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theatreguys.co.uk presents:
Website Updated 30/09/15
This is a not-for-profit UK theatre-going group for our friends and colleagues and their own extended group of friends. It costs nothing to join us but must be by personal introduction from another member of the group. We provide tickets at group discounts (and coach transport from Southend, if required) for London theatres. We do not sell tickets to the public. 
Welcome to our Theatre Group website - we hope you will find all the information you need.  
Organisers: Fredo & Mike - E-mail: fredo@theatreguys.co.uk or fredoandmike@theatreguys.co.uk 
>Latest Offers: It's time to make a booking -  
Rambert + Hapgood + Little Eyolf
Details of all Available Bookings are shown on the Current Bookings page - 
click HERE or on the individual ads above.  
 Extra Discounts for our Donmar Friends
>Next Theatre Visits:
Wednesday 30 September 
at the Hampstead Theatre 
(Click on ad for info and photo for enlargements) 
Ian Kelly’s award-winning biography of 2012  - Mr Foote’s Other Leg - did much to push the Cornishman’s story into the limelight but it’s his stage spin-off, starring one of our age’s greatest actors – Simon Russell Beale - that will do even more to give his reputation a leg-up. If this delightful production, directed with elan by Richard Eyre, doesn’t make him a talking-point again nothing will. Russell Beale conjures the sharp-tongued, beaming-eyed spirit of the one-legged wonder to perfection - a snug, portly fit for the tragicomic role.
Monday 5 October 
at the Adelphi Theatre 
(Click on ad for info and photo for enlargements) 
Review Round-up 
"[Lauper and Fierstein] have achieved something remarkable: a musical about drag queens and shoes and the Midlands that is total box office family entertainment." 
"Mr Henry, like his fellow drag artistes, gives a storming performance. Mr Donnelly slowly wins us round as Charlie. Amy Lennox grabs her moment as a factory girl who fancies Charlie." 
"It's a traditional enough behind-the-factory-walls musical, in the esteemed traditions of shows like The Pajama Game, but given a contemporary spin" 
"Director and choreographer Jerry Mitchell doesn't let them put a stilettoed foot wrong."
Updated 29/09/15//15 -   
What we see without the Group:  click HERE or on the ads below
>News and Information: Please scroll down the page    
 Mike and I prefer to see the Donmar productions before we take our group. When we attend the Director's Forum performances, members of the cast and production team join us for a Q&A and we can pass on their insights and experience to you. 
 However, with the current play, Splendour by Abi Morgan, we were given an early date for the group, and weren't able to attend a DF until near the end of the run. This was a pity: while most of our group were rightly impressed by this work, the kaleidoscopic structure didn't work for those who prefer a beginning, a middle and an end, and preferrably in that order.   
  It's a play that reveals itself by stripping away layers of deception to uncover the unbearable tension in the lives of the four women, particularly Micheline, the wife of the dictator, played mercilessly by Sinead Cusack. The brilliance of the play is matched by the dazzle of Robert Hastie's direction, and I was slightly worried that a second viewing might expose this as mere razzle-dazzle.
Sinead Cuzack in Splendour
  But once again, the play gripped from the start, with the unease ratcheting up with each scene transition - each casual word of dialogue became freighted with threat as the play progressed, and each lighting change showed a shift in the uncomfortable relationships. 
 Rob Hastie led the discussion afterwards himself, but who was this slight young woman trailing behind him? Why, it was Abi Morgan herself, best known as a screen and television writer - The Hour, The Iron Lady, Shame and the soon-to-be-released Suffragette. It's always a privilege to hear from the writer, and Abi was generous in her answers to Rob's questions. 
 Rob asked her what it was like returning to a play that she had written 15 years ago, and Abi replied that it was like going to a party and revealing secrets about yourself, and then waking up the next morning, not remembering a thing, until gradually the realisation of what you've done starts to dawn on you. This was the first time she had seen the play for a month, and she was pleased that it stood up. She hadn't made any changes to it, and she was surprised how relevant it seemed to the awful things happening in the world at present, many of which had developed during the run of the play. 
