One of the most renowned fringe venues in the capital, the Menier Chocolate Factory has boasted a number of acclaimed productions over the years, from plays and comedy to musicals and concerts, and has built up an unrivalled reputation. If audiences want to get a taste of what kind of shows could soon be making their way to the West End then the Menier is the place to start; the venue has been the original home of various West End hits over the years and this is something that is unlikely to slow down any time soon.
Few will be surprised to hear that the theatre is housed within the confines of a former Chocolate Factory that was opened towards the end of the 19th century. However, many might be surprised to find that it is a relatively recent addition to the London theatre scene – opening its doors in 2004 following more than a decade of dereliction. But in this short space of time it has welcomed some big names performing in some famous and renowned shows.
Many of these have then transferred to the West End, from “Dealer’s Choice” and “A Little Night Music” to the sensation that was the London revival of “La Cage Aux Folles”.
The latter was the latest version of the classic French musical that sees the owners of the La Cage Aux Folles nightclub – Georges plus his partner and star drag act Albin - fighting to keep the establishment open when Georges is introduced to the parents of his son’s new fiancé – one of whom is a right-wing politician. The production ran at the Menier Chocolate Factory from January to March 2008 before transferring to the Playhouse Theatre in Theatreland.
And this is just one of many productions that found success in the West End following a run at the Menier Chocolate Factory. Other recent success stories include Will Russell classics “Educating Rita” and “Shirley Valentine” in 2010, as well as Tamzin Outhwaite in “Sweet Charity”.
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