THEATRE: Reviews

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As you will have discerned from my strikingly unadorned, almost Amish-style prose, I'm an earthy, New Age kind of a guy. Honest. Not for me the style-obsessed grandiloquent periphrasis of other, more arch columnists. You may have me down as some smart, a la mode urbanite, crisply dressed in freshly pressed white tie and tails, who thinks nothing of attending a glamorous first night, downing the odd daiquiri and then staying up till the small hours with an improbably decorative crowd discussing the finer points of dramatic criticism, but you'd be quite, quite wrong.

No. I'm in tune with nature to an almost alarmingly spiritual degree, and I don't care who knows it. As that sage of rural living, Debbie Harry would say, picture this: I have been out (at dawn's early light, of course) twitching my water-divining twig before retiring to my chambers to take a long hard look at my trusty Tarot cards, and I can report that although it's still August, autumn is already upon us.

Yes, I too was reeling in shock at this astonishing revelation. And what led me to this startling conclusion. A glance at my calendar? No. An eyeful of TV's "Coming This Autumn" advertising? No. All I did was look at the list of next week's theatre openings. There are a staggering 22 shows opening in London alone. So much for the season of mists and mellow fruitfulness. We're talking stampede here.

It's marginally quieter out of town. Adaptations carry on apace with the Duke's Playhouse in Lancaster re-opening with April de Angelis's adaptation of Fanny Hill and Hardy's Far from the Madding Crowd in Newbury, but Salisbury Playhouse continues the Coward revival with Hay Fever (too busy sneezing to do it in the spring?).

Those within reach of the M25 are positively spoilt for choice with a theatrical cornucopia ranging from Tim Supple's smash-hit production of The Comedy of Errors for the RSC which arrives at London's Young Vic, to Wesker's Chips with Everything, which marches into the National. Alan Howard attempts to give Peter Hall's beleaguered Old Vic season a shot in the arm with his King Lear and Covent Garden bursts into life with a festival of street theatre.

Dead cert award, however, goes to Disco Pigs which arrives at the Bush on Wednesday (0181-743 3388) after winning Enda Walsh the George Devine award for playwrighting, grabbing rave reviews for knockout acting, and selling out during the astoundingly successful Traverse season at this year's Edinburgh Festival.