You wait ages for a classic 50s New York dockside melodrama, then two turn up in the West End within a week of each other...

Following hot on the heels of Lindsay Posner's revival of Arthur Miller's A View From the Bridge, which opened last week at the Duke of York's, Steven Berkoff's stage version of seminal 1954 film On the Waterfront opened at the Theatre Royal Haymarket last night (12 February, previews from 28 January).

In On the Waterfront, New Jersey ex-prize fighter turned longshoreman Terry Malloy comes up against his corrupt, Mob-ruled union bosses. After being implicated in a murder, Terry finds support in the form of a streetwise priest and the love of the dead man’s sister.

The new stage play of On the Waterfront is conceived and directed by Berkoff and co-written by the original screenplay’s author Budd Schulberg (who was in attendance last night) with Stan Silverman. Berkoff himself stars as mobster Johnny Friendly, alongside Simon Merrells as Terry "coulda been a contender" Malloy and Bryony Afferson as love-interest Edie Doyle.

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For 1st Night Photos, our Whatsonstage.com photographer Dan Wooller was at the Theatre Royal Haymarket for the curtain call and at One Whitehall Place for the post-show party. The company were joined by guests including The Who's Roger Daltrey and producer Danielle Tarento.

An earlier stage incarnation of On the Waterfront lasted just one week at Broadway’s Brooks Atkinson Theatre in 1995. Berkoff’s version premiered in April 2008 at Nottingham Playhouse and also played at the Edinburgh Fringe last August. For those runs, it’s  nominated for Best Regional Production in this year’s Whatsonstage.com Theatregoers’ Choice Awards, which are announced on Sunday.

- by Theo Bosanquet