Amongst the major shows opening in London this week are:

OPENING TONIGHT, Monday 7 February 2005, (previews 1 February) the revival of Terence Rattigan’s 1963 play Man and Boy, starring David Suchet, transfers to the West End’s the Duchess Theatre following a regional tour (See News, 6 Jan 2005). In the 1930s, powerful financier Gregor Antonescu visits his estranged son, Basil, at his Greenwich Village apartment in an attempt to extricate himself from the most catastrophic disaster of his career. The production is booking until 9 April 2005.

ALSO TONIGHT (previews from 3 February), Winsome Pinnock’s One Under receives its world premiere at north London’s Tricycle Theatre (See News, 26 Jan 2005). Pinnock’s previous plays include Can You Keep a Secret? and Water, which premiered at the Tricycle in 2001. In One Under, Tube driver Clyde gets drawn into a tunnel of despair when he experiences his first “one under” and attempts to understand the motives of the victim. The production is directed by Jennie Darnell and designed by Matthew Wright. Its limited season continues until 5 March 2005.

ALSO TONIGHT (previews from 3 February), up-and-coming playwright Laura Wade’s Colder Than Here premieres at Soho Theatre (See News, 14 Jan 2005). Terminally ill Myra is taking a hands-on approach to organising her funeral, researching burial methods and bio-degradable coffins and planning the lives of her family, who are now facing an unpredictable future. Featuring Margot Leicester, Michael Pennington, Georgia Mackenzie and Anna Madeley, it’s directed by Soho artistic director Abigail Morris. It runs until 26 February 2005, the same week that another Wade play, Breathing Corpses had its world premiere at the Royal Court’s Jerwood Theatre Upstairs (See News, 14 Jan 2005).

OPENING TUESDAY, 8 February 2005 (previews from 1 February), Dennis McIntyre’s 1988 drama National Anthems has its UK premiere at the West End’s Old Vic (See News, 28 Oct 2004). The three-hander stars actor-turned-artistic director Kevin Spacey, fellow Hollywood film star Mary Stuart Masterson and Broadway’s Steven Weber.

Played in real-time, National Anthems is described as a “searing critique of suburban America and a hard-hitting parable about the American dream”. Arthur and Leslie Reed are clearing up after a house-warming party when Ben Cook arrives unannounced and a clash ensues between the affluent and aspirant couple and their new blue-collar neighbour. National Anthems, directed by Briton David Grindley (Abigail’s Party, Journey’s End), continues its limited season until 23 April 2005.

OPENING THURSDAY, 10 February 2005 (previews from 27 January), Victoria Wood’s £2 million debut musical Acorn Antiques premieres at the West End’s Theatre Royal Haymarket (See News, 2 Dec 2004). Based on the characters from Wood’s 1980s TV spoof, the show within a show (within a show?) follows Miss Babs’ struggle to keep the antiques shop open in the face of competition from multi-national chains, in particular The Guilty Bean coffee shop. Wood also performs and is joined by stars from the original TV show Julie Walters, Celia Imrie and Duncan Preston, as well as Josie Lawrence, Neil Morrissey and Award winner Sally Ann Triplett. The musical is currently booking up to 12 March 2005.

ALSO ON THURSDAY(previews from 8 February), Dublin’s Rough Magic Theatre sets up residence at west London’s Bush Theatre with its production of Gerald Murphy’s Take Me Away (See News, 14 Dec 2004). A dark comedy about the collapse of family life in modern Ireland, it enjoyed a successful run at the Traverse Theatre as part of last year’s Edinburgh Festival. It’s directed by Lynne Parker and stars Joe Hanley, Vincent McCabe and Barry Ward. It continues at the Bush until 5 March 2005.

- by Hannah Kennedy