Amongst the major openings in London this week are:

OPENING TONIGHT, Monday 24 November 2008, Sweet William and Anton Chekhov, a week of one-man plays written and performed by Michael Pennington about the two great dramatists, opens at Hampstead Theatre.

ALSO TONIGHT, The Ballad of Crazy Paola by Arne Sierens opens at the Arcola Theatre’s Studio 2, running until 20 December 2008.


OPENING TUESDAY, 25 November 2008 (previews from 20 November), Samuel West, Anna Carteret and Penelope Wilton star in Jeremy Herrin’s new production of TS Eliot’s verse play The Family Reunion, the centrepiece of the Donmar Warehouse’s TS Eliot Festival, running until 10 January 2009.

The festival also features readings of Eliot works including Four Quartets, Murder in the Cathedral and The Waste Land, performed on The Family Reunion set over the coming few weeks (See News, 18 Jul 2008).

ALSO ON TUESDAY Mungu Theatre Company from Iran presents their take on the Daedalus and Icarus legend at the Barbican Pit, until 29 November.

ALSO ON TUESDAY, (previews from 17 November), the 2008 Perfect Pitch West End Showcase, supported by Whatsonstage.com, opens at Trafalgar Studios 2, featuring six of the most promising new musicals from the next generation of British writers. This year’s event features a Q&A hosted by Whatonstage.com to discuss the future of British musical theatre (See News, 11 Nov 2008).


OPENING WEDNESDAY, 26 November 2008 (previews from 21 November), Chicago-based Steppenwolf Theatre’s multi Tony award-winning production of Tracy Letts’ August: Osage County opens at the NT’s Lyttelton Theatre, where it runs for a straight eight weeks to 21 January 2009.

The cast features several of the Broadway members, including Deanna Dunagan reprising her role as pill-popping matriarch Violet, who oversees her family’s increasingly dysfunctional reunion after the disappearance of her husband (See News, 3 Sep 2008).

ALSO ON WEDNESDAY, (previews from 21 November), Jamie Lloyd directs Alexi Kaye Campbell’s new play The Pride at the Royal Court Upstairs, to 20 December 2008.

ALSO ON WEDNESDAY, The Gruffalo, adapted from the bestselling children’s book by Julia Donaldson, returns to the Duchess Theatre for the Christmas season. Until 4 January 2009.

ALSO ON WEDNESDAY (previews from 25 November), Toni and the Guys bring their Edinburgh Fringe award-winning comedy musical Barbershopera to Theatre 503, where it runs until 20 December 2008.

ALSO ON WEDNESDAY (previews from 22 November), Brilliant, created especially for very young children by Fevered Sleep, opens at the Lyric Hammersmith, where it runs until 27 December 2008.


OPENING THURSDAY, 27 November 2008 (previews from 20 November), Steven Mackintosh and David Morrissey star in the European premiere of Neil LaBute’s new play In a Dark Dark House at the Almeida Theatre, directed by Michael Attenborough (See News, 27 Jun 2008). The play received its world premiere at Off-Broadway’s MCC Theater in May 2007, but is being reworked by LaBute and Attenborough for this new production. Until 17 January 2009.

** DON’T MISS Our Whatsonstage.com Outing to In a Dark Dark House on 26 November 2008 – including a FREE drink & post-show cast reception for just £28 - click here for more info **

ALSO ON THURSDAY (previews from 25 November), Alex, Robert Bathurst’s critically acclaimed one-man show based on the Daily Telegraph strip cartoon returns to the West End for a run at Leicester Square Theatre. The show mixes live action with animation, with the plethora of supporting characters appearing via 2-D video projections. Until 20 December 2008.


OPENING FRIDAY, 28 November 2008 (previews from 20 November), the Royal Court’s festive season gets underway with Dominic Cooke’s production of Tarell Alvin McCraney’s new play Wig Out! at the Theatre Downstairs. For the show, the auditorium will be transformed by designer Ultz into the House of Light, a “hyper-glamorous and uber-competitive” drag queen refuge where the residents primp and preen for a catwalk showdown. Until 10 January 2009.

- by Theo Bosanquet