Top theatre openings this week: 9 – 15 May

From Shakespeare to Chekhov, we pick the best openings this week

Mayfest – Bristol

Chekhov's First Play – Trailer from Dead Centre on Vimeo.

This month is all about Bristol. The Bristol Old Vic celebrates its 250th anniversary at the end of May and it is the city of WhatsOnStage's regional focus this month. Mayfest is the city's experimental festival of contemporary theatre, which takes place in various venues and offers some absolute delights. Don't miss Chekhov's First Play (12-14 May), from company Dead Centre, whose Lippy caused a stir a while back.

12 – 22 May, various venues in Bristol. More information and tickets here.

Last of the Boys – Southwark Playhouse

Last of the Boys
Last of the Boys
© Ben Broomfield

This is the European premiere of Steven Dietz's piece, which was performed in 2005 by the brilliant Steppenwolf Theatre Company. It tells of a reunion between two Vietnam veterans and is set in the final summer of the twentieth century. Dietz is eighth on the list of the top ten most produced playwrights in America, so he must be doing something right…

11 May – 4 June 2016, Southwark Playhouse. More information and tickets here.

The Complete Deaths – Brighton Festival

Brighton Festival kicked off on Saturday and there's a whole lot to look forward to over the coming month. One of the things we're most excited about is Tim Crouch and Spymonkey's new show. Apparently there are 74 deaths in the complete Shakespeare cannon and The Complete Deaths will feature all of them, from the Roman suicides to the general massacre at the end of Hamlet. We can't wait.

11-15 May 2016, Theatre Royal Brighton. More information and tickets here.

Cymbeline – Royal Shakespeare Theatre

Gillian Bevan rehearsing Cymbeline
Gillian Bevan rehearsing Cymbeline
© Ellie Kurttz

The RSC gets in on the burst of gender-swapping productions at the moment (including Michelle Terry as Henry V at the Open Air Theatre and Glenda Jackson as King Lear at the Old Vic) and casts Gillian Bevan as King Cymbeline. Directed by Melly Still, it's one of Shakespeare's lesser-known plays, but, done well, is a jewel, filled with intrigue, love and reconciliation.

10 May – 15 October, Royal Shakespeare Theatre. More information and tickets here.