The Autumn leaves are falling, and we find ourselves turning our calendar pages to an incredibly exciting October, jam-packed with world-class West End shows featuring some massive stars.
Diaries at the ready: here are some of our top picks for October.
Tamsin Greig (Jean Whitaker), Martin Freeman (David Lyons) in Labour Of Love rehearsals (Photo by Marc Brenner)
Now previewing, press night 3 October; Noël Coward Theatre
Rachel: Set against the backdrop of the Labour Party, in their traditional northern heartlands, there’s so much to look forward to in this. Not only is it your chance to see the wonderful Martin Freeman on stage, but he’ll be joined by the possibly even more wonderful Tamsin Greig. The play is penned by James Graham, the brains behind current hit Ink, which I saw last month and adored.
Previews from 3 October, press night 9 October; Wyndham’s Theatre
Jim: Simon Stephens has written one of the smartest and subtly heart-breaking love stories of our time. You’ll wanna see these two legends, Kenneth Cranham and Anne-Marie Duff, play two strangers who meet at St. Pancras station, and begin an exciting and bumpy journey together into the great Uncertainty. Marianne Elliott directs, as if that isn’t enough to send this play into the MUST-SEE event of the Autumn, this also marks the debut of Elliott and Harper’s season as producers, with the much anticipated Company on the horizon.
Lesley Sharp (Irina Arkadina) and Brian Vernel (Konstantin) in rehearsal for The Seagull at the Lyric Hammersmith (Photo: Tristram Kenton)
Previews from 3 October, press night 11 October; Lyric Hammersmith
Rachel: Chekhov’s celebrated masterpiece The Seagull is given vibrant new life in this dynamic new adaptation by Simon Stephens, of Curious Incident and Heisenberg fame. TV audiences can look forward to seeing Lesley Sharp take on the role of Irina Arkadina, and the Lyric Hammersmith theatre is always a joy to visit. Be sure to make the most of their great bar before the show (and roof-top space if the weather permits!).
The company of Saint George And The Dragon (Photo: Johan Persson)
Previews from 4 October, press night 11 October; National Theatre Olivier
Robin: One of my favourite things about the National Theatre is its capacity to put on a jaw-dropping spectacle, and with Saint George And The Dragon set to play in its grandest theatre, the Olivier, I can’t wait to witness imagination abound in this new adaptation of the famous folk tale. Directed by Lyndsey Turner (of Chimerica fame) and starring John Heffernan, we’re all in for a Saintly treat.
Previews from 6 October, press night 23 October; London County Hall
Sinead: Ever wanted to be a fly on the wall in a court of law? Well, now’s your chance. Agatha Christie’s Witness For The Prosecution places you at the heart of drama, passion and betrayal in this fight for justice. Set in magnificent surroundings of the London County Hall, there’s no escape from Christie’s world, and my guess is, you wouldn’t want to. See you in court.
Previews from 6 October, press night 16 October; Vaudeville Theatre
Jim: I am excited about the entire Oscar Wilde season directed by former Globe Director Dominic Dromgoole, which starts things off with Wilde’s A Woman Of No Importance, featuring the insanely talented Eve Best. I can’t wait to see the debut show of this exciting year-long celebration.
Natalie Dormer and David Oakes in rehearsal for Venus In Fur at Theatre Royal Haymarket
Previews from 6 October, press night 17 October; Theatre Royal Haymarket
Sinead: Let’s be honest, none of us really need any convincing to buy a ticket for a show that stars Natalie Dormer. But, just in case you are one of the (very) few people whom, for some unknown reason, doesn’t watch Game Of Thrones, hasn’t seen The Tudors or just generally isn’t IN love with Natalie Dormer, here goes it… Venus In Fur is an intoxicating dark comedy, based on Leopold von Sacher-Masoch’s novel, Venus In Furs. Natalie Dormer and David Oakes dance the dance of seduction, desire and fantasy in this steamy two-hander directed by Patrick Marber. Believe you me, the pair’s chemistry is palpable, and you’ve just nine weeks to witness it for yourself. What are you waiting for?!
Simon Paisley Day (The Once-ler) and The Lorax puppeteers in rehearsal for Dr Seuss’s The Lorax at The Old Vic (Photo: Manuel Harlan)
Previews from 15 October, press night 24 October; The Old Vic
Dan: Probably the childhood book that left the biggest impact on me, Dr Seuss’ The Lorax was almost everyone’s first introduction to environmental conservation – I was a very diligent recycler aged 5 thanks to this tale. Originally performed last year, The Old Vic has brought the Lorax back for another run. Like the book, it’s something that everyone (young and old) should experience with a dream team of performers and creatives and a message we should all take to heart.
Plays from 20 October; Phoenix Theatre
Robin: Now this is a show to get heads turning! Tenuous film-related puns aside, this really is the perfect production for the Halloween season: The Exorcist on stage not only terrified audiences at the Birmingham Repertory Theatre last year, but it also stars the likes of Adam Garcia and Jenny Seagrove, and its subject matter (if you’ve not seen the film, you’re in for a treat!) is sure to be the source of many a shock, scare – and a whole lot of devilish fun.
Previews from 26 October, press night 9 November; Playhouse Theatre
Dan: Almost 35 years since its London debut, David Mamet’s Glengarry Glen Ross makes a very welcome return to the West End. The play was immortalised by the 1992 film but the show has always worked best on stage. A searing and sneering portrayal of manhood and money.