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BWW Previews: The London Stage, May 2014

BWW Previews: The London Stage, May 2014

The May Day bunting was still in its boxes when London's theatre heard the month's biggest news - the closure of I Can't Sing after just a few weeks at The London Palladium. Carrie Dunn analyses why here and I concur with every word. Having reviewed the show positively here (and recommending it to my partner and a visiting friend of hers who also enjoyed it), I would only add that the show felt very Anglocentric for a theatre that must attract a lot of tourists. Many will know The X Factor, but will they get the (very British) references?

To happier news. Multi-award winning Hilary Mantel's books Wolf Hall and Bring Up The Bodies open for a summer residency at the Aldwych Theatre: intellectual fare in the West End and a bold show of faith in the breadth of London's theatre audience. If you fancy a bit more food for the brain and some blood and guts too, Shakespeare's Globe is reviving Lucy Bailey's 2006 production of Titus Andronicus. And there's nasty goings on too at the Playhouse Theatre, where the Almeida Theatre (still basking in its Olivier Award winning glory) transfers its spectacular 1984, a production I reviewed in February.

On a lighter note - well, what isn't? - The Pajama Game arrives at the Shaftesbury Theatre fresh from its sellout run in Chichester. But that feelgood standard isn't the only musical revival in town and it's not the biggest either - Miss Saigon touches down at the Prince Edward Theatre. Having seen a couple of heartbreaking Madama Butterflys recently, I might be ready to reappraise my feelings towards this show, one I last saw about twenty years ago and felt a bit too melodramatic. Finally, if you haven't seen it over the last 12 years, there's a last chance to catch Freddie and the boys' anthems in We Will Rock You, closing at the Dominion at the end of the month.

On the Fringe, Spring Awakening (which seems to have been on somewhere in London for the last three years) brings its rock musical mix of teen sex and angst to the Richmond Theatre and there's a bit more of the same kind of stuff as Godspell pitches up for a three week run at the Queen's Theatre Hornchurch. Probably the biggest opening outside the West End is (appropriately) at the Theatre Royal, Stratford East which sees Stepney's very own Lionel Bart's splendid Fings Ain't What They Used To Be - with EastEnder Jessie Wallace amongst the Eastenders on stage.

There's more - much more - of course and we'll be previewing, reviewing and plenty in-betweening here at West End.

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Gary Naylor Gary Naylor is chief reviewer for and feels privileged to see so much of London's theatre.

He writes about cricket at and also for The Guardian, Spin Cricket and Channel Five and commentates at His writing on films and other subjects is at

Comments are always welcome.