continuing until 16th January – SANTA CLAUS AND THE RETURN OF JACK FROST
18th January – THE ROCKY HORROR SHOW
On the stage – for six days – THE ROCKY HORROR SHOW – Back at the Mayflower for its 9th visit, THE ROCKY HORROR SHOW continued to be a massive hit with Southampton audiences. In this production tv chef, author and presenter Ainsley Harriott takes on the role of Narrator. The cast includes American musical theatre star David Bedella as Frank N Furter and Stuart Ellis as Riff Raff. The loved up couple Brad and Janet were played by Richard Meek and Haley Flaherty.
24th January – VAMPIRE ROCKS
Live – one night only – VAMPIRES ROCK – a musical stage show which premiered in 2004. It is performed by the group headed by Steve Steinman, who had appeared on Stars in Their Eyes as Meat Loaf. The group has toured for several years with The Meat Loaf Story. Set in the year 2030 in New York City populated by The Undead. Baron Von Rockula, owner of the Live and Let Die Club, is in search of a bride, and must eventually convince her to agree to eternal immorality. The show features a number of notable rock anthems, including songs from Meat Loaf, Rainbow, Guns N’ Roses, AC/DC, Alice Cooper, The Rolling Stones, Bon Jovi, Queen, Whitesnake, and Bonnie Tyler. The shows main cast members were Toyah Willcox and Steve Steinman
26th January – NEVER FORGET
On the stage – for five days – NEVER FORGET – is a jukebox musical with a book written by Guy Jones and Ed Curtis, with screenwriter Danny Brocklehurst acting as story advisor, based on the 1990s songs of boy band Take That, written by Gary Barlow. In addition to Barlow’s songs, Never Forget features additional music and lyrics by Barry Manilow, Dan Hartman and Adrienne Anderson, all of which were covered by Take That in the 1990s. The musical’s story focuses on the themes of friendship, ambition, love and betrayal among the members of a Take That tribute band, but it is not related to the history of Take That. The title of the musical is taken from Take That’s chart-topping single “Never Forget”.
The musical began previews on 7 May 2008 at the Savoy Theatre in London and officially opened on 21 May 2008 to generally favourable reviews. This tour and the West End production were both directed by Ed Curtis and choreographed by Karen Bruce. The set design was by Bob Bailey, lighting design by James Whiteside, sound design by Richard Brooker and costume design by Christopher Woods. The production closed at the Savoy on 15 November 2008 and then set out on a nationwide tour. The cast included Philip Olivier and Scott Garnham. The original production is available on DVD.
1st February – CANCELLED – RAY DAVIES COME DANCING
CANCELLED – on the stage – for six days – RAY DAVIES COME DANCING – “COME DANCING” served as the title number for a stage musical of the same name that Ray Davies had created. Set in a 1950s music hall, Come Dancing premiered at the Theatre Royal Stratford East on 13 September 2008. Ray Davies had written the original version of the play in 1997, although he had begun work on it since not long after he had written the original song. The final version of Come Dancing featured a book co-written by Davies and Paul Sirett and a score written by Davies that included three Kinks hits (including the title song) and a number of original songs. Davies also appeared as the narrator in the production, which ran until 25 October 2008. Come Dancing was to be revived by director Bill Kenwright in January 2010, but this, to Ray Davies’s disappointment, was cancelled.
1st February – DREAMBOATS AND PETTICOATS
On the stage – for six days – DREAMBOATS AND PETTICOATS – is a jukebox musical based on popular songs from the fifties and early sixties. The musical, featuring those songs of the rock ‘n’ roll era, is set around the years 1957 to 1963 and was written by Laurence Marks and Maurice Gran. It was first performed at The Churchill Theatre in Bromley, England, in February 2009, followed by this UK tour. This run received rave critical reviews and widespread audience acclaim.
