Oct 302009
 

Theatre Breaks Reviewed for 2009

Linda looks back on 2009 for London Theatre Breaks as the top of the year approaches:

Winter 2009 is here and I’m just wondering what sort of a year this has been for theatre breaks. There’s been a recent survey that assures us reality TV has actually boosted ticket sales. The box offices are claiming the credit crunch has had little effect on bookings, with most theatres usually full. But what has been the reality?

The West End Shows

In terms of shows one or two have closed early but the old favourites like We Will Rock You carry on. Avenue Q was saved from oblivion by popular demand and has moved to a new theatre. The Lion King is as popular as ever and proudly boasts that it is so well booked that it has NEVER released tickets to the reduced ticket agencies.

Priscilla

Priscilla Queen of the Desert

Some good shows reached the end of their natural life and wonderful though Spamalot was it really was time for it to say goodbye. It’s been replaced by Priscilla and that has been a fair swap. Carousel never really quite hit the spot and its closure wasn’t any great surprise. It was sad to see the end of Cabaret and a shame they couldn’t take a leaf out of Chicago’s book and find a constant stream of new familiar faces to keep us going back.  Joseph went too and no doubt was mourned by thousands of Lee Mead’s fans but it was another how that seemed ready to go. No doubt it will be back someday.

One show I thought should have done better was Spring Awakening, which I just loved. All that energy and a theatre full of young people the night we went. I felt positively ancient, and that’s a good thing! (honest!)

Oliver has of course been a total triumph with Jodie Prenger making a real name for herself. Who would have thought she’d still be there doing 8 shows a week nearly a year later? What a star. I saw her at West End live this year and she has a super voice and a lovely stage presence. She managed to upstage Christopher Biggins, to great comic effect and that takes some talent for comedy! I think we’ll see more of Jodie once she moves on but for now she seems happy where she is. She’s on her 3rd Fagin and this is the one I’d really like to see. I think Griff Reese Jones will make a great Fagin and be well worth the trip.

Hairspray has seen some major changes with the departure of Micheal Ball. Still Phil Jupitous is doing a grand job and Brain Connely was very well recieved in the part. I wonder how long Micheal will stay away, I’m sure I heard somewhere that he’s thinking of coming back to Edna. We hope!

Wicked is going from strength to strength and is the most popular musical at this witchy time of year. Kerry Ellis is just a distant memory now and Alexia Kadhim has made her own interpreation of Elphaba. I think she has a lovely voice, quite different to Kerry’s but wonderful all the same:

New shows coming into the West End and available for theatre breaks include Legally Blonde which I was less than keen on when first announced. Since then I’ve had a good look at the videos on youtube and listened to the cast recordings and I might just change my mind. It might be fun and has the sort of casting that makes me want to see it.

What to say about Love Never dies (apart from “I can’t wait!!”)? Well it’s definitely going to be a huge event and it should be a spectacular in the best Andrew Lloyd Webber tradition. The Coney Island setting should give it a great atmosphere, you know how creepy fairgrounds can be. We’ve all seen Scoobydoo 🙂  It’s got two faboulous stars in Sarah Boggess and Ramin Karimloo (I’ve been doing this so long I can now spell these names without flinching!)

In the next part of this annual theatre breaks review I’ll be looking at the travel implications and prospects for London theatre breaks into 2010.

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