Aspel and Jon Lee Further major star casting tba 4 Dec 2009 - 10 Jan 2010 Box Office 0844 871 7645

Milton Keynes Theatre

Cinderella Starring Bobby Davro, Anthea doing the show for, and young

Turner and Louise Dearman

will be appearing as The Wicked

audiences in particular will

4 Dec 2009 - 17 Jan 2010

Witch in Snow White and the

have eagle eyes. They’re a

Box Office 0844 871 7652

day, sometimes

Seven Dwarfs at Richmond

very perceptive and important

Claire points out. ‘Doing two shows every in the middle

Theatre, is returning to the

audience, and for many of

Churchill Theatre, Bromley

of it you can

panto after a long absence. ‘I did

them it will also be their first

feel like it’s

Cinderella at Bromley when I was

experience of theatre.’

Sleeping Beauty

a grind. But

about 17 - I can still remember

Playing the Wicked Witch,

you’ve got to

the pink glittery wig I wore in

‘a woman who was once good

the transformation scene and

looking but who is not what she

that there were lots of white

used to be’, is she notes, ‘not a

ponies, with all the ensuing

big stretch! Sadly, you’ve got all

problems that having live

those mirrors that tell you the


animals onstage can cause!’

truth and you can’t quite face

Star cast to be announced!

it!’ But Jane, who juggles her

4 Dec 2009 -10 Jan 2010 Box Office 0844 871 7646

keep it alive and sparky.’ For Joanna Page, best known for her TV role in Gavin and Stacey and who this year is starring in

From l-r: Jane Asher, Claire Sweeney & Joanna Page

‘It’s so wonderful to go out there and feel the buzz in the audience that you forget how tired you are! To see all the children with their little glow sticks, shouting out to you, and excited to be there, feels so special.’


OhYes It Is! From Cinderella to Wicked Queen - there’s no business like panto business

Jane Asher, who this year

She’s delighted to be

Starring Claire Sweeney 4 Dec 2009 - 10 Jan 2010 Box Office 0844 871 7620

New Wimbledon Theatre

the title role of Cinderella at

returning, not least because,

acting with running a thriving

Woking’s New Victoria Theatre,

as she puts it, ‘I now have four

sideline in cakes, isn’t resting on

appearing in pantomime is a

lovely step-grandchildren, and

her laurels, for her life is all

Regent Theatre, Stoke-on-Trent

special treat.

they’re excited about the idea

about facing reality: ‘If someone

Dick Whittington

‘I just love it’, she says - ‘I love

of granny doing a panto!’ But

had said twenty years ago I’d

Starring Jonathan Wilkes,

Christmas and I love working in

she’s taking it very seriously:

be running a cake business, I

Sheila Ferguson and Christian

theatre, but normally I don’t get

‘One of the most important

wouldn’t have believed it. It’s


the chance to sing and dance

things about doing panto - and

very surreal how these things

10 Dec 2009 -10 Jan 2010 Box Office 0844 871 7649

Variety is the spice of life, and

staged a comeback and is now

that’s their first introduction

and have fun like that. But this

it’s often forgotten - is that it

happen in life - you don’t plan

lately it has been staging a TV

more popular than ever. There’s

to the theatre, that’s fantastic!’

is how I first got into performing,

can’t all be about the actors

for anything, you just lurch from

comeback thanks to the

been huge investment on both

so it’s good to get to have fun

having a laugh. Of course it

one thing to another, and what

Kings Theatre, Glasgow

popularity of such TV reality

sides of the footlights, and actors

as Carrion, the Wicked Fairy, in

again. The rest of the year you

should be deeply silly and corny

was a hobby became a business.’

entertainment shows as X Factor,

love being in them as much as

Sleeping Beauty at Bromley’s

don’t get a chance to do that.’

and there have to be lots of

But the two worlds may collide


Britain’s Got Talent and Strictly

audiences love watching them.

Churchill Theatre, and says, ‘I

But like Claire, she points

jokes and references to TV, but

in Richmond: ‘I expect there to

Come Dancing. But now that

It’s the sense of being part of a

Claire is appearing this year

prefer it to being Principal Boy.

out it is also gruelling: ‘It’s

if I see actors mucking about,

be lots of lovely cake jokes in the panto!’, she quips.

