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London Datebook: Bat Boy Flies, The West End’s Breakdown & More

January 18, 2021

first_imgA new year always brings with it promise in abundance, especially for the London theater scene, which Is already kicking into gear. From the latest British reworking of a Broadway musical to an eagerly awaited new play from arguably the greatest living British playwright, January offers a mouth-watering feast of possibilities. ALSO: Nina Raine’s play Tribes was a long-running success off-Broadway, but the English author this month turns director to steer her brother Moses Raine’s play Donkey Heart to the Trafalgar Studios downstairs space for a three-week run opening January 8. The same night sees the first preview at the Young Vic for the London premiere of Bull, Mike Bartlett’s short, sharp piece about gender and power politics in the workplace that has played Sheffield and New York but never London—until now. JANUARY 12-18 Revisiting the Verge: Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown got a sniffy response in some quarters in 2010 when the Pedro Almodovar film was conceived as a Broadway musical. So the director Bartlett Sher is using its West End premiere, opening January 12 at the Playhouse Theatre, as a chance to reconsider the material from scratch, which means some new songs from composer David Yazbek and a cast featuring Olivier winner Tamsin Greig Tony nominee Haydn Gwynne and Wicked alum Willemijn Verkaik. ALSO: James McAvoy reteams with director Jamie Lloyd for a rare revival of The Ruling Class, Peter Barnes’s play about a paranoid schizophrenic that is best-known to many from the 1972 Peter O’Toole film. Opening night is January 27 on the Trafalgar Studios mainstage. The night before sees a gala concert performance at the Palace Theatre of Stephen Sondheim and Hugh Wheeler’s ever-glorious A Little Night Music, with an all-star cast headed by Anne Reid, Janie Dee, Jamie Parker and Joanna Riding. JANUARY 5-11 A Batty Revival: The cult off-Broadway musical Bat Boy got a big-deal West End outing in 2004 and here it is in a new off-West End production opening January 14 at the Southwark Playhouse. Rob Compton takes the title role amid a notably high-powered creative team that includes Tony nominee Lauren Ward as the title character’s adoptive mother and Tony nominee Joey McKneely on hand as choreographer. ALSO: Robert Hastie’s revival of the late Kevin Elyot’s beautiful and heartbreaking play My Night with Reg was one of the top productions of 2014, and now it gets a West End upgrade, opening January 23 at the Apollo Theatre, with its starry Donmar cast intact. Final pre-opening week of previews at the Theatre Royal Haymarket of the West End transfer from Chichester of Taken at Midnight, Mark Hayhurst’s play about the mother of the German lawyer who famously put Hitler on the witness stand; Downton Abbey’s Penelope Wilton stars.center_img JANUARY 19-25 Crossing the Pond: The director Michael Longhurst is currently bringing a London hit to renewed life on Broadway with Constellations, starring Jake Gyllenhaal and Ruth Wilson. And scarcely does that production open in New York before he is back in London directing the West End premiere of an off-Broadway hit—Joshua Harmon’s Bad Jews, opening January 21 at the St. James Theatre. Ilan Goodman (son of the protean actor Henry Goodman) and Jenna Augen head the cast. View Comments ALSO: First preview January 15 of Dominic Dromgoole’s production at Shakespeare’s Globe of the classic play The Changeling, which returns the blissful Hattie Morahan to the London stage following her acclaimed New York run as Nora in the Young Vic production of A Doll’s House. A familiar New York name in his own right, author Will Eno brings his solo play Title and Deed to west London’s Print Room, opening January 16; Conor Lovett once again makes up the cast of one. JANUARY 26 –FEBRUARY 1 Sir Tom’s Time: It’s been more than eight years since Tom Stoppard’s last new play, Rock ‘n’ Roll, which stormed Broadway and the West End, so interest is doubly keen in the acclaimed scribe’s latest venture, The Hard Problem, opening January 28 in the National’s new Dorfman auditorium. Telling of a young psychology researcher at a brain-science institute, the play is directed by Nicholas Hytner in his last production before exiting the helm of the National this spring. His former Desdemona in Othello, Olivia Vinall, takes the central role.last_img

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