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I’ve already flagged up some of the fantastic musicals coming to London this year. Here’s a list for those of you who prefer your plays “straight”. (Or simply hate musicals…!)
Many of 2012’s theatrical highlights were Shakespearean. The World Shakespeare Festival created some amazing dramatic moments, from Stephen Fry’s yellow stockings at The Globe to a Julius Caesar set in modern day Africa from the RSC. There were also triumphs for Sheridan Smith as Hedda Gabler, and some impressive displays of stamina in the 8-hour GATZ.
Theatre in London is more exciting than ever in 2013. There’s plenty more Shakespeare for you to look forward to, as well as some newer treats. Here are just some of the shows I’m looking forward to in the coming months:
1. Quartermaine’s Terms, Wyndham’s Theatre from 23 Jan
See Rowan Atkinson return to the London stage for the first time in 25 years this month. He’s starring as the well-meaning but hopeless teacher St John Quartermaine in Simon Gray’s tragicomedy at Wyndham’s Theatre. Quartermaine’s Terms is set in a 1960s English language school and is a humorous but moving account of several years in the lives of seven teachers.
2. Old Times, Harold Pinter Theatre from 12 Jan
If you enjoyed watching the BBC adaptation of Restless over the Christmas holidays, here’s a chance to catch the ever-brilliant Rufus Sewell in the flesh. He’s playing opposite Kristin Scott Thomas and Lia Williams in Harold Pinter’s erotically charged and compelling drama, Old Times. Directed by Ian Rickson, Old Times will be the first Harold Pinter play to be staged at the newly named Harold Pinter Theatre.
3. Macbeth, Trafalgar Studios from 9 Feb
Another month, another big name comes to the West End. From February, you can see James McAvoy, best known for his big-screen roles in films like Atonement and The Last King of Scotland playing Macbeth, directed by Jamie Lloyd at the Trafalgar Studios. This Macbeth is part of a longer season of political plays under the banner “Trafalgar Transformed”.
4. The Audience, Gielgud Theatre from 15 Feb
If you’re a fan of 2006 film The Queen, you’ll love The Audience opening at the Gielgud later this year. Like that film, The Audience is also written by Peter Morgan, and stars Helen Mirren as Queen Elizabeth II. Directed by Stephen Daldry, The Audience imagines the weekly meetings between The Queen and her 12 Prime Ministers. Look out for Haydn Gwynne as Thatcher, Robert Hardy as Churchill and Rufus Wright as David Cameron.
5. Peter And Alice, Noel Coward Theatre from 9 Mar
In March, the Michael Grandage Company presents Peter And Alice, a new play exploring a meeting between the real-life inspirations for Alice in Wonderland and Peter Pan. Written by John Logan, Peter And Alice is the story of Alice Liddell Hargreaves and Peter Llewelyn Davies who meet at the opening of a Lewis Carroll exhibition in 1932. It stars Judi Dench and Ben Whishaw as the eponymous leads.
6. Relatively Speaking, Wyndham’s Theatre from 14 May
Following the success of A Chorus of Disapproval, another Alan Ayckbourn play opens in the West End in May. Relatively Speaking stars Felicity Kendal, Kara Tointon, Jonathan Coy and Max Bennett at Wyndham’s Theatre in what’s sure to be a brilliant comedy of British manners.
What London theatre shows are you looking forward to in 2013? Let us know in the comments below.