Shakespeare like you’ve never seen before, a Scottish classic at the Citz and the Carôle King musical are all opening across the country this week. Kris Hallett shares his top picks of UK theatre
Having taken Broadway by storm this Carôle King biopic now opens in the West End with previews from Tuesday (10thFebruary). It could make a star of its leading lady Katie Brayben and features great tune after tune, including Will You Love Me Tomorrow, You’ve Got A Friend and (You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Women.
Booking until 13thJune
DirectorDavid Hayman revives one of Scotland’s most loved 20thcentury plays that follows Phil and Spanky through there adolescence working in a carpet shop.But even the distractions of the annual staff dance, the monthly pay packet or the unattainable Lucille can’t stop Phil from dreaming of becoming an artist.
Laura Wade’s 2010 play gets a new revival just in time for another general election. The satire may be more chilling after 5 years of Conservative coalition but it will be interesting to see if the play shows more signs of depth as the years pass by. It will tour to Salisbury Playhouse after its run in Nottingham.
Before tackling Iago for the RSC Lucian Msamati is on directing duties for Zimbabwean playwright Zodwa Nyoni’s debut play.Left alone to rebuild her life, Miriam’s heartache is interrupted when Boi Boi’s reckless ex-wife Stella and traditionalistic brother show up to stake their claim on his name, on his property and to revel in the glory of his fame. Live music entwines with crackling dialogue in this sharp new production for the Courtyard stage.
Willy Russell’s comedy seems to be in almost constant rotation around the country; its combination of great writing and small cast list making it a sure fire hit for cash strapped venues. This version should be a great addition though with Con O’Neill and Leanne Best taking on the rôles of the English tutor and his eager protégé under the direction of artistic director Gemma Bodinetz.
Booking until 7thMarch
This musical using the songs of Whitney Houston and based on the hit movie proved popular in the West End with audiences and now embarks on what is sure to be a successful tour with Alexandra Burke/Zoe Birkett taking on the rôle of the singer that she has already played in the West End. Expect big vocals and spectacular staging.
12th – 28th February
Arthur Miller’s 1948 classic begins a new UK tour under Talawa artistic director Michael Buffong. This was the play that made Miller’s name and is a searing investigation into honesty, guilt, greed and family.
The historical tragedy by Shakespeare is given a twist in this all female version of staged in the roof void of the Millennium Centre’s massive bronze canopy. Immersive work has become more and more common in recent times but this should be something quite different.
Booking until 21st February
The first Dream at the Abbey in 35 years is helmed by Gavin Quinn of Pan Pan Theatre and includes older lovers than one might expect. The blurb promises that this is Shakespeare as ‘you have never seen before’ and the Dream’s fanastical world is always a wonder to explore.
11th February-28th March