Gillian Anderson, Salman Rushdie, Lindsay Duncan, Ewan McGregor, Hugh Dancy, Richard O'Brien, Roger Taylor and Bob Geldof (pictured) … it must be the starriest of West End opening nights. But no, those are just some of the names on the guest lists of two fringe productions opening tonight (18 May 2006).

Anderson, Rushdie and Duncan along with Craig Raine, Ruthie and Richard Rogers are attending the opening of Rabbit, the playwriting debut for director Nina Raine, at Islington’s Old Red Lion Theatre, where its limited season continues until 10 June.

Shortlisted for the 2004 Verity Bargate Award, Rabbit takes a candid look at the uncivil war between the sexes and the difficult relationship that exists between a young woman and her father. The high-profile cast of regulars from the West End, the RSC and elsewhere includes Charlotte Randle (Don Carlos, Lobby Hero), Susannah Wise (Festen, Three Sisters, When Harry Met Sally), Hilton McRae (Twelfth Night, My One and Only, Mamma Mia!) as well as Ruth Everett, Rocky Marshall and Adam James.

Nina Raine is best known as a director whose work includes Unprotected. She has just completed her second play, Tiger Country, a commission from Hampstead Theatre, while her brother Moses Raine’s new play Shrieks of Laughter opened earlier this week at Soho Theatre (See News, 15 May 2006).


Ewan McGregor, Hugh Dancy, Richard O'Brien, Roger Taylor and Bob Geldof will attend tonight’s opening of Immortal at the Courtyard Theatre in Covent Garden, for a run to 11 June 2006. Ciaran McConville’s play is from Imperial House Productions, whose new patron, Sienna Miller, attended last night’s performance.

In the winter of 1943, RAF Squadron 463 is returning from another raid when their Lancaster bomber is shot out of the skies over Holland. As German troops hunt them down, five survivors take refuge in an abandoned school. With one of them badly injured, the others are unsure whether to run or stay. Written by Ciaran McConville, Immortal is directed by John Terry with a cast including James Cook, Brett Goldstein, Oli Hembrough, Madeleine Herrington, Sam Hoare and Matt Steer.

- by Caroline Ansdell