26th October – HIGH SCHOOL MUSICAL 2
On the stage – for TWO weeks – HIGH SCHOOL MUSICAL 2 – The creative team behind High School Musical Live on Stage reunited to create a new stage version of the 2007 TV movie sequel, “High School Musical 2,” which premiered with this U.K. tour Featuring a book by David Simpatico (adapted from the original film script by Peter Barsocchini), the score includes all the songs from the original chart-topping sequel’s soundtrack, including “What Time Is it?,” “You Are the Music in Me” and “Fabulous.” The production was directed by Jeff Calhoun, whose credits include Broadway revivals of Grease and Big River and the U.S. and U.K. stage versions of High School Musical Live On Stage! The production team also includes choreographer Lisa Stevens and scenic designer Kenneth Foy. The story revolves around the East High Wildcats’ pursuit of summer jobs. Troy (Liam Doyle), Gabriella (Nikki Mae), Taylor and Chad all land work at an exclusive country club but it’s not going to be an easy ride as Ryan and Sharpay (Lauren Hall) are vacationing there, too, and plan on having some fun of their own. As it turns out their family owns the club, run by a pompous manager (Les Dennis), so the scheming siblings make it their mission to stir things up for the friends. The action builds to the country club’s all important Midsummer Night’s Talent Show, but will the Wildcats be ready in time? Will Troy duet with Sharpay or Gabriella, will Ryan finally realize his sister’s true motives and will squabbles, double-crossing and a baseball tournament stand in the way of their performances and, ultimately, their friendships?
8th November – SING-A-LONG WITH ABBA
Live – for one day only – SING-A-LONG-A-ABBA – Have you ever been to a concert and had the uncontrollable urge to burst into song?
SING-A-LONG-A ABBA TRIBUTE is the Ultimate Abba Party, a chance to sing your heart out all night long to Abba songs, some of the greatest pop songs of all time. Celebrate the music of the Swedish Supergroup in true sing-a-long-a style, with the help of our live singers and magic moments fun pack. The Abba Tribute singers lead you through the famous Sing-a-long-a fun pack and get you ready to sing “Mamma Mia”, “Dancing Queen” & “Waterloo” to your heart’s content – it’s the only Abba Tribute show with on-screen lyrics so that EVERYONE can join in!
A member of the audience (it could be you!) will be crowned Dancing Queen for the evening and everyone can dress up in their favourite 70s creation.
11th November – ENGLISH NATIONAL BALLET
On the stage – for five days – ENGLISH NATIONAL BALLET – GISELLE – For anyone curious about classical dance, this English National Ballet production of GISELLE offers the experience in its purest, most captivating form. The ballet was first danced in 1841, but this tale of love, betrayal and redemption still has the power to hold an audience enthralled and send it home in tears. Forget, for the moment, the limpid classicism of Swan Lake and the formal perfection of Sleeping Beauty; this is the piece to melt the non-believer’s heart. This is the one for the cynical spouse or the teenage computer junkie. The title role was taken by 34-year-old Elena Glurdjidze. A Leningrad-trained dancer of great warmth and naturalness, Glurdjidze creates the character of the village girl through a series of grace notes: a vulnerable gaze, a yearning arabesque line, quietly precise jumps and turns.
This production shows off the excellent ENB female corps, but contains only two significant male roles – Albrecht and Hilarion. For this reason, artistic director Wayne Eagling prefixed the ballet with a short piece of his own devising set to Rachmaninov piano preludes, calculated to show off the skills of nine of the company’s supplest young heroes. Men Y Men makes no pretence at profundity, but it’s a lot of fun.
