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Ambassador Theatre Group

Winter 2013

PRICELESS In PANTO

jo bRAND HENRY WINKLER WARWICK DAVIS

GOD SQUAD

Spamalot

web master

Spider-man turn off the dark

hotlist! the lion king heads north look good on the dance floor a very vintage christmas

HAYLEY ATWELL The Pride


winter

of the best Want to witness first-hand the fiery colours and spectacular transformation of our UK woodlands in autumn? The Forestry Commission recommends

The National Arboretum at Westonbirt in the Cotswolds, home to the UK’s national collection of Japanese maples, among many more stunning locations across the country. forestry.gov.uk/autumntop10

The EY Exhibition: Paul Klee Discover Klee’s extraordinary, exquisite paintings, drawings and watercolours from collections around the world and see this modern master in a new light at Tate Modern until March 2014.

‘A must-see. Poetic colour abounds’ Evening Standard www.tate.org.uk

Hollywood star Warwick Davis is our man of the season - catch him in Spamalot at the Playhouse in October and then at the Milton Keynes Theatre in Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs this Christmas. atgtickets.com Planning a pre-Christmas break in New York? A sensational and spectacular adventure with an unforgettable superhero unfolds in Spider-man Turn Off The Dark at the Foxwoods Theatre on Broadway.

‘this extravaganza soars!’ Financial Times spidermanonbroadway.marvel.com

Bring on the fizz! Chock-full of dancefloor favourites from Boogie Wonderland to It’s Rainin’ Men and stuffed with a dazzling array of outrageous Tony award-winning costumes - Priscilla Queen of the Desert has Jason Donovan strutting his stuff at an ATG theatre near you this autumn. atgtickets.com

STRICTLY Dirty dancing: red suede t-bar shoes by Dune £63. dune.co.uk


contents

1

princess charming

It’s Hayley Atwell

3

high flyer

a superhero!

Glamorous - but grounded.

New York Christmas - with

5 STAR STUDDED

Get set for the panto season with Jo Brand and a galaxy of stars

7

HOT TICKET

Win a VIP-style night out at West Side Story

Ghost The Musical

8 give yourself to the bright side Warwick Davis can’t resist the

lure of Spamalot

9 SPIRITED AWAY

A supernaturally sizzling score and

staging to amaze in Ghost The Musical

11 atg tickets Treat yourself to must-see tickets for the autumn/winter season

13 top cat

The Lion King rules in Edinburgh

14 sir howard take take A BOW A knighthood for services to theatre

West Side Story

Jo Brand in Aladdin

15

dirty dancing

17

heritage rocks

and treats for festive forays

Stepping out - sixties style

A vintage celebration with tips

Ambassador Group productions / Ambassador Theatre Group LONDON Theatres Apollo Victoria 0844 871 7615 Donmar Warehouse 0844 871 7624 Duke of York’s Theatre 0844 871 7623 Fortune Theatre 0844 871 7626 The Harold Pinter Theatre 0844 871 7622 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 Ambassador Theatre Group REGIONAL Theatres Aylesbury Waterside Theatre 0844 871 7607 New Alexandra Theatre, Birmingham 0844 871 3011 Theatre Royal Brighton 0844 871 7650 Bristol Hippodrome 0844 871 3012 Churchill Theatre Bromley 0844 871 7620 Edinburgh Playhouse 0844 871 3014 Leas Cliff Hall Folkestone 0844 871 3015 Kings Theatre Glasgow 0844 871 7648 Theatre Royal Glasgow 0844 871 7647 Grimsby Auditorium 0844 871 3016 Empire Theatre Liverpool 0844 871 3017 Palace Theatre & Opera House Manchester 0844 871 3018 Milton Keynes Theatre 0844 871 7652 New Theatre Oxford 0844 871 3020 Richmond Theatre 0844 871 7651 Southport Theatre & Convention Centre 0844 847 2380 Regent Theatre & Victoria Hall Stoke-on-Trent 0844 871 7649 Sunderland Empire 0844 871 3022 Princess Theatre Torquay 0844 871 3023 New Wimbledon Theatre & New Wimbledon Studio 0844 871 7646 Ambassadors Cinemas Woking 0844 871 7643 New Victoria Theatre & Rhoda McGaw Theatre Woking 0844 871 7645 York Grand Opera House 0844 871 3024 Online booking at atgtickets.com Broadway Theatres Foxwoods Theatre Jessamy Hadley Editor Pat Westwell, Al Senter, Kim Orlando, Nancy Groves, Victoria Kingston, Benedict Nightingale, Lucy Johnston, Mark Bouman, Neena Dhillon, David Bradbury, Laura O’Toole 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 Jay Brooks


Interview

Interview by Al Senter

Photography by Marc Brenner

1

princess Charming ENERGETIC, CURIOUS, ASSURED MEET hayley atwell


F

or Hayley Atwell recently,

life has been a tale of

her status means that she is not

two studios. At

pick her way through the

Pinewood she’s

gauntlet of competing

short of offers so how does she

been shooting director

possibilities?

Kenneth Branagh’s new

‘I’ve never felt defined

version of Cinderella

by the material I

while at the Trafalgar,

have chosen to

she’s been giving a

do. If I’ve had

mesmerising

a measure of

performance in The

success, I think it’s

Pride, Alexi Kaye

been defined by

Campbell’s hilarious

what I’ve had to

and heartfelt play

I genuinely feel that the rehearsalroom is a real place of learning. I want to work with older actors, experienced actors & I want to do theatre that is vital & interesting.

overcome to get to

about changing

be what I am, where

attitudes to

I have come from as

homosexuality in Britain

a working-class girl

over the last sixty years.

from West London. As

Perpetually sprinting between

a result, I do feel a genuine

Whitehall and the wilds of

confidence about what I do

Buckinghamshire might frazzle the

together with a realistic sense of my

calmest of personalities but the energetic Ms

place within the business as well as a belief

Atwell appears to be relishing every moment

that I’m still capable of growth.’

of her action-packed schedule.

