Amongst the major shows opening in London this week are:

OPENING TOMORROW, Tuesday 19 April 2005 (previews from 13 April), a new production of Frank McGuiness’ 1992 play Someone Who'll Watch Over Me receives its first major London revival at the West End’s New Ambassadors Theatre (See News, 7 Mar 2005). Inspired by the real-life political kidnapping of John McCarthy, Brian Keenan and Terry Waite in Lebanon, the play traces the shifting relationships between three hostages – an Irishman, an Englishman and an American – held in a Middle Eastern jail. The three-hander is directed by Oxford Stage company’s artistic director Dominic Dromgoole and stars Jonny Lee Miller, Aidan Gillen and David Threlfall. The strictly limited season continues until 18 June 2005.

ALSO ON TUESDAY, Roy Williams’ Little Sweet Thing receives its London premiere at Hampstead Theatre, the culmination of a regional tour (See News, 3 Mar 2005). It tells the story of siblings Tash and Kev. She’s got her hard image to maintain and he’s just got out of prison. Can the two manage to steer clear of the gang culture that surrounds them? Williams’ other plays include Fallout, Sing Yer Heart Out for the Lads and Clubland. Director Michael Buffong’s production continues at Hampstead until 23 April 2005.

OPENING WEDNESDAY, 20 April 2005 (previews from 14 April), director Deborah Warner mounts her epic staging of Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar at the Barbican Theatre (See News, 21 Jan 2005). The all-star cast includes Ralph Fiennes, Simon Russell Beale, John Shrapnel, Fiona Shaw and Anton Lesser (who has replaced Paul Rhys as Brutus – See News, 7 Mar 2005). The actors are reinforced by 60 extras recruited from the public to form a 100-strong company. The new Shakespeare production follows last year’s success with The Black Rider, starring Marianne Faithfull, as only the second show produced by the Barbican itself. It continues until 14 May 2004 at the Barbican prior to a European tour to Paris, Madrid and Luxembourg.

ALSO ON WEDNESDAY Kali Theatre’s Chaos comes to south London’s Southwark Playhouse, as part of its UK tour. Azma Dar’s play is paired with Bells (which opens on Friday 22 April), written by fellow British Pakistani Yasmin Whittaker Khan. The plays were developed through Kali Futures new writing programme and offer strikingly different perspectives on Asian life in Britain today. They caused some stirrings in the Muslim community when they opened last month at Birmingham Rep (See The Goss, 24 Mar 2005), where riots forced the closure of the so-called ‘anti-Sikh’ play Behzti in December. The London season continues until 14 May 2005.

OPENING THURSDAY, 21 April 2005 (previews from 19 April), touring troupe Frantic Assembly celebrates its tenth anniversary with a revival of its hit show, Hymns. Chris O'Connell’s play, now revamped, was first performed by the company in 1999 and revolves around the reunion of four men who meet to mourn the death of their friend. Steven Hoggett and Karl Sullivan from the original cast are joined by Joseph Traynor and Owen Sharpe. Its limited London season continues until 7 May 2005.

- by Hannah Kennedy