Amongst the major openings in London this week are:

OPENING TONIGHT, Monday 14 April 2008 (previews from 10 April), Shared Experience’s two-part adaptation of Tolstoy’s War and Peace comes to north London’s Hampstead Theatre, where it runs until 11 May as the penultimate stop in its national tour (See News, 21 Nov 2007). First staged at the National Theatre in 1996, Helen Edmundson’s dramatisation of the 1868 novel is performed by 15 actors covering 72 roles between them. Artistic directors Nancy Meckler and Polly Teale co-direct.


OPENING TUESDAY, 15 April 2008 (previews from 10 April), Peter Gill revives his own 1976 play Small Change at the Donmar Warehouse for a limited season to 31 May (See News, 4 Mar 2008). Sue Johnston and Lindsey Coulson play the mothers of two boyhood friends – played by Luke Evans and Matt Ryan – in 1950s Cardiff.

ALSO ON TUESDAY (previews from 1 April), the Royal Shakespeare Company commences London press performances for its complete eight-play Histories cycle at the Roundhouse in Chalk Farm (See News, 28 Jun 2007). Richard II faces critics tonight, followed by Henry IV, parts I and II and Henry V all day tomorrow. Next month will be the press days for Henry VI, parts I, II and III (on 6 May) and Richard III (7 May). The productions - all directed by RSC artistic director Michael Boyd and performed by the same 35-strong company including Jonathan Slinger and David Warner – run in rep until 25 May. The London transfer is the culmination of a two-and-a-half year project.

ALSO ON TUESDAY, C Company presents The Fetch, a new play by Samantha Wright, at the Old Red Lion, running until 3 May 2008.

ALSO ON TUESDAY, BAC welcomes back the multi award-winning NIE company for the London premiere of My Life With Dogs, which also runs until 3 May 2008.


OPENING THURSDAY, 17 April 2008 (previews from 10 April), Tony Harrison’s play about the Norwegian explorer Fridtjof Nansen, Fram, premieres at the National Theatre, where it runs in rep in the NT Olivier as part of this year’s Travelex £10 Season (See News, 16 Jan 2008). Jasper Britton plays Nansen in a cast that also features Mark Addy as Hjalmar Johansen, Nansen’s suicidal companion in his North Pole bid, Sian Thomas as Sybil Thorndike and Jeff Rawle as Greek scholar Gilbert Murray. The author co-directs with Bob Crowley (who also designs).

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ALSO ON THURSDAY, DJ and poetry performer Charlie Dark’s solo show Have Box Will Travel opens at the Lyric Hammersmith for a run until 3 May 2008.

ALSO ON THURSDAY, Cirque du Soleil’s first live arena event Delirium is at the O2 Centre in Greenwich for three days only as part of an ongoing tour (See News, 24 Apr 2007).


OPENING FRIDAY, 18 April 2008 (previews from 15 April), the 1954 Broadway musical The Pajama Game is revived at Southwark’s Union Theatre for a run to 10 May 2008. A strike is imminent at the Sleep-Tite Pajama factory. Sid and Babe are in opposite camps of the conflict. Can a romance still blossom between them? Billy Boyle stars in the production directed by Thom Southerland and choreographed by Sally Brookes.


OPENING SATURDAY, 19 April 2008, West End and recording star Barbara Dickson brings her solo show to the Shaw Theatre for two nights, as part of the Feinstein’s at the Shaw season (See News, 27 Dec 2007).

- by Terri Paddock