Page 1

Ambassador Theatre Group

Kristin Scott Thomas Bard to the Bone

Simon Callow

summer 2011

South Pacific - Summer’s Hottest Ticket


It’s Dame Edna

Legally Blonde Urban escapes Sun, sea... and style Things to do, people to see

The Ambassador Theatre Group




of the

Sunglasses from Tods




s Just published - an intimate,

1 South Pacific

revealing and often startling

2 Dame Edna at the New Wimbledon Theatre

portrait of the greatest classical

3 Legally Blonde The Musical

actor of the twentieth century. John Gielgud: Matinee Idol to Movie Star by Jonathan Croall Methuen Drama £30.

s A triple whammy for Legally Blonde at this year’s Olivier awards where the show won Best New Musical, Best Musical Actress (Sheridan Smith) and Best Supporting Role (Jill Halfpenny). While still playing to packed houses at the Savoy Theatre in London, a major UK tour kicks off in Liverpool in July. and s Be an early adopter! At the Royal

s Tipped for the top at London’s

Academy’s Summer Exhibition

Barbican this summer, and

members of the feted Royal

launched at the fabulously

Academy compete against new

theatrical Beaufort Bar at the

and unknown artists to have their

Savoy, Rodgers and Hammerstein’s

work displayed.Most works are

South Pacific stars Tony award-

available to purchase. 7 Jun -15

winner Paulo Szot and Samantha

Aug 2011. Tickets 0844 209 0051


South Seas Sensation


All aboard for the greatest stage musical ever

The Power of Love


In the Pink


Bard Watching


Lad Culture


Island Paradise


Dive in to South Pacific style


Simon Callow on the man from Stratford


Attention Possums! Dame Edna’s on the look-out for a new Lord Mayor

OMG it’s UK-wide - girls go mad for Legally Blonde

Love and deceit - Kristin Scott Thomas in Pinter’s Betrayal

What’s On in London


Win a haunting night out at Ghost Stories

Ghost The Musical sweeps into the West End

Dangerous Liaisons


Hidden Gems


Best kept secrets of the UK’s top cities - summer with a difference


A life-changing opportunity in Glasgow

Ambassador Group productions

s Experience the British elements in style! Sawday’s collection of luxury camping places brings luxuries like wood-burning stoves and proper double beds to the heart of the countryside - no more deflated airbeds and damp sleeping bags.

Ambassador Theatre Group REGIONAL Theatres Aylesbury Waterside Theatre 0844 8717 607 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 Alexandra Theatre, Birmingham 0844 871 3011 Bristol Hippodrome 0844 871 3012 Edinburgh Playhouse 0844 871 3014 Leas Cliff Hall Folkestone 0844 871 3015 Grimsby Auditorium 0844 871 3016 Empire Theatre Liverpool 0844 871 3017 Palace Theatre & Opera House Manchester 0844 871 3018 New Theatre Oxford 0844 871 3020 Southport Theatre and Convention Centre 0844 847 2380 Sunderland Empire 0844 871 3022 Princess Theatre Torquay 0844 871 3023 York Grand Opera House 0844 871 3024 Online booking at Jessamy Hadley Editor Pat Westwell, Jasper Rees, Natalie Anglesey, Al Senter, Nancy Groves, Benedict Nightingale, Victoria Kingston, Mark Bouman, Neena Dhillon, David Bradbury, Ben Prudhoe 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.

Cover photograph by Lucy Williams

Ambassador Theatre Group LONDON Theatres Apollo Victoria 0844 871 7615 Comedy Theatre 0844 871 7622 Donmar Warehouse 0844 871 7624 Duke of York’s Theatre 0844 871 7623 Fortune Theatre 0844 871 7626 Lyceum Theatre 0844 871 7615 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


‘Rapturous and revelatory’ New York Times

‘The Best Rodgers & Hammerstein in a generation’ Washington Post

‘This is ravishing, breathtaking theatre’

South Seas Sensation


All aboard for the greatest stage musical ever It was early in 1949. South Pacific,

yellow skies, stifling heat and smell

when America, in the words of an

story short.

from There’s Nothing Like A

the follow-up to Rodgers and

of war to the London stage since

officer, is ‘taking a pasting on two

As well as the original creative

Dame and Happy Talk all the way

Lincoln Center Theater production of Rodgers & Hammerstein’s

South Pacific

Hammerstein’s huge wartime hit

before the Coronation. Indeed, until

continents’. She falls for Emile de

team, the Lincoln Center

through to This Nearly Was Mine.

Carousel, had entered the try-out

the Metropolitan Opera revived it at

Becque, a French plantation owner

production also finds the Brazilian

‘The consistency of good songs is

phase before hitting New York.

the Lincoln Center in New York in

20 years her senior, only to reject

baritone Paulo Szot returning to

remarkable,’ says musical director

Late one night the production

2008 there had not been a single

him when she discovers that he

the role of the French planter

Ted Sperling. Many of its songs are

team was deep in one of those

major Broadway revival.

has sired a pair of cuties by a

Emile de Becque and Hawaiian

so famous they have floated free

eleventh-hour how-do-we-make-

However, that revival is the show

Polynesian woman. Meanwhile,

actress Loretta Ables Sayre as the

of their context, the likes of I’m

15 August - 1 October Box Office 0844 871 7615

it-better meetings that always

which is now bound for a UK tour.

fresh-faced Lieutenant Joe Cable

Tonkinese street trader Bloody

Gonna Wash That Man Right Outta

precede the launch of a new

With America back at war in a

is smitten by a pretty young island

Mary. ‘It is very difficult to say

My Hair and Some Enchanted

Milton Keynes

musical. Eventually the composer

distant corner of the globe and an

girl while serenaded by her

good bye to the part,’ says Szot.

Evening. ‘Rodgers & Hammerstein

Richard Rodgers cut to the chase.

