May 30, 2008
30 May – 14 June
With this truly remarkable new play, Philip Ridley completes an East End trilogy of siblings and apocalypse – the others were Mercury Fur and Leaves of Glass – that will one day be rated one of the high water marks of British drama in the first decade of this century. Read more
May 28, 2008
Queens Theatre, Hornchurch
23 May – 14 June
A lifetime of experience. A teenage of aspiration. What happens if they collide?
That’s the premise behind Tim Frith’s play Absolutely Frank, given its London première at the Queen’s Theatre, Hornchurch on 27 May. The script started out at Scarborough in 1991 as a lunch-time one-act show and was expanded into its present format in 2006. Read more
May 28, 2008
This month visitors to London’s fringe venues are sure to experience the good, the bad and the ugly. Here’s a few gems that we are looking forward to in June…
Joseph Fiennes (pictured, left) takes on the role of a small town American Deputy in Josie Rourke’s production of 2,000 Feet Away at the Bush Theatre from the 16 June to 12 July 2008. In the play, the deputy struggles to enforce a new state law meaning all known sex offenders must live 2000 feet away from where children may gather when he is forced to evict his neighbour’s son and the new law comes closer to home. Read more
May 28, 2008
Menier Chocolate Factory
10 May – 20 July
Simon Gray’s 1984 play The Common Pursuit has endured nips and tucks over the years to keep it looking fresh but it remains stubbornly resistant to cosmetic fiddling. Every little change weakens it without solving the central practical problem of a group of Cambridge undergraduates viewed in the unforgiving light of what happened to them years later.
The first London cast aged down. The second in 1988 (including Stephen Fry, Rick Mayall and John Sessions) aged up. Fiona Laird’s attentive but flawed Menier revival strikes a middle course with unsatisfactory results. Read more
May 27, 2008
15 May – 5 July
It is a mark of the endless fascination of Ibsen’s Rosmersholm that even as the characters move towards the truth of things, so the atmosphere becomes cloudier with fear and apprehension. What exactly are the white horses on the horizon? Why are Rosmer, the newly widowed former priest, and Rebecca West, his housekeeper, drawn towards the abyss?
May 22, 2008
6 May – 31 May
Scope is both the source of magnificence and the downfall of author Paul Rigel Jenkins disturbing play which won the King’s Cross New Writing Award 2005. Ranging competently across designer babies, British politics, linguistics and even modern day recruitment tactics, Natural Selection elegantly parodies our deepest fears about society and the way it is headed while simultaneously presenting a pleasingly plausible portrait of human relations in the world we inevitably seem bound towards. Read more
May 20, 2008
This week is the final chance to catch the BAC’s BURST festival, a two-week extravaganza of experimental performance. This year the festival features over 30 companies from three continents spilling out across the length and breadth of the building, from the Grand Hall to the crypt.
At last week’s press night I was lucky enough to get a taste of what was on offer by sampling three scratch performances plus Belgian company Ontroerend Goed’s 2007 Total Theatre award-winning show The Smile Off Your Face (pictured). This is a show quite unlike any other, in which you are blindfolded, bound and guided around in a wheelchair for a total sensory experience. Read more
May 17, 2008
King’s Head Theatre, Islington
6 May – 22 June
Is there a market for adult fairy stories? Fans of Wicked would doubtless answer with a resounding yes. But it’s a question that’s posed anew at the King’s Head during the opening scenes of Ian McFarlane’s new musical Betwixt!, a fun-packed, cliché-ridden romp through a fairytale land of evil seductresses, betrothed princes, fairy nymphs and some very catchy little songs as well. Read more
May 15, 2008
Lift, previously known as the London International Festival of Theatre, will return this summer, running for selected dates between 12 June and 24 August 2008 in Stratford, Shoreditch and at the Southbank Centre. Lift was started in 1981 as a biennial summer festival aiming to introduce groundbreaking theatre companies and practitioners from around the world onto the London arts scene. From 2001 to 2006, the Lift Enquiry explored new, collaborative festival models.
As a result, Lift Festival 2008 now “reintroduces itself” along new, more audience-participatory lines, including a mobile meeting place called The Lift. Programming highlights include the UK premieres of international productions from Australia, India, New Zealand, South Africa, China and Canada. Read more
May 9, 2008
New End Theatre, Hampstead
30 April – 8 June
The plot of Rosemary Friedman’s An Eligible Man is straight-forward enough: wealthy, recently widowed London Judge Topher (Graham Seed) is pursued by three divorcees all hoping to relieve him of his grief, his loneliness, and no doubt a good amount of his money as well. Read more