autumn theatre



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Pictured top The Two Popes, Rose Theatre

1 An Inspector Calls, New Wimbledon Theatre, 9 Sep – 17 Sep 

New Wimbledon Theatre is starting strong in September with Stephen Daldry’s acclaimed production of the famous thriller, An Inspector Calls. Originally staged in 1992, it has won a total of 19 major awards, features music by Oscar-winning composer Stephen Warbeck and truly showcases the play’s enduring relevance.  

And after that, whilst you wait for the panto, Studio at New Wimbledon Theatre has some fabulous fringe shows lined up: a creative brand-new show Ballooniana! (22 Sep – 1 Oct), a 75 minutes long, fast-paced adaptation of Macbeth (10-15 Oct), and another page-to-stage premiere Turning the Screw (20-29 Oct).

2 The Doctor, Richmond Theatre, 19 – 24 September 

Loosely based on Arthur Schnitzler’s classical play Professor Bernhardi, The Doctor was meant to premiere in the West End back in 2019. Alas, it did not – for obvious reasons – and now it is embarking on a short tour before finally arriving at Duke of York’s Theatre end of September. One of its stops is in Richmond and given rave reviews of the original production, this one is a must-see. Directed by the new Wunderkind of British theatre Robert Icke and starring Juliet Stevenson, it reimagines the century-old tale of prejudice, religion and antisemitism for modern audiences.  

But that’s not the only exciting show coming up at Richmond. Earlier in September (5 – 10) you can catch The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, a cheerful comedy about taking risks and finding love, a hilarious double-bill Noises Off (4 – 15 Oct) and of course, The Addams Family presented by the BROS Theatre Company (26-29 Oct) – because who doesn’t like The Addams Family?

Image: Juliet Stevenson in The Doctor, photos by Manuel Harlan

3 The Revellers Society, OSO Arts Centre – 27 Sep – 9 Oct  

We have seen The Revellers Society when it was on last year and can confirm, it’s resplendent! There’s a bit of everything: some Berlin cabaret, some ghost story, a Hollywood bombshell and a former star desperate to make a comeback. And it’s fun – genuinely and effortlessly fun.  

Other gems this autumn in Barnes include A Hundred Words for Snow (6 – 11 Sep) – about a teenage girl’s solo journey to the North Pole with her father’s ashes – and some fantastic new opera works: inspired by Jean-Paul Sartre No Way Out, innovative and semi-digital Shakespeare’s Ariel and operatic monodrama La Voix Humaine.    

Images: The Revellers Society, photos by Vikki Lince

4 Arms and the Man, Orange Tree Theatre, 19 Nov – 14 Jan 

Coming in late autumn to the Orange Tree Theatre is George Bernard Shaw’s classic comedy Arms and the Man – a light-hearted play targeting the futility of wars and idealistic attitudes. The year is 1885, Serbo-Bulgarian War. A Swiss soldier in the Serbian army climbs through the window to the room of Raina, a young woman engaged to one of the war heroes. A comedy of human hypocrisies ensues – it’s a delightfully funny play that is sadly also continuously relevant.  

Before that, OT has Yellowman (5 Sep – 8 Oct), the 2002 Pulitzer Prize finalist for drama and Jack Thorne’s The Solid Life of Sugar Water (15 Oct – 12 Nov), a tender play about loss and rediscovery.  

5 Girl from the North Country, New Victoria Theatre 22 Nov – 26 Nov  

Also in November, the critically acclaimed musical Girl from the North Country comes to Woking in all its Bob Dylan glory. The Olivier and Tony award-winning smash hit musical tells a story of a group of travellers whose paths unexpectedly cross at a rundown guesthouse. If you fancy something more uplifting, however, there’s Bat Out Of Hell in October (25 Oct – 5 Nov) – an electrifying and visually attractive (motorcycle tricks!) musical bringing to life the legendary anthems of Jim Steinman & Meat Loaf. There’s also The Cher Show in September (6-10), a show about, you guessed it, Cher. It really is quite fabulous, with a stellar cast (West End stars Millie O’Connell, Danielle Steers and Debbie Kurup play Cher at different stages of her long and fruitful career) and amazing choreography by the double Strictly winner Oti Mabuse.  

6 Butterflies, Polka Theatre, 13 -16 October 

Polka Theatre has a truly fabulous programme throughout autumn and winter. Starting off in October, Butterflies – A Tangled Feet and Half-Moon co-production for children ages 4-8 – is an uplifting tale of courage and friendship told through innovative staging and physical theatre techniques. Tutankhamun’s Shoes (19-23 Sep) is an interactive experience that will take your little ones into the land of pharaohs, archelogy and scary old mummies. Little Manfred (22-30 Oct), adapted from the beloved book by Michael Morpurgo looks like it’s full of stunning puppetry and its cast includes serving and veteran military personnel. Finally, Underwater (9-20 Nov) produced in cooperation with the Greek National Opera promises to be a gorgeous dance theatre piece, created for babies aged 0-2 and their parents or carers.  

