What’s Up Wilma? Memphis, Phantom & more West End news

Hello dears,

What a dreary week it started off as! Regents Park Open Air Theatre had to cancel a performance of Seven Brides for Seven Brothers and even more disastrously, I had to cancel a BBQ I was planning. At least I got to do some singing in the rain!

Matt Cardle in Memphis the musical

I went to see X Factor winner Matt Cardle in Memphis the Musical and he was really very good. A career in theatre could be on the cards for him if he wants one. Memphis tells the story of happy-go-lucky Huey, a young white man with a passion for black music in 1950’s Memphis, Tennessee. When he walks into a black club one day, the patrons quickly turn on him and force him out but when he declares he is going to make the owners sister Felicia a star and get her played on the radio, they become slightly more curious about the man in front of them. It is a serious story of racism, abuse and the way the world was only sixty years ago. It shows how far we have come as a nation but also how far we still have to come to make equality truly mean something. Click here to read my review of the show.

Stephen King’s classic Shawshank Redemption has been adapted for the stage and will embark on a UK tour from August – November starring TV’s Ian Kelsey and Patrick Robinson. Based on the 1982 novella Rita Hayworth and Shawshank Redemption by celebrated author Stephen King, the play examines desperation, injustice, friendship and hope behind the claustrophobic bars of a maximum security facility. The 1994 feature film, regularly voted the number one all-time movie, starred Tim Robbins as Andy Dufresne and Morgan Freeman as Ellis ‘Red’ Redding. Click here to read the full story.

Phantom pic

Big news this week for, er, Phans of Phantom of the Opera. John Owen Jones will return to play the Phantom from 7 September until 30 January 2016 when ITV1’s Superstar winner Ben Forster will take over the role (after his Christmas stint in Elf the Musical at the Dominion Theatre). Far beneath the majesty and splendour of the Paris Opera House, hides the Phantom in a shadowy existence. Shamed by his physical appearance and feared by all, the love he holds for his beautiful protégée Christine Daaé is so strong that even her heart cannot resist. Click here to read all the news on this cast change (including previous Fantine in Les Mis Celinde Schoenmaker as the new Christine).

Kat and Alfie West End The Perfect Murder

Shane Ritchie and Jesse Wallace (aka. Kat and Alfie from BBC’s Eastenders) will tour the UK from February 2016 with the play The Perfect Murder, based on the book by Peter James. Victor Smiley and his wife Joan have been married for a long time but their marriage has reached crisis point. Victor has decided there is only one way to get Joan out of his life forever but he’s about to get a nasty surprise… As a young Detective Roy Grace starts to investigate his very first homicide case, dark forces intervene and Grace begins to fear that nothing is quite as it seems quite as it seems. Click here to read the story.

That’s all the big news for this week. I’m off to Blackpool to see Jane McDonald in Cats the Musical this weekend and then up to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival for a few days.

Speak to you soon!

Wilma xx