Starring Gerard Kelly, Karen Dunbar, Keith Jack and Gavin Mitchell

live variety has virtually fallen

long tradition. As Claire Sweeney

It’s a far juicier role - it’s fun to

absolutely exhausting. It can be

that makes me upset. You always

off the end of the pier, the sole

- herself a veteran of TV’s Strictly

be evil. They’ve made me the

very physical and demanding.

have to remember who you are

survivor of its interactive, family-

Come Dancing, as well as

most wonderful costume for

But it’s so wonderful to go out

orientated traditions in the

Celebrity Big Brother - puts it,

the part – it’s a joy to be both

there and feel the buzz in the

theatre may well be pantomime.

‘What I love about it is quite

glamorous and evil. I wouldn’t

audience that you forget how

Supporting the Theatres for Theatres Appeal

The last few years have seen

personal. Pantomime was my

say I am typecast!’

tired you are! To see all the

in aid of Great Ormond Street Hospital

Snow White

children with their little glow

Starring Jane Asher, Tim Vine

But it isn’t just about having

4 Dec 2009 - 17 Jan 2010 Box Office 0844 871 7648

Richmond Theatre

its resurgence as a creative force:

first introduction to the theatre

far from being seen off by the

as a child, and it’s such a joy to

fun. It’s also, for the actors,

sticks, shouting out to you,

© 2007 Great Ormond Street Hospital Children’s Charity.

and Sapphire Elia

Feature by

competition of digital-era

see kids in the theatre, believing

incredibly hard work. ‘You have

and excited to be there, feels

Registered charity no 235825

4 Dec 2009 - 10 Jan 2010

Mark Shenton

entertainments, panto has

in magic and paying attention! If

to keep your resilience up,’

so special.’

Box Office 0844 871 7651



of Reeves and Mortimer’s

slightly different story. Kenneth

players in Hollywood with

Shooting Stars (BBC2), his superb

was very much a mentor for

a screenwriting deal with

comic characterisations in Little

Orton and they had a very happy

Dreamworks, among other

Britain were a revelation. Lucas is

life together in the early days,

commitments. And Lucas will

no stranger to live performance,

at least. But then Orton started

be seen next year as both

of course, with his pedigree in

having a bit of success and

Tweedledum and Tweedledee

stand-up and the transfer of

Halliwell got left behind.’

in Tim Burton’s all-star realisation

Little Britain to the stage.

Bob Mortimer, who reportedly

of Alice in Wonderland. ‘My game plan is never to

However, he now has to inhabit

spotted Lucas doing stand-up

the leading character and

in a North London pub and then

have a game plan’ says Lucas.

maintain it for several hours

helped him on his way up the

‘I’ve been offered other jobs

in the theatre.

show business ladder, famously

but they have mostly been in

Lucas argues that previous

described Lucas as the angriest

the comedy mainstream and I

treatments of the fifteen year

person he’d ever met. As a gay,

feel that I’ve rather done that.

Orton-Halliwell relationship,

Jewish, overweight, bald young

I’ve already pressed those

as reflected in John Lahr’s

man, Lucas may have been

buttons. David and I remain best

entitled to feel a little vexed at

friends. We’re writing together

belonging to so many persecuted

and Little Britain will come back.

film version, have failed to

minorities. That rage would

Why not? We love doing it.’

do justice to Halliwell.

appear to have vanished with

Orton biography and in the subsequent Stephen Frears

Those expecting Lucas to be a zany funster offstage will be

Doing this play has been quite a challenge for me’ he says. ‘There’s nowhere for me to hide and I shall either sink or swim. I could have gone for a much safer choice, I suppose, a silly farce or something. But what would have been the point of that?

disappointed. What is striking about him is his steely

Image courtesy of BBC/PETT

professionalism. For all the flaky


characters he’s played, there is something of the businessman about him with a shrewd understanding of his own worth and a hard-headed analysis of showbiz realities. ‘People invest time and money

‘Previously, in the book and

the acclaim given to Little

in the film, Kenneth comes across

Britain, however, and fury

as a kind of curmudgeon. He and

must be hard to sustain with a

to deliver to those people to the

Orton were in what we’d now

reputed £15 million in the bank.

best of my ability. I’m not

call a co-dependent relationship.

Although opinions differ

in me and so I have an obligation

interested in reviews or audience

But a lot of people, including

about the impact made by Little

figures. What does concern me

Orton’s sister Leonie and friends

Britain USA, both Lucas and

is giving the best performance

who knew them at RADA, tell a

Walliams appear to be significant

I can.’