African-American as president, it

souvenir-selling mother Bloody

‘It’s the best part I ever played in

are famous for using their songs

‘Fellas,’ he said, ‘This show is

seems to speak to audiences all

Mary in the show’s most evocative

my life. Emile was written for an

to advance the plot,’ adds Sperling,

Manchester Palace*

perfect. Let’s go to bed.’

over again. The awards which came

song, Bali Ha’i.

opera singer and it’s a musical that

‘but you realise in South Pacific it

For all its perfection, most

its way suggest that South Pacific

South Pacific is that rarity, a

I knew as a teenager growing up.

does it in a very subtle way while

25 October - 5 November Box Office 0844 871 3018

Directed by Bartlett Sher


12 - 22 October Box Office 0844 871 7652

people who flock to South Pacific

may after all be the greatest stage

musical about contemporary

A more perfect match for me

preserving the songs’ integrity as

at the Barbican Theatre or on tour

musical ever written. It all starts

events. The book was taken from

would not be possible.’ The Tony

standards, which is quite a feat

this year will not yet have seen it

with the book, of course. Or it did

the loosely knotted stories of

Award judges tended to agree,

to pull off.’

in all its glory. There has been

for director Bart Sher: ‘I just read

James A. Michener’s Tales from

giving him the award for best

This lavish international hit

no big splashy production

the script. I tend to think in musicals

the South Pacific (which also won

performance by a leading actor

now making its long awaited

bringing the show’s chrome

the book is the most important part

the Pulitzer). After its Broadway

in a musical.

London debut features a cast of

and if the book is really solid you

premiere, where it played for

He will be joined onstage by

40 and a live orchestra. It swept

have a better chance of figuring

1,925 performances, the show

Samantha Womack (née Janus)

the 2008 Tony awards, played to

out whether or not the thing is

transferred to the West End in

in the role of Nellie. Samantha

sell-out houses on Broadway for

New Theatre Oxford*

going to work. And the book

1951. The gamine Mary Martin

has a good track record in musicals

two years and was televised across

was really great.’ It tells of Ensign

reprised her role as Nellie. But it

including Miss Adelaide in the

America. Sounds like you’d better

6 - 31 December Box Office 0844 871 3020

Nellie Forbush, an Arkansas nurse

lives longer in the memory as a

Donmar’s Guys & Dolls (one of the

book your passage.

stationed in the Pacific at a critical

tacky, over-coloured and musically

few other contenders for greatest

overdubbed movie from 1956 that

ever musical).

sold the darker elements of the

And then there is the songbook,

point in the Second World War

Supported by

Theatre Royal Glasgow 8 - 19 November Box Office 0844 871 7647

Bristol Hippodrome* 22 November - 3 December Box Office 0844 871 3012

Online booking at *Online booking at Interview by Jasper Rees

Paulo Szot and 1

Samantha Womack

The smash hit Broadway show direct from London’s Barbican

Photography by Peter Coombs, Joan Marcus and Lucy Williams



Comes The Rain Again and Would

are written by two musical heroes

to the original film as possible

I Lie To You, the collaborative

of mine. Dave Stewart wrote so

with Magic Circle member Paul

process has been stimulating.

many hits for the Eurythmics while

Kieve’s incredible illusions and

’Six times Grammy Award-

Glen Ballard composed Believe

Rob Howell’s breath-taking designs

winner Glen Ballard is one

for Polar Express, Ordinary Miracle

which morph from one location

of my favourite collaborators

for Charlotte’s Web, A Hero Comes

to another taking set design to

because, like me, he’s a creative

Home for Beowulf and Alanis

a whole new level. But people

musician willing to explore

Morissette’s Jagged Little Pill

who haven’t seen the film are

new things.’

album. Their music’s right up

also enjoying it!’

Stewart recollects, ‘I

my street and fits in beautifully

Amidst the after-show buzz

photographed Demi Moore on

with the story.’

of the world premiere Dave

the promotional tour for the film

The coveted role of pseudo

Stewart remains quietly confident.

and I’m convinced that this story

psychic Oda Mae Brown, which

‘Musically, I love the variety of

of eternal love has world-wide

won an Oscar for Whoopi

styles we’ve incorporated. Caissie

appeal because people today

Goldberg in the movie version,

Levy, who plays Molly the female

are still searching for a spiritual

is played by charismatic Sharon

lead and Richard have some


D Clarke. A well-known figure

powerful ballads while Sharon has a big, funky number and

We’ve stayed as close to the original film as possible with Magic Circle member Paul Kieve’s incredible illusions and Rob Howell’s breath-taking designs which morph from one location to another taking set design to a whole new level.

a great gospel song. ‘Manchester is the home of musicals and discerning audiences have given us the thumbs up but we’re not resting on our laurels. We’re already in talks with theatres on Broadway and in Australia but for now we’re

For soap-star turned super-star,

in musical theatre, most notably

concentrating on London.’

21 year old Richard Fleeshman

in We Will Rock You and The

Could this show be the new

(Coronation Street’s Craig Harris)

Lion King, she’s over-joyed at

jewel in the crown of the

playing the male lead in a

Ghost’s reception in Manchester.

Ambassador Theatre Group? ‘I’m

brand-new musical fulfils a

‘Every night is a delight on

convinced it has global appeal,’

cherished ambition. He left the

stage,’ Sharon laughingly admits.

Dave insists. ‘But my immediate

London cast of Legally Blonde

‘Oda’s a great character in a really

hope is that, although there are

to take the male lead of Sam

entertaining whodunit with terrific

poignant moments, audiences

Wheat, played by Patrick Swayze

music. I couldn’t be happier. We’ve

will enjoy the exciting musical

in the film.

had standing ovations every night

journey as well as finding it a

‘This role is a dream come true,’

and fingers crossed the same

unique and uplifting theatrical

Richard enthuses while being

will be true for London!’

experience. Judging by reactions

mobbed by autograph-hunters

Producer Colin Ingram is equally

so far, this iconic love story still

outside the theatre. ‘The songs

enthusiastic. ‘We’ve stayed as close

has a powerful resonance today.’

