Among openings in London this week are:
OPENING MONDAY, 16 August 2010 (previews from 5 August), as part of the year-long celebrations for composer-lyricist Stephen Sondheim’s 80th birthday, the Open Air Theatre Regent's Park brings the stories of the Brothers Grimm to life with its revival of Sondheim and James Lapine's 1989 alternative fairytale musical Into the Woods. Artistic director Timothy Sheader directs the production, which runs until 11 September and stars Hannah Waddingham as the Witch, Jenna Russell as the Baker’s Wife and Helen Dallimore as Cinderella.
OPENING WEDNESDAY, 18 August 2010, the National Youth Theatre bring their S'warm project to the streets of London with performances at Battersea Park and power station as well as other London landmarks. Inspired by the demise of the global bee population, the production sees 600 youth theatre members swarming around the city for five days to create a series of outdoor, site-specific pieces of ensemble theatre.
OPENING THURSDAY, 19 August 2010 (previews from 17 August), In the Blood by Suzan-Lori Parks – the first African-American woman ever to win a Pulitzer Prize in Drama, and one of America's most successful contemporary playwrights – has its European premiere at the Finborough Theatre in a three-week season to 4 September. The production replaces the postponed The Drawer Boy, which had previously been announced. Daniel Burgess directs.
ALSO ON THURSDAY, 19 August 2010 (previews from 14 August), Shakespeare's Globe revives its 2008 production of The Merry Wives of Windsor, directed by Christopher Luscombe. The production runs at the Globe until 2 October, before touring North America and then returning to the UK, from 16 November to 11 December, to visit Milton Keynes, Norwich, Richmond and Bath.
OPENING FRIDAY, 20 August 2010 (previews from 17 August), the Cock Tavern Theatre in Kilburn presents Hannie Rayson’s 1990 Australian play Hotel Sorrento. Exploring Australian national identity and culture, the play is a story about fractured family loyalty and the tensions between those who have left and those who stay behind. It runs until 11 September.
ALSO ON FRIDAY (previews from 18 August), Recipe for a Perfect Wife, a darkly comic new play, opens at the King's Head Theatre care of PapaC Productions. Set in the 1950s, the play goes beneath the glossy veneer of what we imagine to be the perfect period housewife. It runs Wednesdays to Saturdays until 4 September.