Top 5 openings: 16 to 22 October

Natalie Dormer promises a scintillating performance, Chekhov comes to Cardiff and Oscar Wilde in the West End for our top openings of the week

Nikki Amuka-Bird, Helena Wilson and Kwame Kwei-Armah
Nikki Amuka-Bird, Helena Wilson and Kwame Kwei-Armah
© Manuel Harlan

5. The Lady from the Sea

Donmar Warehouse, until 2 December

The theatre community was excited to learn earlier this month that actor and director Kwame Kwei-Armah has been appointed artistic director at the Young Vic theatre. Before he assumes the mantle however, he has to tackle this new adaptation of Ibsen's The Lady from the Sea by writer Elinor Cook. The show stars Nikki Amuka-Bird, returning to the Donmar Warehouse for the first time since Zadie Smith's NW.

See our blog on Kwei-Armah's appointment as the artistic director of the Young Vic here.

Morfydd Clark (Anya) and Richard Mylan (Ceri)
Morfydd Clark (Anya) and Richard Mylan (Ceri)

© Mark Douet

4. The Cherry Orchard

Sherman Theatre, until 3 November

Gary Owen won a ton of awards for his play Iphigenia in Splott, and now teams up again with Sherman artistic director Rachel O'Riordan to present this new version of Chekhov's The Cherry Orchard. Taking the play out of its Russian roots, Owen will place the piece in 1980s Britain, at the start of Margaret Thatcher's regime. It will also form part of Wales' Russia 17 season, marking the centenary of the Russian Revolution. Denise Black, Simon Armstrong and Morfydd Clark are in the cast.

See the full casting announcement here.

Crystal Clarke as Hester Worsley in A Woman of No Importance
Crystal Clarke as Hester Worsley in A Woman of No Importance
© Marc Brenner

3. A Woman of No Importance

Vaudeville Theatre, until 30 December

Dominic Dromgroole kicks off his year-long Oscar Wilde season in the West End with A Woman of No Importance, Wilde's 1893 comedy. A satire of upper class society in late nineteenth century Britain, the show stars Olivier Award-winner Eve Best, Eleanor Bron, William Gaunt and Anne Reid. The remainder of the season will be made up of Lady Windermere's Fan, with a special appearance from Jennifer Saunders, An Ideal Husband and The Importance of Being Earnest.

See the full information about the season here.

Helen Schlesinger (Katherine Sanchez) and Victoria Hamilton (Audrey Walters)
Helen Schlesinger (Katherine Sanchez) and Victoria Hamilton (Audrey Walters)
© Marc Brenner

2. Albion

Almeida Theatre, until 24 November

Mike Bartlett had a runaway success with King Charles III when it debuted at the Almeida in 2014, resulting in a West End transfer, an Olivier Award and a TV adaptation on BBC2. Albion sees the writer return to the venue for a show that has prided itself on remaining staunchly secretive; all audiences know is that it is set in a garden, has real horticulture, and, just like Charles III, will interrogate the modern British identity. Victoria Hamilton stars.

Read our interview with Mike Bartlett here.

1. Venus in Fur

Theatre Royal Haymarket until 9 December

Hunger Games and Game of Thrones star Natalie Dormer is joined by the Victoria prince David Oakes in this production of David Ives' Venus in Fur, which is the first time the production has been seen in the West End. Based on the themes of Leopold von Sacher-Masoch's writing and revolving around the encounter between a mysterious actress and a veteran director, the two-hander promises to elude and scintilate at every turn.

Watch our interview with Dormer and Oakes above, or see them in rehearsals here.