The National Theatre has announces plans to reopen in June, welcoming audiences back to the South Bank for the first time since closing last December. The Olivier Theatre will reopen on 16 June 2021 with Under Milk Wood by Dylan Thomas. The Dorfman Theatre will reopen on 2 June for the first time since February 2020 with the previously announced co-production with Headlong, After Life written by Jack Thorne and directed by Jeremy Herrin.
I have to admit, the main motivation I had for trying to see this play from Sam Holcroft when it ran at the National’s Dorfman Theatre back in 2015 was some of the casting (Stephen Mangan and Miles Jupp are two brilliant comic actors), as well as hearing that they would have a full-on Christmas dinner onstage.
In my round-up of theatre in 2017, I warned 2018 that it had “big shoes to fill”. Not only did 2018 not need the door to be opened, but it also didn’t even need anyone to hold its coat.
Expectations are high for a festive ghost story from the National. With its world-class resources, the theatre offers a wondrous potential to stage the most chilling of tales and when the source material is a famed Edgar Allan Poe short chiller, the anticipation is only heightened. But in Anthony Neilson’s The Tell-Tale Heart transplant, Poe’s gloriously gothic original is served up as a modern-day Christmas turkey.
It’s astonishing that the National should decide to stage a writer’s first play in the Dorfman Theatre but their confidence in the quality of Natasha Gordon’s Nine Night is justified.
An exciting couple of months coming up on the Fringe – this month I’m checking out Theatre N16’s new venue for a couple of shows, for one thing, and next month The Bunker Theatre will be a bit of a hotbed for new writing.
It is Natasha Gordon’s mastery of the family dynamic and relationships that makes this debut play, Nine Night such a spell-binding experience.
If there’s any justice in the world, Nine Night will match the success of another Dorfman show – Beginning – by transferring into the West End to get the much wider audience it richly deserves.
The National Theatre production of Nina Raine’s Consent will transfer to the West End, following the 2017 critically acclaimed sell-out run at the Dorfman Theatre.
What could merely be dismissed as make-believe in The Winter’s Tale gains real significance in what it can achieve for social cohesion, planting seeds in the minds of future theatremakers.
The title of Annie Baker’s new play, John, is the epitome of the ordinary but turns out to be quite the opposite. The piece is essential to understanding the excitement new writing can generate.
Annie Baker’s absorbing and quirky John, which has just opened on the National Theatre’s Dorfman stage, is a slow burner full of the playwright’s trademark long-drawn-out silences and awkward conversations.
I was completely swept up in the curious little world of John at the National’s Dorfman Theatre. In Annie Baker’s rich, multi-layered, intricate writing.
Following the success of The Flick, which had its UK premiere in the Dorfman in 2016, Annie Baker’s latest play, intriguingly called John, makes its London debut in the same space.
Alexander Zeldin’s world premiere of Love is by no means a stereotypical interpretation of the emotion. Natasha Jenkins presents a semi-immersive set, a run-down, stark social housing unit that bleeds out into the audience space – the front rows directly sit in the way of the production itself.
Cleansed at the National Theatre disappointed for a number of reasons. Sarah Kane’s 1998 vision is of a fractured totalitarian place, somewhere, anywhere, where homosexuality is despised. Hers is a noble argument, for in today’s world we do not need to look too far to be reminded such cultures and regimes are all around.
Tender, fierce, intelligent and humane, this superb production reminds us that D.H.Lawrence was at his best a great interpreter of 20th century change. Years before the showy hysteria of Lady Chatterley’s Lover, (heaven knows why the BBC chose the worst of his works to dramatize) he wrote plays about his Nottinghamshire pit village, vivid with understanding humanity, humble observation and pity. Here are themes of marriage and pride, trapped lives and rich communities, possessive fearful mothers and feckless endangered sons. Here is class and money and the yearning for art and the painful the rift between generations when education takes the young out of manual work. Here too, noted with generosity, is the increasing independence of women.