Life after Sunny Afternoon… Part 3

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Adam Sopp in rehearsals for 946: The Amazing Story of Adolphus Tips
Photo credit: Steve Tanner

It’s been a while since parts 1 & 2 of this series, and there have been developments, so it seems like a good time to have a look at where our Sunny alumni are now…

At the end of July I got the news that you know I’ve been waiting for: Adam’s back in the theatre! Having spent quite a few hours at the Globe already this summer (several Dreams & most of a Shrew), I’ll now be there even more thanks to his casting as Boowie/Barry in Kneehigh‘s 946: The Amazing Story of Adolphus Tips. I, of course, was there for the very first preview on Thursday – and then again last night on a bit of a whim… I have a couple of others already booked (including, ahem, tomorrow) but there’s no doubt I’ll be adding to that number over its short run. The £5 standing tickets are just too tempting!

It’s still previewing, and they’re tinkering with it to make sure it completely works within the Globe, so I’m not reviewing yet. However, what I do have to say is that I fell for this production from the very start. Of all the post-Sunny projects, this & Dream are vying for the top spot – and there have been some great shows in there! It has a brilliant combination of musical styles, played by an exceptional group of musicians (of which Adam occasionally forms a part), I adore the choreography – plus it’s just really good storytelling. Oh, and puppets!

The cast is superb, helpfully also including some fantastic actors who are still performing in A Midsummer Night’s Dream; I’m so glad to see several familiar faces up there doing something completely different. It’s hard to put into words quite how happy I was to see Adam onstage again, being as brilliant as I’ve come to expect. And I never thought I’d be so chuffed to see someone playing the spoons, oddly enough! I may not have got round to seeing the show had he not got the part, so I’m incredibly grateful for that too.

After a month at the Globe it’s touring around the UK for a bit, prior to a winter in America – so it seems likely that I’ll be catching the odd date here & there… Well, it would be rude not to!

Thoroughly Modern Millie
Image source: Kilworth House

Emily is due to get her teeth into two classic musicals over the next few months (under the guidance of Stephen Mears): Thoroughly Modern Millie and 42nd Street.

The former will be performed in the beautiful surroundings of Kilworth House Theatre, starting this week. I’m hoping I can squeeze a quick visit into my schedule! If the lovely summery weather can hold out, this promises to be a wonderful production – it’s an open-air theatre so a bit of sunshine & pleasant warm evenings will surely add to the atmosphere. Though luckily there is a canopy, just in case…

And the brilliant 42nd Street will be put on at the Théâtre du Châtelet in Paris! It is one of my favourite classics (you can imagine I was hugely excited to hear about the forthcoming West End revival), and with all those tap routines our Em is going to be in heaven. It’s running across the Christmas & New Year season, and what could be more perfect?

42nd Street
Image source: Théâtre du Châtelet

Having now seen his directorial skills in action, thanks to the Read Not Dead performance of Love’s Pilgrimage, Philip Bird will be back treading the boards at Hampstead Theatre this autumn as part of the cast of Labyrinth! It sounds like a really fascinating play; a thriller looking at the heart of an economic crisis through the story of Wall Street banker John Anderson. The Hampstead hasn’t gone wrong yet (I’m still getting over Wild), so this is a very exciting prospect indeed.

It begins previews on 1 September, with press night on Wednesday 7th – the Hampstead is a fantastic theatre (and I’m not just biased because that’s where Sunny began its life!), and terrific value for money. Under 30s can get front row seats for £10-15, with a senior citizens rate at matinées. You can’t argue with that!

Philip Bird Labyrinth Ellie Kurttz
Philip Bird in rehearsals for Labyrinth
Photo credit: Ellie Kurttz

Carly has had quite a sharp rise in her star since she left Sunny in October, taking the lead in Southwark Playhouse’s Xanadu, followed by an ensemble role in the ENO’s production of Sunset Boulevard (acting alongside Glenn Close).

She has now embarked on what I’m certain is an absolutely perfect role for her: Glinda in the international tour of Wicked! I am so gutted that I now won’t get the chance to see this – thanks to uncertainty over employment & a lack of money I couldn’t book, and soon they’re off from Bradford to tour Asia… Even more disappointing knowing that it’s such a fantastic show too. But that doesn’t prevent me from being so proud of her! It’s very satisfying to see someone get the rewards & praise they thoroughly deserve, and I remain convinced that she’ll be a West End leading lady before too long.

Carly Anderson Wicked Matt Crockett
Carly Anderson in Wicked
Photo credit: Matt Crockett

The last time I saw Ashley was in the pantomime version of Robin Hood at Stratford East at Christmas. I’m absolutely thrilled that his next job brings him to a different Stratford (upon Avon) as part of the Royal Shakespeare Company! He will be performing in rep, as Boss in The Two Noble Kinsmen and Phillipo in The Rover. Given that it’s the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death this year, I’d been planning on visiting his home town – and this has given me an extra incentive. Ashley is a wonderful actor, so it will be great to see him in a couple of very different shows.

This week previews begin for The Two Noble Kinsmen, with The Rover following at the beginning of September. Both run until February next year at the Swan Theatre.

Ashley Campbell RSC Donald Cooper
Company in rehearsals for The Two Noble Kinsmen
Photo credit: Donald Cooper

Finally, following his starring role in The Buskers Opera in the spring, George has moved on to a different arena – performance art. He’s part of Ragnar Kjartansson at the Barbican, putting his musical skills to use once again. The exhibition is running until 4 September in the gallery (tickets are available online & Barbican members go free).

The opening hours are long, so inevitably not every performer is there every minute of the day – there is no guarantee you’ll get to see him. However, it’s great to see George doing something new. I’m heading up there myself this week, not really knowing what to expect!

George Maguire Ragnar Barbican
George Maguire in ‘Ragnar Kjartansson’
Photo credit: @barbicancentre
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