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Mark Shenton’s theatre picks: April 7

Mohammad Amiri in rehearsals for Boy at the Almeida. Photo: Kwame Lestrade Mohammad Amiri in rehearsals for Boy at the Almeida. Photo: Kwame Lestrade
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I’ve got a little revamp to the way I arrange this column this week: as well as new openings of the week that have attracted my interest in London and beyond, I’m also highlighting shows in previews ahead of their openings, and shows closing soon. I’ll be at the openings of the first four shows below myself.

Boy – Almeida Theatre, London

Sacha Wares directs the world premiere of Leo Butler’s Boy set in contemporary London, featuring a late company of young actors, many of whom are making their stage debuts. It opens on April 12.

The cast of Forever Plaid. Photo: Claire Bilyard
The cast of Forever Plaid. Photo: Claire Bilyard

Forever Plaid – St James Studio, London

Jon Lee, Keith Jack, Matthew Quinn and Luke Stifler appear in a musical revue of some of the greatest close-harmony songs of the 1950s, opening on April 8. Grant Murphy directs and choreographs Forever Plaid, with musical direction by Anthony James Gabriele.

Mr Strassen Presents – Union Theatre, London

Some of the very best musicals I’ve seen revived at the Union have been directed by Michael Strassen; now, for one night only on April 10, we get encores from original cast members of some of them, including Liz May Brice (The Fix), Lisa Stokke (The Baker’s Wife), Madelena Alberto (Godspell), Lucy Williamson (Call me Madam) and Ricky Butt (Billy), among others.

Laila – The Musical – Watford Palace Theatre, London

The creators of Britain’s Got Bhangra reunite with a new contemporary piece, Laila – The Musical, written and directed by Pradesh Kumar with music by Sumeet Chopra and lyrics by Dougal Irvine, to retell a seventh century Persian love story. It opens at Watford Palace Theatre on April 7, prior to touring to Ipswich, Leeds, Coventry, Hornchurch, Windsor and Salford Quays.

All Or Nothing – Vaults, London

The Vaults is not a venue I go to willingly or thrillingly, but I could be tempted to see BAFTA-winning director Tony McHale’s All Or Nothing. He co-created Holby City and was its long-time executive producer, directing a new bio-musical about the Small Faces, the iconic Mod band who came from the East End and inspired successors like Paul Weller, Oasis, Blur, the Verve and the Arctic Monkeys. It opens on April 7 and has already extended its run to May 21, so I may yet get a chance to see it.

Gina Beck stars in Show Boat
Gina Beck stars in Show Boat

Show Boat – New London Theatre

Performances begin this week for the transfers of Show Boat from Sheffield’s Crucible to the New London (from April 9, prior to officially opening on April 25).

Funny Girl – Savoy Theatre, London

Funny Girl transfers from the Menier Chocolate Factory to the Savoy (also from April 9, prior to officially opening on April 20), starring Sheridan Smith.

The Flick – Dorfman, National Theatre, London

Off-Broadway hit The Flick transfers to the Dorfman, beginning performances on April 13 prior to an official opening on April 19.

The Suicide – Lyttelton, National Theatre, London

The National’s The Suicide began previews April 6 prior to an opening which has now been moved from April 13 to 14 (I wonder what difference a single night will make?).

My Mother Said I Never Should – St James Theatre, London

My Mother Said I Never Should begins previews on April 13 prior to officially opening April 19 at the St James.

Last chance to see…

The irresistible Elton John/Lee Hall musical, Billy Elliot, based on Stephen Daldry’s 2000 film of the same name and directed on stage by him, reaches the end of its London run on April 9, but is also now on its first UK tour, playing on its home territory in the North East at Sunderland from April 6-30.