9 reasons why we can’t wait for February 2023 starring Sheridan Smith as Shirley Valentine

  1. Sheridan Smith is Shirley Valentine

Smith (Funny Girl, Savoy) returns to the stage for the 1st time since Joseph and The Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat at the Palladium and this beloved Willy Russell one-woman comedy about a woman who finds love on holiday abroad is the perfect choice. Runs 17 February through 3 June at the Duke Of York’s. Tickets

  • Read on for reasons including Callum Scott Howells at the National, Standing At The Sky’s Edge and Benidorm Fest

2. Callum Scott Howells is Romeo in Romeo and Julie

We caught Scott Howells (TV’s It’s A Sin) twice as the EmCee in Cabaret at the Kit Kat Club and said: ‘Scott Howells made us laugh more than his predecessors, bares more flesh including his bottom during a racier than we remember Two Ladies and has a warm Welsh tone to his singing voice despite his German accent.’ A stone’s throw across the river he takes to the Dorfman Theatre stage at the National from Valentine’s Day to star until 1 April in Romeo and Julie which is a new play we imagine draws on his Welsh roots. Director Rachel O’Riordan (Scandaltown, Lyric Theatre, Hammersmith) and author Gary Owen have the acclaim of both Killology and Iphigenia in Splott to draw on. Tickets

3. Standing At The Sky’s Edge at the National

Ex-Longpigs and Pulp singer-songwriter, guitarist and producer Hawley finds his songs at the heart of this acclaimed new musical which is enjoying its London premiere with its cast including the extremely talented Maimuna Memon (Jesus Christ Superstar: The Concert, Regent’s Park Theatre). Described as ‘a love letter to Sheffield and a history of modern Britain told through the stories of one iconic estate’, we’re already loving the songs and a cast album is promised soon. Runs 9 February through 25 March 2023. Tickets

4. Spain goes Eurovision with Benidorm Fest

Latin pop is such a phenomenon that it seems inconceivable that Spain last won Eurovision for the 2nd year running in 1969. Last year it revived the Benidorm Festival as its method for choosing its entry and was rewarded with its best result – 3rd for SloMo by Chanel – since 1995. We were in Tallinn in Estonia for the Eurovision final in 2002 when the Spanish fans thought they had a chance of winning and know how much success would mean to them. This year’s Benidorm Fest final is 4 February and we think there’s a potential contest winner in the selection if the country chooses well. Details, tickets and how to watch on TVE

5. Sophie Okonedo is Medea at Soho Place

This will be the 3rd production at the West End’s newest theatre and our reviews of them – Marvellous and As You Like It – agree it’s a magical, intimate space and director Dominic Cooke is fresh from helming Good at the Harold Pinter. Okonedo (The Goat, Or Who Is Sylvia? Theatre Royal Haymarket) is 1 of this country’s finest actresses and her Medea is sure to be memorable. Runs 10 February through 20 April and is a promising 100 minutes without interval. Tickets

6. Loreen returns to Melodifestivalen

Sweden’s Eurovision selection show kicks off with 4 heats starting 4 February and the big news is that 2012 contest winner Loreen is back. Each year fans vote in radio poll ESC250 and this year was the 1st in many when that song – Euphoria – didn’t top the poll, replaced as the fans’ favourite by the aforementioned SloMo by Chanel. Our heat previews started publishing in January and you can read our Heat 1 thoughts here.

7. Aftersun is shortlisted for 4 BAFTAs

Paul Mescal-starrer Aftersun won our Best Film monsta in 2022 and is shortisted for 4 BAFTAs at the 76th ceremony on 19 February 2023. Mescal is also nominated for a Best Actor Oscar for the role. Our Best Supporting Actor monsta winner Barry Keoghan is also shortlisted for both a BAFTA and an Oscar.

8. New leads in Cabaret

Director Rebecca Frecknall’s Cabaret is still going strong at the Kit Kat Club at the Playhouse Theatre and in January won our Album Of The Month. 13 February sees its new leads with John McCrea (Everybody’s Talking About Jamie) as the EmCee and Sex Education BAFTA winner Aimee Lou Wood (Uncle Vanya, Harold Pinter Theatre) as Sally Bowles. Tickets

9. Eurovision selection shows in Estonia, Denmark and Finland

February sees a hotting up in the race for countries to select their entries for this year’s May Eurovision in Liverpool. We’ve mentioned Spain’s Benidorm Fest above on 4 February. Other countries to look out for in February include Denmark’s Dansk Melodi Grand Prix and Estonia’s Eesti Laul on 11 February as well as Finland’s UMK on 25 February which we’ll preview in February and includes an early potential contest winner (watch above).

  • Main picture courtesy ATG Tickets
  • Have you heard any of these songs or seen any of these shows? Let us know what you thought in the comments below
  • Enjoyed this review? Follow monstagigz on Twitter @NeilDurham, email neildurham3@gmail.com and check us out on Instagram and Facebook

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