Atwell has a great curiosity about the world and a

‘I had already committed to Cinderella when I

hunger for knowledge. ‘I’m so ignorant!’ she exclaims,

was asked whether I would be interested in doing

none too convincingly. She talks enthusiastically about

The Pride but everybody has been very

learning from her fellow-actors and she admires those

accommodating and since I love multi-tasking,

she describes as artists such as Ben Whishaw, Mark

the situation is exactly as I want it to be.’

Rylance and Cate Blanchett, one of her co-stars in

Harry Hadden-Paton & Hayley Atwell

As part of his desire to take the long view of gay

Cinderella. For her, acting, especially on stage, is as

the pride is faultlessly brilliant. an absolute must-see

life in this country, Campbell skilfully contrasts a

much a lifestyle choice as it is a job. She hopes that she

stephen fry

contemporary narrative with a story of sexual

can create the same kind of excitement in audiences

awakening set in the 1950’s. Atwell plays a 50’s Sylvia

which she felt as a child as the lights began to dim.

- a wife uneasily aware of her husband’s latent tastes,

‘I knew that acting was what I wanted to do but I

and a modern-day Sylvia, valued confidante of two

didn’t know if I had any talent,’ she recalls. ‘If anything,

gay men with a problematic relationship.

it happened too quickly for me. People warned me not

‘The 1950s Sylvia has to undertake a profound

to be a flash in the pan and not to get too big too fast.

journey. She loves a man who is not living an authentic

At the time, I was worried that I didn’t have a process

life and so she cannot be authentic either. There are

and I hadn’t given myself permission to fail.’

several moments in the play when I have to do a quick

Atwell has no specific parts she wants to play,

change from one Sylvia to the other and in a way this

although surely there are one or two Shakespearean

helps to define them even more.’

ladies waiting for her attentions. Her aims are more

As is often the way with contemporary British actors,

general.

Atwell’s impressive CV is a mixture of the Hollywood

‘People have said to me that once you have a

franchise (Captain America) and the classic play (Major

presence in films, then you only do theatre because

trafalgar studio 1

Barbara, The Man of Mode). She was rightly nominated

of the credibility it brings you. But I genuinely feel that

for an Olivier for her outstanding work opposite Ken

the rehearsal-room is a real place of learning. I want to

the pride

Stott in Arthur Miller’s A View from the Bridge at the

work with older actors, experienced actors and I want

Duke of York’s, equalling Stott in her command of the

to do theatre that is vital and interesting and which, like

stage. Atwell has been a player in the industry almost

The Pride, speaks to young people. I want to get better

from leaving drama school, working for Woody Allen

at what I do, I want to realise all the subtleties that are

in Cassandra’s Dream and then cast in a major role in

contained in a line. I want to be accomplished.’

BBC2’s adaptation of The Line of Beauty, the Booker

Judging by her assured performance in The Pride,

By Alexi Kaye Campbell Directed by Jamie Lloyd Starring Hayley Atwell, Harry Hadden-Paton, Al Weaver and with Mathew Horne Until 9 November 2013 Box Office 0844 871 7632

Prize-winning novel by Alan Hollinghurst. Presumably

this last wish has already been granted. ■

Online booking at atgtickets.com

a modern classic the sunday times

ATG Magazine / 2


feature Featuring music and lyrics by

22-Time Grammy Award® Winners Bono and The Edge

High

Only on Broadway Only in k New Yor

Flyer

zip over to new york this christmas for an unforgettable superhero experience

S

Interview by Kim Orlando TravelingMom.com 3

ometimes raising culturally sophisticated

is funny? It seemed like a bigger challenge.

kids starts with a good villain. At least that

Before we headed to 42nd Street, Romano was

seems to be the first step for my 12-year-

expecting Broadway to be a lot of operatic singing and

old son.

high-brow staging. What he didn’t expect was action,

Even though we don’t live far away, Romano, who is

adventure and rock’n’roll.

12, had never been to Broadway. It seemed easy to

Enter Spider-Man Turn Off the Dark.

introduce my daughter to the glamour of the big

This Broadway blockbuster has everything you need

stage, but to a boy who still thinks anything gross

to be fully entertained: a familiar story, thanks to the


A stunning new york offer for readers just in time for Christmas!

SPIDERMAN TICKETS $99 Side Orchestra/Flying Circle (usually $125 - $149.50) $59 Rear Orchestra (usually $69 - $99) Valid until 24 November 2013 & from 2 - 22 December 2013, & 6 January 9 February 2014. Quote ATGSPIDER when booking tickets with

ticketmaster.com AN ICONIC HOTEL

what’s not to love - whether you’re a 12-year-old boy or an adventure-seeking adult, Spider-Man

has enough thrills to bring out the kid in all of us.

classic Marvel comic, cartoons and a couple of hit

The goblin villain in Spider-Man Turn Off the Dark

movies; special effects that are cool enough to impress

is everything you would want him to be - snarky and

a computer-aware, video-game-addicted generation;

self-effacing but still cool and conniving. But, as we

stars who soar overhead; a techno extravaganza of

all know from the comics, the Green Goblin is no

smoke and explosions, and an evil villain who is just

match for Peter Parker, the geeky, mild-mannered

as funny as he is menacing.

teen who was bitten by a spider and turned into

Best of all, it starts the minute you walk into the

New York’s hometown hero - Spider-Man.

foyer of the Foxwoods Theatre with the opportunity

Romano summed up the show as a ‘4-D’ experience

to have your photo taken with Spider-Man himself.