Dave Stewart


‘It lives up to the hype. Jaw-droppingly amazing. Ghost is no apparition - it’s the full five-star package and then some’ Manchester Evening News

‘Stunning special effects. Superb performances. A magical musical’ Liverpool Echo

The Power of Love

Ghost The Musical makes a dazzling arrival in the West End

Interview by Natalie Anglesey Photography by 3

Sean Ebsworth Barnes

‘What a marvellous reception,’

the composers and lyricists Dave

feel the love the audience has

enthused Oscar-winning screen-

Stewart and Glen Ballard. While

for this story,’ Bruce beams. ‘I

writer Bruce Joel Rubin as the

multi-Tony award-winning director

remember pitching the idea for

glittering, star-studded audience

Matthew Warchus rushed back-

the movie as a mixture of ghost

rose for a standing ovation at the

stage to congratulate the cast.

story and murder/mystery to be

world premiere in Manchester

The pedigree of the creative

greeted by looks of horror on the

of Ghost The Musical - prior to

team is of the highest calibre.

producers’ faces! However when it

its arrival in the West End.

Screen-writer Rubin (Jacob’s

became a global box-office smash

The euphoric cast welcomed on

Ladder, Deep Impact, Stewart

in 1990 and I won the Oscar, they

stage the creators of this magical

Little 2, My Life and The Time

changed their tune! I’ve loved

new musical which has been three

Traveller’s Wife) wrote the

every minute of this experience.’

years in the planning. Taking the

screen-play for the Hollywood

For legendary musician and

curtain-call at the Ambassador

film. He’s also responsible for

Golden Globe winning song-writer

Theatre Group’s beautifully

the stage adaptation.

Dave Stewart, who’s sold over 75

refurbished Manchester Opera

’I felt quite emotional on that

million records including smash

House, as well as Bruce, were

stage because you could actually

hits like Sweet Dreams, Here

Piccadilly Theatre, London

Ghost The Musical Starring Richard Fleeshman, Caissie Levy, Sharon D Clarke and Andrew Langtree Box Office 0844 871 7630 Online booking at 4


been the London theatre’s gain

approach. He makes the words

it. I was told. Why don’t you join

and Scott Thomas has taken to the

become part of your body; it’s not

an amateur dramatic society?’

stage with comparative regularity.

all going on in your head.’

she repeats. ‘Yet in a way it was

From Pirandello’s As You Desire

The urge to act, evident in Scott

my own fault for not trusting my

Me, she played Masha in The Three

Thomas and in her younger sister

instincts. It was cowardice that

Sisters for Michael Blakemore at

Serena, is a legacy of their

had made me choose the safer

the Playhouse and gave her

mother’s ambition. ‘She’d been

option of teaching rather than

Arkadina in The Seagull for

offered a place at LAMDA when

trying for acting.’

director Ian Rickson at the Royal

she met a dashing RAF officer and

Paradoxically she feels almost

Court. Now she is reunited with

was swept off her feet. We grew

grateful to the person who offered

Rickson for a revival of Betrayal,

up in the middle of nowhere but

her such a frank assessment. ‘In a

Harold Pinter’s deeply felt account

we’d often be taken to catch

way, it turned out quite well’ she

of an adulterous affair among

things in Bath or even in Stratford.

says. ‘I ran away to Paris and found

the literary classes. ‘I think that everyone can relate to Betrayal since most people will have had experience of either betraying or being betrayed’ she argues. ‘The language is extremely simple and that makes it easy to understand and the eternal triangle is an archetypal situation. In a way, the play’s about male friendship and in some productions, it’s become more of a love affair between the two men. Our take on it is that it’s

some direction. I was able to use

I think that everyone can relate to Betrayal since most people will have had experience of either betraying or being betrayed... the eternal triangle is an archetypal situation.

simply a very strong friendship

the fact that I was different in a foreign country to my advantage. When you’re a foreigner, you can be whoever you like; you can make a fresh start.’ Given the presence of The Three Sisters and The Seagull in her theatre credits, there are no prizes for guessing Scott Thomas’ favourite playwright. ‘Chekhov is absolutely fascinating and once you’ve done one of his plays, you want to do them all. My only sadness is that

and nothing more.’

I remember seeing Francesca

There is a strong rapport

Annis as Juliet at the RSC and

between Scott Thomas and her

that knocked me sideways.’

director Ian Rickson. ‘There are

Scott Thomas arrived at Central

Uncle Vanya. Doing Shakespeare

some directors you meet with

to train as a teacher rather than

would be terrifying. Besides, you

whom you feel you have an artistic

take the acting course.

have to wait until somebody asks

connection, to be pretentious

Understandably she still

you. And you need to have a

about it. Ian’s a really good listener

remembers the words that so

special licence, don’t you?’

and he can draw things out of

brutally dismissed her aspirations

inarticulate actresses like me. And

to perform. ‘You have no talent

I appreciate the physicality of his

and you will never be able to do

I’ve missed out on playing his younger characters such as Irina in The Three Sisters or Sonya in

Dangerous Liaisons The inimitable Kristin Scott Thomas

Interview by Al Senter Photography courtesy of Rex Features, Michael 5

Birt and Johan Persson

It’s the theatre’s equivalent of the

award for The Seagull and

international film profile, Scott

record company who turned down

acquired both an OBE and the

Thomas’ professional life must be

the Beatles. The anonymous

Legion d’Honneur, it does rather

a continuous series of alternatives.

functionary at the Central School

suggest that you know what

To make a film or do a play. To

of Speech and Drama who

you’re about. Not that you would

perform in English or in French.

predicted to Kristin Scott Thomas

guess it from a conversation with

To work in Europe or in Hollywood.

that she’d never succeed in the

Kristin Scott Thomas who raises

‘Not Hollywood’ she says quickly

acting profession must have spent

self-deprecation to an art-form.

and firmly - despite the CV that

the last twenty years wiping

Perhaps she secretly agrees with

includes Random Hearts with

considerable amounts of egg from

her Central School nemesis

Harrison Ford and The Horse

his face. After all, when you’ve

after all.

