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The best London theatre opening in 2021 that you can book now

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The best London theatre opening in 2021 that you can book now
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he date has pride of place in our diaries: May 17, when theatres can reopen for live performances.

That means that – hurrah! – there’s lots that you can book tickets for right now. Of course, all of the below is subject to change, but we’re crossing our fingers and counting down the days that all will go according to plan this time. Here’s our guide to what’s coming up when theatres reopen. (For returning West End shows, all the latest reopening dates can be found here.)

After It’s A Sin so brilliantly and poignantly brought the legacy of the 1980s Aids crisis into the mainstream, Jack Holden’s new play tackles it from one man’s perspective. Holden himself will play Michael, diagnosed with HIV and told he only has four years left to live. His partner has already died and Michael believes this is his last night on earth – but then, he survives. Featuring an electronic score performed live, the show promises us both a tribute and a joyous night out. May 18 – 13 June, Duchess Theatre

A Midsummer Night’s Dream

It just isn’t summer without the chance to watch the course of love well and truly not running smooth. Shakespeare’s twisted romantic comedy is always best enjoyed in the open air, so we’re glad the Globe is reopening with a restaging of Sean Holmes’s 2019 production. If you need us we’ll be at the back, necking love potion and rooting for Helena. May 19 – October 30, Shakespeare’s Globe; shakespearesglobe.com

Are we excited? Oui

/ Pamela Raith Photography

J’adore! This charming musical version of the 2001 cult classic French film is coming to the West End. After the year we’ve had, there’s nothing we can recommend more than booking to a show where a giant depressed goldfish sings ‘Amélie – pourquoi? Au revoir’. You’ll giggle yourself silly and feel Parisian chic at the same time. From May 20, Criterion Theatre; ameliethemusical.com

A prestigious award for black playwrights is named after Alfred Fagon – so why don’t we see more of his work? Hampstead Theatre is setting that right by reviving his play about a man who thinks he has the world at his feet, in a production directed by Dawn Walton. It’s a fitting that the play had its debut at the very same venue in 1975. May 28 – 10 July, Hampstead Theatre; hampsteadtheatre.com

If you could bring only one memory from your life with you after you die, what would it be? That’s the premise of the Japanese film by Hirokazu Kore-eda that this play is adapted from. Written by Jack Thorne, it’s a co-production with Headlong that will be directed by Jeremy Herrin and designed by Bunny Christie. June 2 – July 24, National Theatre; nationaltheatre.org.uk

In one of Samuel Beckett’s most affecting works, Winnie is trapped up to her waist in sand and acting as though she’s totally okay with it. Not the day at the seaside we’ve been dreaming of, we’ll admit. But this production is not to be missed: Winnie will be played by Lisa Dwan, leading Beckett performer of her generation. June 11 – July 25, Riverside Studios; riversidestudios.co.uk

A new play by Deborah Bruce follows two former flames reconnecting – what’s 30 years between friends? The production will be staged in the theatre’s downstairs space and directed by Hampstead boss Roxana Silbert. June 11 – July 24, Hampstead Theatre; hampsteadtheatre.com

Michael Sheen takes on a Welsh epic

/ Getty Images for SXSW

‘To begin at the beginning…’ A new staging of Dylan Thomas’s masterpiece starring Michael Sheen is the epic return to the National Theatre’s Olivier stage that we’ve been dreaming of. Originally written as a radio drama, this ‘play for voices’ is an intimate study of the characters that populate a small Welsh community. We’re already imagining the hush as the lights go down. June 16 – July 24, National Theatre; nationaltheatre.org.uk

Been missing new plays? Well, here are three at once. The Lyric is offering three short one-person shows all based in London, exploring race, belonging and identity, written by Tanika Gupta, Simon Stephens and Roy Williams. June 18 – July 24, Lyric Hammersmith; lyric.co.uk

Paul Merton and Michael Ball return to Hairspray

/ Handout

You genuinely *cannot* stop the beat, because this revival of Hairspray will finally go ahead after being delayed for a year. It will now run at the London Coliseum this summer, with Michael Ball and Paul Merton in the cast.

The team behind Cinderella: Andrew Lloyd Webber, Carrie Hope Fletcher and Emerald Fennell 

/ Handout

Cinderella has had her opening date moved so many times she is in danger of turning into a pumpkin but she’ll hopefully be going to the ball at last next year. Andrew Lloyd Webber’s updated version, starring Carrie Hope Fletcher and co-written with Killing Eve writer (and The Crown star) Emerald Fennell, will finally make it to the stage in June. A new musical from the Lord is occasion enough in a normal year, but after 2020, it’s monumental. From June 25, Gillian Lynne Theatre; andrewlloydwebberscinderella.com

Is it a pop concert? Is it a theatre show? Is it performance art? As this is the new show from the daringly uncategorisable Lucy McCormick, it’s probably all three. It will be Battersea Arts Centre’s first live performance with audiences for a year – the venue recently stepped up to become a temporary vaccination centre. July 8-15, Battersea Arts Centre; bac.org.uk

Reviving a musical set on an ocean liner in 2021 is a great idea, because it’s probably the only way you’ll get anywhere close to being on one. This star-studded production of Cole Porter and PG Wodehouse’s jaunt on the SS American will star Megan Mullally, Robert Lindsay, Felicity Kendal and Gary Wilmot. Oh, jazz hands and shiny costumes, we’ve missed you. July 23 – Oct 17, Barbican; barbican.org.uk

The Open Air Theatre is one the most gorgeous theatres in London (as long as it doesn’t rain), so we can’t wait to be back there for its summer reopening season. As well as a production of Romeo and Juliet, Open Air artistic director Timothy Sheader will stage a revival of Rodgers and Hammerstein classic Carousel, choreographed by Drew McOnie. July 30 – Sept 18, Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre; openairtheatre.com

