Amongst the major shows opening in London this week are:

OPENING MONDAY, 23 August 2004 (previews from 20 August), the National Youth Theatre return to west London’s Lyric Hammersmith with David Rudkin’s stage adaptation of Mikhail Bulgakov’s subversive novel, The Master and the Margarita, which the author, writing in Stalinist Russia, kept hidden for fear of his life.

In this panoramic carnival, the devil himself, all charm and dangerous mischief, and his three surrealist henchmen set about bringing a city to its knees and sending it spinning into chaos. The NYT production, which continues until 11 September, should not be confused with the Chichester Festival production, which is adapted by Edward Kemp and directed by Steven Pimlott (See Regional Reviews).

DON'T MISS our 2-for-1 offer to The Master and Margarita - reduced to only £9.00 per person - offer ends 11 September 2004 - click here for info!

On Thursday 26 August 2004 (preview 25 August, continues to 11 September), NYT opens its second production at the Lyric Hammersmith Studio. Faliraki, devised and directed by Paul Roseby, finds the elements of classic Greek tragedy (including a chorus) in the modern tale of two under-aged lovers set against the bacchanalian revelry of the infamous holiday resort.

OPENING THURSDAY, 26 August 2004 (previews from 19 August), Stephen Beresford’s staging of Twelfth Night, at the West End’s Albery Theatre, transposes Shakespeare’s Illyria to contemporary India where honour codes, the rules of marriage, holy men, beliefs and the significance of festival find a fresh relevance (See News, 9 Jun 2004).

The production features Bollywood’s Neha Dubey (as Olivia), whose films include Monsoon Wedding and The Perfect Husband, as well as 21-year-old Indian newcomer Raagha Chanana (as Sebastian), who was discovered at an open audition in Delhi. They’re joined in the 15-strong cast by British-Asian stars Paul Bhattacharjee (Malvolio), Kulvinder Ghir (Feste) and Raza Jaffrey (Orsino).

DON'T MISS our opening offer to get top-price Twelfth Night tickets reduced to £25 - offer ends 4 September 2004 - click here for info!

- by Terri Paddock