Opening: Producers Plus Hamlet, Woyzeck, BreadDate: 8 November 2004
Amongst the major shows opening in London this week are:
OPENING MONDAY, 8 November 2004 (previews from 5 November), Elyzabeth Gregory Wilder’s drama Fresh Kills premieres at the Royal Court’s Jerwood Theatre Upstairs, where it runs until 20 November (See News, 13 Jul 2004). Eddie’s wife wants him to finish their new kitchen cabinets, but he’s restless and distracted since he met the teenaged Arnold online. Wilson Milam directs.
OPENING TUESDAY, 9 November 2004 (previews from 22 October), Mel Brooks’ multi award-winning Broadway musical The Producers receives its long-awaited UK premiere at the West End’s Theatre Royal Drury Lane. Based on Brooks' 1968 film classic and set in New York in 1959, the musical comedy revolves around washed-up theatre producer Max Bialystock who, with his timid accountant Leo Bloom, cooks up a scheme to make a fortune by presenting a sure-fire flop called "Springtime for Hitler".
Nathan Lane, who won a Tony for the role on Broadway, now plays the part of Bialystock until 8 January 2005, a last-minute replacement for Richard Dreyfuss who withdrew days before performances began in London (See News, 19 Oct 2004). The UK cast also features Lee Evans (as Leo Bloom), Leigh Zimmerman (Ulla), Conleth Hill (Roger De Bris), Nicolas Colicos (Franz Liebkind) and James Dreyfus (Carmen Ghia).
The show has music and lyrics by Mel Brooks, with a book by Brooks and Thomas Meehan. The London production reunites director and choreographer Susan Stroman with the rest of the original Broadway creative team.
OPENING WEDNESDAY, 10 November 2004 at the Barbican Theatre is esteemed Japanese director Yukio Ninagawa’s new English-language production of Hamlet, starring Michael Maloney in the title role (See News, 23 Jul 2004). Continuing at the Barbican until 27 November as part of a UK-wide tour, Hamlet is the third of three collaborations, in a three-year UK-wide bard initiative launched in summer 2002 by the Theatre Royal and West End producer Thelma Holt with the aim of bringing Shakespeare to a wider UK audience (See News, 25 Jun 2002). It follows productions of The Tempest, starring Richard Briers, and The Taming of the Shrew, starring Ross Kemp.
OPENING THURSDAY, 11 November 2004 (previews from 8 November) at west London’s Gate Theatre is Woyzeck, adapted and directed by Daniel Kramer (Through the Leaves) and running to 4 December. Written by Georg Büchner in the 1830s, the original tells the tragic story of Frankie Woyzeck, an impoverished man who lends his body to medical experimentation and carries out menial jobs for the army to support his child and girlfriend Marie, who he suspects is having an affair. Ed Hogg takes the title role.
ALSO ON THURSDAY, 11 November 2004 (previews from 8 November), Dumbfounded Theatre and the Oxford Stage Company revive CP Taylor’s Bread and Butter at north London’s Tricycle Theatre, for a limited season to 27 November (See News, 12 Aug 2004). Spanning 35 years, the play examines the eccentric friendship between Morris and Alex, two working-class, Glaswegian Jews who like to dream on a park bench. Mark Rosenblatt (The Circle, The Taming of the Shrew) directs.
- by Terri Paddock