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Best theatre shows: our critics’ picks (July 25)

Michelle Fairley in rehearsal for Road. Photo: Johan Persson Michelle Fairley in rehearsal for Road. Photo: Johan Persson
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Natasha Tripney

Don’t Miss

Road – Royal Court, London

Michelle ‘Catelyn Stark’ Fairley and Lemn Sissay head up the cast in a timely revival of Jim Cartwright’s indictment of Thatcherism London’s Royal Court. John Tiffany, now an Olivier winner for Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, directs the production which opens on July 28.

Also worth seeing

Simon Phillips and cast of North by Northwest in rehearsals Photo: Nobby Clark
Simon Phillips and cast of North by Northwest in rehearsals Photo: Nobby Clark

Mosquitoes – National Theatre, London

The magnificent Olivia Colman stars in Mosquitoes, the new play from Lucy Kirkwood, a tale of two sisters and the Large Hadron Collider. Following her delicately dystopian three-hander, The Children, Mosquitoes is directed by Rufus Norris and opens in the Dorfman on July 25.

North by Northwest – Theatre Royal, Bath

Screen-to-stage adaptations can be pretty hit-or-miss. For every fizzy four-man take on The 39 Steps or Kneehigh’s Brief Encounter, there are a lot of clunkers. First seen in Melbourne, Theatre Royal Bath’s staging of Hitchcock’s 1959 film North by Northwest, adapted by Carolyn Burns – the only woman writer they’ve let near the stage this season – features Jonathan Watton in the Cary Grant role, it opens on July 31.

Just to Get Married – Finborough Theatre, London

Playwright and suffragette Cicely Hamilton’s play Just to Get Married, was last produced in 1918. The Finborough’s revival is directed by Melissa Dunne and opens on July 28.

Festival of the week

Orange Tree Theatre Directors Festival

This year’s show case of work by young directors at the Orange Tree takes the form of a festival of work directed by students from the inaugural year of the Orange Tree Theatre and St Mary’s University’s MA in Theatre Directing. Plays featured include Enda Walsh’s Misterman and Kate Tempest’s Wasted and it runs until July 29.

Mark Shenton

Don’t Miss

Tim Ford at The Dreaming rehearsals. Photo: Pamela Raith
Tim Ford at The Dreaming rehearsals. Photo: Pamela Raith

The Dreaming – Lichfield Garrick Theatre

Lichfield artistic director Tim Ford has a particular passion for Howard Goodall musicals; after a rousing production of The Hired Man last year, he now revives Goodall and Charles Hart’s The Dreaming, patterned on A Midsummer Night’s Dream, with a 70-strong community cast, running from July 31 to August 5.

Coming Clean – King’s Head Theatre, London

Kevin Elyot’s debut play Coming Clean premiered at the Bush Theatre in 1982. Now it gets its first major London revival at the King’s Head Theatre, directed by artistic director Adam Spreadbury-Maher, as the centrepiece of a Queer Theatre season. It opens on July 28.

Girl from the North Country – Old Vic, London

Conor McPherson writes and directs Girl from the North Country, in which the Bob Dylan songbook is woven into its story of hope, heartbreak and soul. The cast includes Shirley Henderson, Ciaran Hinds, Debbie Kurup, Jim Norton, Michael Shaeffer and Stanley Townsend. It opens on July 26.

The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole – Menier Chocolate Factory, London

Jake Brunger and Pippa Cleary’s musical The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole, based on Sue Townsend’s story premiered at Leicester’s Curve in 2015. Now it comes to London, opening on July 26. The cast has Benjamin Lewis, Ilan Galkoff and Samuel Menhinick sharing the title role, joining an adult company that includes Dean Chisnall, Barry James, Kelly Price and Gay Soper.

Event of the week

Queers – Old Vic, London

A series of eight monologues, presented under the umbrella title Queers, is staged at the Old Vic on July 28 and 31, marking 50 years since the partial decriminalisation for homosexuality between men. Filmed earlier this year for BBC, the cast includes Ian Gelder, Russell Tovey, Sara Crowe and Mark Bonnar. Playwrights include Matthew Baldwin, Jon Bradfield, Jackie Clune and Mark Gatiss, the latter of whom co-directs with Max Webster and Joe Murphy.

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