Victoria’s Top Ten London Stage Shows, April 2017


Right everyone, I’m quite proud of this one as I’ve we’ve got a good diversity in playwrights, and variety in styles too, with everything from comedy (light and dark), to the most gut-wrenching of dramas. And there’s a sprinkling of Shakespeare and subversive cabaret too so BRING APRIL ON, I say!

Hopefully there’s something here to tempt you – surely there is! And, as ever, if you do go and see any of these, do let me know what you think.

See you next month!

Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? Harold Pinter Theatre

You know the play, you’ve probably seen the film, but I doubt we will ever see a better performance of Martha than that currently being given by Imelda Staunton.

Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? is Edward Albee’s masterpiece and this is a revival that showcases this play at its absolute best. Imelda and Conleth Hill play Martha and George, the damaged couple addicted to their toxic relationship who, in the course of one evening, not only send a wrecking ball through their own marriage, but also do the same to an unsuspecting couple who have come over for drinks.

At times you’ll laugh, at other moments you’ll wince and clench your jaw. It’s a hell of a rollercoaster, this production, but one that is unforgettable. Closes May 27th. Tickets from £15.

Nuclear War, Royal Court

It’s always great fun writing up a preview of a Royal Court show that is yet to open as, frankly, they give nothing away.

So, what have we got? We know it’s Simon Stephens on writing duties and it’ll be directed by Imogen Knight. That we know for sure. And, as a snippet, the theatre has added, ‘A series of suggestions on desire, death and time’ as the play’s description.

Make of that what you will everyone, but the good news is that more tickets are now available for this previously sold out show, with a 9.15pm performance added on some of the evenings, and all Monday tickets held back to the day of the show, when they will be released at 9am.

Opens April 19th. Tickets from £12.

Hamlet, Almeida Theatre

Your last opportunity to see Andrew Scott in this radical and exciting new take on the classic text from Robert Icke at its original home, the Almeida, prior to its Summer transfer to the West End. A handful of tickets are released every day at 11am so, yes, it is possible for you to get one. But you’ll have to be prompt in contacting the Box Office.

The show may be close on four hours (!) but it has been rightly lauded with a string of five-star reviews, including from me. Andrew is extraordinary – obviously – but this is also an interpretation so much more about love, loss and the perils of grief than is usually the case. A full-blown, gut-wrenching tragedy.

Closes April 15th. Tickets from £10.

The Lottery of Love, Orange Tree Theatre

Next up at the Orange Tree Theatre is this previously unseen translation of Marivaux’s greatest comedy, Le Jeu de l’amour et du hazard (The Game of Love and Chance), by John Fowles.

Transported to Regency England, this play follows an arranged marriage where the soon-to-be husband and wife go undercover, employing various tricks and ploys, to get to know each other before their wedding day. Only neither knows that the other has done the same. So, expect a feel-good screwball comedy lampooning British class and society.

One to lift the spirits and warm the heart. Closes May 13th. Tickets from £15.

Angels in America, National Theatre

To be honest, I wasn’t sure about adding this as, yes, it’s the biggest opening of the month but if you haven’t got a ticket yet (like me) I don’t know how the hell we’ll get one.

Each show is sold out and no tickets will be released for Angels in America as part of the NT’s Friday Rush initiative. Instead, if you’re deadly keen, it’ll be the daily returns queue, the periodic ballot, and the NT Live showing in cinemas on July 20th.

However, if you’re a lucky ticket-holder, enjoy this revival of Tony Kushner’s seismic play about the lives of Reagan-era New Yorkers as they grapple with love, sex and death in the midst of the AIDS crisis. Opens April 11th.

Lucy McCormick: Triple Threat, Soho Theatre

Frankly, I can’t do better than the promo on the Soho Theatre website: “Following a smash-hit and sell-out 2016 Edinburgh Festival Fringe run, post-popular prodigy Lucy McCormick and her Girl Squad present a provocative, subversive cabaret retelling of the greatest story of all time. Casting herself in all the main roles, Lucy attempts to reconnect to her own moral conscience by re-enacting the New Testament via a nu-wave holy trinity of dance, power ballads and absurdist art. I mean, my god, GET YOUR TICKETS NOW!!

Closes April 22nd. Tickets from £15.50.

Obsession, Barbican Centre

There’s a huge buzz for this team-up of Director Ivo van Hove (A View from the Bridge, Hedda Gabler) with Jude Law and, why the hell not? The pair are taking on a new stage adaptation of film, Obsession, by Visconti. Jude seems perfectly cast as the charismatic and handsome Gino who embarks on a passionate affair with the married Giovanna, who together plot to murder her husband, Giuseppe. Only this won’t be a crime that brings them together – but one that will tear them all apart.

Not a show that will have you rolling in the aisles but it’s always exciting to see what van Hove brings to the table and I do feel that Jude Law is an underrated actor. He’s been impressive every time I’ve seen him. Opens April 19th. Tickets from £16.

Chinglish, Park Theatre

Ah, this one is lovely. Park Theatre is the venue for the European premiere of Chinglish, the Broadway hit from Tony Award-winning writer, David Henry Hwang.

This witty, sprightly comedy about the misadventures of miscommunication explores the modern difficulty of doing business between East and West. Daniel, an American, wants to open up China for his business. There are only three things standing in his way: he can’t speak the language, he can’t learn the customs, and he’s falling in love with the one woman he can’t have.

A delightful comedy with a lot to say. Closes April 22nd. Tickets from £18.

Consent, National Theatre

Sadly we still live in a world where consent is a tricky concept to grasp, particularly for our legal system and courts. So, enter into the fray this new play from Nina Raine that centres around a rape.

Two friends take up opposing briefs in the case that follows, but neither finds their position straightforward. Both are distant from the woman who is a key witness in their case, and both find their personal lives unravelling as their own versions of the truth are challenged.

This is a play that promises to put justice in the dock and Nina is a playwright already with Critics’ Circle and Evening Standard awards under her belt so this promises to be one to watch out for. Closes May 17th. Tickets from £15.

Guards at the Taj, Bush Theatre

Bush Theatre is reopening after a major refurbishment that has seen the venue closed for the best part of a year. It’ll be great to see the results of the £4mn refurbishment but it will also be great to see Guards at the Taj, a play that sets out to examine art, privilege and duty through the enduring legacy of the Taj Mahal.

The darkly, comic play comes from Pulitzer Prize finalist, Rajiv Joseph. It is set in 1648 and follows two imperial guards, Humayun and Babur, keeping watch as the final touches are put to the mighty Taj Mahal behind them – a majestic sight but one that the emperor has forbidden all ordinary people to admire until it is complete. Opens April 7th. Tickets from £10.

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