Top 5 theatre openings this week: 26 September – 2 October

Dominic Cooper makes his West End debut and Ian Hislop adapts his wartime comedy for the stage in this week’s top openings

5. The Machine – Barbican

The Machine
The Machine
© Milica Mitrovic

Circus company Collectif and then… collaborate with Serbian artists Karkatag who have made a series of specially devised machines for this participatory performance. The space at the Barbican is loaded with machines which throws the performers around the room, with acrobats Francesca Hyde and Lucie N’Duhirahe expecting the audience to get involved and work up a sweat.

28 Sep to 8 Oct, Barbican. For tickets and more information, click here.

4. The Wipers Times – Watermill Theatre

The Wipers Times
The Wipers Times
© Philip Tull

Private Eye editor Ian Hislop and cartoonist Nick Newman bring a new stage adaptation of their 2013 BBC film to the Watermill. The Wipers Times was a newspaper set up in the First World War by soldiers in the trenches, and paved the way for modern satirical publications like Private Eye and The Onion. The play tells the story of how the soldiers used their comedy writing to keep spirits high and document life on the front-line.

26 Sep to 29 Oct, Watermill Theatre. For tickets and more information, click here.

3. Villette – West Yorkshire Playhouse

© Antony Robling

Charlotte Brontë's story about Lucy Snowe, who travels to the fictional French-speaking city of Villette, is re-imagined by Linda Marshall-Griffiths. Snowe arrives at an archaeological site to dig for the remains of the Lady of Villette. Working as a lonely outsider, the story sees her absorbed in her work and not sure whether she is able to open herself to the possibility of love.

28 Sep to 15 Oct, West Yorkshire Playhouse. For tickets and more information, click here.

2. Floyd Collins – Wilton's Music Hall

When Kentucky cave explorer Floyd Collins is trapped deep underground, his family and friends must rally round and race to save him. Jonathan Butterell's new production of Adam Guettel and Tina Landau's musical stars Ashley Robinson (Merrily We Roll Along), Rebecca Trehearn (Show Boat) and Jack Chissick (Gypsy).

28 Sep to to 15 Oct, Wilton's Music Hall. For tickets and more information, click here.

1. The Libertine – Theatre Royal Haymarket

Dominic Cooper in The Libertine
Dominic Cooper in The Libertine
© Alastair Muir

Dominic Cooper makes his West End debut in Stephen Jeffreys' play which focuses on the lustful playwright and poet, the Earl of Rochester. The actor, famous for his roles in Preacher and his breakthrough role in The History Boys, plays the close friend to King Charles II whose life of debauchery knew no bounds. Terry Johnson directs the cast which includes Ophelia Lovibond (W1A), Jasper Britton (The Picture of Dorian Gray) and Mark Hadfield (Richard III).

27 Sep to 3 Dec, Theatre Royal Haymarket. For tickets and more information, click here.