Whisperer with Robert Redford

secured an Oscar nomination for

With a considerable presence on

‘Let’s say we’ve parted company.’

The English Patient, an Olivier

both sides of La Manche and an

Tinseltown’s forgetfulness has

Comedy Theatre

Betrayal Starring Kristin Scott Thomas, Douglas Henshall & Ben Miles Booking until 20 August 2011 Box Office 0844 871 7622 Online booking at 6


What’s On

Buy Your West End Tickets Here apollo victoria 0844 871 7615


Blood Brothers

Discover the incredible untold story of the Witches of Oz. Winner! Most Popular Show Laurence Olivier Awards 2010

‘Exhilarating. One of the best musicals ever written’ Sunday Times

comedy Theatre 0844 871 7622

piccadilly Theatre 0844 871 7630

Ian Rickson directs Kristin Scott Thomas, Douglas Henshall and Ben Miles in the Olivier award winning modern classic.

The dazzling new musical based on the phenomenal Oscar winning film. Ghost is a timeless fantasy about the power of love.

donmar warehouse 0844 871 7624

playhouse Theatre 0844 871 7631

Schiller’s masterpiece of power and politics explores the battle between honour and corruption, between truth and betrayal.

HHHH ‘Tremendous, tub

duke of york’s Theatre 0844 871 7623

savoy Theatre 0844 871 7687


Luise Miller

Ghost Stories

Direct from a sell-out season at the Lyric Hammersmith comes the most terrifying experience in the West End. ‘Awesome’ Jonathan Ross

With a cast of over 40 actors, singers and dancers. ‘A beautiful dazzle of invention and imagination’ Evening Standard

the old vic 0844 871 7628

Richard III

The final season of The Bridge Project starring Kevin Spacey in the title role of Richard III and directed by Sam Mendes.

Daily Telegraph

Jeremy Dyson & Andy Nyman

Duke of York’s Theatre

Ghost Stories Written & directed by Jeremy Dyson & Andy Nyman Box Office 0844 871 7623 Online booking at

Starring Susan McFadden and Lee Mead HHHH ‘Blows other musicals out of the water’ Sun

Being Shakespeare

After breaking all box-office

reviews and has developed a cult

records on its opening at Liverpool

following among horror fans,

Playhouse and the Lyric

theatregoers and the general

Hammersmith, Ghost Stories burst

public alike. Just keep telling

into the West End in June 2010

yourself it’s only a show.


and has been playing to packed

You have been warned!

houses ever since. So far over

To win, simply answer the

A truly funny musical comedy with sitcom-styled dialogue and a toe-tapping score.

130,000 audience members have

following question:

TRAFALGAR STUDIO 2* 0844 871 7632

screamed, laughed & jumped their way through the show. Ghost

Which of these is a famous ghost story?

Frighten your friends and scare

Stories is 80 minutes of thrilling,

yourself silly at Ghost Stories, the

chilling theatre you will not want

horror phenomenon at the Duke

to miss.

South Pacific

of York’s Theatre, London that has

The totally unique West End

had audiences screaming from the

show comes from the truly

Please return your answer,

The breathtaking Lincoln Center Theater production which reinvented this classic musical starring Samantha Womack and Paulo Szot.

balconies night after night. The

talented and dark minds of The

not forgetting your name,

prize includes four top price tickets

League of Gentlemen’s master of

address and telephone number

for you and your friends, pre-show

the macabre, Jeremy Dyson, and

to Ben Prudhoe, The Ambassador

Dutch Courage to get you through

Andy Nyman, co-creator and

Theatre Group Ltd, 39 - 41

this thrill-ride of a night and a

director of Derren Brown’s

Charing Cross Road, London,

goody bag including a souvenir

television and stage shows and star

WC2H 0AR or e-mail benprudhoe

brochure, house programme and

of Dead Set and Severance. before

exclusive Ghost Stories mug.

Ghost Stories received rave

27 June 2011.

bARBICAN 0844 871 7615

Book your tickets online at *Studio 2 has been made possible by a generous donation from Christina Smith


Legally Blonde The Musical

‘Callow and Shakespeare: a brilliant combination’ Times Simon Callow brings to life Shakespeare’s world in this magnificent new play.

The Lion King

Daily Mail

thumping fun, it brought the house down’ Sunday Telegraph

One of the most exciting and gripping theatre events ever staged. ‘A truly nerve-shredding experience’ Daily Mail


‘Brilliant and deeply unsettling’

Dreamboats and Petticoats

TRAFALGAR STUDIO 1 0844 871 7632

lyceum Theatre 0844 871 7615

‘I had to sleep with the lights on. A top night out’

Ghost The Musical

fortune Theatre 0844 871 7626

The Woman in Black


phoenix Theatre 0844 871 7629

‘A pant-wetter of a night. It’s terrifying’


Little House on the Prairie

due ntil 16 July u d e d n e t x E d! enal deman to phenom

Sleepy Hollow Cinderella

TERMS AND CONDITIONS One winner will be drawn at random after the closing date. The prize includes 4 tickets (all performances until 16 July) to see Ghost Stories at the Duke of York’s Theatre plus one goody-bag, house programme and pre-show bottle of house wine. Prize is subject to availability, nontransferable and non-redeemable for a cash value. Not open to employees of Ambassador Theatre Group Ltd. Editor’s decision is final.



sorority girl who heads to Harvard

Cried and laughed so happily.’

and @LegBlondeUKTour) more

to win back the doofus boyfriend

Also spied in the Savoy stalls: Sir

than 5000 followers. Did Mitchell

who dumped her for being more

Bob Geldof, Kristin Scott Thomas

ever dream little Miss Woods

Marilyn than Jackie O. But in

and David Tennant. The Time Lord

would inspire such devotion?

writing their musical, Laurence

has been three times!

