Opening: Straits, Hutton, Mme Bovary & Rod's NightDate: 3 November 2003
Amongst the major London openings taking place this week are:
OPENING TONIGHT, Monday 3 November 2003 (previews from 29 October) at Hampstead Theatre, Gregory Burke's second play, The Straits, comes to north London's Hampstead Theatre following a short regional tour and its August premiere at the Edinburgh Festival (See News, 1 Jul 2003). In 1982 in Rosia Bay, Gibraltar (where Burke himself spent part of his childhood), three British teens compete with the local 'spics' to hunt a fleet of octopus. But these sons and daughters of British forces soon learn the human cost of empire.
The Straits is a Paines Plough presentation, co-produced by Hampstead Theatre and Plymouth's Drum Theatre. It's directed by John Tiffany, who also helmed Burke's multi award-winning debut Gagarin Way, which transferred to the West End after runs in Edinburgh and at the National.
OPENING TUESDAY, 4 November 2003 (previews from 30 October), the recent Hutton Inquiry, which investigated the death of government arms advisor Dr David Kelly, hits the stage in the latest Tricycle Theatre dramatisation of court transcripts, edited by Guardian journalist Richard Norton-Taylor (See News, 12 Aug 2003). Tricycle artistic director Nicolas Kent directs the production, which continues to 6 December 2003. Public debates will follow Monday, Tuesday and Thursday evening performances throughout November.
OPENING WEDNESDAY, 5 November 2003 (previews 4 November), Shared Experience's latest page-to-stager Madame Bovary - Breakfast with Emma comes to west London's Lyric Hammersmith for a limited season to 22 November, as part of its national tour (See News, 10 Jul 2003). Gustave Flaubert's 1857 classic has been adapted by novelist Fay Weldon and is directed by the company's joint artistic director Polly Teale, whose acclaimed Shared Experience production of After Mrs Rochester, starring Diana Quick as novelist Jean Rhys, has just completed an extended West End season.
OPENING FRIDAY, 7 November 2003 (previews 15 October), Tonight's the Night, the new musical fashioned around the greatest hits of British rocker Rod Stewart, receives its world premiere at the West End's Victorian Palace (See News, 25 Jul 2003). Tim Howar, Hannah Waddingham, Dianne Pilkington and Cornell John lead the 36-strong cast of the Faustian tale, written and directed by comedian-turned novelist-turned dramatist Ben Elton, who's previously had compilation musical success with Queen's Whatsonstage.com Award-winning We Will Rock You.
In Tonight's the Night shy Stu (Howar) is desperate to be more like his idol Rod Stewart so he can get girl of his dreams Mary (Pilkington). One lonely night, he makes a deal with Satan (Waddingham) that secures him the soul, not to mention the roadie lifestyle, of rocker Rod in exchange for an afterlife eternity in hell.
One of the UK's biggest rock stars in the late 1960s and 1970s, Rod Stewart's many hits over the years have included "Maggie May", "Do Ya Think I'm Sexy", "You Wear It Well", "Hot Legs", "The Killing of Georgie", "First Cut Is the Deepest", "You're in My Heart", "Sailing" and the show's title song, "Tonight's the Night".
- by Terri Paddock