So, here it is, my list of those ten shows I’d recommend for March. Only this might be a bit controversial as, well, not only have I stretched the list to eleven this month – I couldn’t bear to drop any from the list – but even so, there are some big ones missing.
As always, it can be hard to get the list down to ten shows so this month there’s no room for the Harry Potter play, the gender-swapping Twelfth Night at the National, nor the other Shakespeare, the dark reinvention of A Midsummer’s Night Dream at the Young Vic. There’s not even the 50th anniversary revival of Rosencrantz & Guildenstern Are Dead at The Old Vic (complete with the actual Harry Potter in its cast).
I’m sure some of you will be going to see those plays but I decided to omit them as I feel these shows don’t exactly lack for publicity and, revealing own personal prejudices I guess, I’m more looking forward to seeing the shows below. That’s not to say those others won’t be good, but it’s the list below that excites me this month.
And as ever, if you see any from the list, let me know what you think.
a profoundly affectionate, passionate devotion to someone (-noun), Royal Court
It’s already sold out so it’ll be Day Seats and the Royal Court’s £12 Monday tickets release if you want to see debbie tucker green’s new play. As always, it’s pretty cloak and dagger on what this play is about and all we have to go on is this: “Three couples. What might be. What once was. What could have been.” But it’s got a pretty terrific cast, including Meera Syal, and debbie tucker green is always a writer and director whose work excites me. Opens February 28th. Tickets from £12.
Hamlet, Almeida Theatre
It’s Hamlet. It’s got Andrew Scott in it. And it’s directed by Robert Icke. There you go, everyone. I think that’s pretty much all you need to know here! Well, that and the fact that it’s going to be hard work to get any tickets as obvs this show sold out ages ago. However, the Almeida is pretty good at releasing tickets as returns become available throughout the run, and Day Seats will be available from Wednesday March 1st. Tickets from £10.
Ugly Lies the Bone, National Theatre
This marks the UK debut for award-winning American playwright Lindsey Ferrentino and it’s a play that examines PTSD in returning veterans, and the conflict between fantasy and reality. It follows Jess (Kate Fleetwood) who returns to Florida after her third tour in Afghanistan but she struggles to adjust to a home life that may have changed even more than she has. Experimenting with a pioneering virtual reality therapy, she builds a new world for herself where she can escape her pain. There, she begins to restore her relationships, her life and, slowly, herself. Tickets from £15.
Sergei Polunin, Sadler’s Wells
I’m with The Observer when it comes to Sergei Polunin – he is “Without question, the most naturally gifted male ballet dancer of his generation.” That is a statement of fact, not opinion. And he is performing a short run of shows at Sadler’s Wells under the title, Project Polunin, which aims to create new dance and ballet works through the collaboration of dancers with contemporary artists, musicians and choreographers for both stage and film. It’s a triple bill, including both classical and modern pieces, and collaborators include the photographer and artist David LaChapelle, whose previous work with Polunin brought him to wider pop culture status with a video to Hozier’s Take Me to Church. Runs March 14th – 18th. Tickets from £12.
Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? Harold Pinter Theatre
The Queen returns! Fresh from her storming success in Gypsy, Imelda Staunton takes on the role of Martha in Edward Albee’s masterpiece. Starring alongside her as her husband George will be Conleth Hill (Game of Thrones) and together they will play the husband and wife whose unhappy marriage and web of lies that they have spun around them will all unravel at the ill-fated after-party. And good news on the ticketing front as there’ll be over 100 tickets for every performance priced at £15 (£10 during previews). The show has a strictly limited run of thirteen weeks so don’t hang around if you want to see this.
Low Level Panic, Orange Tree Theatre
Pretty excited at this revival of this witty award-winning play from Clare McIntyre. Low Level Panic explores the effect of misogyny and male violence through the eyes of three female flatmates who voice the fears and challenges all women face from the barrage of expectations and judgment that comes their way. Originally performed at the Royal Court back in 1988, Clare won the Samuel Beckett award for this play the following year. And still, thirty years on, how depressing is it that its themes must still be discussed and confronted today? Closes March 25th. Tickets from £15.
The Diary of a Teenage Girl, Southwark Playhouse
The Diary of a Teenage Girl recounts the coming-of-age adventures of Minnie Goetze, a San Francisco teenager who begins a secret affair with her mother’s boyfriend. Minnie’s sexual awakening begins in 1976 as the hippie movement fades and punk rock is on the rise. Yearning to be loved and treated like a grown-up, her rebellious teenage nature clashes with the newfound demands and responsibilities of adulthood. Based on the critically acclaimed graphic novel by Phoebe Gloeckner, (and its subsequent award-winning motion film), this promises to be a sharp, funny and provocative account of one girl’s sexual and artistic awakening. Opens March 1st. Tickets from £12.
Limehouse, Donmar Warehouse
Ah, the Donmar has got its eyes on the state of play in the UK today with this one. “A divisive left-wing leader at the helm of the Labour Party, A Conservative Prime Minister battling with her Cabinet, An identity crisis on a national scale.” For though this is a play about Britain in 1981, this new play from Steve Waters is all about us today too. And it’s got Roger Allam in it, so I’m in for sure. Opens March 2nd. Tickets from £10.
English National Ballet Triple Bill, Sadler’s Wells
It’s hard to deny that the English National Ballet has, under Tamara Rojo, really grabbed the crown for the most exciting ballet company around. Fresh from its radically reworked Giselle last year, it threw itself into a triumphant run of the classic Mary Skeaping version at the Coliseum this January. Its versatility and excellence is impressive. And now it’s back to Sadler’s Wells for the ENB with this electrifying triple bill that features Pina Bausch’s iconic Le Sacre du printemps (The Rite of Spring), William Forsythe’s In The Middle, Somewhat Elevated and Hans van Manen’s Adagio Hammerklavier. Runs March 23rd – April 1st. Tickets from £12.
The Bear/The Proposal, Young Vic
Now this one is killing me as it’s already sold out (the Young Vic’s program is SO good that its shows sell out so damn quick) so I’ll be joining the returns queue with the rest of you to see this bold new production of Chekhov’s comedies performed by a gender fierce company of queer and trans artists. With mortgages to pay and sickly fathers to care for, Chekhov’s heroines are in a bind. They’ve got to coolly weigh up the practical benefits of marriage against their true feelings. But expect our usual assumptions about love and marriage to be turned on its head with this fresh new take. Runs 15 – 25 March. Tickets from £10.
the kid stays in the picture, Royal Court
With the debbie tucker green play running upstairs, it’s this new play based on the life story of Robert Evans that takes the Main Stage at the Royal Court. Robert Evans was one of Hollywood’s big mogul in the 1960s and 70s. He produced a number of iconic films, including the mighty The Godfather and Chinatown. He was also the man who saved Paramount Pictures from collapse. But by the 1980s he was broke, with his personal and professional life spiralling at epic proportions. Director Simon McBurney, the talent behind The Encounter, has taken Evans’ story and explores it against the backdrop of a changing America through the second half of the 20th century. Opens March 7th. Tickets from £12.