4th April – CIRCUS OZ
Live – for FIVE days – CIRCUS OZ – Based in Australia, Circus Oz is the world’s longest-running contemporary circus company. Its shows incorporate theatre, satire, rock’n’roll and a uniquely Australian humour. One of the very first “new” or “contemporary” circuses without animals (it predates Cirque du Soleil by several years), Circus Oz continueD to make a show with only a dozen multi-skilled performers who all perform the entire show, doing “a bit of everything”, from acrobatics and clowning to music and aerial work. The skills are high-level circus, but the show is usually comic and character-driven. The cast is a diverse mix of body shapes and ages, with an equal number of men and women. Their style is generally cheeky, anarchic and subversive, a balance of strong women and graceful men.
11th April – RUSSIAN ICE STARS – PETER PAN
On the stage – for FIVE days – RUSSIAN ICE STARS – PETER PAN ON ICE – Some of the world’s finest ice skaters stepped out on a unique rink in Southampton for their latest show, Peter Pan starring Oleg Tataurov, with Sergei Smirnov as Hook and Katya Murugova as Tinkerbell. The rink wascreated in less than two days through a special process by producers Wild Rose Ice Theatre. In this complete story of Pan – based on the original JM Barrie story as opposed to the Disney version – the production follows previous tours of shows like Sleeping Beauty, Phantom of the Opera and Cinderella.
18th April – MAGIC OF SHOWTIME
On the stage – for FIVE days – MAGIC OF SHOWTIME – All the hard work paid off for the dedicated team behind the production the Magic of ShowTime, staged at the Mayflower Theatre, Southampton. The three-hour musical organised by West Hampshire Guide Association was performed in front of enthusiastic full houses over entire week.
The 2000 show, the sixth ShowTime production since it began in 1985, was co-produced by Chris Horsley and Jim Mulholland.
It tells the story of a group of children travelling on a musical journey in search of a mysterious power which will return magic to the world. The scale of the show is enormous, with a cast of more than 600 Guides and Brownies selected from more than 1,500 applicants throughout west Hampshire. The show, which has received standing ovations every night, took two years to organise, write and rehearse. It was really great, lots of fun, and the children just seem to have risen to the occasion. The kids were amazing, the adrenalin just flows and it keeps them going.The whole project cost £80,000 to put on, all of which has been covered by box-office receipts.
21st April – DREAM CONCERTS
On the stage – one day only – (2 mats)- DREAM CONCERTS – A concert of tribute bands aimed at 6 to 14 year olds. The line-up included Boyz Only and Step By Step.
24th April – ELVIS, THE MUSICAL
On the stage – for six days – ELVIS – THE MUSICAL – The original production opened on November 28, 1977 at the Astoria Theatre in London which had been converted from being a Cinema especially for the show by Laurie Marsh. Elvis was portrayed by four actors over the course of its run. It played for 614 performances. The show later went on a National Tour.
In 1996, Bill Kenwright Ltd mounted a modified production at the Prince Of Wales Theatre, directed by Keith Strachan and Carole Todd. PJ Proby returned as Las Vegas Elvis, Tim Whitnall as mid-period Elvis, and Alexander Bar joined them as young Elvis. Various song changes were made to the initial 1977 production. The show began a short UK tour playing the Mayflower in April 1997 before moving back into the West End at the Piccadilly Theatre. After a summer season in London the tour resumed and this date was near to the end of this three year tour.
1st May – ENGLISH SHAKESPEARE COMPANY – ROMEO & JULIET
On the stage – for six days – ENGLISH SHAKESPEARE COMPANY – ROMEO & JULIET – The English Shakespeare Company was an English theatre company founded in 1986 by Michael Bogdanov and Michael Pennington to present and promote the works of William Shakespeare on both a national and an international level. Funding came from the state Arts Council of Great Britain, and also commercially from the Allied Irish Bank and Canadian retail tycoon Ed Mirvish.
This production of ROMEO AND JULIET in 2000 would be their last, indeed this closing production ended in Plymouth just a couple of weeks later.
8th May – SOUL TRAIN
On the stage – for six days – SOUL TRAIN – is a show celebrating the legendary hits of James Brown, Aretha Franklin, Otis Redding, The Temptations, The Three Degrees, Sam & Dave, Marvin Gaye and many others. It includes songs such as ‘Midnight Train To Georgia’, ‘When Will I See You Again’, ‘Under The Boardwalk’, ‘Soul Man’, ‘If You Don’t Know Me By Now’, and many others. The show is devised by Mark Clements and Michael Vivian, and actually started life under the title ‘The Grapevine’ at the Derby Playhouse in 1998.
Without doubt this show was for soul music fans only. The cast gets through some 44 songs, which are performed dynamically by a very talented cast. This is also a show with lots and lots of audience participation. Soul Train starred Sheila Ferguson, who has the ability to sing slow, quiet songs as well as pounding out high notes on powerful songs. Sheila is not the only star of the show. The whole cast performs incredibly well, each with their own charm and character on stage. Notable mentions are Sharon Benson, Melanie E. Marshall and Jason Pennycooke. Soul Train may be a lazy, ramshackle and short-lived excuse for a show, but the soul itself is immortal. It was a professionally produced, high quality night of fun, bursting with energy. A dream for soul music fans, but a nightmare for musical theatre fans!
