Text can sometimes be a prison. At its best, postwar British theatre is a writer’s theatre, with the great pensmiths — from Samuel Beckett, John Osborne and Harold Pinter to Caryl Churchill, Martin Crimp and Sarah Kane — carving out visions of everyday humanity in all our agonies and glee.
A day or so after Theresa May’s keynote speech about Brexit the words Europe and European carry an electric charge. For Leavers, they represent the evil empire; for Remainers, a world we have lost. In this context, seeing a play by Germany’s most performed playwright feels more than usually significant.
Experimental family drama is very powerful, but its theatrical form is too complicated for its own good.
Theatre should be an adventure. At least some of the time. But often it isn’t. So much of the time it’s rather predictable and, dare I say, a bit boring. After going to the theatre for many years, the whole experience is so well known that every cell in your body moves through the street, into foyer and then into your seat without half your senses being aware of the process. So it’s great that with their latest show, Invisible Treasure, theatre-makers fanSHEN join a cohort of groups whose aim is to shake up audience expectations.