Howard Brenton’s docu-drama about the harassment of the Chinese artist is imbued with fresh urgency and relevance.
Jude, Howard Brenton’s new cerebral tragi-comedy about a Syrian refugee’s Oxford dreams, is just too gnomic.
In Filthy Business, a comic epic, playwright Ryan Craig travels back in time to explore the poisonous and reptilian atmosphere of the Solomon family, the owners of a retail rubber business in North East London. As the title punningly suggests, a family working with rubber is prone to both physical dirtiness and moral corruption.
Because of the instability of the present there’s always a faint whiff of nostalgia for the old certainties of the past. And the Cold War era has its very own allure. This can be seen in two current successes: that of the revival of Tom Stoppard’s 1988 play, Hapgood, and of a new play by American playwright Mia Chung, You for Me for You, which takes a look behind the bamboo curtain at North Korea. When it was first staged, Stoppard’s play was widely seen as incomprehensible, with a labyrinthine plot which puzzled not only the characters of the story itself, but audiences as well. And Cold War certainties are surely not so comforting if they are, well, uncertain.