Playwright Jennifer Cerys’ new play Dandelion at the King’s Head Theatre explores queer history through a lesbian relationship in the time of Clause 28. Here she talks about why queer history is important and the need to diversify queer narratives in mainstream theatre.
‘A lovely, tender balance between warm comedy & tragedy’: THE PLAY ABOUT MY DAD – Jermyn Street Theatre
It takes quite a play to bring tears to my eyes but, then, The Play About My Dad – set around the true stories of those who experienced Hurricane Katrina – is quite a piece of writing.
‘Unequivocally powerful & searingly relevant’: MACHINAL – Almeida Theatre
So, do I like Machinal? Yes, I do. I think it’s extraordinary (and depressing as hell) that such contemporary relevance can be found in a ninety-year-old text.
‘As close to a revolutionary act that I’ve ever seen in a theatre’: AN OCTOROON – National Theatre
An Octoroon at the Dorfman Theatre at the National remains as incendiary as the day I first saw it. In fact, it has grown in magnificence.
‘There is nothing meaningful at stake’: JULIE – National Theatre
Sigh. Ok, this is going to hurt because I’m such a supporter of women creatives and want to fight for more opportunities for them but Julie is awful.
‘The life of an everyday woman is at its heart’: UTILITY – Orange Tree Theatre
Such a bleak, unexciting play is high risk, for sure. But if women’s lives are to be represented truthfully, then this is the risk that must be taken, and I applaud Emily Schwend for her bravery.
What’s made Victoria’s Top Ten London shows for June 2018?
I really am incredibly excited about this month’s line up. And it was one of those months where it was a real battle to whittle the contenders down to my ten favourites.
‘I could have stayed all night’: EFFIGIES OF WICKEDNESS – Gate Theatre
What an achievement Effigies of Wickedness is. I adored it. It lifted me, and it broke me. It’s a godsend, a wondrous co-production between the Gate and the English National Opera.
‘There is an ambition & complexity’: THE WRITER – Almeida Theatre
Though it may lose its way, there is an ambition and complexity to The Writer – and an anger – that is worthy of its hype. It probably could have done with a bit more self-awareness, however, but nevertheless, for a few brief moments, I did finally see myself on a stage.
‘Very much of its time’: CHESS – West End
It is Alexandra Burke whose star shines brightest in this production of Chess. She oozes charisma and presence and at least she comes out of this show with her reputation not just intact but further enhanced.
‘There is so much to love in this show’: NINE NIGHT – National Theatre
Nine Night is a piece of feel-good theatre that continues the (at times, glacially slow) movement towards more diverse representation on stage and off.
‘Lacks some of that magic stardust that made the film irresistible’: STRICTLY BALLROOM THE MUSICAL – West End
Though I may have had my grumbles with Strictly Ballroom, I couldn’t hear a single criticism from the crowd as they flooded back out into the London night after the show finished.
‘Brilliantly maintains a fine balance between tragedy & comedy’: MAYFLY – Orange Tree Theatre
Joe White’s play Mayfly is telling us please, hang on. So much can happen in a day. And the most surprising acts of kindness and generosity can come from the most unsuspecting of sources.
What’s made Victoria’s Top Ten London shows for May 2018?
I’m loving the line-up for May so I’ve all my fingers crossed that you’ll find something in this list for you too.
‘It is damn hard to be this damn funny’: THE PRUDES – Royal Court Theatre
I would recommend anyone to see The Prudes, I really would. It is damn hard to be this damn funny. Believe me when I say you will enjoy this play. You may even love it, and I would totally get that. But its missteps are entirely indicative of a male lens, which does make this problematic in parts. And that’s a shame.
‘Quite brilliant’: THE KITE RUNNER – Touring
The Kite Runner is powerful and quite brilliant production that investigates the complexity of power balances between people – and how these can fluctuate and change on the toss of a coin – with aplomb.
‘Funny, charming & brilliantly executed’: INSTRUCTIONS FOR CORRECT ASSEMBLY – Royal Court Theatre
I have a love for shows with shiny, sparkly packaging that, underneath this tinsel, have a web of big issues and questions. Instructions for Correct Assembly is just that type of play.
‘As hilarious as it is heart-breaking’: THE INHERITANCE – Young Vic
The magnificent The Inheritance is an impressive play from Matthew Lopez that examines the tangled lives of a close group of gay men living in contemporary New York, charting their ups and downs, their laughs and their tragedies – all through a whopping seven-hour running time.
What’s made Victoria’s Top Ten shows for April 2018?
Spring is here (finally) and with any luck, we’ve seen the last of the snow so time to think about venturing out in our evenings, such as going to see some cracking theatre.
Where are the plays from British black writers?
When it comes to looking at racism and what it is to be black, we are currently in a phase of importing US stories rather than encouraging and platform black British writers.