Weekly Previews Published 3 February 2011

The 7th to the 13th of February

What’s opening in London this week.

Natasha Tripney

The major West End opening of the week is Ian Rickson’s production of Lillian Hellman’s The Children’s Hour at the Comedy Theatre. The casting of Kiera Knightly and Elizabeth Moss, never less than compelling as Mad Men’s Peggy, in roles played on screen by Audrey Hepburn and Shirley Maclaine in the 1961 film, have made this a definite ‘event’.

Elisabeth Moss and Keira Knightley in The Children's Hour

The Royal Court’s first new play of the year is Richard Bean’s The Heretic, another in a growing wave of plays about climate change, starring Juliet Stephenson and James Fleet and hopefully more clear-eyed than the National’s similarly themed Greenland. This is also the week that the Royal Court’s biggest critical success of last year, Clybourne Park, makes the leap to Wyndham’s in the West End. Dominic Cooke’s production of Bruce Norris’s acerbic two-part play about shifting racial politics in Chicago has undergone some cast changes in the interim: Stephen Campbell Moore takes over the roles originally played by Martin Freeman, a late replacement for Jason Watkins, while Stuart McQuarrie takes over from Steffan Rhodri. There’s another returning production at the Young Vic, with a second chance to see Rufus Norris’s staging of DBC Pierre’s Booker-winning novel, Vernon God Little.

Away from the West End, there are a number of musicals opening this week. Southwark Playhouse is staging Joe Fredericks’ revival of Sondheim’s Company, the first musical to be performed at the theatre, in either of its homes, since it was founded in 1993. The Tabard stages Jason Robert Brown’s bittersweet two-hander, The Last Five Years, while the Landor is bravely resurrecting Andrew Lloyd-Webber’s somewhat infamous PG Wodehouse musical, By Jeeves!

This week also sees the arrival in London of a couple of shows from the 2009 Edinburgh Fringe. DogOrange’s debut production, an adaptation of the Chekhov short story Ward No 6, opens at Camden’s People Theatre while a revised version of Analogue’s Beachy Head, about the notorious suicide spot and the reasons why someone might choose to end their life there, plays at Jackson’s Lane Theatre in Highgate from 9-12 February before continuing on a national tour.

Kilburn’s Cock Tavern continue to punch well above their weight with a production of Howard Barker’s three-hander, Judith; the Unicorn Theatre is staging Pilot Theatre’s contemporary retelling of Romeo and Juliet for a younger audience and, after its run was extended to meet demand, there’s still time to catch Aya Theatre’s acclaimed production of Peter Handke’s Kaspar, which is playing beneath a Bankside railway arch until 12 February.

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Natasha Tripney

Natasha co-founded Exeunt in 2011 and was editor until 2016. She's now lead critic and reviews editor for The Stage, and has written about theatre and the arts for the Guardian, Time Out, the Independent, Lonely Planet and Tortoise.

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