Autumn Preview: Five Shows to Watch

OEDIPUS Oedipus - National Theatre/Olivier Previews October 8, opens October 15
A bracing array of revivals from playwrights across the spectrum goes back to the beginning, so to speak, with the National Theatre's eagerly awaited production of Oedipus, the Sophocles play here served up in a new translation by Frank McGuinness that reteams in production the director Jonathan Kent with his Tony-winning Hamlet, Ralph Fiennes. The commitment of two-time Oscar nominee Fiennes to the stage has long been something quite singular. Not many actors possessed of his screen stature would appear first in Yasmina Reza's now-closed God of Carnage and then segue without much of a break to so defining a tragedy as this one. Expect fireworks not just from Fiennes center-stage but from a supporting cast headed by the redoubtable Clare Higgins as Jocasta and Alan Howard, himself a notable Oedipus in his day, as Teiresias, Howard with this production marking a welcome recovery from illness in his return to the South Bank theater where he has so often distinguished himself.

Matt Wolf in London