Opening: Daughter, Belly, Homecoming & RiveraDate: 4 February 2008
Amongst the major openings in London this week are:
OPENING TONIGHT, Monday 4 February 2008, The British Ambassador's Belly Dancer by Craig Murray, Nadira Murray and Alan Hescott transfers from the Arcola Theatre to the Arts Theatre (See News, 4 Jan 2008). In 2004, Craig Murray - the British Ambassador for Uzbekistan - made two life-changing decisions: firstly, he spoke out against the British Government using intelligence gained under torture by states such as Uzbekistan; secondly, he left his wife to be with Nadira who he'd seen dancing in a nightclub in Tashkent. An autobiographical true story, the one-woman piece stars Craig’s co-writer and wife Nadira Murray.
ALSO TONIGHT (previews from 1 February), site-specific company Angels in Architecture presents Marlowe’s Dido - Queen of Carthage by at the State Apartments, Kensington Palace. Aeneas is an outcast, exiled from his destroyed home; Dido is a powerful woman, a leader and a fighter. But when Cupid‘s games begin, Dido falls so hard, she threatens to take her whole country with her. Its limited season continues until 23 February 2008.
OPENING TUESDAY, 5 February 2008 (previews from 4 February), Michael Pennington performs Sweet William, his one-man play interpreting the life and work of William Shakespeare, at Trafalgar Studios 2 (See Reviews, 26 Nov 2007). It too transfers from the Arcola and runs at Trafalgar Studios until 16 February 2008.
OPENING WEDNESDAY, 6 February 2008 (previews from 31 January), Thomas Babe’s 1970s psychological thriller A Prayer for My Daughter receives its first London revival at the Young Vic where Corey Johnson, Matthew Marsh, Colin Morgan and Sean Chapman star (See News, 27 Dec 2007). On a steamy summer night in a grubby New York City police office, two cops and two crooks battle with wits and fists to uncover the truth about a murder. Dominic Hill directs the production, which runs until 15 March.
OPENING THURSDAY, 7 February 2008 (previews from 31 January), Michael Attenborough directs Harold Pinter’s 1965 modern classic The Homecoming at the Almeida Theatre, with a cast including Kenneth Cranham, Nigel Lindsay and Jenny Jules (See News, 19 Oct 2007). The play was last seen in the West End in a 2001 production, starring Ian Holm and Lia Williams, at the Comedy Theatre. This Almeida production coincides with a major revival on Broadway, where Britons Ian McShane, Eve Best and James Frain star. Its limited season continues until 22 March.
ALSO ON THURSDAY (previews from 5 February), Tom Green’s controversial new play, The Death of Margaret Thatcher, premieres at the fringe Courtyard Theatre in Hoxton for a run to 2 March (See News, 21 Jan 2008). The play centres on four people and their reactions to news of the death of the former British prime minister. The “Iron Lady” – who is still very much alive, of course - was prime minister from 1979 to 1990 and leader of the Conservative party from 1975 to 1990. She was the first – and, to date, only – woman to serve in either position.
OPENING FRIDAY, 8 February 2008 (previews from 14 January), Broadway legend Chita Rivera brings her one-woman show The Secret of Life to the Shaw Theatre for three nights only as part of the new “Feinstein’s at the Shaw Theatre” cabaret series (See News, 27 Dec 2007).
ALSO ON FRIDAY (previews from 5 February), Tom Crean Antarctic Explorer, written and performed by Aidan Dooley, receives its London premiere at the New End Theatre, running until 16 March. The real-life story tells of Crean’s 36-mile, solitary trek to base camp during the Terra Nova expedition to rescue his comrades Teddy Evans and William Lashly. He was subsequently awarded the Albert Medal for his bravery. The production, which won a Fringe First Award at the Edinburgh festival (See News, 18 Aug 2006), arrives at the New End following runs in Ireland, USA, Australia and Europe.
OPENING SATURDAY, 9 February 2008, dirty butterfly, debbie tucker green’s 2003 play about voyeurism in inner-city London, is revived for a short run until 16 February 2008 in the Young Vic’s Clare Studio, directed by one of the recent winners of the Jerwood Directors Award, Michael Longhurst (See News, 27 Dec 2007).
- by Tom Atkins & Terri Paddock