Amongst the major openings in London this week are:

OPENING TONIGHT, Monday 18 February 2008, Carl Rosa Opera’s Gilbert and Sullivan season at the Gielgud Theatre concludes with The Pirates of Penzance, featuring Jo Brand as the Sergeant of Police (See News, 2 Nov 2007}. In one of G&S’s best-known operettas, young Frederic is distraught to learn that his pirate apprenticeship won’t end until he’s 84, because he was born on 29 February in a leap year. The production, directed by Peter Mulloy, runs until 1 March.


OPENING TUESDAY, 19 February 2008 (previews from 5 February), Jean Anouilh’s Ring Round the Moon is revived at the Playhouse Theatre, with a cast including JJ Feild, Belinda Lang, Angela Thorne, Peter Eyre and Joanna David (See News, 20 Dec 2007). The tale centres on twin brothers, an heiress who’s engaged to one twin but desperately in love with the other, and a ballet dancer embroiled in a plot hatched by the more calculating of the brothers. Directed by Sean Mathias, the production runs until 24 May.


OPENING WEDNESDAY, 20 February 2008 (previews from 15 February), David Farr directs a new version of Bertolt Brecht’s farce, The Resistible Rise of Arturo Ui at the Lyric Hammersmith, with Zimbabwean actor Lucian Msmati in the title role. It tells the story of the rise of a fascist dictator, which is brought crashing into modern-day Africa The production runs for a month to 15 March.


OPENING THURSDAY, 21 February 2008 (previews from 20 February), Paul Sellar’s World's End opens at Trafalgar Studios 2 for a run to 8 March (See News, 5 Dec 2007). Kat is moving out of the London flat she shares with ex-boyfriend Ben. He’s hurt and angry, and still in love with Kat. But is it now too late to tell her? Guy Retallack directs.

ALSO ON THURSDAY, (previews from 15 February), Theatre Royal Stratford East presents Marilyn and Ella, Bonnie Greer’s new play with music about the famous friendship between Marilyn Monroe and Ella Fitzgerald, which broke 1950s American taboos.


OPENING FRIDAY, 22 February 2008 (previews from 20 February), Julia Stubbs directs the world premiere of Laura Stevens’ first full-length play Thin Toes at the Pleasance Theatre. Directed by Julia Stubbs, the production runs until 16 March.


OPENING SUNDAY, 24 February 2008, Whatsonstage.com presents our first-ever Year on Year Concert and Awards Show, incorporating live trophy presentations to winners of the 2008 Whatsonstage.com Theatregoers’ Choice Awards presentations, at the Lyric Theatre, Shaftesbury Avenue (See News, 31 Jan 2008). Nominees due to perform at the concert – produced by Stuart Piper and Jason Haigh-Ellery and held in aid of our adopted charity Mousetrap Theatre Projects – include Hairspray’s Leanne Jones and Ben James-Ellis, Parade’s Bertie Carvel and Lara Pulver, Bad GirlsNicole Faraday and The Phantom of the Opera’s Robyn North, Leila Benn Harris and Ramin Karimloo.

ALSO ON SUNDAY, a host of celebrities will pay tribute to the late vocal coach Ian Adam by singing the songs that made them famous in the one-off concert I’d Like to Teach the World to Sing at the West End’s Her Majesty’s Theatre. Highlights include Andrew Lloyd Webber and his cellist brother Julian Lloyd Webber playing together, Elaine Paige singing “Memory” and Anthony Andrews singing “I’ve Grown Accustomed to Her Face”. Amongst the other stars taking part are Helena Bonham Carter, Sian Phillips, Jeremy Irons, Jonathan Pryce and Bonnie Langford.

- by Tom Atkins