Theatre

Regeneration

Issue section: 
Issue: 
Author: 
Regeneration

In 1916 the physician-superintendent of Edinburgh Asylum claimed that the First World War “did not appear to have increased the amount of insanity”. His colleague at Glasgow Asylum went further: the “abundance of occupation…[and] absorbing interest in the national crisis…had thus increased and not diminished the mental stability and general health of the nation”.

A new stage adaptation of Pat Barker’s Regeneration trilogy about the treatment of “war neurosis”, or post-traumatic stress disorder, among officers at Edinburgh’s Craiglockhart Military Hospital gives the lie to this.

Little Revolution

Issue section: 
Author: 

Almeida Theatre, London, until 4 October
Little Revolution depicts the riots of summer 2011 through the diverse voices of Hackney residents. The playwright, Alecky Blythe, who appears as herself, constructed the script from the recordings of real people that she made at the time. The actors reproduce the voices, accents and exclamations word for word, weaving these snippets of conversation into a vivid narrative.

Mr Burns

Issue section: 
Author: 
Mr Burns

Almeida Theatre, London, until 26 July

If you were given the task of preserving culture for future generations what would you save? Gilbert and Sullivan or Eminem? Shakespeare or the Simpsons? How much would you remember? And would you remember it right?

Mr Burns is described as a post-electric play. It opens with the audience plunged into darkness and a small group of people on stage around a camp fire. We know something has happened but are never really clear what. Few people are left alive. Nuclear power stations have gone up in flames and there is no power.

Theatre: 1984

Issue section: 
Issue: 

Playhouse Theatre, Until 23 August

We all know about 1984, whether we have read the book or not. George Orwell wrote it just as the world was staggering out of the most brutal war ever, with the Stalinist regime victorious in the East, and McCarthyism taking hold in the US. But it has become shorthand for any discussion of state repression, surveillance and attacks on civil liberties.

This May Hurt a Bit

Issue section: 
Issue: 

On tour until 21 June

This is a play unashamed to convey an urgent message. Always politically contested, charged with determination, goodwill and wry humour, always short of resources - the audacity and optimism of the National Health Service project itself are reflected by the structure and presentation of the play.

The cast of eight skilfully swap between characters we recognise and some developed for the story.

The Silver Tassie

Issue section: 
Issue: 
Author: 

Lyttleton Theatre, London, until 3 July

Sean O'Casey is best known for his "Dublin Trilogy" - the trio of plays dealing with the Irish Revolution and Civil War that made his name as a playwright. The Silver Tassie is less known, but this revival is timed to coincide with the centenary of the start of the First World War. And being an O'Casey play, it brilliantly captures the shattering impact of the conflict on the lives of those who took part in it.

The Curious Incident of the Dog In The Night-Time

Issue section: 
Issue: 
Author: 

Gielgud Theatre, London, from 24 June

"The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time" is a touching and humanising insight into the autistic mindset of Christopher Boone. The play is a heartening exploration of truth, pain and complication. This adaptation is a triumph, and the setting I saw it in is a step in the right direction for art.

The show played at the West End's Apollo Theatre from March last year until, on 19 December, the ceiling fell in during an evening performance and 70 to 80 people were injured, seven seriously.

The Duck House

Issue section: 
Issue: 
Author: 

Vaudeville Theatre, London, until 29 March 2014

"I don't want a real job, I want to be an MP!" The ironic words of Ben Miller's ill-fated character Robert Houston echoes through the theatre to be met with a loud and hearty laugh from the audience.

The words pose the crucial questions. What does it really mean to be an MP and what is their purpose? What sort of heartless individuals would spend hard earned taxpayers' money on duck houses, manure and glittery toilet seats?

Emil and the Detectives

Issue section: 
Issue: 

National Theatre, London, until 18 March

An adult's view: It is no surprise that Erich Kastner's Emil and the Detectives was so hated by the Nazis that it was one of those singled out for burning.

This exciting adventure story references all the major tensions in pre-war Weimar Germany, and comes down firmly on the side of the oppressed against the state. In one scene, most of the passengers on a tram turn on the young Emil, believing that, because he doesn't have the fare, he must be a criminal and possibly Jewish.

Spoken Word: Brand New Ancients

Issue section: 

Kate Tempest's award-winning and critically acclaimed theatrical spoken-word epic reopened this month and will soon be touring nationwide.

A collection of beautiful and delicately loving stories about the lives of working class people, Brand New Ancients mixes hip hop and high art in a glorious celebration of everyday life.

Tempest's poetry is an outstanding interweaving of dextrous and powerful verbal depth with a keen attention to the way in which language is actually used.

Pages

Subscribe to RSS - Theatre