Contact, which opened at the Queens Theatre on 23 October 2002 (previews from 3 October), has extended its schedule by four months - on top of the three months added last month (see News, 31 Dec 2002). It's now booking until the end of September 2003. In addition, there have been some changes to the weekly performance schedule, with 3.00pm Sunday matinees replacing Monday evening shows. The last Monday performance will be on 17 February and the first Sunday matinee on 2 March.
Devised by Stroman (who also choreographs and directs) and James Weidman, Contact presents three stories - titled "Swinging", "Did You Move?" and "Contact! - told through dance and dialogue as the characters struggle to connect with one another. The piece is inspired by a real-life event when Stroman witnessed a young woman in a short yellow dress bedazzle a succession of suitors at an after-hours Manhattan dance club.
The London production - which features Leigh Zimmerman, Michael Praed, Craig Urbani, Gavin Lee and Royal Ballet star Sarah Wildor - has been nominated four Laurence Olivier awards, including Best Entertainment, and for two Whatsonstage.com Theatregoers' Choice Awards for Best Ensemble and Best Choreographer for Stroman. (Voting closes 31 January 2003. Click here to vote.)
Meanwhile, the ultimate longrunner, Agatha Christie's The Mousetrap - which celebrated its 50th West End anniversary, with HM The Queen in attendance, on 25 November 2002 - has added another six months to its booking period at St Martin's theatre (where it transferred in March 1974, after 20 years at its original home, the Ambassadors, next door). A national and theatreland institution, the world record-breaking murder mystery, according to one commentator, is to the West End what the ravens are to the Tower of London - if it were to leave, British theatre may well collapse. It is now booking to 29 November 2003.
- by Terri Paddock