In Olivier Award-nominated actor and activist Danny Lee Wynter’s Royal Court debut, the attractively titled Black Superhero, the ambitious theme of black queerness is explored through the conceit of hero worship in a show whose cast is led by the author.
“I’m holding out for a hero” is Bonnie Tyler’s famous song, and it could be the theme tune for David (Danny Lee Wynter) in Black Superhero. He’s long held a torch for friend King (Dyllón Burnside), who is playing superhero Craw in a low-brow movie franchise.
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.
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.
Ever been to a queer club? You know, drag cabaret night at Madame Jojo’s, or the Black Cap or Her Upstairs. No? Well, not to worry — the Royal Court’s latest provides a fabulously extravagant simulation of the experience with its staging of Sound of the Underground, a play written by Travis Alabanza — whose contemporary classic Burgerz is coming to the South Bank’s Purcell Room in March — and directed by his co-creator Debbie Hannan.
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.
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.
If you accept the documentary verbatim style of Jews. In Their Own Words at the Royal Court, and don’t mind the lack of any real drama, this is an intelligently crafted and committed piece of political theatre that tackles an issue too often swept under the carpet. But I’d love to see a proper play about the subject.
if you buy a ticket you will not see That Is Not Who I Am by Dave Davidson (who doesn’t exist), but instead you will experience Rapture by Lucy Kirkwood, who is an established playwright. It’s a kind of postmodern, post-truth gimmick. But does it work?
Alistair McDowall’s The Glow at the Royal Court is a play I’ve had to ponder – a lot – and I still don’t have any firm conclusions.
One of the Urban Dictionary definitions of “nasty” is a word to describe something that is ridiculously good. Between that and the more traditional meaning of the word, I have no hesitation in proclaiming that Aleshea Harris’s literal firecracker of a play is one of the nastiest shows in town. Acclaimed and awarded upon it’s 2018 Off-Broadway premiere, it’s not hard to see why, especially in Ola Ince’s boldly inventive, fabulously cast new production for the Royal Court. It’s astounding.
Two actors on stage describe their characters as if the direction in the playtext is part of the script. It is the first of many quirks in Aleshea Harris’ dark revenge comedy Is God Is.
American playwright Aleshea Harris’ dazzlingly satirical 2018 extravaganza is about two women seeking justice and getting even, and it comes to the Royal Court from New York, trailing shouts of enthusiasm.
The great thing about Lucy Bailey’s 80-minute production of Oleanna is its sense of balance. And I have to say that it changed my mind about the power balance in the drama.
I finally caught up with Michael Longhurst’s restaging of his 2012 Royal Court production of Nick Payne’s Constellations, a gem of a two-hander.
Jasmine Lee-Jones’ award-winning seven methods of killing kylie jenner transfers downstairs at the Royal Court Theatre.
Moments of dark humour are scattered throughout Edition #6 of the Royal Court’s Living Newspaper but elsewhere it is a bit more hit and miss.
The Royal Court’s Living Newspaper continues with edition #5 which feels a little less reactive to the headlines and a little more reflective on the state of the world as we find it today.
The third edition of Royal Court’s Living Newspaper moves online only, with some seriously fierce political writing this time around.
It’s not that Sarah Kane had magical powers, but that she was with total integrity exploring her question. And there were a lot of amazing questions at that time.