Eastenders actor Jamie Foreman will play Arthur in the West End transfer of Mrs Henderson Presents opening at the Noel Coward Theatre on 9 February for a strictly limited season. Foreman joins the previously announced Tracie Bennett as Laura Henderson, Ian Bartholomew as Vivian Van Damm and Emma Williams as Maureen. Foreman is best known for playing Derek Branning in EastEnders, but his other credits include Lenny in Birds of a Feather, Bill Sikes in Roman Polanski’s Oliver Twist, Duke in Layer Cake, Gary Oldman’s Nil by Mouth, Elizabeth and Sleepy Hollow. Tracie Bennett is a double Olivier Award-winner for her performances in the musicals She Loves Me and Hairspray. She received huge acclaim all over the world for her portrayal of Judy Garland in End Of The Rainbow, and was Tony Award nominated for her lead role in the production, also directed by Terry Johnson. The cast also includes … Read more
There is no doubt that Mrs Henderson Presents should transfer to the West End. The material is first-rate and superior to many new musicals that have played there in recent years. It will need a bigger orchestra (and, accordingly, bigger orchestrations) and it could do with some casting fine-tuning and a larger ensemble (another dozen dancers at least) so that a grander sense of scale was permitted. In Bath, it comes across as a superb chamber piece, perfectly suited to the gorgeous Theatre Royal. In the West End, its aim can be higher.
Oh What A Lovely War still has great relevance and, in at least one respect, has more power now than it ever has. It is a combination of sketches, jokes, music hall songs, dramatic scenes and wartime songs which results in a conflagration of poignant truths and misty nostalgia. There are a lot of laughs along the way and some genuinely delightful renditions of songs and dances.