Great Briton There is more to Matt Lucas than meets the eye

starring role in the West End.

quarters at a boutique hotel

The play has at last been

in Brighton, conscientiously

presented to an audience who

Pinter’s No Man’s Land in the

dispensing answers to journalists.

lapped it up and Lucas’s natural

West End last year and I found

At the time of writing, Lucas is

performing instinct ‘You mean

that very inspiring. I’d also seen

on a brief pre-London tour of

I’m a show-off?’ has done

Daniel Kramer’s fantastic

Prick Up Your Ears, Simon Bent’s

the rest.

production of Bent a couple of

play about the tragic relationship

Interview by Al Senter Photography by 7

Catherine Ashmore

appeared in the frame.

Matt Lucas is entombed in his

‘I’m having a great time’ he

‘David (Walliams) was in

years ago with Chris New and I

between Joe Orton and his lover

says. ‘I’ve never done anything

decided that I’d like to work

Kenneth Halliwell. Lucas plays

like this before and so it’s

with them one day. I knew that

Halliwell with Chris New as

been very useful to have had

I’d learn a lot from both Daniel

Orton and Gwen Taylor as

what amounts to five weeks

and Chris and I felt that it would

their neighbour in Daniel

of previews.’

make me raise my game.’

Kramer’s production. Lucas sounds positive about what is effectively his first

Lucas had been looking for a

To those who only knew Lucas

suitable stage project for some

in his lurid Babygro astride a set

time before Prick Up Your Ears

of drums in the madcap world

Comedy Theatre

Prick Up Your Ears Starring Matt Lucas, Chris New and Gwen Taylor Box Office 0844 871 7622 Online booking at 8


original, then the show was not

Bang Bang remains a mighty

and in full view of the audience,

that different from any other

big show to tour. It took £3

passion overcame them. ‘The


million to stage and it still takes

audience were ecstatic,’ Rose

12 45ft trucks and 100 crew to

recalls. ‘The dogs had put the

umpteen scene changes not to

move it and set it up at the

bang bang into Chitty Chitty.’

mention 11 dogs and their

next venue. Inevitably, in such

But there is only one star of

handlers, who travel with the

a technologically complicated,

this show, and it’s Chitty herself.

show, and 20 children and

computer-driven production

‘If anyone gets too grand, Chitty

Of course, it does also involve

their chaperones, who have to be recruited in each venue nine weeks ahead of opening and then rehearsed. Nevertheless, the technical

innovations, which introduced a massive portable steel deck hiding many of Chitty’s secrets and designed to fit into the smallest venue on the tour, have enabled a show that once took two weeks to move to be transferred in a few days. By the time the British tour

reminds us,’ says Rose. ‘She just

Chitty Chitty Bang Bang remains a mighty big show to tour. It took £3 million to stage and it still takes 12 45ft trucks and 100 crew to move it and set it up at the next venue.

puts her foot down - or her wheel down - and stops. It very rarely happens now because the technology has improved so much and the show has been running for so long.’ When it does happen, it can be less to do with the engineering and more to do with human fallibility. During one Palladium show, a double instead of a single push on a button sent Chitty backwards

was being planned, that

with a cast of over 30 and

instead of forwards at a critical

turnaround time had already

an orchestra of 14 as well as

moment and it crashed into

been achieved by the American

children and dogs, there will be

the ship.

touring version of the show and

glitches. But problems have been

key British personnel were flown

ironed out in the course of the

back of the circle,’ Rose recalled.

out to the United States to pick

show’s various manifestations

‘We had Prince Charles and

the brains of their American

and other trivial slip-ups often

Camilla Parker Bowles in that


go unnoticed by audiences.

night. I just wanted the ground

In the interim, the opportunity

Some, however, cannot be

‘I remember standing at the

to open up.’ But there’s no getting round

was also taken to improve the

anticipated. Animals, though

writing and structure of the

well trained, have minds of their

the fact that he is proud of his

show. Adrian Noble and his

own. Rose remembers one hot

team and the incredible

production team came back to

summer night at the Palladium

organisational feat that is the

re-direct it and Rose believes it

when two dogs got caught in

Chitty tour. He likes to think that

now has greater clarity, pace

front of the front cloth when

it has revised one of theatre’s

and energy than before.

they should have disappeared

oldest adages: that actors should

Even with these dramatic

backstage with their fellows.

never work with animals or

improvements, Chitty Chitty

In the heat of the moment

children - or flying cars.

