As things heat up at the Edinburgh Fringe, theatrical openings cool off in London. Nevertheless, the major openings in the capital this week include:

OPENING TONIGHT, Monday 7 August 2006, Patrick Swayze (pictured) faces the critics in his West End debut as Nathan Detroit in Michael Grandage’s multi award-winning revival of Guys and Dolls at the Piccadilly Theatre, where he started performances – belatedly – on 27 July 2006 (See News, 24 Jul 2006).

The Dirty Dancing star was originally due to star for eight weeks from 10 July to 2 September 2006. But last month producers announced a postponement after a chest infection caused Swayze to miss rehearsals. To make up for the missed performances, Swayze’s scheduled engagement has been extended until 23 September. He stars alongside former Brookside actress Claire Sweeney as his long-suffering fiancé Miss Adelaide, as well as Adam Cooper and Kelly Price as Sky Masterson and Sarah Brown.

At a press conference in June, Swayze – who originally trained as a ballet dancer - revealed concerns about facing London drama critics, who he’d heard can be vicious (See News, 1 Jun 2006). He said he expected his press night is “going to be like being shot out of a cannon… If you screw up, nobody can help you because it just moves too fast.”


OPENING THURSDAY, 10 August 2006 (previews from 5 August), Tanika Gupta’s new play about sex tourism in Jamaica, Sugar Mummies, opens at the Royal Court as part of the venue’s 50th anniversary season (See News, 11 Oct 2005). The comedic take on the pleasures and pitfalls of travelling across the globe in the hope that hard cash equates to hard men is directed by Indhu Rubasingham.

The cast includes Adjoa Andoh, Lynda Bellingham, Heather Craney, Jason Frederick, Lorna Gayle, Marcel McCalla, Javone Prince, Vinette Robinson and Victor Romero Evans. Sugar Mummies runs at the Royal Court until 2 September 2006 before visiting the Bolton Octagon and Birmingham Rep.

** DON’T MISS the chance to see Sugar Mummies with top-price seats for only £15 (usually up to £25) – offer ends 19 August 2006 - click here for more details! **

ALSO ON THURSDAY, (previews from 8 August), Following the success of The Maid's Tragedy last summer, The White Bear Theatre Company and Skin and Bone Theatre are staging the first London production of The Tragedy of Master Arden of Faversham for 17 years as part of The White Bear's ongoing Lost Classics Project. The play, attributed to Shakespeare, Marlowe, Kyd and Peele, exposes a society that is a hotbed of class-envy, passion and greed. Based on true and shocking events it looks at the brutal murder of wealthy landlord Thomas Arden by his wife Alice out of obsessive love for a local servant Mosby, an event which rocked sixteenth century England and shattered class taboos. The play is directed by Samantha Potter and runs at the White Bear Theatre Club in Kennington Park Road until 27 August 2006.

- by Caroline Ansdell