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This week’s best theatre shows: our critics’ picks (November 15)

Charlie Stemp as Arthur Kipps in Half a Sixpence which is now transferring to the West End. Photo: Manuel Harlan
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It’s a relatively quiet week before the gunge buckets and glitter cannons emerge from their boxes and the panto onslaught begins…

Natasha Tripney, reviews editor

Don’t miss

The Sewing Room – Royal Court, London

EV Crowe’s memorably unsettling debut play, Kin, premiered at the Royal Court in 2010. Now her latest, The Sewing Room, is staged in the same space by the Scottish designer and director Stewart Laing, a maverick talent whose past work includes The Salon Project and Paul Bright’s Confessions of a Justified Sinner Reconstructed.

Read our interview with EV Crowe

Also worth seeing

Luke Wright in What I Learned From Johnny Bevan
Luke Wright in What I Learned From Johnny Bevan

Trouble in Mind – Ustinov Studio, Bath

The brilliant Tanya Moodie stars opposite Joseph Marcell in Trouble in Mind by Alice Childress, the latest production in the Ustinov Studio’s North American season, directed by Laurence Boswell, who previously worked with Moodie on Intimate Apparel in 2014.

I Call My Brothers – Gate Theatre, London

London’s Gate Theatre continues to programme creatively with I Call My Brothers, by Jonas Hassen Khemiri, a play about identity and prejudice and living in a climate of fear. It’s directed by Tinuke Craig.

What I Learned from Jonny Bevan – touring

Luke Wright’s What I Learned from Johnny Bevan was one of the stand-out shows of the 2015 Edinburgh Fringe, a richly written and powerfully performed poetic monologue about friendship and idealism. It’s at the Theatre, Sunderland, on November 18 and Bristol’s Wardrobe Theatre on November 21, before going on to Colchester, Cornwall, Nottingham, Stamford and Harrogate.

Event of the week

Miniaturists – Arcola Theatre, London

The Miniaturists, a showcase for short plays, is one of my favourite new-writing events. It always makes for interesting, varied viewing. November 20 marks its 60th edition and features work from Rosie Kellett, Afsaneh Gray, Nick Myles, Laura Amy Riseborough and Lauren Mooney.

Mark Shenton, lead critic

Don’t miss

Simon Russell Beale in rehearsals for The Tempest. Photo: Topher McGrillis
Simon Russell Beale in rehearsals for The Tempest. Photo: Topher McGrillis

The Tempest – Royal Shakespeare Theatre, Stratford-upon-Avon; Donmar Warehouse at King’s Cross, London; Print Room, London

There’s a sudden surge of Tempests, with three in the same 10-day span: opening on November 17, Simon Russell Beale returns to the Royal Shakespeare Company for the first time after 20 years to play Prospero for director Gregory Doran; then on November 22, Harriet Walter stars as part of the Donmar all-female trilogy in Phyllida Lloyd’s new production; and on November 25, Simon Usher directs Kevin McMonagle at the Print Room.

Also worth seeing

Hair – Hope Mill Theatre, Manchester

The cult 1960s tribal rock musical Hair is revived at Manchester’s Hope Mill, opening on November 16 as the second in-house musical there, ahead of a season of three new musicals in 2017, recently announced in The Stage. The cast includes Ryan Anderson as Berger, Robert Metson as Claude and Laura Johnson as Sheila.

La Soiree – Spiegeltent, Leicester Square, London

The irresistible, irrepressible cabaret burlesque spectacle La Soiree pitches its Spiegeltent in Leicester Square, opening on November 16, with a line-up that includes new acrobat David Girard, hula-hoop expert Satya Bella and juggler Olivia Porter, joined by old favourites Captain Frodo, Ursula Martinez and the English Gents.

Half a Sixpence – Noel Coward Theatre, London

After School of Rock, which opened last night, Julian Fellowes has a second new musical that he’s written the book for opening this week when Half a Sixpence transfers from Chichester to open at the Noel Coward on November 17. I interview him in this Thursday’s paper.

Event of the week

Disaster! – Charing Cross Theatre, London

Seth Rudetsky’s Disaster!, a cult musical comedy spoof of 1970s jeopardy movies such as The Poseidon Adventure, Earthquake and Airport, receives its London premiere in two charity performances on November 20, to benefit TheatreMAD. Rudetsky, who also appeared in the show’s original Broadway run, will reprise his performance alongside Jennifer Simard (Tony-nominated for her role as a gambling-addicted nun), and three of my favourite British actors: Oliver Tompsett, Sally Ann Triplett and Simon Lipkin.

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