2014 Theatre Preview: Alice Chappell's Picks
Beware - the following may cause theatre-lovers to become overly excited and ultimately lose a fair amount of time and money to their theatre habit. There's a lot to look forward to in 2014 - from revivals of shows that many know and love, to new and intriguing things that might turn out to be rubbish, but sound really interesting!
Sam Mendes is directing Simon Russell Beale as King Lear at the National Theatre and the exquisite Miss Saigon will be thundering back into the West End. Based on Puccini's Madame Butterfly, this striking and intensely moving musical is surely top of many theatre to-see lists. I was fortunate enough to catch its most recent national tour and have never observed an audience so constantly moved by the show in front of them. Meanwhile, at The Shed, Carrie Cracknell and Nick Payne have penned a play about contemporary gender politics and if Payne's last play (The Same Deep Water As Me) is anything to go by, this isn't one to miss. Topically and aptly named, Blurred Lines opens on 16th January.
Excitingly, Lee Hall has penned a stage adaptation of Tom Stoppard and Marc Norman's Oscar-winning film, Shakespeare in Love. While the film will take a lot of living up to, the original script so celebrates theatre that a stage version seems particularly appropriate. Another new play will be Moon Tiger, based on Penelope Lively's novel by the same name. A deeply moving, subtle text, if handled sensitively, this could be stunning. In a different vein, the hilariously silly Dirty Rotten Scoundrels will be schmoozing its way into the Savoy. With a stellar cast including Robert Lindsay, Rufus Hound and Katherine Kingsley, this should be great.
Also, to keep an eye on - Gillian Anderson is taking on the legendary role of Blanche Dubois at the Young Vic, in Tennessee Williams's A Streetcar Named Desire; there's genuinely Russian Chekhov at Wyndham's (Uncle Vanya and Three Sisters) by Moscow's Moccobeta State Academic Theatre and the beautiful Porgy and Bess will be taking over Regent's Park's Open Air Theatre. The Park will also host the wonderful All My Sons by Arthur Miller and offer us a second chance to catch its hugely successful To Kill a Mockingbird. The Young Vic will provide more Miller, with A View from the Bridge and then the Gielgud will provide some light relief, with Noel Coward's sublimely silly Blithe Spirit.
And that really is just naming a few...Have a happy ever after-filled 2014!