THEATRE / Previews and First Nights

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The Independent Culture
DEAD FUNNY

Terry Johnson's bitterly comic exploration of male impotence and the humour of Benny Hill transfers from the Hampstead with a new cast headed by Zoe Wanamaker and Niall Buggy. Vaudeville, WC2 (071-836 9987). Opens tonight.

BRECHT IN HOLLYWOOD

The story of the playwright's flight from the Nazis and arrival in LA, devised by Goran Stefanovski, creator of last year's experimental piece Sarajevo. The cast includes Vanessa Redgrave, Ekkehard Schall from the Berliner Ensemble and Rade Serbedzija from the former Yugoslavia. Bridge Lane, SE1 (071-403 4037). Opens tomorrow.

IN QUEST OF CONSCIENCE

Robert David MacDonald adapts and appears in Gitta Sereny's book of interviews with Nazi death camp commandant Franz Stangl. Glasgow Citizens, Stalls Studio (041- 429 0022). Opens tonight.

PAPER WALLS

The Scarlet Theatre Company presents a morbidly comic tale of sisters trapped in claustrophobic domestic routines. By Cindy Oswin. New Grove, NW1 (071-383 0925). Opens tonight.

SUNSET BOULEVARD

The new, improved version of the Lloyd Webber musical after the Billy Wilder film, with Betty Buckley as Norma Desmond and John Barrowman as Joe Gillis. Adelphi, WC2 (071-344 0055). Reopens tomorrow.

MY NIGHT WITH REG

After the success of Coming Clean, playwright and actor Kevin Elyot's new play meditates on sex, lies and death, and stars David Bamber and John Sessions. Royal Court, Upstairs, SW1 (071-730 1745). Previewing, opens tomorrow.

HAY FEVER

Noel Coward's portrait of family eccentricities and thespian foibles, directed by Rumu Sen-Gupta. Belgrade Theatre, Coventry (0203 553055). Previews from Fri, opens 10 Apr.

CRUSADE

A tourist bus breaks down in the desert on the way to Jerusalem in Paul Sirett's study of religious conflicts ancient and modern. Theatre Royal, Stratford East (081-534 0310). Previews from Monday, opens 14 Apr.

RED

The latest play from the prolific pen of Anna Reynolds, this time set in a cell where two women await trial for murdering their husbands. New End Theatre, NW3 (071-794 0022). Opens tonight.

BUTTERFLY KISS

The eagerly awaited follow-up to Phyllis Nagy's startling Weldon Rising. Stephen Pimlott directs. Almeida N1 (071-359 4404). Previews from tomorrow, opens 13 Apr.

GHOST FROM A PERFECT PLACE

Playwright, screenwriter and novelist Philip Ridley presents his latest excursion into a mythical gothic East End demi-monde, directed by Matthew Lloyd. Hampstead Theatre, NW3 (071-722 9301). Opens 12 Apr.

HATED NIGHTFALL

Howard Barker's bitter comedy of the last days of the Romanovs promises dazzling eloquence and a quicksilver performance by Ian McDiarmid as the imperial executioner. Royal Court, SW1 (071-730 1745). Previews from Thursday, opens 11 Apr.

ROPE

Patrick Hamilton's 1929 thriller, immortalised by Hitchcock, returns to the stage in a Chichester Theatre production. Wyndham's WC2 (071-867 1116). Opens 11 Apr.

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