February brings cold weather to London, but there’s plenty brewing theatrically to stir the emotions and warm the heart. This month’s offerings range from the start of previews for a Tony-winning musical satire to a classic English novel shifted to the stage. Plus, The Full Monty—this time not as a musical, but as a play—read on!
O Mistress Mine: Abi Morgan, who scripted Meryl Streep’s way to a third Oscar for The Iron Lady, returns to the theater with the true-life story of an American couple who formed a contract to sustain their adulterous relationship for 30 years. Danny Webb and Saskia Reeves play the mysteriously titled He and She. Vicky Featherstone directs at her home base, the Royal Court, where the show opens February 5.
ALSO: Irish actress Lisa Dwan’s Beckett triptych, Not I, Footfalls, and Rockaby, which opened the Court's 2014 season last month, transfers to the Duchess Theatre for two weeks beginning February 3. First full week of performances for Stroke of Luck at north London’s Park Theatre, marking the playwriting debut of former Broadway press agent, Larry Belling; Kate Golledge directs and stage and TV veteran Tim Pigott-Smith (Benefactors, The Iceman Cometh) leads the cast.
Room 101: Who can forget the Ministry of Love's most feared room in 1984, the classic novel by George Orwell? A new stage version adapted and co-created by Robert Icke and Duncan Macmillan opens February 13 at the Almeida Theatre, led by Mark Arends and Hara Yannas.
ALSO: Tony winner Debbie Shapiro Gravitte (Jerome Robbins’ Broadway) comes to the Pheasantry nightspot in Chelsea for a week of cabaret February 11 through 16. Last chance to catch Jude Law leading a testosterone-charged “band of brothers” into battle in Henry V at the Noel Coward Theatre, marking the end of the director Michael Grandage’s 15-month residency there on February 15. A former screen Henry V, Tom Hiddleston, wraps up his extended Donmar run as Coriolanus on February 13.
Honey Pot: A Taste of Honey introduced a young Amanda Plummer to New York City more than 30 years ago. Now, the National Theatre revives Shelagh Delaney’s contemporary classic, with Kate O’Flynn inheriting Plummer’s role as feisty teenager Jo and Lesley Sharp as her errant mother Helen; Bijan Sheibani directs.
ALSO: Previews start February 22 at the St. James Theatre for the U.K. premiere of Urinetown, directed by Jamie Lloyd and starring Jenna Russell (Merrily We Roll Along) and Richard Fleeshman (Ghost). Last chance to catch the sellout run of Gina Gionfriddo’s feminism-themed comedy Rapture, Blister, Burn, which ends February 22 at the Hampstead Theatre; Emma Fielding and Emilia Fox play the onetime friends who swap lives—for a while, anyway.
FEBRUARY 24 – MARCH 2
Let It Go: The 1997 smash hit British film The Full Monty, about six Sheffield steelworkers who turn to stripping, is back—this time not as a Broadway musical set in the U.S., but as a play by original screenplay writer Simon Beaufoy. Sidney Cole and Kenny Doughty lead director Daniel Evans’ cast into the Noel Coward Theatre, opening February 25 for a 16-week run.
ALSO: Francis Beaumont’s rarely seen period caper The Knight of the Burning Pestle opens February 26 at the capital’s newest venue, the Sam Wanamaker Playhouse at Shakespeare’s Globe—expect madcap comedy by candlelight. Writer-director Peter Gill opens his new play Versailles at the Donmar February 27: Francesca Annis, Gwilym Lee, and fast-rising young actor Tom Hughes lead the cast of a play said to chime with the 100-year anniversary of the start of World War I.