Opening: Donkeys, Mugabe, Jane Eyre, CoriolanusDate: 8 May 2006
Amongst the major shows opening in London this week are:
OPENING TONIGHT, Monday 8 May 2006 (previews from 3 May), Joseph Mydell stars in the Royal Shakespeare Company’s production of Breakfast with Mugabe, which transfers from Soho Theatre to the West End’s Duchess Theatre for a run to 10 June 2006 (See News, 24 Apr 2006). Antony Sher makes his West End directing debut with the new play by Fraser Grace, which portrays the combative relationship between the controversial Zimbabwean president, who is suffering from depression, and his fictional psychiatrist, who is white. The cast also features David Rintoul and Noma Dumezweni.
OPENING TUESDAY, 9 May 2006 (previews from 27 April), Jeremy Sams revives Michael Frayn’s Olivier Award-winning comedy Donkeys' Years at the West End’s Comedy Theatre, with an ensemble cast led by Mark Addy, Samantha Bond, James Dreyfus and David Haig (See News, 22 Mar 2006). Twenty-five years after graduation, six former students return to their university college for a reunion dinner. Locked in college for the night, the graduates begin to relive their youth, with all its chaotic friendships and feuds.
** DON’T MISS our Whatsonstage.com Outing to Donkeys’ Years - including a FREE programme & FREE drink at our exclusive post-show reception with the cast! – on Thursdsay 6 July 2006 – sorry, this event is currently sold out - click here to join the waiting list for extra tickets or cancellations! **
OPENING WEDNESDAY, 10 May 2006 (previews from 5 May), Jonathan Cake takes the title role of Coriolanus, directed by Dominic Dromgoole who kicks off his first season as Shakespeare’s Globe artistic director with the new production (See News, 1 Mar 2006). A young warrior whose people turn on him when he becomes too arrogant is banished, so he seeks revenge by declaring war on Rome. The production continues in rep until 13 August. The cast also features Robin Soans and Shaun Parkes.
ALSO ON WEDNESDAY, Kuwaiti company Sulayman Al-Bassam Theatre Company brings fable Kalila Wa Dimna (The Mirror for Princes) to the Barbican Pit for a run to 27 May 2006.
OPENING THURSDAY, 11 May 2006 (previews from 5 May), Almeida artistic director Michael Attenborough directs Russian playwright Maxim Gorky’s Enemies, in a new version by David Hare (See News, 23 Mar 2006). Sean Chapman, Jack Davenport and Amanda Drew feature in the drama set on a provincial family estate where the liberal-minded owner’s brother is killed in a scuffle with one of the estate’s militant factory workers. The season continues until 24 June 2006.
ALSO ON THURSDAY (preview 10 May), Oval House’s Southern Africa Season continues with Some Mothers' Sons, running until 27 May 2006. Two men from very different backgrounds meet in mid-Eighties South Africa. One, Vusi Mataboge, is being brutally assaulted by security police while being held in detention without trial. The other, Braam Visser, is a young and idealistic lawyer. Twenty years on, their roles are reversed.
ALSO ON THURSDAY, Queen compilation musical We Will Rock You, with a book by Ben Elton, celebrates its fourth anniversary at the West End’s Dominion Theatre, where it has now extended until 2007 having previously announced closure for this autumn (See News, 2 May 2006) . Queen’s Brian May and Roger Taylor are expected at the curtain call.
OPENING FRIDAY, 12 May 2006 (previews from 9 May), Shared Experience’s adaptation of Jane Eyre transfers to the West End’s Trafalgar Studio 1 (See News, 25 Jan 2006). The play, adapted and directed by Shared Experience joint artistic director Polly Teale from Charlotte Bronte’s novel, focuses on the stark contrast between Jane’s strict Victorian upbringing and her passionate, imaginative nature. Monica Dolan, James Clyde and Miriam Acharki star.
ALSO ON FRIDAY, the multi award-winning screen-to-stage musical Billy Elliot celebrates its first anniversary at the West End’s Victoria Palace Theatre. Liam Mower, James Lomas and George Maguire – who collectively won this year’s Best Actor Olivier for originating the title role of the ballet-mad young boy - return to share the evening’s performance, which has been specially adapted by director Stephen Daldry (See News, 27 Mar 2006).
- by Caroline Ansdell