Sherlocks woman is getting dressed up for Chekhov

Sherlock’s woman is getting dressed up for Chekhov



00:12 GMT, 9 March 2012

Eye-catching Lara Pulver is preparing to play the flirtatious Yelena in Anton Chekhov’s Uncle Vanya.

Pulver will star with Roger Allam (in the title role), Dervla Kirwan
and Timothy West in a version translated by Michael Frayn that Jeremy
Herrin is rehearsing now for Chichester’s Minerva Theatre.

Lara has done a lot of theatre, but mainly musical roles, and this will be her first part in a major classic.

Lara Pulver was last seen on our TV screens as the naked temptress Irene Adler in BBC One's Sherlock

Lara Pulver was last seen on our TV screens as the naked temptress Irene Adler in BBC One's Sherlock

was terrific in the musical Parade, directed by Rob Ashford at the
Donmar and in Los Angeles. She has a lot of fans in Hollywood and there
may be a big role for her later in the year.

Here at home, the actress garnered a great deal of attention when she appeared as Irene Adler in TV’s Sherlock.

colleagues professed outrage that she appeared without the benefit of
her clothing before the watershed hour of 9pm. But they still ran
photographs of her in the buff, and I am too – just to remind you who
Lara is (although she has appeared on my pages fully clothed several

Uncle Vanya will be part of the Chichester Festival Theatre’s 50th anniversary season and will begin performances from March 30.

It's Jesus Christ supersparks

Josh Young lights up the stage in a new version of Jesus Christ Superstar

Josh Young lights up the stage in a new version of Jesus Christ Superstar

Dressed in an electric blue suit and blue Chelsea boots, Josh Young ignites the stage with an electrifying version of the title song in Jesus Christ Superstar.

The Tim Rice-Andrew Lloyd Webber musical has finally reached the Neil Simon Theatre in New York, by way of the Stratford Festival Theatre in Ontario and La Jolla in San Diego.

Director Des McAnuff has continued to work with his cast and the show seemed deeper and somehow bigger than when I saw it in Ontario seven months ago.

Perhaps the Arab Spring, along with the crisis in Syria and the Iran nuclear conflict, has brought it into sharper focus.

McAnuff acknowledged that the show has ‘become reflective of the world we live in, in the most immediate way’.

But that’s as much to do with the production as it is with world events.

Both Rice and Lloyd Webber saw the show in Canada, and Rice caught it again when he was in New York this week.

But as far as the score and lyrics were concerned, McAnuff said he pictured himself working with the pair’s younger selves.

‘In a sense, I’ve been working with Tim and Andrew at the beginning of their careers,’ he told me. ‘My lyricist and composer are in their early 20s, and that’s been a blast.

‘It’s easy to forget that they [Lloyd Webber and Rice] were very much into rock ’n’ roll,’ said McAnuff when we spoke in New York.

The singing in the new version is the best I’ve heard. And the three main leads – Paul Nolan as Jesus, Chilina Kennedy as Mary, and Young as Judas – are tremendous.

It’s no secret that Lloyd Webber would like McAnuff’s production to come to the Palace Theatre, where the original London show enjoyed a long run.

The acclaimed Singin’ In The Rain will be at the Palace for a while, and others have their eye on the venue, too. But as someone pointed out to me: ‘If Andrew wants Jesus Christ Superstar to go to the Palace sometime next year, then that’s what will happen.’

Lucian's going to be a very, very bad man

Lucian Msamati

Lucian Msamati (right) is going to be very busy.

He’s about to start rehearsing Bola Agbaje’s new play Belong for the Royal Court’s Jerwood Theatre Upstairs, but at night he’ll still be doing The Comedy Of Errors, opposite Lenny Henry at the National Theatre.

Msamati will also play bad-ass pirate Salladhor Saan in the second series of Game Of Thrones, on Sky Atlantic on April 2. ‘Salladhor’s a very, very bad man,’ Lucian warned.

And then he will appear as the Bishop of Carlisle in Rupert Goold’s TV film of Richard II for the BBC and Neal Street Productions.

Msamati said he is closest to Agbaje’s play, because it’s a co-production between the Royal Court and the Tiata Fahodzi Theatre Company, of which he’s also artistic director.

Belong was one of two plays bequeathed him by the previous artstic chief.

It’s about Kayode, a Nigerian-born British MP who loses a controversial election. ‘Suddenly, he has part of his identity thrown in his face, and he decides he should “go back home” to Nigeria – where he hasn’t been for more than 20 years,’ Lucian told me.

Kayode becomes involved in politics there, but knows he’s referred to as the ‘Englishman’. Lucian said: ‘It’s a central question for a lot of us.’

Or as my son once pointed out, it’s about where you get your hair cut.

Lucian, who was last at the Royal Court in Clybourne Park, will appear in Belong from April 26 — with Indhu Rubasingham (the Tricycle Theatre’s artistic director-in-waiting) directing.

Jack Lowden will portray Olympic legend Eric Liddell in a stage version of Oscar-winning film Chariots Of Fire, adapted by Mike Bartlett. Edward Hall will direct the play at the Hampstead Theatre from May 9. The Vangelis score from the film will be used, with additional arrangements by Jason Carr. If it’s any good, it will sprint into the West End.

Watch out for…
Esperanza Spalding

Esperanza Spalding (right), who performed so beautifully at the Oscars – she sang What A Wonderful World as famous movie names were remembered.

She will play at Koko in Camden Town on May  28. Her new album, Radio Music Society, is out on April 2.

After speaking to her on the Oscar red carpet, I tracked down some of her music and she has the coolest jazz-soul-Afro beat.

Sam Mendes, who has put back his stage musical production of Willy Wonka And The Chocolate Factory till the autumn of next year. It was hoped it would begin preview performances at the London Palladium next spring.

It’s likely that South Pacific, with Samantha Womack, will run at the Palladium from this autumn. Top tickets were 85 when the show was at the Barbican, but I think that’s a lot to ask of Palladium audiences.

Meanwhile, as I mention elsewhere on this page, the Palladium’s current show – The Wizard Of Oz – is turning into the Wizard Of Doo-Doo. It really is having a helluva time attracting ticket buyers.

Maureen Lipman, who is directing Neil Simon’s Barefoot In The Park at the Yvonne Arnaud Theatre in Guilford from March 28. Maureen will also be in the show, playing the role Mildred Natwick created on stage and in the movie (both times alongside Robert Redford).

Stephen Sondheim, who will be at the Adelphi Theatre tomorrow for the first preview of his musical Sweeney Todd. He’s a huge fan — as am I — of this production, which originated at Chichester last autumn, directed by Jonathan Kent and featuring sublime performances from Michael Ball and Imelda Staunton.

Sondheim oversaw a cast album which should be on sale by official opening night on March 20.