The Car’s The Star Chitty Chitty Bang Bang

The original phantasmagorical machine goes on tour

Kings Theatre, Glasgow When Chitty Chitty Bang Bang opened at the London Palladium

Robin Stringer Photography by 9

Alistair Muir

Yet seven years later, as if by

not a small show.’ The achievement is down to

20 Oct - 14 Nov 2009 Box Office 0844 871 7648

in 2002, it was said that the show

magic, Chitty is flitting round

the original creative team still

could not possibly tour. It was

the country on a 15-month tour.

working on the show which

Regent Theatre, Stoke-on-Trent

far too big and technologically

Co-producer Michael Rose is

includes the key contribution of

complex to be packaged and

still amazed at the achievement.

Delstar Engineering and Stage

17 Nov - 5 Dec 2009 Box Office 0844 871 7649

put on the road.

‘I am sitting in the theatre in

Technologies, the company

Woking on a Tuesday afternoon

responsible for the flying

the title of the single most

watching a dress rehearsal with

mechanism. It has devised a new,

expensive stage prop ever

the orchestra in the pit and all

much lighter system for touring

23 Feb 2010 - 13 Mar 2010 Box Office 0844 871 7652

created at a cost of £750,000,

the bits working, and conscious

which parks the car at the back

New Wimbledon Theatre

was the bugbear. At the

that the show had only

of the stage instead of under it.

Palladium, the non-functioning

completed its Norwich run on

Rose was always convinced

revolve had been removed to

Saturday night. I am thinking,

that, if the team could come up

16 Mar 2010 - 3 Apr 2010 Box Office 0844 871 7646

make room for the car in the

God, these people are clever.

with a flying method which lost

‘garage’ under the stage. How

How do they do that? This is

none of the magic of the

The ‘flying’ car, which boasts

Feature by

could that be replicated on tour?

Milton Keynes Theatre

Online booking at


What’s What’s OnOn


Buy Your West End Tickets Here COMEDY THEATRE 0844 871 7622


Prick Up Your Ears

La Cage Aux Folles

Starring Matt Lucas, Chris New and Gwen Taylor

The smash hit musical from The Menier Chocolate Factory Starring John Barrowman

DONMAR WAREHOUSE 0844 871 7624

SAVOY THEATRE 0844 871 7687

Life Is A Dream

Legally Blonde The Musical

By Pedro Calderon de la Barca in a new version by Helen Edmundson


Starring Sheridan Smith and Duncan James From 5 December

DUKE OF YORK’S THEATRE 0844 871 7623

TRAFALGAR STUDIO 1 0844 871 7632

Speaking in Tongues


By Andrew Bovell Starring John Simm, Ian Hart, Lucy Cohu and Kerry Fox

By William Shakespeare Starring Lenny Henry #### ‘A triumph’ Daily Telegraph

FORTUNE THEATRE 0844 871 7626

TRAFALGAR STUDIO 2 0844 871 7632

The Woman in Black

My Real War 1914-?

‘A brilliant spine-chiller’ The Guardian

Starring Philip Desmeules 5 - 31 October Studio 2 has been made possible by a generous donation from Christina Smith

WIN A on Haymarket features three

Savoy Theatre

OLD VIC 0870 060 6628

TRAFALGAR STUDIO 2 0844 871 7632

exciting themed areas; the

Inherit The Wind

Perfect Pitch

Bond room, Cabanas and the

Cast includes Kevin Spacey

West End showcase and one-off gala concert of ‘Through The Door’ 3 - 8 November

British room with memorabilia

Legally Blonde The Musical

dedicated to each theme. Ideally located for many of the West End Theatres, why not go along and give it a try!


PHOENIX THEATRE 0844 871 7629

YOUNG VIC 0844 871 7608

Willy Russell’s

Irving Berlin’s

Blood Brothers

Annie Get Your Gun

Add a bit of sparkle to your

Legally Blonde The Musical will

together with a night out to

Starring Mel C (The Spice Girls) ‘Brings the audience to its feet and roaring its approval’ Daily Mail

Starring Jane Horrocks and Julian Ovenden

winter festivities and win a

take you from the social whirl

remember in London, simply


fabulous night out in London

of California Campus life to

answer the following question:

One winner will be drawn at

for you and your friends!

