Round-up of news and treats and other interesting things

Over in Canary Wharf, The Space Theatre might not necessarily be one that is on the radar of many London theatregoers but the announcement of their summer season ought to tempt the theatrically curious out East as it is full of goodies, not least a revival of Mike Bartlett’s excellent Contractions.

Find a selection of some of productions that have caught my eye below

  • The UK premiere of MAD MAN SAD WOMAN by award-winning Chilean playwright Juan Radrigán is a haunting piece giving voice to the voiceless; finding beauty, laughter, and dignity in lives amongst the rubble.
  • Employing elements of visual and physical theatre, live folk music, and a design inspired by the Scandinavian landscapes, UK/Swedish company Romantika explore men’s reluctance to express their emotions in WHAT LIES BENEATH. Tormented by grief, a man flees to the mountains. Suffering from hypothermia, he descends into a hallucinogenic state.
  • Hippana Theatre’s frantic and twisted version of Molière’s THE MISER is a multi-lingual production explodes with acrobatics, slapstick, mask and mime to show the descent of a family provoked by the tyranny of a greedy father.
  • A Summer double bill sees Liver & Lung Productions present contemporary, topical new work. SARAH, SKY AND 7 OTHER GUYS is a raw exploration of love, life and libidos in which Sarah and her Indian gay best friend Sky embark on a journey of sordid sexual encounters and hilariously painful events. SUBMISSION is a new play about identity, sexuality and ideology as Sameer, a young British Pakistani, struggles to reconcile his sexual desires with his Islamic roots and values.
  • Caroline Buckley’s bold and sassy musical, GRAB ‘EM BY THE PUSSY, is set in a world where women are objectified daily. Join outcast Maisy on her quest to be fondled, with plenty of unusual musical numbers along the way…
  • False accusations also feature in THE WITCH’S MARK, winner of the Festival Spirit Award at the 2017 VAULT Festival. Agnes Sampson is accused of witchcraft, tortured, beaten and forced to confess her guilt. But Agnes has powers she was not aware of. Timothy N Evers’ play is a graphic, haunting tale of one woman’s resistance against the forces determined to destroy her.
  • Formed at the National Youth Theatre, all-female company the Wonderbox Collective make their Space debut with A WOMB OF ONE’S OWN. 18 yearold Babygirl struggles with unsympathetic hospital receptionists, newfound independence, uncertain religious beliefs, and the hidden grief that comes with making a difficult choice. This ambitious new production uses humour and sensitivity to shine a light on the still-taboo theme of unwanted pregnancy.
  • Filthy COW Theatre present ECLIPSED – first staged in 1992, Patricia Burke Brogan’s debut play was one of the first dramas to show the real life plight of the women incarcerated inside Ireland’s Magdalen Laundries.
  • And all new female collective VOLTA take a darkly comic look at the employee/employer relationship in Mike Bartlett’s critically acclaimed play CONTRACTIONS. First staged at the Royal Court, the play arrives at the Space for a well-deserved Off West End revival.


TRH Productions will present Natalie Dormer and David Oakes in the West End premiere of David Ives’ hit Broadway play Venus in Fur this autumn for a strictly limited nine week engagement at the Theatre Royal Haymarket. This critically-acclaimed two-hander will run from 6 October to 9 December with opening night for press on 17 October.
Enigmatic actress Vanda Jordan appears unannounced for an audition with director Thomas Novachek. She’s determined to land the leading role in his new production – despite seeming wrong for the part. Over one evening in downtown Manhattan their charged meeting becomes a seductive dance to the end.
Directed by Patrick Marber, designed by Rob Howell with lighting by Hugh Vanstone and casting by Executive Producer Ilene Starger, Venus In Fur is an intoxicating dark comedy of desire, fantasy and the innate love of fur.


The RSC’s critically acclaimed production of Hamlet (read my review here), starring Paapa Essiedu in the titular role, will tour next year before transferring to Hackney Empire.
The tour will commence at The Lowry in Salford from 26 January to 3 February 2018, and continues to Plymouth, Hull, Newcastle and Northampton. It will then run at the Hackney Empire from 6 to 31 March 2018.
Directed by Simon Godwin, the production will see Essiedu reprise his highly praised performance as Hamlet, with further casting to be announced.


Casting has been announced for the UK premiere of Hir, written by Taylor Mac (24-Decade History of Popular Music) and directed by Nadia Fall (Disgraced). Arthur Darvill (Doctor Who, Broadchurch, Once) will play Isaac, Griffyn Gilligan (Teddy Ferrara) plays younger sibling Max, Ashley McGuire (Shopping and F***ing, The Suicide) will play their mom Paige and Andy Williams (The 39 Steps, War Horse) plays her husband Arnold.
In Hir, Mac tears apart the kitchen sink genre by challenging gender expectations and subverting all notions of the typical American family.
“Stop behaving like a man!”
“We are men”
Isaac gets home from serving in the marines to find war has broken out back home. Fed up with her broken American Dream, mom Paige has stopped washing, cleaning and caring for their ailing father. Once the breadwinner, dad Arnold has suffered a stroke and toppled from the head of the household to a mere puppet in the new regime. Ally to their mother is Isaac’s sibling Max. Only last time Isaac checked, Max was Maxine.
Playing at the Bush Theatre from 15 June – 22 July Hir is designed by Ben Stones, lighting design is by Eliott Griggs with sound design by Elena Peña. Fight direction is by Rachel Bown-Williams and Ruth Cooper-Brown of RC-Annie Ltd.

And to round things off, a couple of rehearsal pics (courtesy of Johan Persson) from On The Town, which opens in a couple of weeks at the Open Air Theatre. 

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