LONDON FALL PREVIEW: Viva Forever!, The Bodyguard, People and The Effect

By Mark Shenton
01 Sep 2012

Dominic West
Photo by Marc Brenner

New Plays
Amongst the slate of new plays at the Royal Court, London's principal home for new writing, Caryl Churchill's latest Love and Information will begin performances in the mainhouse Sept. 6, where many of her previous plays including Cloud Nine and Top Girls were premiered as well; and director Ian Rickson and playwright Jez Butterworth, who last collaborated on Jerusalem at the Royal Court, will return for The River, running in the Studio Theatre Upstairs from Oct. 18 with a cast that includes Dominic West. Also in the main house, Lucy Kirkwood's NSFW will be directed by Simon Godwin (from Oct. 25), then artistic director Dominic Cooke will direct the premiere of Martin Crimp's In the Republic of Happiness (from Dec. 6).

Vicky Featherstone, who takes over as artistic director at the Royal Court next year from Dominic Cooke, brings her National Theatre of Scotland production of Enquirer, a site-specific production that looks at the state of modern journalism, to a venue in London that is still to be announced, running Oct. 3-21.

At the National, Rupert Goold will direct Billie Piper in the premiere of The Effect, a new play by Lucy Prebble with whom he previously collaborated on Enron, at the National's Cottesloe from Nov. 6. Other new plays at the National include young writer James Graham's This House (Cottesloe from Sept. 18) and Frances de la Tour in the world premiere of Alan Bennett's latest People (Lyttelton from Oct. 31).

Roger Rees will bring What You Will, his solo celebration of Shakespeare, to the West End's Apollo from Sept. 18, returning to his stage roots in London; he is currently also represented on Broadway as co-director of Peter and the Starcatcher.

Adrian Lester will star in Red Velvet, a play written by his wife Lolita Chakrabarti based on the true story of the black American actor Ira Aldridge, who took over the role of Othello from Edmund Kean in 19th-century London (at the Tricycle from Oct. 11). Mark Gatiss will play another real-life figure, King Charles I, in the world premiere of Howard Brenton's 55 Days (Hampstead Theatre from Oct. 18).

To keep up-to-date with everything that is happening in the U.K. theatre, visit's International news section, in which Mark Shenton reports daily from his London base.