DON'T MISS: Cyrano de Bergerac Leads This Week's Top 10 New London Shows, February 22 2016
London is never short of theatre temptations, whether splashy West End shows, epic dramas or bold fringe offerings. From an all-female reimagining of a classic tale to a late, great Shakespeare, here are some of this week's most eye-catching openings. Don't forget to check back for BroadwayWorld's reviews, and if you need more ticket-booking inspiration, here is last week's round-up.
1. Cyrano de Bergerac, Southwark Playhouse
Versatile actress/director Kathryn Hunter was the first British woman to play King Lear in 1997. Now, she takes on the big-nosed title role of Russell Bolam's new production, performing Glyn Maxwell's translation of Edmond Rostand's enduring work. The all-female supporting cast includes Ellie Kendrick (Game of Thrones) and Sabrina Bartlett (Poldark).
2. The Solid Life of Sugar Water, National Theatre
Playwright Jack Thorne is currently working on a little show called HARRY POTTER AND THE CURSED CHILD, opening later this year, but first up in the National's Temporary space is this tender portrait of loss, hurt and recovery. Genevieve Barr and Arthur Hughes are directed by Amit Sharma.
3. The Patriotic Traitor, Park Theatre
Tom Conti and Laurence Fox lead the premiere of Jonathan Lynn's account of two giants of history: Charles de Gaulle and Philippe Pétain. The close friends wound up stranded on opposite sides during the Second World War, with de Gaulle eventually trying the Nazi collaborator Pétain for treason.
4. The Father, Duke of York's Theatre
Prolific Frenchman Florian Zeller will shortly have three plays on in London at once, with THE MOTHER already at the Tricycle and THE TRUTH coming to Menier Chocolate Factory. THE FATHER, his acclaimed work about the struggles of dementia, gets a well-deserved West End return, still led by the extraordinary Kenneth Cranham.
5. The Tempest, Sam Wanamaker Playhouse
Dominic Dromgoole ends his Globe tenure by directing Shakespeare's late, great play. Scholars believe THE TEMPEST was written for Blackfriars Theatre, on which the Sam Wanamaker Playhouse was modelled, so its appearance in the candlelit space should be a special experience. Tim McMullan stars.
6. I See You, Royal Court
Noma "Hermione" Dumezweni makes her directorial debut with Mongiwekhaya's story of generational divide in post-Apartheid South Africa, inspired by a real encounter. It's a Royal Court collaboration with the Market Theatre Johannesburg, where it will play next.
7. Firebird, Trafalgar Studios
The latest Trafalgar transfer from Hampstead Theatre's Downstairs space is debuting playwright Phil Davies' searing thriller about the exploitation and abuse of young people. Callie Cooke, Tahirah Sharif and Phaldut Sharma will reprise their roles, and Edward Hall directs.
8. VAULT Festival
Waterloo's hidden gem of a festival features everything from theatre, comedy and cabaret to workshops and talks. There's still time to catch some of its innovative work, such as THE DEVIL SPEAKS TRUE, which casts the audience as Banquo from Macbeth and examines the psychological effects of war.
9. Miss Julie, Etcetera Theatre
Strindberg's masterful study of class and desire gets an intimate rendering in Camden's studio theatre, working from a resonant translation by Michael Meyer. Laura Greenwood, Charlie Dorfman and Danielle Henry star, directed by Gary Condés.
10. Penny Arcade: Longing Lasts Longer, Soho Theatre
The counter-culture queen attacks cupcakes, gentrification and mediocrity in her dynamic touring show, which made its mark at last year's Edinburgh Festival. Her razor-sharp satire is accompanied by Steve Zehentner's euphoric, dance-friendly soundscape.