OPENING TUESDAY, 25 March 2008 (previews from 7 March), Ralph Fiennes, Tamsin Greig (pictured), Janet McTeer and Ken Stott star in the English-language premiere of French playwright Yasmina Reza’s God of Carnage at the West End’s Gielgud Theatre (See News, 24 Dec 2007). Fiennes plays the lawyer father of a boy who has hit another child on the playground. The victim’s parents (Stott and McTeer) have invited Fiennes and his wife (Greig) round to discuss the matter. The production, currently booking until 14 June, reunites the team behind Reza’s long-running West End comedy Art - translator Christopher Hampton, director Matthew Warchus and producers David Pugh and Daffyd Rogers.
OPENING WEDNESDAY, 26 March 2008 (previews from 17 March), Howard Brenton]’s new political drama Never So Good receives its world premiere at the National Theatre, running in rep in the NT Lyttelton, where it’s currently booking until 24 May (See News, 16 Jan 2008). Jeremy Irons makes his NT debut playing former prime minister Harold Macmillan in the portrait of a brilliant and witty but complex man, at times comically and, in the end, tragically out of kilter with his times. NT associate director Howard Davies directs. The cast also features Ian McNeice (as Winston Churchill), Anna Carteret and Anna Chancellor.
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ALSO ON WEDNESDAY, previews from 14 March, street dance theatre company ZooNation presents Into the Hoods, a hip-hop spin on Stephen Sondheim’s Into the Woods, at the West End’s Novello Theatre (See News, 8 Feb 2008). A hit at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival for the last two years, the production includes characters such as Lil Red, Rap-on-Zel and Jaxx (who lives in the basement), the owner of a white I-pod. The production plays for a limited run until 10 May 2008.
ALSO ON WEDNESDAY, Kate O’Mara plays ageing vamp Marlene Dietrich in Chris Burgess’ new play Lunch With Marlene at the New End Theatre in Hampstead. The play features a meeting between Dietrich and Nöel Coward when the actress was at her lowest ebb, and runs for a month until 27 April.
ALSO ON WEDNESDAY, Youth Music Theatre:UK bring Nick Stimson and Jimmy Jewell’s musical adaptation of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein to the Cochrane Theatre. With a cast of over 40 young actors, this new musical is directed by Stimson and runs for four nights only until 29 March.
ALSO ON WEDNESDAY, previews from 25 March, EastEnders stars James Alexandrou (Martin Fowler in the TV soap for ten years) and Ray Panthaki lead the cast of In My Name at Old Red Lion in Islington. Steven Hevey’s new play offers “a bold, dark and funny insight into the consequence of allowing life to pass you by.” John Howlett directs the production, which runs until 12 April.
OPENING THURSDAY, 27 March 2008 (previews from 19 March), Maria Friedman presents her new solo show Maria Friedman: Re-arranged at the Menier Chocolate Factory in Southwark (See News, 4 Feb 2008). Accompanied by an 11-piece band, Friedman performs new rearranged versions of some of her favourite show tunes and contemporary songs, from the likes of Sondheim, Gershwin and Jason Robert Brown. The production runs until 4 May.
OPENING FRIDAY, 28 March 2008 (previews from 26 March), Confessions of a Dancewhore, written, directed and performed by Michael Twaits, returns to Oval House Theatre Upstairs where it runs until 3 May.
OPENING SUNDAY, 30 March 2008 (previews from 28 March), Peter Pan El Musical opens at the Garrick Theatre, based on JM Barrie’s Peter Pan and performed in Spanish with English surtitles (See News, 8 Feb 2008). The new musical contains 14 original songs, with music and lyrics by Cesar Constanti and Pablo Pinilla among others. The book and direction is by Cristina Fargas, who leads an all-Spanish cast. The production runs for a month-long engagement to 27 April.
- by Tom Atkins & Terri Paddock