Tag Archives: Leicester Square Theatre

“Margaret Thatcher Queen of Soho” at the Leicester Square Theatre

Starring in this critically acclaimed show, previously a sell-out at the Soho Theatre and on the Edinburgh Fringe, former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher is an unlikely cabaret diva. You surely remember how she resigned in favour of Neil Kinnock and repealed the homophobic section 28 after a night out when she became ‘the Queen of Soho’. Maybe not.

Now the lesser-known story of how the lady turned is told with the help of Jon Brittain and Matt Tedford, who bears a passing resemblance to the Iron Lady. It seems that Maggie’s views on the gay community changed after she was mistaken for a drag queen. The show has some of the finest satire you’ll see, using hindsight for all its worth, getting laugh after laugh. There are smutty jokes too, but Mrs Thatcher is firmly in charge, handbagging hecklers and showing suitable outrage at the true blue gags.

Joined by Nico Lennon and Ed Yelland, as Hesel and Tine (geddit?), taking on all the other roles, including the villainous Jill Knight (feel free to boo) and our hero Peter Tatchell, attempts to upstage Mrs T with cut-off denim shorts and handlebar moustaches are fruity but futile. The joy of having 80s pop songs performed by the ex-Prime Minister is irresistible. I never thought I’d say it, and, of course, it’s the delicious irony that the whole show revolves around, but Mrs Thatcher gets my vote.

Until 21 March 2015


Photo by Mihaela Bodlovic

“Molly Wobbly” at the Leicester Square Theatre

Born and bred in Belfast and a hit in Edinburgh, Paul Boyd’s Molly Wobbly is a raucous, irreverent musical that’s rude and laugh-out-loud funny. Clearly influenced by The Rocky Horror Show, music hall and Carry On films, yet camper than any of these, Molly Wobbly proudly stands out as good, clean, smutty fun.

The unhappy marriages of the residents of Mammary Street are changed after a radioactive Romanian plastic surgeon moves into their town of Little Happening. Mr Ithanku, performed with style by Russell Morton, hears the dreams of three couples – but is obsessed with his own agenda of the ultimate makeover. There are hot flushes, magic potions and murderous intentions – beauty comes at a price.

Molly Wobbly credit Darren Bell
Alan Richardson and Conleth Kane

The three women bravely abandoning their blouses are splendid, with Jane Milligan having the most to, ahem, offer. Among the husbands, Conleth Kane stands out as he’s barely able to move (or should that be mince?) without getting a laugh. And there’s a great performance from Alan Richardson, who milks his unrelentingly filthy number about one-night stands, along with a small walk-on as the best dancing nun I’ve ever seen. And I’ve seen plenty.

Some of the direction, also from Boyd, might be speedier. I could have done without the malapropisms – they seem a little too easy – although they went down very well. More music, please: this is a strong collection of songs with fine, clear lyrics. What Molly Wobbly really needs, and deserves, is a bigger venue. Of course it’s great to see a show in intimate surroundings, but the impressive projections really suffer, and I’d love to hear the score performed live. Molly Wobbly is just as strong as several recent big West End offerings and has a lot more guts – it should be massive.

Until 14 March 2015


Photos by Darren Bell

“Romeo and Juliet” at the Leicester Square Theatre

The young Ruby In the Dust Theatre company now have a semi-permanent home in the basement auditorium of the Leicester Square Theatre. Having done so well with their production of Dorian Gray they now present a fresh and bold version of Romeo and Juliet.

The action is set in Fascist Italy, with the warring families recast as either Mussolini’s “blackshirts” or Jews. At the risk of sounding mean-spirited, this ambitious concept adds little to the production (apart from the odd Star of David). Some people despair at the slightest change in the Bard’s text, but that isn’t the objection here. Unless you’re a purist, you’ll be happy with the changes made by director Linnie Reedman, especially as the result is a fast-paced and exciting show.

Very much in the spirit of Shakespeare, this is a show with plenty of music. Joe Evans has composed some delightful tunes that sit well next to an eclectic soundtrack. It is a shame that we can’t hear more, as the score adds to both romance and drama.

The cast take on board the show’s adventurous spirit, resulting in a series of virile performances. Dan Moore plays Paris with great stage presence. He rises above the sinister overtones of his black shirt to show why his character is described as having so much promise. Martin Dickenson does well as Tybalt, instantly establishing his strong-arm credentials and excelling in a superb fight scene with Christos Lawton’s dandyish, yet dangerous, Mercutio. A strong, appropriate sensuality marks all three performances and is echoed by Imogen Viden-North in the role of the Nurse. A considerably younger actress than we are used to in this part, she uses her age cleverly and makes the indulgence she shows her ward convincing.

Any production of Romeo and Juliet depends on its leads and here the evening excels. Daniel Finn and Olivia Vinall are young, vital and sexy. They treat their speeches naturally and bring out plenty of nuance. Their love is convincing, as is their fear of the situation they find themselves in. We are sure to see more of these young actors in the future and with this eye for casting are keen to see more Ruby In The Dust productions as well.

Until 11th July 2010



Photo by Patrick Dodds

Written 7 June 2010 for The London Magazine