Amongst the major openings this week in London are:

OPENING TONIGHT, Monday 17 December 2007, children’s show Potted Potter arrives at the West End’s Trafalgar Studios 2 for a Christmas stint to 5 January 2008 ahead of a new regional tour next year (See News, 12 Sep 2007). The piece takes the Reduced Shakespeare Company approach, with Blue Peter's comic storytelling duo Daniel Clarkson and Jefferson Turner condensing all of JK Rowling’s Harry Potter books into an "unauthorised" 60-minute experience.


OPENING TUESDAY, 18 December 2007 (previews from 10 December), at the National Theatre, Zoe Wanamaker and Simon Russell Beale star as Beatrice and Benedict in artistic director Nicholas Hytner’s highly anticipated staging of Shakespeare comedy Much Ado About Nothing, which joins the rep in the NT Olivier (See News, 25 Jul 2007). The cast also features Susannah Fielding, Daniel Hawksford, Julian Wadham, Oliver Ford Davies and, as clown Dogberry, Mark Addy.

** Our Whatsonstage.com Outing to Much Ado About Nothing on 28 January 2008 – including a FREE drink at our post-show cast reception – has now SOLD OUT! - click here to join the waiting list! **


OPENING WEDNESDAY, 19 December 2007 (previews from 14 December), the Almeida Theatre presents its first family show, Moira Buffini’s adaptation of Catherine Storr’s 1958 children’s book Marianne Dreams (See News, 25 May 2007). It tells the story of Marianne who, on her tenth birthday, picks up a pencil and starts to draw. That night she dreams and is transported into her own picture and discovers she has the power to change her dreams. Royal Opera House director and choreographer Will Tuckett directs the production, which runs until 26 January 2008.


OPENING THURSDAY, 20 December 2007, the National Theatre’s multi award-winning production of Alan Bennett’s 2004 play The History Boys returns to the West End following another UK tour for its last-ever London dates, running at Wyndham’s Theatre, where it’s booking until 9 August 2008, with a cast led by Desmond Barrit as unconventional English teacher Hector (See News, 9 Aug 2007). Set in the 1980s, The History Boys questions the purpose and means of education. In a school where the headmaster cares only about exam results, a bunch of excitable sixth-form boys go about their pursuit of the important things: sex, sport and a university place.

** Don’t miss the chance to see The History Boys for just £35 – offer ends 7 February 2008 - click here for more info! **

ALSO ON THURSDAY (preview 19 December 2007), Phil Willmott directs Shakespeare’s The Winter's Tale at the Courtyard Theatre in Hoxton, where its limited season continues until 27 January 2008.


OPENING FRIDAY, 21 December 2007, Michael Barker-Caven’s critically acclaimed revival of William Nicholson’s award-winning 1990 play Shadowlands - which made way for The History Boys at Wyndham’s – moves to the West End’s Novello Theatre for another nine weeks. Charles Dance and Janie Dee, both Whatsonstage.com Award-nominated for their performances as CS Lewis and his terminally ill wife (click here to vote!), continue to star.

** Don’t miss the chance to see Shadowlands for only £27.50 – offer valid 21 & December 2007, 2 January to 13 February 2008 - click here for more info! **


ON SATURDAY, 22 December 2007, Maria Friedman, Marti Webb, Stephen Gately and X Factor finalist Rowetta – backed by a full orchestra - headline a festive concert entitled Christmas on Broadway. There will be two performances only (3.00pm & 7.30pm) at the 02 Centre in Greenwich.

** Don’t miss the chance to celebrate Christmas on Broadway with two-for-one tickets! – offer valid 22 December 2007 only - click here for more info! **

- by Terri Paddock