With the hotly anticipated Bend It Like Beckham – The Musical opening to audiences in London this week, we take a look at the cool new plays, musicals and ballets gracing the capital’s stages this summer.
Bend it Like Beckham – the Musical
Phoenix Theatre, opens 15 May
This brand new British musical is an adaptation of the hit film where the heroine Jess either has to live up to family expectations of university, career and marriage, or follow in the footsteps of her hero David Beckham. The original score blends musical melodies with an East-West fusion of Bhangra.
London Palladium Theatre, from 8 May
Making its UK premiere at the world-famous London Palladium, this colourful dance extravaganza takes audiences on a cultural tour of India. Written, choreographed and directed by Rajeev Goswami, with lyrics by Irfan Siddiqui and featuring an original score by Salim-Sulaiman, Beyond Bollywood is on for eight weeks only.
Hounslow Harriers Bend It Like Beckham
As You Like It
Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre, from 15 May
As You Like It has all you want from a Shakespeare comedy; romance, satire, cross-dressing and wit! Rosalind, the daughter of an unjustly exiled duke, falls in love with the wronged Orlando, a courtier deprived of his birthright by his brother – but her usurping uncle, jealous of her popularity, banishes her from court. She disguises herself as a boy, meets Orlando again and then advises him in the art of love.
The Elephant Man
Haymarket Theatre Royal, from 19 May
Following the hit Broadway production, The Elephant Man, starring Hollywood stars Bradley Coooper and Alessandro Nivola, is coming to the London stage. It tells the real-life story of 19th-century London man Joseph Merrick (Cooper), who became a star of the traveling freak show circuit. When Dr Treves (Nivola) takes him under his care, he is astounded by Merrick’s capacity and desire for love and his resounding intelligence. http://elephantmanlondon.com
Bradley Cooper (John Merrick) Alessandro Nivola (Frederick Treves) Patricia Clarkson (Mrs Kendal)
The Beaux’ Stratagem
National Theatre, from 19 May
A comedy about love and money, The Beaux’ Stratagem is the tale of two charming young men, Mr Aimwell and Mr Archer, who have spent all their money enjoying London. Leaving debts behind, they flee to provincial Lichfield with their ‘Stratagem’ – to marry for money. But there are many obstacles in their way and they may have met their match in a certain Dorinda and Mrs Sullen. www.nationaltheatre.org.uk
Just Jim Dale
Vaudeville Theatre, from 26 May
Tony Award winner, two-time Grammy Award winner and two-time Academy Award nominee Jim Dale will bring his critically acclaimed show, Just Jim Dale, to the Vaudeville Theatre, following his Off-Broadway success in New York. Jim Dale is one of the world’s great stage entertainers: singer, dancer, comedian, Shakespearean actor, and raconteur. In Just Jim Dale, Jim takes us on a journey through his theatre from performing as the youngest professional comedian on the British Music Hall stage, to joining the National Theatre at the request of Sir Laurence Olivier, starring in the very British Carry On films, plus across Broadway in Scapino, Barnum and Me and My Girl.
Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre, Southbank, London, England
Matthew Bourne’s The Car Man
Sadler’s Wells, 14 July – 9 August
Matthew Bourne’s internationally acclaimed award-winning dance thriller, The Car Man, returns to the stage for the first time since 2007. Loosely based on Bizet’s opera, it’s set in a garage-diner in 1960s America where small-town dreams are broken and betrayed by the arrival of a handsome stranger.
Barbican, 5 August – 31 October
Tickets have been on sale since May 2014 for William Shakespeare’s Hamlet, to be played by Benedict Cumberbatch at the Barbican Theatre in summer next year – promising to be one of the hottest tickets of the year.
And if you want to plan ahead for the autumn…
ELF the Musical
Dominion Theatre, 24 October 2015 – 2 January 2016
Fans of the hit film ELF will be delighted that the movie – where Will Ferrell took the title role – will grace the West End stage as a musical this autumn. Running for just ten weeks, ELF The Musical – starring Ben Forster, Kimberley Walsh, Joe McGann and Jessica Martin – is the story of Buddy, a young orphan child who mistakenly crawls into Santa’s bag of gifts and is transported back to the North Pole. Book ahead for a pre- or post-Christmas treat.