February Picks

img_8991So for February I’ve got the following plays booked up:

9 to 5 The Musical @ Savoy Theatre – the classic comedy film from 80s brought to life as a musical with songs by Dolly Parton, this couldn’t get much camper if it tried!

Berberian Sound Studio @ Donmar Warehouse – probably couldn’t get more of a contrast in film adaptations with Peter Strickland’s darkly comic horror coming to the stage.

Jesus Hopped the A Train @ Young Vic – hoping the combination of the dark comedy set on murderers’ row, written by Stephen Adly Guirgis, will maintain the Young Vic’s impressive new season.

Shipwreck @ Almeida – new play by the tremendous Anne Washburn (Mr Burns will never ever leave me!) and directed by Artistic Director Rupert Goold.

When We Have Sufficiently Tortured Each Other @ National Theatre – the ballot-only production with Cate Blanchett that had sold out is now garnering some terrible reviews! Oh well only one way to find out if this is a turkey is to see it myself.

Gently Down the Stream @ Park Theatre is a new play by Martin Sherman who wrote the award-winning play Bent.

And I’m still yet to get around to book the following:

Nine Night @ Trafalgar Studios – having failed to squeeze this in at the end of last year I’ve got to get to see it before it ends its run on 23 February.

The Son @ Kiln – the UK premiere of the latest play from the prolific and intriguing playwright Florian Zeller (The Mother, The Father, The Truth, The Height of the Storm) – I’ve seen every one produced in London over the last few years.

Pinter 7 @ Harold Pinter Theatre – having seen all but Pinter 4 so far, it would be quite nice to add this one with Martin Freeman and Danny Dyer, but we’ll see.

 

My Theatre Picks for 2019

London Theatre 2019
Clockwise: Death of a Salesman, All About Eve, Blood Wedding, When We Have Sufficiently Tortured Each Other, Berberian Sound Studio, Shipwreck

So here are some things that are getting me excited about theatre in 2019.  As there seem to be some themes emerging I thought I’d have a go at grouping under headings.

 

Something old: classics re-told

There is a bit of a revival of Arthur Miller this year, with productions of All My Sons and The American Clock at the Old Vic and Death of a Salesman at The Young Vic.

There are a couple of versions of Chekov’s The Three Sisters with the fabulous Patsy Ferran (currently in Summer and Smoke) coming to The Almeida and a production at the National directed by Nadia Fall (Artistic Director of Theatre Royal Stratford East) setting the play in Nigeria during the Biafran Civil War in the 1960s.

David Hare is bringing a new version of Peter Gynt @ National in July with James McArdle taking the lead.

Then we have Lorca’s play Blood Wedding gets a make over with Yaël Farber directing @ Young Vic (19 Sep – 2 Nov).  And the last time Lorca got made over at the Young Vic, it was Yerma and deservedly won Billie Piper an Olivier.  So no pressure!

 

Film adaptations

So I’m excited about Peter Strickland’s 2012 horror film Berbarian Sound Studio coming to the Donmar Warehouse (8 Feb – 30 Mar).  And already booking is the musical of the classic 1980’s comedy 9 to 5 open at the Savoy Theatre 28 Jan and runs until August.

Then there is an adaptation of Thomas Vinterberg’s film The Hunt, adapted by David Farr and directed by Rupert Goold at The Almeida. Runs 17 Jun – 3 Aug.

And then there is possibly the hottest ticket in the West End, All About Eve, directed by Ivo van Hove and starring Gillian Anderson who last trod the boards in A Streetcar Named Desire at the Young Vic in 2016. This adaptation runs 2 Feb – 11 May.

 

Novels staged

Andrea Levy’s Small Island comes to the National in May, directed by Rufus Norris.

Richardson’s Pamela gets a re-working as When We Have Sufficiently Tortured Each Other, a timely look at sexual politics, but unless you got your tickets in the National Theatre’s ballot already you’ll be unlikely to be seeing Cate Blanchett on the stage except via NTLive. Runs 16 Jan – 2 Mar.

 

New plays

Downstate @ National by Bruce Norris – provocative play which looks interesting (12 Mar to 27 Apr).

Shipwreck by Ann Washburn @ Almeida and directed by Rupert Goold (12 Feb – 30 Mar).

Hansard by Simon Woods staring Lindsay Duncan @ National looks like it might be an intriguing story about a couple and politics. Plus I love Lindsay Duncan!

 

Transfers from America

We have the eagerly awaited hit Broadway musical Waitress taking over from Kinky Boots residence at The Adelphi (previews from 8 Feb).

Fairview comes to the Young Vic in November following a sell out run in New York.

 

PlayTech

Trying out new technologies in theatre can be a risky business, and it has often been set design where the most adventurous (and disastrous) uses of innovation have been seen. in 2019 there are two so far I’m intrigued by:

Draw Me Close @ Young Vic – VR play

ANNA, by Ella Hickson will have the audience wearing headphones to immerse them in 1968 East Berlin with sound designer Ben and Max Ringham, in what is being described as “a ground-breaking new sonic collaboration” at the National (from May).