BWW Previews: The London Stage, August 2014
In terms of West End openings, August will be one of those slightly sad in-between months. Much of the current, glorious shows are reaching their final few days or weeks; commence the scramble to get hold of tickets!
That said, beloved children's author and former Children's Laureate Michael Morpurgo has written a show called I Believe in Unicorns which will run at the Vaudeville Theatre from 8th to 31st August - titles don't get much better than that. Starring Danyah Miller, this interactive one woman show is set in a library full of books - all of which contain more stories. Suitable for children over the age of five, this show sounds enchanting for those who already love books and might give others a reason to become enamoured. Also at the Vaudeville and for young people, acclaimed children's author Jacqueline Wilson's novel Hetty Feather has been adapted for the stage by Emma Reeves. Running from 6th August to 6th September, Hetty is a rare delve by Wilson into period drama
A more, uh, grown-up show comes to town in the form of Kevin Elyot's prestigious tragicomedy My Night with Reg. A tale of love, betrayal, realisations and HIV, this 20th anniversary production will have an extra layer of poignancy as it stands tribute to its author, who passed away in June following a long illness. May the cast and crew have a fittingly excellent run of his best-known play, which will run at the Donmar Warehouse from 5th August to 27th September.
We will be clapping goodbye to some excellent work this month, specifically on 23rd August - when David Hare's beautiful Skylight will close on after a sell-out run, Porgy and Bess will depart Regent's Park, 1984 will exit the Playhouse and Great Britain will leave the National Theatre. 1984 has been particularly well-received, due in part to a witty and accessible marketing plan involving 101 tickets being available for each performance at a price of £19.84...get it? Also at the National Theatre, Alan Ayckbourn's A Small Family Business will be closing on 27th A somewhat predictable, but beautifully performed comedy, this is well-worth catching if you're at a loose end. The Globe's current run of Anthony and Cleopatra will conclude on 24th August.
However, the departure of George and Ira Gershwin's masterpiece will make room for another beautiful production directed by Timothy Sheader - Christopher Sergel's adaptation of Harper Lee's classic To Kill a Mockingbird will be revived in the open air theatre as of 28th August.
Finally, in musical theatre news, Denise Van Outen will star in the one woman show she has penned with Terry Ronald. Some Girl I Used to Know tells of Stephanie, who seems happily married and is a very successful businesswoman whose head is put in a spin when her former lover makes contact with her during a business trip. Interspersed with 80s and 90s music, this isn't typical of Van Outen's musical theatre career, but the lovely vocals on the show's advert will surely entice in an audience. Some Girl I Used to Know will run from 22nd August at the Arts Theatre.
While it might seem like more shows are leaving than arriving, I can't help but suspect that September will find us inundated with shows we absolutely have to can't bear not to see at least once and then maybe again before they close. So August might be a good time to catch up with long-standing theatrical friends you've not seen in a few years. Regardless, happy theatre-going all!