Planning a late summer trip to London? There’s lots of great theater to choose from beyond the West End’s many long-running hits. If you’ve got a thirst for what’s new and notable on stage, consult our week-by-week Datebook for the month of August.
A Nora for Now: Hattie Morahan won garlands of praise and awards for her blazing star turn last season as Nora in A Doll’s House in revival at the Young Vic. Now, Morahan and Dominic Rowan bring Ibsen’s classic of female emancipation to a wider public via a West End run starting August 8 at the Duke of York’s Theatre. Next stop, New York?
ALSO: Fresh from playing Shrek, Nigel Lindsay opens on August 6 at the Donmar in the world premiere of Nick Payne’s The Same Deep Water As Me; William M. Hoffman’s era-defining AIDS play As Is opens August 8 at west London’s Finborough Theatre, a 50-seater with an influence way beyond its size.
Taking Pride: Actor-turned-author Alexi Kaye Campbell’s gay-themed play The Pride was first seen in a 2008 production starring Matilda’s Bertie Carvel before reappearing off-Broadway in 2010 with Ben Whishaw, Hugh Dancy and Andrea Riseborough. The play now reaches the West End in a new production starring Mathew Horne, Harry Hadden-Paton, and Hayley Atwell. Opening night is August 13 at the Trafalgar Studios.
ALSO: Maria Friedman, the actress-turned-director of Merrily We Roll Along, returns to the concert arena on August 15 at Chelsea’s Cadogan Hall with an evening devoted to Bernstein and Sondheim; History Boys alum Stephen Campbell Moore heads the cast of Lucy Kirkwood’s acclaimed Chimerica, which transfers to the Harold Pinter Theatre on August 15.
Girl Talk: In addition to the works of the Bard, Shakespeare’s Globe premieres several new plays each year. Starting August 24 is the intriguing-sounding Blue Stockings, set in and around Cambridge University’s Girton College, England’s first residential college for women. Jessica Swale’s playwriting debut unfolds against the backdrop of female self-determination with a cast led by Ellie Piercy and Sarah MacRae.
ALSO: Farce is on the menu at the new Park Theatre with the August 23 opening of Ben Travers’ rarely seen Thark, set in 1927 London and adapted by and starring Clive Francis; Hannah Waddingham and Richard McCable star in Feydeau’s A Little Hotel on the Side in the beautiful Regency city of Bath, with the West End surely in its sights.
Marlowe Men: Edward II is among the most brutal and sexiest plays in the classical canon, as audiences can judge anew when Christopher Marlowe’s fiery work begins performances on August 28 in the National’s Olivier auditorium. The fast-rising John Heffernan takes the title role of the doomed monarch, with Kyle Soller (late of Broadway’s Cyrano de Bergerac) as his lover, Gaveston.
ALSO: Last chance to see a trio of excellent productions closing on August 31: Relatively Speaking (Wyndham’s), starring Felicity Kendal and Kara Tointon; The Cripple of Inishmaan (Noel Coward), featuring Daniel Radcliffe’s finest stage performance to date; and A Chorus Line (Palladium), with Olivier winner Leigh Zimmerman as Sheila.