- four dimensional - high praise indeed.

Romano was thrilled to have a close encounter with

This first Broadway outing delivered exactly what I

his favourite superhero even before the show began.

wanted: a 12-year-old boy who now thinks Broadway

The excitement built as we shopped the Spider-Man

and live theatre are cool. Thanks to this teen-friendly

store in the lobby and continued all through the show

experience, he’s ready for anything. He even wants to

as the actors ventured off the stage and into the

come back and take the VIP backstage tour to see all

audience, culminating in an explosive finale where

the costumes and props and learn how Spider-Man

Only minutes away from the Foxwoods Theatre, is the Paramount Hotel in Times Square - a perfect base for your Christmas Broadway break. This historic 1920’s hotel has recently been transformed by a $40m re-imagination and is now perfectly suited to the savvy 21st century traveller. The transformation celebrates its double-storied living room lobby, lavish over-scaled dramatic elements, DJ spinning on the bi-level lobby balcony and an epic fireplace wall resembling a modernday room with a vibe meant for socialising. The hotel’s re-imagination also marks the unveiling of Paramount Bar & Grill, Corso - Italian Coffee Bar and the Paramount Event Space. Quote AMBASS when making your reservation to receive 15% off your stay plus complimentary wifi. Offer applies to stays between 4 November 2013 & 15 March 2014.

www.nycparamount.com Reservations: 001 877 692 0803 a proud partner for the Tony Awards

the actors flew over our heads, battling it out in an

flies. There’s a wide variety of shows on Broadway -

foxwoods theatre, new york

intricately choreographed aerial fight scene.

but Spider-Man Turn Off the Dark has set the standard

What’s not to love - whether you’re a 12-year-old

so high it will prove hard to beat. In fact, I’m already

boy or an adventure-seeking adult, Spider-Man has

planning a return trip with my husband and daughter.

spider-man turn off the dark

enough thrills to bring out the kid in all of us.

Why should they miss out on all the fun? ■

Online booking at ticketmaster.com ATG Magazine / 4


Interview

5


Star

Aylesbury Waterside Theatre

sleeping beauty Starring Anita Dobson, Andy Collins and Holly Brewer 13 December 2013 - 5 January 2014 Box Office 0844 871 7607

studded

why ‘national disgrace’ jo brand just can’t get enough of panto

W

hen the cast of this year’s all-star

trademark effect. ‘I never intended to.’

Aladdin was announced - somewhat

She’s kidding, of course, about the husband hating.

unseasonally -at the New Wimbledon

People, she adds, take a lot of what she says ‘too

bristol hippodrome

cinderella Starring Louie Spence and Andy Ford 6 December 2013 - 5 January 2014 Box Office 0844 871 3012 King’s Theatre, Glasgow

aladdin Starring Karen Dunbar, Des Clarke, Jenny Douglas and Gavin Mitchell 6 December 2013 - 12 January 2014 Box Office 0844 871 7648

Theatre in August, we learnt that Jo

seriously’.

Brand would be making her pantomime debut as the

There’s a veritable galaxy of stars joining Brand in

liverpool empire Theatre

Genie, alongside Britain’s Got Talent-winning dancers

this essential festive treat across the country this year.

peter pan

Flawless as the Peking Police Force and ‘national

Hollywood star Warwick Davis leads an unruly band

treasure’ Matthew Kelly as Widow Twankey.

of dwarfs in Snow White at Milton Keynes, Happy Days

Two things about this: surely Brand, 56 and every

legend Henry Winkler prepares to swashbuckle as

inch the dame, must have done panto before; and

Hook in Peter Pan at Richmond, the delightful winners

secondly, isn’t this comedian, actress and presenter

of Britain’s Got Talent Ashleigh and Pudsey sparkle

deserving of her own national treasure tag by now?

in Dick Whittington at the Opera House Manchester

Panto is a great British tradition where you can pretty much do what you like. I’m not going to be

doing my Dame Judi Dench - but jokes, I can do those. ‘I’m more of a national disgrace,’ says the lady

and children’s TV favourites Justin Fletcher and

herself, when I put this to her in the Wimbledon wings

Zöe Salmon get ready for some show-stopping

after a long day’s photo shoot. ‘But no, I can’t quite

transformation scenes in Cinderella at Woking.

believe it either - I’ve had a few panto bits and pieces

For all of them the panto gig is a gift. But for Jo

offered to me over the years. But I’ve always said no.

Brand is facing a panto audience scarier than a

The kids were too young or it was too much of a

stand-up crowd? ‘I find any kind of new experience

commitment or it was too far away.’

unless you’re a complete zombie makes you feel a

Not so SW19, which as well as being ‘the home of

little trepidatious but it should be really good fun,’

posh panto’ is also just a magic carpet ride from

she says. ‘And I’m hoping that I don’t take out any

Brand’s own home in Dulwich. South London through

members of the audience!’

and through, she was born in Wandsworth and lived

Just don’t expect a thespian tour de force. ‘In

for many years in Thornton Heath while working as a

acting, there’s a continuum from soap opera through

psychiatric nurse, before Malcolm Hardee - infamous

sitcom to the National Theatre and Royal Shakespeare

proprietor of Greenwich comedy clubs The Tunnel and Up the Creek - persuaded her into stand-up. As a loud-mouthed, louder-haired feminist, Brand soon earned the nickname of The Sea Monster from some of her male detractors. How times have changed! This summer, Bridget Christie became only the third ever woman to win top prize at Brand’s old stomping ground, the Edinburgh Fringe and Brand is delighted.

