Amongst the major openings in London this week are:

OPENING TONIGHT, Monday 5 November 2007 (previews from 1 November), west London’s Gate Theatre presents the 50th anniversary revival of The Car Cemetery, the most famous play by Spaniard Fernando Arrabal (See News, 16 Aug 2007). In a desolate car junkyard on the edge of the earth, society’s outcasts party like there’s no tomorrow. Translated by Barbara Wright and directed by Gate joint artistic director Natalie Abrahami, the play continues until 1 December.

ALSO TONIGHT, Simon Williams, Issy van Randwyck and Stefan Bednarczyk perform Curtain Up! Lights Up! Cock Up!, a cabaret celebration of all that's lousy about showbusiness, at Jerymn Street Theatre for a run to 10 November 2007.

ALSO TONIGHT, Polish musicians troupe Karbido brings its Edinburgh Fringe hit The Table to north London’s Tricycle Theatre for a run to 14 November 2007. The piece is devised around a specially made, original table, a wooden instrument with unique acoustic properties.


OPENING TUESDAY, 6 November 2007 (previews from 1 November), Ramin Gray revives German playwright Max Frisch’s The Arsonists, in a new translation by Feelgood’s Alistair Beaton, at the Royal Court Jerwood Theatre Downstairs. Fires are becoming something of a problem. But Biedermann has it all under control. The great philanthrope, he’s happy to meet his civic duty and give shelter to two new houseguests, and when they start filling the attic with petrol drums, he’ll help them wire the fuse.

The Arsonists runs in rep, until 15 December 2007, with Court artistic director Dominic Cooke’s revival of Eugene Ionesco’s Rhinoceros, which opened last month. Both productions star Benedict Cumberbatch and are performed by the same 11-strong company of actors, with the exception of Jasper Britton who has been replaced by Will Keen as Biedermann in the Frisch play (See News, 16 Oct 2007).

** Don’t miss the chance to see The Arsonists for only £20 – offer ends 17 November 2007 - click here for more info! **


OPENING WEDNESDAY, 7 November 2007 (previews from 1 November), Roger Allam and John Light star in the world premiere of The Giant, the latest play by actor-turned-playwright Antony Sher, which runs at north London’s Hampstead Theatre until 1 December (See News, 10 Jul 2007). An exploration of the dark interplay between sexuality and creativity, the drama centres on Leonardo Da Vinci (Allam) and his rivalry with Michelangelo (Light) over an artistic commission to sculpt the statue of David. Royal Shakespeare Company chief associate director Gregory Doran directs.

** Don’t miss the chance to see The Giant for just £10 during previews – offer ends 6 November 2007 - click here for more info! **

ALSO ON WEDNESDAY, Billy Cowan’s dark Belfast-set comedy Smilin' Through comes to London’s Drill Hall for a run to 25 November 2007. When Peggy has suspected for a while that her son is gay, but when Kyle finally comes out, she’s disgusted and wants him out of the house and out of her life.


OPENING THURSDAY, 8 November 2007 (previews from 6 November), Dan Castellaneta, aka the voice of Homer Simpson, makes his UK stage debut in the new American musical comedy The Bicycle Men, running for a limited season to 2 December at the King’s Head Theatre in Islington. After hapless American tourist Steve crashes his bike in a sinister French village, he enters a surreal world of depraved marionettes, creepy bicycle repair men and other oddball characters. The Bicycle Men is written by Dave Lewman, Joe Liss, Mark Nutter and John Rubano with music and lyrics by Mark Nutter. Liss, Nutter and Rubano also join Castellaneta in the cast.


OPENING FRIDAY, 9 November 2007 (previews from 7 November), The Lady of Burma, Richard Shannon’s one-woman play about Burmese pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi, comes to west London’s Riverside Studios for four weeks to 2 December 2007 ahead of a national tour in the new year. Aung San Suu Kyi, the eponymous lady of the play’s title and the only Nobel Peace Prize winner who remains a political prisoner, is leader of Burma’s National League for Democracy (NLD), which won a landslide election victory in 1990 but has never been allowed to govern. Liana Mau Tan Gould stars.

- by Terri Paddock