What’s on at the theatre this May

Posted 2nd May 2024

Sammy Jones shares this month’s top choices on a stage near you – including work by the sublime pen of the much-missed Kay Mellor, a Disney classic and some giggle bringers….

It has one lamp, three wishes and infinite possibilities – and Disney’s Aladdin is currently enchanting audiences at Milton Keynes Theatre, with tickets selling fast.

The curtain won’t come down, but the magic carpet will fly off for the last time on Sunday, May 19.

There won’t be time to get comfortable though, with a week of one nighters following, starting with The Chicago Blues Brothers in The Cruisin’ For A Bluesin tour (May 21), the magnificent Johannes Radebe who delivers House of JoJo (May 22), funny fella Ed Gamble brings his Hot Diggity Dog stand up (May 23), the Dreamboys (May 24) will show off their oiled muscles and then What’s Love Got To Do With It? takes you on a journey from Proud Mary to Simply The Best as singer Holly Bannis pays homage to the late Tina Turner.

We’re looking forward to seeing The Syndicate (May 28-June 1) and Kay Mellor’s final stage play couldn’t be in safer hands – with Kay’s daughter Gaynor Faye making her directorial debut.

Millions of us enjoyed four series of The Syndicate, but if you somehow missed out, it’s time to set things right.

The Syndicate is a moving comedy drama which tells the story of five supermarket workers whose lottery syndicate numbers come in, just as their jobs and livelihoods are under threat. Will a share of the jackpot make their dreams come true, or their nightmares a reality? The win of a lifetime will certainly change the lives, loves and relationships of the syndicate members forever.

Gaynor Faye making her directorial debut in The Syndicate

Kay – who was also responsible for creating TV aces Band of Gold and Fat Friends – passed away in 2022, which makes this delivery all the more poignant.

“It is extremely special to be a part of this new theatrical version of The Syndicate and one which my mum was really excited to stage,” Gaynor said, “Having acted in the last series on TV, when she asked me to assist her on directing the show – I jumped at it. Now, it has become my first solo directing role and whilst I am so sad not to be doing it with her, I am also very proud and excited to bring mum’s vision to the fore… we’re going to reach for the stars and make mum’s wish come true – bringing another Kay Mellor classic to theatres across the country.”

A strong cast is in place, with Emmerdale’s Samantha Giles and Corrie star Brooke Vincent leading the way.
Over at Stantonbury Theatre The Pirates of Penzance (May 1-4) is being staged by Wolverton Gilbert & Sullivan Society, with the comic opera ‘packed full of sentimental pirates, blundering policemen, absurd adventures and improbable paradoxes.’

Not A Game For Girls (May 16-19) tells the dramatic story of Dick, Kerr’s Ladies who were one of the most famous and successful football teams during WWI. So popular were they, The Football Association tried to get them banned!

Don’t Panic! We CAN Save The Planet! Exclaims James Campbell with the title of his new live comedy show, based on his book by the same name which comes to The Stables on May 4.

The afternoon perfomance is for youngsters aged six to 11 years old, and anyone who wants to swap being an Eco Worrier for being an Eco Warrior.

James will share his real-life experience of living off the land in an off-grid caravan, but it’s not a po-faced lecture. ‘It’s a positive, funny, life affirming show,’ is the promise.

The same evening funny fella Andy Parsons will be feeling Bafflingly Optimistic, and Griff Rhys Jones is in town for two nights (May 11 & 12) with The Cat’s Pyjamas.

‘The show always varies as Griff rambles on the developing national permacrisis. Age. Family. Fraud. Nostalgia. The Tik Tok generation. Crocodile smuggling and noodling in Australia. Travel, dogs, hotels, drink and midnight trains.’

He’ll be taking your questions too.

More funny business is ahead with dates including Steve Bugeja (May 18) with Self Doubt (I Think) and Rosie Holt’s (May 24) That’s Politainment, meaning that you’ve plenty of opportunity to crack a smile before May is out.