‘Bridget is indicative of how female comedy has moved on,’ says the comedy elder. ‘When I started, I was

Company. Actors who can play lots of different characters are a case apart. I’m down the ‘can’t really

snow white Starring Warwick Davis, Kev Orkian and Shaun Dalton 6 December 2013 - 12 January 2014 Box Office 0844 871 7652 richmond theatre

peter pan Starring Henry Winkler 6 December 2013 - 12 January 2014 Box Office 0844 871 7651 regent theatre stoke-on-trent

snow white Starring Jonathan Wilkes and Christian Patterson 3 December 2013- 5 January 2014 Box Office 0844 871 7649 New Wimbledon Theatre Starring Jo Brand, Flawless, Matthew Kelly, Oliver Thornton and David Bedella 6 December 2013 - 12 January 2014 Box Office 0844 871 7646

No indeed - after all, it won her a BAFTA for Getting On. Brand’s spot-on nursing sitcom was directed by Peter Capaldi, incoming Doctor Who but outgoing Malcolm Tucker in The Thick of It. Now there’s a boo hiss baddie - for politics or panto. But in person,

New Victoria Theatre Woking

Capaldi is ‘charming and cooperative and helpful’,

cinderella

she says. ‘It’s easy to attach a character to an actor,

Starring Justin Fletcher, Zöe Salmon and Hal Cruttenden 6 December 2013 - 5 January 2014 Box Office 0844 871 7645

isn’t it?’ three wishes then. ‘Panto is a great British tradition

about 99.9% recurring of them. I

where you can pretty much do what you like,’ she

that’s possible.’ Brand pauses for

Milton Keynes Theatre

aladdin

Come Christmas, we’ll be asking her to grant us

feminism more man-friendly, if

Starring Ashleigh and Pudsey Jodie Prenger and Ben Faulks 6 December 2013- 5 January 2014 Box Office 0844 871 3018

nothing wrong with that.’

hater.’ And I am. I hate men. I hate

What Bridget’s done is made

opera house manchester

dick whittington

act beyond a version of my self’ end. And there’s

gobby so people said, ‘She’s a man

even hate my husband most days.

Starring Ray Quinn, Louis Emerick and Pete Price 13 December 2013 - 5 January 2014 Box Office 0844 871 3017

replies. ‘I’m not going to be doing my Dame Judi Dench - but jokes, I can do those.’ ■ Left inset images: Warwick Davis, Ashleigh & Pudsey, Henry Winkler, Anita Dobson & Justin Fletcher

For full casting details and online booking for all pantos across ATG venues this year visit atgtickets.com Interview by Nancy Groves ATG Magazine / 6


competition

Hot

ticket

win a night out at this blazing triumph of a show

T

of complimentary champagne, ice creams

he Jets and the Sharks are setting the world

alight this season as they storm their way

and programmes.

into a theatre near you! Prepare to be

To get your hands on this incredible prize,

dazzled by this spine-tingling, action-

simply answer the following question:

packed, modern musical masterpiece with its groundbreaking choreography, thrilling musical numbers including I Feel Pretty, America and Maria, and, at its core, the heart-rending tale of two

a 1923

violence, love and romance this blazing triumph of

b 1957

your chance to come and see it in style! A timeless

Script by Arthur Laurents Music by Leonard Bernstein Song lyrics by Stephen Sondheim Original choreography by Jerome Robbins Directed by Joey McKneely new theatre oxford 22 - 26 October 2013 Box Office 0844 871 3020 regent theatre, stoke-on-trent 12 - 16 November 2013 Box Office 0844 871 7649

FIRST PRODUCED ON BROADWAY?

star-crossed lovers. Overflowing with passion, a show has got something for everyone - and here’s

west side story

IN WHAT YEAR WAS WEST SIDE STORY

c 1981

tale of first love, divided loyalties, and the loss of innocence, West Side Story is simply the greatest

Please return your answer, not forgetting your

musical of all time.

name, address and telephone number/ email to

We’re offering one lucky winner and three of their

Laura O’Toole, The Ambassador Theatre Group Ltd.,

friends the best seats in the house at a venue of their

39 - 41 Charing Cross Road, London, WC2H 0AR

choice, along with VIP luxury treatment in the form

before Friday 25 October 2013. ■

No. 1 ‘greatest musical of all time’ Times - Top 50 Musicals 2013

new wimbledon theatre 19 - 30 November 2013 Box Office 0844 871 7646 palace theatre manchester 10 December 2013 4 January 2014 Box Office 0844 871 3018 king’s theatre, glasgow 15 - 25 January 2014 Box Office 0844 871 7648 bristol hippodrome 28 January - 8 February 2014 Box Office 0844 871 3012 aylesbury waterside 11 - 15 February 2014 Box Office 0844 871 7607 Full tour list and online booking at atgtickets.com Terms & conditions One winner will be drawn at random after the closing date. The prize includes 4 tickets (Mon - Thu performances only) to see West Side Story at a venue above, plus one bottle of champagne, 4 house programmes and 4 ice creams. Prize is subject to availability, non-transferable and nonredeemable for a cash value. Not open to employees of Ambassador Theatre Group Ltd. Editor’s decision is final.

7

If you buy one theatre ticket make it this one OBSERVER


FEATURE

L-r: Christopher Biggins, Simon Callow, Barbara Windsor, Michael Palin, Hugh Bonneville, Brian May, Larry Lamb, Bradley Walsh

Give yourself to the

Bright Side

warwick davis in spamalot

S

pamalot has become a bit of a legend in the

Return of The Jedi and went on to star in the fantasy

theatre world. This hilarious, award-winning

feature film Willow. He has appeared in The Chronicles

comedy musical, written by John du Prez

of Narnia, Labyrinth and the Leprechaun films, before

and Monty Python icon Eric Idle, has

returning to Star Wars in The Phantom Menace.

become an all-singing, all-dancing phenomenon,

Further success followed when he starred in the Harry

telling the tale of King Arthur and the knights of

Potter films. His TV credits include the BBC shows

the Round Table.

Extras, Merlin, Doctor Who and Life’s Too Short.

A new season at the Playhouse, directed by

‘I’m delighted to be making my West End debut at

Christopher Luscombe, presents a shorter, zingier

the Playhouse Theatre’ said Warwick. ‘I’ve been in hit

playhouse Theatre Monty Python’s

spamalot the awardwinning comedy musical Starring Les Dennis, Warwick Davis and Bonnie Langford Box Office 0844 871 7631

version of the show, which is jam-packed with gags

TV shows and blockbuster Hollywood movies, but you

and includes a rousing audience-singalong of Always

are never really taken seriously as an actor until you’ve

Look on the Bright Side of Life. You might think there’s

done theatre. That’s why I jumped at the opportunity

For casting details and online booking visit atgtickets.com

nothing more to add, but you’d be wrong - an already

to play Patsy in Spamalot.’

Feature by Victoria Kingston

glittering cast that includes Les Dennis and Bonnie

And he’s not the only star to find Spamalot

Langford is joined this September by film actor and

irresistible. Last summer, a bevy of actors and

Life’s Too Short star Warwick Davis.

celebrities took on the on-screen role of God

The multi-talented Warwick Davis is well known to film fans. He began his film career playing the role of Wicket the Ewok in Star Wars VI:

(previously played by Eric Idle complete with heavenly robes) in a Summer of Charity Spamalot Gods, with fees donated to their nominated charities. Sir Howard Panter, who produced the show for The Ambassador Theatre Group (a real-life knight), said: ‘It’s a wonderful opportunity to bring friends of the show in to the role of God, help deserving causes and make audiences laugh.’

So far in this run, quite apart

from the divine manifestations, there have been 18 onstage moustache incidents, three suspected cases of swine flu, an outbreak of nits and 87 pairs of coconuts used. What more can we expect? Get yourself down to Spamalot and find out! ■

ATG Magazine / 8


Interview

jawdroppingly amazing manchester evening news

Interview by

Benedict Nightingale Photography by

Sean Ebsworth Barnes 9

spirited Away with a score by rock legends dave stewart and

glen ballard ghost the musical is a rollercoaster ride

of romance & comedy with state-of-the-art staging


T

revor Nunn apart, there’s no more versatile

also that there was nothing cynical there: ‘It’s a crowd-

director than Matthew Warchus. He’s long

pleaser, but one that’s adventurous and experimental.

enjoyed what he wryly calls ‘zigzagging’,

It mixes romance, comedy and tragedy. It’s beautifully

meaning that his credits have veered from

unsentimental in the way a reluctant psychic forms the

Shakespeare to Ayckbourn to Sondheim, from Yasmina

bridge between life and the afterlife. It has meat on

Reza’s Art to the opera Cosi Fan Tutte to David Mamet’s

the bone.’

Speed-the-Plow with Kevin Spacey. And who was

Yes indeed. Ghost involves death, loss, grief, survival:

responsible for the hit musicals Matilda and Ghost?

subjects that finally convinced Warchus. He’s the son

That’s right, Warchus.

of a vicar and strongly feels that, as he says, ‘art is

IT’S a crowd-pleaser, but one that’s adventurous and experimental.

It has meat on the bone. ‘A hugely entertaining show that looks set to keep

crucial and it’s supposed to make a difference.

audiences laughing, gasping and sniffing back tears for

‘There’s got to be truth and some depth there. I’ve

a long time to come,’ wrote the Telegraph’s Charles

got to believe that there are good reasons for the time

Spencer of Ghost The Musical in 2011, and he’s dead

and money involved.’

right, for it’s currently touring the UK from Glasgow

At 46, Warchus is a veteran of almost 70 shows and

to Birmingham to Southampton.

both an Olivier and a Tony winner, though Broadway’s

‘It’s a genuine part of who I am,’ said Warchus when

best-director award came when he was nominated

I asked him to explain what he meant by zigzagging.

in competition with himself. In 2009 the Tony judges

‘When I was studying Brecht and French cinema at

rated his staging of Reza’s God of Carnage above

university in Bristol, I was also a Stephen Spielberg

his production of Ayckbourn’s three-part Norman

enthusiast and would go to the West End to see Andrew

Conquests, which he believes was a greater, subtler

Lloyd Webber. I’ve never lost the belief that theatre can have an impact in lots

challenge. But then he’s often felt proudest of his less obviously successful work, notably the musical Lord of

of different ways. I’m not just

the Rings: ‘An enormous

zigzagging for its own sake,

undertaking, there was

but trying to stay fresh

so much invention

and engaged.

and daring and

‘After I’ve done a

adventurousness

play I like to have

and

my feet in more

experimenting

than one camp. What I try to

in that

do is make

production.’

artistic things

Those are

popular and

words that

popular things

have meant

artistic.’

much to Warchus since

Nowhere

he went to the

more so than

theatre as a boy

with Ghost, an

with a phobia of

adaptation of

crowds and found

the 1990 film that captured the hearts

the experience

and imaginations of a

disturbing and more, much

generation - in which Patrick

more. ‘It was overwhelming

Swayze tried posthumously to save Demi Moore from the criminals

to be sitting in the dark and watching these powerful things happen.

who murdered him, helped by Whoopi Goldberg as

It was a big, intimidating, awe-inducing experience.

a phoney yet gifted psychic. At first Warchus resisted

Something imprinted itself on me, making me feel that

the idea of directing it, but changed his mind after

we should be laughing out of control, or moved to tears,

meeting Bruce Joel Rubin, author of the Oscar-winning

or on the edge of our seats with tension, or politically

screenplay, and looking hard at the movie itself.

churned up or enraged.

