In developing The Trials, the Donmar worked with more than 1,300 young people plus a further 200 in workshops at Royal Central School of Speech and Drama and National Youth Theatre. Director Natalie Abrahami, helped by designer Georgia Lowe and video maker Nina Dunn, has created a compelling production, with more than half the cast making their stage debuts.
Written in collaboration with John Fletcher, Henry VIII is quite possibly Shakespeare’s final play – but, despite this country’s continued obsession with all things Tudor, it remains a rarely performed piece. Imagine the delight of Shakespeare completists everywhere when it was announced as part of the Globe’s 2022 summer season, this time in a slightly updated version that sees Hannah Khalil (resident writer) become the third collaborator; the original has a heavy male focus, thanks in part to the two (male) playwrights having to work around the expectations of the establishment to avoid censorship and arrest – but now 400 years have passed, it’s about time the female voices in this story were heard as well.
If the plotting is predictable, and the story arc unremarkable, the image of life represented is both strongly compassionate and often very pleasurable. In true welfare state style, comedian Francesca Martinez’s debut play All of Us at the National Theatre not only informs and educates, but also entertains.
Arousing and disturbing in equal measures, English Touring Theatre’s production of Equus stirs the senses as much as engages the brain.
This is a brilliant revival of the 1970s classic Equus, about pagan worship and repressed sexuality, which buzzes with an imaginative physicality.
Cock is by no means classic Mike Bartlett but it is still great fun and, for connoisseurs of supreme social awkwardness in particular, a decently entertaining hour and a half.
Seeing Northampton’s Royal & Derngate production almost at the end of its tour in the Yvonne Arnaud Theatre – such a lovely theatre now, clearly well cherished locally and a perfect space for a play that is intimate and epic – you have to applaud a cast whose early days must have been testing in the extreme.
Miller’s 1949 depiction of the ageing, failing salesman Willy Loman as he struggles to comes to terms with the death of his dreams – and perhaps of The American Dream itself – has only gained in stature over the years. What some regarded as a merely a Marxist- derived critique of the US way of life has come to seem as much like high tragedy as anything English-speaking theatre has produced in the last century.
This is phenomenal. And pretty wild. Branden Jacobs-Jenkins’s An Octoroon is the most intelligent and most theatre-savvy play on today’s London stage: it is a satire on staging race, an account of black identity, a criticism of plantation life, a celebration of genre fun and a tribute to a forgotten work from the Victorian era.
The Night Watch is a gripping adaptation of Sarah Waters’ novel – beautifully realised and faultlessly performed.
Powerful play about brothers comes storming into Sloane Square from Manchester, trailing tenderness and terror.