2010 July to September


On the screen – for one day – SING-A-LONG-A-SOUND-OF-MUSIC – features the all-time classic film shown with subtitled musical numbers, encouraging everyone to sing along. Guests are invited to dress as their favourite character, complete with habits, satin sashes and even the odd pair of curtains! Not only this, but visitors can be transformed in to Maria, courtesy of Surf‘s magical mirror positioned in the cinema foyer. Sing-a-long-a Sound of Music achieved staggering success in 2001 with its international tour, including a sell out show at the famous Rose Bowl in the USA, and at 70 UK theatres including the Mayflower. So, if you missed it that first time, or on the five other visits this was another chance to hiss at the Baroness!

The opening number


On the stage – for six days – GIRLS NIGHT OUT – MAYFLOWER –

There is little doubt that Dave Simpson’s play Girls’ Night Out was already a success, but while the play was written before The Full Monty, you cannot help comparing the two, as they both centre on the world of male strippers. The story revolves around a hen night, with the bride to be about to give birth at any moment. At the party are her best friend, sister and aunt. As the alcohol flows, secrets start to emerge which are to have a devastating effect on all their lives. Although it would be unfair to reveal any as they are central to the story, as it is, and a lot of humour hangs on them.

Meanwhile, a group of male strippers are preparing for their act and with two new members in the four man team , the nice but dim, Tony (Ian Sharp) and Pete (Harry Capehorn), rehearsals are not going too well. Also, the new members have not told their families what they are doing or that they have signed up to spend the summer stripping in Ibiza, but you know they will find out. When it does come time to perform the guys prepare to strut their stuff in front of the eager audience in the night club. But it is only when they are well through their routine and Tony has revealed almost everything that his girlfriend recognises him and the worlds of the hen night and strippers collide.

The strip routines are well choreographed by Tracy Lane, while Simon Scullion designs are clever and inventive but do slow the action down as the cast convert the set between the dressing room and nightclub scenes on several occasions. The production is aimed at parties of girls and fully delivers on that score.

trailer for the Scottish leg of the tour


On the stage – for six days – STRICTLY TAP DANCE FEVER – took the audience on a whistlestop tour of the greatest tap dance moments in show business history starting in the era when Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers were the stars of the day, the show tap dances its way through history, thrilling and exciting audiences with the vibrant tap dance styles that entertained generations. This production features fantastic musical classics mashed with modern day beat. Acapella tap sounds can be heard as the show opens and as the taps build so does the energy and spectacle. There was more than tap in this show. Swing, jive and sensational singers add to the mix. The show includes a visit to 42nd Street, a glimpse of White Tie and Tails and a peek at a Chorus Line.

The promo


On the stage – for six days – MONTY PYTHON’S SPAMALOT – The show had been due to visit the Mayflower the previous year, as announced when the London production posted closing notices at the West End’s Palace Theatre for 3 January 2009. But a few months later, David Ian Productions, cancelled the tour “due to unforeseen circumstances”. The Python torch was then picked up by Ambassador Theatre Group. “Lovingly ripped off” from the 1975 film Monty Python and the Holy Grail, Spamalot tells the tale of King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table in their quest to find the religious relic – and features a chorus line of dancing divas (with serfs), flatulent Frenchmen, killer rabbits and a legless knight. The musical has a book and lyrics by original Python Eric Idle, who also co-wrote the music with John Du Prez. The West End production, which ran at the Palace from 16 October 2006 (previews from 30 September) to 3 January 2009, reunited the Broadway creative team including director Mike Nichols and set and costume designer Tim Hatley. In Southampton, King Arthur was played by Marcus Brigstock and also starred Todd Carty with Hayley Tamaddon as the Lady of the Lake.

A promo for the 2010 tour

15th August – JIMMY CARR

Live – one night only – JIMMY CARR – RAPIER – A heady mix of artistic integrity, loyalty and avarice had put Jimmy back on the road yet again.‘A ‘rapier’ is the long sword of a gentleman. ‘Rapier wit’ is defined as clever, quick, intelligent humour. Please note, Jimmy Carr doesn’t have the long sword of a gentleman and even if you like him, clever, quick and intelligent is a bit of a stretch. Launched at the Edinburgh Fringe last week, Rapier Wit features 120 minutes of fresh, uncensored material, different in content but still in the slick manner of Joke Technician, Carr’s last tour to visit Southampton. Be warned, the Carr rapier has been sharpened.

A short sharp barb from Jimmy Carr – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AJD3ty1Td14

17th August – OKLAHOMA!

On the stage – for five days – OKLAHOMA! – Set on America’s Western Frontier, against a background of conflict between farmers and cattlemen, Oklahoma! perfectly integrates song, dance and story to tell the tale of farm girl Laurey and the two rivals for her affections, happy go-lucky cowboy Curly and the sinister farm hand Jud. Famously, the show opens with ‘Oh, What a Beautiful Mornin’ and contains a sumptuous and rousing score full of wonderful songs such as ‘The Surrey with The Fringe on Top’, ‘People Will Say We’re in Love’, ‘Many a New Day’, ‘I Cain’t Say No’, and the final rousing chorus of ‘Oklahoma’ – as the music soars the audience is carried along on the emotional journey of one of the most famous love stories in musical history.

