Dominic Cooke’s revival of Arnold Wesker’s Chicken Soup with Barley has extended its run at the Royal Court's Jerwood Theatre Downstairs by a week and will now play through to 16 July. Also announced today, Penelope Skinner’s The Village Bike has also been extended by a week to 30 July 2011 in the Jerwood Theatre Upstairs.

Originally staged at the theatre in 1958 Chicken Soup with Barley is revived starring Samantha Spiro as a feisty political matriarch. A landmark play in the history of post-war British theatre, the political drama is based upon Wesker's own experiences of growing up in a Jewish family in the East End of London.

The Kahn family is put to the test in the anti-fascist riots of the 1930s, and the play spans three decades documenting the effects of post-war social issues. History begins to take its toll as the mother's ideals and resilience challenge a father's weakness.

The play also stars Tom Rosenthal, Danny Webb, Harry Peacock, Alexis Zegerman, Ilan Goodman,Jenna Augen and Steve Furst. It has design by Ultz, lighting by Charles Balfour, sound by Gareth Fry and music by Gary Yershon.

Chicken Soup with Barley was previously due to run until 9 July 2011.

Joe Hill-Gibbins's production of Penelope Skinner's debut play The Village Bike will now run until 30 July 2011. The play, which opens on 1 July (previews from 24 June), stars Romola Garai, Nicholas Burns and Alexandra Gilbreath.

The Village Bike sees pregnant Becky (Garai) frustrated by her husband (Burns). He is more interested in the baby manual than her new underwear so she turns to the porn stash under the bed. As the summer heats up, a brief encounter sends her speeding downhill towards reckless abandon.


The epic First World War drama War Horse has extended its booking at the New London theatre until 20 October 2012.

First adapted from Michael Morpurgo’s children’s novel for the National Theatre, the story of a boy searching through war-torn France for his beloved horse transferred to the West End in April 2009 following two runs in the NT Olivier. The show opened on Broadway at the Lincoln Center on 14 April (previews from 17 March 2011).

The show took the Tony Awards by storm this week, coming away with five awards including Best Play, Best Scenic Design, Best Lighting Design and Best Sound Design. The fifth award was a Special Tony Award for the Handspring Puppet Company, which designed the life-sized horse puppets used in the show.

War Horse is directed by Marianne Elliot and Tom Morris and features set design by Rae Smith, lighting by Paula Constable and sound design by Christopher Shutt.


Finally in extension news, The 39 Steps will extend its run at the Criterion Theatre, with tickets now on sale to 11 February 2012. The stage adaptation of John Buchan’s 1935 novel debuted on 14 September 2006 and won an Olivier Award for Best Comedy in 2007.

Based on the book and the 1935 Alfred Hitchcock film, this stage version of The 39 Steps was adapted by Patrick Barlow (aka the National Theatre of Brent) and started life at West Yorkshire Playhouse before transferring to the Tricycle Theatre and then London’s West End.

The story of The 39 Steps follows Richard Hannay, a bored London gentleman who suddenly finds himself framed for murder. Hannay flees London for Scotland and along the way encounters an assortment of unusual and mysterious characters.

The cast of four – Rufus Wright, Laura Rogers, Dermot Canavan and Sean Kearns – portray 139 characters between them, all in about 100 minutes.