Opening: Bash, Judas, Ghosts, Gertrude, TakeoversDate: 8 January 2007
Amongst the major openings and cast changes in London this week are:
OPENING ON TUESDAY, 9 January 2007 (following previews from 2 January), Prunella Scales stars in Gertrude's Secret at north London’s New End Theatre for a limited season to 11 February 2007 (See News, 6 Dec 2006). The series of monologues by Benedick West received its premiere at the King’s Head pub theatre in Islington last year. Andrew Loudon directs.
ALSO ON TUESDAY (previews from 1 January), homegrown lead Kerry Ellis faces the press in blockbuster Broadway musical Wicked at the West End’s Apollo Victoria, having taken over as the green-skinned Wicked Witch of the West, Elphaba, from Tony Award-winning role originator Idina Menzel. Other cast members including Helen Dallimore, Nigel Planer, Adam Garcia and Miriam Margolyes remain with the musical, which has a book by Winnie Holtzman, based on Gregory Maguire’s novel Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West, with music and lyrics by Stephen Schwartz.
OPENING WEDNESDAY, 10 January 2007, Tamara Harvey directs Juliet Rylance and David Sturzaker in a new production of Bash at the West End’s Trafalgar Studio 2 (See News, 9 Aug 2006). Harrowing events are recounted in American playwright Neil LaBute’s 2000 collection of three one-act “latterday plays”. The limited season continues until 3 February 2007.
OPENING THURSDAY, 11 January 2007 (previews from 9 January), west London’s Bush Theatre presents a double bill of one-man plays performed by their big-name authors, playwright Mark Ravenhill and comedian and Jerry Springer – The Opera co-creator and director Stewart Lee (See News, 7 Nov 2006). Ravenhill’s Product: World Remix is an extended version of the piece premiered at last year’s Edinburgh Fringe, which has since been seen at more than 20 international theatre festivals. In the black satire of the movie industry, directed by Lucy Morrison, Ravenhill plays a producer eager to pitch his action-adventure-romance movie about the spectre of terrorism to a potential leading lady.
In What Would Judas Do?, directed by fellow actor-comedian Will Adamsdale, Lee (pictured) portrays the betrayer of Christ as a disappointed revolutionary who’s also “slightly overweight”, and invites audiences to experience the final week of Christ’s life from his point of view. The monologues, presented by David Johnson, are performed nightly, at 7.30pm and 9pm respectively. The run continues until 3 February 2007.
ALSO ON THURSDAY (previews from 6 January), the Gate Theatre presents Ibsen’s 1881 tragedy Ghosts, in a new version by Amelia Bullmore, who was Whatsonstage.com Award-nominated for her 2005 debut play Mammals (See News, 5 Oct 2006). Anna Mackmin, who directed Mammals, directs Niamh Cusack, Finbar Lynch and Christian Coulson in the new production, which continues at the west London theatre until 17 February 2007.
OPENING SATURDAY, 13 January 2007, the 29th annual London International Mime Festival, “Visual Theatre for the Visual Age”, with companies from around the world performing at the South Bank Centre, Barbican Theatre, the Linbury Studio and ICA until 28 January (See News, 27 Dec 2006).
- by Terri Paddock