After spending several weeks at the number one spot in the UK Compilation Charts and with over two million copies sold of the first album, the unexpected success of Dreamboats and Petticoats CD series made producers of the series to consider a stage musical adaptation. Brian Berg, the managing director of Universal Music TV (UMTV) and director of Universal Music UK, reportedly saw a niche in the market for older audiences who preferred the music of their teenage years in comparison to the seemingly inaccessible youth-driven playlists on current radio stations. Berg saw the adaptation of a stage musical as a move that “would enhance the brand” and therefore got in touch with Bill Kenwright, producer Laurie Mansfield, director Bob Tomson, musical director Keith Strachan, choreographer Carole Todd and writers Laurence Marks and Maurice Gran to pen the book of the show. He had “the basic idea of youth clubs and nostalgia and a songwriting competition” as the basis of the show because he was a teenager in the sixties who attended a local youth club in Finsbury Park, north London. He added, “As kids growing up in the Sixties we all played in bands, I was a drummer in The Sound Barrier, the greatest unsigned band of the Sixties.”
9th February – THE CHIPPENDALES
On the stage – for five days – CHIPPENDALES – a touring dance troupe best known for its male striptease performances and for its dancers’ distinctive upper body costume of a bow tie, collar, and shirt cuffs worn on an otherwise bare torso. Established in 1979, Chippendales was the first all-male stripping troupe to make a business performing for mostly female audiences. Through the quality of its staging and choreography, Chippendales also helped legitimize stripping as a form of popular entertainment.
The company produces Broadway-style burlesque shows worldwide and licenses its intellectual property for select consumer products ranging from apparel and accessories to slot machines and video games. The Chippendales perform in a ten-million-dollar theater and lounge built specifically for them at the Rio All Suite Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas. Annually, the men of Chippendales are seen by almost two million people worldwide, performing in more than 25 cities in the U.S., 23 cities in Central and South America, 60 European cities, four Asian countries, and eight South African cities.
It had been five years, since they last played the Mayflower– the original and best male revue in the world! Following a sell-out run at the 2009 Edinburgh Fringe Festival and a wildly acclaimed show at London’s Shepherds Bush Empire, The Chippendales returned for a full UK tour with their latest production, The Ultimate Girls Night Out, features an all-new cast of buff young bodies and scenarios brought over from their Las Vegas show. It promised an evening of live music, dancing, audience interaction – and above all, fantasy and fun for every lady aged 16 to 90!
16th February – CHICAGO
On the stage – for two weeks – CHICAGO – International singing sensation Marti Pellow returned to star as Billy Flynn in the UK National tour of the smash-hit musical CHICAGO for just six weeks including these two weeks at the Mayflower. Marti first played the role to great acclaim in the West End, subsequently repeating his performance in New York and on the UK national tour, playing to sell-out houses. Emma Barton, currently starring in the show on tour as ‘Roxie Hart’, will continue to play the role opposite Marti Pellow. As lead vocalist of Wet Wet Wet, Marti had 12 British Top Ten hits including three No. 1 singles. Since leaving Wet Wet Wet in 1999, Marti Pellow has had a very successful solo career with albums such as “Smile”, “Between the Covers”, and “Moonlight Over Memphis” and he had just completed a 10-month UK tour starring as ‘Darryl Van Horne’ in “Witches of Eastwick”. Emma Barton, best known for her role as ‘Honey Mitchell’ in BBC1’s “EastEnders” has an extensive theatre career whose roles include ‘Peggy’ in “The Secret Garden” (RSC), ‘Norma Cassidy’ in “Victor/Victoria” (Bridewell) and ‘Marty’ in “Grease” (Victoria Palace Theatre).
CHICAGO, which is based on the play by Maurine Dallas Watkins, has a book by Fred Ebb and Bob Fosse, music by John Kander and lyrics by Fred Ebb. Scenic design is by John Lee Beatty, costume design by William Ivey Long, lighting by Ken Billington and sound by Rick Clarke. Musical supervision is by Rob Fisher. “CHICAGO” is choreographed by Ann Reinking in the style of Bob Fosse and directed by Walter Bobbie. This is it’s 4th visit to the Mayflower and the second time that Marti Pellow had played Billy Flynn here.
1st March – WHISTLE DOWN THE WIND
On the stage – for six days – WHISTLE DOWN THE WIND – is a musical with music composed by Andrew Lloyd Webber, who also co-wrote its book with Patricia Knop and Gale Edwards, and its lyrics were written by Jim Steinman. It is based on the 1961 film Whistle Down the Wind, whose source novel of the same name was written by Mary Hayley Bell in 1959.
