Royal Court Jerwood Theatre Upstairs.
It’s hard to know which is the biggest star of God Bless The Child. Designer Chloe Lamford whose primary schoolroom is an inspired replica down to the strip lighting, children’s wall drawings and dangly decorations; Vicky Featherstone’s rumbling, threatening production; the eight-year-olds who make up Class 4N. Or the adult cast.
© Kris Rozental
Lyttelton, Theatre, National Theatre London
If you haven’t been paying attention, Lloyd Newson’s DV8 has morphed into one of the most influential modern dance companies of modern times. I saw him many years ago, probably in his nascent form when the style was silent, aggressive, confrontational with a decidedly gay perspective.
Barbican Theatre, London
© Ellie Kurtz @ RSC
Not so much Bottom’s dream as a Krymov Dream, like Simon Stone’s recent Belvoir Company Wild Duck in this same theatre, this is a wholly iconoclastic reading of Shakespeare’s popular comedy, first commissioned for the RSC’s World Shakespeare Festival in 2012.
St James’ Theatre, London
© Mark Douet
Take a spot of Rattigan (middle class English repression), add a spoonful of Coward (secret lives) and Priestley (outsider who overturns the apple cart) then a decisive twist of Welsh bohemian a la Dylan Thomas and what do you have? A rediscovered 1950s domestic drama that rings all sorts of contemporary bells, Emlyn Williams’s Accolade. Continue reading
© Mike Kwasniak
Park Theatre (London)
When Tilda Swinton first played Manfred Karge’s trans-gendered Max Gericke in 1987 (Traverse, Edinburgh, Royal Court, 1988), it and she became a cause célèbre. Directed by Stephen Unwin, Karge’s extraordinary portrait of pre and post-war Germany seen through the eyes of a crane-worker’s widow who takes up male identity proved mesmerising as a piece of socialist surrealism with Swinton, just beginning to make her name, clad in y-fronts and bovver boots.
Olivier Theatre, National Theatre, London
© Richard Hubert-Smith
There’s something deeply disturbing about sitting in a comfortable western theatre bearing witness to the dire poverty lived elsewhere in the world. That, of course, is the power of theatre and it’s a testament to Rufus Norris’ blazing production, the assiduity of journalist Katherine Boo’s dedication in the slums of Mumbai and David Hare’s smooth adaptation that it has such a conscience pricking effect.