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What to see at the theatre in 2015 (starring Imelda Staunton, Kristin Scott Thomas and more)
January 9, 2015 | By:

This year promises a feast of performances, many starring those in their prime. Lucy Handley picks the best, including Kristin Scott Thomas in The Audience, and Caroline Quentin in Fanny Hill

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Imelda Staunton in Sondheim’s Gypsy, transferring to the West End in March. Photo by Johan Persson

Death of a Salesman, Royal Shakespeare Theatre, Stratford, 26 March to 2 May

One hundred years ago, Arthur Miller was born in New York City’s Harlem and in 1948 wrote Death of a Salesman, the tale that deals with ambition, mental illness and tragedy. The RSC production starring Antony Sher , 65, promises to be a seminal one. Death of a Salesman at The RSC

The Audience, Apollo Theatre, London, 21 April to 25 July
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Kristin Scott Thomas stars in The Audience. Photo by Jason Bell

After her ‘thrilling’ run as Electra last year, Dame Kristin Scott Thomas, 54, returns to the stage as the Queen in The Audience, a play about the monarch’s meetings with prime ministers from her ascension to the throne in 1952 until her Diamond Jubilee in 2012. The play, directed by Stephen Daldry, is by Peter Morgan, which won Helen Mirren an Oscar for the title role in The Queen. The Audience at The Apollo Theatre

Gypsy, Savoy Theatre, London, previews from 28 March

With four and five-star reviews across the national press for the Chichester Festival Theatre production, Gypsy, starring Imelda Staunton (59) as pushy showbiz parent Momma Rose, is set to transfer to London in the spring. With reviewers calling it ‘glorious’, ‘a triumph’ and ‘knock-out’, you can’t go wrong. Gypsy The Musical at The Savoy Theatre

 

Arcadia, Theatre Royal, Brighton and touring, 30 January to 18 April

Tom Stoppard’s play about rivalry, secret desires and chaos theory hasn’t toured the UK since 1993, and this production directed by the award-winning newcomer Blanche McIntyre explores the delicate relationship between past and present as it moves between the early 19th century and the present day. Arcadia at The Theatre Royal

American Buffalo, Wyndam’s Theatre, London, 16 April to 27 June
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Damian Lewis will star in American Buffalo. Photo by Kurt Iswarienko

Damian Lewis hasn’t been seen on the London stage for six years, and he returns to London to star in David Mamet’s American Buffalo.

Lewis plays small-time crook ‘Teach’ in a gang of three planning a big heist (which needless to say goes wrong). American Buffalo at Wyndham’s

Simon Rattle and the Berliner Philharmoniker’s The London Residency, Barbican and Southbank Centre, 10 to 15 Feburary

Sir Simon hasn’t performed here since conducting Chariots of Fire, starring Mr Bean, at the Olympics opening ceremony in 2012, so catch him while you can.

He’s coming to London to celebrate his 60th birthday, with five concerts of music that means the most to him. The London Residency

 
After Electra, Theatre Royal, Plymouth, and Tricycle Theatre, London, from 12 March

If you haven’t seen anything by the Theatre Royal Plymouth, you’re in for a treat.

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After Electra, from the Theatre Royal Plymouth, will transfer to London’s Tricycle Theatre in April

April de Angelis (who also adapted The Life and Times of Fanny Hill, below) explores what it means to be a mother, with central character Virgie, 84, who focuses on artistry over parenthood, at its heart. If you can’t get to Devon, the show is coming to London’s Tricycle Theatre in April. After Electra at The Theatre Royal  After Electra at The Tricycle

The Life and Times of Fanny Hill, Bristol Old Vic, 5 February to 7 March
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Caroline Quentin stars as eighteenth century prostitute Fanny Hill at Bristol Old Vic

Caroline Quentin, 54, plays prostitute Fanny Hill in this adaptation of John Cleland’s 1748 novel, with writer April de Angelis aiming to give background and voice to the main character. We learn little about who Fanny really was in the original book, which is known for being the first ‘English prose pornography’. Fanny Hill at Bristol Old Vic

 

 
Music for Easter, Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra, 28 March

For its 175th anniversary, the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic will premiere A Little Mass, written by James MacMillan especially for the event. Wagner’s Good Friday Music and Rimsky-Korsakov’s Russian Easter Festival Overture also feature.

“A celebration for both heart and soul,” as the blurb says, and there’s a Q&A with those involved afterwards. Music for Easter with Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra