Amongst the major shows opening in London this week are:

OPENING WEDNESDAY, 5 January 2005 (previews from 29 December 2004), the musical revue, Kern Goes to Hollywood, is revived at north London’s King’s Head Theatre (See News, 31 Dec 2004). Devised and directed by David Kernan and written by Dick Vosburgh, the show, first staged at the Donmar Warehouse 20 years ago, pays tribute to the late American composer Jerome Kern, whose songs included “The Way You Look Tonight”, “The Last Time I Saw Paris”, “Remind Me” and “Fine Romance”. Featuring Angela Richards, it continues to 20 February.

OPENING THURSDAY, 6 January 2005, Canadian circus troupe Cirque du Soleil returns for its annual residency at the Royal Albert Hall with Dralion, first seen here last January (See News, 21 Dec 2004). While another Cirque company presents Saltimbanco in Manchester and Birmingham over the coming weeks, the limited London season continues for one month until 6 February.

ALSO ON THURSDAY, Out of Joint’s modern Africa-set promenade production of Macbeth starts another month-long season in the capital, to 5 February, this time at east London’s Wilton’s Musical Hall (See News, 18 Nov 2004). Directed by Out of Joint artistic director Max Stafford-Clark as part of the company’s tenth anniversary celebrations, the production completed a two-month UK tour in November.

As part of the tour, Macbeth spent four weeks at London’s Arcola Theatre, after which it was nominated for two Theatregoers’ Choice Awards – Best Shakespearean Production and, for Stafford-Clark, Best Director (click here to vote now). The majority of the 15-strong cast - including Danny Sapani as Macbeth and Monica Dolan as Lady Macbeth - reprise their roles at Wilton’s. They’re joined by child performers from the local area.

ALSO ON THURSDAY (previews from 4 January), the Finborough Theatre in Earl’s Court, west London, launches its 25th anniversary year with the UK premiere of an award-winning Canadian play called Patience. Jason Sherman’s play revolves around a man who loses his job, his wife and his brother on the same night. It continues to 29 January.

ALSO ON THURSDAY (previews from 4 January), Human Rites, a first play by the best-selling Belgian novelist Amelie Nothomb, receives its British premiere at south London’s Southwark Playhouse tonight. Edmund Kingsley (actor son of Ben), Miriam Hughes and Edmund Dehn are a professor, his assistant and a student in a play that questions our natural instincts and asks how far we are prepared to go in order to survive. It continues to 22 January.

- by Terri Paddock