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Review: Antony Sher in The Captain of Kopenick at the National Theatre

London theatre news that was on my radar this week

Bumper year for London Theatre

SOLT (Society of London Theatres) released its 2012 box office figures for the West End revealing that the Olympics didn't have quite the adverse effect predicted by Sir Andrew Lloyd Musical - a 9% drop for the duration. Takings for the year overall were marginally up and apparently advanced bookings for this year are already breaking records. With no Olympics and Boris's warnings of transport meltdown it bodes well for next year's figures.

Average ticket prices have come down by 11p - wonder how much of that is because of schemes run by people like Michael Grandage which offers £10 seats that aren't in the rafters with the air con units?

Nick Hytner has a busy week of National Theatre announcements

First off we had the 2013 season announcement which includes Anne-Marie Duff and Charles Edwards in Eugene O'Neill's Strange Interlude, a Tori Amos musical (schmusical, you know I don't like them) and Rufus Norris directing James Baldwin's Amen Corner.

Confirmation that Simon Russell Beale is going to be playing a relatively youthful King Lear and Othello with Adrian Lester in the lead and Rory Kinnear as Iago also made it into the announcement. 

From all that I'm particularly excited about seeing Ms Duff on stage again and in an O'Neill play. Rory playing Iago is also good choice, looking forward to seeing him play a baddie. Obviously I'll see SRB in anything but just can't get excited about Lear as a play.

Hytner also reminded us that the National Theatre is 50 this year and there will be some sort of celebratory extravaganza in the autumn renuniting past loveys and showcasing some of the best productions of the last half century. It will be amazing but I imagine that tickets for that will be rarer than a diamond encrusted hen's tooth so I can't really get excited.

And then finally it seemed apt that as well as looking back, the National is looking forward. The Cottesloe ceases to be this year but becomes The Shed which then, next year, becomes the Dorfman. But don't worry about that, all you need to know is that The Shed (it's the construction mess in front of the NT) will host more experimental works. Could be a bit Katie Mitchell (hit and miss) but maybe they are trying to mitigate the ticket rush as there will be far fewer seats than the Cottesloe. 

Another outdoor theatre (hurray)

For those who don't mind being exposed to the elements when they are trying to watch a play (I do) there is to be a new Shakespeare related venue planned in North London. It's on the site of a theatre that Bill apparently put a play on once or something (I'm being dismissive, sorry). Not sure it will be topping my list of new theatre venues to visit but it you like that sort of thing... 

Macbeth rehearsal pics hit the web

Particularly excited about seeing this in a couple of weeks (less if I'm really counting) just in case you share my enthusiasm you can see James McAvoy looking all moody in a brightly lit room and actors generally looking serious or laughing here.

On the radar this coming week

It might be a tad early but Peter & Alice started rehearsals on Monday so I'm hoping for some piccies of Ben Whishaw and Dame Judi laughing and looking serious very soon.