The project’s appeal wasn’t merely that it would be

‘It’s not enough to be sitting comfortably and

technically challenging: intimate yet spectacular, and

appreciating something intellectually. Something

with spooky illusions from Inner Magic Circle illusionist

visceral must be happening. We want to knock people’s

Dave Stewart Matthew Warchus

a dazzling display of undying love times

ghost the musical Special effects and staging by Paul Kieve and Matthew Warchus Score by Dave Stewart and Glen Ballard king’s theatre glasgow 1 - 19 October 2013 Box Office 0844 871 7648 new victoria theatre woking 12 - 23 November 2013 Box Office 0844 871 7645 sunderland empire 26 November -7 December 2013 Box Office 0844 871 3022 New alexandra theatre birmingham 17 December 2013 - 5 January 2014 Box Office 0844 871 3011 regent theatre, stoke-on-trent 8- 18 January 2014 Box Office 0844 871 7649 liverpool empire 11 -22 February 2014 Box Office 0844 871 3017

Paul Kieve that Warchus was determined wouldn’t just

socks off.’ And, yes, Matthew Warchus has done just

new theatre oxford 25 February - 8 March 2014 Box Office 0844 871 3020

be grafted on but would be central to the staging. It was

that. With Ghost. ■

Online booking at atgtickets.com ATG Magazine / 10


atg ti

an unforgettable winter of live theatre - get into it using atgtickets.com as your guide mojo Brendan Coyle (Downton Abbey), Rupert Grint (Harry Potter), Daniel Mays (Made in Dagenham) and Ben Whishaw (Skyfall, The Hour) star in Jez Butterworth’s dazzling Mojo - a savagely funny look at 1950’s Soho and its sleazy rock’n’roll scene. Directed by Ian Rickson.

west side story The no. 1 ‘greatest musical of all time’ (Times Top 50 Musicals 2013) West Side Story is on tour this Autumn with a four week Christmas season at the Manchester Palace.

Fortune Theatre 0844 871 7626

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

spamalot Warwick Davis (Life’s Too Short) makes his West End debut in Spamalot - can’t wait.

the lion king

Duke of York’s Theatre 0844 871 7623

The legend comes to Edinburgh-The Lion King begins its Scottish season this October.

a doll’s house Directed by Carrie Cracknell with a five-star award winning performance from Hattie Morahan.

‘A wonderful, wonderful musical. It will touch a deep chord in everyone’ Sunday Times

dirty dancing Nostalgic hits including Hungry Eyes, Hey Baby and (I’ve Had) The Time of My Life feature in Dirty Dancing when the classic story from the blockbuster movie takes centre stage at the Piccadilly Theatre.

★★★★★ ‘Magnificent’ Mail on Sunday

Duke of York’s Theatre 0844 871 7623

jeeves & wooster The iconic double act live in the West End! With Stephen Mangan and Matthew Macfadyen.

Book your tickets online 11


ickets Trafalgar Studio 1 0844 871 7632

Apollo Victoria 0844 871 7615

Wicked

pride

There has never been a better time to experience ‘the hit musical with brains, heart and courage’ (Sunday Telegraph) as it flies into its seventh spellbinding year.

Alexi Kaye Campbell’s multi-award winning landmark play. Directed by Jamie Lloyd and starring Hayley Atwell, Harry Hadden-Paton, Al Weaver and with Mathew Horne. ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ Sunday Telegraph ‘Faultlessly brilliant. An absolute must-see’ Stephen Fry

Harold Pinter Theatre 0844 871 7622

chimerica A gloriously rich, astonishingly mind-expanding play with breakneck direction by Lyndsey Turner.

Lyceum Theatre 0844 871 7615 Disney’s

Playhouse Theatre 0844 871 7631

The Lion King

SPAMALOT

The Award-Winning Hit Musical, jam packed full of gags with new ones added every day. This hilarious comedy for all ages includes the Nation’s Anthem ‘Always Look On The Bright Side of Life’. ‘Fantastic Fun’ Daily Express

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

Piccadilly Theatre 0844 871 7630

dirty dancing

The classic story of Baby and Johnny, with favourite songs from the hit film including Hungry Eyes, Do You Love Me? and I’ve Had the Time of My Life.

Phoenix Theatre 0844 871 7629

Savoy Theatre 0844 871 7687

once - a new musical

let it be

Based on the Oscar-winning film, an extraordinary joyous celebration of love, friendship and music.

Experience the Beatles live in London. ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ‘Beatlemania is back!’ Tony Dibbon, Magic 105.4

Donmar Warehouse 0844 871 7624

The Prince of Wales Theatre 0844 871 7615

Piccadilly Theatre 0844 871 7630

roots

the book of mormon

Story of a young woman finding her voice at a time of unprecedented social change. With Jessica Raine.

The hilarious 5-star Broadway musical from South Park creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone.

Worldwide smash-hit musical about Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons.

jersey boys

Harold Pinter Theatre 0844 871 7622

mojo Olivier award winning, savagely funny play. Starring Rupert Grint & Ben Whishaw.

at atgtickets.com Your One Stop Shop *Studio 2 has been made possible by a generous donation from Christina Smith

ATG Magazine / 12


backstage

Top cat

A

the lion king roars into edinburgh

s director of marketing and creative for

before, but under the eye of acclaimed director Julie

Disney Theatrical Group, Stephen Crocker’s

Taymor it has gone on to become the biggest stage

remit is to ensure Disney’s celebrated

success in Broadway history, and has been seen by

touring musical productions are seen by

over 65 million people around the world.

hundreds of thousands of people across Europe,

As part of its current UK tour, the production will

the Middle East and Africa.

be landing in Edinburgh in time for the Christmas

The shows under his watch currently include Mary

season - the first time the global phenomenon

Poppins and Beauty and the Beast, but the ‘lion’s share’

has played in Scotland.

