Amongst the major openings in London this week are:

OPENING TONIGHT, Monday 1 October 2007 (previews from 27 September), Sean Holmes directs the British premiere of Ron Hutchinson’s Moonlight and Magnolias, which has a limited run to 3 November at north London’s Tricycle Theatre (See News, 6 Aug 2007). Movie mogul David O Selznick has just shut down production of Gone With the Wind. Determined to rewrite the script, he engages the reluctant services of “script doctor” Ben Hecht, who has never read the book, and director Victor Fleming, poached straight from the set of The Wizard of Oz. Andy Nyman stars as Selznick.

ALSO TONIGHT (previews from 27 September), Michael Bhim’s new play Pure Gold opens at Soho Theatre for a run to 20 October 2007. Indhu Rubasingham directs the Talawa Theatre co-production.

OPENING TUESDAY, 2 October 2007 (previews from 25 September), Alex Jennings (pictured) stars as the flamboyantly vain and devastatingly charismatic charmer Garry Essendine in Noel Coward’s classic 1942 comedy Present Laughter, staged for the first time at the National Theatre, where it runs in rep in the NT Lyttelton (See News, 25 Jul 2007). NT associate Howard Davies directs the cast which also features Lisa Dillon, Sara Stewart and Sarah Woodward.

** Don’t miss our Outing to Present Laughter - including a FREE drink & access to our EXCLUSIVE post-show cast reception on 12 November 2007 - click here to book now! **

ALSO ON TUESDAY (previews from 17 September), following award-winning success with its promenade production of Faust in a Wapping warehouse, Punchdrunk premieres its new performance installation, an adaptation of Edgar Allan Poe’s 1842 short story The Masque of the Red Death, at a specially reconfigured Battersea Arts Centre for a run to 27 October (See News, 26 Mar 2007). Prince Prospero and a thousand other nobles have sought refuge in a luxurious walled abbey to escape a terrible plague sweeping the land. But when the prince holds a masquerade ball to entertain the abbey’s inhabitants, a guest wearing a mask depicting a Red Death victim surprises them all.

OPENING WEDNESDAY, 3 October 2007 (previews from 28 September), Samuel West revives Patrick Marber’s 1995 play Dealer's Choice at Southwark’s Menier Chocolate Factory for a run to 17 November (See News, 1 Jun 2007). Six men meet to play poker after hours in a restaurant. Tonight the stakes are high – but winning has its price. In a night of psychological violence and bluff, the players stay up late and bust each other out. The cast includes Roger Lloyd Pack, Malcolm Sinclair and Award winner Samuel Barnett (The History Boys).

ALSO ON WEDNESDAY (preview 2 October), following her run at the Edinburgh Fringe, Natasha Wood brings her one-woman autobiographical play Rolling with Laughter to Hampstead’s New End Theatre for a season to 21 October 2007. Born with the incurable genetic disease spinal muscular atrophy, Wood has been wheelchair-bound since birth.

ALSO ON WEDNESDAY, the Actors Company opens its annual season, this year at the New Players Theatre, where its productions of Trelawny of the Wells and Undiscovered Country will play in repertory until 10 November 2007.

ALSO ON WEDNESDAY, Melbourne theatre company Uncle Semolina (& Friends) brings its radical reinterpretation of Gilgamesh to the Barbican Pit until 13 October.

OPENING THURSDAY, 4 October 2007 (previews from 2 October), Fish Productions presents a double bill of plays by Jack Thorne (When You Cure Me on stage, TV’s Skins and Shameless) at Trafalgar Studio 2 for a run to 27 October (See News, 25 Sep 2007). Fanny and Faggot examines the disturbing life of child murderer Mary Bell, and one-man play Stacy revolves around geeky, DVD-mad Rob who is confused by his relationship with his best friend of the title. The latter stars Ralf Little from TV’s The Royle Family and Two Packets of Lager and a Packet of Crisps.

** Don’t miss the chance to see this Jack Thorne double bill for just £15 – offer ends 27 October 2007 - click here for more info! **

ALSO ON THURSDAY, the Drill Hall – the UK’s leading producer and presenter of lesbian and gay theatre and performance – launches its 30th anniversary season with the London premiere of Stonewall, Rikki Beadle-Blair’s play about the 1969 summer night of civil disobedience in Manhattan. Its limited London run, which follows success at this year’s Edinburgh Fringe, continues until 21 October.

ALSO ON THURSDAY (previews from 2 October), Uncle Barry, a new comedy by Cameron Mackintosh Award winner Sam Thomas, premieres at the fringe Blue Elephant Theatre, running to 7 October only.

- by Terri Paddock