Richard Madden and Lily James's ROMEO AND JULIET Leads May's Top 10 New London Shows
London is never short of theatre temptations, whether splashy West End shows, epic dramas or bold fringe offerings. From two buzzy Shakespeare productions and satirical opera to dance at the Old Vic, here are some of this month's most eye-catching openings. Don't forget to check back for BroadwayWorld's reviews...
1. Romeo and Juliet, Garrick Theatre
A starry pair plays the star-crossed lovers in the latest offering from Kenneth Branagh's resident Garrick season, with Richard Madden and Lily James, the leads from his Cinderella movie, reuniting as Shakespeare's doomed paramours. Rob Ashford co-directs, and the supporting cast includes Derek Jacobi as Mercutio and Meera Syal as the Nurse.
2. Blue/Orange, Young Vic
David Haig, Luke Norris and Daniel Kaluuya star in this much-anticipated revival of Joe Penhall's Olivier Award-winning state-of-the-nation work. How will its examination of ethics, sanity, racial prejudice and the health service play in 2016? Matthew Xia directs, with designs and multimedia from Jeremy Herbert.
3. The Threepenny Opera, National Theatre
Brecht and Kurt Weill's landmark 'play with songs', a socialist satire referencing The Beggar's Opera, comes to the National via a vivid, darkly comic new translation from Simon Stephens. Rory Kinnear stars as notorious criminal Mack, and the cast also includes Rosalie Craig, Haydn Gwynne and Sharon Small. Rufus Norris directs.
4. A Midsummer Night's Dream, Shakespeare's Globe
New artistic director Emma Rice, formerly of Kneehigh, opens her inaugural 'Wonder Season' with a new twist on a classic. Helena becomes Helenus, performance artist Meow Meow takes on Titania, and Lez Brotherston's enchanted woodland spills out onto Bankside. It's a major test for Rice, helming only her second Shakespeare production.
5. Lawrence After Arabia, Hampstead Theatre
Commissioned to mark the centenary of the start of the Arab revolt, Howard Brenton's play finds T.E. Lawrence in hiding in 1922, craving normality and tormented by ghosts. Jack Laskey, Jeff Rawle and Geraldine James star, directed by John Dove.
6. Running Wild, Regent's Park Open Air Theatre
Whatever the weather forecast says, summer has arrived, as Regent's Park begins its new season. Samuel Adamson adapts Michael Morpurgo's Indonesian rainforest adventure, realised with a young cast of 40, co-directed by Timothy Sheader and Dale Rooks, and awe-inspiring work from War Horse puppetry masters Finn Caldwell and Toby Olié.
7. Sideways, St James Theatre
No one order the Merlot. Rex Pickett's stage adaptation of his 2004 novel (immortalised in Alexander Payne's Academy Award-winning film) follows the travails of best friends Miles and Jack in the heart of wine country. David Grindley directs Daniel Weyman, Simon Harrison, Ellie Piercy and Beth Cordingley in this UK premiere.
8. The Philanderer, Orange Tree Theatre
Following his successful production of Widowers' Houses, artistic director Paul Miller revives George Bernard Shaw's early comedy of marriage, divorce and medical ethics, not seen in London in a generation. The cast includes Rupert Young, Helen Bradbury, Joe Idris-Roberts, Michael Lumsden and Dorothea Myer-Bennett.
9. Jekyll & Hyde, Old Vic
Olivier Award winner Drew McOnie devises, directs and choreographs this new dance thriller inspired by Robert Louis Stevenson's enduring tale. The company includes Tim Hodges, Daniel Collins and Ebony Molina, and there's music by Grant Olding. The commission is part of the Old Vic's new dance remit.
10. A View from Islington North, Arts Theatre
Out of Joint's Max Stafford-Clark teams up with some of Britain's most celebrated playwrights for an evening of provocative political satire. The bill features new work from David Hare, Alistair Beaton and Stella Feehily, a Mark Ravenhill revival, a Caryl Churchill micro-play, and songs from Billy Bragg. The cast includes EastEnders' Ann Mitchell.
Picture credit: Johan Persson