Amongst the major openings in London this week are:

OPENING TONIGHT, Monday 10 December 2007 (previews from 5 December), Rainer Werner Fassbinder’s The Bitter Tears of Petra Von Kant opens at Southwark Playhouse in a new translation by David Tushingham. Running at just 80 minutes, the piece tells the story of Petra - a woman in control - a successful, fashion designer who dominates her slavish, suffering assistant Marlene. But when Petra meets a beautiful model, Karin - part protege, part pet - she falls hopelessly in love with her, and the power in their relationship begins to shift dramatically. Running until 5 January 2008.

ALSO ON MONDAY, Will Tuckett’s Pinocchio (pictured) begins a second season in the Linbury Studio Theatre at Covent Garden’s Royal Opera House. The story of Pinocchio – the little wooden figure who wanted to be a real boy – is a children’s classic. Despite this, the production isbeing billed as “not suitable for children under 8 years old.” Designs are by the Quay Brothers and Nicky Gillibrand, with music by Martin Ward. Running until 5 January 2008.


OPENING TUESDAY, 11 December 2007 (previews from 27 November), Alan Ayckbourn’s 1972 comedy Absurd Person Singular is revived at the West End’s Garrick Theatre with an all-star British cast (See News, 6 Nov 2007). John Gordon Sinclair, Jane Horrocks, David Bamber, Jenny Seagrove, David Horovitch and Lia Williams play three married couples at three parties over three Christmas Eves. Alan Strachan directs.

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ALSO ON TUESDAY (previews from 6 December), The Menier Chocolate Factory production of Patrick Marber’s Dealers Choice transfers to Trafalgar Studios (See News, 30 Oct 2007). Samuel West’s production of Dealers Choice is designed by Tom Piper, with lighting by Neil Austin and sound by Gareth Owen. Malcolm Sinclair and Whatsonstage.com Award winner Samuel Barnett (The History Boys) play father and son. Also in the cast are Roger Lloyd Pack, Stephen Wight, Ross Boatman and Jay Simpson. The production is currently booking until 29 March 2008.

ALSO ON TUESDAY (previews from 1 December), Cinderella – a pantomime by Trish Cooke and Robert Hyman - opens at the Theatre Royal Stratford East. Will Cinderella go to the ball to meet her Prince Charming, despite the wicked efforts of her smelly, nasty step-sisters? The production is directed by artistic director Kerry Michael, with designs by Jenny Tiramani and lighting by Chris Davey. Running until 19 January 2008.


OPENING WEDNESDAY, 12 December 2007 (previews from 6 December), Rufus Norris’ acclaimed Young Vic production of Herges Adventure of Tintin arrives at the Playhouse Theatre for a limited season (See News, 29 Jun 2007). Tintin is designed by Ian MacNeil, with lighting by Rick Fisher and sound by Paul Arditti. The productions runs until 12 January 2008.

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OPENING THURSDAY, 13 December 2007, Matthew Bourne’s Nutcracker returns to Sadler’s Wells for its fifth Christmas season. Last seen in London in 2004, the contemporary dance piece follows Clara’s bittersweet journey from a hilariously bleak Christmas Eve at Dr. Dross’ Orphanage, through a shimmering, ice-skating winter wonderland to the scrumptious candy kingdom of Sweetieland. Designs by Anthony Ward. Running until 20 January 2008.


OPENING FRIDAY, 14 December 2007 (previews from 12 December), Office Party Xmas 2007 opens at the Barbican’s Pit. Hosted by cabaret artists Ursula Martinez and Christopher Green, this “interactive promenade performance” also features stand-up comedians, prodigiously talented experimental performers and an international aerial artist – all ready to remind you of all those Christmas exploits you would perhaps rather forget! Directed by Cal McCrystal with designs by Laura Hopkins and lighting by Andy Purves, the party runs until 29 December.

- by Tom Atkins