The show stars one of Britain’s most popular leading ladies Marti Webb as Aunt Eller (West End credits include Blood Brothers, Tell me On A Sunday, Song and Dance, Evita, Cats, Thoroughly Modern Millie), and Mark Evans, as Curly, best known as the runner up in the BBC’s Your Country Needs You, the search for a singer to represent Britain in the Eurovision song contest. Mark however has a string of musical theatre credits to his name including Spamalot and Wicked in the West End, he played the global heart-throb Troy Bolton in the London cast of High School Musical and the cult movie heart throb Brad Majors in the Rocky Horror Show.

Mark Evans hosting an event in 2012

24th August – LES MISERABLES

On the stage – for three weeks – LES MISERABLES – The new touring production of Les Miserables comes to the Mayflower. This was the second visit of the show. This new production opened in December 2009 and plays Southampton prior to its 25th anniversary celebratory season at the Barbican later in September. This new production has new direction and new designs inspired by the paintings of Victor Hugo, and stars John Owen-Jones as ‘Jean Valjean’, Earl Carpenter as ‘Javert’ and Gareth Gates as ‘Marius’ and is directed by Laurence Connor and James Powell and designed by Matt Kinley inspired by the paintings of Victor Hugo. Original costumes by Andreane Neofitou, additional costumes by Christine Rowland, lighting by Paule Constable and sound by Mick Potter. A live cast recording of this production was released. Earleir in the year Les Miserables, played its 10,000th performance in the West End

Originally opening at the Barbican Theatre on 8 Oct 1985, the Cameron Mackintosh/Royal Shakespeare Company production transferred to the Palace Theatre on 4 December 1985 and moved to its current home at the Queen’s Theatre on 3 April 2004.

Les Miserables, which concerns Love and bravery in 19th century France during the revolutionary struggles, is written by Alain Boublil and Claude-Michel Schonberg, based on the novel by Victor Hugo. It has lyrics by Herbert Kretzmer and music by Claude-Michel Schonberg, with original text by Alain Boublil and additional material by James Fenton. It is adapted by Trevor Nunn and John Caird. Les Miserables had been seen by over 56 million people worldwide in 42 countries and in 21 languages. There have been 34 cast recordings of “Les Miserables”, including the multi-platinum London cast recording and the Grammy Award-winning Broadway cast and complete symphonic albums. The video of the 10th Anniversary Royal Albert Hall Gala Concert has sold well over one million copies worldwide, making it one of the best-selling musical videos in the UK.

The Confrontatuin

14th September – THE MAGIC OF MOTOWN

Live – on stage – THE MAGIC OF MOTOWN – came to the Mayflower as part of it‘s largest tour ever, taking in some 150 dates. With nowhere to run and nowhere to hide as the music of The Temptations, Diana Ross & The Supremes, Four Tops, Stevie Wonder, Jackson 5, Marvin Gaye, Lionel Richie and Martha Reeves is recreated on stage. A live Motown tribute concert show, superbly-choreographed, with 36 million-selling hits and dozens of dazzling costume changes. It faithfully reproduces that elusive Detroit sound.

The production revives all-time favourites such as Stop in the Name of Love, Signed, Sealed, Delivered; My Guy, What Becomes of the Brokenhearted, I Heard it Through the Grapevine, All Night Long, Heatwave, I’m Coming Out, Get Ready, My Girl, I Want You Back, I’ll Be There, Blame it on the Boogie and Dancing in the Street. Sixties classics give way to present-day masterpieces from Lionel Richie and Diana Ross. The young cast is able to reflect the exuberance and excitement of these songs as they were originally performed with care taken to reproduce the original look of the Motown stars on stage. Top costume designer Claire Davis created the fabulous selection of colourful costumes for the cast while leading man Andre Lejaune is responsible for choreographing the cast to perform the intricate dance moves for which Motown stars were famous.

The promotion for the concert tour

15th September – JIM DAVIDSON

On the stage – for one day – JIM DAVIDSON – The worst thing about holding an opinion is that sometimes, at least ostensibly, it turns out to be the very same opinion as the one held by somebody you hate. It makes things very difficult. For instance, I have recently been mildly irritated by the recent slew of Correspondents’ articles on Chortle criticising jokes or comedians that ‘make fun of people’ or make as the butt of the joke a social group that ‘doesn’t deserve it’. Oh for God’s sake, I thought. Listen to these lefty, pseudo-liberal, bleeding-heart hippies. Heaven forbid some delicate soul might get ‘offended’. Get a bloody sense of humour. Jim Davidson was back in town and he‘s in the middle of writing his first stage comedy, which is scheduled to premiere here at the Mayflower in the spring. But for tonight is here on stage and doing what we all know him for – offensive humour. Fresh from performing for our troops in the Falkland Islands he‘s here to test some new material as well as his known and loved.

