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Plays Extend: Calendar, Godot & Shawn\'s Grasses

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Before it’s started previewing at the Theatre Royal Haymarket, Sean Mathias’ revival of Samuel Beckett’s 1955 classic Waiting for Godot, starring Ian McKellen and Patrick Stewart, has extended its limited season by a month (See News, 31 Oct 2008). The production, which has just completed an eight-week regional tour, opens in the West End on 6 May 2009 (previews from 30 April) and had been booking until 28 June 2009 only. It will now continue until 26 July.

McKellen and Stewart are Estragon and Vladimir, two tramps who pass the time by a deserted road as they wait for the mysterious Godot. They’re joined in the cast by Simon Callow and Ronald Pickup as Pozzo and Lucky. The production is designed by Stephen Brimson Lewis, with lighting by Paul Pyant.

Waiting for Godot is produced by the Theatre Royal Haymarket Company, in partnership with Duncan C Weldon, as the first production in a second season of in-house programming, for which Mathias has been appointed as artistic director. Subsequent productions in Mathias’ season – which follows the2007/8 inaugural season helmed by Jonathan Kent – have not yet been announced.

In other play extension news:

  • Also ahead of previews, two weeks have been added to the run of the world premiere of Wallace Shawn’s Grasses of a Thousand Colours, which opens on 18 May 2009 (previews from 12 May) at the Royal Court Jerwood Theatre Upstairs, where it will now continue until 27 June. Shawn’s first new play in ten years stars the author himself alongside Miranda Richardson, Jennifer Tilly and Emily McDonnell and is directed by Shawn’s long-time collaborator Andre Gregory. Grasses of a Thousand Colours has already surpassed advance sales figures for any play in the Court’s Upstairs – a new record having just been set by the studio’s current resident, the world premiere of Polly Stenham’s Tusk Tusk). The “extreme, disturbing, and funny vision of the embattled relationship between man and beast” runs as part of the Royal Court’s Wallace Shawn season, which also comprises artistic director Dominic Cooke’s Downstairs productions of The Fever and Aunt Dan and Lemon starring Jane Horrocks (See News, 6 Nov 2008).

    ** DON’T MISS our Whatsonstage.com Outing to Wallace Shawn’s AUNT DAN & LEMON on 3 June 2009 - inc FREE drink & EXCLUSIVE post-show Q&A - all for only £25!!! - click here to book now!! **

  • At the Noel Coward Theatre, Tim Firth\'s Calendar Girls, adapted from his own screenplay for the hit 2003 film, has added four weeks to the West End season for its current cast (See 1st Night Photos, 21 Apr 2009). Following its premiere last September in Chichester and a regional tour, the production started performances on 4 April 2009 at the Noel Coward, where it’s now booking through to 25 July, with extra midweek matinees on Thursdays (in addition to Wednesdays) replacing the Monday evening performances from 28 May. Calendar Girls tells the real-life story of the members of a Yorkshire chapter of the Women’s Institute who decide to pose nude for a charity calendar. The cast features Lynda Bellingham, Patricia Hodge, Sian Phillips, Gaynor Faye, Brigit Forsyth, Julia Hills and Elaine C Smith.

    ** Our Whatsonstage.com Outing to Calendar Girls tomorrow (29 April 2009) - inc FREE show poster & access to our EXCLUSIVE post-show Q&A, all for £34.50! – has now SOLD OUT! - click here to join the waiting list! **

  • Finally, at the St Martin\'s Theatre, Agatha Christie\'s The Mousetrap, which is in the Guinness Book of Records as the world’s longest-running play, has announced a new six-month booking period, taking it up to 21 November 2009. The classic whodunit - which celebrated its 50th West End anniversary, with HM The Queen in attendance, on 25 November 2002 - has become a Theatreland institution. The show originally opened next door at the Ambassadors and transferred to St Martin’s, after 20 years in its original home, in 1974. The Mousetrap is directed by David Turner.

- by Terri Paddock


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