OPENING TONIGHT, Monday 20 July 2009 (previews from 16 July), the world premiere production of The Mountaintop, starring David Harewood as Martin Luther King, transfers directly from south London’s Theatre503 to the West End’s Trafalgar Studios 1 for a seven week-run to 5 September (See News, 7 Jul 2009). Set on the eve of his assassination in Memphis in 1968, Katori Hall’s two-hander reimagines the final hours of the civil rights’ leader’s life, as he confronts his past and contemplates his legacy. Lorraine Burroughs co-stars.
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OPENING TUESDAY, 21 July 2009 (previews from 14 July), at the National, Hanif Kureishi’s new adaptation of his own 1995 novel The Black Album premieres in the NT Cottesloe, where it runs in rep until 7 October 2009, before embarking on a six-week regional tour. The co-production with Tara Arts, directed by Tara artistic director Jatinder Verma, stars Jonathan Bonnici as young British-Asian Shahid, an anxious young undergraduate who becomes involved in an increasingly fundamentalist Muslim activist group during the Thatcher years in London (See News, 7 May 2009).
OPENING WEDNESDAY, 22 July 2009 (previews from 12 July), Matthew Kelly make his Shakespeare’s Globe debut in the theatre’s first-ever staging of Troilus and Cressida, which runs in rep at the Bankside landmark until 20 September (See News, 2 Jun 2009). In Matthew Dunster’s production, Kelly plays Pandarus in a cast that also features Laura Pyper and Paul Stocker in the title roles.
OPENING THURSDAY, 23 July 2009 (previews from 7 July), Sarah Kane’s 2000 lyrical monologue about emotional breakdown, 4:48 Psychosis, is revived at the Young Vic, for a limited season to 8 August. This new production, specially created for the Young Vic, reunites Romanian actress Anamaria Marinca with French director Christian Benedetti who, in 2001, was the first to stage Kane’s play in France before directing Marinca in a Romanian production.
ALSO ON THURSDAY (previews from 21 July), South African cabaret artist Claire Watling makes her UK debut, performing Kissed by Brel, a celebration of the musical of Jacques Brel, which is at Jermyn Street Theatre until 9 August.
OPENING FRIDAY, 24 July 2009 (previews from 16 July), Too Close to the Sun, a musical about the suicide of Ernest Hemingway, receives its world premiere at the West End’s Comedy Theatre (See News, 26 May 2009). Considered one of the greatest American novelists of the 20th century, Ernest Hemingway shot himself in the head with a shotgun and died on 2 July 1961, less than three weeks short of his 62nd birthday.
The musical provides a fictional account of the events leading up to his death. The writer, battling the indignities of old age, takes solace in the company of his young secretary, with the tolerance of his wife. James Graeme is Hemingway opposite Helen Dallimore (last seen in the West End as Glinda in Wicked). Too Close to the Sun has music by John Robinson, lyrics by Robinson and Roberto Trippini and a book by Trippini.
ALSO ON FRIDAY (previews from 22 July), Bijan Sheibani directs Ibsen’s 1882 classic Ghosts, in a new version by Rebecca Lenkiewicz subtitled Those Who Return, at the fringe Arcola Theatre, where it continues until 22 August. Suzanne Burden plays Mrs Alving, alongside Harry Lloyd as Osvald.