Jim and one of his stories

16th September – JETHRO

On the stage – for one night – JETHRO – MAYFLOWER – I Told It My Way, was the brand new show from Jethro, the man with more then his fair share of shaggy dog stories and other nonsense! The show contains plenty of kooky comedy capers and tall tales from the inimitable comedian. Come along with Jethro, and learn of Denzil’s unique methods for soothing chapped lips, tales of trouble and strife with the wife and why you should be very wary of the brown and yellow snake… So come on and enjoy a portion from the man who’s irrepressible, irresistible and unmissable!

One of Jethro’s tales

17th September – BUSTING OUT

On stage – for one night – BUSTING OUT – Comedy power-duo Emma Powell and Bev Killick perform their critically acclaimed mammary manipulation show Busting Out! Songstress Powell and comedian Killick are on their UK tour following cheers from audiences across Australia and New Zeeland. Busting Out! Was an uplifting celebration of the female body, with wobbly jokes, thigh-slapping sketches, and practical demonstrations of the fascinating lesser-known uses of women’s bosoms.

Powell’s career centres around starring roles in musical theatre, while Killick is an acclaimed Australian female stand-up comedian. In Busting Out!, Powell and Killick capture the impact breasts have on women’s identity, as a innate function and as a fashion “item”. Their breasts will take the identity of characters such as Miss Piggy, the Plumber’s Crack and the Donut.If you are confused over what Busting Out! is about, think Puppetry of the Penis, but with breasts instead.

An introduction to Bev Killick

18th September – SEAN LOCK

On stage – for one day – SEAN LOCK – is a 47 year old English comedian and actor. He began his comedy career as a stand-up comedian, won the British Comedy Award in 2000 in the category of Best Live Comic, and was nominated for the Perrier Comedy Award. Lock is well known for his appearances on television and radio. He has written material for Bill Bailey, Lee Evans and Mark Lamarr and was voted the 55th greatest stand-up comic on Channel 4’s 100 Greatest Stand-Ups in 2007 and again in the updated 2010 list as the 19th greatest stand-up comic. He is best known for his role as a team captain on Channel 4 comedy panel show 8 Out of 10 Cats from 2005. His routine is often based around deadpan delivery.

A 2010 performance by Sean Lock

19th September – LISA WILLIAMS

On the stage – for one day – LISA WILLIAMS – a 37 year old self-proclaimed British, psychic and medium, who has starred in two shows on Lifetime Television: Lisa Williams: Life Among the Dead (2006–2007) and Lisa Williams: Voices From the Other Side (2008), sets out on her first major UK tour. In 2004, Williams gave a reading to a senior staff member of TV host Merv Griffin. As a result, Griffin worked with her to host a show of her own. Lisa Williams: Life Among the Dead aired for two seasons on the Lifetime network (2006-2007). Her show Lisa Williams: Voices From the Other Side ran for five consecutive nights on the network in October 2008. The shows followed Williams on a typical day, as she claims to communicate with the dead, investigates haunted houses, and conducts other spirit-seeking activities.

An excerpt from this tour

27th September – BLOOD BROTHERS

On the stage – for two weeks – BLOOD BROTHERS – It is almost inconceivable that – 27 years after first appearing on the London stage – Willy Russell’s Blood Brothers, a simple but epic story of twins parted at birth, would still be packing them in at the Phoenix Theatre in London, and regularly up and down the country on tour. In fact it would go on for more than 24 years in the West End, and play more than 10,000 performances, becoming the third longest-running musical production in West End history.

And here it was back at the Mayflower for its ninth visit where it first debuted on 31st August 1987. Originally developed as a school play, Blood Brothers debuted in Liverpool before Russell transferred it to West End for a short run in 1983. The musical won the Laurence Olivier Award for Best New Musical and went on to a year-long national tour before returning for a revival in the West End in 1988 where it stayed at the Albery Theatre for 3 years, transferring to the Phoenix Theatre in 1991.

That initial production in 1983, starring Barbara Dickson in the pivotal role of Mrs Johnstone, had only limited success, and it was not until Bill Kenwright took the helm, re-worked and re-launched it in 1986 that it became the enduring classic which we see today. Niki Evans (who stole the nation’s heart in 2007 with her performance on TVs The X Factor) is the latest in a long line of Mrs Johnstones, and is a revelation. Her power-house performance literally filled the auditorium, and I cannot remember ever being as moved as I was by the all-too real heart-break in her voice when delivering that final song, “Tell Me It’s Not True”. Paul Davies (Eddie) and Kelly-Anne Gower (Linda) were also excellent, and Sean Jones was outstanding as Mickey. The real star however is Russell’s razor-sharp prose (as in the summer sequence) and heart-wrenching songs (“Easy Terms”, “Bright New Day” and “Marilyn Monroe”).

Niki Evans performing the finale
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