Pearl Cleage’s 1995 play Blues for an Alabama Sky creates a world, the world of dreamers in the fading Harlem renaissance, the Depression starting to bite. It’s domestic: Frankie Bradshaw’s fabulous set has two fire escapes, a hallway, steps, rooms high and low, balcony (where we glimpse other neighbours, sometimes with quiet harmonies sung). Outside the street is barred with lamplight.
‘Some may find it ponderous while others will be fascinated’: BLUES FOR AN ALABAMA SKY – National Theatre
Looking across cultural representations of women in the past 100 years it is possible to draw connections between characters such as Hester Collier in Terence Rattigan’s The Deep Blue Sea, Patrick Hamilton’s Jenny from Twenty Thousand Streets Under the Sky, even up to Kyo Choi’s Kim Han-See in The Apology, all of whom are in pursuit of a fantasy life that will never be fulfilled. Pearl Cleage’s Blues for an Alabama Sky, opening at the National Theatre, adds another unknowingly tragic heroine to that list, singer Angel who will grasp at an opportunity to get out of Harlem in 1930.
‘Witty, weighted & lyrical’: LAVA – Bush Theatre ★★★★
Last year a critic described a dramatic response to the Black Lives Matter protests, to which Benedict Lombe contributed, as ‘more lecture than theatre’. The quote is projected onto the set of her debut play, Lava, at the Bush Theatre.
‘Passionate, powerful & challenging’: LAVA – Bush Theatre
Benedict Lombe’s new play Lava is semi-autobiographical and full of activism and difficult moments, alongside a story railing against Kafkaesque bureaucracy.
NEWS: Southwark Playhouse’s winter season includes new production of Constellations & three musical livestreams
The next show announced in Southwark Playhouse’s winter season is Nick Payne’s Constellations starring Ronkẹ Adékoluẹjo and Oliver Johnstone and directed by Jonathan O’Boyle.
NEWS: The Black British Theatre Awards reveal 2020 nominees & announce the ceremony will be broadcast on Sky Arts
The BBTAs have revealed the 2020 Black British Theatre Awards nominee list, voted almost entirely by the public and representing some of the finest work by Black performers and creatives in UK theatre. The 2020 awards ceremony will air on Sky Arts this autumn, as part of the channel’s free to air line-up.
‘Brutal & honest’: CYPRUS AVENUE – Royal Court Theatre (Online Review) ★★★★
There is no denying that Cyprus Avenue is a powerful drama about struggling with identity and prejudice that makes for chilling viewing from start to finish.
‘Challenging but exhilarating reworking’: THREE SISTERS – National Theatre
Inua Ellams’ relocation of Chekhov’s Three Sisters to the Biafran Civil War proves devastatingly effective at the National Theatre.
‘Sensitive issues are broached with fearlessness’: CYPRUS AVENUE – Royal Court Theatre ★★★★
Directed by Vicky Featherstone, David Ireland’s Cyprus Avenue returns to the Royal Court Theatre after a three-year hiatus.
‘It is in-yer-face, a touch transgressive & very proud’: HOLE – Royal Court Theatre
Hole, a short new play from actor Ellie Kendrick is full of ferocity but is not strong on originality or nuance.
BAD ROADS – Royal Court
The pine tree design by Camilla Clarke provides a subtle serenity, juxtaposing the trauma of war in Bad Roads – a series of sparsely connected stories by Natal’ya Vorozhbit around her home country of Ukraine.
Queer Theatre at the National: Neaptide
There was a special currency for Sarah Daniels’ Neaptide being the opening play in the #ntQueer season as this 1986 drama was actually the first by a living female playwright at the National Theatre – an astonishing fact all told.
Women Centre Stage: Power Play Festival runs this week
Yesterday (14 November 2016) saw the launch of the Women Centre Stage: Power Play Festival at Hampstead Theatre and The Actors Centre. Produced by Sphinx Theatre Company and Joanna Hedges, Women Centre Stage exists to promote, advocate for and inspire women in the arts and has developed and commissioned a wide range of new work which uniquely brings together a diverse array of women characters far from the margins into centre stage.