Amongst the major openings in London this week are:

OPENING TONIGHT, Monday 26 November 2007 (previews from 2 November), John Patrick Shanley’s Pulitzer Prize-winning play Doubt receives its British premiere at north London’s Tricycle Theatre (See News, 9 Oct 2007). At a Catholic School in the Bronx in 1964, the year after the assassination of John F Kennedy, a strong-minded nun wrestles with her conscience in the face of concerns about one of the priests. Irish actress Dearbhla Molloy plays Sister Aloysius in the production, which runs until 12 January 2008. Tricycle artistic director Nicolas Kent directs.


OPENING TUESDAY, 27 November 2007 (previews from 21 November), the Royal Shakespeare Company’s production of The Seagull, starring Ian McKellen and directed by Trevor Nunn, transfers to the West End’s New London Theatre for a limited run, after a sell-out season in Stratford-upon-Avon and a world tour (See News 30 May 2007). In addition to McKellen (who shares the role of Sorin with William Gaunt), the company features: Frances Barger, Romola Garai, Sylvester McCoy, Monica Dolan, Jonathan Hyde and Ben Meyjes.


OPENING WEDNESDAY, 28 November 2007 (previews from 14 November), Trevor Nunn’s RSC production of King Lear, performed by the same company of actors as The Seagull, joins the Chekhov classic in repertory at the West End’s New London Theatre, where the double bill’s limited season continues until 12 January 2008. McKellen takes the title role in the Shakespeare tragedy (See “Return of the King”, Features, 19 Nov 2007).

ALSO ON WEDNESDAY, (previews from 21 November), Katie Mitchell directs a “radical interpretation” of Euripides’ Women of Troy, in a version by Don Taylor, at the National Theatre’s Lyttelton Theatre (See News, 15 Feb 2007). An industrial port of a war-torn city. Women survivors wait to be shipped abroad. Officials come and go. A grandmother, once queen, watches as her remaining family are taken from her one by one. The city burns around them. The cast features Kate Duchene (as Hecuba), Anastasia Hille, Sinead Matthews and Susie Trayling. It’s in rep until 27 February 2008.

ALSO ON WEDNESDAY (preview 27 November), Crestfall, written by Howie the Rookie author Mark O’Rowe, receives its London premiere at Theatre503 in Battersea. Directed by Róisín McBrinn, the cast features Niamh Cusack, Orla Fitzgerald and Pauline Hutton. As the rain pours down, filling the river up, three women fight through their journeys of revenge, reunion and redemption, always monitored by Thyroid Man and his three-eyed dog. This is the savage quarter of Crestfall. The limited season continues until 15 December.

ALSO ON WEDNESDAY (previews from 24 November), Pilot Theatre’s Fungus the Bogeyman comes to north London’s artsdepot for a run to 6 January 2008. Fungus the Bogeyman’s job is to venture “up top”, above Bogeydom to scare dry cleaners, but when one adventure backfires, the Bogeypeople’s worst nightmare becomes a reality, a dry cleaner has discovered their existence.

ALSO ON WEDNESDAY, SEDOS’s new production of Stephen Sondheim and Hugh Wheeler’s multi award-winning 1979 musical Sweeney Todd, opens at the Bridewell Theatre. It tells the infamous tale of the unjustly exiled barber who returns to London seeking revenge against the lecherous judge who framed him and ravaged his young wife. Directed by Roger Harwood, the production runs until 8 December 2007.


OPENING THURSDAY, 29 November 2007 (previews from 20 November), the Young Vic presents a new South African musical adaptation of A Christmas Carol (Ikrismas Kherol), performed by a company of 30 South African actors. Scrooge is a woman, the setting is today’s South Africa and the past is life under the apartheid regime. It’s performed in the tribal languages of South Africa and English. The production plays in repertoire with The Magic Flute (Impempe Yomlingo), care of the same company, and runs until 19 January 2008.

ALSO ON THURSDAY (previews from 27 November), Paul Birtill’s Happy Christmas opens at north London’s New End Theatre for a run to 23 December 2007. When John brings his fiancee Mary back to his family home on Christmas Eve, festivities disintegrate into a farcical nightmare. Happy Christmas is an Ortonesque black comedy that takes a darkly humorous look at the worst excesses of a dysfunctional family during the festive season. Conrad Blakemore directs.

- by Tom Atkins