The Sunday Preview: Theatre

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The Independent Culture
Imagine (Playhouse, Liverpool, 051- 709 8363, now previewing, opens Thurs). Not very imaginative casting for this 'epic musical tribute' to John Lennon by Ian Kellgren. Donning the NHS specs is Mark McGann, veteran of the 1985 touring musical Lennon and the film John and Yoko.

Columbus (Barbican, 071-638 8891, now previewing, opens Weds). Jonathan Hyde stars as the captain who can't read maps, in American writer Richard Nelson's stormy comedy . . .

Christopher Street Columbus (Drill Hall, 071-631 1353, opens Thurs) . . . while New York's Hot Peaches comedy troupe scuppers what remains of the seafarer's good name with a rock'n'roll romp featuring 'the largest false eyelashes this side of Carol Channing'.

Shades (Albery, 071-867 1115, now previewing, opens Thurs). Delayed start for Pauline Collins's first stage role since Shirley Valentine. She plays a Scotswoman torn between her family and a fancy man, in Sharman Macdonald's Fifties tale. Simon Callow directs.

No Remission (Lyric Studio, 081-741 8701, previews Tues, opens Thurs). A bank robber, a murderer and an ex- para are banged up together after a prison riot. Michael Frayn described Rod Williams's award-winning study of three lifers on the verge of a showdown as a 'remarkable first play'.

Double Take (Minerva Studio, Chichester, 0243-781312, now previewing, opens Tues). Novelist and TV writer Deborah Moggach chooses a familiar theme for her stage debut: what would we do if we could live our lives again? Alice, a frustrated housewife, finds out.

The Challenge (Shaw, 071-388 1394, tonight). First show from the Sondheim- backed Mercury Workshop, set up to promote musical theatre. Twenty-seven writers have contributed to an 18- part musical based on Greek yarns.

Phoenix (Bush, 081-743 3388, previews Tues, opens Fri). Before-and-after- the-Wall drama of two Seventies revolutionaries who meet again in Berlin in 1989, written by award-winner Roy MacGregor; shot through with jazz.

FURTHER AHEAD

Peter O'Toole, Keith Waterhouse and Ned Sherrin, the trio behind Jeffrey Bernard is Unwell, reunite for Our Song, from Waterhouse's novel (Theatre Royal, Bath, 0225-448844, from 13 Oct). Yukio Ninagawa's acclaimed Tempest comes briefly to the Barbican (071-638 8891, 2-4 Dec). Jane Duncan

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