Amongst the major openings in London this week are:

OPENING TONIGHT, Monday 4 September 2006, New York’s award-winning Liza Minnelli impersonator Rick Skye returns to the Theatre Museum’s performance space with A Slice of Minnelli.

OPENING THURSDAY, 7 September 2006 (previews from 5 September), director Nina Raine’s acclaimed playwriting debut Rabbit transfers to the West End’s Trafalgar Studios (See News, 21 Jul 2006). The play, which had a star-studded Fringe premiere at Islington’s Old Red Lion pub theatre in May, takes a candid look at the uncivil war between the sexes and the difficult relationship that exists between a young woman and her father. The cast includes Charlotte Randle, Hilton McRae and Susannah Wise. It runs for five weeks to 7 October 2006.

ALSO ON THURSDAY, Gaddafi, a new opera about the life of Libyan political dictator Muammar Gaddafi (pictured), receives its world premiere at the London Coliseum (See News, 16 Mar 2006). Written by Steve Chandra Savale, the Asian Dub Foundation and playwright Shan Kahn for English National Opera, the piece combines traditional Indian music with drum and bass, reggae and punk. It runs for six performances only to 16 September 2006. Ramon Tikaram, whose West End credits include Bombay Dreams and Jesus Christ Superstar, plays the title role. David Freeman directs.

OPENING FRIDAY, 8 September 2006 (previews from 6 September), 93.2 FM, Levi David Addai’s new comedy about local radio heroes, premieres at the Royal Court Upstairs for a run to 16 September 2006 (See News, 31 Jul 2006), ahead of a regional tour. Dawn Walton directs.

OPENING SUNDAY, 10 September 2006, Dame Judi Dench, Richard E Grant and Bill Nighy are among the stars celebrating the life of poet John Betjeman at the Prince of Wales Theatre, in a variety gala hosted by Barry Humphries (See News, 8 Aug 2006).

ALSO ON SUNDAY, another gala, this time featuring the work of composer Ivor Novello, will be held at the West End’s recently renamed Novello Theatre, with performances from sopranos Marilyn Hill Smith and Shan Cothi, tenor Rhys Meirion, West End actors Rosemary Ashe and Richard Reynard, compere Frank Lincoln, and violin soloist Gillian Findlay, accompanied by Sinfonia Britannia and conducted by George Daugherty (See News, 11 Jul 2006).

- by Caroline Ansdell