Two Off-West End plays opened last month – Called to Account, the latest in the series of the Tricycle’s Tribunal Plays, and Elling, starring Life on MarsJohn Simm at the Bush Theatre – have announced extensions to their limited sell-out seasons, with both productions anticipating lives beyond their respective venues.

Called to Account, subtitled “The indictment of Anthony Charles Lynton Blair for the crime of aggression against Iraq - a Hearing”, opened on 23 April 2007 (previews from 19 April) and had been booking until 19 May at the Tricycle in Kilburn, north London (See Review Round-up, 24 Apr 2007). It has now extended by three weeks, taking it up to 9 June.

In January and February, two leading barristers tested the rigorously gathered evidence – including witness testimony from MPs, diplomats, international lawyers, UN officials, intelligence experts and journalists - on whether there would be sufficient grounds to indict Tony Blair for his involvement in the Iraq war. Their reports form the basis for the verbatim drama edited by Richard Norton-Taylor and, as usual for the Tribunal Plays, directed by Tricycle artistic director Nicolas Kent.

The cast for Called to Account are: David Beames, Jeremy Clyde, Ken Drury, Diane Fletcher, Terrance Hardiman, William Hoyland, Charlotte Lucas, Morven Macbeth, David Michaels, Roland Oliver, Raad Raw, Shane Rimmer, Thomas Wheatley and James Woolley.

At the Bush, Elling opened on 27 April 2007 (previews from 25 April) and had been booking until 26 May (See 1st Night Photos, 1 May 2007). Tickets for a week’s extension, taking bookings through to 2 June, went on sale last week – and sold out within 24 hours. No further extensions at the 81-seat Bush are possible as the next production, Trance, starts performances on 2 June. However, talks are under way for a potential West End transfer.

In Elling, Simm – returning to the stage after an 11-year absence – plays the title character who, with his friend Kjell Bjarne (Adrian Bower), must convince social worker Frank (Keir Charles) that they’re ‘normal’ enough to survive in the real world after being institutionalised for years.

The play reunites Simm with playwright Simon Bent – who has written the piece based on Axel Hellstenius and Petter Naess’ adaptation of the cult 2001 Norwegian film comedy, which was based on the original novel by Ingvar Ambjornsen – and director Paul Miller. Simm’s last stage appearance was also at the Bush, in Bent’s 1996 play Goldhawk Road, directed by Miller. The Elling cast also features Ingrid Lacey and Jonathan Cecil.

- by Terri Paddock