‘I have always had a bit of pink

O’Keefe, Nell Benjamin and

Carrie Dunn has a theory: ‘I

in my blood,’ he smiles. ‘It’s one

Heather Hatch took all the best

know this sounds strange but I

reason I fell in love with Elle

lines from the movie - ‘Omigod,

think Legally Blonde is a very

Woods and Legally Blonde. I also

Warner! I totally forgot you go

British show and Elle is very British

saw an opportunity to tell a story

here’ - before adding new zingers,

kind of heroine.’ Self-confessed

to young people about respect

wrapped up in a score that ranges

superfan Sarah Overfield agrees.

and love. And for that I am

from R&B balladry to Riverdance

She recently attended her 70th

grateful and proud to bring

pastiche, but never forgets the

performance, a year to the day

this musical to so many.’

tale it is telling.

after a friend first bought her

‘At its core, Legally Blonde is a

tickets. What keeps her coming

love story about an underdog who

back? ‘It’s always the same

succeeds,’ says Mitchell. ‘That is

storyline but it’s never the same

something we all desire! But good

show,’ she says. ‘It’s got everything:

Photography by 9

Ellie Kurttz

Liverpool Empire* 8 - 16 July Box Office 0844 871 3017

comedy, sadness, happiness... dogs.

a story that is relatable and well

than any of the performers who

told and continues to surprise an

play her.’

19 July - 6 August Box Office 0844 871 3012


Overfield also cites the

Carrie Dunn, UK editor of

cast’s engagement with

York Grand Opera House*, agrees. Dunn

fans - on stage, at the

has lost count of the number of

stage door and online.

performances she has seen. ‘It’s my

The show’s Facebook

go to show, my pick-me-up,’ she

group has 45,000

says. ‘More than any other, it’s a

members and its Twitter

feel-good show. People use the

streams (@LBTheMusical

It’s my go to show, my pick-me-up. More than any other, it’s a feel-good show. People use the words feel-good, lightweight or fluffy like it’s a bad thing. But the joy of Legally Blonde is really hard to fight against.

fluffy like it’s a bad thing. But the joy of Legally Blonde is really hard to fight against. Even the critics loved it.’ Never mind the Greek Chorus of Delta Nu. When Legally Blonde opened, it was the critics who ‘Omigod!’ cried Charles Spencer

Nancy Groves

On Tour

Elle is larger than life, and larger

turned into cheerleaders.

Interview by

Starring Susan McFadden & Lee Mead Box Office 0844 871 7687 Online booking at

writing is good writing. Any show

words feel-good, lightweight or

Legally Legally Blonde Blonde -- painting painting the the town town pink pink from from Glasgow Glasgow to to Torquay Torquay

Legally Blonde The Musical

will play again and again if it has

‘ in the Pink

Savoy Theatre

Bristol Hippodrome*

9 - 20 August Box Office 0844 871 3024

Glasgow Theatre Royal 23 August - 3 September Box Office 0844 871 7647

Edinburgh Playhouse* 6 - 17 September Box Office 0844 871 3014

Regent Theatre Stoke 20 September - 1 October Box Office 0844 871 7649

Alexandra Theatre, Birmingham* 4 - 15 October Box Office 0844 871 3011

Manchester Opera House* 18 - 29 October Box Office 0844 871 3018

When Broadway director Jerry

more than half a million people at

Broadway, at the show’s try-outs

in The Telegraph. And Caroline

Mitchell approached Sheridan

London’s beautiful Savoy Theatre,

in San Francisco. ‘There were

McGinn in Time Out. And Paul

Smith at the 2009 Olivier Awards

with many audience members

standing ovations from the first

Taylor in The Independent. ‘There

to talk Legally Blonde The Musical,

returning again and again to see

performance,’ he says, ‘but I will

aren’t many Broadway shows with

neither party dreamt they would

Elle’s journey from Valley Girl to

never forget after our first

songs that make reference to the

be back two years later collecting

Valedictorian. And now a new cast

Saturday matinee Laura Bell Bundy

philosophy of Thomas Hobbes in

Sunderland Empire*

their own Oliviers for Best Musical

is taking it out on tour across the

(the original US Elle) surrounded

intricately rhymed stanzas,’ wrote

6 - 31 December Box Office 0844 871 3022

and Best Actress in a Musical

UK, painting towns pink all the

by at least 200 girls wanting to get

Taylor. ‘I’m like so totally going

respectively. But such is the Legally

way from Glasgow to Torquay.

her autograph. I knew then we


Blonde phenomenon, conquering

As well as three Oliviers, Legally

had created an Elle Woods for

He’s not the only one. As Elle

the West End in much the same

Blonde has also won four

the stage that would be around

sings: ‘Even a person who is smart

way as its heroine, Elle Woods, awards, voted

for a while.’

can listen to their heart.’ And they

conquers Harvard Law School -

for by the public. What is the

Of course, Elle already had a

don’t get much smarter than

with wit, charm and a big

show’s secret?

fan-base from the original Legally

Stephen Fry, who tweeted after his

thumping heart.

Mitchell says he knew he had

Blonde film, starring Reese

first trip: ‘Just seen Legally Blonde.

The show has been seen by

a hit on his hands even before

Witherspoon as the Californian

As good a show as I’ve EVER seen...