(as he puts it) of his time is dedicated to The Lion King

‘I’m so looking forward to seeing it take over the

- the biggest show ever to tour, requiring a staggering

Edinburgh Playhouse. It’s going to look absolutely

23 trucks to move it from one venue to another, and

incredible in such a big venue. And it’s a magical show,

over 150 people on stage and behind the scenes to

so it’s just perfect for such a special time of year. And

bring this mighty show to life each night.

it is definitely not just a treat for children!’ continues Stephen.

disney’s

THE LION KING The award-winning musical LYCEUM THEATRE Now playing Box Office 0844 871 7615

I’m so looking forward to seeing it take over the Edinburgh Playhouse. It’s going to look absolutely incredible in such a big venue.

This remarkable piece of theatre sees over 50 actors representing 26 different types of animal, requiring more than 700 intricate costumes, masks and clever puppets. And every detail, however small, has been considered. ‘It’s mesmerising the way the actors transform themselves into all the different animals. For example, people quite often shed a tear when the giraffes come on, because they are so beautiful and graceful!

‘The complexity and detail of this show is incredible,’

Everything about this show celebrates human skill

Stephen exclaims, his enthusiasm still as fresh as the

and craftsmanship.’ Stephen will clearly have no trouble

day he started work on the production.

ensuring audiences continue to flock, but he won’t

‘I’d hate to count how many times I’ve watched it

rest until his work is done.

now, it must be hundreds! But I still notice a different

‘The show can’t tour forever, so my job is simply to

detail every time. The vision and ingenuity never cease

make sure as many people as possible see it, and enjoy

to be compelling.’

it. Filling theatres with audiences who love it is only

Online booking at atgtickets.com

The show - an adaptation of the Academy

what the show deserves - it’s what all those amazing

award-winning animated film -was first produced on

people on-stage and behind-the-scenes deserve.’ ■

Interview by Lucy Johnston

Broadway in 1997. Nothing like it had ever been done

EDINBURGH PLAYHOUSE 11 October 2013 - 18 January 2014 Box Office 0844 871 3014 empire theatre liverpool 15 May -5 July 2014 Box Office 0844 871 3017

13


Sir Howard take a bow

news

ATG’s irrepressible Chief Executive receives a knighthood

2013

has been a

family and colleagues met to celebrate what Rosemary

landmark year

Squire called ‘that amazing journey you charged off on’.

for ATG’s Joint

Under Panter’s leadership ATG has become the

Chief Executive

UK’s leading theatre group and one of the most prolific

and Creative Director Howard Panter. The company he co-founded with his wife Rosemary Squire OBE was

busy delivering on his promise to bring world-beating

atg -the most important theatre group in the nation

brands to stages across the UK with sell-outs of The

times

ranked 6th in the Sunday Times PwC Profit Track 100 and recently bought its 40th theatre - Foxwoods, its first and the biggest on Broadway. Panter has also been

Lion King, Wicked, West Side Story, Legally Blonde The Musical and Ghost The Musical.

producers in the world with co-productions in

And now Panter, an influential figure in British theatre

London, New York, across North America, Europe and

for 40 years, has picked up the ultimate accolade: a

the Asia-Pacific region. At a special event held for him

Knighthood in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List 2013.

in the West End, affectionate tributes were made to his

‘It’s a source of great pride that Britain continues to

charm, energy and to the ‘big idea’ that has resulted in

recognise those within our world-renowned creative

the extraordinary growth of ATG - now poised to make

industries, and in particular in theatre’ he said as friends,

its entrance on the global stage. ■

Left: Sir Howard Panter and Rosemary Squire OBE Top: Guests Robert Lindsay and Twiggy Middle: Peter Beckwith, Vivien McLean and Hugh Richards Bottom: The Board and Directors of ATG

ATG Magazine / 14


style

Step out in the spirit of the ultimate 60’s dance musical

Baby (a 17 year old on vacation) somerset by alice temperley bird print tea dress From John Lewis johnlewis.com £160 gold ballerina shoes From John Lewis £25 White tulle dress From Coast coast-stores.com £295 strappy shoes From Karen Millen karenmillen.com £110

Mrs Houseman

(Baby’s mother - an affluent housewife) adrianna papell brocade dress From John Lewis £170

Baby DAY

nude patent mascaro shoes From Oliviers Lounge olivierslounge.co.uk £165

christina effe black and grey velvet dress and jacket From Oliviers Lounge Dress £289 Jacket £129

lola cruz black bejewelled shoes From House of Fraser (only available in store) £199

Penny (a professional dancer) hand-cut pink dress From Hobbs hobbs.co.uk £299 gold t-bar shoes From Dune dune.co.uk £85 zinnia bandeau Red dress From Coast £250 bejewelled high heel shoes From Dune £71.20 All prices quoted are given as a guide only and may be subject to change by individual retailers

Feature by Mark Bouman

Inspired? Learn to dance! London Pineapple Dance Studios - ballroom, jazz, Latin and contemporary for all ages and levels. All classes are drop-in with no need to book. pineapple.uk.com

Birmingham DanceXchange - from street-dance to Capoeira and ballet there’s something for everyone. dancexchange.org.uk

Edinburgh The Edinburgh Dance School runs classes across the city including a Strictly Dancing Ballroom class for absolute beginners. edinburghdanceschool.co.uk

dirty dancing piccadilly theatre Now playing Box Office 0844 871 7630 ON TOUR FROM MARCH 2014. Online booking at atgtickets.com 15

Baby EVENING


Mrs Houseman DAY

Penny

Mrs Houseman

Penny

EVENING

DAY

EVENING

ATG Magazine / 16


going out Celebrate the past and spread festive cheer with our pick of winter destinations Make tracks for some of the UK’s most alluring historic houses and towns as the weather cools and the nights draw in. Combining majestic charm with historical interest and Christmas-related activities to boot, our selection of vintage venues is sure to lift the spirits.

