Amongst the major openings in London this week are:

OPENING TONIGHT, Monday 2 July 2007 (previews from 28 June), The Last Confession, Roger Crane’s new Vatican-set thriller starring David Suchet (pictured), transfers to the West End’s Theatre Royal Haymarket for a limited 12-week season following its May premiere in Chichester and a brief regional tour (See News, 11 May 2007). Based on a real-life incident, the play investigates the mysterious 1978 death of Pope John Paul I, a liberal compromise candidate, known as “the Smiling Pope”, who was found dead just 33 days after taking office.

Suchet plays Cardinal Benelli, who challenges the dead Pope’s political enemies and navigates the troubled Church’s crises of faith. He’s joined in cast by Joseph Mydell, Michael Jayston and Michael Cronin. The premiere production is directed by David Jones, designed by William Dudley and produced by Duncan Weldon, Paul Elliott and Theatre Royal Haymarket Productions.

ALSO TONIGHT, as part of new artistic director Dominic Cooke’s initiatives (See News, 6 Feb 2007), the Royal Court launches the first of its twice-yearly Rough Cuts seasons of works-in-progress, which runs in the Jerwood Theatre Upstairs until 15 July.

OPENING TUESDAY, 3 July 2007 (previews from 28 June), Baghdad Wedding, the first play by London-based Iraqi writer Hassan Abdulrazzak, receives its premiere at Soho Theatre, running for a limited season to 21 July (See News, 28 Mar 2007). Against a backdrop of London and war-torn Iraq, three friends grapple with their sexual, cultural and political identity. Soho artistic director Lisa Goldman directs a cast including Matt Rawle, Sirine Saba and Nitzan Sharron.

OPENING WEDNESDAY, 4 July 2007 (previews from 30 June), physical theatre company theimaginarybody’s devised play Food returns to Battersea Arts Centre, where it was originally developed before premiering, and winning a Fringe First, at last year’s Edinburgh Fringe (See News, 11 Aug 2007). Celebrity super-chef Frank Byrne has one ambition in life – to win the coveted third Michelin star. The production is back in London, until 22 July 2007, in the final leg of a regional tour.

OPENING THURSDAY, 5 July 2007, for four performances only to 7 July at the recently reopened Royal Festival Hall, Welsh opera star Bryn Terfel plays the “demon barber of Fleet Street” in David Freedman’s new concert version of Stephen Sondheim’s 1979 Victorian London-set musical thriller Sweeney Todd (See News, 14 Jun 2007). The stellar cast also features Maria Friedman (as pie-making proprietress Mrs Lovett), Philip Quast (Judge Turpin), Daniel Evans (Tobias), Emma Williams (Johanna), Daniel Boys (Anthony) and Rosemary Ashe (the Beggar Woman).

ALSO ON THURSDAY (previews from 3 July), Save Your Kisses for Me, David Kerby-Kendall’s new comedy about what happens between two straight men when the macho barriers collapse and friendship becomes love, premieres at the Fringe Baron’s Court Theatre, where it runs until 29 July 2007.

OPENING FRIDAY, 6 July 2007 (previews from 3 July), the King’s Head Theatre presents a double bill of US plays - Christopher Durang’s 'dentity Crisis and Jorg Tittel’s 2+2+2, featuring the voice of Richard E Grant – under the banner of the American Nights season, which continues until 29 July 2007.

- by Terri Paddock