Top 10 shows opening in London in March 2020
Spring is just around the corner, and the West End is officially in bloom. March sees some film favourites make their way to the stage, some new and intriguing plays across the capital, and some nostalgic revivals of old favourites.
The latest screen-to-stage adaptation to hit the West End is none other than J. F. Lawton’s ‘90s rom-com Pretty Woman, which tells the story of a sex worker Vivian and wealthy businessman Edward Lewis who fall for each other following a number of encounters. Lawton has written the book for the musical, which premiered on Broadway in 2018, with Garry Marshall, and features a score – including the iconic “Oh, Pretty Woman’ - by none other than Bryan Adams and Jim Vallance. Danny Mac stars in the role made famous by Richard Gere, while Six alumna Aimie Atkinson plays Vivian, as played by Julia Roberts in the film.
Piccadilly Theatre, opens 2nd March
Katherine Parkinson returns to the London stage in a brand-new play by EV Crowe. Directed by Vicky Featherstone, Shoe Lady tells the story of a woman who has lost her shoes and is feeling overwhelmed. Well, in typical Royal Court marketing fashion, that’s all we can really glean from the show right now, but Crowe’s The Sewing Group played the Court in 2016, and was described as ‘Caryl Churchill-influenced’ by Susannah Clapp in the Observer, so you’ll be sure to be in for a weird and wonderful evening.
Royal Court, opens 9th March
Noel Coward’s comedy about a clairvoyant who is invited by a novelist to conduct a séance in the hopes it will inspire material for his new book was first staged in London in 1941, and became the longest-running play at the time, with 1,997 performances. Last seen in the West End in 2014 starring Angela Lansbury as medium Madame Acarti, and now Jennifer Saunders returns to the West End to play the lead role in Richard Eyre’s production which was first staged at Theatre Royal Bath.
Duke of York’s Theatre, opens 10th March
When Mike Bartlett’s play first premiered in Plymouth in 2010, the phrases ‘boomer’ and millennial had hardly been muttered, but in its first major revival since its premiere, his play sees the two go head-to-head. It follows a couple who met the night The Beatles first performed “All You Need Is Love”, through five decades as they eventually go through personal battles with their children in a war of personal and generational values.
Lyric Hammersmith, opens 11th March
The Seven Streams of the River Ota
A trend over the last decade of theatre has been epically long plays, be it The Inheritance, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, Angels in America, Wolf Hall, they each demand a day’s worth of viewing. The first of the ‘20s is a revival at the National Theatre, Robert Lapage’s The Seven Streams of the River Ota, which first played the Edinburgh Festival Fringe in 1995. Running for 7 hours, with two intervals and one 45-minute break, the play covers life in the immediate wake of the bombing of Hiroshima in 1945 right up to the 1990s in seven acts.
National Theatre, 13th March
Pulitzer Prize winner Paula Vogel’s latest play, which was nominated for a Tony Award when it played Broadway in 2017, gets its London premiere at the Menier in Rebecca Taichman original production. With a cast that includes Finbar Lynch, Peter Polycarpou and Alexandra Silber, the piece explores the origins of the play The God of Vengeance by Sholem Asch, which sparked a culture war in New York when it was first staged in 1907. Sprinkled with music from a live Klezmer band, it will tell the story of the artists who decided to stage the original play, which caused controversy as it told the story of a brother owner who had a relationship with one of his workers.
Menier Chocolate Factory, opens 23rd March
City of Angels
It was one of the fastest-selling shows at the Donmar Warehouse during Josie Rourke’s time in charge, selling out the entire run in less than an hour, so welcome news that her production of Cy Coleman and David Zippel’s smooth musical City of Angels gets another run out. The West End transfer, which stars original cast members Rosalie Craig, Hadley Fraser and Rebecca Trehearn alongside newcomers Vanessa Williams and Theo James, tells the story of a novelist adapting his book for the silver screen. What made this show stand out was its impressive design; the narrative of the film in question is played out on a chromatic film noir set, while his life returns the set to technicolour. It will be exciting to see this show expanded onto a bigger stage, and give those who missed out in 2014 a chance to see this delectable musical.
Garrick Theatre, opens 24th March
Hot off the back of her Critics’ Circle Award win for A Very Expensive Poison, the first London revival of Lucy Prebble’s play comes to the Boulevard Theatre in a new production by Anthony Neilson. With a cast that includes Kate O’Flynn and Tim McMullan, the play is set during a medical trial where two of the patients fall in love, but scientists are unsure whether their infatuation is simply a side-effect of the antidepressant drug they are trialing.
Boulevard Theatre, opens 25th March
The Dumb Waiter
You may have seen The Dumb Waiter in the West End as part of Jamie Lloyd's Pinter at the Pinter season, but Harold Pinter's play first premiered at the Hampstead Theatre in 1960, as part of the venue's first season. Alice Hamilton directs this anniversary production, which will see Philip Jackson and Harry Lloyd play two hitmen in hiding awaiting their next instruction.
Hampstead Theatre, opens 25th March
All of Us
Comic Francesca Martinez has appeared on stage, on our screens and over the airwaves on stand-up duty, but now, she will star in her debut play at the National Theatre. She's known for her activism; her 'powerful takedown of Tory austerity' on Question Time was nominated for TV moment of the year, and her drama promises to explore 'life, love and the struggle to survive for those who don’t fit in during a time of austerity.'
National Theatre, opens 26th March