March is very busy in London as several high-profile actors take the stage. This month’s offerings include the return of Angela Lansbury to the West End after four (!) decades away, Robert Lindsay in a Dirty Rotten debut, Kristin Davis and a Fatal bunny and Martha Plimpton's extreme family issues in the U.K. premiere of Other Desert Cities.
Good People, Great Actress: Imelda Staunton stars in the U.K. premiere of Good People, David Lindsay-Abaire’s 2011 Broadway play about money and class in contemporary America. Staunton follows Frances McDormand’s Tony-winning turn in New York, with the ever-excellent Lloyd Owen (Our Boys, The Bodyguard) by her side. Opening night is March 5 at the Hampstead.
ALSO: First full week of performances at the London Palladium for I Can’t Sing, the ironically titled (we hope) X Factor-themed musical starring Olivier trophy-bearer Nigel Harman (Shrek) as none other than Simon Cowell. Patti Boulaye (The Hot Mikado) appears in cabaret March 4-8 at the Crazy Coqs, the wonderfully named cabaret space situated a stone’s throw from Piccadilly Circus.
Bunny Boiler: It wasn’t long ago that hit movies became musicals but now they get to be plays as well, as the just-opened Full Monty and the forthcoming West End Shakespeare in Love prove. To that list we can add Trevor Nunn’s stage premiere of Fatal Attraction, the 1987 film that forever changed the face of adultery. Natasha McElhone plays the vengeful Alex Forrest, the woman who has a famously willful way with fluffy animals. Mark Bazeley and Sex and the City’s Kristin Davis are the couple whose lives Alex exists to ruin. Previews start March 11 at the Haymarket.
ALSO: A busy week for musicals sees the start of previews March 10 at the Savoy of Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, with Robert Lindsay and Rufus Hound taking the roles originated Stateside by John Lithgow and Norbert Leo Butz. Urinetown, with Jenna Russell and Richard Fleeshman, opens March 11 at the St. James Theatre while Tony winner John Lloyd Young crosses the Atlantic to lead the London company of Jersey Boys into its new home at the Piccadilly from March 15.
Tony Traveler: Angela Lansbury hasn’t appeared on a London stage in almost 40 years, since which time she has accumulated five Tonys and become a Dame. Now 88, the Broadway legend is reprising her beloved New York turn as Madame Arcati in Blithe Spirit, opening March 18 at the Gielgud with Michael Blakemore (Copenhagen, City of Angels) again directing. The ace ensemble includes two-time Olivier Award-winner Janie Dee, Downton Abbey’s Charles Edwards and Jemima Rooper in her first stage role since One Man, Two Guvnors.
ALSO: The last performance of English comedian Daniel Kitson’s maverick piece Analog.Ue is on March 20 at the National Theatre’s Lyttelton. It’s also the final performance on March 22 at the Royal Court of The Mistress Contract, the new play from film and TV scribe Abi Morgan (Shame, The Iron Lady), starring Saskia Reeves and Danny Webb.
Broadway-to-Blighty: March 24 sees the opening night at the Old Vic of Other Desert Cities, Jon Robin Baitz’s Tony-nominated play about parental conflict in Palm Springs, California. Lindsay Posner—recently represented on Broadway by The Winslow Boy—directs an impressive cast that includes Martha Plimpton in her London stage debut alongside Sinead Cusack and Clare Higgins as the sisters (acted on Broadway by Stockard Channing and Judith Light); Peter Egan inherits Stacy Keach’s New York role.
ALSO: Via a strange quirk of timing, March 29 sees the final performances of both From Here to Eternity and Stephen Ward, the latest musicals from onetime collaborators Tim Rice and Andrew Lloyd Webber, respectively; both shows are closing earlier than planned. Performances start March 27 at the Royal Court’s Theatre Upstairs of Vivienne Franzmann’s Pests, featuring Ellie Kendrick and Sinead Matthews.