Rocks

heritage

york

Home to the aristocratic Howard family for over 300

Blenheim from the perspective of the household

years, the 18th century Castle Howard nestles within

staff. Time your visit to coincide with the splendour

1,000 acres of outstanding natural beauty around

of ‘A Dickensian Christmas’ between 9 November and

York, making this grand residence an appealing

13 December, as the Great Hall is adorned with lofty

attraction year-round. But there is an additional touch

Christmas trees and vintage decorations in keeping

of magic during the autumn months when the house

with the Victorian era. Here Dickensian scenes are

opens to visitors and events on selected days. Discover

brought to life through ‘Ye Olde Curiosity Shoppe’

the family’s world-class collection of furniture and

windows, capturing the comings and goings of a

paintings set among dramatic interiors. Examples of

Victorian grocer, candle maker and glove shop,

guided tours include a circuit of the famed landscape

while displays of replica Victorian Christmas cards

to take in the estate’s finest buildings, including the

and printed excerpts from Dickens’ stories set

Mausoleum and Temple, followed by a delicious lunch.

the scene in the library.

Another date of interest, especially for those in search of the perfect present, is the Christmas Courtyard Craft and Produce Market running between 23 and

brighton

25 November. Stalls selling premium food and crafts

Artisan-led markets up and down the country mean

are arranged around the stunning courtyard, which

there are ample opportunities to source original

is transformed into a winter wonderland complete

presents this year, and the southern coastal town of

with trees and lights.

Brighton is no exception. So head to the Christmas

oxford

for an array of ideas and homemade goods suited to

Gift Fair Spectacular at the racecourse on 9 November

Main Image Castle Howard York Above English Riviera, Brixham Torquay 17

all budgets. If the retail therapy is too much though,

Renowned the world over, Blenheim Palace near

take a break and stroll down to the historic Royal

Oxford adopts a ‘Dickensian’ theme for a series of

Pavilion where a new exhibition of works by Turner

festive events that make the most of this World

and his contemporaries opens in November. The

Heritage Site. See the palace in a new light by

heart of the Turner in Brighton exhibition is the 1824

embarking on The Untold Story tour, an interactive

watercolour Brighthelmston, Sussex, a landmark

experience that tells tales of dramatic events at

piece of art that has been out of sight for at least


ATG’s theatre s in York, Oxford, Bright on, Torquay, Glasgow & Aylesbur y ar e the icing on the cake for a festive tri p - look out fo r Christmas highlights ra nging from An ita Dobson in Sleeping Be auty at the Ay lesbur y Waterside Th eatre to Scot land’s favour ite Karen Dunbar in Aladdin at the King’s Theatre , Glasgow. Fo r full details of wha t’s on visit atgtickets.com

1947 vintage bus Torquay Blenheim Palace Oxford Christmas market Glasgow

100 years - now purchased and preserved for

advance and let the ‘Obscure History Plaques’ placed

the nation.

on the pavements lead you around the streets while you absorb the stories of colourful characters and

torquay

sinister happenings usually kept well hidden in the Merchant City vaults.

Just as Turner rates highly in the UK’s cultural heritage, so too does the author Agatha Christie who was born in Torquay. For a journey with a twist, hop aboard the

aylesbury

‘Barnaby,’ a 1947 vintage bus transporting Agatha

Further down the country, meanwhile, in Aylesbury,

Christie enthusiasts through Torquay via picturesque

a self-guided Heritage Walk unlocks this pretty county

South Devon lanes and on to Greenway, once the

town’s architectural past spanning many centuries.

much-loved author’s family home. There’s informative

The fact-packed walk starts on the steps of the County

commentary from the driver en route and the house

Hall, covers the town’s conservation area and finishes

itself, now owned by the National Trust, has much to

at the ancient King’s Head coaching inn.

reveal about Christie’s private life. A Christmas vintage bus operates between 27 and 31 December for visitors who are enjoying the holiday season down on the

plus

English Riviera, where the traditional fishing port

Both Glasgow and Aylesbury are marking the festive

of Brixham is illuminated in style.

season with fairs and delightful light displays. Glasgow’s famed Christmas market sparkles with originality,

glasgow

drawing traders from as far afield as Ecuador, Kenya,

If you prefer your feet firmly planted on the ground,

by foodies. Try the Christmas Food Fair held at

then walking tours are great alternatives on crisp,

Aylesbury Waterside Theatre on 30 November or the

winter days. Up in Scotland, Glasgow has arranged

Farmer’s Market on 24 December. Just remember

thought-provoking themed trails around its must-see

to wrap up warm. ■

Merchant City district, including one that uncovers its ‘Obscure History’. Download a free PDF guide in

Russia and Lapland while Aylesbury is ripe for discovery

castlehoward.co.uk blenheimpalace.com brightonchristmasfair.co.uk brighton-hove-rpml.org.uk englishriviera.co.uk merchantcityglasgow.com peoplemakeglasgow.com visitbuckinghamshire.org Feature by Neena Dhillon ATG Magazine / 18


ATG Magazine Winter 2013  
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