Amongst the major London openings– in the West End and further afield - this week are:

OPENING TONIGHT, Monday 23 March 2009 (previews from 10 March), ahead of a star-studded gala premiere tomorrow, Jason Donovan, Tony Sheldon, Oliver Thornton and Clive Carter star in the UK premiere of Priscilla Queen of the Desert the Musical at the West End’s Palace Theatre (See Show Pics, 17 Mar 2009).

Adapted from the Oscar-winning cult Australian film starring Guy Pearce, Hugo Weaving and Terence Stamp, it tells the story of two drag queens and a transsexual who travel by bus to a cabaret gig in the middle of the Australian desert. It's currently booking to 26 September 2009.

** DON’T MISS the chance to get top-price tickets to Priscilla on 3 June 2009 for just £43.25! - click here for more info! **

ALSO TONIGHT (previews from 20 March), celebrating the 200th birthday of Russian writer Nikolai Gogol, Gecko return to the Lyric Hammersmith with The Overcoat, directed by Amit Lahav. It runs until 11 April 2009.


OPENING TUESDAY, 24 March 2009 (previews from 17 March), at the National Theatre, James Macdonald directs the Christopher Marlowe classic Dido, Queen of Carthage at the NT Cottesloe. Starring Anastasia Hille and Mark Bonnar as doomed lovers Dido and Aeneas, it runs in rep to 2 June 2009.

ALSO ON TUESDAY, legendary Japanese director Yukio Ninagawa directs Shochiku Grand Kabuki at the Barbican Theatre, bringing traditional Japanese Kabuki to Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night. Until 28 March.

ALSO ON TUESDAY, Oladipo Agboluaje performs The Hounding of David Oluwale, based on Kester Aspden’s award-winning book about the infamous 1969 racist murder in Leeds, at east London’s Hackney Empire, where it continues until 28 March.


OPENING WEDNESDAY, 25 March 2009 (previews from 19 March), Jonathan Pryce and Anne Reid star in Douglas Hodge’s new Donmar Warehouse production of Dimetos by Athol Fugard (See News, 19 Sep 2008). Written in 1975 and rarely performed, Fugard’s drama centres on a skilled engineer who moves his family to a remote coastal village in search of an escape from the metropolis, and the devastating consequences when he is tempted to return. It continues until 9 May.

ALSO ON WEDNESDAY, Richmond’s Orange Tree Theatre presents the UK premiere of Lebanese dramatist Georges Schéhade’s The Story of Vasco, adapted by the poet Ted Hughes, and running until 25 April.

ALSO ON WEDNESDAY, Tom Littler’s revival of Stephen Sondheim’s rarely seen 1954 musical comedy Saturday Night transfers to the West End’s Arts Theatre for three weeks to 11 April 2009 following a sell-out three-week season at the Off-West End Jermyn Street Theatre (See News, 16 Mar 2009). How Do You Solve a Problem Like Maria? runner-up Helena Blackman stars.


OPENING THURSDAY, 26 March 2009 (previews from 21 March), following its acclaimed run at west London’s Lyric Hammersmith last month, the UK premiere production of Spring Awakening, based on the Frank Wedekind’s 1891 play of the same name about sexual discovery, transfers to the West End's Novello Theatre (See News, 18 Feb 2009). Featuring a young cast – led by Aneurin Barnard, Charlotte Wakefield and Iwan Rheon - many making their professional debuts, the alt-rock musical won eight trophies at the 2007 Tony Awards after making its Broadway premiere at New York’s Eugene O’Neill Theatre.

ALSO ON THURSDAY (previews from 19 March), Ian Rickson directs Amanda Drew, Andrew Lincoln and Toby Jones in the UK premiere of Jez Butterworth’s new comedy Parlour Song at the Almeida Theatre (See News, 14 Oct 2008) . Its limited season continues until 9 May 2009.

- by Theo Bosanquet