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© Dominic Clemence 
© Johan Persson 
Venice Footnotes 
+ photos 
theatreguys.co.uk presents:
Website Updated 02/03/15
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 (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 
On this page -  click heading to jump to section or scroll down page  
>Latest Offers: It's time to make a booking -  
The Mentalists + The Father + The Beaux' Stratagem  
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:
3 March 
at the  
Review Round-up 
I was taken aback by the richness of the songs... the ingenuity of Joe Penhall's book lies in the way it uses those songs to chart the ups-and-downs of four working-class boys from Muswell Hill. Edward Hall's joyous production neatly allows the songs to grow out of the story and the cast is first-rate...it offers a heady celebration of a quintessentially English talent.
5 March 
at the 
"The shadow of Doctor Faustus looms over How to Hold Your Breath.  The ingenuity of Zinnie Harris’s piece is that it operates on multiple levels. Our heroine’s perturbing odyssey has a satirical streak. Vicky Featherstone’s production achieves a dreamlike fluidity.'' 
"Fans of the brilliant Maxine Peake - and I count myself one of them - will find much to savour in her performance in this nightmarish new drama..." 
Updated 26/02/15 -   
What we see without the Group:  click HERE or on the ads below
>News and Information: Please scroll down the page    
  There are 5 British actors in the race for the Oscars this year - and haven't we seen them somewhere before?  
  When Eddie Redmayne (1) shot out of the water on the flooded Donmar stage at the start of Hecuba it was clear that he was soaring towards stardom. Appropriately, his entrance was spectacular, but he followed this with exciting performances in both that play and soon afterwards in The Goat at the Almeida.
Screen work beckoned, but he returned to the Donmar to give an unforgettable, febrile performance as Mark Rothko's nervy assistant in Red. He emanated the sanctity of the divine right of kings in a benchmark interpretation of Richard ll, again at the Donmar. Now in The Theory of Everything (2) he seems to have become Stephen Hawking, and his is the performance that everyone is talking about.  
  Shortly after her triumph in The Chalk Garden at the Donmar, Penelope Wilton was interviewed at the Rose Theatre, Kingston, and someone in the audience referred to "the young actress - I can't remember her name.." and Penelope replied, "Her name is Felicity Jones (3). She's very talented, and she's going to go far." Now Felicity has been recognised for her powerful yet discreet work in The Theory of Everything (2) as a woman gradually being pushed to the end of her tether yet grimly holding on to her integrity. It was clear on the Donmar stage - even against powerhouse performances from Penelope Wilton and Margaret Tyzack - that she was an actress to watch. 
  Rosamund Pike (3) should have had an easy ascent to stardom. With her blonde, creamy, English rose beauty, she started as a Bond girl, and then demonstrated her stage presence in the almost impossible leading role in Summer and Smoke. She blossomed under Michael Grandage's direction in the exquisite Madame de Sade, commanding the stage with Judi Dench and Frances Barber in supporting roles. On screen, she has shown unexpected comic expertise in An Education and Made in Dagenham - no wonder her no-holds-barred performance in Gone Girl has taken people by surprise (but not if you'd seen her stage work!) 
  Everyone who saw Eve Best in Hedda Gabler at the Almeida was dazzled by her and her chemistry with Iain Glen as Judge Brack. How many remember a self-effacing performance further down the cast-list from a young actor with the eye-catching name of Benedict Cumberbatch (1)? He certainly wasn't a box-office draw in those days; back at the Almeida in Period of Adjustment he didn't set the box-office alight. We didn't sell many tickets to see him in After the Party at the National, though he went on to win the Olivier award for that play. Still, when he followed this with Frankenstein, we still couldn't sell all the tickets we'd booked, though this went on to become one of the National's biggest successes (I'm still smarting). Now his talent is properly lauded and his performance as Alan Turing in The Imitation Game (2) has caught the Academy's eye. His next stage appearance will be Hamlet but don't even ask for tickets, as they've all gone. 
  I can never understand people's reaction to Keira Knightley (4) - especially women, in whom she seems to inspire some sort of fury. I've seen her in any number of films, and I'm always impressed by the valid contribution she makes. Her film career has been especially prolific, and ranges from rom-coms to blockbusters to period dramas - yet she has taken time off to appear on stage twice in recent years, in The Misanthrope and The Children's Hour. She acquitted herself very well in both (and though some of our group picked on her performance and on her appearance, they still bought tickets to see her). This year she is Oscar-nominated for The Imitation Game (2), having failed to get the nod for even stronger performances in Atonement, Pride and Prejudice and Anna Karenina. 