16th November – THE VAGINA MONOLOGUES
On the stage – for six days – THE VAGINA MONOLOGUES – is an episodic play written by Eve Ensler which developed and premiered at HERE Arts Center, Off-Off-Broadway in New York and was followed by an Off-Broadway run in 1996 at Westside Theatre. The play explores consensual and nonconsensual sexual experiences, body image, genital mutilation, direct and indirect encounters with reproduction, vaginal care, menstrual periods, sex work, and several other topics through the eyes of women with various ages, races, sexualities, and other differences. Charles Isherwood of The New York Times called the play “probably the most important piece of political theater of the last decade.” With humour and grace the piece celebrates women’s sexuality and strength. Through this play and the liberation of this one word, countless women throughout the world have taken control of their bodies and their lives. For more than twenty years, The Vagina Monologues has given voice to experiences and feelings not previously exposed in public. The cast included Anita Dobson, Louisa Lytton and local BBC presenter, Sally Taylor.
24th November – WELSH NATIONAL OPERA
On the stage – for five days – WELSH NATIONAL OPERA – The prestigious opera company return for their second annual visit. Once again their programme has a varied offering.
Opening on Tuesday with Berg’s WOZZECK is regarded as a cinematic music drama which charts one man’s descent into madness and murder. Richard Jones’ highly charged industrial vision of this 20th Century masterpiece is a profundly affecting theatrical experience.
On Wednesday and Friday WNO presented their acclaimed production of Verdi’s timeless classic LA TRAVIATA, featuring Katia Pellegrino as Violetta Valey and popular young British tenor Alfie Boe making his WNO debut as Alfredo Germont.
Finally on Thursday and Saturday Joachim Herz’s ravishing production of Puccini’s MADAME BUTTERFLY which has become a WNO timeless classic.
30th November – SCROOGE
On the stage – for six days – SCROOGE – Scrooge: The Musical is a 1992 stage musical with book, music and lyrics by Leslie Bricusse. Its score and book are closely adapted from the music and screenplay of the 1970 musical film Scrooge starring Albert Finney and A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens. Bricusse was nominated for an Academy Award for the song score he wrote for the film, and most of those songs were carried over to the musical. The original production starred Anthony Newley as Scrooge and visited the Mayflower in 1993. Since Bill Kenwright remounted the original production for touring the UK and Ireland for the Christmas season starting in 2003, this is it’s third visit to the Mayflower and the first with Tommy Steele in the title role (Shane Richie had appeared in the 2005 and 2007 shows).
6th December – CLOSED
Theatre closed for 5 days of preparation ahead of the opening of the new Christmas musical.
11th December – SANTA CLAUS AND THE RETURN OF JACK FROST
Live on stage – until January 16, 2010 – SANTA CLAUS AND THE RETURN OF JACK FROST – A sequel to the 2005/6 Christmas presentation, Santa Claus The Musical. This latest Mayflower Christmas extravaganza has so much variety to offer. There’s shades of traditional pantomime, gags as old as Santa Claus, brilliant topical humour, real seasonal songs, a Susan Boyle send-up, a sensational flying ice dragon, with a voice that resembles Kenneth Williams, and a sparkling cast led by the irrepressible Stephen Mulhern. As a visual spectacle this is so impressive, with reindeer, snowmen and penguins, the skating of former Olympic champion Robin Cousins and some memorable dame humour from Michael Nelson, as Mrs Fridge. His contribution is immense.
Stephen Mulhern is such a natural link man and as the Chief Elf he is the kids’ pied piper. They follow his every move. He’s a genuine, young all-round entertainer with enormous potential. Roy Barraclough returns and is perfect as Santa Claus and Marissa Dunlop (Chilli Fridge) stuns everyone with her vocal power and quality. Cousins, as the baddie Jack Frost, is so at home in a production like this and his stage experience is most evident. It was a shame thatn they couldn’t find room for a little more real tradition, particularly for the youngsters, in this beautifully lavish and glorious production and having a brilliant nine-piece band is a real bonus.
20th December – JIM DAVIDSON
LIVE – one night only – JIM DAVIDSON – is an English stand-up comedian who hosted the television shows Big Break and The Generation Game. He also developed adult pantomime shows such as Boobs in the Wood and Sinderella which was seen at the Mayflower. Jim had also produced and starred in family pantomimes including two at the Mayflower. This year he is back with a Christmas themed adult ‘stand-up’ show, whilst the resdident pantomime has a night off.
Take a look at Jim in his stride – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5gysjQVdOyI