Archive for A Chorus Line

Upcoming in 2013

Posted in Theatre with tags , , , , , , , , on January 13, 2013 by richardhowle

One of the curses of my job is that I am frequently asked for recommendations as to what to see. This is always a real minefield, what is considered good can differ from person to person, that is what makes life so varied and interesting. Going to theatre can involve a serious outlay so making a recommendation brings with it great responsibility.

I am a great believer in that quality will out so a stock answer is always Billy Elliot, Jersey Boys, Matilda, War Horse and One Man Two Guvnors – there is enough variety in this selection for people to then make their own choices to suit their own tastes. I can take comfort in the knowledge that which ever one of these they choose they will enjoy their experience.

I have just realised that in writing this there is a huge mantrap ahead of me if I don’t mention all the great shows in the West End (The 39 Steps and Woman in Black have just sprung to mind). Oh well, publish and be damned, I say!

So what of 2013, what am I looking forward to this year? What are my recommendations for this year?

The first one I have already seen. It is an extraordinary, exciting, endorphin-raising, experiential piece of theatre. Created by the Argentinian team behind Del La Guarda, Fuertzabruta returns to London after a six year gap during which it has gone around the world. It is playing again at the Roundhouse which reopened with this production first time round and I am not sure if there has been a product there since that better fits this space. It is a show that is really difficult to describe other than how it makes you feel – joyful, inspired, alive – it is a cross between a spectacle and a rave. Get your tickets quick as it is only playing until 26th January. (Oh and don’t be upset when it says the tickets are “standing” they all are – that is part of the experience.)

Previewing from 5th Feb, A Chorus Line at the London Palladium is the production that many theatre aficionados are most looking forward to. It is a classic of musical theatre, breaking the mould when it first opened on Broadway where it set new standards and broke all the records, but hasn’t been seen in the West End since 1976. One of the main reasons for this is that there are only three London stages wide enough to fit the full cast. And what a stage, The London Palladium, an iconic building for an iconic production. Tickets at

Also breaking the mould is another musical from Broadway which I am really looking forward to. The Book of Mormon at the Prince of Wales theatre is outrageously funny. Be prepared to be shocked and to laugh a lot at this Tony award winning musical which deliciously lampoons (all) religion. If you liked Avenue Q, this is definitely the show for you.

My final (and perhaps strongest) recommendation is for a play that I raved about on these pages when I saw it at the National a few months ago. The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time is quite simply one of the best things I have ever seen. Funny, moving, brilliant staged and performed by a fantastic cast, it is transferring to the West End’s Apollo Theatre from 1st March. Based on the book by Mark Haddon it is about a 15 year old boy with Asperger’s Syndrome and his struggle to fit into the world. It is a beautiful piece of theatre that had me blubbing like Victoria Pendleton when I saw it.

Not theatre, but I do want to give a shout out for another upcoming in 2013, and that is my friend Chloe who is releasing her first album this year and is being tipped to be one of the new voices of the year. As a special treat here is a link to a sample from her first single – just remember you heard of her here first!

One final note – all the links I have out on here take you to the official websites where you can buy tickets safely. If you so buy tickets elsewhere, make sure you do it securely. Check to see if the agency you are buying from is a member of STAR (Society of Ticket Agents and Retailers) look out for the STAR logo and check that that is is legit on the STAR website

Why I work in the theatre

Posted in Theatre with tags , on October 4, 2012 by richardhowle

I am really lucky to work in theatre. So many people do soul destroying jobs in industries that they hate or that no one cares about. But theatre means so much to so many people. People get so passionate about it. It is easy to forget that for many going to see a show is something special, a real treat, something glamorous and special that will stay in their memory for a long time. I am lucky enough to be a small cog in the machine that provides that.

And I AM lucky – thousands want to work in theatre and many do not get the opportunity as I witnessed this week. I arrived at the London Palladium on a (very) wet Monday morning to find an enormous queue for the open auditions for the upcoming production of A Chorus Line. This was, of course, very much life imitating art – the audition process being the subject of the show – but here, first hand was what it was all about. A dedication and a passion to perform that meant hundreds of people standing in the rain for hours, just for the opportunity to try and perform on the London stage.

In the dry of the stalls as I watched the first 50 nervous hopefuls take to the stage,the tension was palpable – without being too X Factor – this was their moment. It is a tough brutal business – step forward, say your name, perform two pirouettes. That was is it, the qualifying standards were high, fewer than 50% made it through to the next round. Thank you. Goodbye. Queuing since 5am, perform for 30 seconds and it is all over. But, it is their dream, their passion – it’s worth the wet, cold and boredom if you get through. My hat goes off to all those who gave it a go.

Then, last night, I was reminded why I love this business so much when I was lucky enough to attend the sensational National Theatre production of The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night at the Cottesloe Theatre. As I said on Twitter afterwards – it was one of the theatrical highlights of my life.

Because of my job I see a lot of theatre, and often going to the theatre can feel like work. For that reason those that know me know that I am quite a tough judge of what I see on stage – it takes a lot to impress me these days. Last night I was more than impressed, I was blown away by an amazing piece of theatre.

My partner, Paul had been badgering to see it for someone time, he had not only loved the book but had recently worked with play’s leading actor Luke Treadaway (on a film called Wasteland – featuring at the London Film Festival, get your tickets), but it had sold out, so he was thrilled when I was able to get my hands on a precious pair of tickets. It did not disappoint. Those that have read the book (I haven’t ) will know the powerful story and unique style and will fear as to how it can translate to the stage. Don’t fear – it does. The theatricality is brilliant, often simple – but enormously effective. The cast are sensational, the staging imaginative, the multi media set and lighting help paint the pictures and the adaptation delivers. The result is a piece of theatre that will stay with me for some time, it made me laugh and turned me into a blubbering wreck. Some have said that it is a little too long, but for me I didn’t want it to end.

It also did one other thing – remind me why I work in theatre.