Princess Theatre Torquay* 8 - 19 November Box Office 0844 871 3023

Aylesbury Waterside Theatre 31 January - 11 February 2012 Box Office 0844 871 7607 Online booking at *Online booking at




property and so on, we know little

plenty. It tells us something about

actually doing is loving his wife.

about the inner man except what

boyhood in Jacobean times and,

She’s an older woman, she became

can be inferred from the plays.

transcending that, about boyhood

pregnant, he married exceptionally

Dickens left a zillion letters, as

now. And it shows Shakespeare’s

young. That suggests it was a

Callow knows to his cost, since he’s

understanding of what it means

passionate liaison. Yes, it could

now writing a short biography of

to be a boy and a parent as well

have been a shotgun wedding,

the novelist; Shakespeare, none.

as his genius for characterisation

but we’ve gone the romantic way.’

So he couldn’t opt for the kind of

and dialogue.

That’s a pretty contentious

solo show he has disliked since

All that is at the core of a show

assumption - in his one-man

seeing an unnamed actor base

in which Shakespeare is very much

Shakespeare show Ian McKellen

one on Melville and Moby Dick

the boy, youth, citizen, actor and

cynically dared his audience to

feeling it was like ‘a favourite

dramatist from the lower-middle-

name a single happy marriage

uncle going beserk at a Christmas

class Midlands. Indeed, the original

in all the plays - but it reflects the

party’. He wouldn’t pretend

title was The Man from Stratford,

good nature of Callow and indeed,

bard Watching

Simon Callow’s new show puts Shakespeare centre stage

Interview by Benedict Nightingale Photography by 11

Andy Weeks

When he was thinking of a follow-up to the solo shows he’d already based on Wilde and Dickens, what writer fitted the bill better than the great but unpretentious Elizabethan ‘whose characters are so fully imagined, so precisely expressed, so true you feel he must have seen and known them’?

actually to be Shakespeare, still

a deliberately defiant riposte

of his and Bate’s play. They

less start by plonkingly announcing

to the eccentrics, snobs and

don’t neglect the dark stuff but

‘I was born on April 23 1564’.

conspiracy theorists who think

they want their audiences and

Instead he’d become what he calls

that the dry Francis Bacon or the

especially newcomers to

a ‘shapeshifter’: a narrator who,

Earl of Oxford, who died before

Shakespeare to leave the theatre

without switching costumes or

Shakespeare’s greatest plays

feeling that, far from being an

Though he has taken

Being Shakespeare, which was

children murdered and dead men

attempting funny voices, would

appeared, was the author of

inaccessible genius, the Immortal

Shakespeare’s sonnets in a glorious

one of the Edinburgh Festival’s

walking’. So when he was thinking

‘change in front of your very eyes’

Hamlet and Lear. ‘As if nobody

Bard is their friend and more

joblot all over the world, Simon

successes last year and previews

of a follow-up to the solo shows

as he embodied characters and

from a small provincial town could

than their friend:

Callow has played relatively few

at the Trafalgar Studios in June.

he’d already based on Wilde and

delivered lines that illuminated

possibly do anything of value,’

‘We want to put the human

Shakespeare characters: the

Callow’s love of Shakespeare

Dickens, what writer fitted the

the narrative.

expostulates Callow. ‘Well, my

dimension into Shakespeare. We

lovelorn Orlando in his youth, an

dates from way, way back. In

bill better than the great but

Since the show’s framework is

answer to that is that Jesus was

want to give them someone who

interestingly romantic Toby Belch

My Life in Pieces, the wonderfully

unpretentious Elizabethan ‘whose

Jacques’ famous speech about the

The Man from Bethlehem.’

was a person, not a scholar or a

earlier this year, little else. Well,

readable ‘alternative

characters are so fully imagined,

seven ages of man in As You Like It

‘Our contention is that before

great aristocrat. We want them

compensation has now come in

autobiography’ he published last

so precisely expressed, so true

- whining schoolboy, soldier, lover,

walking to London he stayed in

to meet Shakespeare the artist,

the one-man play that he and the

year, he describes sitting on the lap

you feel he must have seen and

slippered pantaloon and all - that

Stratford bringing up his young

Shakespeare the Elizabethan,

scholar Jonathan Bate have jointly

of the mother of the headmaster

known them’?

means evoking childhood at the

family. Certainly he knew an awful

Shakespeare the representative

devised. Mark Antony, Hamlet,

of the school where his own

The obvious problem was that,

start. Callow gives us poor doomed

lot about ordinary life, about

of mankind, Shakespeare as

Romeo, Juliet, Macbeth, Lear and

mother was secretary, listening to

while we have plenty of

Mamillius at play with his mother

kitchens and being in the nursery

Everyman. We want them to feel what it’s like to be Shakespeare.’

Bottom are among the 40 men,

Macbeth on the radio, and being

information about the outer

Hermione in The Winter’s Tale, an

and struggling to make ends meet.

women and children he’s bringing

thrilled by ‘battlements and

Shakespeare who became

extract that, like everything in the

My feeling, which Jonathan shares

briefly but pertinently alive in

blasted heaths, witches and kings,

successful and rich, bought

show, is intended to achieve

very much, is that what he’s

‘Callow and Shakespeare: a brilliant combination’ Times No 1 Critics choice


‘The audience were on their feet applauding this singular triumph’ Daily Express


‘Fantastic Mr Callow is bard to the bone. A genuine tour de force’ Daily Mail

Trafalgar Studios

Being Shakespeare Directed by Tom Cairns Starring Simon Callow Box Office 0844 871 7632 Online booking at



attention Possums!

Lad Culture

Watch out Boris - Dame Edna’s in town!

