OPENING TUESDAY, 7 March 2006 (previews from 2 March), the Royal Shakespeare Company’s Comedies season at the West End’s Novello Theatre concludes with Dominic Cooke’s production of As You Like It, starring Lia Williams and Amanda Harris (See News, 7 Jun 2005).
ALSO ON TUESDAY (previews from 2 March), Pete and Dud - Come Again, a new play by Chris Bartlett and Nick Awde that was seen in an earlier version at the Edinburgh Fringe last year, opens at The Venue, Leicester Square (See News, 2 Feb 2006). Telling the story of the off and on-stage relationship between comedians Peter Cook and Dudley Moore, it focuses on the story from Dudley’s perspective. The cast features Tom Goodman-Hill and Kevin Bishop as the eponymous Pete and Dud. The limited season continues until 3 June 2006.
OPENING WEDNESDAY, 8 March 2006 (previews from 17 February), Sinatra at the London Palladium sees the eponymous crooner returning to the venue in a multi-media presentation of film clips from Ol’ Blue Eyes in action, accompanied by live 24-piece band and a company of 20 dancers and singers. David Leveaux directs the production, which has choreography by Stephen Mear and musical direction by Gareth Valentine (See News, 26 Oct 2005).
OPENING THURSDAY, 9 March 2006 (previews from 2 March), Jez Butterworth’s The Winterling receives its world premiere at the Royal Court Downstairs, directed by Court artistic director Ian Rickson, who also staged Butterworth’s earlier plays Mojo and The Night Heron (See News, 5 Jan 2006). The play, Butterworth’s first in four years, is set in rural Devon, where one man in a barn is visited by two men from London, intent on dealing with some unfinished business. In the Court’s year-long 50th anniversary season, the new play replaces Rickson’s previously planned revival of Caryl Churchill’s Cloud Nine.
ALSO ON THURSDAY, (previews from 2 March), Roy Dotrice, Michael Pennington and Patricia Routledge play three lifelong friends in the premiere of The Best of Friends at Hampstead Theatre. The epistolary play by Hugh Whitemore is adapted from the real-life writings of the characters they play. Following its London run, which finishes on 1 April 2006, the play embarks on a regional tour.
OPENING FRIDAY, 10 March 2006 (previews from 7 March), Thomas Middleton’s 17th-century classic The Revenger's Tragedy is staged at Southwark Playhouse for a limited season to 25 March. Kris Marshall - best known for TV sitcom My Family and most recently seen on stage in the Almeida’s production of The Hypochondriac - and veteran actress Linda Marlowe feature in a 20-strong cast in Gavin McAlinden’s new production.
- by Caroline Ansdell