• Becky Wallis

Weekly Theatre News Round Up - July 18-25

The news that has had theatre land talking this week includes


Carrie Hope Fletcher to make pantomime debut


It has been announced that Carrie Hope Fletcher will make her pantomime debut in Canterbury this year, starring alongside Ore Oduba in Sleeping Beauty

The west end favourite will play Carabosse, the villain, with Oduba as Prince Orlando, alongside Jennie Dale as Fairy Moonbeam, Ben Roddy as the dame, Max Fulham as Jangles and Ellie Kingdon as Aurora.

Fletcher said: “I’m so excited. I didn’t see a panto until I was 19, that was my first experience of panto. I love it so much. I love how out there they are, I love that they use songs that everyone knows, I love all of the outlandish characters and I love the audience participation.

“The fact that I was asked to play the villain was a very, very big draw for me. Wednesday Addams was probably the closest I ever got to playing a villain and I really enjoyed playing a slightly darker character and so just playing an outright villain is going to be so much fun. I don’t think I’ve ever looked forward to being booed before!”

Oduba added: “In many ways I feel like I was made for panto because I love having that rapport with the audience, I’m a family guy myself and I love the idea of families coming to see the show. I know that everybody loves The Marlowe panto. It’s such a popular experience for everybody around Christmas so I feel really privileged and lucky to be part of this amazing group and part of the show. We’re going to have fun.”

Sleeping beauty runs at the Marlowe theatre from 25 November 2022 to 8 January 2023.

First casting announced for UK Tour of White Christmas

First casting has been announced for the upcoming uk tour of White Christmas with the tour beginning in November at the Hall for Cornwall before visiting Nottingham, Sunderland and Liverpool with further dates to be announced.

Jay McGuiness will play Bob Wallace with Lorna Left as Martha Watson and Michael Starke as General Waverley. Dan Burton, Jessica Daley and Monique Young will reprise their previous roles of Phil Davies, Betty Haynes and Judy Haynes respectively.

Nica Burns to open new West End venue

West End Producer and owner of the Nimax theatre group, Nica Burns has revealed a new London venue, called @sohoplace. It will open in the autumn with productions to be announced.

The venue sits directly above the new Elizabeth line, along with the central and Northern lines at Tottenham Court Road station and features a 602 seat auditorium in the round.

Burns has said “I wanted to create a theatre which could add a different dimension to our vibrant West End landscape,” said Burns. “I asked our greatest theatre creatives two questions: If we could build a new theatre in the heart of the West End, what would you like it to be? What additional facilities would be on your wish list?

“The incredible team of engineers pulled off the greatest of structural feats, building over a major underground transport hub – a challenging place to build a theatre – achieving perfect acoustics and no vibrations.”

Melody Thorton to lead UK Tour of The Bodyguard

It has been announced that former Pussycat doll Melody Thornton will star as Rachel Marron in the 2023 UK tour of The Bodyguard.

The tour opens in Glasgow in January before visiting Bradford, Sunderland, Edinburgh, Stoke, Wimbledon, Liverpool, Dartford, Manchester, Leicester, Cardiff, Aberdeen, Wolverhampton, Bromley, Southend, Milton Keynes, Leeds, Llandudno, Plymouth and Bristol with more dates and casting to be announced.

Simon Lipkin and Georgina Castle to star in Elf

A new production of Elf will open at the Dominion Theatre this festive season, it has been announced, running from 14 November to 7 January

Simon Lipkin will play the role of Buddy the elf with Georgina Castle as Jovie, with further casting to be announced.

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