A boy’s own adventure in Glasgow There’s been a

Re:Bourne, whose principal aim

this ambitious year-long

The New Wimbledon Theatre

With her celebrity comforts

He is looking forward to

Aylesbury Waterside Theatre

thrilling adventure

is to expand the accessibility and

project culminating in a

has a reputation for scooping

back home in sunny Sydney, what

meeting his young co-stars.

understanding of dance-theatre

week of performances at the

megastars for its annual panto,

has lured Dame Edna away from a

Anna Williamson, a well-known

Dick Whittington

and to encourage widespread

Theatre Royal Glasgow in March.

but this year, a true gigastar, the

Christmas bwarbie on the beach to

children’s TV presenter, will play

participation in dance’ says

& Gillian Wright

William Golding’s adventure

iconic Dame Edna Everage, will be

a shivering season in SW19? ‘Being

pretty Alice (let us hope Dame

Matthew. ‘I am particularly happy

9 - 31 Dec 2011

- plucked from playgrounds and

on the dark side of human nature

flying in from her Sydney mansion

a stranger to pantomime, I am

Edna doesn’t suffer from girlie

that this project is aimed at young

Box Office 0844 871 7607

school gyms around Glasgow to

has particular resonance for

to star in Dick Whittington. She’s

looking forward to all the fun and

jealousy!) and Dick will be played

in Glasgow this Spring. A group of boys have been given a life-changing opportunity

Starring Jonathan Wilkes

Bristol Hippodrome*

take part in choreographer

men and will help to lift the stigma

teenagers. The story of a group

already a chat show host (she

frolics and meeting all of you lovely

by Sam Attwater, of Hollyoaks and

Matthew Bourne’s latest piece of

that is still sometimes attached to

of boys abandoned on a desert

has interviewed Cher and Sean

little possums of London. But most

Eastenders fame. How safe he’ll

peter pan

dance-theatre - Lord of the Flies.

their involvement in dance.’

island who begin to create their

Connery!), journalist, children’s

of all, the thought of guiding Dick

be from the attentions of the

Starring David Hasselhoff

Despite TV’s prime-time

The choreographer is well

own rules while dark superstitions

book illustrator, Broadway and

Whittington to become Lord Mayor

amorous Dame Edna can only

10 Dec 2011 - 8 Jan 2012

love-affair with dance - Strictly,

known to audiences across the

and disturbing rituals take hold

West End star, painter, beauty

of London thrills me. I did the exact

be guessed at.

Box Office 0844 871 3012

So You Think You Can Dance and

country - his company New

is a powerful one. In this new

expert (she gives tips on her

same thing for Boris Johnson not

One thing’s for sure - there

Britain’s Got Talent come to mind

Adventures have had phenomenal

adaptation, the action is transferred

website) and fashion guru.

long ago.’

won’t be a dull moment. Bring

- changing teenage boys’

success with Swan Lake,

from deserted island to deserted

She’s a true household name.

Dame Edna’s creator and alter

it on, Possums!

King’s Theatre, Glasgow

Sleeping beauty

perceptions of the artform was

Nutcracker!, The Car Man and

theatre where order breaks down

Over the years, Dame Edna

ego, Barry Humphries, played

Starring Karen Dunbar

always going to be a challenge...

Edward Scissorhands. And now

and blood is spilt as the boys

has transformed herself from

the theatre in 1960, when he

& Keith Jack

enter Matthew Bourne.

he’s taken the creative team

grapple with the ‘beast within’.

suburban Australian housewife

starred as Undertaker

2 Dec 2011 - 8 Jan 2012

‘This will be the first major

behind these successes, a small

‘If just one boy comes through

to flamboyant, glamorous,

Mr Sowerberry

Box Office 0844 871 7648

initiative for my charity

group of professional dancers and

this whole year, through all the

outspoken force to be reckoned

in the world

put them to work with 15 Glasgow

workshops we did, through the

with. She tells it like it is. Call it


Manchester Palace Theatre*

lads aged from 11 to 21.

selection stage and through the

liberating, call it terrifying - there’s

of Oliver.

Glasgow Theatres’ Creative

rehearsals - goes onstage and

no ignoring her. She revels in her

Learning team joined forces with

realises ‘this is me. This is where

superstar lifestyle, but she hasn’t

New Adventures, West

I want to be...’ and goes for it...

forgotten her Aussie roots.

Dunbartonshire Council and

well that would be tremendous.

Carrying her trademark gladioli,

Creative Scotland to manage

But if everyone who took part

she still greets audiences with

Milton Keynes Theatre

throughout the year went away

that joyous, ‘Hello Possums!’

with something - a moment they

Panto is our oldest form of


really enjoyed, a bit of new

theatre. Foreigners often don’t

information about themselves that

understand the audience shouting

came as a surprise... that really

CINDERELLA Starring Louie Spence & Suzanne Shaw 3 - 31 Dec 2012 Box Office 0844 871 3018

9 Dec 2011 - 15 Jan 2012 Box Office 0844 871 7652

out and the cross-dressing. Buxom

Richmond Theatre

would be everything Re:Bourne

Dames are played by men, who

aims to do’ says Matthew.

are a bit on the grotesque side,

CINDERELLA Starring Jenny Eclair

plastered with heavy makeup,

9 Dec 2011 - 15 Jan 2012

with a penchant for slapstick

Box Office 0844 871 7651

humour. The traditional Dame of the panto is Sarah the Cook,

New Wimbledon Theatre

played by veteran Eric Potts who


is also directing. There will be

Starring Dame Edna Everage,

plenty of time for the Dames

Sam Attwater & Anna Williamson

to compare notes about frocks,

9 Dec 2011 - 15 Jan 2012

hats and specs.

