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Official London Theatre: February

6 February 2016 | London Calling

An Official London Theatre summary of what's new, what's been announced, and what's on its way out in London theatre this February, including celebrity appearances from Dominic Cooper, Gemma Arterton, Kit Harington, and er...a lot of ex-popstars.

Stop reading this now! That’s right, you heard me. Stop it and head to the Get Into London Theatre website, because depending on when in February you read this, you have days, hours or minutes left to take advantage of the brilliant theatre deals on offer there.

If you’re reading this after 12 February, forget that last paragraph, it means nothing to you. GILT, as we like to call it, will be back next year. Instead focus on what’s coming up…

… like Valentine’s Day. We all love Valentine’s Day and the pressure to be unnaturally romantic, don’t we? This year we can help with that over exaggerated show of love you’re planning. We’ve put together a handy list of shows to fit any taste your significant other might have. Unless they love knitting. We have nothing for knitters.

What else can you look forward to in an effort to lift the wintery spirits? If you like leading men, we can definitely help.

Remember The History Boys star who went off to appear in the movie version of Mamma Mia! and play Howard Stark – Iron Man’s dad – in all manner of Marvel malarkey. Yep, Dominic Cooper’s heading back to the stage to play a historical hedonist in The Libertine. But that’s not until September.

And that chap we first met when he starred in the stage production of War Horse – no, he didn’t play Joey – before he nipped off to Westeros to become Game Of Thrones’ scruffy-haired piece of illegitimate white walker-scaring rough Jon Snow? Yep, Kit Harington’s back too, playing Doctor Faustus in a new Jamie Lloyd-directed production of Marlowe’s deal-with-the-devil classic. But that’s not until April.

And remember the songs Crocodile Shoes, and Gotta Get Thru This, and Rock On, and Push The Button... well their singers – Jimmy Nail, Daniel Bedingfield, David Essex and former Sugababes star Heidi Range, as if you didn’t know – will all appear in the stage version of cult novel The War of the Worlds, which opens in February.

But, let me tell you, there’s even more star power than that descending on the West End like a glittery covering of Google-baiting snow this month.

There’s former Friends star Matthew Perry – Could he BE any starrier? – who’s easing himself into the playwriting game by debuting his first piece The End Of Longing in the West End. Not one to take it easy, Perry also stars in the play about four broken souls hoping to rebuild themselves and find love.

There’s also Bond and Tamara Drewe star Gemma Arterton, who’s back on the London stage after leading the cast of Made In Dagenham to play game changing actress Nell Gwynn. The charming mistress of King Charles II rose to become one of the first and most acclaimed actresses to perform in London.

Where Gwynn led the way, Orange Is The New Black’s Uzo Aduba, Downton Abbey’s Laura Carmichael and Fresh Meat’s Zawe Ashton follow. They’ll all star in the latest production from acclaimed director Lloyd – he who has tempted Harington back to London – The Maids. The adaptation of Jean Genet’s play is a story of two members of staff plotting ways to kill off their employer. Hold that thought… (only kidding!)

And nudity! There’s nudity! I’ve got your attention back, haven’t I? Mrs Henderson Presents is a musical about far more than body parts. It tells the story of the Windmill Theatre, which was run by feisty impresario Vivian Van Damme. With the Second World War looming, morale and box office figures need a boost. Hence the invention of the Windmill Girls who, you know, don’t wear very much… Seriously, Mrs Henderson is a new British musical with much more than flesh going for it; Olivier Award nominee Emma Williams, double Olivier Award winner Tracie Bennett, a brilliant new score…

As ever, some shows have to depart to make way for the new, so this is your last call to get out to see musicals Close To You: Bacharach Reimagined, Miss Saigon and Bend It Like Beckham: The Musical before they toddle off tunefully into the sunset, accompanied by a play that is sure to be in every awards shake up this season, the acclaimed Martin McDonagh comedy Hangmen.

What are you waiting for?

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