Raise the curtain for 2019
MARION McMULLEN LOOKS AT SOME OF THE TOP PRODUCTIONS HEADING OUT ON TOUR
SIR Ian McKellen turns 80 this year and is celebrating with an 80-date solo tour across the country.
The Lord Of The Rings and X-Men film star will be performing in his home town of Bolton on his actual birthday on May 25 and says: “I wanted to celebrate my 80th birthday in Bolton, where I grew up and discovered in its three professional theatres a passion for action which has never faded.” More details can be found at mckellen.com
■ Meanwhile, 85-year-old Dame Joan Collins will be hitting the road next month for the reschduled dates of her one-woman Unscripted show (joancollins.com). It sees her revealing some of the stories and secrets of her long career.
■ The comedy front sees Ben Elton touring the UK following a 15-year absence from the stage. The Godfather of Modern Stand-up says he will be trying to “make sense of a world which appears to have gone stark raving mad”. The 53-date tour starts on September 27. Go to benelton.net for details.
■ Julian Clary is also touring from March with his Born To Mince show. He says he will be baring his soul as never before in the interests of light entertainment and might murder some well-known songs along the way. Details from julianclary.co.uk ■ TV trio Rob Brydon, Lee Mack and David Mitchell will be touring the UK for the first time from September with their show Brydon, Mack & Mitchell – In Your Town (brydonmackandmitchell.com). Rob jokes: “There are so many others I would rather tour with but it’s pointless dwelling on that now.” ■ Al Murray will be embarking on a 43-date tour from May with Landlord Of Hope And Glory (thepublandlord.com). He says: “Join me to step backwards into the future.”
■ The Fast Show’s Paul Whitehouse will also be starring in a musical version of Only Fools And Horses from next month playing Grandad. He says: “It’s been a labour of love. There is a lot of responsibility.”
■ Meanwhile Danny Baker has added extra dates this year to his Good Time Charlie’s Back (dannybakerlive.com) due to huge demand for tickets. He says: “Coming to venues I haven’t previously had the honour of making my personal powerhouse, I hope you can fall in step with all the fun.”
■ Former Strictly Come Dancing champ Joe McFadden and ex-EastEnder actress Rita Simons star in the world premiere of spine-chilling stage play House On Cold Hill. It is adapted from the bestselling book by Peter James and tours from January 23. Go to peterjames.com for details.
■ Jodie Prenger is starring in Mike Leigh’s acclaimed comedy classic Abigail’s Party, which tours the UK until April. Jodie says: “Abigail’s Pary is a true British classic and a real bucket list part for me.” ■ Bill Kenwright’s production of Ghost – The Musical returns to the UK following an international tour of Dubai,
Istanbul and Trieste. West End musical star Jacqui Dubois returns to play Oda May Brown, the part made famous by Whoopi Goldberg in the 1990 movie. Go to twitter.com/ ghostontour for venues. ■ Countryfile presenter Anita Rani hosts the arena tour of Blue Planet II in March. The event features the original TV music score performed live by the City Of Prague Philharmonic Orchestra and footage from the groundbreaking BBC series shown on a giant LED screen. Information can be found at blueplanet2live.co.uk.
■ Si King and Dave Myers, aka The Hairy Bikers, embark on a nationwide tour next month. The big-hearted, down-toearth cooks promise an epic night of cooking and conversation in An Evening With The Hairy Bikers. Ticket details from gigsandtours.com and ticketmaster. com
■ West End and Broadway star Ramin Karimloo has performed in all the big musicals from Les Miserables and Miss Saigon to Evita and Phantom Of The Opera. He is touring with his own show From Now On (raminkarimloo.com) until the end of January. ■ YOU can also catch Samantha Womack in the stage premiere of thriller The Girl On The Train (girlonthetrainplay.com) based on the bestselling novel by Paula Hawkins. The tour begins at the end of the month and the former EastEnders actress says: “I’ve been fascinated by thrillers for a long time and this kind of storytelling, like Hitchcock’s Rear Window, offers us a voyeur’s journey into a world which is dangerous and full of suspense.”
Ghost – The Musical