Amongst the major shows opening in London this week are:

OPENING TONIGHT, Monday, 6 February 2006 (previews from 2 February), Tim Luscombe’s new play The Schuman Plan premieres at north London’s Hampstead Theatre. The play revolves around French Foreign Minister Robert Schuman’s post-World War Two plans to put his name to a scheme for the economic unification of Europe. Hampstead artistic director Anthony Clark directs.

ALSO TONIGHT (previews from 31 January), playwright and director Anthony Neilson directs Alan Francis and Mike Hayley in their own comedy, Jeffrey Dahmer is Unwell, originally seen at the Edinburgh Fringe ten years ago, at Islington’s King’s Head Theatre for a run to 12 March (See News, 24 Jan 2006). In the bizarre, dark world of Mike’s flat, Alan has become obsessed with cold-hearted killers and homicidal maniacs Mike looks on in helpless horror as Alan fills his home with tasteless memorabilia.

OPENING TUESDAY, 7 February 2006 (previews from 2 February), Gregory Doran’s Royal Shakespeare Company production of A Midsummer Night's Dream transfers from Stratford-upon-Avon, where it was seen last year, to the West End’s Novello Theatre as part of the company’s ongoing Comedies season (See News, 7 Jun 2005).

ALSO ON TUESDAY, Jump – a hit at last year’s Edinburgh Fringe – comes to London’s Peacock Theatre for a season to 26 February. It blends the ancient Korean martial arts of taekwondo and taekgyeon with acrobatics, sword fights and sit-com.

OPENING WEDNESDAY, 8 February 2006, Greenwich Theatre stages its annual Musical Voices Festival that includes the Ten Minute Musical Challenge, in which teams of new writers collaborate to produce instant musicals based on that day’s newspaper headlines. These are staged for free nightly at the theatre, before a final showcase of all of the works in one gala evening on 18 February.

ALSO ON WEDNESDAY (previews from 2 February), Gladiator Games, Tanika Gupta’s dramatisation of the death of Zahid Mubarek in the Feltham Young Offenders Institution, returns to east London’s Theatre Royal Stratford East (See News, 21 Jul 2005) for another limited season to 25 February. The play is produced in partnership with Sheffield’s Crucible Studio, where it premiered last year.

OPENING THURSDAY, (previews from 7 February), Ian Richardson, best known to TV fans for his sinister turn in the House Of Cards trilogy for the BBC, returns to the West End stage for the first time in eight years in The Creeper, which comes to the West End’s Playhouse following a brief tour last autumn (See News, 12 Jan 2006).

Richardson plays Edward Kimberley, an eccentric member of the landed gentry, whose home is upset by the arrival of a young opportunist. Dark secrets emerge as the younger man, skilfully concealing his shady past, begins to exert his power and challenge the status quo, in Pauline Macauley’s 1964 psychological thriller. The revival is directed by Bill Bryden and is scheduled for a limited 12-week season to 22 April.

- by Caroline Ansdell