London Spotlight: December 2009
Pamela Anderson, Anita Dobson Ruby Wax, and Paul O'Grady will be among the guest performers playing Genie in the Lamp in the Pantomime production of Aladdin at the New Wimbledon (December 4-January 17), with the regular cast headed up by Brian Blessed. Pantomimes also include Mother Goose at the Greenwich (December 1-January 3) by and starring Andrew Pollard. Meanwhile, Matthew Bourne's iconoclastic version of the ballet Swan Lake is at Sadler's Wells (December 10-January 24).
The attention-getting event here this frame could be Martin Crimp's adaptation of Moliere's The Misanthrope at the Comedy (December 7-March 12, 2010). The main attraction is Keira Knightley joining Damian Lewis, Tara Fitzgerald and Dominic Rowan. Thrill seekers will want to hotfoot it to the Almeida for a revival of Patrick Hamilton's 1929 opus, Rope (December 10-February 6). Roger Michell directs the chilly tale of two boys who murder a classmate and then invite the dead boy's family to tea. Yes, Alfred Hitchcock directed the movie version.
New works this month include John Logan's Red at the Donmar Warehouse (December 3-February 6), which will be directed by company head Michael Grandage. The play is about the painter Mark Rothko, and the memorable life he led while painting his spiritual canvases. At the Duchess is another peek at a real-life person: Morecambe (December 9-January 17), wherein Bob Golding plays comedy icon Eric Morecambe. Then there's The Stefan Golaszewski Plays at the Bush (December 2-January 9), written by and starring the eponymous fellow. Love at ages 18 and 76, respectively, is the subject of these one-acts from the Edinburgh Festival Fringe. Darker Shores at the Hampstead (December 3-January 16) is a ghost story, set at Christmas, 1875, and includes Julian Rhind-Tutt and Mark Catiss in the cast.
Gregory Doran's production of Twelfth Night opens at the Duke of York's (December 19-February 2). And speaking of the Bard, the Globe is offering Footsbarn's Christmas Cracker (December 22-January 3, 2010), which heralds the season with excerpts from Shakespeare's works.
Looking for an excuse to travel out of town: How about Bath and the Theatre Royal where Susan Hampshire will star in Simon Reade's Pride and Prejudice adaptation (December 7-12). Same spot, later in the month is Alan Bennett's enduringly popular The History Boys (December 26-31), directed by Christopher Luscombe. Or the entire family gang could journey the short distance to Kingston's Rose Theatre for Robert Louis Stevenson's Treasure Island (December 11-January 9) in Karen Louise Hebden's treatment, directed by Stephen Unwin.