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Shows you shouldn't miss...
Private Fears in Public Places
Six lives are linked by circumstance in Alan Ayckbourn's latest play Private Fears in Public Places. More below....
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Our critic Mark Shenton has some essential dates for your theatre-going
in May...

FIRST NIGHT: Kwame Kwei-Armah in Elmina's Kitchen

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THEATRE REVIEWS AND FIRST NIGHTS:

acorn antiques
national anthems
whose life is it anyway?
mary poppins
the producers
the woman in white
mamma mia!
the history boys
when harry met sally
jerry springer the opera

joseph and the amazing technicolor dreamcoat
blood brothers

we will rock you

Theatre critic Mark Shenton

our theatre critic Mark Shenton

SEE ALSO
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latest theatre news

theatre index

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Sun 1 - Mon 16 May on this page
Second half of the month here

A bumper month of new theatregoing opportunities has the opening of the long-awaited stage musical version of Billy Elliot and the launch of this year's Travelex £10 season at the National, with Nicholas Hytner directing both parts of Shakespeare's Henry IV.

Val Kilmer makes his West End debut, starring in a new stage version of The Postman Always Rings Twice, and there's Friends' star David Schwimmer in a new Neil LaBute play Some
Girl(s)
at the Gielgud Theatre.

Gael Garcia BernalHot Spanish acting sensation Gael Garcia Bernal (pictured) leads a new Almeida production of Lorca's Blood Wedding, while the theatre's last hit show, Ibsen's Hedda Gabler, transfers to the West End, as does Stratford East's recent success The Big Life.

A new production of Guys and Dolls starring Ewan McGregor kicks off previews, and for one night only, the likes of Meryl Streep and Steve Buscemi make an appearance at the Royal Festival Hall.

All that and the lost art of burlesque revived at the Arts Theatre means that this truly is a month with something for everyone.

Sun 1 May

Susannah YorkSusannah York stars in the world premiere of Sara Mason's The Kindness of Strangers, opening at the Warehouse Theatre in Croydon tonight (following previews from 29 April).

Described as an intriguing and powerful mystery, in which a wealthy woman finds herself in an unfamiliar house under the protection of a couple she doesn't know, it is directed by Warehouse artistic director Ted Craig.
Box office: 020 7680 4060
Web: Warehouse Theatre (The BBC is not responsible for the content of external websites)


Mon 2 May

Anthony AndrewsFormer Brideshead Revisited star Anthony Andrews (pictured) – who previously starred in My Fair Lady at the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane a couple of years ago – returns to musicals to take over from Michael Ball in Andrew Lloyd Webber's The Woman in White, starting performances tonight.
Box office: 0870 895 5579
Web:
Woman In White: the Musical


Tue 3 May

The lost art of burlesque is revived at the Arts Theatre, where Immodesty Blaize and Walter's Burlesque! opens tonight (following previews from 20 April).

While Immodesty Blaize has been lauded as the Queen of British Burlesque, Walter is a male burlesque star in what is traditionally a woman's world. The company also features five showgirls, pianist Rod Melvin, and an 8-foot-high rocking horse!
Box office: 020 7836 3334

The Unexpected ManAlso from tonight: Peter Bowles and Sian Phillips (pictured) star in a touring production of Yazmina Reza's The Unexpected Man (originally staged by the RSC in a production that featured Michael Gambon and Eileen Atkins), which plays at Richmond Theatre this week from tonight to Saturday 7 May.
Box office: 0870 060 6651
Web:
Richmond Theatre

And: The Gruffalo, a touring adaptation of the best-selling children's book about a mouse in a forest full of predators, comes to Greenwich Theatre from today to Saturday as part of a national tour. Next week it continues to Islington's Pleasance Theatre (from May 10-15).
Box office: 020 8858 7755

Wed 4 May

Henry IVNicholas Hytner launches this year's Travelex season in the Olivier Theatre (with the majority of seats available for just £10) with both parts of Shakespeare's Henry IV, featuring Michael Gambon as Falstaff, David Bradley as King Henry, and Matthew Macfadyen as Prince Hal.

Each part is presented separately, though there are days like today's press opening when both parts can be seen on the same day.
Box office: 020 7452 3000
Web:
National Theatre

Thur 5 May

National Alien OfficeThe British premiere of National Alien Office, a new play from Belgium by Stanislas Cotton, opens at the Riverside Studios tonight (following a preview on 4 May).

Set in an immigration office, it concerns an immigration officer who re-runs his life up to the present shocking moment.
Box office: 020 8237 1111
Web:
Riverside Studios

Also tonight: Greenwich Playhouse hosts a new production of three one-act plays by master French farceur Georges Feydeau – My Wife's Dead Mother, Love and the Piano, and Through the Open Window – which open tonight (following previews from 3 May).