A guaranteed crowd-pleaser, this stage adaptation of the Gene Kelly classic has already been a hit at Chichester and in the West End. The perfect evening of summer escapism. July 30 – Sept 1, Sadler’s Wells; sadlerswells.com

Stephanie McKeon and Samantha Barks will play Anna and Elsa

/ Disney

The only way to truly let 2020 go is to go and see the biggest, glitteriest, belt-iest musical the West End can handle. Step forward, Frozen the Musical. Delayed from 2020, this Broadway import finally arrives on our stages in a newly refurbished Theatre Royal Drury Lane this August, with Samantha Barks playing Elsa. August (exact dates TBC), Theatre Royal Drury Lane; frozenthemusical.co.uk

Back to the Future: The Musical

Roger Bart as Doc Brown

/ Sean Ebsworth Barnes

The Flux Capacitator awaits you: 1985 cult movie classic Back to the Future has been turned into a musical. It opens in London in August, with Tony Award winner Roger Bart playing eccentric scientist Doc Brown. A must-see for nostalgia geeks. From August 20, Adelphi Theatre; backtothefuturemusical.com

Cush Jumbo will play Hamlet

/ Dean Chalkley

We’ve been desperate to see Cush Jumbo play Hamlet since the production was first announced in 2019, so we’re delighted that it’s going ahead in September. It’s already very sold out, but keep your eyes peeled on the Young Vic website for any returns. From Sept 25 – Nov 13, Young Vic; youngvic.org

Expect the theatrical magic you’ve been missing to feature heavily in this stage adaptation of Yann Martel’s Booker Prize-winning novel, a philosophical tale about a boy trapped on a raft with a tiger. It was due to open in the West End last year after an acclaimed run at Sheffield’s Crucible Theatre; adapted by Lolita Chakrabarti, the production is full of big visuals and bold use of puppetry, a fitting way to bring this beloved book to life. From Sept 26, Wyndham’s’ Theatre; lifeofpionstage.com

Get Up, Stand Up! The Bob Marley Musical

Get Up, Stand Up! will be one of the year’s most anticipated musicals

/ David Corio

Arinzé Kene will play reggae superstar Bob Marley in this musical based on the singer’s life, featuring all of his biggest hits. Directed by Clint Dyer with a book written by Lee Hall, it will be one of the year’s most anticipated new musicals in an already quite crowded field. From October, Lyric Theatre; getupstandupthemusical.com

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The Making of Rodin at Tate Contemporary critique: a master of modernity

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The Making of Rodin at Tate Britain review: a master of modernity
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t’s disconcerting to locate Rodin in Tate Modern day. We are employed to looking at him in Tate Britain down the river – The Kiss has been introduced in this article for this new exhibition – or in the V&A. He does come within Tate Modern’s remit in period of time (he died in 1917) but he’s a person of the earliest artists to be shown there. His representational figurative sculpture will be a diverse practical experience for site visitors after the abstract and modernist artwork.

However if Rodin seems to be different listed here, that is fantastic – it can make us see his modernity. Herbert Browse, the wonderful critic, started his book on Fashionable Sculpture with Rodin. This exhibition features his will work in plaster and clay and his watercolours – the only marble function here is The Kiss, and one of the couple of bronzes is the superb figure of an athlete that started off his vocation with a practical controversy about no matter if it was truly the cast of a male.

Research for The Thinker, 1881

/ Musée Rodin

In focusing on functions in plaster, The Building of Rodin recollects the sculptor’s own present at the Pavillon d’Alma in 1900, staged to coincide with the Universal Exhibition: a display screen of plaster items intended to advise the excellent man’s studio, besides devoid of the bustle, dust and assistants.

The matter about clay, in which he mainly labored (the casts for plaster, then bronze, were being produced by many others) is that it’s malleable – feel of your personal early get the job done in plasticine – so conveys fluidity rather than the perfection of marble or bronze. Plaster casts, manufactured from clay models, are ordinarily tidied up, and the seams from the mould cleaned off, but here we locate performs in development way too. We see the building and remaking of do the job – there’s a disconcerting show of what he identified as giblets, or assorted plaster limbs – and we can see how a head or hand from a person design would be cheerfully stuck on to the human body of an additional.

The most remarkable huge home has types for the wonderful statue of Balzac, which Kenneth Clark considered the finest sculpture due to the fact Michaelangelo, from the stout nude types of the determine to the dressing robe drenched in plaster (seeking spectral, all by alone) which he draped above it to produce that monumental condition. Superb. In the identical area there is The Thinker and its preparatory designs – you can see its colossal physicality near up – down to the clenched toes.

Suitable hand of Pierre and Jacques de Wissant, 1885–86

/ Musée Rodin

The drawings and watercolours, numerous erotic, are interesting, fairly very well the opposite of bodily sculpture. There’s a mastery of line and attention-grabbing abstraction right here, not minimum for the reason that he lined figures with a colored clean which blurred the outlines.

In some of the captions, there is a lengthy discussion on whiteness, suggesting that Rodin shared a view of classical sculpture which equated whiteness with attractiveness. How about whiteness becoming a high quality of plaster and the avoidance of colour a way of concentrating on sort?

The other matter that Tate Modern day has going for it is area and light-weight the Burghers of Calais (also readily available to perspective for absolutely free on the Victoria Embankment, exactly where the bronze versions reside) are in a home drenched with it. All the far better to see their defeated, appalled expressions. Wonderful.

The Building of Rodin is at Tate Modern day from Could 17 to November 21

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