Celebrate Movember With Our 10 Favorite Mustaches Onstage
For more than 20 years, November has unofficially shared its monthly title with “Movember” — a mustache-growing movement intended to raise awareness for men’s health issues. For the entire month, millions of men around the world grow out their mustaches for charity, while the Movember Foundation (established in 2004) runs global events to raise money for research, encourage checkups that increase early detection, spread knowledge about treatment options, stimulate healthy lifestyle changes, and offer general support for a variety of men’s health issues, such as testicular cancer, prostate cancer, and mental health.
In honor of this autumnal month and the mustached men it inspires, here’s a roundup of the best mustaches to grace the London stage.
Jean Valjean in “Les Misérables”
As the protagonist of Victor Hugo’s legendary masterpiece, “Les Misérables,” Jean Valjean gets a lot of stage time, as does his mustache. Over the 19 years depicted in this masterful musical, many reincarnations of Valjean have sported impressive facial hair choices, ranging from raggedy street beards to more manicured mustaches in their dramatic bid to regain dignity and freedom. Turn-of-the-century France was a high point for flamboyant facial hair, so Valjean won’t be the only actor on the Queen’s Theatre stage with a bold and revolutionary ‘stache.
Don Quixote and Sancho Panza in “Don Quixote”
Although the musical is named “Don Quixote,” that half-mad adventurer would have been completely lost were it not for his faithful companion, Sancho Panza. Not only are these men famed for their folly, but also their facial hair, and in the production of “Don Quixote” at the Garrick Theatre this fall, David Threlfall and Rufus Hound fulfill their hairy expectations. Quixote dons a majestic, flowing beard, while Panza opts for a walrus-style mustache and a soul patch. None of their grooming choices will help them on their hilarious and haphazard adventures, however.
Captain Hook in “Peter Pan”
One of the most sinister ‘staches on stage belongs to Captain Hook, the perennial villain of “Peter Pan.” From books and television to movies and the London stage, Captain James Hook almost always has an oily, curled snake above his cruel lips. There is something decidedly devious about rolling the ends of a handlebar mustache between your fingers, and it makes that legendary character even easier to loathe. In the Park Theatre’s production of “Peter Pan” running this fall, Alexander Vlahos (and his mustache) don’t skimp on the menace.
Mr. Wormwood in “Matilda”
While Ms. Trunchbull is the true villain in “Matilda,” the main character’s father, Mr. Wormwood, isn’t very lovable either. With his creepy personality, penchant for conning people out of money, and complete disinterest in his daughter’s obvious genius, it makes sense that he sports such a slimy, suspicious-looking mustache in most versions. From Danny Devito’s greasy lampshade ‘stache in the movie to Tom Edden’s slight handlebar in the production currently running at Cambridge Theatre, this character simply wouldn’t be the same without a bit of sleazy lip fuzz.
Genie in “Aladdin”
When Aladdin’s magic genie isn’t busy making all of his master’s dreams come true, there’s a good chance that he’s manicuring his Fu Manchu mustache in private. It takes a lot of time to grow such an impressive and precise ‘stache, but being trapped inside a magic lamp for centuries gave him plenty of time for primping. This season at the Prince Edward Theatre, catch the magnificently mustached genie, played by Trevor Dion Nicholas, alongside the bare-faced boy prince in “Aladdin.”
“Gingzilla’s Gingerbread Haus”
Christmastime in Leicester Square is always an exciting season, particularly because of the Underbelly Festival, where you can enjoy the bizarre cabaret atmosphere and bearded beauty of Gingzilla. Fresh off an incredible season at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, this is your best chance to pair your love of ginger beards with your love of gingerbread, and kick your holiday celebrations off with a one-of-a-kind performance.
Belgian Red Men in “A Very Very Dark Matter”
One of the strangest and most brilliant plays of the year, “A Very Very Dark Matter,” features a very unique type of facial hair – the time-traveling variety. When the Belgian Red Men show up from the past to kill the pygmy woman locked in Hans Christian Anderson’s attic, the audience gets their first glimpse of some glorious beards – and the weird depths of this production. Fortunately, this surreal and sardonic nightmare playing at the Bridge Theatre has far more to offer than beards and brutal Belgians, including Jim Broadbent in the lead role.
Billy Flynn in “Chicago”
Mustaches typically sit atop the lip, but there are some notable exceptions, such as the dapper soul patch and stubbled sex appeal of Billy Flynn in “Chicago.” A decade after first appearing in the role, Duncan James is returning to London to take center stage at the Phoenix Theatre, and his charming goatee is coming with him.
The Many Mustached Men in “The Wipers Times”
In the early 20th century, the chunkiness of your mustache was often a measure of manliness, so the cast of “The Wipers Times” is clearly compensating for something. Based on a satirical newspaper that was published in the trenches of World War I, this hilarious production at the Arts Theatre is packed with soldiers and actors proudly showing their machismo through the thickest ‘staches this side of the Somme.
There’s no telling where you’ll find your favorite mustache in London, but checking out Club Briefs in the Leicester Square Spiegeltent is a great place to start. This late-night cabaret and debaucherous disco is a haven for the sexy, stylish, and subversive, and there are plenty of mustachioed marvels to enjoy in this surreal big top — the most unpredictable circus in town!