  Who will win this year? Who knows? - it's unpredictable. But isn't it great to see actors who we saw starting out get the recognition they deserve? And who knows who might make their way from the bottom of the cast-list to stardom in years to come? Keep your eye open for emerging talent on stages big and small!  
The Oscar ceremony is this coming Sunday night (22 February) 
Fredo   19/02/15 
Nominees for - (1) Best Actor in a Leading Role; (2) Best Picture: (3) Best Actress in a Leading Role; (4) Best Actress in a Supporting Role .   
Click HERE to see the full list of nominees and watch the trailers. 
The 15th Annual WhatsOnStage Awards were announced on Sunday (15 February). Our congratulations to the winners are tempered by a strong feeling that the great theatregoing public mostly chose the wrong winners. We are pleased of course that the Donmar deservedly picked up three awards for its Coriolanus (Best Play Revival; Best Supporting actor, Mark Gatiss; Best Lighting Design, Mark Henderson).
But did Miss Saigon really deserve nine awards including Best Director? How could Shakespeare In Love be regarded as the Best New Play? And Wicked managed to pick up yet another award - my heart sank. Let us hope the Olivier Awards panel restores some sense of what was really The Best on the West End's stages in the previous twelve months. But we have to wait a few weeks longer to find out. In the meantime you can check out the full list of WOS winners HERE
Mike   17/02/15 
Casting update - At last the casting has been announced for the Old Vic's production of High Society. Having just seen Jamie Parker in Assassins, we were reminded how perfect he would be for High Society and now we understand he will be playing Mike Connor. Satisfaction guaranteed! Kate Fleetwood will be playing Tracy Lord, with Rupert Young (from tv's Merlin) as CK Dexter and Annabel Scholey as Liz Imbrie. With Maria Friedman directing, it should be a swell party. (Sorry - our Group visit is sold out.) 
Bradley Cooper 
turns into 
The Elephant Man
Ticket Price Watch update 10/02/15:  
COMING SOON - Bradley Cooper as The Elephant Man and Kevin Spacey as Clarence Darrow. But don't get excited - we are unable to take the Group to see these plays. They are just the kind of plays we enjoy, and we should like to make a group booking for each, but the producers are not offering group discounts nor accepting group bookings.
Kevin Spacey as 
Clarence Darrow
They have no need. Their thinking is that they will sell tickets no matter the price. Big stars will bring in big bucks, they hope. And I think they may be correct.  
In addition to high prices, the number of tickets that any one person can book for The Elephant Man is being limited to six, to prevent mass reselling on the internet at inflated prices. A further measure to prevent this happening is...did you guess?... to inflate the prices at source so no-one buys tickets they don't want! 
You may be surprised to know what is being charged......continued HERE.  
Click on the Cat to read Libby's reviews
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
Ask us about 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. 
Theatre News Headlines are brought to you by whatsonstage.com, the leading UK theatre website, and are automatically updated throughout the day. You will find articles, reviews, interviews - just click on each headline for the full story. 
Alternatively, you can go direct to the WhatsOnStage new website by clicking HERE.
Click on the ear (left) to read about Hearing Devices now available in many theatres. They may be of help to YOU.
Palace Theatre: 4.40  Chalkwell Schools: 4.45  Elms: 4.50 
Thames  Drive: 4.55   Hadleigh: 5.00  Tarpots: 5.15   Five Bells: 5.20 
All shows are evening performances unless matinee times are given (see below) - 
29/04/15 Americal Buffalo - this is a 2.30pm matinee.  
Please note coach departure times - 
Palace Theatre: 11.30am;  Chalkwell Schools: 11.35;  Elms: 11.40; 
Thames  Drive: 11.45;  Hadleigh: 11.50;  Tarpots: 11.55;   Five Bells: 12.00 
12/07/15 The Beaux' Stratagem - this is a 2.30pm matinee.  
Please note coach departure times - 
Palace Theatre: 11.30am  Chalkwell Schools: 11.35;  Elms: 11.40; 
Thames  Drive: 11.45;   Hadleigh: 11.50;  Tarpots: 11.55;   Five Bells: 12.00 
19/07/15 and 26/07/15 The Car Man - this is a 2.30pm matinee.  
Please note coach departure times - 
Palace Theatre: 11.30am  Chalkwell Schools: 11.35;  Elms: 11.40; 
Thames  Drive: 11.45;   Hadleigh: 11.50;  Tarpots: 11.55;   Five Bells: 12.00 
Buy theatre tickets in advance and the curtain rises on countless pleasures, but wait for other options and the curtain falls on opportunity.  
Old West End Proverb