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Plays Extend: Defending Caveman, Enjoy, Black

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Three West End plays – recent arrivals Defending the Caveman and Alan Bennett’s Enjoy and long-running thriller The Woman in Black - have announced extensions to their booking periods.

Christopher Luscombe’s revival of Alan Bennett’s Enjoy, starring Alison Steadman and David Troughton, has added a fortnight to its limited season at the Gielgud Theatre, taking it up to 16 May 2009. The play, which was a famous “flop” when it first opened in the West End in 1980, got off to a rocky start this time round as well when its press night fell on the day most of London had shut down due to heavy snowfall (See News, 2 Feb 2009).

But, despite the bad weather, the revival won more critical plaudits on top of those received from its tour and original run last summer as part of Peter Hall’s summer repertory season at the Theatre Royal Bath.

Enjoy is set in the playwright’s home town of Leeds, where an ageing couple living in the city’s last, and soon-to-be-demolished back-to-back are soon to be re-housed in a modern maisonette. When a sociologist comes to observe them in their daily life, normality takes a decidedly atypical turn. The cast that also includes Carol Macready, Josie Walker and Richard Glaves.

At the Leicester Square Theatre (formerly The Venue), Defending the Caveman, the Olivier Award-winning comedy starring Mark Little, has extended by three weeks. The production opened on 6 February (previews from 3 February) and had been booking to 15 March. It will now continue until 5 April, before embarking on a three-month regional tour, concluding in Coventry on 8 July, after which it may return to London (See The Goss, 23 Feb 2009).

The Australian Little made his West End debut in Defending the Caveman in its original UK incarnation in 1999/2000, when it was awarded the Olivier for Best Entertainment. Why do men and women misunderstand each other? The answer can be traced back to the caveman. Defending the Caveman catalogues the instantly recognisable traits that separate men and women and brings the historical 'battle of the sexes' bang up to date.

And at the Fortune Theatre, The Woman in Black has opened a new six-month booking period, taking it up to 30 January 2010. Susan Hill’s 1970s novel, a ghost story told through the eyes of a keen young solicitor sent to a secluded house to wind up the affairs of a recently deceased woman, was adapted for the stage by Stephen Mallatratt. Originally produced at Scarborough's Stephen Joseph Theatre in December 1987, The Woman in Black has been seen by over two million theatregoers since opening in London in 1989. The current West End cast of the spooky two-hander, directed by Robin Herford, is Andrew Jarvis and Tim Watson.

- by Terri Paddock


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