Five plays to see as soon as you can
London is steeped in exciting opportunities at the theatre, this summer more than ever. We give you our top five plays to see before they’re gone.
A Human Being Died That Night
Nicholas Wright’s stage adaptation of Pumla Gobodo-Madikizela’s best-selling book is, by all accounts, a must-see for any theatregoer. Madikizela, a prison psychologist whose one-time client was Eugene de Kock (the notorious South African police colonel during the Apartheid) is depicted here, attempting to locate the human within a seemingly monstrous figure. A powerful and moving piece of drama, A Human Being Died That Night is only on at the Hampstead Theatre for another two weeks, so don’t miss it.
A Human Being Died That Night is at the Hampstead Downstairs Theatre until 15th June 2014.
Waiting for Godot
Four years have gone by since Tom Stourton and Tom Palmer uploaded their first High Renaissance Man sketch to YouTube, where it became a viral hit. Those years have treated the comedy duo (named Totally Tom) well, having been nominated for the Foster’s Edinburgh Comedy award in 2011 and then making an appearance in BBC Three’s Live at the Electric and E4’s Comedy Lab. Here, they turn their hand to Beckett, in an original and modern take on an oft-interpreted piece of absurdist theatre.
Waiting for Godot is at the Arcola Theatre until 14th June 2014.
Roald Dahl’s Charlie and the Chocolate Factory
Fast approaching its 50th anniversary, Dahl’s famous tale of one boy’s sugary sweet delight at discovering a new and fantastical world (albeit one that leaves a slightly bitter taste in the mouths of some of its visitors) is recreated by none other than Sam Mendes. The Academy Award-winning director takes a break from Shakespeare, having directed Richard III, Richard II, As You Like It and The Winter’s Tale in the last four years, to deliver a magical, musical West End production that will impress adults and children alike.
Roald Dahl’s Charlie and the Chocolate Factory is at the Theatre Royal Drury Lane until 30th May 2015.
Café Society Swing
Returning to Leicester Square Theatre for a second run following a very short stint in December, Café Society Swing is set to serenade audiences with a range of performances of jazz favourites from the 30s and 40s. Alex Webb’s production tells the story of infamous New York jazz joint, Café Society (open in 1938-48). Described as “the wrong place for the right people”, the bar was known for its liberal attitude, particularly towards the sensitive issue of race relations at the time. Indeed, Billie Holiday’s first ever performance of Strange Fruit (the number that defined her career) took place here. Such subject matter makes for an intriguing production.
Café Society Swing is at the Leicester Square Theatre until 21st June 2014.
reLast but not least, Noel Coward’s popular comedy about a group of eccentric, séance-ing socialites, who accidentally conjure the ghost of the central character’s problematic first wife, has only a week left of its run at the Gielgud. Always a hit with audiences, this version stars Murder She Wrote’s Angela Lansbury as Madame Acarti, whose performance has been described as “magnificent”.
Blithe Spirit is at the Gielgud Theatre until 7th June 2014.