One play I have seen consistently recommended over the last couple of years is Emilia which premiered at The Globe in 2018 and transferred to the West End last year and was awarded three Oliviers.
A transfer from the Globe, Morgan Lloyd Malcolm’s play about the 17th century poet Emilia Bassano Lanier is already receiving highly positive acclaim as it rouses audiences to their feet night after night
It’s a rare moment of beautiful subtlety in a play that is more often considerably bolder in its sentiment, but it’s also a mark of just how nuanced Nicole Charles’ production and Morgan Lloyd Malcolm’s writing is.
I’ve read reviews of Morgan Lloyd Malcolm’s play Emilia that describe its feminist message as ‘unsubtle’ and the titular character’s suffering as overblown. It’s comments like that, which reinforce the need for plays like this and why, perhaps, the time for subtlety is over.
Triumphant, if crude, the West End transfer of Emilia is a heartfelt account of a Renaissance woman who has been hidden from history.
Further casting has been announced for Emilia, written by Morgan Lloyd Malcolm and directed by Nicole Charles at the Vaudeville Theatre from 8 March to 15 June 2019, following its run at Shakespeare’s Globe in 2018.
That this is Michael Longhurst’s debut in this theatre makes it all the more impressive and I wouldn’t be surprised if his name doesn’t soon become one of the ones bandied around the round of musical chairs that is London artistic directorships.
How to split these three? Why would you even want to. Their effortless grace, their ferociously detailed complexity, their heart-breaking connectivity, all three will live long in my mind.
Reviewing in list form: for and against Christopher Shinn’s new play AGAINST, starring Ben Whishaw and Amanda Hale, at the Almeida Theatre.
New American drama about God and violence is a bit baggy, but it is also often brilliantly perceptive.
Love her or hate her, Katie Mitchell is surely our most bravely iconoclastic theatre director working in Britain today. If Robert Lepage is the magician who smoothes the cracks between technology and stagecraft, Katie Mitchell is the one who adds tough edginess.
And what an excruciating, yet devastatingly brilliant, two hours they are. The play shows episodes from the life of the women of one family spread over three time periods: one starts in the 1970s, the next in the 1990s and the third in the 2030s.
Experimental family drama is very powerful, but its theatrical form is too complicated for its own good.