5. The Ferryman
Gielgud Theatre, until 7 October
This West End transfer was announced three months before Jez Butterworth's play premiered at the Royal Court. Paddy Considine received all the plaudits for his professional stage debut, with WhatsOnStage's Sarah Crompton saying the actor "displayed extraordinary stillness and presence" as Quinn, father of an Northern Irish family amidst the Troubles in the '80s. Sam Mendes' production transfers to the Gielgud this week and you simply cannot miss it.
4. The Wind in the Willows
London Palladium, until 9 September
Julian Fellowes has adapted Kenneth Grahame's classic children's novel with a little help from Stiles and Drewe, who have provided the music and lyrics. Rufus Hound leads the stellar cast which includes Denise Welch, Simon Lipkin, Craig Mather, Gary Wilmot and Neil McDermott. When the show opened in Plymouth last year, our critic said it was "well on the way to becoming a classic musical", so grab the kids and head to the Palladium to catch this vibrant production.
3. Racing Demon
Theatre Royal, Bath, until 8 July
David Hare's play about the Church of England looks at gay ordination and evangelism in the Church of England. When it opened at the National, it won the Olivier Award for Best New play and went on to win the Tony Award for Best Play in 1996. This production in Bath, directed by Jonathan Church, stars David Haig as Reverend Lionel Espy, a cleric whose faith is wavering as his parishioners dwindle.
Almeida Theatre, until 5 August
James Graham's new play is about the birth of The Sun and is set in 1969 when media mogul Rupert Murdoch was just a young man trying to make it on Fleet Street. Bertie Carvel plays Murdoch alongside Richard Coyle as Larry Lamb, the editor who introduced Page Three to the paper. Almeida AD Rupert Goold directs Graham's first play at the theatre.
1. Lady Day at Emerson's Bar & Grill
Wyndham's Theatre, until 9 September
Audra McDonald makes her West End debut as Billie Holiday in this musical play which features songs from her legendary back-catalogue including "God Bless the Child", "What a Little Moonlight Can Do," "Strange Fruit" and "Taint Nobody's Biz-ness". When we spoke to McDonald in April, she said there's a "huge responsibility" in playing Holiday because she wants to "relay the truth" about the singer. We're sure she's going to do a great job and can't wait to see the play, which is set in a seedy Philadelphia club just months before Holiday passed away aged just 44.
- Rufus Hound
- Jonathan Church
- Jez Butterworth
- Audra McDonald
- Laura Donnelly
- Bertie Carvel
- Paddy Considine
- Richard Coyle
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