The actors single-handedly creating big moments in theatre
It’s a special actor that can stand on stage alone and create something that can compete with huge West End musicals. The last few months have proven that one-person shows are having a bit of a moment, as more and more actors bravely take to the single spotlight. We’ve rounded-up our favourite one-person shows to recently feature on the West End. Missed any? Don’t worry – there’s also some fantastic one-handers coming up.
Walking With Ghosts
Gabriel Byrne took over the Apollo Theatre in the latter half of 2022 to bring his memoir to life. Transforming the book into a one-man stage play, Byrne walked audiences through his unbelievable life story from his childhood in Ireland to his career in Hollywood, with just a sparse set behind him.
Martin Sherman’s Rose comes to the Ambassador’s Theatre this May, starring Olivier Award winner Maureen Lipman. Lipman will transport audiences through Rose’s life, the range of her lived experiences, and the violence of the 20th century. Performed at the National Theatre two decades ago, Rose remains just as staggeringly relevant today, and Lipman’s moving performance is not one to miss.
Jodie Comer dazzled in this brutal exploration of how the legal system treats sexual assault victims, earning herself a nomination for Best Actress at the 2023 Olivier Awards. The play racked up five Olivier nominations overall and won Best Play at the 2023 WhatsOnStage Awards.
Following the staggering success of her BBC TV show, Phoebe Waller-Bridge revived her Edinburgh Fringe show for the West End, taking Fleabag back to the stage in 2019. Struggling to balance interpersonal relationships, self-restraint and the running of a guinea pig café, Fleabag drew audiences in with her unfiltered speech – and held them with her complex character.
Sheridan Smith is currently charming audiences at the Duke of Yorks Theatre as Shirley, the housewife and mother who finds herself talking to the kitchen wall most days as she cooks her family’s chips and eggs. A lesson in finding ways to live for yourself – and an all-round great time – this is one to catch whilst you can.
Rob Madge is back at the Ambassador’s Theatre for a limited time, with performances until March 18. Join Rob on this autobiographical romp through their childhood – specifically that time they tried to stage a Disney parade in their living room.
A Christmas Carol
Many actors have performed Charles Dicken’s festive novella as a one-man extravaganza, including Sir Patrick Stewart’s famous 1988 production. But it’s Simon Callow who has truly picked up the mantle for the 21st century, staging sell-out runs of his one-man production at the Arts Theatre in 2011, 2012, 2016 and 2018.
Eddie Izzard brings her ambitious one-woman production of Charles Dickens’ Great Expectations to the Garrick Theatre this May. Fresh off an acclaimed run in New York, the actress and comedian will play a whopping nineteen characters as she adapts one of Dickens’ most beloved works in what has already been called “the performance of the year”.
The Human Voice
Ruth Wilson brought Jean Cocteau’s spurned lover to life in 2022 at the Harol Pinter Theatre. On the phone with her lover, the young woman at the heart of The Human Voice struggled to manage her depression and accept her future as she came to terms with the fact that the person she loved was about to marry someone else.