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April in London: Theatre

April in London: Theatre

31 March 2017 Eva de Valk

It’s that time of the month again… Roll up, roll up, for the best and brightest in London theatre.

Let’s talk about the obvious one first: Angels in America. It seems that everything about it is going to be superlative in one way or another, from the big names on the bill to the lengthy running time of seven hours. Marianne Elliott directs a cast that includes Andrew Garfield, Denise Gough and Russell Tovey, so staying awake should presumably not be a problem. Of course, you can always opt to see the entire work, which is split up into two parts, on different dates if you’re not keen on the prospect of spending an entire day in the dark. Since the show sold out in a matter of hours, ticket options are limited at this stage: you can either sign up for a ballot, or queue for day tickets. Our suspicion is that you won’t regret making the effort.


Photo credit: Jason Bell
 
Meanwhile across the river, the English National Opera is bringing back another classic, albeit one in a completely different genre. Carousel was once named ‘Best Musical of the Twentieth Century’ by Time Magazine, and it continues to hold a timeless appeal for many people. Although this semi-staged version will not be pulling out all the stops in terms of visual magic, director Lonny Price has not been able to do much wrong lately (see: Sweeney Todd and Sunset Boulevard), so we’re feeling pretty confident about this one. All we can hope for now is that everyone in the auditorium will be able to control themselves, and refrain from singing along to You’ll Never Walk Alone.
 
Speaking of the classics: Simon Callow is back in town as well. Christopher Hampton’s 1970 play The Philanthropist is ‘an inversion’ of Molière’s much-loved comedy The Misanthrope, and it’s been given a makeover by director Callow and his ensemble of comedians. Some notable names on the cast list include Matt Berry, Charlotte Ritchie and Lily Cole.


 
Should you fancy a trip to the Royal Court this month, you can forget about getting tickets to The Ferryman. But while the main attraction on Sloane Square will deciding on whether or not Jez Butterworth has still got his Jerusalem-mojo, there’s some exciting stuff happing in the upstairs theatre as well. Or, at least, we think it will be exciting… with a synopsis that’s literally only three sentences long, it’s hard to tell really. But we do know that Nuclear War is a new play by Simon Stephens, which is usually good news. Directing duties fall to Imogen Knight, who is principally a choreographer, so it sounds like this could potentially be quite out there. If you’re willing to take the gamble, you’ll have to be quick though: some extra performances have been added to accommodate the interest in tickets.
 
If you’re a bit more risk-averse, you could consider treating yourself to Men & Girls Dance, a production by performance company Fevered Sleep that was named one of Lyn Gardner’s top ten theatre shows last year. This intriguing concept brings together professional male dancers and girls who dance for fun, in a show that challenges the difficult reactions the idea of men and girls playing together brings up. Oh, and apparently the actual dancing is very good as well.


Photo credit: Benedict Johnson
 
Another show that comes loaded with good reviews is Key Change, which will open at Battersea Arts Centre. It’s a show about the lives of female prisoners, written by playwright Catrina McHugh in collaboration with women in HMP Low Newton. It originally toured to male prisons, before making its way to Edinburgh in 2015 and New York last year. After this little tour of the world, Open Clasp Theatre Company are finally taking their show to London for two-and-a-half weeks only, so don’t miss out.
 
After the wide variety of awesome shows on offer, we can only round off with something special… and have we found just that for you. The Pleasance will be having a dinner party like no other this month, hosted by Shakespeare’s original power couple. The Macbeths is an immersive show that included karaoke, lots of food and – by the sounds of it – the opportunity to share a table with the recently deceased. Count us in!

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