The Autumn season in the West End is in full swing with some major new shows opening this week including An Ideal Husband and The Rivals.

Samantha Bond in An Ideal Husband

Samantha Bond in An Ideal Husband

This week sees Samantha Bond return to the London stage in Oscar Wilde’s An Ideal Husband, which opens on 10 November at the Vaudeville Theatre.

This glittering new production of Oscar Wilde’s witty and stylish critique of social morality sees Bond (Outnumbered) play Mrs Cheveley, pitted against her real-life husband Alexander Hanson (A Little Night Music, The Sound Of Music) as Sir Robert. The play also stars Elliott Cowan and Rachael Stirling.

Wilde’s 1895 play was last produced in London by Peter Hall in 1996, and this time the directing honours go to Lindsay Posner.

Talking of Peter Hall, his new Theatre Royal Bath production of Sheridan’s The Rivals comes to town on the same day as An Ideal Husband, starting previews on 10 November for a 23 November opening at the Theatre Royal Haymarket.

Peter Bowles and Penelope Keith in The Rivals

Peter Bowles and Penelope Keith in The Rivals

November proves to be a special month for Sir Peter, as he celebrates his 80th birthday on 22 November. His new production of this classic comedy stars To The Manor Born’s Penelope Keith and Peter Bowles, reunited on stage for the first time.

Also opening this week is comic and musician Bill Bailey, who brings his brand new live show, Dandelion Mind, to the West End from 9 November to 7 December. Also on 9 November, the Rambert Dance Company open with a triple bill at Sadler’s Wells.

Special offer: Book tickets to The Rivals at the Theatre Royal Haymarket

COMING UP IN NOVEMBER

A number of high-profile plays and musicals are launching in London this month, to run over the festive season.

Coming up, big Broadway musical Fela! opens at the National Theatre on 16 November, the Almeida’s new production of Ibsen’s classic The Master Builder opens on 18 November starring Gemma Arterton and Stephen Dillane, kids show The Gruffalo returns to the West End on 24 November and Chichester’s movie-to-musical Love Story starts previews at the Duchess Theatre, produced by Michael Ball, from 27 November. Finally on 30 November Matthew Bourne’s Cinderella makes a glamorous return to Sadler’s Wells.