London’s theatres are reopening, with caution to the fore, writes Christopher Walker.
The National Theatre has just one offering in the main theatre Under Milk Wood, and with reduced capacity booking is difficult.
But there are still many gems to tempt theatregoers back into their seats, and theatre’s big names are rallying around to make this recovery happen.
Of course, The Globe Theatre has the particular advantage of being open air.
Perhaps it is therefore not surprising that it has such a strong season ahead.
The theatre promises us “a fiesta like no other,” and a “joyful explosion of vivid chaos.”
The Globe are staging three major Shakespeare classics. Both A Midsummer Night’s Dream (playing until October 30) and The Tempest (June 11–August 29) will be directed by Sean Holmes. While Brendan O’Hea is directing As You Like It.
Fluidity will be key as usual at the Globe (meaning young actors will play old roles, and men will play women etc.).
So young Sara Lessore will be playing Miranda in The Tempest and Duke Senior in As You Like It.
Watch out for the fabulously colourful costumes by Jean Chan for A Midsummer Night’s Dream.
Simon Russel Beale will play Johann Sebastian Bach in a new play at the Bridge Theatre.
It will of course be directed by the theatre’s impresario – Nicholas Hytner.
Playwright Nina Raine promises that her new play “is an anthem to the art that draws us together and sings of our common humanity.”
Though Simon’s Bach also promises to be “irascible and turbulent.”
Performances are at The Bridge from June 23 to September 9.
For those seeking to support new writing and explore some challenging themes, I can recommend the Re:Emerge season at the Harold Pinter Theatre.
Ian Rickson – artistic director for the season – tackles “urgent issues integral to rebuilding,” including inequality, climate change and truth in the internet age.
We “will support the theatre-makers of the future, provide vital work for the freelance community and celebrate the live experience as we begin to build back to the full reopening of British theatre.”
Amy Berryman’s Walden opens the season, running until June 12; Yasmin Joseph’s J’Ouvert previews from June 16, and runs until July 3; and completing the season, Joseph Charlton’s Anna X previews from July 10, and runs until August 4.
Shedding A Skin has been chosen to relaunch Soho Theatre’s summer season on the main stage (June 1 -July 17).
Amanda Wilkin, the playwright and actor, promises “this is a story for our times.”
There’s a team of female creatives including director Elayce Ismail and Ameena Hamid, the youngest producer in the West End.
One of the Summer openings I am most excited about is the new musical adaptation of Lady Chatterley’s Lover, under the direction of the Union Theatre’s Sasha Regan.
This will open for a limited run at the Shaftesbury Theatre (June 18), before the production is made available to stream later in the year.
Sasha said “I’m particularly excited to have Georgia Lennon playing Lady Chatterley as I know she is a star in the making.” Audiences will no doubt also watch out for Michael Pickering playing the smouldering gamekeeper love interest.
Main Pic: A scene from A Midsummer Night’s Dream at The Globe
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