Amongst the major openings in London this week are:

OPENING TUESDAY, 24 October 2006 (previews from 29 September), Dirty Dancing receives its UK premiere at the West End’s Aldwych Theatre (See News, 24 Feb 2006). Set at an upmarket American holiday camp called Kellerman’s in the 1960s, Baby Houseman falls in love with the camp's working class dance instructor Johnny Castle (Patrick Swayze in the iconic 1987 film), whose climactic line, “Nobody puts Baby in the corner”, has since become a classic. The screen-to-stage adaptation stars Josef Brown (who originated the stage role of Johnny in Australia) and Georgina Rich (as Baby).

Brown and Rich are joined in the London cast by David Rintoul as Baby’s father Dr Jake Houseman, Issy Van Randwyck as Baby’s mother Marjorie, Isabella Calthorpe as Baby’s sister Lisa and Nadia Coote (from the Australian production) as Penny. Dirty Dancing has been adapted for the stage by the film’s screenwriter Eleanor Bergstein, who based the story’s setting on her own childhood experiences of family holidays in America’s Catskill Mountains. It’s directed by James Powell and designed by Stephen Brimson-Lewis.

ALSO ON TUESDAY (previews from 20 October), the Headlong (formerly Oxford Stage Company) production of Faustus, modernised from Christopher Marlowe’s original, receives its London premiere at Hampstead Theatre (See News, 19 Jul 2006). In medieval Germany, John Faustus embraces the dark arts; in 21st-century Hoxton, contemporary artists Jake and Dinos Chapman prepare a controversial and provocative new work. As Faustus seals his pact with the devil so the Chapman brothers prepare to “rectify” a priceless set of etchings and all are forced to confront the power of the irrevocable act. Faustus runs to 18 November 2006, directed by Headlong artistic director Rupert Goold, who first staged it at the Theatre Royal Northampton where he was previously artistic director.

ALSO ON TUESDAY, How Long Is Never?, an exploration of the situation in Darfur, opens at north London’s Tricycle Theatre for a run to 28 October 2006 (See News, 30 Aug 2006). It’s performed by the cast of Indhu Rubasingham’s production of Lynn Nottage’s Fabulation, which has just finished a return season at the Kilburn venue.


OPENING WEDNESDAY, 25 October 2006 (previews from 18 October), Up from the Waste opens at the Soho Theatre for a limited run to 11 November. The new writing venue’s first-ever ballet is set in the 1970s in New York City - a city of broken bottles, sex, drugs and violence, where the one constant in a young girl’s life is the discipline of dance. Up from the Waste is produced by UKFD and the Soho Theatre, and directed by Shared Experience joint artistic director Nancy Meckler.

- by Caroline Ansdell