15th May – DUSTY
On the stage – for six days – DUSTY – The story and music of Dusty Springfield. Carol is Dusty Springfield’s biggest fan. Now a middle aged housewife and mother to two grown up children, she has reached a crossroads in her life. Carol looks back on those formative teenage years of the early 60’s when life promised so much…and the time her lifetime idol was discovered. Featuring nearly thirty of Dusty’s most famous songs including I Only Want To Be With You, Son of a Preacher Man and Stay Awhile, a multi-talented cast led by Mari Wilson as Dusty and a sensational band sing and dance their way through the story of the great British Icon of Pop that is Dusty Springfield. This production was endorsed by Dusty herself as well as her manager Vicky Wickham.
21st May – GARY WILMOT
Live – one night only – GARY WILMOT – a 46 year old English singer, actor, and comedian who rose to fame as a contestant on New Faces. In 1994, Wilmot hosted Showstoppers, a programme which featured him performing songs from musicals alongside special guests. Originally commissioned as a one-off series in which celebrities were given ten days to learn and perform a song, Wilmot was asked to record a further series of six spectaculars due to popular demand. He also starred in and directed a tour of Showstoppers which proved so popular that its original sixty dates were increased to one hundred and sixty.
In 1989, Wilmot made a move into musical theatre debuting in the West End production of Me and My Girl, playing the role of Bill Snibson at the Adelphi Theatre. He played the role to critical acclaim for two years, with Jack Tinker describing him as a “Musical Talent of the Highest Order”. Wilmot was subsequently nominated in the “Best Actor” category at the Olivier Awards, and theatre tour of a new comedy, Teething Troubles followed. He was also cast as Joe in Carmen Jones at the Old Vic before starring in the world premiere of the Barry Manilow musical Copacabana at London’s Prince of Wales Theatre and the UK premiere production of The Goodbye Girl starring in the show on its earlier visit to the Mayflower.
Tonight he put together a show which encompased all his skills for a night of true entertainment.
29th May – SMOKEY JOE’s CAFE
On the stage – for six days – SMOKEY JOE’S CAFÉ – is a musical revue showcasing 39 pop standards, including rock and roll and rhythm and blues songs written by songwriters Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller. The revue opened on Broadway in 1995, running for 2,036 performances, making it the longest-running musical revue in Broadway history. It had a London run which opened im 1996 and ran for two years. It set out on tour in 1998 and played the Mayflower the week of 7th December, due to its success it returned for another week prior to concluding its 18 month tour. The cast included Hannah Waddingham, Sinitta, Rustie Lee and Shaun Escoffrey.
5th June – LANZA – THE LAST SERENADE
On the stage – for six days – LANZA -THE LAST SERENADE – Mario Lanza, ‘The American Caruso’, was idolised by millions and known as the greatest singer in the world, yet he was to die tragically at the age of 38. Forty years after his death, his legacy of marvellous music and film continue to be amongst the world’s best sellers and this unforgettable musical shows why. Telling the story of his life and featuring such classic songs as Be My Love, Because You’re Mine, Serenade, Nessun Dorma and Loveliest Night of the Year. It starred Mark Rattray.
13th June – ELECTRIC LIPSTICK
On the stage – for five days – ELECTRIC LIPSTICK – A passionate and spectacular love story of today that mirrors the glitter, the glory and the sheer excess of the Glam Rock era. With a company of 27 outrageously talented and energetic performers led by chart star Sonja with over 100 riotously gorgeous costumes, and more than enough sequins to light up the Millennium Dome, this was a Glam-fastic night out.
20th June – RAT PACK
On the stage – for five days – THE RAT PACK – Live From Las Vegas is a very successful stage musical produced by Flying Music Group Ltd. The stage show was conceived and created by Mitch Sebastian, who was also the show’s director and choreographer. Developed over three years this original production opened on a short UK tour and featured Louis Hoover as Frank Sinatra, Clive Carter as Dean Martin and Peter Straker as Sammy Davis Junior. It would move into the West End at the Theatre Royal Haymarket in 2003 and would be nominated for BEST NEW MUSICAL in the WhatsOnStage awards and for BEST ENTERTAINMENT in the 2003 Laurence Olivier Awards.
Louis Hoover as Frank Sinatra – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=auadE-RFniI
22nd June – TALES OF MATHS AND LEGENDS
On the stage – for one day only – matinees – TALES OF MATHS & LEGENDS – Maths stage musical Tales of Maths and Legends starring Johnny Ball was designed to stimulate an enthusiasm for mathematics for school children aged 9-14 years it traces a history of maths, from Egyptian multiplication to Galileo, Binary numbers and mathematics of gravity. This two hour show is in line with the National Curriculum, is fast, exciting and leaves audiences with a true belief that Maths can be fun.