After The Buskers Opera at the Park Theatre in 2016, I’m delighted to be able to work with The Stable on another world premiere, British musical. I saw extracts from Fanatical performed at The Stable’s New Songs 4 New Shows concert in the West End. It’s hilarious – and it’s so exciting now to see the show developed for full production.
In a distant Galaxy – the ragtag misfit crew of cargo ship Angel 8 are under the command of fearless pilot Iris Aucht.
Meanwhile…at a conference centre, somewhere in England – a ragtag misfit collection of 1,000 fans gather from all across the UK for Eight Con One, the first ever official convention of the cult TV show Angel 8.
Angel 8 started as a comic created by reclusive British Sci-fi author Scott Furnish. Its first TV outing ended on a shocking cliffhanger. With eager anticipation at the promise of a second series, these enthusiastic devotees have come together to celebrate their beloved series and to meet Scott face-to-face and hear his keynote speech.
Fanatical tells the suspenseful, comic, and affecting tale about being true to oneself, finding love against the odds, and snatching triumph from the jaws of disaster – proving that no power in the universe can keep a story from its fans. Music and lyrics are by Matt Board and the book is by Reina Hardy.
The cast for the premiere production, directed by Shaun Kerrison, are: Suanne Braun (Stargate, Red Dwarf, Mamma Mia!, Cabaret), Stephen Frost (Whose Line Is It Anyway?, Blackadder, Have I Got News For You, Mr Bean), Sophie Powles (Emmerdale, Britannia High), Tim Rogers, Amy Lovatt, Amber Sylvia Edwards, Eddy Payne and Theo Crosby.
For the Fanatical post-show Q&A on Tuesday 20 November 2018, I’ll be joined by the writers and members of the company.
Will real-life events continue to overtake the writing of Michael McManus’ frighteningly timely new political play? The subject matter certainly seems to capture so many of my own fears, frustrations and recent experiences as a grass-roots political activist yearning for a return to sanity. I can’t wait to chair this event!
“Brexit? Never mind Brexit. What if the Brexit vote, UKIP, even the BNP and the EDL – what if all that was just the beginning?”
In An Honourable Man, Joe Newman is the mainstream Labour MP for a traditional, working-class constituency in the North of England – until Momentum try to oust him. Unwittingly, they unleash a tide that could destroy not only Labour and the Conservatives – but also every assumption anyone has ever made about what is acceptable in the mainstream of British politics.
The script has been revised and updated to keep pace with current events and the fast-changing political landscape and after feedback – from the likes of Polly Toynbee, Matthew Parris, Kenneth Clarke and House of Cards author Michael Dobbs – following a sold-out workshop in June.
The premiere production stars Timothy Harker as Joe Newman, alongside Lisa Bowerman, Max Keeble, Thomas Mahy, Dee Sadler and Annie Tyson, all reprising their roles from the summer showcase.
Michael McManus is an author, political adviser and journalist. His most recent book, Edward Heath: A Singular Life (Elliott & Thompson, 2016), was widely praised and featured as Book of the Week in the Daily Mail. His other books include biographies of the one-time Liberal leader Jo Grimond and the actor Nicholas Courtney; and a history of the Conservative Party and LGBT rights. He is also co-writer of Tainted, the new musical featuring the songs of Marc Almond and Soft Cell.
Commenting on An Honourable Man, McManus said:
“When I first drafted this play in 2015, it seemed far-fetched to many people. Labour MPs being deselected in the near future? The rise of populism? Cult of personality? Here? In Britain? Now my actors, my director and I are all running hard, just to keep ahead of reality.”
For the post-show discussion on Wednesday 21 November 2018, I’ll be joined by author Michael McManus… and a special political guest from the heart of Westminster.
I had such fun talking with Toby Marlow and Lucy Moss about their blockbuster breakthrough mega-hit SIX. I can’t wait to talk to them about their new West End transfer, in which Toby also co-stars and Lucy once again directs…
Fresh from its own five-star, sell-out run in Edinburgh this year, Hot Gay Time Machine transfers to the West End’s Trafalgar Studios 2 for a very alternative Christmas show season.
