West London’s Lyric Hammersmith has finalised details for its spring/summer 2007 season, which will include world premiere adaptations of the Indian epic Ramayana and Colin MacInnes’ cult 1950s London-set novel Absolute Beginners as well as a major new revival of Tony Kushner’s Pulitzer Prize-winning Angels in America.

In the main house, the new year commences with, as previously announced (See News, 16 May 2006), Kneehigh’s adaptation of Shakespeare’s Cymbeline. Freely adapted and directed by Kneehigh artistic director Emma Rice, it runs from 17 January to 3 February 2007 as part of a UK-wide tour. It’s followed, from 14 February to 10 March 2007 (previews from 9 February), by Ramayana, which is adapted and directed by Lyric artistic director David Farr (See “The Changing of the Guard: Lyric Hammersmith”, Features, 9 Oct 2006).

An epic tale of love, honour and revenge, Ramayana tells the plight of lovers Rama and Sita as they find themselves exiled from their homeland and plunged into the deep forests of southern India. Farr has joined forces with Asian musician Amit Lahav of Gecko to create the new physical piece.

From 13 to 31 March 2007, following its premiere at the Sheffield Lyceum (See News, 4 Aug 2006), another literary crossover, Daphne Du Maurier’s Don’t Look Now, hits the Lyric stage. After their daughter is drowned, John and Laura visit Venice to escape their pain. They their meet two sisters, one of whom claims to be psychic and have visions of the dead girl. Du Maurier’s supernatural thriller was originally published under the title Not After Midnight and was made into a 1973 film starring Donald Sutherland and Julie Christie.

The stage version of Don’t Look Now is written by Nell Leyshon (Comfort Me with Apples) and conceived and directed by Lucy Bailey. It’s followed by beggarsbelief’s touring production of The Illustrious and Unholy History of St George and the Dragon, which is written by Tom Morris and Carl Heap (who also directs) and runs from 3 to 14 April 2007.

Roy Williams (Fallout, Sing Yer Heart Out for the Lads, Little Sweet Thing) has adapted Colin MacInnes’ best-selling 1959 novel Absolute Beginners, which receives its world premiere at the Lyric on 3 May 2007 (previews from 26 April) and continues until 26 May. Set in the summer of 1958 that ends with the Notting Hill race riots, Absolute Beginners paints a vivid picture of London’s changing society and the emergence of a style-conscious youth culture, as teens blow away the cobwebs of post-war life.

In 1986, Absolute Beginners was made into a musical Brit flick featuring Patsy Kensit and David Bowie (pictured), who also wrote the title song. The new stage version is directed by dance theatre director Liam Steel (DV8, Stan Won’t Dance) and has music by Mercury Music Prize winner Soweto Kinch.

The Lyric’s main house season concludes with Headlong Theatre’s production of Angels in America (See News, 29 Aug 2006), directed by Daniel Kramer (Bent, Hair, Woyzeck). Tony Kushner’s seven-hour epic, subtitled “A Gay Fantasia on National Themes”. Set in New York City in the mid-1980s, centres on two couples: AIDS sufferer Prior has been left by his lover Louis, who is unable to cope with the disease; meanwhile, the marriage of Mormons Joe and Harper is threatened by Joe’s lifelong struggle to deny his homosexuality. Roy Cohn, a ruthlessly right-wing lawyer and Joe’s mentor, is also a closet homosexual and AIDS victim.

Written for eight actors assuming multiple roles, Angels in America was commissioned and developed by San Francisco’s Eureka Theater. Part one, Millennium Approaches, had its UK premiere at the National in 1992, and was joined in rep by part two, Perestroika, the following year, both directed by Declan Donnellan with casts including Henry Goodman, Stephen Dillane, Daniel Craig and Joseph Mydell. The piece opened on Broadway in 1993, winning the Tony Award for Best Play and the Pulitzer Prize for Drama. In 2003, Mike Nichols’ made the drama into an HBO TV mini-series which starred Al Pacino, Meryl Streep, Mary-Louise Parker and Patrick Wilson.

The Headlong production opens at Glasgow’s Citizens Theatre, from 16 April to 12 May 2007, and then visits Newcastle, Cambridge and Salford before culminating at the Lyric Hammersmith from 18 June to 22 July 2007.

In the Studio, the season launches with Will Adamsdale’s Fringe First-winning play The Receipt from 23 January to 10 February 2007 (See The Goss, 6 Nov 2006), and continues with hip-hop company Madrugada’s Mr Sole Abode (18 February to 1 March), Wishbone’s Your Hand in Mine (20 April to 5 May), Dende Collective’s Agreste (Drylands) (8 to 26 May) and Signal to Noise’s Longwave (19 to 30 June).

- by Terri Paddock