This Covent Garden institution, dating back to 1905, has had almost as many name changes as a Mafia supergrass—first the Waldorf, then the Strand, then the Whitney, then the Strand again, then finally the Novello, in honour of the composer and actor Ivor Novello who once lived in the flat upstairs.
Its programmers have, over the years, been as busy as its letterhead designers, with a highly varied production schedule. For several years, the Novello provided a platform for Royal Shakespeare Company productions, including the Covent Garden run of David Tennant’s wildly popular Hamlet.
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CURRENT PRODUCTION: MAMMA MIA
The hit feel-good musical Mamma Mia! continues to pull in the crowds, having first opened in London in 1999.
The back catalogue of ABBA, one of the most successful bands of all time, accompanies Catherine Johnson's feel-good story in which a young woman and her mother find themselves caught up in past events on the eve of the daughter's wedding day.
Set in Greece, Mamma Mia! centres on Sophie, who is about to be married to Sky. While her mother Donna prepares for the wedding at the guest house she runs, Sophie is preoccupied by the need to know the identity of her father. Behind her mother's back she has invited three possible suspects from her mother's free-loving past to the wedding. To Sophie's shock - and to Donna's surprise - they all turn up. But which one will take her down the aisle?
The much-loved musical features many of the popular hits by supergroup ABBA, including Does Your Mother Know?, Dancing Queen, Super Trouper, Take A Chance On Me and the title track, Mamma Mia!
5 THE ALDWYCH