There’s a real focus on the quality of writing in theatre at the moment, and up and down the country productions are being staged that celebrate the power of writing. From brand new plays to classics, to plays looking at writers themselves – the word is King. Catherine Love sharpens her pen and picks five of the best playing this week.
Mike Bartlett’s attack on the baby boomer generation receives a London run at the Royal Court following two national tours with Paines Plough. Tracing Kenneth and Sandra’s journey from the start of their relationship during the heady days of change in the 1960s to the present day and the problems faced by their disenchanted offspring, this is a sharply funny and coldly critical look at one generation and their questionable legacy. This latest production stars Ben Miles and Victoria Hamilton as the passionate, irresponsible couple.
Runs until 9th June
Another recent play receiving a new outing is Philip Ridley’s Tender Napalm, which is following up its critical acclaim at the Southwark Playhouse last year with a national tour. This poetic exploration of love and passion stars Lara Rossi and Tom Byam Shaw as the young couple whose relationship is tested in the face of disaster. After checking in at the Curve, this production continues to tour the country before returning to the Southwark Playhouse.
Runs 10th – 12th May
Tom Stoppard’s acclaimed examination of love and infidelity is given a new revival by English Touring Theatre. As playwright Henry struggles to write his latest work, while his actress wife Charlotte takes the leading rôle in another of his plays, real life and fiction become tangled in a complex web that is made even messier by the involvement of Charlotte’s co-star Max and his wife Annie, to whom Henry finds himself irresistibly drawn.
Runs until 26th May
Responding to the state of crisis in which newspaper journalism finds itself at the moment, this verbatim production by the National Theatre of Scotland has been assembled from interviews with leading figures in the industry. Given a site-specific staging in a Glasgow office block, this topical piece digs under the skin of scandal, corruption and industry decline to ask questions about what direction newspapers are headed in.
Runs until 13th May
From one national theatre to another, National Theatre Wales are continuing their run of exciting, intriguing work with this latest collaborative piece. Created in partnership with Frantic Assembly and inspired by a Dylan Thomas story, Little Dogs takes on the modern culture of casual sexual encounters and one night affairs, following the search for love and connection in the city.
Runs 9th – 19th May