Box Office 0844 871 7646

New Victoria Theatre, Woking

peter pan Starring Steve McFadden & Harry Derbidge 9 Dec 2011 - 15 Jan 2012 Box Office 0844 871 7645 Full casting details and online booking at *Online booking at Feature by Victoria Kingston Photography by 13

Richard Campbell

Photography by Greg Gorman



Island Paradise


Dive in to South Pacific style

1 Men’s swim shorts from Paul Smith £75

2 Straw sun hat from Accessorise £20

3 Silver silk satin tunic


Silver sequin bolero jacket £149


both from Style Butler


4 Cloud maxi dress from Style Butler £229



5 Day Birger cream chiffon dress from House of Fraser £219

6 Metal bead sandals from no-nu £149


7 Espadrille wedges from RAS £145 8 Raffia beach bag from Accessorise £30 9 Passport holder from Paul Smith £99


10 Bathing suit from Marks and Spencer £29.50


11 Gold sunglasses from Tom Ford £295


12 Gold bead sandals from Lola Cruz £165

13 Missoni beach towel from House of Fraser £60

14 Gold and grey leather ring



Bracelet £115 from Miquella London

12 14 10

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


Feature by Mark Bouman


Going Out

Hidden Gems

Images top l-r: Grange St Paul’s Hotel, London The Water of Leith, Edinburgh Great John Street hotel,

Urban escapes for a summer staycation

Manchester Quarry Bank Mill, Styal

Our trio of insider guides shed new

hidden down a secluded cobbled

Northern Soul

performance as part of a

Exquisite Edinburgh

Prestonfield? Originally built in

light on the UK’s most dynamic

mews. Café cuisine is the order of

Manchester is famed for its music

distinctive day out. July sees

Scotland’s capital attracts its fair

1687 and reinvented by James

cities, unveiling a treasure trove

the day on the ground floor but

scene, one that caters for all tastes.

Victoria Wood’s new play The Day

share of visitors yet few people

Thomson, this opulent hotel

of lesser-known delights.

choose Le Grenier upstairs to enjoy

Jazz lovers will be particularly

We Sang - part of the Manchester

witness the city from the Water of

blends art, antiques and stunning

traditional French dishes served

spoilt this summer as the

International Festival.

Leith, a 24-mile-long river flowing

architecture with the city’s most

in the charming surroundings of

Manchester Jazz Festival gets into

Urbanites who like to be in the

from the Pentland Hills to the Firth

sought-after restaurant, Rhubarb.

At the core of the capital, the

a former Victorian warehouse.

full swing, showcasing local and

midst of the action will enjoy a

of Forth. Venture down the river’s

‘Gloriously dissolute,’ says the

City of London’s narrow winding

Wind on through the ancient

international artists in diverse

break at Great John Street, a

picturesque city banks and you’ll

Sunday Times, ‘more boudoir

alleys are remarkably tranquil

streets towards St Paul’s Cathedral

venues from St Ann’s Church to the

converted Victorian schoolhouse

be rewarded with interesting

than B&B.’

at weekends, leading to some

to Postman’s Park. Once popular

Royal Northern College of Music.

a stone’s throw from Manchester’s

monuments, beautiful gardens

Another attraction that regularly

bewitching locations, among

as a lunchtime garden among

Insiders know, however, that a

upmarket retailers, restaurants and

and listed buildings along the way.

receives good press, the Edinburgh

them St Bartholomew the Great.

workers from the old General

rare treat is guaranteed at

theatres. Be sure not to miss the

Continue your voyage of

Playhouse should be on any visitor’s

One of London’s oldest churches,

Post Office, it contains the Watts

small hotel’s vintage Oyster Bar

discovery beneath the famed Royal

list. Entertainment is of the highest

the medieval structure features

Memorial commemorating

and exclusive rooftop lounge. As

Mile. An award-winning visitor

quality including the new tour

architecture dating back to 1123.

ordinary men and women who

an alternative, escape the hustle

attraction, The Real Mary King’s

of Legally Blonde and

Despite appearing in several films,

gave their lives attempting to save

and bustle of the city centre by

Close is a fascinating warren of

We Will Rock You.

including Shakespeare in Love, this

others. Inscribed onto a gallery

retreating to Didsbury House.

underground streets that lay

enchanting spot remains peaceful

of glazed Royal Doulton tiles,

Set within a lovely Victorian Villa,

buried and forgotten for centuries

and relaxing.

their touching tales can’t fail

there are 27 chic and individual

until 2003. Containing original

to move you.

rooms complemented by a

dwellings stretching back to the

With so much to explore in

resident’s bar/lounge. Well-heeled

16th century, these alleyways

London’s historical heart, it’s

locals who value fine dining and

underneath The City Chambers

worth booking a short stay at a

quality wine bars favour the

provide an insight into a bygone

central hotel. Contemporary and

fashionable village of Didsbury.

era - and are thought to be

Within easy reach of Didsbury,

haunted by citizens of the past.

Historic Heart


Paul’s Hotel boasts luxurious

Matt&Phreds, located in the

Quarry Bank at Styal is a

Above ground, off the Royal

rooms, an impressive glass atrium

Northern Quarter. The only

compelling National Trust

Mile, you’ll find the Grassmarket,

and the modern Ajala Spa in

dedicated jazz club in the North

destination that highlights the

a vibrant and convivial area for

which it is possible to try out

West, it has built a reputation

story of mill workers,

shopping and food. Independent

Sun Therapy.

for its fine food and intimate

entrepreneurs and the Industrial

merchants and artisans sell

The Grassmarket, Edinburgh

From here, it’s easy to access

performance space.

Revolution. Come to see hand-

everything from antiques to

Le Café du Marché

legendary theatreland so why

Unforgettable experiences are

spinners at work, find out how

cutting-edge fashions, while

Sampling fine cuisine is easy

not make a night of it with front

also on offer at Manchester’s

water power was supplemented

dozens of bars and restaurants

For Manchester Opera

in wider Smithfield, where the

row seats to a West End show?

Opera House where legendary

by steam and finish your excursion

include alfresco options.

House and Edinburgh

choice of eateries includes Le Café

Ghost The Musical opens at the

musicals and stars take to the

with a stroll through the mill’s

For a treat, why not splurge

Feature by

Playhouse see

du Marché, a romantic restaurant

Piccadilly Theatre this summer.

stage. Book a matinee

terraced gardens.

on the five-star luxury of the

Neena Dhillon

For details of Piccadilly Theatre see


understated in style, Grange St

Circular Inset image:


Ambassador Theatre Group Magazine Summer 2011  

Ambassador Theatre Group Magazine Summer 2011