OPENING WEDNESDAY, 9 March 2005, (previews 3 March), Jonathan Church’s Birmingham Rep touring production of The Witches transfers to the West End’s Wyndham’s Theatre (See News, 21 Dec 2004). Comedienne and TV presenter Ruby Wax - best known for her various chat shows Ruby, Hot Wax and Ruby Wax Meets... - plays the Grand High Witch in Roald Dahl’s classic children’s story for its limited five week London season, which continues until 2 April 2005.
ALSO ON WEDNESDAY (preview 8 March), Zinnie Harris’ new play Midwinter opens at Soho Theatre (See News, 6 Dec 2004). The play started life in Stratford-upon-Avon as part of the Royal Shakespeare Company’s New Work Festival in autumn 2004. In it, Grenville returns home from the war to be reunited with his wife and child, but they’re changed from when he last saw them. The cast features Ruth Gemmell and Pal Aron. The production, directed by its author, continues in rep until 19 March 2005.
ALSO ON WEDNESDAY (previews from 2 March 2005) Torben Betts’ new play Biggleswades opens at south London’s Southwark Playhouse. This is the second Betts premiere this month, following last week’s opening of The Lunatic Queen at Riverside Studios. Biggleswades looks at what futuristic Britain might be like and what happens when daily rituals come under threat. The piece is directed by Alan Caig Wilson and continues until 12 March 2005.
OPENING THURSDAY, 10 March 2005 (previews from 5 March 2005), English National Opera ventures into the world of musical theatre with its high-profile revival of 1944 Broadway classic On the Town (See News, 19 Nov 2004) at the London Coliseum. The Leonard Bernstein musical – which follows the fast-paced adventure of three American sailors during one day’s wartime shore leave in New York - is directed by Jude Kelly and choreographed by Stephen Mear. The 55-strong cast is led by musical stalwarts including Adam Garcia, Whatsonstage.com Award winner Caroline O'Connor, Timothy Howar, Aaron Lazar, Helen Anker and Alison Jiear, and also features international opera singers Willard White, Lucy Schaufer and Andrew Shore. It continues in rep (with a total of just 17 performances) until 24 May 2005.
- by Hannah Kennedy