 The four actresses - Sinead, Michelle Fairley, Genevieve O'Reilly and Zawe Ashton - joined us, looking remarkably fresh and relaxed after their journey through the play's emotional wringer. How had they felt when they read the play for the first time? 
 Sinead said that she started to read it, and after twenty minutes, wondered what on earth it was about. She wasn't sure she understood it, but she kept reading, and when she got to the end, she knew she wanted to do it, so she said Yes to the offer very quickly. 
 Genevieve shared this puzzlement, and yet knew that this was a play - however difficult - that she wanted to do. She agreed that it was difficult to read it. "Oh no," said Michelle, "I found it very easy to read. I got it right away." "Well, you're the clever one," muttered her colleagues. Zawe said that she usually reads scripts twice before committing herself to them, but knew after reading this once that she wanted to be involved. 
 Abi told us that she had written the play in only four and a half days for the theatre company she was working for (Paines Plough) as a commission, and had sent it off without re-reading or revising it. She finds writing plays very difficult - she isn't a prolific playwright - so she doesn't revise, as then she would start to pull her work apart, and lose something in the process. She was engaged at the time by her awareness of the Ceceascu regime in Romania, and by the Marcos reign in the Phillipines; Sinead said that her point of reference was the wife of the Syrian leader doing her Internet shopping while civilisations were being destroyed around her 
 Rob told us that the painting which is referred to so often in the play appears at the back of the stage at crucial moments is simply a painted area on the famous back wall of the Donmar. Sinead praised the lighting designer Lee Curran, who she said is a genious. 
 The evening ended on a sombre note, with a question from a young woman in the audience, who said to Abi: "I am from Syria. Will you write about the refugee crisis?" Abi replied that there would be much written about this period, but at present she has no plans. She has no thesis to offer - except that we all share the same humanity. 
 I longed to ask if the actresses ever got mixed up in the scene changes and came in on the wrong line, and were any animals harmed in creating Sinead's zebra shoes - there wasn't time. But it was truly an evening of Splendour. 
Fredo   18/09/15 
FUNNY GIRL - No laughing matter 
  When it was announced that Sheridan Smith would take the role of FUNNY GIRL at the Menier Chocolate Factory, we just knew this would be a hot ticket and a group booking would be difficult. So it proved. Menier members have priority booking but group bookers have to wait for general booking to open and phone for tickets. I was ready to book when phone lines opened today. I had checked after midnight last night and realised that at least half the tickets were already sold. They were available for individuals to book on line then, but for a group I had to phone this morning. I checked availability for a variety of possible group dates for when the phonelines opened.  
  This morning already many perfs had sold out and remaining tickets were disappearing fast. I phoned and redialled continuously for 30 minutes. When the phone was answered I was held in a queue for 20 minutes and I could see the tickets disappearing for the performances I had my eye on. By the time they answered there were about 40 tickets left, enough for a small group, but I was told I could have no more than 12! We have managed to book 60 tickets for many previous shows at the Menier, but this was a new limitation. 
   "It's a small theatre" I was told, as if I didn't know. "Smaller than last time I booked 60?", I felt like asking. They knew the show would sell out and had no need to encourage group bookings. A miserly twelve tickets was no good for our group booking so I had to give up - many apologies to all Sheridan Smith and Funny Girl fans. By 10.00 only single tickets remained and by 10.30 the whole run had completely sold out.  
  However, a transfer to the West End is likely and a Broadway transfer is rumoured too. We can't take you to Broadway, but as soon as booking opens for a West End theatre we shall do our best to book you in. Will you be interested? I hope so. 
Mike   17/08/15 
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Venice Footnotes 
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Libby Purves 
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Ticket Price Watch:  
For updates on higher prices and what the producers want you to pay. We also give you occasional news on any Discount offers -  
Click HERE
Updated 10/02/15
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Theatre Tokens: 
They make ideal gifts for theatre-going friends. They are available in denominations of £20, £10 and £5 and can be used to buy theatre tickets at all West End theatres and the half-price tkts booth in Leicester Square. You can buy them from us and we accept them too.