Harvard’s Halls of Justice with

Q: In the film of Legally Blonde -

random after the closing date. The

the West End’s brightest new

which American actress

prize includes six tickets (Mon - Thurs



same name, Legally Blonde The

heroine (and of course, her

played Elle?



Musical is the award-winning

Chihuahua, Bruiser).

Starring Ray Quinn (winner of ITV’s Dancing On Ice, The X Factor) as Danny and Emma Stephens as Sandy

Based on the hit movie of the

Starring Brian Conley ‘The musical with everything. A triumph!’ Observer

Broadway sensation created by

Book your tickets online at - no per ticket fee

And to make your evening

To win six tickets for Legally Blonde at the Savoy Theatre

performances between 8 Dec and 7 Jan excluding 28 - 31 Dec only), to see Legally Blonde at the Savoy

Please return your answer,

Theatre plus six meals at Planet

a top-of-their-class creative team,

even more special, your group

not forgetting your name,

Hollywood, a bottle of pink

led by Tony award-winning

can look forward to a meal at

address and telephone number

champagne and goody bags for

director and Olivier Award

West End destination restaurant

to Ben Prudhoe, The Ambassador

all members of the group. Winners

nominated choreographer Jerry

Planet Hollywood and celebrity

Theatre Group Ltd, The

Mitchell (Hairspray).

treatment at the theatre with

Ambassador Theatre Group,

a bottle of pink champagne and

39-41 Charing Cross Road

for a cash value. Not open to

feel-good musical comedy will

party bags. Planet Hollywood’s

London WC2H 0AR before

employees of Ambassador Theatre

be the highlight of your year!

new state-of-the-art restaurant

Monday 2 November.

Group Ltd. Editor’s decision is final.

This all-singing, all-dancing, 11

Starring Sheridan Smith and Duncan James From 5 Dec 2009 Box Office 0844 871 7687 Online booking at

will be notified by Friday 6 Nov. Prize is subject to availability, non transferable and non redeemable



Basque in Glory Rocky Horrow Show on tour: how to, where to - do you dare to?

David Tennant Ian Hart & John Simm Philip Glenister & Beth Goddard

Yasmin & Simon Le Bon Stephen Mangan Andrea Riseborough

The Churchill, Bromley 12 - 17 Oct 2009 Box Office 0844 871 7620

New Victoria Theatre, Woking 19 - 24 Oct 2009 Box Office 0844 871 7645

Theatre Royal Brighton 26 - 31 Oct 2009 Box Office 0844 871 7650

Kings Theatre, Glasgow 23 - 28 Nov 2009 Box Office 0844 871 7648 Online booking at

Feature by 13

Dan Hadley

It’s back, and the message boards

chambermaid, or decked him-

they all shout the same thing

are buzzing. Across the UK, the

indoors out in stockings and

at once, and the newbie starts

rattle of sewing machines can be

suspenders, you’re likely to go on

to wonder whether they are

heard late into the night, as fans

having a good time.

not actually on stage and if they should have sat further back.

knock up a costume for the much anticipated new tour of the

But will I bump into my boss?

Just go with the flow, Brad!

Rocky Horror Show.

Probably. Rocky Horror is a secret

Maybe leave the callbacks to

that was out a long time ago.

the professionals - but you could

British cult classic, and although

The audience comes from all

always do the Timewarp with

it might seem a bit daunting for

walks of life, so that guy doing

everyone else.

so-called ‘virgins’, you too can

the hula-hula to Sweet

take a jump to the left (or a step

Transvestite from Transsexual

Isn’t it a bit rude?

to the right, depending on your

Transylvania is more likely to

A bit.

current orientation). Just use our

be a Hairy Heterosexual from

What’s special about this tour?

handy guide, and you’ll feel

H-Heavenly Hemel Hempstead.

Seeing Rocky Horror Picture

Never been? Tut-tut. It’s a

perfectly at home.

Is everyone there in the know?

