phone mail2 facebook twitter play whatsapp
Top 5: Star Gazing in the West End
Image Credit: The Lieutenant of Inishmore by Martin McDonagh Credit: Johan Persson

Top 5: Star Gazing in the West End

12 July 2018 Suzanne Frost

One of the really exciting things about living in London (well in our theatre crazy minds anyway) is that some seriously big names of film and TV are always eager to appear on a West End stage, which means us Londoners get to watch celebrities up close in intimate settings (or, you know, from the last available seat up on the second balcony). This summer, it feels like the star density is extra high, and with so many hot tickets for unmissable performances, you better get queuing!

Ian McKellen
Ian McKellen as King Lear at Chichester Festival 2017. Images Manuel Harlan.

Sir Ian has been a grandfather/god/man with a long white beard to an entire generation as the mighty and mysterious Gandalf the Grey in Lord of the Rings. But of course before Hollywood came calling, McKellen was already known as one of the greatest Shakespearian actors alive. Now 79 years old, the living legend is revisiting one of Shakespeare’s great roles, the aging King Lear, which McKellen said might be his last big Shakespeare part, so a live encounter with the man who will forever have that air of a great and good wizard about him is an opportunity we shall not pass ...
 
King Lear will be playing at the Duke of York’s Theatre from 11 July – 3 November. There are £5 tickets for 16 - 25 year olds.
 
Mark Rylance
Mark Rylance (c) Featureflash Photo Agency shutterstock

Rylance, another of Britain’s great Shakespearian actors, returns to the Globe Theatre, which he once lead as director, giving you the chance to see an actual Academy Award Winner a couple of feet away for a 5-quid groundling ticket. Rylance won a supporting actor Oscar in 2016 for his portrayal of a gentle-eyed Russian Spy opposite Tom Hanks in Steven Spielberg’s Bridge of Spies. However, his real home turf has always been the stage, and there will nothing gentle about his performance as Iago, Shakespeare’s most Machiavellian villain in the murderous tragedy Othello.
 
Othello will be playing at the Globe from 20 July – 13 October.
 
Aidan Turner
Aidan Turner in The Lieutenant of Inishmoore trailer, (c) aidanturnernews.com

Maybe the hottest thing around this summer, Turner became a household name when he took his shirt off in the first ever Poldark episode, resulting in instant stardom. The Lieutenant of Inishmoore is Aidan’s West End debut, and instead of a romantic hero, he plays a violent Irish terrorist who happens to have a soft spot for cats in this funny and gory production by Michael Grandage. Unfortunately no shirts come off, but Turner gives a wonderful comedic performance, which kind of makes things even hotter… We hear his name is in the pot for the next James Bond so we’d recommend doing the waiting at the stage door thing sooner rather than later!
 
The Lieutenant of Inishmoore is at the Noel Coward Theatre until 8 September.
 
Orlando Bloom
Orlando Bloom Killer Joe Cooper Killer Joe at Trafalgar Studios. Photo: Marc Brenner

This feels a bit mean as a follow-up, but Orlando Bloom, heartthrob of yesteryear, is also back in the West End after a ten year absence filled with endless Hollywood blockbusters, high profile celebrity relationships, and of course turning 40. In an attempt to go against his image, Bloom appears as the title assassin in Killer Joe, a dark, violent, misogynist play that critics have largely panned, calling it “nasty to a fault” and “irredeemably unpleasant”. Bloom’s performance has been praised though, and tickets will still be highly sought after on the premise of seeing a Hollywood star in one of the West Ends most intimate venues. And he DOES take his shirt off… and more…
 
Killer Joe is playing at Trafalgar Studios until 18 August.
 
 
Cate Blanchett
Cate Blanchett (c) Steven Chee

What about the ladies, we hear you say?  Indeed there seems to be a distinct lack of female star power this summer, but 2019 will see double Oscar winner Cate Blanchett return to London. After first announcing she will star in All About Eve, directed by the ever popular Ivo van Hove, Blanchett has since pulled out of that production (which is rumoured to go ahead with Gillian Anderson in the lead now) and will be appearing at the National Theatre instead. The avant-garde play When We Have Sufficiently Tortured Each Other: Twelve Variations on Samuel Richardson‘s Pamela will be directed by avant-garde director Katie Mitchell, and will play in the NT’s smallest venue, the Dorfman Theatre. This is probably much more to Blanchett’s taste, but expect a run like no other on the very limited seats. Tickets will go on sale this autumn.
 
