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Mark Shenton’s theatre picks: January 8

A scene from Women On The Verge Of A Nervous Breakdown. Photo: Tristram Kenton
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I recently provided my London theatre picks for 2015, which also included some of the shows that London is sending Broadway this year, including The Audience (soon also to be reprised in the West End), Skylight and the Royal Shakespeare Company’s Wolf Hall double bill.

Women On the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown – Playhouse Theatre, London

The West End year, meanwhile, kicks off with an entirely revised version of the 2010 Broadway musical Women On the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown, based on Pedro Almodovar’s 1988 film of the same name, opening at the Playhouse on January 12. Bartlett Sher, who also directed the show’s New York premiere for Lincoln Centre Theatre and is about to direct a new production of The King and I (also for LCT), directs a cast led by Tamsin Greig in a musical with music by David Yazbek and Jeffrey Lane, also currently represented in the West End by Dirty Rotten Scoundrels (at the Savoy through to March 28, prior to a national tour). My review for The Stage will appear online on January 13.

Bat Boy – Southwark Playhouse, London

Meanwhile, Southwark Playhouse – responsible for two of the best musicals of 2014 with Dogfight and In the Heights – launches the year by reviving the cult Off-Broadway musical Bat Boy that had a short-lived West End run in 2004. Lauren Ward stars in a production directed by Luke Fredericks with choreography by Broadway’s Joey McKneely, opening on January 14, and I’ll be reviewing for The Stage on January 15.

Othello – Lyric Hammersmith, London

Frantic Assembly revives its 2008 production of Othello, returning after a national tour to open at Lyric Hammersmith on January 14, where the show was originally developed. The Lyric’s Secret Theatre production of A Series of Increasingly Impossible Acts, in which the audience helps to choose the protagonist whom the rest of the company then put through their paces in an endurance test of a

Donkey Heart at the Old Red Lion. Photo: Tristram Kenton
Donkey Heart at the Old Red Lion. Photo: Tristram Kenton

performance, also returns to London, to play at the Tricycle from January 12 to 31. I have to admit I gave up on seeing the Secret Theatre shows at the Lyric after a series of disappointments, but perhaps I gave up too soon: this one sounds fascinating.

The Railway Children – King’s Cross Theatre, London

York Theatre Royal’s Olivier Award winning production of The Railway Children, previously presented for two seasons in the former Eurostar terminal at Waterloo station, also reappears in London, this time opening January 14 in a purpose-built 1,000-seater behind King’s Cross Station.

Donkey Heart – Trafalgar Studios, London

Also in London, Moses Raine’s Donkey Heart, first seen at the Old Red Lion last year, transfers to Trafalgar Studios 2, directed by sister Nina, whose own play Tiger Country is currently at Hampstead Theatre to January 17.

Ivy and Joan – Jermyn Street Theatre, London

Jermyn Street Theatre kicks off its 21st anniversary year by reviving publisher and playwright James Hogan’s Ivy and Joan, opening on January 8, with a cast that features Lynne Miller and Jack Klaff.

Lynne Miller in Ivy and Joan. Photo: Tristram Kenton
Lynne Miller in Ivy and Joan. Photo: Tristram Kenton

Liberian Girl – Royal Court Theatre, London

And the Royal Court’s Theatre Upstairs kicks off the year with the premiere of first-time writer Diana Nneka Atuona‘s Liberian Girl, presented in an immersive production directed by Matthew Dunster, opening January 13.

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time – Lowry Theatre, Salford

The National Theatre’s 31-city tour of their production of The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, still playing in the West End at the Gielgud and now also a hit on Broadway, opens officially at Salford’s Lowry on January 9.

Dead Simple – Orchard Theatre, Dartford

Also kicking off a tour is a new stage version of Peter James’s best selling novel Dead Simple, beginning at Dartford’s Orchard Theatre on January 14.

I’ll be here every Thursday with my pick of the week’s openings. And here’s to a great year of theatregoing for us all.

Read more columns from Mark Shenton

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