Joanna Murray Smith’s Switzerland, about the author Patricia Highsmith, is a creepy, funny, transgressive, impertinent tour-de-force of a 90-minute two-hander.
Here’s Love London Love Culture’s guide to some of the best shows opening in the capital in November.
Lucy Bailey’s Theatre Royal Bath production of Australian playwright Joanna Murray-Smith’s Switzerland will transfer to the West End next month, running for a limited season at the Ambassadors Theatre just ahead of another Murray-Smith play, Songs for Nobodies, transferring from Wilton’s Music Hall. The West End transfers come hot on the heels of Paul Robinson’s star-studded London revival of Murray-Smith’s Honour, starting at the Park Theatre next week.
In Switzerland, Joanna Murray-Smith has written an intricately woven script so intense that 1 hour 40 minutes without an interval is thoroughly necessary.
The full cast has been announced for the West End transfer of Robert Icke’s new adaptation of Mary Stuart. Following a critically acclaimed, sold out season at the Almeida Theatre in 2016-17, the production will open at the Duke of York’s Theatre from 15 January for a limited run before visiting Theatre Royal Bath, Salford Lowry and Cambridge Arts Theatre.
The scale of the intimate family drama that Robert Icke has fashioned from Shakespeare’s ever-present tragedy amplifies effectively, and Andrew Scott’s deeply conversational style still resonates strongly.
It’s Shakespeare for the Borgen generation – a slick and surveillance-heavy visual on a cool penthouse set where Juliet Stevenson’s splendid dirty dancing Gertrude can shag Claudius on a couch while the Norwegian ambassador paces the corridor.
This production will doubtless have its detractors – it’s not spoken precisely enough, it doesn’t smell of war enough, there are too many watches – but for me, it is as exciting and engaging as Hamlet gets. The best I’ve witnessed out of the 15 I’ve watched.