Amongst the major openings in London this week are:

OPENING TUESDAY, 29 January 2008 (previews from 15 January), Richard Coyle, Gina McKee, Charlie Cox and Timothy West star in the double bill of Harold Pinter’s rarely seen one-act plays The Lover and The Collection at the West End’s Comedy Theatre (See News, 12 Dec 2007). Jamie Lloyd, who directed the recent revival of Pinter’s The Caretaker at Sheffield Crucible and the Tricycle, directs.

In 1962’s The Collection, adapted by Pinter from a television play, Harry (West) and dress designer Bill (Cox), who share a house in Belgravia, are disturbed by an anonymous phone call from James (Coyle), whose model wife Stella (McKee) has confessed to a one-night stand with Bill. In 1963’s The Lover, husband and wife Richard and Sarah (Coyle and McKee) use the fantasy of infidelity to spice up their romance, but the charade spills over into real life.

** Don’t miss our Whatsonstage.com Outing to The Lover / The Collection on 25 February 2008 – including a FREE programme, FREE drink & post-show Q&A – EXTRA tickets now added to this previously sold-out event!!! - click here to book now! **


OPENING WEDNESDAY, 30 January 2008, Carl Rosa Opera’s season of Gilbert & Sullivan operettas at the West End’s Gielgud Theatre launches with The Mikado, starring TV impressionist Alistair McGowan in the title role and Nichola McAuliffe as Katisha (See News, 6 Nov 2007). Directed and designed by Peter Mulloy, the production continues until 9 February ahead of runs for Iolanthe and The Pirates of Penzance, featuring comedian Jo Brand as the Sergeant of Police. The company also includes Steven Page, Sophie-Louise Dann and Whatsonstage.com Award nominee Beverley Klein. The G&S season concludes on 1 March 2008.


OPENING THURSDAY, 31 January 2008 (previews from 22 January), Penelope Keith (pictured) stars as Lady Bracknell in Peter Gill’s new revival of Oscar Wilde’s classic 1895 comedy The Importance of Being Earnest which transfers to the West End’s Vaudeville Theatre following a regional tour (See News, 28 Aug 2007). Prim-and-proper Jack Worthington is in love with the equally prim-and-proper Gwendolyn Fairfax. His friend Algernon Moncrieff is in love with Cecily Cardew. But both Gwendolyn and Cecily are in love with Ernest. Meanwhile, the imposing Lady Bracknell is dubious about a story involving a handbag …

The last major West End outing for the Wilde comedy was at the Theatre Royal Haymarket in 1999, when Patricia Routledge played Lady Bracknell in Christopher Morahan’s production transferred from the Chichester Festival (See News, 11 Jun 1999).

- by Terri Paddock