Directed by Lisa Millar and choreographed by Christopher Tendai, Wonderland in Alice is an original adaptation of Lewis Carroll’s tale that explores its themes and tropes through contemporary dance and music, trippy visuals and dynamic stage design.
A blend of Orwell’s 1984 and the American Horror Story TV series, The Messiah Complex is a dystopian thriller that explores the extremes of conflicting belief systems. It takes place in a society where religion is banned and treated as a mental illness, and those who oppose scientific dogma are prosecuted without scruples. Sethian, a prophet who grapples with inner conflict, is held captive in a complex where a scientist – someone really between a nurse and a political propagandist – attempts to correct his behaviour.
This lively and vital new play, Sleepova, by Matilda Feyiṣayọ Ibini, focuses on four Black teens as they approach their 16th birthdays. It balances the pull of parental pressure and tradition with the hopes and dreams of sweet sixteen. I really enjoyed this new play and feel that even in a familiar space of friendship quartets, it has much to offer.
As much as the character of Nina displays resilience and fortitude throughout Graceland at the Royal Court Theatre, she is also self-conscious and delicate. This balance, and Wong Davies’ lyrical writing, are what makes this an excellent, intimate production.
Martin Edwards stars in the UK premiere of the Black Lives Matter-inspired American play This Bitter Earth. He talked to us about performance and political activism.
Is new writing becoming increasingly literary? Recently, some of the language being used by younger playwrights seems to me to be becoming too subtle, something to be savoured on the page rather than strongly felt in a live performance. Certainly, this is true of Ava Wong Davies’ Graceland, which won the 2022 Ambassador Theatre Group Playwright’s Prize, having been developed as part of an Introduction to Playwriting group at the Royal Court, where it gets a studio production.
Acclaimed American play This Bitter Earth, set at the start of the Black Lives Matter moment in the US, receives its UK premiere this month, running at London’s White Bear Theatre. Time to get booking!
The question All By Myself at the Vault Festival leaves you asking is would you still be curating your personal life for just one online click if it was the end of the world? Co-writers Charlotte Blandford (who also performs the piece) and Jessica Bickel-Barlow (who directs) have created an intriguing piece that shows that Part of the Main continue to explore the boundaries which drive fringe theatre.
Project Atom Boi follows the story of Yuanzi (Xiaonan Wang), a doomer who, pressured by a self-indulgent Filmmaker (Francesca Marcolina), starts re-exploring the memories of her childhood in China. Yuanzi grew up in Factory 404, a Cold War ghost town in the Gansu province that was built in the fifties with the sole purpose of hosting a nuclear weapon. As Yuanzi travels back in time, we also meet her childhood best friend Erdan and her grandfather (both played by Kelvin Chan).
Ultimately, Iphigenia at the Hope Theatre is a fascinating piece which has lots of ideas about how women are treated, and where their choices lie, but it stops just short of being as emotionally engaging as it should be.
In Dots and Dashes: A Bletchley Park Musical, which comes to London from the Edinburgh Fringe, the women of Bletchley Park are centre stage, clever mathematicians, linguists, and navigators who were selected to serve their country.
Wreckage, Tom Ratcliffe’s latest play to reach London (he also performs as Sam) is an ambitious and emotional powerhouse about love, loss, and regret at the Turbine Theatre.
Billed as an examination of gentrification, Kerry Jackson at the National Theatre has disappointingly little to say about this subject. Its main characters have clichéd opinions and stereotypical attributes, and De Angelis spends a lot of time getting them to tell us who they are, what they think and how they feel.
How many plays pass the Bechdel Test? Originally featured in a comic strip, and popularised in film criticism, it simply states that to pass this test your story has to have: 1) at least two women in it; 2) who talk to each other; 3) about something other than a man. Well, one of the brilliant things about Irish writer Margaret Perry’s new dark comedy, Paradise Now! is that it passes this test with an A Plus grade.
In his award-winning play, which premiered in Boston in 2011, American playwright Stephen Karam examines the issues in a thoroughly original, brilliantly constructed and thematically compelling way. Now getting its belated European premiere at the Hampstead Theatre, Sons of the Prophet is an enthralling experience, both intellectually and emotionally.
In his latest, Blackout Songs, a powerful 95-minute two-hander, Joe White uses a flexible structure to represent some excruciating emotional material, and the result gives an almost overwhelmingly sense of the horrible realities of addiction, both to alcohol and to people.
At best Baghdaddy at the Royal Court Theatre is a surreal trip into traumatic memory, at its worst it’s a self-indulgent mess. If you think that American crime are worse than Saddam’s you’ll love this show; if you like playwrights wagging their finger at you, you’ll love this show; if you believe that parental trauma can be inherited and then self-consciously joked about, you’ll love this show.
Framed by the lens of the intrusive and boundary-breaking rise of artificial intelligence, The Shadow Whose Prey Becomes the Hunter by Back to Back Theatre serves as a wake-up call on how non-disabled people alienate people who have what are referred to in Australia as ‘intellectual disabilities’.
Therapy is inherently dramatic. After all, it’s all about character – and it has the aim of producing a recognisable change. But who is most affected by the process: client or therapist? Georgina Burns, a graduate of Hampstead Theatre’s Inspire course for emerging playwrights, examines the issues in her debut play, Ravenscourt.