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The Play's The Thing: 10 West End Plays You Must See in 2013

Saturday 26 January 2013

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2013 is going to be a bumper year for London's Theatreland with some amazing plays in the West End. In no particular order, here are ten of the best.

Our top 10 London plays that you MUST SEE this year are:

1. PRIVATES ON PARADE with SIMON RUSSELL BEALE
Private Steven Flowers is posted to the Song and Dance Unit in South East Asia where serving under the flamboyant Captain Terri Dennis he discovers it takes more than just a uniform to become a man.

Simon Russell Beale plays the cross-dressing Captain Dennis whose performances of Marlene Dietrich, Vera Lynn and Carmen Miranda form the centrepiece of Peter Nichols’ award-winning comedy set against the murderous backdrop of the Malaysian campaign at the end of the Second World War.

2. PETER AND ALICE with JUDI DENCH & BEN WHISHAW
When Alice Liddell Hargreaves met Peter Llewelyn Davies at the opening of a Lewis Carroll exhibition in 1932, the original Alice in Wonderland came face to face with the original Peter Pan. In John Logan’s remarkable new play, enchantment and reality collide as this brief encounter lays bare the lives of these two extraordinary characters.

Judi Dench plays Alice and Ben Whishaw plays Peter in Logan’s first new play since Red, which went on to win six Tony Awards in 2010.

3. THE CRIPPLE OF INISHMAAN with DANIEL RADCLIFFE

Cripple Billy, orphaned since birth, just might have found a way off the Isle of Aran and a route all the way to Hollywood if he can persuade a small community of Islanders how much he wants to realise his dream.

Martin McDonagh’s comic masterpiece examines an ordinary coming of age in extraordinary circumstances and confirms his position as one of the most original Irish voices to emerge in the second half of the twentieth century. Daniel Radcliffe plays the title role in the first major London revival since its premiere at the National Theatre in 1996.

4. A MIDSUMMER NIGHT'S DREAM with SHERIDAN SMITH & DAVID WALLIAMS

Lysander loves Hermia and Hermia loves Lysander. Helena loves Demetrius; Demetrius used to love Helena but now loves Hermia. When Hermia’s father insists she choose Demetrius as a suitor she escapes with Lysander into the surrounding forest where Oberon and Titania, the King and Queen of the Fairies are having their own battle of love. As the human and magical worlds collide mischief and chaos erupt as love at first sight proves a reality for some and makes an ass of others.

Sheridan Smith plays Titania and David Walliams plays Bottom in this new production of one of Shakespeare's greatest comedies.

5. HENRY V with JUDE LAW

Can the King of England hold his nerve to embrace his duty, command his men and lead his country to victory in France? Shakespeare’s great play of nationhood investigates the bloody horrors of war and the turbulence of a land in crisis.

Jude Law and Michael Grandage continue their collaboration that began with Hamlet in 2009. Law also appeared in the Donmar’s award-winning production Anna Christie, as part of Grandage’s final season as Artistic Director.

6. MACBETH with JAMES MCAVOY

BAFTA winning and Olivier and Golden Globe nominated actor James McAvoy (The Last King of Scotland, Atonement, X-Men) will star in Macbeth, Jamie Lloyd's (Donmar's Passion, Broadway's Cyrano de Bergerac, the Old Vic's The Duchess of Malfi, Royal Court's The Pride) inaugural production in a season of work for Trafalgar Transformed. Running from 9 February until 27 April 2013, Macbeth is the first production in the reconfigured auditorium of Trafalgar Studios.

Design for Jamie Lloyd's season is by Soutra Gilmour, who has just won the 2012 Evening Standard award for Best Design for Inadmissible Evidence at the Donmar Warehouse, directed by Lloyd.

Shakespeare's darkest tale plays out in a dystopian Scotland brutalised by war. Under a toxic fog, Macbeth begins his tormented struggle for power fuelled by ambition and paranoia.

7. THE AUDIENCE with HELEN MIRREN

For sixty years Elizabeth II has met each of her twelve Prime Ministers in a weekly audience at Buckingham Palace – a meeting like no other in British public life – it is private. Both parties have an unspoken agreement never to repeat what is said. Not even to their spouses.

The Audience breaks this contract of silence – and imagines a series of pivotal meetings between the Downing Street incumbents and their Queen. From Churchill to Cameron, each Prime Minister has used these private conversations as a sounding board and a confessional – sometimes intimate, sometimes explosive.

From young mother to grandmother, these private audiences chart the arc of the second Elizabethan Age. Politicians come and go through the revolving door of electoral politics, while she remains constant, waiting to welcome her next Prime Minister.

Starring Helen Mirren as The Queen.

8. OLD TIMES with KRISTIN SCOTT THOMAS & RUFUS SEWELL
Kristin Scott Thomas, Rufus Sewell and Lia Williams star in Harold Pinter's seductive and compelling drama Old Times, directed by Ian Rickson.

Locked away in a secluded farmhouse, Kate, Deeley and Anna reminisce about their early days together in London, but with conflicting memories and underlying sexual tensions, the past suddenly feels vividly present.

Star of stage and screen, Kristin Scott Thomas will once again be directed by Ian Rickson, following their previous collaborations on the critically-acclaimed productions of Harold Pinter's Betrayal and Anton Chekhov's The Seagull. Playing both Kate and Anna, Scott Thomas will alternate the roles with award-winning actress Lia Williams (The Homecoming, Skylight). They are joined by fellow award-winner Rufus Sewell, who was last seen on stage in Tom Stoppard's Rock 'n' Roll.

9. THE JUDAS KISS with RUPERT EVERETT
Rupert Everett plays Oscar Wilde with Freddie Fox as Lord Alfred Douglas in David Hare's The Judas Kiss - a compelling drama about the power of all-consuming love and the cruelty of betrayal.
 
It is 1895 and Oscar Wilde's masterpiece, The Importance of Being Earnest, is playing in the West End after a triumphant premiere, but already the wheels are in motion which will lead to his imprisonment, downfall and vilification.
 
Forced to make a choice between his lover, Lord Alfred Douglas, and his freedom, the ever romantic Wilde embarks on a course towards self-destruction…
 
Rupert Everett shot to fame in Julian Mitchell's play and subsequent film of Another Country. Since then, his leading screen roles have included My Best Friend's Wedding, The Importance of Being Earnest and St Trinians. Playing Bosie is Freddie Fox (Hay Fever, Cause Célèbre), one of the most exciting young actors in the UK .

Contains scenes of an adult nature.

10. THE CURIOUS INCIDENT OF THE DOG IN THE NIGHT-TIME with LUKE TREADAWAY
Christopher, fifteen years old, stands beside Mrs Shears’ dead dog. It has been speared with a garden fork, it is seven minutes after midnight and Christopher is under suspicion. He records each fact in the book he is writing to solve the mystery of who murdered Wellington.

He has an extraordinary brain, exceptional at maths while ill-equipped to interpret everyday life. He has never ventured alone beyond the end of his road, he detests being touched and he distrusts strangers. But his detective work, forbidden by his father, takes him on a frightening journey that upturns his world.

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