Top ten theatre shows opening in August 2017, including revival starring Stockard Channing and new play featuring Ben Whishaw
With half of the theatre world decamping to Edinburgh, new openings are pretty thin on the ground in August. Not that there aren’t a few crackers, including an appearance from Ben Whishaw at the Almeida and a Donmar production from superstar director Yael Farber.
Gangsta Granny at the Garrick Theatre
Though kid-specific theatres, like the wonderful Unicorn, tend to be closed over summer, there are still a few children-friendly offerings this month. Top among those is Gangsta Granny, the stage version of David Walliams’s smash hit book (and TV adaptation), which transfers to the Garrick by way of Birmingham.
Gangsta Granny is at the Garrick Theatre from 26th July until 3rd September 2017, with a press night on 3rd August. Book your tickets here.
Evita at the Phoenix Theatre
The first of two showings from Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice, Evita replaces Gary Barlow’s The Girls at the Phoenix Theatre. This version, directed by Bill Kenwright, has already been on a successful national tour, and comes to London for a strictly limited season.
Evita is at the Phoenix Theatre from 28th July until 14th October 2017, with a press night on 2nd August. Book your tickets here.
Apologia at Trafalgar Studios
Grease fans pay attention! Stockard Channing, aka Rizzo herself, stars in Jamie Lloyd’s revival of Alexi Kaye Campbell’s family drama Apologia. Channing’s matriarch is joined by former Doctor Who companion Freema Agyeman, Downton Abbey’s Laura Carmichael, Desmond Barrit and Joseph Milton.
Apologia is at Trafalgar Studios from 29th July until 18th November 2017, with a press night on 3rd August. Book your tickets here.
Kiki’s Delivery Service at Southwark Playhouse
Another returning show, this Christmas delight is back for a summer run just in time to help out parents at a loss about what to do during the holidays. Based on the book by Eiko Kadono (also turned into an award-winning film by Studio Ghibli), Kiki’s Delivery Service follows the titular 13-year-old witch as she tries to make it on her own. If you’re not convinced, the production features a puppet cat!
Kiki’s Delivery Service is at Southwark Playhouse from 10th August until 3rd September 2017, with a press night on 15th August. For further information or to book visit here.
Photo: Richard Davenport
The Majority at the National Theatre
This looks intriguing. Rob Drummond, who scored a hit with Bullet Catch at the National’s dearly departed Shed, is back with a show about democracy. It sounds like it will cover similar ground to the NT’s My Country – fingers crossed it’s better than that patronising misfire – but with an added layer of interactivity.
The Majority is at the National Theatre from 11th until 28th August 2017, with a press night on 14th August. For further information or to book visit here.
Jesus Christ Superstar at Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre
The other Webber/Rice joint this month sees the return of the Open Air Theatre’s Jesus Christ Superstar. The production garnered rave reviews when it debuted last year, including the Olivier Award for Best Musical Revival and an Evening Standard Emerging Talent Award for Tyronne Huntley, who is back as Judas.
Jesus Christ Superstar is at Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre from 11th August until 23rd September 2017. Book your tickets here.
Photo: Johan Persson
Against at Almeida Theatre
Probably the highlight of the month, Against sees Ben Whishaw return to the Almeida after starring in Bakkhai in 2015. It’s not just Whishaw, however; the play itself sounds really promising. A Silicon Valley billionaire thinks God is talking to him, and sets out to change the world. Done right this could be a modern fable, ideally with some satiric swipes at the likes of Mark Zuckerberg and Elon Musk.
Against is at Almeida Theatre from 12th August until 30th September 2017, with a press night on 18th August. For further information or to book visit here.
Photo: Nadav Kander
Loot at Park Theatre
Joe Orton’s Loot comes to Park Theatre just in time to celebrate the play’s 50th anniversary. From the producers of The Boys in the Band – which nabbed a West End transfer – the black comedy is directed by Michael Fentiman and stars Calvin Demba, Sinead Matthews and Sam Frenchum.
Loot is at Park Theatre from 17th August until 24th September 2017, with a press night on 23rd August. For further information or to book visit here.
Knives in Hens at Donmar Warehouse
Yael Farber is a singular director. Her productions are visually breathtaking. When backed by a heavyweight script, like Lorraine Hansberry’s Les Blancs the effect is intoxicating. When not, a la Salome, they’re a car crash. Hopefully the South African’s revival of David Harrower’s Knives in Hens will be closer to the former than the god-awful latter.
Knives in Hens is at Donmar Warehouse from 17th August until 7th October 2017, with a press night on 22nd August. For further information or to book visit here.
Late Company at Trafalgar Studios
After a critically acclaimed run at the Finborough Theatre, Late Company transfers to the Trafalgar Studios’ downstairs space. Written by Canadian Jordan Tannahill, the play deals with the aftermath of a gay teen’s suicide, as his bereaved parents invite their son’s bully over for dinner.
Late Company is at Trafalgar Studios from 21st August until 16th September 2017, with a press night on 24th August. Book your tickets here.
Photo: Charlie Round-Turner