The West End will get a bit more comedy thanks to booking extensions announced this week.

At the Apollo Theatre, Shaftesbury Avenue, stand-up comedian Bill Bailey has added a fortnight to the limited season of his show Bill Bailey - Part Troll, which opened on 26 October 2004 (preview 25 October) and had been booking up to 4 December (See News, 7 Oct 2004). It will now continue until 18 December.

According to the show’s promotional material: “Bill Bailey is some sort of a freak. There is only one. You have to see him close up to believe. He uses some long words, he plays 43 instruments, one with his own mind. He has special powers. He ain’t no human thing, he may be part troll…”

Bill Bailey - Part Troll transferred to the West End following extensive UK touring, the Edinburgh Fringe and a previous London season at the Hammersmith Apollo, where the show was filmed for a video/DVD release, due out this month. The British Comedy Award winner is also familiar to TV fans for Never Mind the Buzzcocks and Black Books.

Meanwhile, at the West End’s Criterion Theatre, the Reduced Shakespeare Company has extended its booking by four months. The American troupe's signature production, The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (abridged), which celebrated its eighth birthday this past March, is the West End's longest running comedy. Last year, the RSC's The Bible - The Complete Word of God (abridged) joined it and The Complete History of America (abridged) at the Criterion.

All three comedies continue to run in repertory with America playing on Tuesday evenings and The Bible on Thursday evenings and Shakespeare running all other nights of the week. They are now taking bookings up to 5 June 2005.

- by Terri Paddock