Entertainment

FROM broadcasting legends to ballet, Guildford’s Yvonne Arnaud Theatre is to host a series of one-off shows from Wednesday to Saturday next week, 19-22 June.

First up is John Sergeant, former chief political correspondent for the BBC and ITN political Editor who many people remember better for his quirky performances on Strictly Come Dancing.


John Sergeant reveals a collection of anecdotes from his life at the Yvonne Arnaud Theatre next Wednesday

In An Audience with John Sergeant on Wednesday, the audience will hear stories and anecdotes from the Have I Got News for You, The One Show, QI, Room 101 and, of course, the world of politics.

Two ballets will then take over the Yvonne Arnaud Theatre stage. Coppélia (Thursday) tells the story of an eccentric toymaker and his beloved doll, while Giselle (Friday) tells how Giselle, a peasant girl, falls in love with Count Albrecht, who has told her he is a villager named Loys. Her discovery of his true identity has devastating consequences.

An Evening with Sir Michael Parkinson (Saturday 22) sees a visit by a man who has interviewed more than 2,000 of the most important cultural figures of the 20th and 21st centuries. He’ll discuss as many of them as they get through in conversation with his son Mike.

The baddie is back. Craig Revel Horwood delighted in taunting Woking panto audiences as the Wicked Stepmother in Cinderella last Christmas – and now he’s returning in another  villainous role.

The Strictly judge is heading to the New Victoria Theatre to star as one of the best musical theatre baddies audiences love to hate, reprising his version of Miss Hannigan, in Annie.

PLAY IT AGAIN – Craig Revel Horwood delights in the role of headmistress Miss Hannigan in Annie

“I just love this character so much,” he enthuses. “I am deeply in love with her. I think she is absolutely fantastic and an extremely misunderstood woman.

“Playing her is like an actor’s playground – she’s a tyrant and a villain, and those are always the most fun characters to play. I couldn’t believe that they wanted me to play Miss Hannigan at first, but I thought it would be great, and a real challenge for me.

“I play her for real – she’s not a pantomime dame, there’s no mucking about or breaking the fourth wall, she’s a very real character in a beautifully written show.”

Following his panto success, Craig is not daunted by playing another female character either.

“Well the challenges are that you need to be honest and real with it,” he muses. “Obviously body language has a lot to do with that, also the placement of the voice, and the accent of course – which I spent six months perfecting.

“As Annie is set in 1930s New York, it’s really nice to play a part who speaks differently than almost anyone does these days. It was a really enjoyable challenge.”

The musical is set during the Great Depression, and brave young Annie is forced to live a life of misery and torment at Miss Hannigan’s orphanage.

Determined to find her real parents, her luck changes when she is chosen to spend Christmas at the residence of famous billionaire, Oliver Warbucks. Spiteful Miss Hannigan has other ideas and hatches a plan to spoil Annie’s search…

Along the way, theatre-goers can expect to hear unforgettable songs like It’s the Hard Knock Life, Easy Street, I Don’t Need Anything But You and Tomorrow. 

Craig says performing in such a well known show is a dream.

“I grew up on musicals,” he explains. “I did West Side Story in Australia and then went into Me and My Girl and La Cage Aux Folles. I joined the famous Lido de Paris and the Moulin Rouge and then that led into being part of West End shows.

“The last musical I appeared in in the West End was Crazy For You which opened in 1993. I had a really fun year that year. I then left to become a director and choreographer, and subsequently a judge on Strictly.

“My first hoorah back onto the boards was when I was asked to do panto ten years ago, and that reignited my passion for performing again really. When I was then asked to do Annie a few years ago I couldn’t believe it, but it’s such a talented cast, I couldn’t say no!”

And even though the old acting adage says you should never work with children and animals, he’s doing both in Annie.

“We have three sets of children on Annie, so they bring something really organic to the show,” says the man whose other West End theatre credits include Munkustrap in Cats, Miss Saigon at the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane, and Harry in Crazy for You at the Prince Edward Theatre. “You’ll never get the same show twice.

“You have to play it differently with each set of children and they are so talented and doing incredible work on the stage and are all fantastic young actors. They will come up with stuff and you’ve got to react to it live on stage which is a bit of a challenge!”

Craig Revel Horwood will star in Annie at the New Victoria Theatre, Woking, from Monday (10 June) until Saturday 15 June.

Can you imagine a world where the country sound of Hank Williams meets the guitar riffery of AC/DC? Well, you don’t have to because Hayseed Dixie have got there before you.

In fact the act started back in 2000 when John Wheeler and Mike Daly combined their musical talent after a whisky-fuelled stint in their Tennessee studio.

