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

OPENING TONIGHT, Monday 20 April 2009 (previews from 4 April), Tim Frith's Calendar Girls, adapted from his own screenplay for the hit 2003 film, hosts a gala night at the Noël Coward Theatre starring Lynda Bellingham, Patricia Hodge, Sian Phillips, Gaynor Faye, Brigit Forsyth, Julia Hills and Elaine C Smith. Press have been allowed in gradually over the past week, though no official press night was set (See The Goss, 15 Apr 2009).

Calendar Girls, which tells the real-life story of the members of a Yorkshire chapter of the Women’s Institute who decide to pose nude for a charity calendar, was first seen on stage at the Chichester Festival Theatre in September 2008, before embarking on a sell-out national tour.

** DON’T MISS our Whatsonstage.com Outing to Calendar Girls on 29 April 2009, which includes a top-price ticket, a FREE show poster and access to our EXCLUSIVE post-show Q&A, all for £34.50! - click here for more info **

ALSO TONIGHT, Hampstead's New End theatre hosts Elizabeth Fuller's one-woman show Me & Jezebel, starring Katy Manning (Doctor Who) and directed by Barry Crocker. The play - inspired by Fuller’s own life - is set during the summer of 1985 when legendary American actress Bette Davis invited herself to stay overnight … and didn’t leave for a month. Until 2 May.


OPENING TUESDAY, 21 April 2009 (previews from 16 April), Hampstead Theatre’s 50th anniversary season continues with Michael Frayn’s award-winning comedy Alphabetical Order, set in the offices of a provincial newspaper office in the 1970s. Directed by Christopher Luscombe, it continues at the Hampstead to 16 May before embarking on a national tour.

ALSO ON TUESDAY, Lenny Henry plays the title role in Othello at Kingston’s Rose Theatre. The production, which arrives in London as part of a national tour, is produced by Northern Broadsides with West Yorkshire Playhouse and directed by Broadsides artistic director Barrie Rutter (See News, 2 Oct 2008).

Othello marks comedian Henry's stage acting debut, and received a warm reception from critics when it opened at the WYP in February (See Review Round-up, 19 Feb 2009).

ALSO ON TUESDAY (previews from 16 April), Lyndsey Turner directs the UK premiere of Nocturnal by Spanish playwright Juan Mayorga at the Gate Theatre, where it continues to 16 May.


OPENING WEDNESDAY, 22 April 2009, Vanishing Point return to the Lyric Hammersmith with Interiors, inspired by the Nobel prize-winner Maurice Maeterlinck’s play, Interior, and directed by Matthew Lenton. Until 9 May.


OPENING THURSDAY, 23 April 2009, musical comedy sketch show {So Jest End::L1090146150} opens with a celebrity gala night at the New Players Theatre, where it continues for three nights to 25 April, sponsored by Whatsonstage.com (See News 3 Mar 2009).

The Forbidden Broadway-style show is given a more contemporary twist with regularly updated material parodying the West End’s most popular musicals. It’s devised and directed by Garry Lake and stars We Will Rock You's Rachel Tucker, Jon Boydon and Ian Carlyle as well as Louise Dearman (Evita).

ALSO ON THURSDAY, Cheek by Jowl’s Declan Donnellan directs Racine’s Andromaque at the Barbican’s new Silk Street Theatre. Until 2 May.


OPENING FRIDAY, 24 April 2009 (previews from 17 April), the Tricycle Theatre presents The Great Game: Afghanistan, a festival exploring Afghan culture and history, with 15 plays presented in rep (See News 20 Feb 2009).

Billed by artistic director Nicolas Kent as “the most comprehensive over-view of Afghanistan's history, culture and politics ever attempted in Britain”, the festival features works by writers including Richard Bean, David Edgar, Abi Morgan, David Greig and Simon Stephens, and runs until 14 June 2009.

- by Theo Bosanquet