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THE MOTIVE AND THE CUE Leads Our Top Ten Shows For May

The show joins Operation Mincemeat, Brokeback Mountain and Bleak Expectations

By: May. 01, 2023
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THE MOTIVE AND THE CUE Leads Our Top Ten Shows For May  Image
Tuppence Middleton in rehearsal for
The Motive And The Cue
Photo Credit: Marc Douet

As we wait to throw off our thermals and the sun to show its face, London has some theatrical treats to tickle your tastebuds this May.

From Sam Mendes' new show at The National Theatre to Lenny Henry's debut play, here is a small selection of what's to come.

1. The Motive And The Cue, National Theatre

This startling new play, opening in the Lyttelton Theatre, is inspired by the making of Burton and Gielgud's Hamlet.

Richard Burton, newly married to Elizabeth Taylor, is to play the title in an experimental new production of Hamlet under John Gielgud's exacting direction. But as rehearsals progress, two ages of theatre collide and the collaboration between actor and director soon threatens to unravel.

Written by Jack Thorne, the show is directed by Sam Mendes and features a stellar cast that includes Johnny Flynn, Mark Gatiss, Tuppence Middleton and Janie Dee.

The Motive and the Cue runs at The National Theatre until 15 July. Buy tickets here.

2. Bleak Expectations, Criterion Theatre

Bleak Expectations is the riotous story that Charles Dickens might have written after drinking too much gin. Follow Pip's extraordinary exploits with sisters Pippa and Poppy plus best friend Harry Biscuit as they attempt to escape the calculating clutches of the dastardly Mr Gently Benevolent, defeat the hideous Hardthrasher siblings, and deflect disaster at every turn!

Join a medley of much-loved faces including Tom Allen, Adjoa Andoh, Alexander Armstrong, Jo Brand, Jack Dee, Stephen Fry, Nish Kumar, Lee Mack, Stephen Mangan, Ben Miller or Sue Perkins in this stage adaptation of the award-winning BBC Radio 4 comedy series

Bleak Expectations is at the Criterion Theatre from 3 May 2023 - 3 September 2023, Buy tickets here.

3. Operation Mincemeat, Fortune Theatre

The year is 1943 and we're losing the war. Luckily, we're about to gamble all our futures on a stolen corpse.

After sell-out runs at the New Diorama, Southwark Playhouse and Riverside Studios, Operation Mincemeat gets a well-deserved west end transfer to the Fortune Theatre. The show is the fast-paced, hilarious and unbelievable true story of the twisted secret mission that won us World War II. The question is, how did a well-dressed corpse wrong-foot Hitler?

Operation Mincemeat is at the Fortune Theatre, now booking until 19 August. Book tickets here.

THE MOTIVE AND THE CUE Leads Our Top Ten Shows For May  Image4. Aspects of Love, Lyric Theatre

The first major West End revival of Andrew Lloyd Webber's celebrated musical Aspects of Love will be playing at the Lyric Theatre for a strictly limited season.

Joining Michael Ball will be Olivier nominated Laura Pitt-Pulford, Jamie Bogyo and Danielle De Niese.

Discover how love - in its many forms - truly does change everything. From the cobbled streets of Paris, through the French countryside to the splendours of Venice, Aspects of Love is a sweeping romantic story of passion, love, betrayal and heartbreak across three generations.

Aspects of Love will be at the Lyric Theatre from 12 May - 11 November. Book tickets here.

5. Rose, Ambassadors Theatre

The award-winning, critically acclaimed production of Martin Sherman's Rose transfers to the Ambassador's Theatre for 28 performances, after sell-out runs at Hope Mill Theatre, Manchester, and The Park Theatre, London once again starring Maureen Lipman.

Rose, a woman whose tumultuous journey through anarchic times takes her from the devastation of Nazi- occupied Europe to the allure of the American dream. Through the life of one woman Rose tells the story of a century where everything changed except the violence of the strong against the weak.

Rose is at the Ambassadors Theatre from 23 May - 18 June. Book tickets here.

6. Brokeback Mountain, @sohoplace

Starring Mike Faist as Jack and Lucas Hedges as Ennis, both making their West End stage debuts, The world premiere of Brokeback Mountain, a new play with music, opens @sohoplace this month. Written by Ashley Robinson with songs by Dan Gillespie Sells and based on Annie Proulx's short story, the show is directed by Jonathan Butterell.

Wyoming 1963: a wild landscape where people live in extreme rural poverty in tight, insular and conservative communities. When Ennis and Jack take jobs on the isolated Brokeback Mountain, all their certainties of life change forever as they flounder in unexpected emotional waters of increasing depth. Dan Gillespie-Sells' beautiful Country and Western songs weave heartbreakingly through this intense tale of an unresistible and hidden love spanning twenty years and its tragic consequences.

Brokeback Mountain will be @sohoplace from 10 May - 12 August. Book tickets here.

THE MOTIVE AND THE CUE Leads Our Top Ten Shows For May  Image7. Once On This Island, Regent's Park Open Air Theatre

You know that summer is on its way when open air theatre returns.

A musical story of love, grief, faith and hope, Once On This Island tells of peasant girl Ti Moune, a boy called Daniel, and a union that prejudice forbids. Against the heat of the Caribbean sun and destruction of tropical storms, can Ti Moune settle the wager of the Gods, and prove that love is more powerful than death?

Once On This Island will be at Regent's Park Open Air Theatre from 10 May 2023 - 10 June. Book tickets here.

8. How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying, Southwark Playhouse Borough

Featuring Michelle Visage as the voice of 'The Book', How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying is a comic gem that took Broadway by storm in 1961, winning both the Tony Award for Best Musical and a Pulitzer Prize.

A satire of big business and all it holds sacred, it follows the rise of J. Pierrepont Finch, who uses a little handbook called How to Succeed in Business without Really Trying to climb the corporate ladder from lowly window washer to high-powered executive, tackling such familiar but potent dangers as the aggressively compliant "company man", the office party, backstabbing co-workers, caffeine addiction and, of course, true love.

How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying, Southwark Playhouse Borough from 12 May - 17 June. Book tickets here.

THE MOTIVE AND THE CUE Leads Our Top Ten Shows For May  Image9. August in England, Bush Theatre

Written and performed by Lenny Henry in his playwriting debut, August in England gives insight into the lives impacted by the injustice of the Windrush scandal.

Charming, flawed, and with the gift of the gab, we all know a man like August Henderson. Between his three kids, devoted wife-to-be, and part-ownership of a fruit and veg shop, he is proud of the life he has built since landing in his beloved West Bromwich. So, when faced with deportation to a country he has no memory of, he isn't prepared to go quietly. Listen up, he is ready to tell his own story.

August in England is at the Bush Theatre until 10 June. Book tickets here.

10. The Great Gatsby, Sadler's Wells

Northern Ballet's sell-out sensation is back - get ready for the most glamorous party in town.

Mysterious millionaire Jay Gatsby has a penchant for lavish parties and beautiful women. As the sparkling façade of his world begins to slip, the loneliness, obsession and tragedy that lies beneath is revealed in one of Northern Ballet's most treasured productions.

F. Scott Fitzgerald's classic American novel is brought to life as dancers glide across the floor in gorgeous Chanel-inspired costumes to a cinematic score by Sir Richard Rodney Bennett CBE played by a live orchestra.

The Great Gatsby is at Sadler's Wells from 16 - 20 May. Book tickets here.


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