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Top 5 openings: 25 September - 1 October

Ian McKellen, Ria Jones and The Band all have their debuts this week

Tony Gardner and Samantha Bond in The Lie
© Manuel Harlan

5. The Lie

Menier Chocolate Factory, until 18 November

French writer Florian Zeller has had a string of hits over the last few years, including a West End transfer for The Truth, and the writer now returns to the Menier Chocolate Factory alongside director Lindsay Posner and translator Christopher Hampton. The show stars Samantha Bond, Tony Gardner, Alexandra Gilbreath and Alexander Hanson - who stepped in recently following James Dreyfus' withdrawal from the production.

Watch our video with the cast of The Lie

Lisa Dwyer Hogg in People, Places and Things

4. People, Places and Things

HOME, Manchester until 7 October, then tour

After a storming run and some stellar reviews at both the National Theatre and in the West End, Duncan Macmillan's People, Places and Things, co-produced with Headlong and directed by Jeremy Herrin, is now embarking on a UK tour. Lisa Dwyer Hogg takes on the role originated by Denise Gough, who won one of the show's two Olivier Awards back in 2016.

See the casting announcement for the show here.

Ria Jones in Sunset Boulevard
© Manuel Harlan

3. Sunset Boulevard

Leicester Curve until 30 September, then tour

Ria Jones made headlines when she stepped in for Glenn Close as Norma Desmond in the West End version of Sunset Boulevard, and now will star in this new UK tour beginning at Leicester Curve . Interestingly, Jones originally portrayed Desmond in the show's workshopping stages in 1991 before its official opening. The show also stars Danny Mac.

Read our interview with Ria Jones here.

The cast of The Band
© Matt Crockett

2. The Band

Manchester Opera House until 30 September, then tour

The new musical, based on the work of Take That, got a lot of buzz earlier this year when it launched the hit TV show Let It Shine, finding five new stars to lead the production. The show is now finishing previews in Manchester and about to embark on a UK tour, visiting venues across the UK over the course of the next year.

See rehearsal photos for The Band

Ian McKellen in King Lear
© Manuel Harlan

1. King Lear

Minerva Theatre, Chichester until 28 October

Shakespeare tour-de-force and theatrical institution Ian McKellen returns to the role of Lear after last portraying the part in a 2008 television film. Directed by Jonathan Munby, McKellen is supported by a cast including Sinéad Cusack as Kent, Dervla Kirwan as Goneril, Kirsty Bushell as Regan and Tamara Lawrance as Cordelia.

See the cast of King Lear in rehearsals here