Show at a cinema is all very well, but the live performance is in a

Jessica de Rothschild & Jeanne Marine Dominic West Angus Deayton

Starry Night London’s theatreland in full swing this Autumn A galaxy of stars met to mark

Cast members John Simm,

Angus Deayton, producer Jessica

the first night of Andrew Bovell’s

Ian Hart, Lucy Cohu and Kerry

de Rothschild, Stephen Mangan

tense thriller Speaking in Tongues

Fox were joined by friends and

(Green Wing) and Simon and

in September. Jewel was the

colleagues from the worlds of

Yasmin Le Bon.

venue chosen for this glittering

TV and film: John’s co-star in

gathering - and hidden away in

Dr Who David Tennant mingled

and interwoven lives, Speaking

Oh God, it’s fancy dress isn’t it?

Audience participation is what

Relax, no-one’s going to make

has made Rocky Horror a smash

you do anything. Rocky Horror

hit for thirty years. Newcomers

Show is about letting your hair

often look around in panic as

down. Many people go as their

other audience members break

Where can I get a ticket?

the cobbled backstreets of old

with Philip Glenister (Life on

in Tongues has its West End

own sweet selves, but if you do

all known rules of theatre


Covent Garden, moody lighting,

Mars) and Andrea Riseborough

premiere at the Duke of York’s

want to slip into something more

attendance. They get up and

Tour stops are Woking, Brighton,

cool music and cocktails set the

(The Devil’s Whore). Dominic

Theatre in St. Martin’s Lane.

comfortable, you won’t be alone.

dance. They sing along. They

Bromley and Glasgow: but book

scene for an evening of

West (The Wire) rubbed

Once you’ve dressed as a

shout things out. Sometimes,

ahead to avoid the queue!


shoulders with TV presenter

totally different league. Devotees say this new tour looks like a fine vintage with a strong cast.

A powerful study of infidelity

Photography by Paul Clapp



Bags of Style


‘Be pretty in pink!’says Legally Blonde’s Elle



1 Satin Untold dress £55 Sonia Rykiel cardigan £185 8

Both at House of Fraser

Pink and green leopard scarf £22 at Urban Outfitters

2 Audley suede shoe boot £129


3 Wallpaper city guides £4.95 per book at most book shops

4 Smythson ‘With love & kisses’ notebook £35 at Selfridges



5 Diamante collar and lead set £19.95 from



6 Filofax backing Breast Cancer campaign £43 at Paperchase

7 Juicy Couture Terry zip wallet 6

£85 at Selfridges


8 Diamante ring £8 at Topshop



9 Avedon Fashion 1944 -2000 £60 at most book shops

10 Dents suede gloves


£35 at Selfridges


11 Leather bowling bag £55 at Marks and Spencers

12 Heart shaped handbag £22 at Topshop

13 Smythson heart key chain £29 at Selfridges

14 Benefit make up Bathina body balm £22.50 Some Kind-a Gorgeous

16 Patent Mary-Jane shoes with ribbon bow £59 at Kurt Geiger

£15 at Topshop

18 Multi-coloured patterned t-shirt £90 at Paul Smith

Bad Gal pencil £13.50

Pink Acne slim leg chino

at House of Fraser


17 London sunglasses

foundation £20.50

15 Sequin top £60 at Topshop Untold satin skirt £35


£140 at Liberty

All prices quoted are given as a guide only and may be subject to change by

19 Pink converse trainers £34.99 at Office


individual retailers.

Feature by Mark Bouman


Going Out

Images top l-r

Blonde Highlights

Mungo & Maud Girls on a spending spree Old Spitalfields Market

Legally Blonde’s Elle falls head over heels for London Let the West End’s favourite

salutes 40 years of delivering

are run by the designers who’ve

has an aquarium showcasing

Mungo & Maud on Elizabeth

blonde heroine lead the way this

unique costume jewellery to

actually made the clothes and

diverse underwater worlds, a

Street? A purveyor of luxury

family with an expert

autumn with three Elle Woods-

Londoners. Accessible prices


Nature Base exhibition featuring

accessories for cats and dogs, the

photoshoot at New ID.

style guides to making the most

and a sparkling array of pieces

store sells bowls, collars, beds,

Professional photographers are

of the capital.

mean that girls & boys alike can

Girl’s Best Friend

a transparent beehive, colonies of mice and beetles, plus the

toys, clothing and even a line

on hand to consult with families

indulge in ‘bling’ that would

For animal lovers such as Elle,

Natural History Gallery telling

of dog shampoo and fragrance.

before employing a variety of

make Elle and her sorority

London is a wonderful

the story of life on earth.

sisters proud.

destination in which to

Make-Over Magic

For an effective way to

encounter creatures of all shapes

Keep up appearances in the

character. The session finishes

update your look, why not

and sizes. A prime example is the

manner of Elle by treating

with a private viewing of the

try personal shopping with

tranquil London Wetland Centre

yourself to a change of hair

portraits taken and a

established stylists The Glass

in Barnes. Here families can come

colour. Karine Jackson, the 2007

complimentary CD image.

