Fiona Shaw, Simon Russell Beale and Richard Briers team up for a dusting-off of Dion Boucicault's 1841 comedy classic London Assurance. Nicholas Hytner directs, Mark Thompson designs and Rachel Portman supplies the music. Hard to go wrong with that sizzling combo. It's in the Olivier (March 2-June 2), while in the tiny Cottesloe is a look back at Mikhail Bulgakov's rarely-seen Russian opus, The White Guard (March 15-June 15). Conleth Hill and Anthony Calf are in this one and directed by Howard Davies.
Playwright Naomi Wallace has The Fever Chart sweeping into Trafalgar Studios 2 (March 9-April 3), co-directed by Katie Posner and Marcus Romer. Another pair of co-directors are Lisa May and Martin Lynch, who will guide Lynch's Chronicles of Long Kesh (March 15-April 10), a theatrical history of the controversial prison that opened in 1971 and closed in 2000. Mark Espiner and Dan Jones are the two directors seeing to the lives of submariners in Kursk by Sound&Fury in collaboration with Bryony Lavery. The backdrop is the Cold War.
On the Fringe, Penelope Skinner's Eigengrau arrives at the Bush (March 10-April 10). It's about housemates at odds. At the Royal Court, Mike Bradwell will helm DC Moore's scrutiny of what appears to be an Afghan war situation: The Empire (March 31-May 1). Meanwhile, in the Soho, Douglas Maxwell's Promises Promises -- which isn't the Neil Simon-Hal David-Burt Bacharach musical but instead a thriller about a Scottish teacher with a questionable history -- will turn up (March 2-13). So will Gambling by Raz Shaw and Georgina Lamb (March 17-April 10). This one is about compulsive behavior and addiction and is apparently very physical.
A couple of items at the Barbican may be of interest to the intrepid. In the big theater, Sarah Kane's 4.48 Psychosis plays (March 23-27) with Magdalena Cieleka, directed by Grzegorz Jarzyna, who's considered one of the hot young Polish theater figures at the moment. Tthe much smaller Pit has on view Alice Bell (March 2-9), Daniel Hit by a Train (March 3-10), and The Festival (March 4-10). They're all by Lone Twin Theatre, a performance art company, and directed by founders Gary Winters and Gregg Whelan.
Ernest and the Pale Moon settles at the Greenwich (March 2-6) and is being billed intriguingly as "a noir horror." Later in the month, Martin McDonagh's The Beauty Queen of Leenane stops briefly (March 9-13) so plain Maureen can put up with her dreadful mother for dark laughs. Even later in the frame, John Webster's gory Jacobean tragedy, The Duchess of Malfi drips stage blood (March 23-April 10).