The new spring/summer season at west London’s home for new writing, the Bush Theatre, will comprise three world premiere plays, including the latest from renowned avant garde theatre company, the People Show, as well as a trio of readings of recent Bush commissions.

Mammals, the first stage play by actress-turned-writer Amelia Bullmore, opens on 8 April (previews from 6 April) and continues to 7 May 2005. Jane and Kev Hammersby don’t have secrets. When Kev comes home from a business trip with something on his mind, the truth will out, despite a house full of over-excited children, dirty laundry and weekend guests who have arrived early.

Directed by Anna Mackmin, the cast for Mammals are Helena Lymbery, Jane Hazlegrove, Daniel Ryan and Niamh Cusack (who’s currently appearing in Mackmin’s premiere production of Laura Wade’s Breathing Corpse at the Royal Court). Bullmore’s other writing credits have included episodes of TV’s This Life, Attachments and Black Cab (which she also devised).

Mammals is followed by Kingfisher Blue, by Lin Coghlan, whose play Mercy was seen at Soho Theatre last year. In the new play, directed by Paul Miller (Sing Yer Heart Out for the Lads), Ally and Elvis are cleaning out a dead man’s flat, Cooper has plans for a karaoke bar and Denny is up to his neck in toilets. As they try to eke out a living, all four men are drawn into a downward spiral – and then a boy is dead and no one will ever be the same. Kingfisher Blue runs from 20 May to 18 June 2005 (previews from 18 May).

People Show 114, The Obituary Show, then arrives at the Bush from 1 to 23 July 2005 (previews from 29 June). A retrospective look at a life lived, like a newspaper obituary written before the actually death, The Obituary Show explores the “story between the lines, where the music lies”. Formed in 1966, the People Show was one of the forerunners of modern experimental theatre in Britain. After their first year, the group abandoned scripts in favour of devising image-based, visually structured shows, with many of the improvisations arising from specific performance spaces which, in recent years, have ranged from fields and streets to telephone boxes as well as theatres.

Ahead of the three full-fledged productions, there will be a trio of “Try These on for Size” readings of Bush commissions this month: Simon Burt’s Bottle Universe, directed by William Kerley (14 March); Ron Fitzgerald’s Safe, directed by Wilson Milam (16 March); and Jack Thorne’s When You Cure Me, directed by Bush artistic director Mike Bradwell (18 March).

Meanwhile, Bradwell’s premiere production of Sharman MacDonald’s The Girl with Red Hair, co-produced by the Bush with Edinburgh’s Royal Lyceum Theatre, where it’s currently playing, will transfer to north London’s Hampstead Theatre for a London season from 23 March to 16 April 2005 (See Today’s Other News). Currently at the Bush, Irish company Rough Magic’s Fringe First-winning production of Take Me Away finishes its limited season on 5 March 2005.

- by Terri Paddock