West End revival begins as first theatres reopen

·3-min read

The revival of London’s West End will begin on Monday as theatres start to reopen and cast members scramble to fit back in their costumes.

Agatha Christie’s The Mousetrap, billed as the longest running show in the world, will resume at St Martin’s Theatre for the first time since the pandemic closed theatres in March 2020.

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It will feature a new company including Strictly Come Dancing star Danny Mac, West End regular Cassidy Janson and soap actors Nicholas Bailey, Charlie Clements and Susan Penhaligon, as well as children’s TV star Derek Griffiths.

Musical Everybody’s Talking About Jamie, which was inspired by the 2011 television documentary Jamie: Drag Queen At 16, and follows a teenager who lives on a council estate in Sheffield as he overcomes prejudice to become a drag queen, will reopen on May 20, as will Amelie The Musical, based on the hit film.

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Six The Musical and Magic Mike Live, created by Channing Tatum and inspired by the films in which he starred, will return on May 21.

The movies drew inspiration from Tatum’s own experience as a stripper.

The stage show, which features muscular men performing dance routines, will be staged at The Theatre at the Hippodrome Casino following a 14-month pause.

Choreographer Alison Faulk, who created and directed the show with Tatum, told the PA news agency the cast did so much exercise during lockdown that they required new costumes.

She said: “It’s a surreal, happy feeling, it’s overwhelming in a good way to see the cast and the crew and energy is like really, really dope. Everybody’s excited to be here.

“The guys showed up in shape. They’ve been working out a lot so they needed new costumes, because their chests and their arms got bigger.

“Especially our main guy, Manny – he put on his shirt the other day and we were crying laughing.

The cast of Magic Mike Live (Trevor Leighton/PA)
The cast of Magic Mike Live (Trevor Leighton/PA)

“They remembered all the choreo so I have to say I was pleasantly surprised and I just think that there’s a lot of, like, extra focus right now because people are even more thankful to be working. It’s all a little bit more precious.

“I think they didn’t have anything to do, you know, they weren’t working. So I think they were just working out because they are so strong looking and so fit.”

Seating in the theatre has been reconfigured to allow for social distancing and parts of the show have been changed so there is no longer physical interaction with the crowd.

Faulk said: “We’re adhering to all of the recommendations. It’s super important to us that the audience is safe, and feels safe and same with our cast and crew.

“Our seating plans distance at the moment, which is great. So you have plenty of space and you’re in a little bubble with the people you came with.

“For the moment, the dancers keep a certain amount of distance. But where we’ve taken out some of the touching, we’ve put in some new elements to the show, we put in some new numbers.

“I don’t want to tell you what the new numbers are but there’s new additions and they’re kind of special, and it is probably stuff that will only be around for this small amount of time.

“There’s different kinds of interactions and different things we’ve done so we still want to make sure everyone in the audience feels very seen and connected to, we don’t want people to not be connected to.”

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