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Top 10 theatre openings in London this November
As November creeps around the corner, the nights are getting darker and the days are getting colder. There is no better way to warm up than by enjoying some of the very best theatre London has to offer. Here are the shows we think you should be seeing this November.
Hollywood actor Christian Slater returns to the West End to star in David Mamet’s Pulitzer Prize and Olivier Award-winning Glengarry Glen Ross. The play is a profanity-filled amoral comedy that shocked and delighted viewers when it came to the big screen in 1992 for an adaptation featuring Al Pacino. This hotly-anticipated revival of Mamet’s boisterous tale about a group of cut-throat Chicago real estate salesmen, Levene, Roma, Moss, and Aaronow who have chosen to participate in a high-stakes competition against each other. Their job is to sell undesirable Florida real estate at an inflated price. With its larger-than-life characters and risky, adrenaline-fuelled situations, Glengarry Glen Ross will leave you reeling.
This just in: Breaking Bad actor Bryan Cranston is set to make his British theatre debut as Ivo van Hove directs the Lee Hall adaptation of Network. The 1976 film is about a news anchor who isn’t pulling in the ratings and is set to be fired, but when he decides to go off script in a series of angry rants, the viewers come flocking back. The production also stars Michelle Dockery and Douglas Henshall, and from the look of the rehearsal photos, there will be an (almost) full TV news set on stage.
The award-winning Everybody’s Talking About Jamie is set to take London by storm following its sold-out Sheffield run. Although openly gay, Jamie New has a secret - his love for drag. Inspired by the real life story of Jamie Campbell, who featured in the BBC documentary ‘Jamie: Drag Queen at 16’, this “joyous teen drag musical” is brought to life by music from Dan Gillespie Sells of The Feeling. Everybody’s Talking About Jamie has been described as “Billy Elliot for today’s generation” and will run at the Apollo Theatre into the new year.
Following his triumphant production of Woyzeck earlier this year, Jack Thorne returns to the Old Vic with his adaptation of Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol starring renowned actor Rhys Ifans as the miserable Ebenezer Scrooge. This festive tale sees the ghosts of Christmas Past, Christmas Present and Christmas Yet-To-Come appear to Scrooge over the course of Christmas Eve night. These ghouls transport Scrooge backwards and forwards in time, showing him what a lifetime of selfishness, resentment and hoarding can lead to. Will Scrooge see the error of his ways before it’s too late? A seasonal classic, A Christmas Carol is recommended for families with older children and is said to be an “uplifting” production “full of music and cheer”.
Making a splash at The Other Palace this November is Nigel Harman’s production of the musical Big Fish starring Cheers and Frasier favourite Kelsey Grammer. The musical is based on Daniel Wallace’s 1998 book ‘Big Fish: A Novel of Mythic Proportions’, which was later made into a Tim Burton movie starring Ewan McGregor. Grammer plays the part of Edward Bloom, and with Bloom there’s no easy distinction between man and myth, fact and fiction. As Bloom lays dying, Edward’s son begins to question his father’s existence - has it all been one big lie?
Patrick Marber’s play The Red Lion is set in the dressing room of a non-league Geordie football team, and centres on a dispute about a particularly talented player. The team’s manager, who has his sights set on bigger and better things, wants to sell the player for a profit, while the club’s long-serving kit man wants to keep him at the club. The production stars Stephen Tompkinson, John Bowler and Dean Bone who all reprise their roles at Trafalgar Studios from a production at Live Theatre in Newcastle earlier in the year.
Award-winning actress Josie Lawrence said she first read Brecht’s Mother Courage when she was 18 years old, and playing her is “a major tick on my theatrical bucket list.” She now gets the chance as Tony Kushner’s’ translation comes to the Southwark. The play takes place in a war-ravaged land as the titular mother drags her three young children on a cart, making a living by trading with soldiers along the way. Kushner’s version of the play was first performed in New York in 2006, and made its way to London in 2009, where Fiona Shaw took on the role at the National Theatre.
Peep Show co-creator Sam Bain’s new play gets its world premiere at the Park Theatre, directed by no other than absolute comedy legend Kathy Burke. It’s about city dweller Luke who sets on a journey to discover serenity in the Scottish Highlands, but it unable to shake off his past as his obnoxious older brother Tony sets out to find his stone hut and track him down. It stars Adam Deacon (of the films Adulthood and Kidulthood) with Samuel Anderson and Yasmine Akram.
Sam Wanamaker Playhouse
Matthew Dunster directs this new spy thriller by Anders Lustgarten, The Secret Theatre. Sir Francis Walsingham oversees a huge network of surveillance during the reign of Elizabeth I. But as tensions between the UK and the rest of Europe become strained (topical), Walsingham has to adapt his tactics, and risks losing control of the whole system in order to keep the country safe. It will star Aidan McArdle and Tara Fitzgerald when it opens at the Sam Wanamaker Playhouse, following Romantics Anonymous, the last production Emma Rice will direct as the Globe’s AD.
Syrian playwright and documentary maker Liwaa Yazji has developed her major new work as part of the Royal Court’s long-term project with writers from Syria and Lebanon. Set in a small Syrian town, it sees the coffins piling up in the wake of war. The town’s mayor has a radical compensation scheme: one goat for every ‘son martyred’. The production, which is directed by associate director Hamish Pirie, features real life goats, which is as good a reason as any to go and see a play.
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