Opening: Drowsy, Betrayal, Trance & Open Air 75thDate: 4 June 2007
Amongst the major openings in London this week are:
OPENING TONIGHT, Monday 4 June 2007 (previews from 28 May), the Open Air Theatre in Regent’s Park launches its 75th anniversary season with a new production of Macbeth (See News, 15 Jan 2007). Edward Kemp directs a cast led by Antony Byrne and Sarah Woodward as the murderous Macbeths. It continues in rep until 16 August.
ALSO TONIGHT (previews from 31 May), Taking Care of Baby, Dennis Kelly’s drama-documentary about a mother who killed her own children, transfers from Birmingham Theatre to Hampstead Theatre for a run to 23 June. Hampstead artistic director Anthony Clark directs (See News, 4 May 2007).
OPENING TUESDAY, 5 June 2007 (previews from 31 May), Dervla Kirwan, Toby Stephens and former Sheffield Theatre artistic director Samuel West star in Roger Michell’s new production of Betrayal at the Donmar Warehouse for a run to 21 July (See News, 30 Mar 2007). Famously played backwards in time, Harold Pinter’s 1978 classic traces a seven-year affair from its poignant end to its first illicit kiss.
ALSO ON TUESDAY (previews from 31 March), Soho Theatre hosts the premiere of British Nigerian writer Oladipo Agboluaje’s The Christ of Coldharbour Lane (See News, 28 Mar 2007). The comedy set in Brixton centres on a preaching ex-prisoner’s mission to make revolution. Paulette Randall directs a cast including Jimmy Akingbola and Dona Croll.
ALSO ON TUESDAY, David Walter Hall’s The Last Priest opens at north London’s King’s Head Theatre for a run to 1 July 2007. The new play is based on the life of Jean Meslier, a 17-century French Catholic priest who became an instigator of the socialist ideals of the French Revolution and hero of the Enlightenment. Tom Cornford directs.
OPENING WEDNESDAY, 6 June 2007 (previews from 14 May 2007), five-time Tony Award-winning musical The Drowsy Chaperone receives its West End premiere at the Novell Theatre (See News, 18 January 2007). This satirical yet sentimental musical comedy about a lonely man listening to his favourite LP of 1928 musical “The Drowsy Chaperone” has a book by Bob Martin and Don McKellar with music and lyrics by Lisa Lambert and Greg Morrison. Martin reprises his Broadway narrator role as the “Man in Chair” in a London cast that also features Summer Strallen, Nickolas Grace and, as the title character, Elaine Paige (pictured).
ALSO ON WEDNESDAY, What I Heard About Iraq lands in London at the Arts Theatre where it plays until 10 June only as part of an extensive tour. Exposing the human stories and hidden agendas behind the Iraq conflict, the docu-drama has been adapted by Simon Levy from an article by Elliot Weinberger. Hannah Eidinow directs.
OPENING THURSDAY, 7 June 2007 (previews from 5 June), Paul Browde and Murray Nossel talk about growing up white and middle-class under apartheid in the aptly titled Two Men Talking at Trafalgar Studio 2, where it continues until 23 June.
ALSO ON THURSDAY, The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas is revived at the fringe Landor Theatre. The 1978 Broadway musical, with a book by Peter Masterson and Larry L King, is about a Texan TV muckraker who forces embarrassed politicians to close down the legendary La Grange brothel that had been keeping clientele satisfied since 1800s. This new production, directed by Paul Tate and choreographed by Richard Swerrun, runs until 30 June.
OPENING FRIDAY, 8 June 2007 (previews from 30 May) Christopher Luscombe’s directs this summer’s new production of Regent’s Park perennial A Midsummer Night's Dream as part of the Open Air Theatre’s 75th anniversary season (See News, 15 Jan 2007). It continues in rep until 18 August.
ALSO ON FRIDAY (previews from 6 June), Trance, written and directed by leading Japanese playwright Shoji Kokami, has its world premiere at west London’s Bush Theatre in a limited run until 30 June. Hilarity is inevitable and sanity questionable when two old school friends meet by chance and quickly reacquaint themselves with stories of unrequited passion, split personalities, male eunuchs and escaped Japanese Emperors. The cast features Meredith MacNeill and Rhashan Stone (See News, 4 May 2007).
OPENING SATURDAY, 9 June 2007 at The Pit a coiled journey comes to an end for Lone Twin performers Gregg Whelan and Gary Winters who will complete their twisting tour of the Barbican Centre in site-specific work Spiral celebrating the venue’s labyrinthine spaces. The pair keep spiralling until 16 June.
OPENING SUNDAY, 10 June 2007, Samuel Beckett’s rarely seen Rough for Theatre I and II, about the meeting of a blind man and a cripple, will play at the Arts Theatre until 15 June only. Gari Jones directs.
ALSO ON SUNDAY, Orson Welles and Cole Porter’s 1946 flop Around the World receives its European premiere at Sadler’s Wells’ Lilian Baylis Theatre more than 60 years after it was first seen on Broadway (See News, 17 May 2007). The script is based on Jules Verne’s Around the World in Eighty Days. This semi-staged production is directed by Ian Marshall Fisher as part of the ongoing Lost Musical series. It will have five performances on Sundays to 8 July 2007.
- by Malcolm Rock