Among the major shows opening in London this week are:

OPENING MONDAY, 31 October 2005 (previews from 25 October), Richard E Grant heads the first West End revival of Simon Gray’s 1975 play Otherwise Engaged at the Criterion Theatre (See News, 20 Jul 2005}. The satirical comedy about a publisher who is besieged by a deluge of unwelcome visitors as his life finally catches up on him is directed by Simon Curtis. The cast also includes Anthony Head and David Bamber.

OPENING TUESDAY, 1 November 2005 (previews from 21 October), Damian Lewis stars in a new production of Ibsen’s rarely-seen Pillars of the Community, at the National’s Lyttelton Theatre (See News, 25 Aug 2005). Timed to mark the centenary of the Norwegian dramatist’s death, Samuel Adamson’s new version is directed by Marianne Elliott. The cast also features Lesley Manville (just seen in the West End in Some Girls), Brid Brennan, Una Stubbs and Justin Salinger.

** DON’T MISS Pillars of the Community with best available seats for just £15! – offer ends 5 November 2005 - click here for more details! **

ALSO ON TUESDAY (previews from 27 October), two of the writers of TV’s Have I Got News For You? and Never Mind the Buzzcocks, Mark Burton and Pete Sinclair, join forces again to write a new musical, The Next Big Thing. The show, which has a limited premiere season the New Players Theatre until 3 December 2005, is described as a breakneck journey through the story of the British music scene, featuring 16 new songs written and performed in the style of famous bands.

ALSO ON TUESDAY, Shared Experience brings its latest play, Bronte, exploring the lives and work of the three famous writing sisters, to west London’s Lyric Hammersmith for a run to 26 November 2005 as part of a national tour (See News, 8 Jun 2005). The play is written and directed by joint artistic director Polly Teale (After Mrs Rochester) and stars Fenella Woolgar, Diane Beck and Catherine Cusack as novelists Charlotte, Emily and Anne Brontë respectively.

** DON’T MISS the chance to see Bronte for only £10! – offer valid 5 November 2005 only - click here for more details! **

OPENING WEDNESDAY, 2 November 2005, Red Shift Theatre Company presents a stage adaptation of the 1970s novel Get Carter, immortalised on screen in the 1971 film starring Michael Caine, at south London’s Greenwich Theatre until 5 November 2005 as part of a national tour.

ALSO ON WEDNESDAY (previews from 28 October), Jane Asher and Michael Feast star as lovers reuniting after 30 years in Gregory Motton’s new play The World's Biggest Diamond, opening at the Royal Court’s Jerwood Theatre Upstairs. Simon Usher directs the premiere production which continues until 26 November 2005.

OPENING THURSDAY, 3 November 2005 (previews from 1 November), Maureen Lipman plays Florence Foster Jenkins in Peter Quilter’s new comedy about the late pitch-impaired singer, Glorious!, which comes to the West End’s Duchess Theatre after its premiere at Birmingham Rep and a brief regional tour (See News, 31 Aug 2005). The cast also features Barrie Ingham, Lolly Susi and Josie Kidd. Alan Strachan directs.

ALSO ON THURSDAY, Opera North brings its production of the rarely seen Kurt Weill/Ogden Nash Broadway musical One Touch of Venus to Sadler’s Wells for a limited run to 12 November 2005.

OPENING FRIDAY, 4 November 2005 (previews from 2 November), James Lansdale Hodson’s rarely seen First World War drama Red Night is revived at the Finborough Theatre in Earl’s Court. Tricia Thorn directs the production, which continues until 26 November 2005.

** DON’T MISS two-for-one tickets to Opera North’s One Touch of Venus – offer ends 5 November 2005 - click here for more details! **

- by Caroline Ansdell