Best theatre shows: critics’ picks (April 19)
How to recover from the post-Easter blues? The Stage’s theatre doctors prescribe witnessing the return of Jude Law to the Barbican, and Simon Stephens to the Royal Court, among other things…
Natasha Tripney, reviews editor
Nuclear War – Royal Court, London
*new Simon Stephens play klaxon*
The playwright’s new piece, a collaboration with movement director Imogen Knight, promises to be visually striking, placing movement ahead of text. The cast includes Sharon Duncan-Brewster and Maureen Beattie and it opens at the London’s Royal Court on April 21.
Also worth seeing
Cuncrete – Soho Theatre, London
Rachael Clerke’s DIY drag king gig-theatre show Cuncrete plays Soho Theatre from April 18-22. We called it an “exhilaratingly bleak swansong for the grey, hard dreams of powerful men” in our four-star review from last year’s Edinburgh Fringe.
Jane Eyre – Lyceum Theatre, Sheffield
Sally Cookson’s glorious three-hour staging of Charlotte Bronte’s Jane Eyre for the National Theatre is now on a UK tour. One of the best page-to-stage productions of recent years, it is “faithful to the spirit of the book, its boldness and romance, its feminism, its enduring power”. It’s in Sheffield from April 18-22.
Bubble Schmeisis – Battersea Arts Centre, London
Nick Cassenbaum (and a couple of klezmer musicians) explores the disappearing all-male world of the Schvitz, the rituals of the Jewish bath house. An endearing and engaging piece of storytelling theatre, Bubble Schmeisis is at Battersea Arts Centre from April 21-22.
Last chance to see
Othello – Sam Wanamaker Playhouse, London
Incoming Gate Theatre artistic director Ellen McDougall’s “lacerating” production of Othello at the Sam Wanamaker Playhouse – in which Joanna Horton plays Cassio alongside Kurt Egyiawan’s Moor – closes on April 22.
Mark Shenton, lead critic
Obsession – Barbican Theatre, London
Jude Law returns to the London stage in Ivo van Hove’s new stage adaptation of Visconti’s first feature film, Obsession, originally made in 1943, to play a drifter who begins an affair with a woman and then joins her in plotting her husband’s murder. It is the director’s fourth show based on Visconti, and one of three Van Hove shows the Barbican is hosting this year. Performances begin April 19, prior to an official opening April 25.
Also worth seeing
Junkyard – Rose Theatre, London
After premiering in Bristol in March, Jack Thorne and Stephen Warbeck’s new musical Junkyard transfers to Kingston’s Rose from April 19-30. Based on the true story of the creation of a junkyard playground in Bristol, it is directed by Jeremy Herrin.
Refugee Boy – Chickenshed, London
A new play based on Benjamin Zephaniah’s book Refugee Boy, in which a 14-year-old boy flees alone from civil war in Ethiopia and Eritrea, continuing Chickenshed’s exploration of the issues surrounding refugees and immigration. It opens April 20.
Last chance to see…
Travesties – Apollo Theatre, London/Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead – Old Vic, London
London’s coincidental double bill of early Stoppard plays both end their runs soon: his 1974 play Travesties ends at the Apollo on April 29, then the Old Vic’s revival of his first play Rosencrantz and Guildestern Are Dead, given its first London outing at the same address in 1967, ends on May 6.