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Off-West End Announcements - 15 May 2009

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Harewood goes to The Mountaintop
Set in his motel room, the night before his assassination, David Harewood stars as Martin Luther King who is forced to confront his past and the future of his people when a mysterious maid visits him. Katori Hall's new play The Mountaintop  is at Theatre503 from 9 June to 4 July, directed by James Dacre.

Explore the Unicorn through a new perspective
The Unicorn Theatre and Mark Storor have teamed up with children from the Dialysis Unit of The Evelina Children’s Hospital School to create an unusual promenade performance and instillation piece to tell their unique contrasting stories of home and hospital. For The Best runs at the Unicorn from 2-28 June.

Tap your troubles away in Mayfair
Pianist-cum-tap dancer Mark Nadler will be performing a selection of George Gershwin tunes at Bellamy’s restaurant in London’s Mayfair for six nights from May 18. His fans include Steven Berkoff, who said recently: "To watch him is quite an awesome experience.  What he does to a piano is almost illegal".

Chatrooms before internet
Foursight Theatre Company bring their touring production of Can Any Mother Help Me? to the Greenwich Theatre (23 & 24 May). The play is inspired by the book by Jenna Bailey which tells the story of the Cooperative Correspondence Club. It provided support for isolated women throughout the country and was a 1935 version of today’s chat-rooms. Members wrote on any topic that mattered to them, added comments and questions and sent them on. Mothers could advertise and buy second-hand prams, cots, clothing, toys, books. But the topics went beyond the household grind and tackled issues such as sex, sexism, racism, education, inequality and justice head-on.

Naked Boys Singing
The long running Off-Broadway and "worldwide phenomenon" gets its London debut at The King’s Head Theatre (26 May-5 July). Naked Boys Singing 2009 features 7 good looking and talented male actors celebrating the glories of the naked male body through a series of catchy cabaret numbers. Phil Willmott directs the production which gained a large celebrity following in New York.

Love & Madness in Riverside’s Macbeth
In a season that explores the actions and motives of men who kill, Love & Madness present a reworking of Macbeth. With the original text, Shakespeare’s great tragedy has been relocated to 1966 in an East End pub as the World Cup final is shown live on TV. This is the story of Macbeth who allows no-one to stand in his way as he progresses from ambitious, scheming thug to sixties Gangster. The production runs in rep at Riverside Studios from 20 May – 26 July.

Resurrecting James Dean
James Dean is Dead! Long Live James Dean! is the first production to explore the life of this iconic Hollywood legend who tragically died in a car crash fifty four years ago. At Above the Stag (4-20 June) the play is written by Jackie Skarvellis and was a big success at Jermyn Street Theatre two years ago.

Heating up Gilbert & Sullivan
An actor-musician production of Hot Mikado comes to the Queen’s Theatre, Hornchurch (22 May-13 June). By Bowman and Bell, this is an update of the Gilbert and Sullivan classic set in 1940s Japan presented by cut to the chase… in a production that combines the music and design of American and oriental cultures.

Are these dangerous liaisons?
The team behind Mpumelelo Paul Grootboom’s critically acclaimed 2006 Township Stories bring Foreplay to Theatre Royal Stratford East (22 May – 13 June). Written and directed by Grootboom, Foreplay is based upon the 19th Century play, La Ronde by Arthur Schnitzler. It tells the story of nine characters whose lives are entwined through sexual liaisons and the need to satisfy their desires.

Amnesty Playwrighting Competition winner
S-27 is the winner of Amnesty International’s first Protect the Human Playwriting Competition. Based upon events at the notorious Cambodian prison S-21, it’s records and interviews with prisoners, and inspired by the work of photographer, Nhem En, who was responsible for taking ID photos of the prisoners before they were tortured. This startling drama runs and Finborough Theatre (9 June-4 July).

- by Laura Norman


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