Amongst the major shows opening in London this week are:

OPENING TUESDAY, 6 July 2004 (previews from 2 July), Saturday Night Fever returns to the West End, this time to the Apollo Victoria (See News, 8 Apr 2004). The disco musical, featuring all the Bee Gees hits from the original 1977 film, had its world premiere in May 1998 at the London Palladium, where it ran until February 2000 ahead of extensive UK touring. The new West End incarnation stars Stephane Anelli (as Tony Manero), Alex Jessop (Bobby C) and Zoe Ebsworth (Stephanie Mangano), and features former Hear’say pop star Kym Marsh (Annette) and EastEndersShaun Williamson (DJ Monty).

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ALSO ON TUESDAY, 6 July 2004 (previews from 1 July), Lorna Luft, the daughter of late screen and singing legend Judy Garland and half-sister of Liza Minnelli, brings her autobiographical one-woman show to the West End’s Savoy Theatre (See News, 18 May 2004). In Songs My Mother Taught Me, Luft shares her story about growing up as the daughter of one of the world’s most famous entertainers, while celebrating her mother’s musical legacy. The show includes such Garland standards as “Come Rain or Shine”, “For Me and My Gal”, “I Can’t Give You Anything But Love”, “You Made Me Love You” and “The Trolley Song”.

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OPENING WEDNESDAY, 7 July 2004 (previews from 1 July), Roger Michell revives Harold Pinter’s 1971 three-hander Old Times at the Donmar Warehouse in a limited season up to 4 September (See News, 26 Mar 2004). In Pinter’s darkly erotic drama, Kate and her husband Deeley are visited in their converted farmhouse home by Kate’s old college roommate Anna, sparking off a war in which memories – and different versions of the past – are the weapons. Gina McKee, Jeremy Northam and Helen McCrory star.


OPENING FRIDAY, 9 July 2004 (previews from 28 June), is A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, the third production in this year’s Travelex £10 season at the NT Olivier and the National’s first musical post-Jerry Springer. Desmond Barrit stars as Pseudolus, the mischievous slave who, on one hectic day in ancient Rome, will stop at nothing to win his freedom.

A Funny Thing has a book by Larry Gelbart and Burt Shevelove. Notably, its score was the first for which Stephen Sondheim wrote all the lyrics and all the music. Edward Hall’s revival of the 1962 Broadway musical comedy also stars Philip Quast, Hamish McColl, Sam Kelly, David Schneider, Vince Leigh, Isla Blair and Caroline Sheen. It continues in repertory until 2 November 2004.

- by Terri Paddock