Amongst the major shows opening in London this week are:

OPENING TONIGHT, Monday 12 June 2006, Paloma Pedrero’s anti-terrorism play Ana in Love opens at east London’s Hackney Empire for a limited season to 8 July 2006. On 11 March 2004, a series of coordinated bombings on the commuter train system in Madrid killed 192 people and wounded a further 2,050.

Pedrero explores the emotional ramifications of these events through the eyes of five women whose lives are all linked via one missing commuter. The play was commissioned by the Spanish Society of Authors to mark the first anniversary of the Madrid bombings; it’s performed in London, in collaboration with Hackney Council, to coincide with the first anniversary of the London bombings on 7 July 2005. Ana in Love is translated and adapted by Robert Shaw.


OPENING TUESDAY, 13 June 2006 (previews from 10 June), Francesca Zambello directs a new in-the-round production of Jerome Kern’s Show Boat at the Royal Albert Hall (See News, 8 Dec 2005). Based on the novel by Edna Ferber, the story follows the lives and loves of a song and dance troupe. Jerome Kern and Oscar Hammerstein II’s musical broke new ground when it premiered on Broadway in 1927, dealing with racial prejudice, poverty and abandonment. Zambello’s production is the first-ever fully staged musical at the Royal Albert Hall, where it runs until 25 June 2006 only. The cast includes John Owen-Jones, Rebecca Thornhill, David Burt and Jenny Galloway.

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ALSO ON TUESDAY (previews from 8 June), Derek Jacobi plays the author’s father in a new production of John Mortimer’s autobiographical play A Voyage Round My Father at the Donmar Warehouse (See News, 5 May 2006). The drama, about the relationship between a man and his blind barrister father who refuses to acknowledge his disability, has a limited season to 5 August 2006. The cast, directed by Gate artistic director Thea Sharrock, also features Dominic Rowan and Natasha Little.

ALSO ON TUESDAY, following The Changeling, Cheek by Jowl brings its all-male, Russian-language staging of Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night to the Barbican Theatre as part of its annual, two-play residency at the City-based arts complex (See News, 12 Apr 2006). Directed by Cheek’s Declan Donnellan and designed by Nick Ormerod, the comedy is performed in Russian with English surtitles and continues to 17 June 2006.


OPENING WEDNESDAY, 14 June 2006 (previews from 3 June), Trevor Nunn directs Brian Cox, Sinead Cusack and Rufus Sewell in the world premiere of Tom Stoppard’s new play Rock 'n' Roll at the Royal Court Jerwood Theatre Downstairs (See News, 18 Apr 2006). The play spans the recent history of Czechoslovakia between the Prague Spring and the Velvet Revolution - but from the double perspective of Prague, where a rock 'n' roll band came to symbolise resistance to the regime, and the British left, represented by a Communist philosopher at Cambridge. Rock 'n' Roll marks the Royal Court debuts of both Stoppard and Nunn. It runs in Sloane Square, as part of the theatre’s year-long 50th anniversary season, until 15 July and then moves to the West End’s Duke of York’s Theatre from 22 July.

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ALSO ON WEDNESDAY, (previews from 12 June), Grumpy Old Women, the stage version of BBC Two’s hit TV show, transfers from its current tour for a West End run at the Lyric Theatre to 15 July 2006 (see News, 24 May 2006). Regular TV contributors and stage originators Jenny Eclair, Dillie Keane and Linda Robson play host to the “orgy of middle-aged mayhem: theatrical HRT with not a thong in sight”.

** DON’T MISS the chance to see Grumpy Old Women for only £10!! – offer ends 24 June 2006 - click here for more details! **


OPENING THURSDAY, 15 June 2006 (previews from 7 June), American screen actress and rock musician Juliette Lewis makes her stage debut in a new production of Sam Shephard’s 1980 play Fool for Love at the West End’s Apollo Theatre (See News, 18 Apr 2006). Lindsay Posner directs the 90-minute piece, which recounts a painful love story. In a seedy motel room in southern California, May and Eddie go back beyond their adult lives, back to the legacy of their parents and their parents before. Lewis is joined in the cast by New Zealander Martin Henderson, Larry Lamb and Joe Duttine.

ALSO ON THURSDAY (previews from 13 June), Stonecrabs presents Our Lady of the Drowned, Brazilian playwright Nelson Rodrigues’ 1947 drama about desire, betrayal and revenge, at Southwark Playhouse for a run to 8 July 2006.

- by Caroline Ansdell