THEATRE REVIEW: The Welkin starring Maxine Peake, Cecilia Noble, Haydn Gwynne and Ria Zmitrowicz

WORTH A LOOK?: ***

WHERE? Lyttelton Theatre, National RUNTIME: 170 minutes (including a 20-minute interval)

WHEN? 18/1/20, press night 22/1, runs to 23/5/20

We’re in rural Suffolk in 1759 where convicted murderer Sally Poppy claims to be pregnant and 12 women must assess whether she is, which would save her from execution.

  • Read on for reasons including how this cast has Olivier, BAFTA and Tony award nominations between them

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THEATRE REVIEW: Uncle Vanya starring Richard Armitage & Toby Jones

WORTH A LOOK?: ****1/2

WHERE? Harold Pinter Theatre RUNTIME: 160 minutes (including a 20-minute interval)

WHEN? 14/1, press night 23/1 runs to 2/5/20

Six years after a brooding Olivier-nominated performance as John Proctor in the Old Vic’s production of The Crucible and Richard Armitage (pictured above in rehearsal) is back on the London stage in Conor McPherson’s re-imagining of Chekhov’s Uncle Vanya

  • Read on for reasons including how Toby Jones is the comic highlight as Armitage goes topless

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THEATRE REVIEW: Amélie the musical at the Other Palace

WORTH A LOOK?: ***

WHERE? Other Palace RUNTIME: 150 minutes (including a 20-minute interval)

WHEN? 27/12, runs to 1/2/20

We’re a stone’s throw from Buckingham Palace and had forgotten that the Paris-set 2001 film on which this musical is based references the death of Princess Diana in that city quite so much.

  • Read on for reasons including which West End show the British actress who originated this Amélie opens in this autumn

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THEATRE REVIEW: Cinderella starring Baga Chipz, Sheila Simmonds and Holly Stars at the Trafalgar Studios

WORTH A LOOK?: ***

WHERE? Trafalgar Studios RUNTIME: 90 minutes (no interval)

WHEN? 15/12 (matinee), runs to 5/1/20

Drag sashayed ever further into the mainstream this year with a triumphant first season of RuPaul’s Drag Race UK on the BBC and now we have this pantomime take-over of a renowned West End stage.

* Read on for reasons including how your reviewer made his West End stage debut after being plucked from the audience for this show

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THEATRE REVIEW: Snowflake at the Kiln Theatre

WORTH A LOOK?: ****

WHERE? Kiln Theatre RUNTIME: 115 minutes (including a 20-minute interval)

WHEN? 14/12, press night 16/12, runs to 25/1/20

Andy waits alone on Christmas Eve in an Oxfordshire village hall hoping the daughter who he has not seen for three years will meet him there.

* Read on for reasons including why this is the first great Brexit play

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THEATRE REVIEW: Teenage Dick at the Donmar starring Daniel Monks

WORTH A LOOK?: *****

WHERE? Donmar Warehouse RUNTIME: 100 minutes (no interval)

WHEN? 7/12, press night 12/12, runs to 1/2/20

Actor Daniel Monks has hemiplegia and author Mike Lew tailored his script for the British premiere of his reimagining of Shakespeare’s Richard III to modern-day US high school Roseland High.

* Read on for reasons including how it boasts one of the most accomplished theatrical performances of the year

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THEATRE REVIEW: The Duchess of Malfi starring Lydia Wilson at the Almeida

WORTH A LOOK?: ****

WHERE? Almeida RUNTIME: 175 minutes (including a 15-minute interval)

WHEN? 2/12, press night 10/12, runs to 25/1/20

The Duchess of Malfi is a Jacobean revenge tragedy written in the 17th century by English dramatist John Webster that is unusual for having a female protagonist.

* Read on for reasons including what Olivier Award-nominated director Rebecca Frecknall brings to this

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THEATRE REVIEW: Cyrano de Bergerac starring James McAvoy at the Playhouse Theatre

WORTH A LOOK?: ***1/2

WHERE? Playhouse Theatre RUNTIME: 170 minutes (including a 20-minute interval)

WHEN? 30/11, press night 6/12, runs to 29/2/20

‘This’ll work – I’ve seen it in a movie with Steve Martin.’ So says McAvoy to much audience laughter as Cyrano de Bergerac before impersonating friend Christian who is struggling to woo the challenging Roxane.

  • Read on for reasons including why this isn’t quite the crown on top of a remarkable year for director Jamie Lloyd

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PANTOMIME REVIEW: Sleeping Beauty starring Andrew Pollard and Anthony Spargo at the Greenwich Theatre

WORTH A LOOK?: *****

WHERE? Greenwich Theatre RUNTIME: 150 minutes (including 20-minute interval)

WHEN? 29/11 (press night), runs to 12/1/20

Welcome to a show worthy of the West End but at a fraction of the ticket price that speaks to what it is like to live in this beautiful nook of south-east London.

  • Read on for reasons including what writer/dame/director Andrew Pollard thinks of this show stopping panto

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THEATRE REVIEW: The Boy Friend starring Amara Okereke, Janie Dee, Adrian Edmondson and Issy Van Randwyck at the Menier

WORTH A LOOK?: ****

WHERE? Menier Chocolate Factory RUNTIME: 150 minutes (including two intervals)

WHEN? 22/11, press night 3/12, runs to 7/3/20

Julie Andrews made her American stage debut in this 1954 British musical in a role played here by Amara Okereke who won a Stage Debut award for Best Actress in a Musical

  • Read on for reasons including how this impressive cast includes comedian Adrian Edmondson

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