OPENING TONIGHT, Monday 30 April 2007 (previews from 25 April), The Thing About Men - the new musical comedy from the Joe Di Pietro and Jimmy Roberts, the American writers of I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change - receives its London premiere at Islington’s King’s Head Theatre, directed by Anthony Drewe, best known as one half of leading British musical partnership Stiles and Drewe (See News, 8 Mar 2007). Based on the 1985 German film Men by Doris Dörrie, the 2003 piece concerns a New York love triangle and shows the extreme lengths men will go to keep their love affairs and pride intact. The production – featuring a cast of West End regulars including Hal Fowler, Tim Rogers and Olivier Award winner Paul Baker – has a limited six-week season running to 3 June 2007.
OPENING TUESDAY, 1 May 2007 (previews from 19 April), Jenny Seagrove and Anthony Andrews (pictured together) star in the West End revival of Somerset Maugham’s The Letter at Wyndham’s Theatre (See News, 3 Apr 2007). When the wife of a Malaysian rubber planter, Leslie Crosbie (Seagrove), is witnessed murdering a local playboy, she claims it was self defence. Convinced of her innocence, her husband hires family friend Howard Joyce (Andrews) to defend her. The day before the trial, a mysterious letter comes to light, casting doubt on Leslie’s integrity. Alan Strachan directs.
ALSO ON TUESDAY (previews from 26 April), Side by Side by Sondheim, David Kernan’s 1970s tribute to American composer and lyricist Stephen Sondheim, is revived at The Venue, off Leicester Square, for a limited 12-week season to 14 July (See News, 26 Mar 2007). West End stars Abbie Osman, Josie Walker and Alasdair Harvey are joined by a rota of high-profile guest narrators - Angela Rippon, Christopher Cazenove, Les Dennis and Barry Cryer – in the new production, directed by Hannah Chissick with musical staging by former Royal Ballet principal and Swan Lake star Adam Cooper.
ALSO ON TUESDAY (previews from 26 April 2007), Peter Maddock’s play Charlie and Henry receives its world premiere at Hampstead’s New End Theatre, where its limited season runs to 27 May 2007. London aristos Charlie and Henrietta Morningstar stumble into a cocaine deal to shore up the finances of their new business venture, a luxury hotel. Jason Lawson directs.
OPENING WEDNESDAY, 2 May 2007, John Masefield’s rarely seen drama about death and dancing and a village by the river Severn in 1810, Nan, is revived at Richmond’s Orange Tree Theatre for a month to 2 June.
OPENING THURSDAY, 3 May 2007 (previews from 26 April), Roy Williams’ stage adaptation of the Colin MacInnes cult novel Absolute Beginners receives its world premiere at west London’s Lyric Hammersmith (See News, 1 Dec 2006). Set in the summer of 1958 that ends with the Notting Hill race riots, the musical paints a vivid picture of London’s changing society and the emergence of a style-conscious youth culture, as teens blow away the cobwebs of post-war life. In 1986, Absolute Beginners was made into a musical Brit flick featuring Patsy Kensit and David Bowie. The new stage version is directed by dance theatre director Liam Steel (DV8, Stan Won’t Dance) and has new music by MOBO award winner Soweto Kinch.
ALSO ON THURSDAY (previews from 1 May), Fallujah, a new verbatim drama about the 2003 siege of the Iraqi city, opens at the Old Truman Brewery in Brick Lane, east London (See News, 21 Mar 2007). Writer Jonathan Holmes, composer Nitin Sawhney and artist Lucy Orta have collaborated to create the piece, which merges accounts of what happened during the siege with art installations and music. Harriet Walter, just seen in the West End opposite Patrick Stewart in the RSC’s Antony and Cleopatra, stars in the promenade piece, which runs until 2 June 2007.
OPENING SUNDAY, 6 May 2007, is the one-off musical spectacular The Night of 1000 Voices at the Royal Albert Hall (See News, 12 Jan 2007). Broadway’s Joel Grey and Anthony Crivello as well as Caroline O'Connor and the London cast of Avenue Q star in the annual charity concert which this year celebrates the songs of Kander and Ebb.
- by Malcolm Rock & Terri Paddock