Opening: Gone, Festen, Darwin in Malibu & MacbethDate: 20 September 2004
Amongst the major shows opening in London this week are:
OPENING TONIGHT, Monday 20 September 2004, at the West End’s New Ambassadors Theatre is Glyn Cannon’s Gone, as part of Edinburgh Exported, the month-long season of imports from last month's Edinburgh Fringe Festival (See News, 3 Sep 2004). The Fringe First-winning play updates Sophocles’ Antigone for the age of spin, shock and awe - it’s a contemporary saga of sex, lies and satellite news. Gone runs until 2 October.
OPENING TUESDAY, 21 September 2004 (performances from 7 September), not one but two former Joseph’s face the press in Chitty Chitty Bang Bang at the West End’s London Palladium. In addition to Jason Donovan, who returns to the role of inventor Caractacus Potts in the screen-to-stage adaptation, former Boyzone pop star Stephen Gately plays the evil Childcatcher (See News, 2 Aug 2004).
OPENING WEDNESDAY, 22 September 2004 (previews from 16 September), Crispin Whittell’s Darwin in Malibu receives its London premiere at Hampstead Theatre. First seen at Birmingham Rep in May 2003, the play finds Charles Darwin washed up on a California with a girl young enough to be his daughter. When his old friend Thomas Huxley washes up on the beach with the Bishop of Oxford, Darwin becomes entangled in a life and death comedy.
Oliver Ford Davies plays Darwin with Douglas Henshall as Huxley and Young One Nigel Planer as the Bishop in this new production directed by [Robert Delamere. It continues its limited season to 16 October. Hampstead has been dark since June, a self-imposed programming hiatus prompted by months of financial crisis (See News, 22 Jul 2004).
OPENING THURSDAY, 23 September 2004 (previews from 15 September), the Almeida Theatre’s Festen, David Eldridge’s new English-language stage version of the 1998 Danish film, transfers to the West End’s Lyric Theatre, where it’s booking up to 15 January 2005 (See News, 6 Aug 2004).
Patriarch Helge Klingenfelt is celebrating his 60th birthday with his family at a magnificent old hotel in the Danish countryside. Gathered together are his loyal wife Else, his sons Christian and Michael and his daughter Helene. As the evening progresses, Christian feels compelled to break the silence surrounding a dark family secret.
Newcomers for the West End season are Luke Mably (Christian), Rory Kinnear (Michael) and Stephen Moore (Helge). They’re joined by original cast members including Jane Asher (Else). Rufus Norris directs. The play is produced in the West End by Marla Rubin and Bill Kenwright.
ALSO ON THURSDAY, while the Royal Shakespeare Company may have abandoned the Barbican Centre, another Shakespearean company is happy to call the City of London arts complex home, at least for the next month (See News, 6 Feb 2004). The Tobacco Factory – a commercial company which has been presenting two Shakespeare plays a year since its launch in 2000 – transfers its production of Macbeth to the Barbican Pit after a run earlier this year at its Bristol base. From 28 September, the Shakespeare tragedy will be joined in repertory by the Tobacco Factory production of Thomas Middleton and William Rowley’s Jacobean The Changeling. Both productions are directed by company artistic director Andrew Hilton and run until 23 October 2004.
- by Terri Paddock