Robert Nisi, a recent graduate of the Drama Studio's directing course, directs.
Box office: 020 8858 9256
Web:
Galleon Theatre

Fri 6 May

Private Fears in Public PlacesRichmond's Orange Tree hosts the London premiere of Alan Ayckbourn's latest play Private Fears in Public Places, opening tonight (following a preview on 5 May) in Ayckbourn's own production which transfers from his Scarborough theatre where it was first presented last year.

In this cinematic play of the misheard, the unspoken and the sadly misunderstood, six separate lives are all strangely linked by circumstance.
Box office: 020 8940 3633
Web: Orange Tree Theatre

Mon 9 May

Hampstead Theatre presents the world premiere of Dennis King's Osama the Hero, opening tonight (following previews from 5 May), performed in rep with Jane Brodie's A Single Act (opening on May 16, following previews from 12 May).

Hampstead's artistic director Anthony Clark directs both plays, each of which explores the anxiety of living in a climate of terror.
Box office: 020 7722 9301
Web:
Hampstead Theatre

Tue 10 May

The Philadelphia StoryKevin Spacey takes to the stage of the Old Vic Theatre once again, opening tonight (following previews from 3 May) in a new production of Philip Barry's classic Broadway comedy The Philadelphia Story (which provided the inspiration for Cole Porter's musical High Society).

Four-time Broadway Tony Award winning director Jerry Zaks directs a cast that also includes Jennifer Ehle, Nicholas le Prevost and Lauren Ward.
Box office: 0870 060 6628
Web:
Old Vic Theatre

Also tonight: Dawn Hope stars as Billie Holiday in Lanie Robertson's Lady Day at Emerson's Bar and Grill, opening tonight at the New Players Theatre (following previews from 5 May).

Mark Clements' production, first seen at the New End Theatre last year, features over a dozen of the songs that Holiday made famous, to the accompaniment of musical director Warren Wills' piano.
B
ox office: 0870 033 2626

Wed 11 May

Billy Elliot - the MusicalThe new stage musical version of Billy Elliot – the Musical finally opens at the West End's Victoria Palace Theatre (following previews from 31 March).

Directed by Stephen Daldry (who also directed the film), it features new songs by Elton John and a cast that includes Haydn Gwynne and Tim Healy joining James Lomas, George Maguire and Liam Mower (pictured above) who share the title role.
Box office: 0870 895 5577
Web:
Billy Elliot the Musical


Thur 12 May

Blood WeddingRising Spanish film actor Gael Garcia Bernal leads the cast of a new production of Lorca's Blood Wedding, opening at the Almeida tonight (following previews from 5 May), and directed by Rufus Norris who previously staged Festen here.

Lorca's 1932 play is a story of love, lust and betrayal in which a young Andalusian bride elopes with her childhood sweetheart on her wedding day.
Box office: 020 7359 4404
Web:
Almeida

And: the Union Theatre in Southwark present a new production of Cy Coleman's circus musical Barnum, opening tonight (following previews from 10 May), produced by performer turned presenter Paul Tate.
B
ox office: 020 7261 9876

Fri 13 May

A cast that includes Meryl Streep, Steve Buscemi and Philip Seymour Hoffman appear, for one night only, in Theater of the New Ear at the Royal Festival Hall.

These live readings of two 'sound plays', written and directed by filmmaking brothers Joel and Ethan Coen and screenwriter Charlie Kaufman respectively, are set to music by their long-time collaborator, composer Carter Burwell.
Box office: 08703 800 400
Web:
RFH

Incomplete and Random Acts of KindnessAlso tonight: the Royal Court premieres David Eldridge's Incomplete and Random Acts of Kindness in the Jerwood Theatre Upstairs (following previews from 6 May).

Eldridge, whose previous plays include Under the Blue Sky (also seen here) and the recent Almeida and West End adaptation of Festen, directs the story of a man who has difficulty connecting with others.
B
ox office: 020 7565 5000
Web:
Royal Court Theatre

Mon 16 May

American film and stage actor Brian Dennehy finally brings his Tony award winning performance as Willy Loman in the 1999 Broadway production of Death of a Salesman to the West End's Lyric Theatre, opening tonight (following previews from 10 May).

The cast also includes Clare Higgins as Willy's wife Linda, and Douglas Henshall and Mark Bazeley as their sons. Howard Wit reprises his Broadway role as Charley.
Box office: 0870 890 1107

Now go to: shows you shouldn't miss - part two

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Jump to: latest theatre news and theatre index

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