Theatre

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.

The Resistible Rise of Arturo Ui

Issue section: 
Issue: 
Author: 

It's not too often that a Brecht play is staged in the West End and this Jonathan Church production, transferred after a successful run in Chichester Festival Theatre, lends itself well. Brecht wrote the "The Resistible Rise of Arturo Ui" in 1941 as a refugee fleeing Nazi Germany. He was heading for America and uses the Hollywood Al Capone style gangster movies as an allegory to satirise the rise of Hitler.

All My Sons

Issue section: 
Issue: 

All Arthur Miller's plays are brilliant critiques of the immorality of capitalism. All My Sons, written in 1947, is no exception. It is from a true story. In 1941-43, Wright Aeronautical Corporation conspired with army inspection officers to approve defective aircraft engines destined for military use, resulting in planes crashing and pilots dying. Miller had been told of a daughter turning her father in after he had been caught selling the faulty machinery to the army.

Edinburgh Fringe

Issue section: 
Author: 

Theatre at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe is often at its most impressive when giving a voice to those suffering injustice.

Michael Milligan has been touring the US with Mercy Killers, a dramatisation of the medical debt catastrophe confronting many Americans. In a police interrogation room the character Joe furiously tries to explain the suspicious death of his wife.

She had become ill with a treatable condition, refused help by their insurance company and forced into heavy debt. They even divorce in an attempt to qualify for Medicaid.

The Amen Corner

Issue section: 
Author: 

The Amen Corner, the first play by the celebrated black writer and activist James Baldwin, is revived at the National Theatre in this moving, musical and charming production. Inspired by Baldwin's own early life as a teenage preacher, it provides a snapshot of 1950s Harlem, exploring poverty, loss, love and religion.

The "corner" itself is a neighbourhood Pentecostal church, led by the passionate Sister Margaret. At first she is a much-liked local pastor but soon there is anger among the congregation.

It soon transpires that Maggie's story is not quite what it seems. She has walked out on her drunken husband Luke to establish the church. When Luke returns and Daniel, Maggie's teenage son, reveals his desire to break out of church conformity and poverty to follow in the footsteps of his jazz musician father, her world begins to fall apart.

Pages

Subscribe to RSS - Theatre