I’ve discovered a real grab-bag of interesting performances across London in the next month or two, from the post-industrial Hackney Wick to the glittering lights of the West End. First on the list are the new performances at the Theatre Royal Stratford East, taking place as part of this year’s London 2012 Cultural Olympiad.
‘en route‘ is going to be an open air live experience where audience members will use smartphones and mp3 players to navigate their way around the back streets of East London. Winner of the best theatrical production of the 2010 Adelaide Fringe, ‘en route’ has been created by 4-member group ‘One Step At A Time Like This’ which comprises Melbourne-based artists , Suzanne Kersten, Clair Korobacz, Paul Moir and Julian Rickert. I think it’s fair to say that this experience, which fuses samples of local music, snatches of dialogue and sound effects, is going to be the most unusual thing to hit the theatre since last year’s ‘You Me Bum Bum Train. ‘en route’ will take place around Stratford, East London, from Tuesday 26 June – Saturday 21 July 2012. Tickets are priced at £15(solo), £24 (duo), and £30 (trio) and performance times are 10am, 1pm and 4pm. You’re also invited to take part in the fun through Twitter, Youtube and Flickr so head on over to the website to find out more.
Also, as part of the London 2012 Olympics, the Theatre Royal Stratford East will be hosting Nigeria’s ‘Hospitality House’ from 20 July to 12 August. To celebrate this collaboration ’30 Nigeria House’ is currently being commissioned – the search is on for 30 young artists of Nigerian Heritage, with awards of up to £3,000 available to help them develop their work. All 30 will attend the official launch of the Nigerian Hospitality House, with a shortlist of 8 being invited to showcase their work at the Theatre during August . You can find out more about this programme online here.
Over at The Yard Theatre in Hackney Wick, LEPER COLONY runs until 9 June. Exploring the lives of these exiles and outcasts during the dark ages, it also reflects current themes of exclusion and social isolation. Directed by award-winning film maker Vaughan Pilikian, performances take place on Tuesdays to Saturdays at 8pm, with Sunday matinees at 4pm. Tickets are priced at a ridiculously reasonable £9 (£4 on Tuesdays). Next up at the Yard is the world premiere of ‘Rhinegold‘, which is a retelling of the first of the classic Wagnerian ring operas, ‘Das Rheingold’. Written by Alan Harris, directed by Martin Constantine with music by Harry Blake the cast features six actors, dance and some opera singing thrown in for good measure! ‘Rhinegold’ runs from 13 to 30 June with performances at 8pm. You can see details of all of the upcoming performances at the Yard by visiting their website.
Up in Hampstead, the Propeller theatre company are taking on rather more traditional pieces, with productions of Henry V and The Winter’s Tale coming to the Hampstead Theatre after a run that took in 19 venues in 7 different countries. The plays will have their final performances from 3 to 21 July. Propeller bring their own particular style to these classics – Henry V takes a contemporary turn, focusing on the lives of servicemen and women in today’s conflict zones, while The Winter’s Tale brings back their popular 2005 production of the play. You may be pleased to note that Propeller take a particularly straight line with the original texts – while the costumes, lighting and sets might be contemporary the words will be as the bard wrote them…
Taking the lead role in Henry V will be Dugald Bruce-Lockhart, Vince Leigh as Pistol and Tony Bell as Mistress Quickly, and in The Winter’s Tale Robert Hands plays Leontes, Richard Dempsey plays Hermione, and Nicholas Asbury plays Polixines. You can find out more about the productions and purchase tickets online at the links above.
Over in the heart of the West End, the Trafalgar Studios are putting on a production of Yes Prime Minister – entirely appropriate for the London theatre that it is only 100 yards or so from 10 Downing St. The original writers of the comedy series, Antony Jay and Jonathan Lynn, bring the familiar characters of senior civil servant Sir Humphrey Abbleby and Prime Minister Jim Hacker right up to date with a 21st century tale of financial crisis combined with dubious dealings with foreign dictators. Hacker will be played by Robert Daws with Michael Simkins as Cabinet Secretary Sir Humphrey. I’m sure this will be a side-splitting evening of comedy performances. ‘Yes Prime Minister’s runs from 6 June until early 2013, and you can find tickets on this website.
Finally, The Woman In Black is getting a new cast for its 23rd year in London’s West End. This seminal horror story, which you may have seen on-screen recently in the movie starring Daniel Radcliffe, has been running at the Fortune Theatre since 1989 (making it the second longest running show in London after The Mousetrap). From 3 July, Adam Best is taking on the role of ‘The Actor’ while Ken Drury (lately of the National Theatre and the Royal Shakespeare Company) will play the unfortunate Arthur Kipps. I’ve been meaning to put this on my theatre ‘to do’ list for quite some time – it should get a new lease of life with the new leads taking over so I may well visit in late July. More details of the production and ticket prices here.