Ever since it premiered at The Old Vic in London in 2016, the rumour mill has been rife with talk about if and when Tim Minchin’s musical...
Top 10 theatre openings in London this October
Bridge Theatre, from 18th October
A new theatre in London is always exciting. But when it's headed by Nicks Hytner Nick Starr, it's very exciting. When the first production is written by Richard Bean and Clive Coleman, AND it stars Rory Kinnear, it really doesn't get much better on paper. Young Marx follows the young German philosopher on his mischief in Soho during the 1850s. With his friend Engels in tow (played by Oliver Chris). Who knows what will happen?
Harold Pinter Theatre, from 2nd October
We already know this is a great production. It had a short run at the National Theatre after its successful Broadway premiere. JT Rogers' play is about the secret talks between Israel and Palestine, facilitated by a Norweigan couple, which lead to the Oslo Accords in the 1990s. It sounds heavy, but it's a touching insight into what was the closest to peace the region has ever seen. Starring Lydia Leonard and Toby Stephens, this powerful, very funny play transfers to the West End.
Noel Coward Theatre, currently in previews
James Graham is doing very well for himself. Just down the road from the Duke of York's where Ink is running, his new play about the Labour party is about to open at the Noel Coward. Starring Martin Freeman and Tamsin Greig (after Sarah Lancashire pulled out) as MP David Lyons and his constituency manager, it tracks through the history of the Labour party from the Kinnock years to Corbynism. Could there be a more relevant play?
Wyndham's Theatre, from 3rd October
Another British playwright with two productions opening this month is one Simon Stephens. He teams up with director and long-time friend Marianne Elliot (who launches her new production company with Chris Harper) following the global success of The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time. Heisenberg stars Kenneth Cranham and Anne-Marie Duff as a couple who meet when they bump into each other at King’s Cross Station, and it’s all about how uncertainty is exciting, rather than frightening.
Lyric Hammersmith, from 12th October
Stephens’ second play of the month is his interpretation of Anton Chekhov’s The Seagull. It stars Lesley Sharp (Rita, Sue and Bob Too) as fading actress Irina Arkadina, with Paul Higgins (Black Mirror) and Cherrelle Skeete (Harry Potter and the Cursed Child). Sean Holmes, who won the Lyric an Olivier in 2011 following his production of Sarah Kane’s Blasted.
National Theatre, from 7th October
Rory Mullarkey has described his take on the classic British myth is to create a folk tale from scratch, comparing it to a big screen superhero movie, which is all sorts of exciting. It’s got a huge set to fill the Olivier stage, bustling with different ideas, and the word “epic” pops up a lot when the cast talk about the show. We can get on board with that.
Buy Saint George and the Dragon tickets
Garrick Theatre, currently in previews
Mel Brooks’ monstrous story comes alive at the Garrick Theatre this October. Based on his 1974 film starring Gene Wilder, it is about Dr Fredereick Frankenstein who inherits his grandfather’s Transylvania estate and recreates the experiments that used to take place there. It not gets the musical treatment and, written and produced by the genius that is Mel Brooks himself, it promises to be a surreal, wacky production.
Buy Young Frankenstein tickets
Almeida Theatre, from 10th October
It has been hard to ignore Mike Bartlett as of late. Series two of his drama Doctor Foster has been making the front pages with each episode, as did the screen adaptation of his Almeida play King Charles III. He returns to the theatre after his 2015 play Game with Albion. It’s about a family living in rural England, and promises to showcase Bartlett’s “special gift of writing brilliant parts for women”, according to director Rupert Goold, with the leading part played by actress Victoria Hamilton.
Theatre Royal Haymarket, from 6th October
Game of Thrones star Natalie Dormer returns to the London stage alongside David Oakes, known for his role in ITV’s Victoria. Dormer plays actress Vanda Jordan, who turns up to audition for director Thomas Novachek’s latest production. She’s obviously not suited to the role (Jordan that is, not Dormer…), and it leads the pair on a charged evening in Manhattan. David Ives’ play ran on Broadway in 2011, and is directed in London by Patrick Marber.
London County Hall, from 6th October
Agatha Christie’s courtroom drama comes to life in the most fitting of settings, the actual courtroom at London County Hall. Kitted out to feel like The Old Bailey, the play will see the case for and against Leonard Vole, accused of murdering a widow for the inheritance, put forward to the jury, played by the audience. It’s a fascinating setting, and a great opportunity to experience a play by one of Britain’s greatest writers.
West End Rumours
Groundhog Day to repeat itself in the West End in 2018?
New Bee Gees jukebox musical in the works?
It’s been confirmed that a new bio-musical about the rise to fame of the Bee Gees is in the works, and could be eyeing a place in the West End.
Universal Theatrical Group is the team behind...