What’s Hot in London April 29–May 5

London News   What’s Hot in London April 29–May 5 Ivo van Hove opens Obsession with Jude Law, and sets his sights on a new stage adaptation of All About Eve.
What’s Hot in London
What’s Hot in London

Ivo van Hove continues to take over London
Belgian theatre director Ivo van Hove, who is based in the Netherlands where he runs the Toneelgroep Amsterdam company, has become a London and New York regular. He has originated new productions in both cities including A View from the Bridge, which transferred from the Young Vic to Broadway, The Crucible on Broadway with Ben Whishaw and Sophie Okonedo, and Hedda Gabler, which debuted at London’s National Theatre, and will tour the U.K. in October.

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Ivo Van Hove Monica Simoes

Van Hove is currently in the midst of a three-show residency at London’s Barbican that began with a revival of his Toneegroep show Roman Tragedies, and recently saw the opening of the world premiere of his adaptation of the Visconti film Obsession. His residency will continue in September with his double bill After the Rehearsal/Persona, based on Ingmar Bergman screenplays. Read reviews for Obsession below.

Also slated for the fall is the director’s new stage adaptation of the film Network starring Bryan Cranston, to play at the National in November.

Next spring, van Hove will direct a new stage version of Joseph Mankiewicz’s 1950 film All About Eve, that will be co-produced by Sonia Friedman and Fox Stage Productions. Cate Blanchett has been lined up to star as Margo Channing (the Bette Davis role), for the West End production. Further details including dates, theatre, and casting are still to be announced.

Reviews: Obsession
Ivo van Hove’s new stage adaptation of the 1942 Visconti film Obsession opened at the Barbican Theatre April 25, for a run through May 20. It stars Jude Law as the drifter Gino who becomes fatally enmeshed with Hanna, played by Halina Reijn, the trapped wife of cafe and petrol station owner Giuseppe.

Reviews have been very mixed. In The Stage, Natasha Tripney writes: “While Law is a more than capable stage actor—he’s easily the best thing in this—the material does him no favors. Reijn is similarly hobbled and like Ruth Wilson’s Hedda she ends up prone and bespattered (but at least not spat upon this time). Crucially, there’s no sense of sexual charge here, no sense of heat, need, or claustrophobia. I’ve been exhilarated and thrilled by van Hove’s work before—hell, I even rather liked his meditative Antigone —and I’ve been frustrated and angered by it too. But I’ve never been bored by it before.”

In the Daily Telegraph, Dominic Cavendish is only riveted by Law’s performance: “Law smolders despite the sterile surrounds; first in silhouette, playing harmonica. Not only does he have the gym-buffed torso of a model but that aliveness of look, that manly-boyish, angel-devil aura, which makes you follow him, fixate on his every restless, prowling move. You don’t have to be fully obsessed with Law to enjoy this wayward, by turns gripping, gritty and grating, affair but it sure helps.”

In The Times, Ann Treneman writes of the set: “A giant car engine hangs above the stage, occasionally revved. It suffers periodic oil leaks that leave everyone smeared and murky. In so many ways it is the most powerful thing on stage.”

Production and casting news
The previously announced West End return of The Kite Runner has already extended its second run at the Playhouse from June 8. The stage adaptation will now play through August 26 instead of July 29. The Kite Runner will then embark on a tour of 11 cities and towns across the U.K, beginning performances at its original home Nottingham Playhouse August 31, then continuing to Glasgow, Leeds, Cambridge, Salford, Edinburgh, Sheffield, Cheltenham, Bath, Brighton, and Exeter, with further dates for 2018 to be announced.

Andrei Costin and Ben Turner in <i>The Kite Runner</i>
Andrei Costin and Ben Turner in The Kite Runner Robert Day

Full casting has been announced for the world premiere of Conor McPherson’s Girl From the North Country, beginning performances July 10 at the Old Vic. The show, which features classic songs from Bob Dylan, will include Ron Cook, Ciaran Hinds, Stanley Townsend, Shirley Henderson, and Debbie Kurup.

The Off-Broadway musical Yank!, which received its U.K premiere at Manchester’s Hope Mill Theatre earlier this year, is to transfer to London’s Charing Cross Theatre from July 3.

Enda Walsh’s Disco Pigs will be revived in a production marking its 20th anniversary. Performances will begin July 12 at London’s Trafalgar Studios, with Evanna Lynch (Luna Lovegood in the Harry Potter films) and Colin Campbell.

Rotterdam, which won this year’s Olivier Award for Outstanding Achievement in an Affiliate Theatre, is to return to London direct from its current run at 59E59 Theaters as part of the Brits Off Broadway season. Performances will begin June 21 at the Arts Theatre.

Killian Donnelly will return to the West End to star as Jean Valjean in Les Miserables—in which he previously played Enjolras—from June 12. The actor is currently on Broadway, where he is reprising his Olivier-nominated performance as Charlie Price in Kinky Boots.

Plans for the 2017–18 season at English National Opera will include the world premiere of Nico Muhly’s latest opera, Marnie, directed by Michael Mayer and conducted by Martyn Brabbins. Based on novelist Winston Graham’s gripping psychological thriller, the production will be designed by 59 Productions and Julian Crouch. Performances will begin November 18.

For further news…
Stay tuned to Playbill.com and follow me on Twitter @shentonstage, for rolling news updates as they happen.

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