Amongst the major openings in London this week are:

OPENING MONDAY, 9 June 2008 (previews from 23 May), Reduced Shakespeare Company founder member Adam Long’s comic romp through the best of Charles Dickens’ work, Dickens Unplugged, opens at the Comedy Theatre, presenting the life and works of Charles Dickens as never seen before: fast, furious and in five-part harmony (See News, 16 Apr 2008).

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ALSO ON MONDAY, (previews from 23 May), The Harder They Come, the reggae musical based on the 1972 film starring Jimmy Cliff, transfers to the Playhouse Theatre after seasons at Stratford East and the Barbican (See News, 9 May 2008).

The show features songs from the original film soundtrack, including “You Can Get It If You Really Want”, “Higher and Higher”, “Many Rivers to Cross” and “Rivers of Babylon”, accompanied by a live reggae band. Rolan Bell, who has appeared in all previous stagings of the musical, reprises his starring performance as Ivan.

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ALSO ON MONDAY, (previews from 2 June), the Open Air Theatre Regent’s Park season opens with Romeo and Juliet, directed by artistic director Timothy Sheader. Other highlights of the season include Twelfth Night, opening later this week, and A Midsummer Night's Dream (See News, 7 May 2008).


OPENING TUESDAY, 10 June 2008 (previews from 3 June), Roger Allam leads the cast in the premiere of Michael Frayn’s new play Afterlife at the National’s Lyttelton Theatre. The play investigates the life of the Austrian impresario and founder of the Salzburg Festival, Max Reinhardt, and marks Allam’s first return to the National since appearing in Frayn’s Democracy in 2003 (See News, 7 Apr 2008). It runs in rep until 16 August 2008.

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ALSO ON TUESDAY, Sideshow Theatre revives Elegies for Angels, Punks and Raging Queens at Greenwich Playhouse, where it runs until 15 June 2008.


OPENING WEDNESDAY, 11 June 2008 (previews from 5 June), the Donmar Warehouse presents the first major London revival of Enid Bagnold’s The Chalk Garden, starring Penelope Wilton and Margaret Tyzack (See News, 31 Oct 2007).

ALSO ON WEDNESDAY, Chris Goode directs ...Sisters, his own adaptation of Chekhov’s Three Sisters, at the Gate Theatre, until 5 July 2008.

ALSO ON WEDNESDAY, Paula Wilcox plays Bette Davis in Anton Burge’s Whatever Happened to the Cotton Dress Girl? at the New End Theatre, where it runs until 20 July 2008.


OPENING THURSDAY , 12 June 2008 (previews from 10 June), the Royal Court’s Upstairs/Downstairs season, in which successful 2007 plays from the Theatre Upstairs are revived in the main house Downstairs, opens with a revival of Marius von Mayenburg’s The Ugly One (See News, 19 Feb 2008).

ALSO ON THURSDAY (previews from 7 June), Tovah Feldshuh recreates her award-winning Broadway performance as Golda Meir in Golda's Balcony at the Shaw Theatre (See News, 9 Apr 2008).

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OPENING FRIDAY, 13 June 2008 (previews from 6 June), Relocated, written and directed by Anthony Neilson, premieres at the Royal Court Theatre Upstairs, where it runs until 5 July 2008.

ALSO ON FRIDAY (previews from 4 June), the Open Air Theatre season continues with Twelfth Night, starring Janie Dee as Olivia and Clive Rowe as Feste. The actors were both nominated for Best Supporting Performance in a Musical at the 1993 Oliivers for the same production, Carousel at the National Theatre, which Dee went on to win (See News, 7 May 2008).

ALSO ON FRIDAY, Broadway legend Barbara Cook stars in Strictly Gershwin, a song and dance homage to George Gershwin, at the Royal Albert Hall (See News, 20 Mar 2008).

- by Theo Bosanquet