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Opening: High School, Two & Only, Rocks & Name

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Amongst the major openings in London this week are:

OPENING TUESDAY, 1 July 2008 (previews from 26 June), Ed Stoppard and Tracy-Ann Oberman star in the world premiere of Amy Rosenthal’s new comedy On the Rocks at Hampstead Theatre (See News, 13 Jun 2008), where it runs for a limited season until 26 July 2008.

The play tells of what happens when, in 1916, DH Lawrence and his vociferous wife Frieda persuade their closest friends, Katherine Mansfield and John Middleton Murry (played by Charlotte Emmerson and Nick Caldecott) to join them in a co-habiting experiment in a Cornish village. Clare Lizzimore directs.

OPENING WEDNESDAY, 2 July 2008 (previews from 25 June), American ventriloquist Jay Johnson brings his Tony Award-winning show The Two and Only to the Arts Theatre (See News, 29 May 2008). During this autobiographical blend of comedy and theatrical storytelling, Johnson is assisted by a cast of characters including Darwin, a rare breed of jazz monkey who was born in a trunk in a comedy club and Spaulding, a tennis ball retired from the game after a particularly rough Andy Roddick match. The season continues until 28 September 2008.

** DON’T MISS our 2-4-1 ticket offer on THE TWO & ONLY - offer ends 31 July 2008 - click here for more info! **

ALSO ON WEDNESDAY, the Royal Court Jerwood Theatre Upstairs presents Rough Cuts, a short season of experimental work in progress, until 19 July (See News, 8 Nov 2007).

ALSO ON WEDNESDAY (previews from 30 June), Bryony Lavery’s award-winning play Frozen opens at the Riverside Studios, its first London revival since the National Theatre staging in 2002. Directed by Sonia Fraser, it draws on neurological and psychiatric research to consider society’s moral and emotional responses to abuse and explores the meaning of the truism “the abused becomes the abuser.” It runs until 20 July 2008.

OPENING THURSDAY, 3 July 2008 (previews from 1 July), ex-EastEnder James Alexandrou makes his West End debut in the dark comedy In My Name at Trafalgar Studio 2 (See News, 25 Apr 2008). It's the first full-length play by Paines Plough writer Steven Hevey, and had a sell-out season last month at the Old Red Lion theatre in Islington. Ray Panthaki also stars.

ALSO ON THURSDAY, the New Connections 2008 season of plays for and about young people opens at the National’s Olivier and Cottesloe theatres, where it continues until 8 July 2008.

** DON’T MISS our exclusive £4 ticket offer for the plays in the New Connections season – offer ends 8 July 2008 - click here for more info! **

OPENING FRIDAY , 4 July 2008, Watch This Space, the National Theatre’s free summer festival, begins outside the main South Bank entrance, with myriad street performances, installations and other attractions between now and 14 September.

ALSO ON FRIDAY, (previews from 2 July), Southwark Playhouse presents the London premiere of Topher Campbell’s promenade production of Unstated: Story of Refuge, for a season to 12 July.

** DON’T MISS the chance to win tickets to Unstated on our Off-West End site – competition closes 2 July 2008 - click here for more info! **

OPENING SATURDAY, 5 July 2008 (previews from 28 June), the stage version of Disney’s High School Musical receives its London premiere at Hammersmith Apollo. Starring Letitia Dean as the eccentric Ms Darbus, the London run – which is in addition to an ongoing UK touring production - marks the latest step of a worldwide phenomenon. The soundtrack has been certified Double Platinum in the UK alone, while DVD sales have topped 1.6 million (See News, 16 May 2008).

The stage adaptation of High School Musical tells how Troy, a popular high school basketball star, and Gabriella, a shy, academically gifted newcomer, discover they share a secret passion for singing. It runs at the Apollo until 31 August 2008.

- by Theo Bosanquet


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