- Miles Hedley
EARLY AUTUMN WITH PREMIERES at Greenwich Theatre
Updated: Aug 25, 2022
Greenwich Theatre and its artistic director James Haddrell have a gift for attracting big names and high-quality work.
In recent times playwright Michael Frayn has heaped praise on the theatre, its patron Helen Mirren has made a memorable cameo appearance, there have been tremendous revivals of plays by Mike Bartlett, Caryl Churchill and Steven Berkoff and it has staged the UK premiere of the hit Broadway musical BRKLYN.
Now it’s hosting the world premiere of another musical, Are You As Nervous As I Am?, which is the creation of an award-winning team who have enjoyed huge success in almost every showbiz genre – composer Leighton James House, lyricist Shaun McKenna and producer Simon Spencer.
The piece, which runs from 1-23 October, follows two sisters from a dysfunctional family as they struggle separately and together to empower themselves and transform their lives.
The omens for the show are auspicious if the team’s previous successes are anything to go by. House met McKenna when they were writing a musical based on Terry Pratchett’s Only You Can Save Mankind, McKenna has penned a Tolkien musical between writing books and scripts and Spencer is an acclaimed producer for TV as well as theatre.
Haddrell said: “Increasingly we are finding that larger producers are keen to try out work here in Greenwich. The pandemic took the wind out of the sails a bit, slowing the momentum of theatre producers in general, but we are delighted to welcome Are You As Nervous As I Am?, proving that Greenwich’s growing profile with the industry and the public alike is back on track.”
Nervous is the centrepiece of an early-autumn season that kicks off on 10 and 11 September with Baby Bear, an exploration of nature and wildlife with music and interactive puppets. The first performance is for babies under 18 months and the second is for toddlers older than that.
The talented actor-musicians of Jupiter Theatre take to the stage on the 11th with Shakespeare’s immortal As You Like It which will feature a folk-rock score played live by the cast.
On the 14th and 15th in the studio FlawBored are putting on It’s A Motherf**king Pleasure, a tragicomic satire about the belief everything can be monetised. Hence the subtitle: Blindness Isn’t Sexy… Yet
And on the 17th, Dead Rabbits return to Greenwich with their tremendous production of Tiger Lady, the extraordinary story of big cat queen Mabel Stark which won rave reviews - including one from us - when it played here last autumn.
Polish-speakers will be able to enjoy an evening of parody in their mother tongue on the 18th when Igor Kwiatkowski takes to the stage in a show called Pół Geniusz Pół Kretyn. In case you hadn’t guessed, pół means half.
And in the studio from the 18th to the 22nd there’s another chance to see Unknown, Dougie Blaxland’s stunning polemic about the nightmare of homelessness.
Back on the main stage, Greenwich hosts another premiere in Blackeyed Theatre’s Sherlock Holmes: The Valley Of Fear. Its based on the final Holmes novel and runs from the 21st to the 24th.
And brilliant local charity Global Fusion Music And Arts take the reins on 25 September with The Darkest Hours Of Victory, a play about the Mau Mau insurgency and Kenyan independence in 1963 written by Lydia Tett Olet.
October is, of course, dominated by Nervous. But after it closes you can enjoy Gonzo Moose’s mad scientist comedy-horror Is That A Bolt In Your neck? on the 24th in which three actors play 20 roles.
And during half-term youngsters can revel in the wonders of Michael Rosen’s magical story We’re Going On A Bear Hunt with enchanting music and lyrics by Barb Jungr. This production by the Little Angel Theatre Company runs from the 26th to the 30th.
Full details about all the shows at https://greenwichtheatre.org.uk/