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Welcome to today’s edition of ShentonSTAGE Daily that is e-mailed to subscribers every morning (to subscribe, send message to, and is also available online here.

My weekly updated list of returning and newly announced theatre shows in London, selected productions regionally, and on Broadway is here:

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This week’s new entries include ihe stage debut of Jodie Comer in PRIMA FACIE in the West End, Ralph Fiennes at the Bridge in the world premiere of David Hare’s STRAIGHT LINE CRAZY, Ruthie Henshall in PASSION at Manchester’s Hope Mill Theatre and the return of SLAVE PLAY to Broadway.


Now that I no longer live in London — though I still visit for at least one overnight stay a week, sometimes more — I have to prioritise which theatres I choose to visit more than ever. Even when I used to routinely go to the theatre between six and 12 times a week (yes, really!), I couldn’t see everything.

As I make these plans, and look at the week’s major opening nights list in my weekly update above, I make choices…. and I use matinees to play catch-up on openings I’ve missed. This week, for instance, I’m in London overnight tomorrow, in order to go out to Windsor to see Bill Kenwright’s new production of THE CHERRY ORCHARD there with Francesca Annis and Ian McKellen reunited again (from the 1976 RSC Romeo and Juliet in which they played the title roles, pictured below) to play Ranevskaya and Firs respectively

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Kenwright has suddenly put this sleepy regional producing theatre on the map again, and made it an essential destination again.

Last week I visited the theatre to host a video interview with McKellen, Annis, director Sean Mathias, adaptor Martin Sherman and fellow cast members Martin Shaw, Jenny Seagrove and Robert Daws (pictured below).

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I’ll also be catching up with a matinee of the revival of EAST IS EAST at the National tomorrow afternoon, a theatre that has slid down my list of priority London venues of late; yes, all three auditoria are (finally!) back up and running, but it no longer feels the essential venue it once was.

On Thursday, meanwhile, I’ll play catch up in the afternoon with Stratford East’s revival of Conor McPherson’s SHINING CITY — directed by Nadia Fall, whom a profile in THE TIMES last week described as running “the coolest theatre in London”; before attending the first night of the return of ENO’s landmark production of Philip Glass’s Satyagraha, which I seriously regard to be one of the greatest events of my theatregoing life, and which I am therefore prioritising over the Almeida’s press night for Macbeth that clashes with it (but which I will catch on Saturday afternoon instead).

The Almeida continues to be the theatre that I regard as providing London’s single most exciting offering; previous holders of that title — the Donmar Warehouse under Michael Grandage, or the Young Vic under David Lan — have slipped off my radar (though I was back at the former last week for Cush Jumbo’s Hamlet).

And I apparently need to get back to the Royal Court, who currently have three shows that need seeing: the main house UK premiere run of IS GOD IS and Caryl Churchill’s new brief curtain-raiser WHAT IF IF ONLY<while in the Theatre Upstairs it is producing a public reading of Lucy Kirkwood’s MARYLAND, her 30-minute fast response to the murders of Sarah Everard and Sabina Nessa.

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In other words, it is a slightly moveable feast. But I’m enjoying the freedom to make the choices for myself, not driven by editors or PRs.


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