The show premièred at the National Theatre in Washington, D.C. on 12 December 1996. It drew mostly negative reviews, and the Broadway opening that had been scheduled for 17 April 1997, was subsequently cancelled. It was reworked, and opened in the West End at the Aldwych Theatre on 1 July 1998, where it ran for 1,044 performances. This production was darker than the Washington, D.C. production and was revised and directed by Gale Edwards, who had previously collaborated with Lloyd Webber on an updated production of Jesus Christ Superstar. In 2001, Bill Kenwright directed his own production of Whistle Down the Wind for a UK tour. He was granted a considerable amount of creative freedom as director, authorised by Andrew Lloyd Webber to make significant changes to the dramatic structure of the musical, including replacing the running parable of Annie and Charlie Christmas told to the children by The Man with a lighter-toned number called “The Gang” (lyrics by Don Black). This version was simpler in design and more focused on the human story than the spectacular visuals of the Aldwych production. The show toured the UK a number of times between 2001 and 2004 playing the Mayflower twice in this period.
Kenwright presented this second UK tour and in this production Jonathan Ansell played The Man, and Carly Bawden was Swallow.
7th March – THE BILLY FURY STORY
On stage – for one night only – THE BILLY FURY STORY – Fury was sex on legs… he was Elvis, James Dean ..& unusually shy! An electric & emotional nostalgic journey through the life of a unique rock star. Included in this production,F ury comes alive, via giant screen, re-united with his own [live on stage] all original Furys’ Tornados! – 29 fabulous 60’s hits including “Last Night Was Made For Love”, “Wondrous Place”, “1,000 Stars”,”Telstar”,”In Summer” &”Jealousy”. With Colin Gold as Fury – it was a great 60’s night out.
8th March – DANCING IN THE STREETS
On the stage – for six days – DANCING IN THE STREETS – celebrates the energy, emotion and electricity of the music that came from the heart of Detroit, Motown. Made famous by legendary artists including The Four Tops, The Temptations, Marvin Gaye, The Commodores, Lionel Richie, The Supremes and Smokey Robinson, Motown broke down barriers around the world whilst producing some of the most influential and enduring songs of the 20th century. With singers, dancers and a live band, Dancing In The Streets recreates the music and the atmosphere of Motown, with a line-up of classic hits including I Heard It Through The Grapevine, My Girl, I’ll Be There, Tracks Of My Tears and the title tune.
14th March – THE BLUES BROTHERS
Live – one night only – THE BLUES BROTHERS – With a full 11-piece band, there are some things you can ALWAYS expect with this tribute to Jake and Elwood Blues, including all the greatest hits, as featured in both movies – The Blues Brothers and Blues Brothers 2000 – Plus many more Soul Classics. An all-singing, all-dancing, high energy show with choreography and comedy featuring some of the UK’ s best session musicians who replicate the songs as accurately as possible.
Another performance of the UK Blues Brothers – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=arAZkvucjHI
15th March – DERREN BROWN
On the stage – for THREE nights – DERREN BROWN – ENIGMA – Derren Brown is an English mentalist, illusionist, and author. Since his television debut with Derren Brown: Mind Control in 2000, Brown has produced several other shows for the stage and television in both series and specials. His 2006 stage show Something Wicked This Way Comes won him the Laurence Olivier Award for Best Entertainment. Brown does not claim to possess any supernatural powers and his acts are often designed to expose the methods of those who do assert such claims, such as faith healers and mediums. In his performances, he often says that his effects are achieved through “magic, suggestion, psychology, misdirection, and showmanship”.
Enigma his 2009/20 show in came to the Mayflower following packed houses at the Adelphi Theatre, London. Treats included: The Spirit Cabinet, zombified audience members, and something of a musical element to the finale. Co-written and directed by Andy Nyman, ENIGMA was also nominated for the Laurence Olivier Award for Best Entertainment.
