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The Best Theatre in London this September

1 September 2017 Will Rathbone

September is finally here, the London theatre scene kicks off once more, and the brief sojourn in Edinburgh means some excellent shows will soon start heading to the capital off the back of successful Fringe Festival runs. In the meantime the Tony Award-winning Oslo transfers to the National Theatre, over at Shakespeare’s Globe the marvellous Gina McKee makes a welcome return to the stage in Boudica, and superstar choreographer Hofesh Shechter’s new project lands at Sadler’s Wells.

The National Theatre have a brilliant September lined up. First up, Oslo transfers over from New York, following a Tony Award-winning Broadway run, from 5 September. J. T. Rogers’ new play follows the true story of the 1993 Oslo Peace Accord between the Palestinian and the Israeli leaders of the time, and the two maverick Norwegian diplomats who made it happen. Later in the month Sally Cookson’s acclaimed production of Jane Eyre returns for a second run from 26 September. Hailed as a trailblazing modern feminist masterpiece, Cookson’s production perfectly captures the spirit of Charlotte Brontë’s novel.

In a similar vein, Boudica at Shakespeare’s Globe opens on 8 September and promises a new vision of the warrior queen. Gina McKee stars as the eponymous rebel - a guaranteed hallmark of quality. As ever, standing tickets are just £5 - incredible value - and the writing/directing team of Tristan Bernays and Eleanor Rhode are both well versed in producing exciting, modern updates of classic tales. There’s another chance to see a piece of more recent history as Ink transfers into the West End’s Duke of York’s Theatre from 9 September. James Graham’s play charts the early years of Rupert Murdoch’s ownership of The Sun newspaper. It’s a busy month for Graham, as another of his plays opens literally next door. Labour of Love, starring Martin Freeman and Sarah Lancashire, charts 25 years in the Labour Party - from Kinnock to Corbyn - and the struggle at the heart of the modern Party. It opens at the Noël Coward Theatre from 15 September, and we recently spoke to Martin about the play.


Ink © Marc Brenner

Another West End favourite, trendy French playwright Florian Zeller, repeats a successful collaboration with translator Christopher Hampton and director Lindsay Posner to bring The Lie to the Menier Chocolate Factory from 14 September - hot on the heels of previous successes The Father and The Truth. Expect duplicitous, philandering couples and sharp, snappy dialogue (and a West End transfer to follow). Heading into London after a successful run at Birmingham Repertory Theatre, What Shadows stars Ian McDiarmid as Enoch Powell, with the play looking at the man and the motives behind his infamous ‘Rivers of Blood’ speech. It heads to the Park Theatre from 27 September.

To lighten the mood, the return of the enormously popular hip hop/comedy duo Abandoman is just the ticket. Life + Rhymes charts the story of the Irish freestylers’ journey from talent show to world tours, and comes to the Soho Theatre from 14 September. Continuing on the fringe circuit, The Bunker in London Bridge is playing host to a new play from the excellent Alex Gwyther, Eyes Closed, Ears Covered, which tells the story of two teenage boys’ trip to Brighton through a series of police interviews. It opens on 6 September.


BULLISH © Field and McGlynn

The consistently strong Camden People’s Theatre is exploring gender fluidity - “from cis to trans, to binary and beyond” - through Come As You Are: a three-week festival of shows and performances from 12-30 September. The headline show, MILK Presents’ BULLISH, is a must-see for anyone lucky enough to catch their previous show JOAN. Whereas JOAN examined gender identity through the character of Joan of Arc, BULLISH uses the Greek myth of the minotaur to look at how we navigate our way through 20th century gender politics. It opens on 12 September.

One of the most exciting choreographers working today, Hofesh Shechter, brings a new show to Sadler’s Wells from 12 September. Shechter’s trademark blend of dance, live music and cinematic scope makes for a thrilling and moving spectacle, and Hofesh Shechter’s Grand Finale looks set to be no different, as it charts a modern world in freefall. On the opposite end of the dance spectrum, but no less revolutionary, Christopher Wheeldon’s 2011 ballet Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland is being revived at the Royal Opera House from 27 September. Journey down the rabbit-hole with Alice in this modern ballet classic. Finally, English National Opera have teamed up with visionary director Phelim McDermott to present Aida at the London Coliseum from 28 September. Expect incredible staging from his version of Verdi’s 19th century opera, which charts the tale of Ethiopian princess Aida, held captive in ancient Egypt.  


Aida © Jonathan Knowles
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