Hedda Gabler National Theatre 5th December to 11th February 2017
Henrik Ibsen’s heroine is pregnant and suicidal, married to a dull academic, obsessed with a dissolute literary genius and stalked by a lecherous judge. Stand by for lift-off with Belgian maestro Ivo van Hove recreating his 2004 production for the New York Theatre Workshop and his own Toneelgroep, Amsterdam, with Ruth Wilson in the lead and a new text by Patrick Marber. Wilson, a fearlessly emotional actress, is supported by Kyle Soller and Rafe Spall.
Saint Joan Donmar Warehouse 9th December to 18th February 2017
Another film star, Gemma Arterton, continues an impressive stage career—The Duchess of Malfi at the Globe, Made in Dagenham and Nell Gwynn in the West End—with one of the most challenging roles in the repertoire, directed by Josie Rourke. Shaw’s magnificent Joan, the farm girl visionary who takes authority only from God and condescension from no one, is burnt at the stake as a heretic but returns from the dead as a saint, prompting her great speech about lands unfit for heroes.
Cinderella London Palladium 10th December to 15th January 2017
It is 30 years since the home of variety on Argyll Street put on a pantomime, but they may well make up for lost time in promising an old-style spectacular starring both Paul O’Grady as the wicked Stepmother in black eye-shadow and Julian Clary as a Dandini in pink frills—is this town big enough for the two of them?—with Lee Mead singing the pop songs and Amanda Holden sprinkling still more fairy dust as the wand-waving airborne Godmother.