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Mark Shenton’s theatre picks: September 17

Hangmen at the Royal Court's Jerwood Theatre Downstairs. Photo: Tristram Kenton Hangmen at the Royal Court's Jerwood Theatre Downstairs. Photo: Tristram Kenton
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There are lots of high-profile openings in London and beyond over the next week, with major actors (David Morrissey, Reece Shearmith, Simon Russell Beale, Dervla Kirwin, Steven Berkoff, and Hilton McRae among them in London and Alex Hassell in Stratford-upon-Avon and Brian Cox and Bill Paterson in Edinburgh) and new and old plays (premieres by Martin McDonagh, Ian Kelly and Anthony Horowitz, and a revival by TS Eliot and adaptation of Bronte). The only disappointment of the week: the late cancellation of Liza Minnelli, who was due to appear at the London Palladium on September 20 with an onstage interview that was to have been conducted by Bruce Forsyth.

Hangmen – Jerwood Theatre Downstairs, Royal Court, London

Martin McDonagh’s first play to be premiered here in over a decade sees him return to his original theatrical home, the Royal Court, with Hangmen (opening on September 18), with a cast that includes David Morrissey, Reece Shearsmith and Johnny Flynn.

Mr Foote’s Other Leg – Hampstead Theatre, London

Simon Russell Beale continues a busy year on the London stage – following his outstanding performance in the Donmar’s Temple, he now stars in Mr Foote’s Other Leg, opening at Hampstead Theatre on September 21 in a company that also features the play’s author Ian Kelly, Dervla Kirwan, Forbes Masson, Colin Stinton, Jenny Galloway and Joseph Millson.

Dinner With Saddam – Menier Chocolate Factory, London

Steven Berkoff returns to the stage to star as Saddam Hussein in Anthony Horowitz’s Dinner with Saddam, opening on September 22, in a company that also features Sanjeev Bhaskar and Shobu Kapoor.

West End Bares – Cafe de Paris, London

Now in its sixth year, this burlesque charity fundraiser for Aids charity Theatre MAD (Make a Difference Trust) takes place on September 20 for two performances only at 9.30pm and midnight. Based on the original concept, Broadway Bares, that takes place in New York every year and features Broadway performers baring (almost) all, this year’s event will be hosted by Graham Norton, with entertainment by singer Beverley Knight, Ru Paul’s Drag Race Winner Bianca Del Rio, comedians Joe Lycett and Katherine Ryan, Strictly Come Dancing star Robin Windsor and The Supreme Fabulettes.

Jane Eyre – Lyttelton, National Theatre, London

Madeleine Worrall in Jane Eyre. Photo: Manuel Harlan
Madeleine Worrall in Jane Eyre. Photo: Manuel Harlan

Bristol Old Vic transfers a newly condensed version – now staged in one evening rather than two – of Charlotte Bronte’s Jane Eyre, opening at the Lyttelton on September 17. Devised by the company, with dramaturgy by Mike Akers, it is directed by Sally Cookson. It will return to Bristol in January 2016.

The Cocktail Party – The Print Room, London

Abbey Wright directs the first major revival of TS Eliot’s The Cocktail Party in a quarter of a century, opening at the Print Room on September 18 with a cast that includes Hilton McRae and Marcia Warren.

Fake It ‘Til You Make It – Soho Theatre, London

One of the biggest hits at this year’s Edinburgh Fringe, where it ran at the Traverse, transfers to Soho Theatre, who co-commissioned and co-produced this show about clinical depression, running from September 17.

You Me Bum Bum Train – venue tba

The latest incarnation of the interactive theatrical experience opens officially on September 22, and I’ll be there to review it for The Stage. The last time I saw this I was terrified but utterly knocked out – as it turns each and every spectator into the star of their own show via a series of interactive scenarios. It took me to places – inside myself as well as in terms of experiences – I’d never been to before. One of the problems in writing about it, though, is that in order not to spoil the surprise for future participants, what actually happens is strictly embargoed.

 Oliver Ford Davies in rehearsal for Henry V. Photo: Keith Pattison.
Oliver Ford Davies in rehearsal for Henry V. Photo: Keith Pattison.

Henry V – Royal Shakespeare Theatre, Stratford-upon-Avon

Beyond London, RSC artistic director Gregory Doran adds to his cycle of history plays by directing Alex Hassell as Henry V, opening at Stratford on September 22, ahead of a London transfer to the Barbican in November with earlier parts in the cycle revived alongside it. Hassell, recently so brilliant in the RSC’s Death of a Salesman, is an actor to watch.

Waiting for Godot – Royal Lyceum Theatre, Edinburgh

The Royal Lyceum Theatre Company celebrates its 50th anniversary with a new production of Beckett’s play starring Brian Cox and Bill Paterson, running from September 18 under the direction of artistic director Mark Thomas.

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