OPENING WEDNESDAY, 13 August 2008 (previews from 8 August), the Donmar Warehouse presents the 30th anniversary revival of Pam Gems’ 1978 bio-play Piaf, with Argentine actress Elena Roger, who made her West End debut two years ago as Eva Peron in Evita, starring as iconic French torch singer Edith Piaf (See News, 18 Apr 2008). The cast for Jamie Lloyd’s new production also features Luke Evans, Katherine Kingsley, Leon Lopez and Steve John Shepherd.
Piaf was born in Paris in December 1919 and – after a short tragic life, scarred by abandonment, drink and drugs addiction – she died on 10 October 1963, aged just 43. She is best remembered for her torch song classics including “La vie en rose” – which provided the title for the recent Oscar-winning movie about her life – “Milord”, “Hyme a l’amour” and “Non, je ne regrette rien”, which are sung in French in the stage show. Piaf continues at the Donmar until September 2008.
OPENING THURSDAY, 14 August 2008 (previews from 6 August), Topol (pictured), the original West End and screen Tevye in Fiddler on the Roof, returns to the stage in the first major London revival of Lerner and Loewe’s Gigi, which runs in rep until 13 September 2008 at Regent’s Park’s Open Air Theatre as the final production in this summer’s season (See News, 25 Jan 2008).
Based on the 1945 French novel by Colette, Gigi is set in Paris at the turn of the 20th century and tells the story of a teenage girl being groomed by her grandmother and aunt to become a courtesan. The production, directed by Open Air artistic director Timothy Sheader and choreographed by Stephen Mear, also stars Lisa O\'Hare in the title role and Millicent Martin as Mamita.
OPENING FRIDAY, 15 August 2008, the National Youth Theatre’s annual summer residency at Soho Theatre opens with Tory Boyz - which will be joined in rep by Out of Me, Eating Icecream on Gaza Bridge and Sick Room under the banner “Worlds Apart” – for a run to 13 September.
ALSO ON FRIDAY (previews from 13 August), the Steam Industry’s annual free theatre season at the open-air Scoop amphitheatre at More London near Tower Bridge continues with Petite Rouge, a New Orleans-set family musical on the story of Little Red Riding Hood and adapted by Joan Cushing from Mike Artell and Jim Harris’ best-selling children’s book (See News, 11 Jun 2008). In runs, in rep with Blood Wedding until 7 September 2008. Phil Willmott directs.
- by Terri Paddock