Amongst the many openings in London this week are:

OPENING TONIGHT, Monday 13 November 2006 (previews from 4 November), at the National Theatre Marianne Elliott directs Ben Daniels and Charlotte Emmerson in Nicholas Wright’s version of Emile Zola’s 19th-century moral thriller Thérèse Raquin (See News, 21 Aug 2006). Stifled by an oppressive mother-in-law and a sickly husband, Thérèse Raquin falls passionately for another man. Their feverish affair drives the lovers to an act of terrible desperation, which catapults them headlong into a world more claustrophobic than the one they sought to destroy. The production continues in rep in the NT Lyttleton until 21 February 2007.


OPENING WEDNESDAY, 15 November 2006 (previews from 3 November), the winner of BBC talent search How Do You Solve a Problem Like Maria? Connie Fisher makes her West End debut in Andrew Lloyd Webber’s production of The Sound of Music at the London Palladium (See News, 17 Sep 2006).

In the Rodgers and Hammerstein classic, Fisher plays nun-turned-nanny Maria opposite Alexander Hanson, who has replaced Simon Shepherd as Captain Von Trapp (See News, 6 Nov 2006). The production also stars soprano Lesley Garrett as the Mother Abbess, Lauren Ward as the Baroness, Ian Gelder as Max, Sophie Bould as Liesl and Neil McDermott as Rolf, as well as three teams of children.

The Sound of Music premiered on Broadway in 1959, when it won six Tony Awards, including Best Musical. The show first opened in London in 1961 and its last London revival was in 1981. The new West End revival is directed by Jeremy Sams and designed by Robert Jones, with choreography by Arlene Phillips, sound by Mick Potter, lighting by Mark Henderson and musical supervision by Simon Lee. It’s presented by Lloyd Webber and David Ian, the Really Useful Group and Live Nation.

ALSO ON WEDNESDAY (preview 14 November), Asian Women Talk Back, Kali Theatre’s festival of new writing by Asian women, opens at Soho Theatre with Amber Lone’s Deadeye. Deema and Tariq don’t want their lives to end up like their parents’, and traditional values don’t always apply when you’re trying to get ahead today. The limited season runs until 25 November 2006.


OPENING THURSDAY, 16 November 2006 (previews from 9 November), following its sell-out season at the Donmar Warehouse, Michael Grandage’s world premiere production of Frost/Nixon transfers to the West End’s Gielgud Theatre for a limited three-month season ahead of a subsequent Broadway transfer and planned screen adaptation (See News, 6 Oct 2006). Screenwriter Peter Morgan’s debut stage play was inspired by the bruising 1977 interview in which British TV presenter David Frost tried to get the disgraced former US president Richard Nixon to apologise for his crimes. Michael Sheen stars as Frost and American Frank Langella as Nixon.

ALSO ON THURSDAY (previews from 8 November), Katie Mitchell directs Waves, based on Virginia Woolf’s novel, in rep the National’s Cottesloe Theatre until 8 February 2007 (See News, 21 Aug 2006). Credited as Woolf’s most experimental work, 1931’s The Waves consists of dramatic monologues from six characters which are broken up by poetic sections describing a coastal setting at different times of the day. Mitchell and her company, including Kate Duchene, Anastasia Hille and Liz Kettle, have devised the multimedia piece.

ALSO ON THURSDAY, the Young Vic’s new Maria studio opens with Dennis Kelly’s new play Love and Money (See News, 5 Jul 2006). Billed as a hard-hitting modern drama involving office romance by email and credit card debts, Love and Money is directed by Young Vic associate director Matthew Dunster. It’s co-produced with Manchester’s Royal Exchange, where it opened last month. It’s at the Young Vic until 16 December 2006.

ALSO ON THURSDAY (preview 15 November), Amy Lamé’s solo show, Mama Cass Family Singers, opens at Soho Theatre for a run to 25 November 2006.

ALSO ON THURSDAY (previews from 14 November), My Matisse, a new play about artist Henri Matisse, premieres at Jermyn Street Theatre, where its limited season runs to 9 December 2006. Howard Ginsberg’s play explores the private world of the post-impressionist through the stories of seven of the women in his life.


OPENING FRIDAY, 17 November 2006 (previews from 9 November), Charlotte Jones’ latest The Lightning Play receives its world premiere at the Almeida Theatre, where it continues until 6 January 2007 (See News, 29 Sep 2006). Matthew Marsh plays Max Villiers, a celebrity ghost writer who, with his talented shopper wife Harriet (Eleanor David), is hosting a Halloween party in north London. As Max connects his first plasma TV, the evening is hijacked by interference from the past. There are trick-or-treaters at the door and strangers on the brand new rug. Anna Mackmin directs.


OPENING SATURDAY, 18 November 2006, English National Opera’s production of Gilbert and Sullivan’s The Gondoliers opens at the London Coliseum where it plays in rep to 27 November 2006 (See News, 2 Aug 2006). Martin Duncan’s 1950s-set production will also return in the new year, running for seven performances only from 6 to 29 March 2007, when Henry Goodman will replace Geoffrey Dolton as the Duke of Plazatoro. The new production follows ENO successes with Gilbert and Sullivan’s The Mikado and The Pirates of Penzance.

- by Caroline Ansdell