“What should I see in London?” We are asked that question daily by friends headed to the theater capital for a visit—and even by locals. The good news is that there is never a winter lull on London stages, and February promises to be an especially exciting month on the West End and beyond. To help navigate what’s worth seeing, Broadway.com is launching a new monthly London Datebook. Below, February’s highlights, from Broadway diva Betty Buckley in Dear World to West End favorite Scarlett Strallen in A Chorus Line.
JANUARY 31-FEBRUARY 3
Double the Old Times: The fabulous threesome of Kristin Scott Thomas, Lia Williams and Rufus Sewell co-star in Harold Pinter’s Old Times, beginning on January 31 at the Pinter Theatre. This sexy and mysterious 1971 drama centers on a husband and wife and the woman from their past who threatens to derail the present. An exciting twist: Thomas and Williams will alternate roles throughout the run.
ALSO: The hit Beatles bio musical Let It Be reopens at the Savoy Theatre on February 1; Feast, a celebration of African music and culture, runs through February 23 at the Young Vic Theatre, directed by Rufus Norris (Festen).
FEBRUARY 4-FEBRUARY 10
God, They Hope They Get It: A Chorus Line hasn’t had a major London revival in almost 40 years, so all eyes are on director/choreographer Bob Avian and his Anglo-American cast, led by Scarlett Strallen (Singin’ in the Rain) as Cassie. The show begins previews on February 5 at the Palladium, one of London's largest venues, with a stage wide enough to accommodate Michael Bennett’s iconic “line.”
ALSO: Standup comic Rufus Hound joins the long-running farce One Man, Two Guvnors at Theatre Royal Haymarket on February 4; last chance to see John Lithgow in The Magistrate at the National's Olivier Theatre and Mark Rylance in Twelfth Night and Richard III at the Apollo, both closing February 10; Antony Sher opens in the title role of The Captain of Kopenick at the Olivier on February 5.
FEBRUARY 11-FEBRUARY 17
Betty Buckley’s World: Any musical starring Betty Buckley is an event, and doubly so when it’s Dear World, the little-seen 1969 Jerry Herman tuner that won original leading lady Angela Lansbury a Tony. On February 13, Buckley opens at the Charing Cross Theatre as Countess Aurelia, who schemes to stop oil drilling in her Paris neighborhood, in a revival directed by her Cats collaborator Gillian Lynne.
ALSO: Film director Joe Wright (Atonement, Anna Karenina) transfers his talents to the stage with a revival of Trelawny of the Wells at the Donmar Warehouse beginning February 15, featuring a revised script by Patrick Marber (Closer).
FEBRUARY 18-FEBRUARY 24
A Scottish Star in the Scottish Play: Long before X-Men and Atonement, James McAvoy was working on stage, and now the gifted Glasgow-born actor takes on the title role in Macbeth in a production co-starring Claire Foy and directed by Jamie Lloyd. Enter the world of Shakespeare’s darkest tragedy at Trafalgar Studios, where the revival opens on February 22.
ALSO: Last chance to see Lucy Prebble’s award-winning The Effect, which closes on February 23 at the National’s Cottesloe Theatre; Sherie Rene Scott brings her lauded cabaret act Piece of Meat to the Hippodrome for three performances, February 21-23.