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YAYAYA AYAYAY at Southbank Centre

The Best Theatre in London this March

2 March 2018 Will Rathbone

If you can brave the Siberian winds, it’s well worth wrapping up warm and venturing out to the theatre this March. There’s a world premiere from one of New York’s finest playwrights in The Inheritance at the Young Vic, a genuine Hollywood star comes to town as Cuba Gooding Jr. joins the cast of Chicago at the Phoenix Theatre, and rising talent Arinzé Kene takes us on a trip through the underground heart of London in Misty at the Bush.


The Inheritance at the Young Vic

We’ll begin at the Young Vic, where Matthew Lopez premieres his two-parter The Inheritance on 2 March. Directed by Stephen Daldry, the play looks at the aftermath of the AIDS crisis from the perspective of a new generation. Lopez is a superb writer - funny, warm and lyrical - and this has the potential to be the sleeper hit of the year. March’s other blockbuster play sees the irrepressible James Graham transfer his new comedy to the West End. Quiz, opening at the Noël Coward Theatre on 31 March, is based on the story of the notorious ‘coughing major’ Charles Ingram, who cheated his way to victory on Who Wants To Be a Millionaire in 2001.
 

The cast of Strictly Ballroom the Musical, Photo: Jay Brooks

The shadow of Hamilton has receded slightly and it’s now safe to open a musical again, as March sees no less than three launch in the West End alone. Chicago, Kander and Ebb’s classic vaudeville musical about two female inmates and their smooth-talking defence attorney, opens at the Phoenix Theatre on 26 March with Cuba Gooding Jr. playing lawyer Billy Flynn. The Piccadilly Theatre sees Strictly Ballroom The Musical open on 29 March. Baz Lurhmann’s cult movie about a rogue ballroom dancing couple stars Will Young and is directed/choreographed by Olivier Award-winner Drew McOnie. Meanwhile, the long-awaited TINA: The Tina Turner Musical opens at the Aldwych Theatre on 21 March. Tracing the story of one of the best-selling artists in the world - with full approval from Tina herself - the musical also boasts pedigree in director Phyllida Lloyd, whose production of Mamma Mia! is still running 19 years after it’s West End debut.
 

Sharon D. Clarke in Caroline, or Change. Photo: Mark Brenner

Outside of the West End, the Hampstead Theatre welcome Sharon D. Clarke - one of the finest performers working today - in Caroline, or Change. Opening 12 March, the musical follows a black maid’s growing relationship with a young boy, set against the backdrop of a rising Civil Rights movement. If you’re searching for a powerhouse central performance this month, look no further than Clarke. Finally on the musical front, Teddy opens for a short run at the Vaults - as part of the 2018 VAULT Festival - on 29 March. Set in a recently Blitz-ed London on a Saturday night in Elephant and Castle, this rock ’n’ roll musical features a live band performing 1950s hits.
 

Arinzé Kene. Photo: Bronwen Sharp

Fast forward to the present day, and Arinzé Kene’s new play Misty, opening at the Bush Theatre on 15 March, also takes us on a tour through the capital. Fusing spoken word, live music and lyrical writing, this is a living, breathing London brought to you by one of the UK’s most exciting new writers. With a five star National Theatre transfer already under his belt, and another on the way in June, now’s a great chance to get acquainted with director Ned Bennett, whose new show Buggy Baby opens at The Yard Theatre on 7 March. A couple and their young baby move to London to start a new life in this horror comedy, where eight month old Aya narrates whilst her mother Nur studies and Nur’s parter Jaden hallucinates.
 

Cardboard Citizen's Cathy. Photo: Pamela Raith

Fringe-wise, there’s another chance to see Rachael Ofori’s funny and moving portrait of female identity So Many Reasons - which recently headlined Camden People Theatre’s feminist festival Calm Down Dear - at Ovalhouse from 7 March. The innovative Paper Cinema bring their take on Shakespeare’s Macbeth to the Battersea Arts Centre from 20 March. The classic Scottish revenge tragedy is told through hand-drawn animation, illustration and puppetry, with a live score and foley accompaniment. With homelessness soaring, Soho Theatre host a timely revival of Cardboard Citizen’s Cathy from 27 March. Based on Ken Loach’s 1966 BBC play Cathy Come Home, the show looks at homelessness, its personal impact and its varying social causes.
 
And now for something completely different… YAYAYA AYAYAY, opening at the Southbank Centre on 20 March, promises a hallucinatory experience of sound, colour and movement. It’s wowed crowds at Tramway in Glasgow, and now London audiences can experience the sensory immersion for themselves.
 
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