7 The Shadow Whose Prey The Hunter Becomes, Battersea Arts Centre, 19 – 22 October 

Battersea Arts Centre has lined up a couple of truly spectacular shows this autumn. First comes Jezebel (6-14 Oct), a dance performance inspired by video vixens, female models who appeared in hip-hop music videos. Then, The Trauma Show (20 Oct – 5 Nov) makes a show out of adverse childhoods and explores how TikTok has the potential to heal us all. Tanz (1-3 Nov) by an acclaimed performer Florentina Holzinger is provocative, weird and surreal, and completely defies expectations. And last (but very much not least), The Shadow Whose Prey the Hunter Becomes promises a complex narrative tackling pressing social issues – human rights, sexual politics, and even the projected dominance of artificial intelligence. 

8 The Caucasian Chalk Circle, Rose Theatre, 1-22 Oct 

Brechtian parable of humanity and justice gets a revamp as it hits the stage in Kingston. Adapted by Steve Waters, directed by Rose’s Artistic Director Christopher Haydon and starring Carrie Hope Fletcher as Grusha, it is the first major London production of The Caucasian Chalk Circle for 25 years and promises to be a hit. Earlier (9-23 Sep), The Rose has The Two Popes, made famous by its 2019 film adaptation. Read our interview with Anton Lesser, who stars in it along with Nicholas Woodeson. Later (1-12 Nov), The Importance of Being Earnest – Oscar Wilde’s sharpest comedy in a modern rendition, comes to The Rose.   

Images: The Two Popes
Top image: The Two Popes – Anton Lesser and Nicholas Woodeson – photo by Manuel Harlan

9 Silence, Tara Theatre, 21 Sep – 1 Oct 

An important and serious play adapted from the testimonies of people who survived the partition of the Indian subcontinent into India and Pakistan, Silence has been co-produced with Donmar Warehouse where you can catch it earlier in September. Innovative and focused on communal storytelling, it showcases the shared experience of hundreds of people that changed not only India but also Britain, forever.  

10 Iphigenia in Splott, Lyric Hammersmith, 26 Sep – 22 Oct 

Iphigenia in Splott managed to amass some seriously impressive reviews during its original run in Wales and later at the National Theatre. It’s raw, it’s modern, it’s intense and at times, it’s even dirty – all the while inspired by the Greek myth. Effie’s (Sophie Melville) life is a mess – until one night, she meets Lee.  

Lyric Hammersmith starts its Christmas season earlier than pretty much anyone else – 19 November! – so if you fancy yourself some Christmas magic ahead of time, don’t miss their new production of Jack and the Beanstalk 

11 Eureka Day, Old Vic, 6 September 2022 – 31 October 2022 

A satire comedy for our (turbulent) times comes to The Old Vic – a progressive school, certain health scare, mumps and lots of hilarious conflicts. Starring Oscar, Golden Globe and Emmy Award winner Helen Hunt, Eureka Day is one for the calendar. Elsewhere at the biggest and brightest London theatres, there’s I, Joan at The Globe (25 Aug – 22 Oct) – a “powerful” play that aims to tell Joan of Arc’s story anew and with an emphasis on questioning the gender binary. Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre takes on the ancient drama with Antigone (3-24 Sep), and Apollo Theatre stages Walking With Ghosts (6-17 Sep) adapted from Gabriel Byrne’s best-selling memoir.  

Your kids will be over the moon with My Neighbour Totoro at the Barbican (from 8 Oct) and so will you because let’s face it, who doesn’t adore Totoro? And Wilde’s The Canterville Ghost (11 Oct – 5 Nov) is coming to haunt Southwark Playhouse.  

12 Great Expectations, Putney Arts Theatre, 8-12 Nov 

Local fringe theatres have spectacular shows galore this autumn! Dickens’s Great Expectations (adapted by Neil Bartlett) hit the stage in Putney in November – and it is such a great story indeed one can never get enough of it. In October at the same venue the popular radio sitcom podcast, Barmy Dale, is set to be recorded in front of a live audience on stage (28-30 Oct) and earlier even (4-8 Oct) Edinburgh Fringe sensation from a couple of years ago, Ulster American will make the audiences laugh and cry again.  

In South Wimbledon, Colour House Theatre continues its children’s theatre traditions with The Little Mermaid (3 Sep – 6 Nov) and brings you Dame Dolly’s SPOOKTACKULAR Show just in time for some Halloween giggles (26-27 Oct). Omnibus in Clapham will recreate the famous Netflix show in The Crown – Live! – with some additional attractions, such as “frenetic hat-passing, period accents and corgi impressions.” Epsom Playhouse is putting on some spectacular one-nighters, including Psychic Sally show (6 Sep), Illusion Impossible (29 Sep), Solve-Along-A-Murder-She –Wrote (4 Oct), two comic operettas by Gilbert & Sullivan: Pirates of Penzance and Trial by Jury (8 Oct) and Fireman Sam Saves The Circus! (29 Oct). And Hampton Hill Theatre will present amateur theatre staple The Killing of Sister George (28 Sep – 1 Oct) and George Bernard Shaw’s Pygmalion (4-8 Oct).