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Opening: Ghost, Woman Killed, Loyalty & Journey

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Amongst the major London openings, in the West End and further afield, this week are:

OPENING TUESDAY, 19 July 2011 (previews from 24 June), the summer’s second major screen-to-stage blockbuster Ghost The Musical receives its West End premiere at the Piccadilly Theatre, following a seven-week tryout in Manchester. Based on the 1990 film, the musical centres on couple Molly and Sam. After Sam is murdered in a mugging, he becomes trapped as a ghost between this world and the next, unwilling to leave Molly who remains in danger. With the help of a phoney psychic Oda Mae Brown, Sam attempts to communicate with and save Molly.

Screenwriter Bruce Joel Rubin has adapted his original screenplay for the book, while music and lyrics are by the Eurythmics’ Dave Stewart and Grammy Award winner Glen Ballard. The production is directed by Matthew Warchus and stars Caissie Levy, Richard Fleeshman and Sharon D Clark as Sam, Molly and Oda Mae, the parts played in the film by, respectively, Demi Moore, Patrick Swayze and Whoopi Goldberg.

ALSO ON TUESDAY (previews from 12 July), Katie Mitchell directs Thomas Heywood’s 17th-century domestic thriller A Woman Killed With Kindness, running in rep at the National’s Lyttelton Theatre. Two women fight for survival in a rural wilderness dominated by men, money and an unbending morality. The cast includes Kate Duchene, Sandy McDade, Liz White, Paul Ready and Gawn Grainger.

OPENING WEDNESDAY, 20 July 2011 (previews from 14 July), Loyalty, the debut play by writer and journalist Sarah Helm, a strong opponent of the Iraq war and wife of Tony Blair’s then Chief of Staff Jonathan Powell, receives its world premiere at Hampstead Theatre. Helmed by artistic director Edward Hall and starring Maxine Peake, it runs until 13 August.

OPENING THURSDAY, 21 July 2011 (previews from 14 July), artistic director Steve Marmion helms his second consecutive production at Soho Theatre, Mongrel Island, Ed Harris’ new play about how work strips away humanity, which continues until 6 August.

OPENING FRIDAY, 22 July 2011 (previews from 14 July), David Grindley’s acclaimed revival of RC Sheriff’s First World War trenches drama Journey's End returns to the West End for a limited season at the Duke of York’s Theatre to 3 September as part of its national tour. It previously ran for a over a year, opening first at the Comedy Theatre in January 2004 before transferring to the Playhouse and then Duke of York’s, where it closed in February 2005.

ALSO ON FRIDAY (previews from 20 July), Ice and Fire Theatre present On the Record, which circumnavigates the globe to round up true stories of six independent journalists who risk life and limb to shed light on unsavoury truths, at the Arcola Theatre. The new play is written by Christine Bacon and Noah Birksted-Breen, directed by Michael Longhurst, with a cast including Trevor White, Paul Bhattacharjee and Kika Markham. It runs until 13 August.

ALSO ON FRIDAY (previews from 20 July), a new version of Four Nights in Knaresborough, Paul Webb’s 1999 historical drama about the assassination of Archbishop Thomas Becket in 1170, premieres at the Southwark Playhouse for a run to 13 August. Seb Billings directs.


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