Thomas Howells looks at the ten most unmissable theatre productions playing South Wales during 2023..
The Entertainment South Wales family loves theatre, so here are ten theatre productions coming up in 2023 that we’re most looking forward to.
It was hard narrowing this list down to only ten, but we’ve included some of our all-time favourites as well as new plays that you may not have heard of yet.
Uncovering new evidence, it’s time to ask you, the audience, to put fingers on keypads and answer the ultimate 50/50: guilty or not guilty? Rory Bremner, Britain’s top satirical impressionist, stars as TV’s Chris Tarrant in James Graham’s thrilling, entertaining and provocative drama, Quiz. As himself, he’s been a presenter, writer, quiz-show host, actor, translator and even (briefly) ballroom dancer (Strictly Come Dancing, 2011).
I am very excited to see this play as I expect it will be a thrilling mystery the audience will be immersed in. It’ll be in the New Theatre between the 17th and 21st of October 2023.
- For more information check out the New Theatre website.
9. Life of Pi
Based on the international bestseller and winner of the Man Booker Prize, Life of Pi is an epic tale of adventure and endurance. Pi, a young Indian man, is stranded on a lifeboat with four other survivors: a hyena, a zebra, an orangutan, and a Royal Bengal tiger. Against all odds, Pi and his companions must work together to survive.
This play will run in the Wales Millennium Centre between the 17th and 21st of October 2023. It’s received much praise and I’m sure it’ll have a unique and exciting story entertaining to all ages.
- For more information go to Wales Millennium Centre’s website
8. The Spongebob Musical
The future is bright, the future is bold, the future is The SpongeBob Musical. The power of optimism really can save the world! With lives hanging in the balance and all hope lost, a most unexpected hero rises up.
From what I’ve heard this musical based on a TV show we all loved as children, (despite the mess some say the brand has become today), is genuinely and unironically amazing and from the soundtrack I would agree. It’ll be in the Wales Millennium Centre between the 6th and 10th of June 2023 and I am not going to miss it. For more information look to Wales Millennium Centre’s website
7. Around the World in 80 Days
Join a travelling circus as it recreates the journey of Phileas Fogg, a man who attempted to circumnavigate the world in 80 days. However, a woman named Nellie Bly is following him closely, and she wants to beat him to the finish line.
I don’t remember much of this from when I saw it years and years ago so I am incredibly excited to give this play a real chance. I’m sure it’s going to be great as the story seems really exciting. It’ll come to the New Theatre in Cardiff from June 22nd – 25th 2023. For ticket availability visit the New Theatre website.
6. The Commitments
The Commitments is the story of Jimmy Rabbitte, a young working-class music fan, who shapes an unlikely bunch of amateur musicians and friends into the finest soul band Dublin has ever produced.
I don’t know much about The Commitments, but I’m certain I’ll love it. It seems hilarious, fun and a great time for everybody who goes. It’ll play in the Wales Millennium Centre from the 22nd – 27th May 2023. To learn more go to Wales Millennium Centre website.
5. The 2023 New Theatre Pantomime – Jac and the Beanstalk
The story follows a cowherd named Jac who climbs a beanstalk to reach the sky. There he meets a giant who wants to eat him, but Jac and his family outwit him and win riches and the hand of Jac’s love in the process.
Who doesn’t love the annual New Theatre Pantomime? They’re always amazing and although it’s a long way away I cannot wait for this. The exact running time is yet to be announced but make sure you stay up to date on Cardiff New Theatre’s website.
4. Grandmother’s Closet
This story follows Luke, a young boy from a small town in south Wales, as he begins to come to terms with his sexuality. Luke’s Nan is a constant support and guide, helping Luke to find his place in the world as a queer person. Luke experiences his first pride parade and finds the perfect shade of lipstick to match his new style. Luke’s story is a celebration of the diversity and beauty of the LGBTQ+ community, and it is a reminder that no one is alone on their path to self-discovery.
I saw this last year and it will shine in the WMC’s queerway cabaret. This musical is incomprehensibly funny and not just to queer people, to everybody – but it’s also the biggest rollercoaster of emotions ever. You will go from laughing to crying to laughing again so often you’ll love it. It’s playing from the 23rd to 26th February 2023.
To learn more go to Wales Millennium Centre’s website.
3. The Magic of Motown
This show is 16 years old and has been seen by over a million people. It features Motown classics from famous artists. This is a party-style show that will take you back to the 1960s.
Despite the fact that I was born just a bit after the 60s, Motown music is so incredible to me. Personally, I love the Supremes especially and you will all adore this glorious performance. It will play exclusively on the 12th August 2023, to learn more go to Cardiff New Theatre’s website.
2. Heathers The Musical
Westerberg High’s Veronica Sawyer is just another high school student who wants to be popular, but she learns that it’s not always easy to be known and loved. JD, a rebel teen, teaches her that it’s important to be true to oneself.
I am obsessed with Heathers. Do not miss it. It’s funny, dramatic and has some of the best music I’ve heard – it really has everything. It’ll appeal to all generations with a modern take to appease new fans and remaining perfectly true to the original 80s film. It’ll be playing from the 22nd to 26th August 2023 at the Wales Millennium Centre. To learn more, which I’m sure you’ll want to, go to Wales Millennium Centre’s website.
1.5 Honourable Mentions
We could not put everything on this list but of course who isn’t excited to see Wicked make it’s return.
And do not forget about Mother Goose or Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.
The Rocky Horror Show is incredibly exciting and you will enjoy it and I guarantee you’re going to enjoy The King and I.
Of course, who isn’t dying to be amazed by Six the Musical when it returns to the Wales Millennium Centre this year?
In general, you should really look through https://www.wmc.org.uk/en/whats-on/events to see what’s in the Wales Millennium Centre and https://newtheatrecardiff.co.uk/Online/whatson? to make sure you don’t miss anything in the New Theatre. There are so many gems that couldn’t be mentioned on this list so be sure to find them yourself – and now for the number 1 position…
1. The Mousetrap
As news spreads of a murder in London, a group of seven strangers find themselves snowed in at a remote countryside guesthouse. Now celebrating 70 years, Agatha Christie’s The Mousetrap has kept millions of people from every corner of the globe on the edge of their seats. This thrilling West End production is THE genre-defining murder mystery from the best-selling novelist of all time…case closed!
The Mousetrap is the quintessential murder mystery. When I saw it a couple years ago it has stuck with me and created my love for the genre. Agatha Christie was undeniably an incredible writer and remains one of the greatest of all time just like this remains one of the greatest plays. Whatever you do, do not spoil the ending – just encourage people to see this amazing amazing play. It will run from the 14th to 18th March 2023. To learn more about this incredible play go to the New Theatre’s website.