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16 Photos: Ellie Kurttz

16 Photos: Ellie Kurttz WITNESS FOR THE PROSECUTION BY AGATHA CHRISTIE The acclaimed production of Agatha Christie’s classic courtroom play was recognised at this year’s Olivier Awards with a nomination for Best Revival. Witness for the Prosecution is the only work by a female writer to be included in the categories of Best Revival, or Best New Play. The production has captured the imagination of audiences who have experienced the drama inside the unique setting of County Hall’s ornate Chamber on London’s South Bank. Leonard Vole is accused of murdering a widow to inherit her wealth. The stakes are high. Will Leonard survive the shocking witness testimony? Will he be able to convince the jury of his innocence and escape the hangman’s noose? Harry Reid (previously EastEnders’ Ben Mitchell) takes the role of the accused, Leonard Vole, and is joined by Lucy Phelps (Call the Midwife, Anthony & Cleopatra, King Charles III) opposite him as Romaine, Richard Clothier (Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, The Graduate) as Sir Wilfrid Robarts, Julian Curry (The Alchemist, Rumpole of the Bailey) who plays Mr Justice Wainwright and Peter Moreton (The Winter’s Tale, Shakespeare in Love) playing Mr Mayhew. Produced by Eleanor Lloyd and Rebecca Stafford, Witness for the Prosecution has been shortlisted as a finalist in the London Building Excellence Awards. For tickets, telephone 0844 815 7141. THE LEHMAN TRILOGY OPENS AT THE NATIONAL Sam Mendes is to direct Simon Russell Beale, Adam Godley and Ben Miles who play the Lehman Brothers, their sons and grandsons, in The Lehman Trilogy, which opens at the Lyttelton Theatre on Thursday 12 July. On a cold September morning in 1844 a young man from Bavaria stands on a New York dockside. Dreaming of a new life in the new world. He is joined by his two brothers and an American epic begins. 163 years later, the firm they establish, Lehman Brothers, spectacularly collapses into bankruptcy, and triggers the largest financial crisis in history. The story of a family and a company that changed the world, is told in three parts on a single evening. Sam Mendes returns to the National to direct Ben Power's English version of Stefano Massini’s vast and poetic play, a hit across Europe. For tickets, telephone the National Theatre Box Office on 020 7452 3000. Sam Mendes in rehearsal for The Lehman Trilogy at the National Theatre. Photo: Mark Douet. T H I S I S L O N D O N M A G A Z I N E • T H I S I S L O N D O N O N L I N E

AN OCTOROON Dorfman After its success at Richmond’s Orange Tree Theatre last year, American Playwright Branden Jacobs-Jenkins Obie-awardwinning play has arrived, complete with the original cast, for a limited run at the National Theatre. Playful, inventive and full of surprises – as well as forcing one to confront serious issues of race and reality – it begins simply enough with Ken Nwosu as Jacobs- Jenkins’ alter ego, BJJ, strolling on stage wearing nothing but his socks and underpants and recounting a session with his therapist (although it turns out he doesn’t really have one) in which he discusses the problems of staging a play without enough white actors. He decides to white up and take on the roles of both George (the handsome young man who has inherited a debt-ridden Louisiana plantation) and M’Closky (the evil overseer determined to take it over) in his reinventing of Irish actor-playwrightmanager Dion Boucicault’s long-running 1859 hit melodrama, The Octoroon. This new version flashes from conversations between house slave Dido (who, tellingly, states that she wouldn’t know what do to with her freedom if she had it) and Vivian Oparah’s younger Minnie, discussing the fate of their fellow slaves (who can be sold – or bedded – at a master’s whim) to encounters between George and heiress Dora (determined to marry him – until she learns of his love for Iola Evans’ gentle Zoe, the octoroon of the title who could pass as white but crucially is one eight black ) Add to the mix a subplot involving a murdered slave (played by a blacked up white actor) and a gin-loving Native American (another white actor in redface – who also plays a white man with a bad reaction to too much sun), and a life size, tap-dancing embodiment of Br’er Rabbit – not to mention the heroic efforts of Nwosu rapidly swapping George’s powdered white wig for M’Closky’s hat and villain’s moustache to fight with himself – and Ned Bennett’s pacey, deliberately exaggerated production proves both entertaining and thought-provoking. Louise Kingsley BROKEN WINGS TAKES FLIGHT FOR THE WEST END Broken Wings, a major new musical, and autobiographical tale of tragic love based on Lebanese-born poet Kahlil Gibran’s 1912 masterpiece is to receive a West End prermiere at the Theatre Royal Haymarket from 1-4 August. Cowriter Nadim Naaman leads the cast as the iconic Gibran, the show’s narrator. The setting is New York City, 1923. An ageing Gibran narrates from his cold studio. Through poetry and music, he transports us back two decades and across continents, to turn-of-the-century Beirut. His 18-year-old self returns to The Middle East after five years living in America, to complete his education and discover more of his heritage. Gary Jordan as Zazu in Disney’s awardwinning musical The Lion King, now in its 19th triumphant year at London’s Lyceum Theatre. Photo: Helen Maybanks. T H I S I S L O N D O N M A G A Z I N E • T H I S I S L O N D O N O N L I N E 17

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