Tag Archives: James Thackeray

Blondel – 4*



Union Theatre

Opening Night – 23rd June 2017




“A heart-warming musical featuring a talented and enthusiastic cast”


Any musical with lyrics from the award winning Sir Tim Rice is bound to attract attention. Not more so then when there is a huge interest in the recent announcement that Rice and Lloyd Webber’s Evita is shortly to return to the West End.

Blondel, currently playing at the Union Theatre, is a feel good rock opera with music by Stephen Oliver and words by Sir Tim Rice. Originally conceived by Sir Tim, the show was written at a time of mega musicals and was seen as a modest one. It did enjoy a West End run in 1983 with the part of Blondel being played by Paul Nicholas.

The musical follows the journey of Blondel, an ambitious monarchist and unappreciated musician working hard for his big break as a minstrel in King Richard The Lionheart’s court.

Whilst the history of Richard I makes for interesting reading, would a story set in 1189 about the Third Crusade make the basis for a great musical? The answer is a positive yes – it is a heart-warming and funny story with great music. Over 30 songs are well sung and supported by a band that never failed to please the ear.

There are powerful performances from a talented and enthusiastic cast. Connor Arnold plays the part of Blondel well. He has stage presence and apart from the odd occasion, has power in his voice to fill the room. Jesse May as Fiona, a feminist ahead of her time, has a lovely voice. However both may have benefitted from being miked.

Neil Moors is a brilliant King Richard and James Thackeray brings Prince John to life. The four monks hold the story together and add humour throughout. Special mention must go to Michael Burgen – his performance of the Assassin is worth the cost of admission alone.

A press night often adds pressure to cast members and even extra pressure was added as Sir Tim was there to observe the production. However the terrific cast were word perfect and appeared to enjoy the whole evening as much as those watching.

It was clear from the laughter, cheering and enthusiastic applause from the audience that this was a well received show that deserves a sold out run.


Production Photography by Scott Rylander




is running at The Union Theatre until 15th July



Producers have announced the cast for the world premiere of a spanking new version of the Tim Rice musical comedy Blondel.

Following the trials and triumphs of an ambitious minstrel in King Richard the Lionheart’s court, Blondel will get its London premiere at the Union Theatre from Wednesday 21 June – Saturday 15 July. 

Connor Arnold has been cast in the title role as Blondel. Connor is a 2016 graduate from Mountview Academy Of Theatre Arts. He recently played The Pardoner on a European tour of Canterbury Tales. His previous credits include Silent Witness (BBC1) and Catch Me at the Arts Theatre.

The rest of the cast features: Courtney Bowman (Winner Stephen Sondheim Performer of The Year 2016, she’s just played Fatimah in the acclaimed new musical, Everybody’s Talking About Jamie at Sheffield Crucible); Michael Burgen (Patsy, Spamalot, West End, Samuel, The All-Male Pirates of Penzance, UK Tour); Lauren Byrne (recently in the UK tour of Sunny Afternoon as first cover Rasa); David Fearn (A Christmas Carol, Lyceum Theatre); Ryan Hall (making his professional debut after graduating from Mountview); Oliver Marshall (has just played Rumbold in Forty Years On at Chichester Festival Theatre; Dog Boy in the musical Side Show, Southwark Playhouse); Jessie May (Regina in Rock of Ages, UJK toourt, Sophie, Mamma Mia!, West End); Katie Meller (Billie Trix in Closer to Heaven, Union Theatre, The Phantom of the Opera, West End); Calum Melville (featured soloist, Danny Elfman’s Music from the Films of Tim Burton at the Royal Albert Hall); Neil Moors (Caiaphas, Jesus Christ Superstar, UK Tour, Pirate King, The All-Male Pirates of Penzance, UK Tour); Craig Nash (currently in 110 in the Shade, Ye Olde Rose and Crown, Mark Cohen in Rent); Michaela Stern (Soho Cinders, Union Theatre, You Won’t Succeed on Broadway, If You Don’t Have Any Jews, international tour); James Thackeray (Compliance, Theatre503, A Haunting, King’s Head Theatre); Jay Worthy (Call Me Madam, Little Shop of Horrors, Parade).

Tim Rice said:

“I’m delighted Blondel is returning to the stage. It was one of the most enjoyable projects of my career, and I’ve always felt Stephen Oliver’s wonderful music deserved a larger audience than it reached back in 1983 when the show first ran. I hope this new production at the terrific Union Theatre will please old fans and find some new ones.”


Blondel has lyrics by Tim Rice and music by Stephen Oliver. The book is by Tom Williams and Tim Rice, with additional music by Mathew Pritchard.

Creative team: Director Sasha Regan. Choreographer Chris Whittaker. Musical Director Simon Holt. Designer Ryan Dawson Laight. Lighting Designer Iain Dennis. Music Co-ordinator Pete Hobbs. Assistant MD Oliver George Rew. Casting Adam Braham Casting.

Producers Aaron Rogers & Sasha Regan for Union Theatre, Donald Rice for Heartaches Limited.




Wednesday 21 June – Saturday 15 July

Tuesday – Saturday at 7.30pm

Saturday & Sunday matinees at 2.30pm


Ticket prices: £25/£22.50 | £20 previews

lyrics by Tim Rice
book by Tom Williams & Tim Rice
music by Stephen Oliver
additional music by Mathew Pritchard

directed by Sasha Regan


Old Union Arches,
229 Union Street,
London SE1 0LR


Box Office: 020 7261 9876