CamdenNewJournal

The independent London newspaper

Upstairs At The Gatehouse celebrates its 14th birthday

19 January, 2012

Published: Janaury 19, 2012
by RICHARD OSLEY

FAMOUS faces from theatreland were clinking wine glasses in Highgate village on Sunday afternoon to help celebrate a fringe playhouse’s birthday.

Actress Alison Steadman cut the cake as the Upstairs At The Gatehouse theatre marked another milestone, its 14th birthday. The celebrations followed the matinée performance of the theatre’s sell-out show Guys And Dolls, a production that has scored rave reviews everywhere from the New Journal to The Times, which rated it more appealing than the West End revival of the mob musical that starred Ewan McGregor.

The Upstairs At The Gatehouse version was directed by Racky Plews – part of the family which run the theatre. Parents John and Katie set the theatre up in the forgotten space above The Gatehouse pub at the top of Highgate West Hill. Their other daughter, Jessica, works backstage on hair and wigs for West End shows.

Ms Steadman, always remembered for her turn as Beverley in Abigail’s Party, said: “We are lucky to have theatres like this. Actors need venues like this and audiences need venues like this.”

Paul Nicholas, who fans of the classic BBC comedy Just Good Friends recall playing Vince, was also among the audience. He lives nearby and once appeared in the theatre’s production of Into The Woods.

And showbiz friends from West End shows like Rock Of Ages, The Rat Pack and Billy Elliot also joined the toasts.

Special awards were given to casting director Ri McDaid-Wren and lighting director Howard Hudson. They were presented with HUGOs (Highgate Upstairs Gatehouse Oscars), which the theatre gives to unsung friends backstage.

Due to popular demand, extra dates have been added to the current run of Guys And Dolls.

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