Opening: Apologia, Must Go, NT Live, Carrie's WarDate: 22 June 2009
Amongst the major London openings - in the West End and further afield - this week are:
OPENING TUESDAY, 23 June 2009 (previews from 18 June), the Hampstead Theatre revives Frank McGuinness' Observe The Sons Of Ulster Marching Towards The Somme as part of its 50th anniversary season. The play, which premiered at the venue in 1986, centres on eight Ulster men who volunteer in the First World War. Whilst their bonds of friendship grow amidst the horror and despair of the trenches, the march towards their seemingly inevitable sacrifice continues apace. Ahead of them lies the first day of the Battle of the Somme, 1 July 1916. John Dove directs, and it continues to 18 July.
ALSO ON TUESDAY, Everything Must Go, a two-week season of short plays designed to “stimulate a creative response” to the current recession, opens at the Soho Theatre (See News, 19 May 2009). The plays have been rehearsed over a period of two weeks and are presented “without décor as part of a unique evening of raw theatre”. A 'day of debate' to discuss the themes raised rounds off the season on 4 July 2009.
ALSO ON TUESDAY, 12 new plays receive staged readings in a six night series entitled Crossing the Divide at the Bridewell Theatre, presented by the North American Actors Association.
OPENING WEDNESDAY, 24 June 2009 (previews from 18 June), Emma Reeves’ Novel Theatre adaptation of Carrie's War, Nina Bawden’s best-selling novel about the wartime evacuation, opens at the Apollo Theatre (See News, 6 Mar 2009). Starring Prunella Scales and directed by Andrew Loudon, the production is timed to mark the 70th anniversary of the start of World War II, and runs until 12 September 2009.
OPENING THURSDAY, 25 June 2009, the first NT Live performance, of Helen Mirren in Phedre at the National’s Lyttelton, is simultaneously broadcast to over 100 venues across the world, including 50 cinemas in the UK (See News, 14 Jan 2009). If the pilot proves successful, NT Live will be rolled out to more NT productions on a year-round basis, with further possibilities for internet and television access.
ALSO ON THURSDAY, Barbra and Liza Live sees Streisand and Minnelli impersonators Steven Brinberg and Rick Skye appearing on stage together for the first time at the Leicester Square Theatre. For three nights only.
ALSO ON THURSDAY, the annual Greenwich + Docklands International Festival opens, running for four days. This year's festival has a water-themed programme, with highlights including a celebration of the 250th anniversary of the Baroque composer Handel with an outdoor son et lumière entitled Water Music, as well as the UK premiere of French company Ilotopie’s Fous de Bassin, a poetic spectacle in which the performers will “literally walk on water”.