Amongst the major shows opening in London this week are:

OPENING TUESDAY, 18 July 2006 (previews from 10 July), Blonde Bombshells of 1943, Alan Plater’s new comedy about an all-girl swing band, opens at north London’s Hampstead Theatre, for a limited season to 12 August 2006 (See News, 8 Mar 2006). Based on Plater’s 2002 Bafta-winning TV drama The Last of the Blonde Bombshells (in which Judi Dench starred), and first seen on stage at Leeds’ West Yorkshire Playhouse two years ago, (See News, 9 Feb 2004), the piece features music by Fats Waller, the Andrews Sisters, Glenn Miller, George Formby and others from the 1940s. Mark Babych directs.

** DON’T MISS the chance to see Blonde Bombshells of 1943 for only £10 – offer ends 21 July 2006 - click here for more details! **

ALSO ON TUESDAY (press night rescheduled from 14 July, previews from 9 July), Simon Bent’s new play Under the Black Flag receives its world premiere at Shakespeare’s Globe (See News, 11 Jan 2006). Part of new artistic director Dominic Dromgoole’s emphasis on new work at the South Bank landmark, Bent’s play, which has the unwieldy subtitle “The Early Life, Adventures and Pyracies (sic) of the Famous Long John Silver before he lost his leg”, is set around the 17th-century pirate republic of Rabat, where John Silver and his crew of political radicals are feeling disaffected. The play carries a warning that it “features bare flesh and filthy language”. Paines Plough artistic director Roxana Silbert directs.

OPENING WEDNESDAY, 19 July 2006 (preview 18 July), mind reader Marc Salem is back at north London’s Tricycle Theatre with his new show, Marc Salem on Second Thoughts, until 5 August 2006. A behavioural psychologist as well as an entertainer, Salem has used his academic training and understanding of non-verbal communication as a consultant for the FBI, the New York police and several US corporations.

OPENING THURSDAY, 20 July 2006 (preview 19 July), Kate Williams performs a Jean Cocteau double bill, Human Voice and Sound of Silence, at the West End’s Trafalgar Studios for a run to 12 August 2006 (See News, 9 Mar 2006).

ALSO ON THURSDAY (previews from 18 July), Sandy Wilson’s 1920s musical The Boy Friend is revived at the Open Air Theatre Regent's Park, where it continues in rep until 9 September 2006 (See News, 23 Jan 2006). Set in 1926 at Mme Dubonnet's fashionable finishing school on the French Riviera, Wilson’s musical revolves around Polly, a millionaire's daughter, falls in love with Tony, a delivery boy. To hold his interest, Polly pretends to be a working girl, but her efforts are complicated by her boy crazy girlfriends. Open Air artistic director Ian Talbot directs a cast that includes Steven Pacey, Summer Strallen and, as Polly, Rachel Jerram.

** DON’T MISS the chance to see The Boy Friend for only £20 – offer ends 19 July 2006 - click here for more details! **

OPENING FRIDAY, 21 July 2006 (preview 20 July), Deafinitely Theatre, the UK’s only deaf-led theatre company, presents Dysfunction at Soho Theatre for a limited season to 29 July 2006 (See News, 13 Apr 2006). In the new play, for both deaf and hearing audiences, Nigel and Sue are battling their way through their 23rd year of married life.

OPENING SATURDAY, 22 July 2006, Tom Stoppard’s Rock 'N' Roll transfers from the Royal Court to the West End’s Duke of York’s Theatre (See News, 2 Jun 2006). The play - which stars Rufus Sewell, Brian Cox and Sinead Cusack - 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.

- by Caroline Ansdell