Preparation for the Olympics are well on their way and word on the street is that theatres, certainly across the Capital, are practically begging producers to fill slots in June and July. Although the Evening Standard newspaper is reporting that tourism for the Olympics and Jubilee celebrations will help put bums on seats, it seems the industry is a little more dubious. Time will tell, I suppose. Our diaries are being stocked up for May however. What are we looking forward to?
Kicking off with those seeking a laugh or many! What the Butler Saw, the Joe Orton classic, begins previews tonight (Friday 4th May), starring Omid Djalili, Tim McInnern, Georgia Moffett and Downtown Abbey favourite Samantha Bond (pictured below). It is really exciting to see Orton’s work back in the West End following the run of Education Mr Sloane in 2009. Catch Orton’s 1967 comedy at the Vaudeville Theatre until 25th August. Insiders say that we are in for an “absolute treat” – Quote, unquote. Let us see if Sean Foley can step up to mark again following his runaway success with The Ladykillers!
Heading out of the West End and over to East London to the Arcola for the first major revival of Brimstone and Treacle, the Dennis Potter play that was banned by the BBC in the 70s. Originally written for telly as part of the 1976 Play for Today season, yet was sensationally axed even before it aired (although it later received a broadcast slot in 1987). The play version premiered in 1977 at the Sheffield Crucible and focuses on a middle-aged couple struggling to care for their daughter after a hit-and-run accident. The revival opens tonight (Friday 4th May) and stars Rupert Friend (pictured left). Not one to be missed we feel!
Talking of ‘Rupert’s’, Rupert Goold goes all C.S. Lewis this month, stepping up to direct a dazzling and dramatic retelling of the classic The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe. You can catch this in the grounds of Kensington Gardens. Don’t miss the production’s use of ground-breaking surround video and puppetry that will transform you into the world of Narnia!
Later in the month, Theatre Delicatessen will be popping up in the basement of an ex-BBC office block to stage Henry V. Billed as “immersive and contemporary” this is a Shakespeare production that you won’t want to miss, as the audience are dropped into an underground barracks. Catch this at Marylebone Gardens.
Blake Harrison (pictured below centre) from the channel 4 comedy The Inbetweeners, plays an ex-drug dealer at Trafalgar Studios 2 in new play Step 9 (of 12). The limited 4 week run examines “society at its darkest times” and is directed by Tom Attenborough and produced by James Quaife.
Actors’ Touring Company are off on their travels with a smashing double bill of Crave, the Sarah Kane classic, and Illusions by Ivan Viripaev. The plays are being presented in rep with the same cast. The company is known for presenting the best in international contemporary theatre, on tour in the UK and internationally. You can catch them in Swansea, Hull, Eastleigh, Folkstone, Canterbury, York and Edinburgh during May. Unquestionably a company worth seeing!
The Brighton Festival kicks off this weekend (Saturday 5th May) for a celebration of theatre, dance, contemporary and classical music, visual arts and film, and well, everything arty! The theatrical section, of which we’re primarily interested in for the moment, has a fantastic selection of plays, including Matthew Lenton’s Interiors (pictured above) being presented at the city’s Theatre Royal. Lenton is one of Scotland’s most acclaimed directors, taking his productions all around the world. The play, which was commissioned for the Napoli Teatro Festival, centres around a group of friends who gather for a meal, and as the stories unfold around the table, laughter and flirting soon turns to sadness as secrets and lies are exposed. It has already received international acclaim and won numerous awards. A must see!
Till next month – ciao!