LONDON SPRING PREVIEW 2014: Miss Saigon, Fatal Attraction, Dirty Rotten Scoundrels and Shakespeare Turns 450

By Mark Shenton
29 Dec 2013

Fiona Shaw

New Plays
There are also plenty of new plays around town. At the Donmar Warehouse, Francesca Annis will star in the world premiere of Peter Gill's Versailles (from Feb. 20), a play about the legacy of the decisions made at the end of the First World War. It will be followed by the premiere of James Graham's Privacy (from April 10), which poses the question: Is there any such thing as privacy in the twenty-first century? The play is based on research undertaken by the playwright and his director Josie Rourke into the impact of social media and big data on our on-and-off-line lives.

At the National Theatre's The Shed, Blurred Lines (from Jan. 16) is a new work created and devised by director Carrie Cracknell and playwright Nick Payne, which is described in press materials as "a blistering journey through the minefield of contemporary gender politics." The cast includes Marion Bailey, Sinéad Matthews, Ruth Sheen and Claire Skinner.

The busy Cracknell will also next direct the premiere of Simon Stephens' Birdland at the Royal Court from April 3. Described as looking at empathy, money and fame, it revolves around Paul, a rock star at the height of his fame. He will be played by Andrew Scott, a regular at the Royal Court who has been seen on Broadway in David Hare's The Vertical Hour.

Before that, Saskia Reeves and Danny Webb will star in the premiere of Abi Morgan's The Mistress Contract (from Jan. 30), based on on the true story of a real-life couple who came to an unconventional arrangement to manage their sex lives with each other. Also at the Royal Court, Tim Crouch's Adler & Gibb (from June 13) revolves around Janet Adler and Margaret Gibb, who were conceptual artists working in New York at the end of the last century. The play was co-commissioned by the Royal Court and LA's Center Theatre Group.

Jennifer Haley's The Nether (originally produced in LA, also under the auspices of the Center Theatre Group), will receive its U.K premiere at the Royal Court (from July 17), co-produced with Headlong, whose artistic director, Jeremy Herrin, directs the play that originally premiered at the Kirk Douglas Theatre in Los Angeles under the auspices of the Center Theatre Group. It won the 2012 Susan Smith Blackburn Prize, and is described in press materials as an intricate crime drama and a haunting sci-fi thriller that explores the consequences of making dreams a reality.

In the Royal Court's studio Jerwood Theatre Upstairs, premieres include John Donnelly's The Pass (from Jan. 13), directed by John Tiffany (currently represented on Broadway by The Glass Menagerie and Once); Vivienne Franzmann's Pests (from March 27, co-produced with Clean Break and Manchester's Royal Exchange); and Gurprett Kaur Bhatti's Kandan (Family), co-produced with Birmingham Repertory Theatre (from June 11).

Fiona Shaw will reprise her Broadway performance in Colm Tóibín's The Testament of Mary at the Barbican Theatre (from May 1), directed by her long-time collaborator Deborah Warner.

At the West End's Theatre Royal Haymarket, Trevor Nunn is to direct Fatal Attraction, a new stage adaptation of the 1987 film of the same name (from March 8), and Simon Beaufoy's own adaptation of his 1997 screenplay to The Full Monty will transfer to the Noel Coward (from Feb. 20), after premiering in the story's home town of Sheffield in 2013 and subsequently touring the U.K.