Weekly Round-Up: Saturday 16 April 2011

Dramatis personae Rob Ashford’s starry production of Eugene O’Neill’s Anna Christie at the Donmar Warehouse is completed by Jenny Galloway and David Hayman, who join the previously announced Ruth Wilson and Jude Law. Casting was also announced this week for Regent’s Park’s new staging of William Golding’s Lord of the Flies, the first production of their annual Open Air season. The young cast includes George Bukhari, James Clay, Sam Clemmett, Theo Cowan, Matt Ingram, Jordan Maxwell, James McConville, Stuart Matthews, Alistair Toovey and Joshua Williams.

Meanwhile, further casting has been revealed for the Globe’s production of Much Ado About Nothing, with Joseph Marcell, Ewan Stewart, Paul Hunter, Matthew Pidgeon and Joe Caffrey joining Charles Edwards and Eve Best. Finally, the Royal Court’s upcoming production of Anya Reiss’ second play Acid Test will star Phoebe Fox, Vanessa Kirby, Denis Lawson and Lydia Wilson, while Andrew Buchan joins the cast of Richard II, Michael Grandage’s final production as artistic director of the Donmar.

Curtain up The hottest ticket in theatreland this week was to Cameron Mackintosh’s new musical Betty Blue Eyes, which had its opening night at the Novello Theatre on Wednesday. The pig puns were out in force as the critics gave their verdicts and Betty certainly brought home the bacon (sorry, I couldn’t resist!).

Other openings included the Donmar’s revival of Harold Pinter’s Moonlight (check out reviews here), the transfer of Mike Leigh’s Ecstasy to the Duchess Theatre, The Gate’s new version of Sophocles’ tragedy Electra, verbatim play London Road at the NT Cottesloe (read what the critics said) and the 40th anniversary production of musical Godspell at the Union Theatre.

Encore! The musical adaptation of Ken Ludwig’s play Lend Me a Tenor will sing again this summer at the Gielgud Theatre. The show transfers to the West End following a try-out last September at Plymouth’s Theatre Royal and stars Matthew Kelly, Damian Humbley, Michael Matus and Sophie-Louise Dann are set to reprise their roles. Spellbound audiences can also look forward to more Potted Potter, as CBBC’s Dan and Jeff bring their condensed version of JK Rowling’s novels to the Edinburgh Fringe for a fifth year before taking the show to the Garrick Theatre.

The recently closed Cock Tavern’s production of Tennessee Williams’ previously unperformed play Cavalier for Milady, meanwhile, receives a second life at the Jermyn Street Theatre in June. Last but not least, Peter Hall will be making a return to Shakespeare’s Henry IV, Parts 1 and 2 this summer at the Theatre Royal Bath, almost 40 years after he first directed them for the RSC.

Box office Joining Hall’s Henry IV productions at the Theatre Royal Bath will be revivals of Noel Coward’s This Happy Breed, starring Shamless’ Dean Lennox Kelly and Rebecca Johnson, and Alan Bennett’s The Madness of George III, which will later embark on a national tour. Elsewhere, the Finborough Theatre will be presenting the London premiere of Leslie Bricusse and Anthony Newley’s 1965 Broadway musical The Roar of the Greasepaint – The Smell of the Crowd in June.

Those looking to tighten the purse strings and still enjoy a trip to the theatre will be pleased to hear the announcement of the return of the Scoop’s festival of free theatre this summer. Audiences can enjoy performances of Around the World in Eighty Days and Mark Ravenhill’s new translation of Bertolt Brecht’s The Mother at the 1000-seat open-air South Bank venue without spending a single penny. To save even more money, remember to check out my guide to thrifty theatregoing.

West End whispers The rumour mill is going wild with more gossip surrounding this summer’s production of South Pacific at the Barbican. Names reportedly in the frame for the transfer of the Lincoln Center’s revival include Paulo Szot and Samantha Womack, while speculation has long circulated that Matthew Morrison could revisit the role of Joe Cable. The hopes of Glee fans may be dashed, however, by gossip from the Daily Mail‘s Baz Bamigboye that Daniel Koek could be taking that part. All will be revealed this Wednesday so stay tuned for more news.

Have any news to add? Leave a comment! And don’t forget to check out my weekly WHAT’S HOT feature on The Public Reviews for advice on all the shows to catch in the next week.

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