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London Spotlight: June 2007

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Greg Hicks in Angels in America
(© Headlong Theatre)
The best American play of the 1990's, Tony Kushner's Angels in America, is back in London. This is a co-production of the Headlong Theatre, Citizens Theatre Glasgow, and the Lyric Hammersmith, which is where the two parts of the seven-hour work ("Millennium Approaches" and "Perestroika") will play in repertory from June 20 to July 22. Daniel Kramer is the director, and the always reliable Greg Hicks and Ann Mitchell are in the cast.

In the mood for a musical instead? New to the lengthy roster this month is the Disney phenomenon High School Musical, adapted from the Disney Channel film that's been wowing youngsters these past couple of years. It's at the New Wimbledon (June 19-23). Kismet, the warhorse Robert Wright-George Forrest-Alexander Borodin tuner, plays the Coliseum with Michael Ball and Faith Prince in the leads, under the direction of Gary Griffin. The wonderful Jerry Herman-Michael Stewart tuner, Hello, Dolly! plays the Richmond Theatre (June 12-16). It comes from the Twickenham Operatic Society, which is already an intriguing prospect.

In the mood for an old-time thriller? Gallop to the revival of Patrick Hamilton's Gaslight at the Old Vic (June 7-August 18). The play stars the exquisite Rosamund Pike as Bella Manningham, who thinks she's losing her mind until she learns her suave husband may be behind the problems she's been having with mysteriously misplaced items. Veteran director Peter Gill handles that chore and knows exactly how this sort of thing is done.

New plays this month include Taking Care of Baby at the Hampstead (through June 23); Dennis Kelly's work is a dark one about a woman who's killed her two infant children. At the always-looking-ahead Soho is The Christ of Coldharbour Lane (now-June 21) by British-Nigerian playwright Oladipo Agboluaje, a tragi-comedy set in London's lively Brixton area. Later in the month, Baghdad Wedding (June 28-July 21), arrives at the same venue. Playwright Hassan Abdulrazzak sets this one in other London locales and the besieged Iraqi city.

Yet another enticing destination for Fringe fare is the Bush where you'll find Shoji Kokami's Trance (June 6-30), a comedy about three old friends meeting after a number of years. Or try the more central Trafalgar Studios for Two Men Talking by Paul Browde and Murray Nossel (June 5-23).

Bruce Norris' dysfunctional family serio-comic The Pain and the Itch settles into the Royal Court (June 14-July 21), with Matthew MacFadyen among the troupe of actors playing dysfunctional family members at a beset Thanksgiving get-together.

Not surprisingly, there's plenty of Shakespeare this summer: The new Globe, which is on the South Bank and actually closer to the site of what was once the Rose, has as its major attractions Othello (through August 19) and The Merchant of Venice (June 2-October 6). The Open Air Theatre in Regent's Park offers new productions of Macbeth (through August 16) and A Midsummer Night's Dream (June 30-August 18). If your teeth are still bared for more Bard, there's Cheek By Jowl's controversial production of Cymbeline at the Barbican (through June 23).

Something slightly different called Elegy is at the Lyric Hammersmith (June 5-7) with the brilliant Julian Crouch of the Improbable Theatre participating. It's a piece by the Amici Dance Theatre Company about parents and children; but it's not recommended for kids under 10. Speaking of dance, Tony Award winner Savion Glover, who revolutionized tap-dance as an art form, is at Sadler's Wells (June 12-16). This is not-to-be-missed stuff from a guy who uses every part of the foot for his street-cred hoofing.

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