Marylebone guests can go On The Town in Regent's park
PUBLISHED: 17:00 08 June 2017
Bridget Galton samples a hotel's drive to get guests sampling London culture with a trip to see Bernstein's jazzy Broadway musical in Regent's Park's famous open air theatre
A short walk from the buzz of Marylebone village’s pavement tables there’s another enjoyable staple of summer in the city – the tree-fringed glade of Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre.
Guests at The Marylebone, part of a collection of luxury characterful hotels, are being encouraged to try ‘A Slice of The City’ with staff offering to pack them a picnic to take in one of the performances, which run until mid September.
Part of a drive offering access to the capital’s rich culture of shows and exhibitions, during late May’s heatwave I arrived at the hotel’s light-filled 108 Brasserie in Marylebone Lane for pre-theatre Nyetimber English fizz and modern British nibbles. A short taxi hop brought us to the theatre, which since 1932 has been enthralling audiences with performances by the likes of Vivien Leigh, Jeremy Irons and Judi Dench. Since 2007 artistic director Timothy Sheader has amassed numerous awards for his winning blend of children’s theatre, serious plays and big budget musicals. This season’s opening production of On The Town had been struck by a leading man with a broken foot, but as Leonard Bernstein’s bluesey, jazzy score and virtuoso dance numbers courtesy of choreographer/director Drew McOnie unfolded on the al fresco stage, you wouldn’t have guessed. Fans of the MGM movie starring Gene Kelly and Frank Sinatra will know the number New York New York, but Betty Comden and Adolph Green’s 1944 tale of three sailors on 24-hour shore leave in the Big Apple hooking up with three girls, was originally a lavish Broadway musical. The balmy evening, intricate dance numbers which spoke of yearning lovers, belting laughs and a trio of sassy female leads all worked their magic. The plot may be thin but after an interval Champagne in the Park’s hospitality suite we gave ourselves up to the full jazzy joy of it. Up next, a play based on Dickens’ A Tale of Two Cities runs in tandem with Anya Reiss’ new adaptation of Oliver Twist aimed at ages six and over, continuing the theatre’s strong tradition of engaging youngsters with the classics. Last year’s Olivier-award winning Jesus Christ Superstar returns to round off the season until September 14, plus there are one off gigs by Russell Brand and Hampstead ventriloquist Nina Conti. Book now at Openairtheatre.com. The Marylebone, 47 Welbeck St. doylecollection.com