‘When We Have Sufficiently Tortured Each Other: Twelve Variations on Samuel Richardson‘s Pamela’ will play at the National Theatre in January 2019.
 

Tell us what you think

You may also like

The Best Theatre in September

The Best Theatre in September

September is an exciting time for London theatre. With the summer break having passed, there’s an energy and a buzz in the West End and beyond,…

Win a family ticket to see Three Sat Under the Banyan Tree!

Polka Theatre - Win a family ticket to see Three Sat Under the Banyan Tree!

Enjoy a fun family day out to Polka Theatre for a show sure to excite the little ones with its animal adventures.

Top 5: Ways To Pretend It’s Still Summer

Top 5: Ways To Pretend It’s Still Summer

The nights are drawing in and the temperature’s dropping. Jumpers are being pulled out of bottom drawers and someone’s already invited you to a Christmas do.…

Win a pair of tickets for Bryony Kimmings’ ‘I’m A Phoenix, Bitch’!

Battersea Arts Centre - Win a pair of tickets for Bryony Kimmings’ ‘I’m A Phoenix, Bitch’!

Win the chance to see Bryony Kimmings' powerful new show as part of Battersea Arts Centre's Phoenix Season.

Back to School: English

Back to School: English

Let’s be real: in the English classrooms of yore, you either eagerly waved your hand in the air or slammed your head down on the desk…

This Week: 24 - 30 September

This Week: 24 - 30 September

This week in London, girls rule the screen (and the stage), there's cheese, ice cream and beer galore and one of London's most beloved venues shows off…

Win a pair of tickets to see Mark Thomas’ new show!

The Arcola - Win a pair of tickets to see Mark Thomas’ new show!

Get the chance to see Mark Thomas' acclaimed new show about the NHS.

This week: 10 – 16 September

This week: 10 – 16 September

Artificially intelligent lions, magic pink waterfalls and a Grand Hall rising from the ashes! There is a lot to get excited about this week in London.

The Political History of Smack and Crack by Ed Edwards

The Political History of Smack and Crack by Ed Edwards

A co-production between Most Wanted and Offstage Theatre in association with W14 Productions and Alastair Michael, co-comissioned by Soho Theatre

MK Ultra at Queen Elizabeth Hall

MK Ultra at Queen Elizabeth Hall

Head to Queen Elizabeth Hall to see Commonwealth Games choreographer Rosie Kay's thrilling dance pieces, that explores the rise of conspiracy theory in pop culture...

Most popular

Win two tickets to the 1940s cocktail bar for some cocktails, cakes and cuppas!

Cahoots - Win two tickets to the 1940s cocktail bar for some cocktails, cakes and cuppas!

Beneath the bustling streets of Soho, discover Cahoots, the bar where the spirit of the Blitz is still alive and kicking...
Win the Complete BBC Collection of The Goodies!

The Goodies - Win the Complete BBC Collection of The Goodies!

Television comedy at its undeniable best will be released on 24 September.
Win a pair of tickets!

The Play That Goes Wrong - Win a pair of tickets!

The Play That Goes Wrong is 4 years old... Extended, not mended!
Win a family ticket to see Three Sat Under the Banyan Tree!

Polka Theatre - Win a family ticket to see Three Sat Under the Banyan Tree!

Wow the kids with this vibrant new rendition of an ancient tale.
This week: 27 August – 2 September

This week: 27 August – 2 September

It feels like the end of summer is here. But fear not, September in London means only one thing: a new season is starting with even more theatre, music and culture for you to discover!
The Best Theatre in September

The Best Theatre in September

The autumn season kicks off in London.
Film review – King of Thieves

Film review – King of Thieves

The famous Hatton Garden robbery that made headlines in 2015 is turned into a feature film staring Michael Cain.
Magic Realism – a new free display at Tate Modern

Magic Realism – a new free display at Tate Modern

A new free display at Tate Modern uncovers unsettling paralleles between the art of Weimar Germany and our current times.
The Best Family Entertainment in September

The Best Family Entertainment in September

A new school year is almost upon us, but this September, there are still plenty of fun activities on offer that will soften the blow for kids who are less than keen to return to their books.
Photography in London this Autumn

Photography in London this Autumn

Check out some amazing documentary and experimental photography to inspire you.

Your inbox deserves a little culture!!