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Opening: Affleck, Pitmen, Lives, Complicit, Sloane

A busy week of major openings in London includes:

OPENING TONIGHT, Monday 26 January 2009 (previews from 22 January), John Tiffany directs the National Theatre of Scotland production of Be Near Me adapted by Ian McDiarmid from the novel by Andrew O’Hagan, at the Donmar Warehouse, with McDiarmid himself leading the cast (See News, 12 Dec 2008). Until 14 March.

OPENING TUESDAY, 27 January 2009 (previews from 20 January), Mrs Affleck a new play by Samuel Adamson after Ibsen’s Little Eyolf, premieres at the NT’s Cottesloe Theatre, directed by Marianne Elliot. Adamson and Elliot reunite having collaborated in 2005 on a hit production of Ibsen’s Pillars of the Community. It runs in rep until 29 April.

ALSO ON TUESDAY, Lee Hall’s award-winning play The Pitmen Painters returns to the National for a run at the Lyttelton, having enjoyed a sell-out season in the Cottesloe last year (See News, 8 Jul 2009). Set in 1930s Northumberland it tells of a group of miners who hire an art professor to teach them to paint, with astonishing results. Until 14 April.

ALSO ON TUESDAY, Israel’s largest theatre company Cameri Theatre of Tel Aviv presents Plonter at the Barbican Pit, for a limited run to 7 February as part of the long-running Bite international season.

ALSO ON TUESDAY (previews from 22 January), Hampstead Theatre launches its 50th anniversary season with a revival of Noël Coward’s Private Lives, starring Jasper Britton and Claire Price. The play was the venue\'s first commercial success when founding artistic director James Roose-Evans directed it in 1962, and marked a turnaround in the popularity of a then out-of-favour Coward. This time around, Lucy Bailey takes the helm. Until 28 February.

OPENING WEDNESDAY, 28 January 2009 (previews from 7 January), following a postponement of nine days for “more development time”, Kevin Spacey\'s production of Joe Sutton’s new political drama Complicit opens at the Old Vic (See News, 15 Jan 2009).

In the three-hander, Richard Dreyfuss is Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Ben Kritzer, who finds himself hauled in front of a Supreme Court Special Prosecutor where he faces the dilemma of defending his belief in the freedom of the press or protecting his family. Dreyfuss is joined in the cast by David Suchet and Elizabeth McGovern.  It finishes its limited season on 21 February.

ALSO ON WEDNESDAY, 28 January 2009 (previews from 22 January), Why I Don\'t Hate White People, created and performed by poet-playwright Lemn Sissay, opens at the Lyric Hammersmith Studio, where it runs until 14 February.

OPENING THURSDAY, 29 January 2009 (previews from 22 January), Juliet Stevenson and Henry Goodman star in the Almeida Theatre’s revival of Tom Kempinski’s two-hander Duet for One, directed by Matthew Lloyd. It runs until 14 March, prior to a short regional tour.

OPENING FRIDAY, 30 January 2009 (previews from 22 January), Nick Bagnall’s new production of Joe Orton’s Entertaining Mr Sloane opens at Trafalgar Studios 1, starring Imelda Staunton and Mathew Horne (See News, 31 Oct 2008).

Considered the most autobiographical play of Orton\'s short career, Entertaining Mr Sloane looks at what happens when Sloane (Horne), a handsome and amoral young man, charms his way into the household of the middle-aged and emotionally desperate Kath (Staunton) and her prurient brother Ed. Until 13 April.

** DON\'T MISS the chance to get a top-price ticket to Entertaining Mr Sloane on 18 March for just £33.50 (usually priced £45) - click here for details! **

- by Theo Bosanquet


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