Ones to Watch: Monday 4 April 2011

Opening The high profile London openings this week include Simon Stephens’ new play Wastwater at the Royal Court, directed by Katie Mitchell and starring, among others, Linda Bassett and Tom Sturridge. Meanwhile, the National Theatre continues its spring season with the world premiere of London Road, an experimental new play based around the 2006 Ipswich murders. This month is your last chance to see Cheek by Jowl’s acclaimed Russian version of The Tempest (read my review here) in the UK, which takes up residence at the Barbican from Thursday.

On the Fringe, the world premiere of A Butcher of Distinction opens at the Cock Tavern Theatre and Shared Experience, one of the casualties of last week’s ACE funding announcements, bring their tour of Bronte to the Tricycle Theatre. Elsewhere, the second national tour of The Pitmen Painters is opening at the Theatre Royal in Windsor, Neil Bartlett’s version of The Game of Love and Chance arrives at the Salisbury Playhouse, a revival of Chekhov’s Uncle Vanya plays at the Belgrade Theatre in Coventry ahead of a run at the Arcola and the celebrations of Terrence Rattigan’s centenary year continue with In Praise of Love in Northampton.

Catch it while you can Current must-see shows in London include Thea Sharrock’s revival of Cause Celebre at the Old Vic, the return of last year’s all-male production of Iolanthe at Wilton’s Music Hall, The Kissing-Dance at Jermyn Street Theatre and The Children’s Hour, starring Keira Knightley and Elisabeth Moss at the Comedy Theatre.

Away from the capital, make sure you catch the touring version of the Donmar’s King Lear, starring Derek Jacobi, Bristol Tobacco Factory’s The Comedy of Errors, the adaptation of beloved children’s book Goodnight Mister Tom at the West Yorkshire Playhouse and the national tour of Whatsonstage.com Award winner Yes, Prime Minister. For details of more of the hot tickets up and down the country, see last week’s Ones to Watch.

Last chance to see Less than a fortnight after opening at London’s Gielgud Theatre, Kneehigh’s production of The Umbrellas of Cherbourg has posted early closing notices for 21 May, so there is not long to catch this musical extravaganza based on the cult French film. This week is also the last chance to see another Kneehigh show, The Red Shoes at the BAC, and ballet lovers have just four more days to catch Swan Lake at the Royal Opera House. Further afield, it is the final week of Noel Coward’s Private Lives at Manchester Royal Exchange and Steven Berkoff’s Oedipus finishes its run at the Nottingham Playhouse.

West End whispers Could we all be getting a bit Glee-ful in London this summer? Rumour has it that Matthew Morrison, better known as Will Schuester in US television phenomenon Glee, could be UK bound for the Barbican run of the Lincoln Centre’s Tony Award winning production of South Pacific in August. The production has already been in the spotlight for its bank-breaking ticket prices (£85 for top price tickets, or more like an eye-watering £95 through ticket agents), but if the gossip proves to be true then the Barbican could have punters lining up to empty their pockets. In other gossip, speculation is rife about the location of the recently announced West End run of the RSC’s Matilda. Could it take up residence at the Gielgud Theatre, soon to be vacated by The Umbrellas of Cherbourg? Or, as reelkandi suggested on Twitter, is there the possibility of the long-running Chicago transferring to the Aldwych Theatre to make room for Matilda at the Cambridge? Keep your eyes peeled for further news.

And something for the weekend … Finally, for those of you who can’t bear to spend a night away from the theatre on a Sunday, this week sees a very special event on Sunday evening at the Criterion Theatre, hosted by the one and only Stephen Fry. The night is a celebration of British musicals in aid of Perfect Pitch and features the likes of Alfie Boe and musical theatre’s girl of the moment Julie Atherton. This follows Fry’s blog post yesterday sharing his rediscovered love for musicals, from Legally Blonde to the recently opened Betty Blue Eyes. Musical theatre seems to be a hot topic of conversation at the moment; those who want to read more should check out a recent feature on The Public Reviews on the subject or take a look at my arguments in defence of the musical.

Have I missed something? Leave me a comment. I also write a weekly feature on WHAT’S HOT for The Public Reviews, so head on over and take a look.

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