Opening: Oscar Wilde, Shunt Tropicana, Vote Dizzy!Date: 18 October 2004
Amongst the major shows opening in London this week are:
OPENING TUESDAY, 19 October 2004 (previews from 14 October) at Soho Theatre is Vote Dizzy! An Evening with His Royal Hipness Lord Buckley, written and performed by Jake Broder (pictured) and presented in association with Virginia Buckley. The piece, inspired by jazzman Dizzy Gillespie’s 1964 presidential campaign, revives the routines of cult US comic Lord Buckley in a late night rally of comedy and live music.
ALSO ON TUESDAY (previews from 13 October), the newly refurbished Shaw Theatre reopens with DJ-turned-Australian Celebrity Mike Read directing a new production of his musical Oscar Wilde (See News, 7 Sep 2004). Timed to coincide with the 150th anniversary of the birth of the Irish playwright (on 16 October 1854), it’s initially booking up to 21 November 2004.
Oscar Wilde follows the tragic six final years of Wilde’s life. By the 1890s, he had become the darling of the West End through the premieres of A Woman of No Importance, An Ideal Husband and The Importance of Being Earnest. But his spectacular fall from grace was swift and catastrophic.
Musicals veteran Peter Blake (Money to Burn, Hair, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, Jesus Christ Superstar) plays Wilde with Anita Louise Combe (Chicago, Sunset Boulevard) as wife Constance and Chris Corcoran (Evita, Chess) as the Marquess of Queensberry. Also in the cast are John de Ville, Craig Nicholls, Frank Owen, Sarah Redmond, Michael Strasson and Jonathan Tatum.
OPENING FRIDAY, 22 October 2004 (previews from 9 September), SHUNT’s Tropicana has its delayed press performance. A follow-up to the alternative theatre company’s 2003 award winner award-winning Dance Bear Dance, Tropicana is performed in the London Bridge Vaults, a 70,000 square-foot labyrinth of railway arches under London Bridge railway station. The devised site-specific piece was due to open nearly a month ago, on 24 September 2004.
According to a statement released at the time (See The Goss, 27 Sep 2004): “Licensing of the venue took longer than anticipated therefore delaying the start of the technical period. As a result, there has not be sufficient opportunity for the company to work with their audiences who form an integral part of the show, and to ensure the smooth running of this element of the production, SHUNT have decided to schedule more previews than originally planned.”
Tropicana is presented in collaboration with the National Theatre, which is providing marketing and other assistance. It's performed three nights a week only, running until 16 January 2005, and is the first production in a three-year residency at the newly entitled SHUNT Vaults.
- by Terri Paddock