Among the major shows opening in London this week are:

OPENING TONIGHT, Monday 12 September 2005 (previews from 30 August), Ron Cook and Ralf Little star in actor-turned-playwright Nigel Planer’s debut play On the Ceiling, which transferred from Birmingham Rep and opens tonight at the West End’s Garrick Theatre for a run to 31 December 2005 (See News, 21 Jun 2005). The comedy revolves around two of the workmen who helped Michaelangelo realise his vision for the Sistine Chapel.

Planer is best remembered by TV fans for his 1980s roles in The Young Ones and The Comic Strip Presents. More recently, he’s been seen on stage in musicals including Chicago and We Will Rock You and plays like Feelgood and Darwin in Malibu. On the Ceiling is directed by Jennie Darnell and designed by Matthew Wright, with lighting by Neil Austin, sound by Fergus O’Hare and music by Adam Cork. It’s presented in the West End by Greg Ripley-Duggan in association with Birmingham Rep.

** DON’T MISS the chance to see On the Ceiling for just £15! – offer ends 17 September 2005 - click here for details! **

ALSO TONIGHT (previews from 8 September) Fewer Emergencies, a new play by Martin Crimp, premieres at the Royal Court’s Jerwood Theatre Upstairs for a run to 1 October 2005 (See News, 1 Aug 2005). The drama, directed by Royal Court associate director James Macdonald, features four voices, three stories, two songs and a rodent named Bobby. Crimp’s previous plays at the Royal Court include Face to the Wall, The Country and Getting Attention.

OPENING TUESDAY, 13 September 2005 (previews from 8 September), Simon Russell Beale stars in a revival of Christopher Hampton’s 1970 play The Philanthropist at the Donmar Warehouse (See News, 31 May 2005). Russell Beale plays a university don anguishing over sex, marriage, anagrams and the meaning of life in the drama which was written as a response to Moliere’s The Misanthrope. Anna Madeley, Danny Webb and Simon Day also feature in David Grindley’s production. The season continues until 15 October 2005.

OPENING WEDNESDAY, 14 September 2005 (previews from 6 September), David Mamet’s latest play, Romance, receives its UK premiere at the Almeida Theatre, in a season running to 22 October 2005. John Mahoney, best known as Frasier’s Dad in the US sitcom, plays the off-kilter judge in the courtroom farce that embraces myriad subjects including the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, sexual fidelity and world peace. Lindsay Posner directs a cast that also includes Nigel Lindsay, Paul Ready, Colin Stinton, Nicholas Woodeson and Geff Francis.

ALSO ON WEDNESDAY, After the End, Dennis Kelly’s drama about the aftermath of an explosion in a pub, transfers from the Edinburgh Fringe to London’s Bush Theatre for a season to 8 October 2005. The show is a co-production with touring company Paines Plough, directed by Roxana Silbert.

OPENING THURSDAY, 15 September 1005 (delayed previews from 10 September), Mike Leigh’s first stage play in 22 years, Two Thousand Years, receives its world premiere at the National’s Cottesloe Theatre, after cancelling two previews in order to give the company more time for final development See {News, 7 Sep 2005). The devised play, for which no plot details have been released, is performed by an eight-strong company including Allan Corduner, Adam Godley and Samantha Spiro. It runs in repertory until 31 January 2006.

OPENING FRIDAY, 16 September 2005, Robert Lepage’s epic six-and-a-half hour drama The Dragons' Trilogy, first devised in 1985, is revived at the Barbican Theatre, as part of the Young Genius Season (See News 17 Jun 2005), for seven performances only to 25 September 2005.

- by Caroline Ansdell