18th March – TRACES
On the stage – for one day – TRACES – Montreal’s 7 Fingers have an enviable reputation for exceptional artists and brilliant circus theatre set to edgy, eclectic music. But to recreate the electrifying TRACES with a second cast was always going to be difficult. With a script drawn from real-life details about its young performers, could it still explode with energy and sheer joy, while remaining as funny and poignant?
The opening minutes of this new version co-produced with Sadler’s Wells, quickly answers that question with a breathtaking tumbling/acrobatic sequence that sets nerves tingling. Staying on the urban set almost constantly, there is thrilling group work on Chinese poles and teeterboard – Antoine Carabinier Lepine and Jonathan Casaubon flying like Olympic gymnasts – and street skills with basketball and skateboards, plus a ballet of mannerisms. But it is their Chinese hoop diving that really sets the audience alight. Even this is eclipsed, though, by Carabinier Lepine’s flamboyant work on a spinning Cyr wheel and Genevieve Morin and Antoine Auger’s mesmerising love/hate hand-to-hand encounter, which bring gasps of disbelief and delight. Morin also goes solo with armchair acrobatics, and a dazzling aerial loop number, her red dress forming exotic flower petals as she revolves. And Philip Rosenberg, who had a run with the first cast, reprises his unique hand-balancing number with astounding strength and control on a structure of mannequin parts.
Remakes are rarely a patch on the originals, but directors Shana Carroll and Gypsy Snider have pulled off a master stroke to deliver another stunning coup de foudre.
23rd March – WELSH NATIONAL OPERA
On the stage – for FIVE days – WELSH NATIONAL OPERA – Again for the Spring programme Welsh National Opera brought three productions to the Mayflower. On Tuesday they opened with Mozart’s THE ABDUCTION FROM THE SERAGLIO. James Robinson’s stylish production was visibly entertaining, setting the opera on the Orient Express in the 1920s. Then on Wednesday and Friday Puccini’s TOSCA was performed with Elisabette Matos and Geraint Dodd leading the company. A welcome return on Thursday and Saturday for Patrice Caurier and Moshe Leiser’s CARMEN. Patricia Bardon returned as Carmen and with Gwyn Hughes reprising his role of Don Jose.
28th March – SOLID SILVER SIXTIES
Live – one night only – SOLID SILVER SIXTIES – The show features some of the top hitmakers from the 60s – all in one concert. Mike Pender from The Searchers performs all their hits including Sweets For My Sweet, Sugar & Spice, Needles & Pins, and Don’t Throw Your Love Away. The Swinging Blue Jeans were also on the bill, along with The Troggs, Brian Poole, Dave Berry, Vanity Fare and Peter Starstedt.
29th March – THE SOPRANOS
Live – for one day – THE SOPRANOS – Eight talented ladies enthral, captivate and beguile the audience with timeless classics from the world of opera to Broadway. Paying homage to the greatest divas the world has ever seen, including Shirley Bassey, Barbara Streisand, Judy Garland and Celine Dion.
30th March – CANCELLED – LA CAGE AUX FOLLES
On the stage – for FIVE days – CANCELLED – LA CAGE AUX FOLLES – The Menier Chocolate Factory production of La Cage Aux Folles , opened at the Playhouse Theatre 30 Oct 2008, following previews from 20 Oct, to terrific notices from the popular press: THE GUARDIAN says, “A great musical.” THE DAILY MAIL says, ” La Cage is a belter of a night out.” THE TIMES says, “Suddenly, the West End sparkles.” THE DAILY TELEGRAPH says, “This is a glorious night of showbiz razzle-dazzle and emotional generosity.” The show was all set to embark on a UK wide tour with Douglas Hodge playing Albine and Denis Lawson tin the role of George.
However poor advance bookings around the regions resulted in the tour being cancelled even before it set out.
30th March – DANCING QUEEN
On the stage – for FIVE days – DANCING QUEEN – The show, a late booking to fill the gap left by the cancellation of the tour of La Cage Aux Folles, is a non-stop show of hit after hit. With a dynamic cast of singers and dancers, beautiful costumes and dazzling choreography this musical extravaganza features ‘Broadway style’ production pieces set to the hits of Abba, Saturday Night Fever and classic party hits of the seventies.
Here is a selection from the show – https://dancingqueen.co/videos/