Tube strike notwithstanding, amongst the major shows opening in London this week are:

OPENING TONIGHT, Monday 28 June 2004 (previews from 24 June), is Country Music, the latest play by Simon Stephens (Herons, Port, Christmas) at the Royal Court Jerwood Theatre Upstairs. Spanning two decades, the tale of crime and redemption starts when Jamie Carris makes an important life choice and ends when he’s reunited with his daughter. Directed by Gordon Anderson and co-produced by Actors Touring Company (ATC), it continues its limited London season up to 17 July.

OPENING WEDNESDAY, 30 June 2004 (previews from 18 June), Measure for Measure completes the repertory in the “Season of Star-Crossed Lovers” at Shakespeare’s Globe (See News, 27 Apr 2004). Not to be confused with Simon McBurney’s Complicite production further down the Thames at the National, the Globe’s offering is directed by John Dove with a mixed-gender company that includes Globe artistic director Mark Rylance as Vincentio. It continues in repertory until 24 September 2004.

OPENING THURSDAY, 1 July 2004 (previews from 26 June), The Old Masters transfers from Birmingham Rep to the West End’s Comedy Theatre (See News, 4 Jun 2004). In their ninth collaboration, Harold Pinter directs the latest play by Simon Gray, seen in the West End earlier this year with The Holy Terror. Set in Florence in 1937, Edward Fox and Peter Bowles play the real-life figures of art critic and connoisseur Bernard Berenson and multi-millionaire art historian Joseph Duveen. The cast also features Barbara Jefford, Sally Dexter and Steven Pacey. The limited season continues until 28 August.

** DON'T MISS The Old Masters reduced to £25! - offer ends 23 July 2004 - click here for info!

OPENING FRIDAY, 2 July 2004 (previews from 17 June), three days’ later than planned thanks to the strike (scheduled for 24 hours from Tuesday evening), Trevor Nunn directs a new production of We Happy Few, the play by his actress-turned-playwright wife Imogen Stubbs (currently appearing as Gertrude in her husband’s production of Hamlet at the Old Vic), at the West End’s Gielgud Theatre (See News, 20 May 2004).

The play, first seen as part of the Remembrance Day Festival at the Malvern Theatre in 2003, is inspired by the true wartime history of the Osiris Players, a group of women who came together to form an all-female theatrical troupe with the aim of taking Shakespeare around a culture-starved country. Making a rare return to the stage, Juliet Stevenson leads a cast that also includes Marcia Warren, Patsy Palmer and Kate O'Mara. The production is currently booking up to 13 November 2004.

** DON'T MISS our £25 ticket offer to We Happy Few - valid to 30 June 2004 only - click here for info!

- by Terri Paddock