Amongst the major openings in London this week are:

OPENING TONIGHT, Monday 25 September 2006 (previews from 22 September), Mexican playwright Edgar Chias’ On Insomnia and Midnight premieres at the Royal Court Jerwood Theatre Upstairs with Mexican film actress Vanessa Bauche in the cast (See News, 31 Jul 2006). The production runs to 7 October 2006. Translated by David Johnson and directed by Hettie Macdonald, the play is described as a “tale to frighten chambermaids in the night”.

OPENING TUESDAY, 26 September 2006 (previews from 15 September), Howard Davies directs Kevin Spacey and Eve Best in Eugene O’Neill’s A Moon for the Misbegotten at the Old Vic (See News, 10 Apr 2006). The revival of the 1947 play runs until 23 December 2006, and also features Colm Meaney along with Eugene O'Hare and Billy Carter. Josie (Best), a towering woman with a quick tongue and a ruined reputation lives in a dilapidated Connecticut farmhouse with her conniving father, Phil Hogan (Meaney). Together they’re a formidable force as they scrape together a livelihood. But Josie’s softer side is exposed through her love of Jim Tyrone (Spacey), Hogan’s landlord and drinking buddy, a third-rate actor whose dreams of stardom were washed away by alcohol.

ALSO ON TUESDAY, the Courtyard Theatre presents Homestead, based on Lorca's The House of Bernarda Alba, at the Theatre Museum for a limited season to 15 October 2006. Following the death of their father and governed by their mother's strictly religious rules, the five Beckman daughters face a lengthy confinement within the walls of their remote Texan homestead. The youngest daughter's passionate defiance of religious convention, however, soon unleashes the pent up jealousy and sexual frustration of the all female household.

OPENING WEDNESDAY, 27 September 2006 (previews from 7 September), Broadway blockbuster musical Wicked arrives at the West End’s Apollo Victoria Theatre (See News, 16 Dec 2005). Wicked tells the “untold story” of the Witches of Oz - popular blonde Glinda, the Good Witch of the North, and her spin-victim friend Elphaba, the green-skinned Wicked Witch of the West – who were both immortalised in the 1939 film classic The Wizard of Oz. The show has a book by Winnie Holtzman, based on Gregory Maguire’s novel Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West, with music and lyrics by Stephen Schwartz.

American Idina Menzel reprises her Tony Award-winning Broadway performance as Elphaba, while Australian Helen Dallimore plays “good witch” Glinda. Adam Garcia, Nigel Planer and Miriam Margolyes also star. The London production reunites the New York creative team, led by director Joe Mantello and designer Eugene Lee.

OPENING THURSDAY, 28 September 2006 (previews from 26 September), Mehrdad Syf’s political drama The Persian Revolution premieres at west London’s Lyric Hammersmith, where it continues until 14 October 2006.

ALSO ON THURSDAY, (previews from 20 September), Irishman Conor McPherson – whose plays have included The Weir, Dublin Carol and Shining City, all premiered at the Royal Court - will make his National Theatre debut directing his new play The Seafarer, which runs in the Cottesloe starring Conleth Hill, Ron Cook, Karl Johnson and Jim Norton. It’s Christmas Eve and Sharky has returned to Dublin to look after his irascible, ageing brother who’s recently gone blind. Old drinking buddies Ivan and Nicky are holed up at the house too, hoping to play some cards. But with the arrival of a stranger from the distant past, the stakes are raised ever higher. In fact, Sharky may be playing for his very soul.

OPENING SATURDAY, 30 September 2006, Pied Piper, a new street dance theatre version of Grimm’s fairy tale, opens at east London’s Theatre Royal Stratford East. It’s presented by Boy Blue Entertainment for a run to 14 October (See News, 10 Aug 2006).

- by Caroline Ansdell