Full of enthusiastic dance routines and hilarious original musical numbers, Hot Gay Time Machine – winner of the Brighton Fringe Award for Excellence – is a musical theatre-infused, cabaret comedy starring Zak Ghazi-Torbati and Toby Marlow and written by the show’s two stars with Lucy Moss, who also directs.
Just like A Christmas Carol – but with fewer ghosts and more gays – the dynamic double-act sing, shimmy and sashay the audience on a time-travelling adventure through the history of their favourite topic: themselves.
The 75-minute evening covers all the most important moments in a gay man’s life, like coming out to your mum and navigating the naked politics of the school locker room. This is a Christmas party like no other.
For the Hot Gay Time Machine post-show Q&A at Trafalgar Studios on Thursday 29 November 2018, I’ll be joined by Toby Marlow, Lucy Moss and Zak Ghazi-Torbati.
I’m starting my new year post-show Q&A schedule back at one of my very favourite venues, Trafalgar Studios 2, for this much-anticipated transfer. More than 35 years on, there will be plenty to discuss around this anniversary production of this debut play from late British dramatist Kevin Elyot…
In 2017, King’s Head artistic director Adam Spreadbury-Maher directed the 35th-anniversary production and the first London revival of Coming Clean, the first play Kevin Elyot, who became best known for AIDS era classic My Night with Reg. The play premiered at the Bush Theatre on 3 November 1982.
Coming Clean looks at the breakdown of a gay couple’s relationship and examines complex questions of fidelity and love.
The play is set in a flat in Kentish Town, north London, in 1982. Struggling writer Tony and his partner of five years, Greg, seem to have the perfect relationship. Committed and in love, they are both open to one-night stands as long as they don’t impinge on the relationship. But Tony is starting to yearn for something deeper, something more like monogamy. When he finds out that Greg has been having a full-blown affair with their cleaner, Robert, their differing attitudes towards love and commitment become clear.
Written 12 years before My Night With Reg, Coming Clean won Elyot the Samuel Beckett Award for writers showing particular promise in the field of the performing arts.
For the West End transfer, Adam Spreadbury-Maher (recent King’s Head Theatre productions include the European premiere of Tommy Murphy’s Strangers in Between, La Bohème and Trainspotting) again directs Amanda Mascarenhas as set designer and Nic Farman as lighting designer.
Coming Clean is being produced in the West End by King’s Head Theatre, Making Productions Limited and Joe C Brown.
For the post-show discussion on Wednesday 16 January 2018, I’ll be joined by director Adam Spreadbury-Maher and a panel of guest experts to be announced.
Sisters really are doing it for themselves on this production! I’ll talk to the all-female company behind this brand-new staging of Robert Luxford’s deliciously irreverent Nuns…
Set in a convent, Nuns is a satire that tells the story of three rebel sisters who plot to overthrow the Mother Superior in order to establish smoking rights for themselves.
The youngest, Sister Bernadette, is being seduced into the cause by Sister Catherine and Sister Rozza during one of their secret smoking sessions. They have a secret that they believe will bring the Mother Superior to her knees.
Dutch Dame’s gritty and witty take on Robert Luxford’s Nuns draws you into a world of questioning patriarchal traditions and whether there is room for change in a systematically oppressive world. How far is too far? These sisters are willing to find out.
In the cast, Natalya Wolter-Ferguson is Sister Catherine, Cecile Sinclair is Sister Bernadette, Rebecca Wilson is Sister Rozz and Gillian Broderick is Mother Superior. Nuns is directed by Charlotte Everest, designed by Tara Usher and produced by Valerie Isaiah Sadoh, with Sinclair and Wolter-Ferguson as executive producers.
After the 7.30pm performance on Friday 18 January 2019 at London’s Tristan Bates Theatre, I’ll chair a post-show Q&A with the cast and creative team.