As the Royal Shakespeare Company’s adaptation of Geoffrey Chaucer’s medieval classic The Canterbury Tales extends at the Gielgud Theatre (See News, 25 Aug 2006), a more modern collection of rites-of-passage stories has announced a three-week extension at the nearby Venue in Leicester Square.

Melanie Tait’s The Vegemite Tales, the antipodean answer to Friends, opened at the Venue on 27 July 2006 and had been booking until 23 September. It will now continue until 14 October. Prior to its current West End run, it had a three-month season last summer at Riverside Studios after 33 previous sell-out weeks on the London fringe (See News, 2 Jun 2006).

The Vegemite Tales delves into the lives of a group of young antipodeans colonising a west London flat. Sam’s thinking about going home, Maddie’s thinking about Dan, Dan’s thinking with the wrong head, Eddie’s not really thinking at all, Gemma’s facing a big decision and Jane just wants the toilet bowl to be clean. Bill Buckhurst directs a cast including Blair McDonough (Stuart from Aussie TV soap Neighbours).

As previously reported, the RSC’s two-part staging of Chaucer’s The Canterbury Tales has extended its run by five weeks at the West End’s Gielgud Theatre, where it’s produced by Bill Kenwright and Thelma Holt. Adapted by Mike Poulton and directed by Gregory Doran, Rebecca Gatward and Jonathan Munby, the productions were seen in Stratford last winter, prior to the Complete Works, and opened in the West End on 13 July 2006 (previews from 8 July). It’s now booking until 4 November.

Meanwhile, Hollywood screen star Patrick Swayze has extended his eight-week contract in of Guys and Dolls. Swayze made his West End debut playing Nathan Detroit in Michael Grandage’s multi award-winning revival at the West End’s Piccadilly Theatre, where he started performances – belatedly – on 27 July 2006 (See News, 24 Jul 2006). Because of the delay, Swayze had already agreed to stay on until 23 September. He’s now added a further fortnight, taking him through to 7 October.

Swayze’s co-stars Adam Cooper and Kelly Price, who play Sky Masterson and Sarah Brown respectively, has also extended their contracts until 7 October. Claire Sweeney, who plays Swayze’s long-suffering fiancée Miss Adelaide, must leave the West End production on 9 September 2006 to join Ben Richards and Joe McGann in the cast of Guys and Dolls on tour (See News, 31 May 2006). Her replacement will be Lynsey Britton, who previously stepped into the role when Sarah Lancashire withdrew from the production due to ill health. (See News, 7 Feb 2006).

- by Terri Paddock