Hayseed Dixie


Fifteen albums later (consisting of both original material and reinterpretations of previously
rendered songs) Hayseed Dixie have more than half a million records around the world and played over 1,200 live shows in 31 different countries. The next comes at the Boileroom in Guildford on Thursday 20 June.

The Illegal Eagles fly in to Woking’s New Victoria Theatre on Sunday 23 June to run through hits like Hotel California, Take it to the Limit, Life in the Fast Lane, Take It Easy, Lyin’ Eyes, Desperado and more.

Tribute to The Eagles

This UK tribute act have been touring for over two decades and remain true fanatics of legendary US west coast country rockers The Eagles.

Their longevity and continued international acclaim mean they must be doing something right in their bid to master their heroes’ distinctive sound.

ONE OF several singers billing themselves as “the world’s number one Elvis tribute artist” brings his latest show to G Live, Guildford, on Saturday 15 June.

Taking Care of Elvis – The King Is Back will see musician, singer and songwriter Ben Portsmouth perform the songs of his hero.


Ben Portsmouth performing the songs of The King

Ben had Elvis’s DNA in his blood from an early age. His father was an avid Elvis fan and he grew up on a diet of Presley songs before starting his tribute act in 2005.

In August 2012, he won the Elvis Presley Enterprises Ultimate Elvis Tribute Artist Contest which took place in Memphis, the first artist from outside the USA to win this title.

MARK Styler, a writer of glossy true crime paperbacks, has no idea what he’s walking into when he tries to get an interview with Easterman, a notorious serial killer.

Mindgame

This is the basis of Anthony Horowitz’s psychological thriller Mindgame, which comes to the Yvonne Arnaud Theatre, Guildford, from Thursday 30 May to Saturday 1 June.

First he has to get past Dr. Farquhar, the quixotic head of Fairfields – the asylum where Easterman is kept. But soon he discovers that nothing is what it seems. Who is the mysterious Borson? Where did he get the meat in the fridge? And why isn’t the skeleton in the closet?

Mindgame author Horowitz also created Foyle’s War, New Blood, Alex Rider, the Sherlock Holmes novels House of Silk and Moriarty and the James Bond novels Forever and a Dayand Trigger Mortis.

Grease is the word…and you can join in when Sing-a-long-a Grease comes to the New Victoria Theatre, Woking, on Tuesday (28 May).

Basically a screening of the classic film starring John Travolta and Olivia Newton John, the show aims to get the audience up and singing along to all the hits that made it one of the most successful movie musicals of all time.

The evening will begin with the host leading a vocal warm-up before the movie – and fancy dress is very much encouraged…

RUSSELL Kane has added an extra run of dates to his new tour The Fast and the Curious, which is good news for comedy fans in Woking as he’s now heading to the New Victoria Theatre on Thursday 30 May.

The award-winning comic, presenter, actor, social media star, author and scriptwriter’s most recent appearances include his hit TV show BBC Three’s Stupid Man, Smart Phone, BBC podcast Evil Genius, JOE podcast Boys Don’t Cry (which returned for a second series in February), BBC Two’s Live At The Apollo and BBC One’s Michael McIntyre’s Big Show.

ACTION MAN – Russell Kane will be in Woking for an evening of high-energy comedy

Russell also recently took part in the return of Celebrity Apprentice for Comic Relief, which was broadcast on BBC One in March in the run up to Red Nose Day.

He is also well known for his viral Facebook Kaneing videos, which have garnered hundreds of thousands of views.

THREE sisters arrive at their remote childhood home on the eve of their mother’s funeral.This is the setting for Shelagh Stephenson’s The Memory of Water, which comes to the Yvonne Arnaud Theatre, Guildford, from Tuesday 21 May to Saturday 25 May.

Having grown apart, the siblings argue and joke as they sort through their mother’s belongings and gradually confide about the realities of their own adult lives. But it’s when they move on to childhood recollections that they discover they remember things differently, leading to a series of dramatic and devastating revelations.

Theatregoers should expect tears and laughter from a cast which includes Juliet Cowan (Cuckoo, EastEnders, Shameless), Nicholas Bailey (EastEnders) and Stewart Wright(People Like Us, Love and Marriage).

STRICTLY Come Dancing favourite Kevin Clifton has teamed up with Italian heartthrob Graziano Di Prima for his latest show, Burn The Floor, which comes to G Live, Guildford, on Thursday 23 May.

From the waltz and foxtrot to the tango and paso doble, the 36-year-old dance star says he’s aiming for a “feel-fantastic show”, rather than a mere feelgood one. Oh, and don’t forget the cha cha, the samba and jive, as they’ll feature too.

Kevin said: “Burn The Floor is the show that ignited a spark in me and changed me forever as a performer. Through Broadway, West End and touring all over the world, this show has ripped apart the rule book, revolutionised our genre and inspired and shaped me as the dancer I am today.”