Slipper? Specialising in providing

to spot Shoveler and Gadwall

London Hairdresser of the Year,

tailored services to groups of

ducks, elusive bitterns and other

has a calm oasis of a salon in

looking good on the outside

teenagers - maximum of four

bird species that have migrated

Covent Garden where she

means taking care of the inside

accompanied by an adult - the

thousands of miles to enjoy the

expertly works with big brand

so why not get youngsters on

team aims to boost confidence

capital’s mild winter weather.

names such as L’Oréal, and

the right track by introducing

specialises in ammonia-free

them to weekend dance classes

organic colour systems for an

at Pineapple Performing Arts

eco-friendly alternative to

School? Musical theatre, ballet

swapping shades.

and street dance are available

Selfridges 17

Shop Till You Drop

by showing teens where and

Nature enthusiasts young and

Lift the spirits of the whole

props and backgrounds to capture the group’s natural

Karine Jackson

As Elle knows only too well,

how they can develop an

old can’t help but be fascinated

There’s no better place to

individual sense of style. Mums

by the unique attractions

experience the pleasures of

and younger children aged 12

installed at the Horniman

shopping than at Selfridges,

upwards can also book a day

Museum. Off the beaten track

in the Isle of Dogs, Mudchute

particularly as the famous

of guided retail therapy for

in Forest Hill, this free institution

Park & Farm is home to a superb

make-up go hand-in-hand but it’s

department store celebrates its

advice on the London

collection of furry and feathered

not always easy keeping up with

taking a group of friends to

centenary year. Autumn sees the

shops worth dropping into

friends including llamas and rare

the latest trends. That’s why a

Legally Blonde and having a ball.

opening of a brand new space -

and items that are

breeds like Gloucester Old Spot

mother and daughter package at

For a fabulously fun Christmas or

3rd Central - dedicated to the

guaranteed to flatter.

pigs. Vouchers can be booked in

Rouge make-up school could be

New Year treat call Ambassador

Savoy Theatre

Legally Blonde The Musical

Horniman Museum Set in 32 acres of countryside

Of course, great hair and

at drop-in level. Round off your day out by

advance for animal encounters,

the perfect way to spend quality

Groups on 020 7845 5537 for

fashion collections. Elsewhere

of high-street trends

petting sessions and farm tours,

time together while picking up

special party discounts.

youth-friendly brands also figure

comes as second nature

while the welcoming kitchen

new techniques from

highly with offerings from the

at Old Spitalfields Market,

serves up seasonal, home-cooked


likes of Topshop, Superfine and

the East End hotspot

food. Just remember to bring a

Justin Timberlake’s clothing

renowned for its creative

pair of wellies.

range, William Rast.

and bohemian fashion.

coolest denim and contemporary

Marking an important anniversary, Butler & Wilson

Staying one step ahead

Finally, why not spoil your pet

Visit on Fridays to browse a range of stalls, many of which

Butler & Wilson

At Benefit boutiques in London you can try brow waxing and tinting, spray tanning and

as Elle does her chihuahua

make-up parties - perfect for

Bruiser by heading down to

teen treats.

Starring Sheridan Smith and Duncan James From 5 Dec 2009 Box Office 0844 871 7687 OnlineFeature booking by at Neena Dhillon



As a member of Ambassador Friends, the Ambassador Theatre Group’s Theatre Club, you will benefit from a whole host of special offers including: Priority booking for your home venue Members only priority booking line 10% off drinks in ATG venues* Discounted tickets at ATG venues* Exclusive discounts to West End Shows No online fees for most productions Free ticket exchange*

All this for only £25 a year! Join as an AmbassadorFriend now on 0844 8717633 or online at *conditions apply All printed information is correct at time of going to press Ambassador Theatre Group reserves the right to make alterations at short notice

For more information about ATG’S 23 regional and West End venues please visit

Ambassador Magazine - Autumn 2009  
Ambassador Magazine - Autumn 2009  

Read all the latest news from theatreland in Ambassador Magazine, the official magazine of Ambassador Theatre Group.