So what is on offer for the valiant few holidaymakers prepared to risk the British beaches, and who are seekers of fine theatrical entertainments?
The Mayflower continues with its regular programme of big scale touring productions and one-nighters, including Spamalot (26 – 31 July), Oklahoma, starring Marti Webb and Mark Evans (17 – 21 August) and Les Miserables, featuring John Owen Jones, Gareth Gates and Dorset’s own Earl Carpenter (24 August – 11 September).
Audiences all around the world have been roaring with laughter since Monty Python’s Spamalot won the Tony Award for Best Musical in 2005. Spamalot tells the legendary tale of King Arthur (here played by Marcus Brigstocke) and the Knights of the Round Table and features a bevy (or possibly a brace) of beautiful show girls,
witch burnings (cancelled as too expensive) not to mention cows, killer rabbits and French people. The show features fantastic tunes which are catchier than the plague “He Is Not Dead Yet”, “Knights of the Round Table”, “Find Your Grail” and of course the Nation’s Favourite Comedy Song (Reader’s Digest Poll 2009) “Always Look On The Bright Side Of Life.”
The BIC hosts Dinosaur Unleashed, following its debut in Oxford Street, London, bringing children and adults alike the exciting opportunity to be amazed by the 22 full-size animatronic dinosaurs, including the Diplodocus at three times the length of a double-decker bus!
Hairspray plays at the Theatre Royal 3 -14 August, and now stars Brian Conley and Les Dennis. Joseph and his Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat 2010 features Keith Jack, the hugely popular runner-up who lost out to Lee Mead in hit BBC series Any Dream Will Do, in the title role, having won the hearts of the nation with his sparkling charisma and sensational singing voice.
Retelling the Biblical story of Joseph, his eleven brothers and the coat of many colours, this magical musical is full of unforgettable songs including “Any Dream Will Do”, “Close Every Door To Me” and “One More Angel”, and plays 16 – 21 August.
This is followed (24 August – 18 September) by probably the world’s best-loved musical, The Sound of Music, , starring three of the UK's favourite stage performers; Michael Praed as Captain von Trapp, Kirsty Malpass as Maria Rainer and Marilyn Hill Smith as Mother Abbess.
The Hippodrome also plays host to the touring production of Les Miserables and runs from 13 July through to 7 August. This is followed by The Gruffalo until 11 August. Touring nationally and internationally since 2001, this magical musical adaptation of the best-selling picture book by Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler, The Gruffalo has been performed over 4000 times to over a million people the world over!
It is 1775 and the fashionable world descends on Bath, to take the waters, show off their finery, enjoy the gossip and pursue romance. Amongst them are some of the most extraordinary comic characters to grace the stage: the verbally misguided Mrs Malaprop, her absurdly romantic niece, Lydia Languish, the blinkered Sir Anthony Absolute, the blustering Irishman Sir Lucius O’Trigger and the bumpkin Bob Acres. Throughout the course of single day these suitors and schemers and their servants indulge in an assortment of hilariously extravagant intrigues before everyone is paired off to their own satisfaction.