After touring the UK extensively since 2000, previously visiting London for one-off dates at the London Palladium and a limited run at Sadler's Wells’ Peacock Theatre, The Rat Pack opened for what was meant to be a limited West End season at the Theatre Royal Haymarket in March 2003. After extending at the Haymarket, the show moved in June of that year to the Strand, where it again extended repeatedly. It must now finish there as the theatre needs to undergo essential repairs which have been delayed by the show’s ongoing success.
Earlier this month (See News, 3 Mar 2005), The Rat Pack producers at Flying Music announced another concert-style compilation musical, Dancing in the Streets, a celebration of the greatest Motown hits, which they also plan to transfer into town following a regional tour. No West End dates or venue have yet been announced. The tour is scheduled to visit 35 venues from 15 April to 26 June 2005.
Currently at the Savoy Theatre, the revival of Noel Coward’s 1941 comedy Blithe Spirit continues its limited season until 28 May 2005. Directed by Thea Sharrock for the Peter Hall Company, Blithe Spirit transferred to the West End on 22 November 2004 (previews from 16 November) following a regional tour and its initial run as part of Hall’s second annual summer repertory season at the Theatre Royal Bath (See News, 25 Oct 2004).
This week is the last for Penelope Keith as eccentric medium Madam Arcati in Blithe Spirit. She’s replaced from 4 April by Stephanie Cole. The rest of the cast – featuring Joanna Riding (as Ruth Condomine), Aden Gillett (Charles Condomine) and Amanda Drew (Elvira) – continue until the end of the run.
- by Terri Paddock