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Birthday

In this hair-rasing foray into bodily functions and the NHS, mother and father roles have reversed as Ed, played by Stephen Mangan, has a go at childbirth.

The audience is spared the anatomical details, but the ride is long and bumpy, with Ed, whose wife has had a number of miscarriages, handling the pitfalls of pregnancy with neither composure nor grace in this Joe Penhall play (above|).

£10 | Until Aug 4
Royal Court, 50-51 Sloane Square, SW1W 8AS
Tube | Sloane Square
royalcourttheatre.com

 

Sports Play

Austrian playwright Elfriede Jelinek confronts our romanticised ideas of sport and athletes.

£10 | Jul 30-Aug 4
Chelsea Theatre, 7 World’s End Pl, SW10 0DR 
Tube | Imperial Wharf
chelseatheatre.org.uk

 

Our Boys

Matthew Lewis, better known for his role as Neville in the Harry Potter series of films, joins the cast of this play, which follows the camaraderie, tribulations, and terror of five young war-wounded soldiers. The play is based on the personal army experiences of the writer, Jonathan Lewis.

£18.75 | Sep 26-Dec 15
Duchess Theatre, 3-5 Catherine Street, WC2B 5LA
Tube | Covent Garden
nimaxtheatres.com

 

A Chorus of Disapproval

A treat for Gavin And Stacey fans. Comedian Rob Brydon, who plays affable Uncle Bryn, will make his West End debut in this comedy (below) centred on an am-dram performance that goes off the rails.

Brydon plays the theatre company’s over- zealous director, Dafydd, who gets more than a little excited about a widowed newcomer Guy (played by Nigel Harman). As it turns out, all the best action happens offstage in this Trevor Nunn-directed play.

£10 | Sep 17-Jan 5, 2013
Harold Pinter Theatre, 6 Panton Street, SW1Y 4DN
Tube | Piccadilly Circus
atgtickets.com

Democracy

This gripping spy thriller, from the pen of Michael Frayn, explores the world of political intrigue, espionage and betrayal in the final months of Nobel prize-winning West German chancellor Willy Brandt’s term in office.

It emerges that a Stasi spy has infiltrated his coalition government and what ensues is a snapshot of the racy world of democracy, as acted out by an ensemble cast, including Andre Bridgmond, David Cann and Patrick Dury.

£10 | Until July 28
The Old Vic, The Cut, SE1 8NB
Tube | Waterloo
oldvictheatre.com

 

Play Without Words

There’s no dialogue in this dance drama about sexual desire and class conflict, but don’t let that put you off. It’s a winner, from choreographer Matthew Bourne.

£12 | July 12-Aug 5
Sadler’s Wells, Rosebery Avenue
Islington, EC1R 4TN

Tube | Angel
sadlerswells.com


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