We are told there are two universal human certainties, death and taxes but I would add a third, diverging opinions. As I ponder the choice of venues to recommend for a theatre outing I am reminded that what one likes, another despises, so like it or lump it, here are my picks of things to see on the London stage over the next few months.
For those with burning holes in their pockets, I’ll start with the West End where ticket prices can make your eyes water, and that is after the show, when you realise how much money you have forked-out to be bored or maybe slightly amused for the last two hours. At this time of year, theatres are fully aware that they will have a job competing with the movie business which has stacked-up the openings of the best movies of the last 365 days, like planes waiting for a take-off slot at Heathrow airport, because of the all important Oscar season. With everyone competing for audiences, the splashier the production the better.
With this in mind, the final production, of the first season of five plays from the Michael Grandage Company, has just opened on November 23. So Jude Law is Henry V (can’t get more splashy than that). The reviews are out and fantastic (though some bloggers have been a little lukewarm). Look out for my review in January. Although, and at this point it bears saying that, if you are going, you are likely to have bought your tickets at the turn of the century. Dame Edna, if you like her style, has come for a final encore, The Farewell Tour, and though I have not seen it (not my kind of thing really), the show has received some good reviews. If you like Woodhouse, you could head over to Jeeves & Wooster in Perfect Nonsense, Duke of York’s Theatre. For my money, this is an eye-watering piece of theatre. See my review here.
For those like me who think that the Christmas season should start around December 20 and not November 20, as some retailers would like you to believe, you could head to the West End transfer of the Almeida’s production of Ghost. The reviews were excellent and if you enjoy Ibsen and want to stick a nose up at the Christmas revellers, this should do the job nicely. Along the same lines, you could catch the Almeida’s transfer of their mesmerizing production of The Weir to the Wyndham’s Theatre as of January 16th. See my review here.
For some, David Tenant, is something to be savoured in small doses. Others just can’t get enough. If you fall into the latter group, I would most definitely recommend the RSC’s production of Richard II, which will transfer to the Barbican as of December 9.
If you liked Jerusalem, you could head for Mojo but I have to warn you that it will be returns only at this stage. The good news, for those who really want to see Butterworth’s first play, is that they have extended the run until February 8. So maybe not for Christmas but to get over the post parties’ blues?
If you don’t fancy any of these, take a look at my last few news items. Something in there should appeal.