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Chelsea Premieres Coffee Lovers & French Story

By • West End
Three premiere plays - Jonathan Hall's The Coffee Lovers Guide to America, Veronique Olmi's End of Story and Judith Johnson's Exclude Me - form the new autumn season at Chelsea Theatre, the recently relaunched West London venue dedicated to new writing.

The Coffee Lovers Guide to America (pictured), which opened last night (9 October 2002, previews from 7 October), is a road drama about the elusive nature of love. Two men - gym-toned Chad from Miami and "happily married" Joe from West Yorkshire - meet in a coffee shop in Key West and agree to travel across America together. Directed by Nigel Townsend and co-produced with Ytouring, it continues to 2 November.

It's followed by the award-winning End of Story, the first play produced in Britain by the French Olmi, from 18 November to 14 December 2002. End of Story was first seen, titled in the French as Point à la Ligne, at the Comédie Française in Paris. It revolves around the relationship between high-strung children's author Lilli and her husband Marco and asks what drives normal, intelligent people to tear each other apart emotionally. End of Story is translated by Graham Cowley, directed by John Joe Turner and co-produced by Twos Company.

Johnson's Exclude Me concludes the current schedule, running from 17 February to 15 March 2003. A follow-up to her last play, The Singing Group, the new piece looks at the issues within education today through the eyes of a teacher at the end of his tether. It's directed by John Burgess.

The 110-seat Chelsea Theatre reopened in November 2001, under the artistic directorship of Francis Alexander, with the express aim of becoming a "major player in the production and presentation of world and British premieres in London". In addition to developing new plays, the theatre runs a programme of complementary arts and education activities. The refurbished auditorium, front of house and adjacent café have been funded by grants from The John Lyons Trust and the Eva and Hans K Rausing Trust.

- by Terri Paddock


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