OPENING TONIGHT, Monday 11 May 2009 (previews from 4 May), Roger Allam takes over from Graham Norton as drag queen Albin/Zaza in La Cage Aux Folles at the West End’s Playhouse Theatre. The cross-dressing role in Terry Johnson’s multi award-winning Menier Chocolate Factory revival was originated by Douglas Hodge. Hodge’s original co-star Philip Quast returns to the production to play Albin’s lover Georges opposite Allam. Both Allam and Quast are multiple Olivier Award winners.
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ALSO TONIGHT, Welsh comedian Rob Brydon, of Gavin and Stacey and Marion and Geoff fame, brings his improvisational stand-up show Rob Brydon Live! to Shaftesbury Avenue’s Apollo Theatre for two weeks until 23 May. Brydon launched his mammoth tour last November and has already visited some 50 venues across the country – and he’ll go back out on the road for a new leg of the tour from September (See News, 13 Jan 2009).
OPENING TUESDAY, 12 May 2009 (previews from 7 May), Juliet Stevenson and Henry Goodman reprise their performances in Tom Kempinski’s 1980 play Duet for One, which, following its run at the Almeida Theatre and a regional tour, will transfer to the West End’s Vaudeville Theatre for a limited 12-week season (See News, 13 May 2009). In the two-hander, inspired by the real-life story of Jacqueline du Pre, Stevenson is celebrated concert violinist Stephanie Abrahams. After being diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, she consults psychiatrist Dr Feldmann, played by Goodman, whose probing questions delve deep her complex personality and force her to consider a future without music.
OPENING WEDNESDAY, 13 May 2009 (previews from 8 May), Daniel Kramer directs Pictures from an Exhibition, a new dance theatre piece inspired by Modest Mussorgsky's famous 1874 piano suite of the same name, at the Young Vic (See News, 8 Jan 2009). A collaboration between the Young Vic and Sadler’s Wells, following last year’s Punch and Judy (also directed by Kramer), it continues until 23 May 2009.
ALSO ON WEDNESDAY (preview 12 May), Charles Forbes’ controversial American play Minor Gods, in which a prominent geneticist hires a rent boy, receives its UK premiere, with its original New York cast, at the fringe Above the Stag theatre in Victoria.
OPENING THURSDAY, 14 May 2009 (previews from 12 May), former Teachers co-stars Adrian Bower and James Lance reunite for the world premiere of Ordinary Dreams, Marcus Markou’s dark comedy about a couple nervously awaiting the birth of their first child. The piece, subtitled How to Survive a Meltdown with Flair, runs until 6 June (See News, 23 Mar 2009).
ALSO ON THURSDAY (preview 13 May), the two-week Notes from New York season celebrating contemporary American musicals continues at the West End’s Duchess Theatre continues with the late Jonathan Larson’s semi-autobiographical three-hander tick… tick… BOOM!, which finishes on Sunday 17 May.
OPENING FRIDAY, 14 May 2009 (previews from 12 May), actress Catrina Lear makes her directorial debut with the first professional production of Bryony Lavery’s 1997 one-act play More Light, which runs at the Arcola Theatre until 30 May. Originally written for the BT Connections youth theatre festival at the National Theatre, More Light explores the inner chamber of the tomb of the first Emperor of China.
- by Terri Paddock