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Theatre News

Opening: Blair, Mother Speaks, Woolf, New Voices

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Amongst the major openings in London this week are:

OPENING TONIGHT, Monday 14 January 2008 (previews from 8 January), rescheduled from 10 January due to cast illness (See News, 4 Jan 2008) is Angry Young Man, written and directed by Ben Woolf, which kicks off the new year schedule in the West End’s 100-seat Trafalgar Studios 2, running until 2 February (See News, 5 Dec 2007). First seen at the 2005 Edinburgh Fringe, the play tells the story of Yuri, a brilliant Eastern European surgeon who arrives in London in search of work and a new life.

OPENING TUESDAY, 15 January 2008, Jennifer Tuckett's I Am a Superhero opens a month of new work at Theatre503 in association with the Old Vic New Voices scheme. When her father dies, 12-year-old Yasmin thinks she has the answer and sets out on a mission to bring her family back together. The play is a winner of the Old Vic New Voices Theatre503 Award, which grants a full-scale production at the Battersea venue to successful candidates. It's followed by another winner of the award, Mad Funny Just by theatre collective Creased, which opens on 24 January (previews from 22 January).

OPENING THURSDAY, 17 January 2008 (previews from 16 January), Blair on Broadway transfers for three weeks to the Arts Theatre, where the production will feature a series of well-known cameos performing in aid of a charity of their choice. The piece includes a rapping Jeremy Paxman and a chorus line of all-singing, all-dancing Blair Babes. The musical has a book and lyrics by Iain Hollingshead, with music by Timothy Muller. Jessica Dawes directs.

ALSO ON THURSDAY (previews from 15 January), Helter Skelter and Land of the Dead (pictured), two new plays by American Neil LaBute, receive their UK premieres at west London's Bush Theatre. In a chic restaurant in New York City, a man and his wife meet to take a break from Christmas shopping. He doesn’t know that she's already seen him today. Elsewhere in town, a couple part. He goes to the office, she visits a clinic. As events unfold, it becomes clear that this is not just any ordinary day. Directed by Patricia Benecke, the production stars Ruth Gemmell, John Kirk and Patrick Driver.

ALSO ON THURSDAY (previews from 15 January), Susie McKenna directs the world premiere of Judd Batchelor’s A Mother Speaks at east London's Hackney Empire. The strength of a mother's love is immeasurable. Imagine nurturing, caring, educating and supporting your child through their formative years, then suddenly, just as they are about to embark on their own independent lives, someone fires a gun, in an act of unprovoked violence, and they are taken from you. How far would you go to see true justice served? The production runs until 2 February 2008.

OPENING FRIDAY, 18 January 2008 (previews from 14 January), Daniele Guerra directs the British premiere Purgatorio, the new play by Death and the Maiden's Ariel Dorfman, at east London's Arcola Theatre (See News, 4 Jan 2008). Are trust and redemption really possible after violence and betrayal? Purgatorio is an intense, poetic enquiry into the themes of forgiveness and retribution. The production stars Adjoa Andoh and Patrick Baladi and runs until 9 February.

ALSO ON FRIDAY (previews from 17 January), Linda Marlowe stars in Matthew Hurt’s Believe at the New End Theatre in Hampstead. Rahab, a working-class prostitute, lives in a besieged city in the middle of a modern day conflict zone. Bathsheba is a poised, middle-class army wife whose betrayed husband was recently killed in combat. Embroiled in the suburban politics of army wives’ gossip, Bathsheba reminisces painfully about her last argument with her husband, and her secret adultery with an army commander. Gavin Marshall directs the production, which runs until 2 February.

- by Tom Atkins


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