Happy Welcome-to-Spring! With any luck, the darker days of winter are behind us now and we can get ready for lighter evenings and warmer days. And if that sounds a little bit optimistic, well, it’s probably because there’s a lot of things to look forward to in this month’s run down – and not just the almost-literal drop of sunshine at the top of the list.
Little Miss Sunshine, Arcola Theatre
I’ve got all my fingers crossed that this stage adaptation doesn’t end up doing the film a disservice as, my, the movie is a wonder. If you haven’t seen the movie, do. And the rest of us? Well, I admit I am curious and optimistic that this musical comedy can bring joy and depth to young Olive’s dream of being crowned Little Miss Sunshine – and the battles her dysfunctional family face and overcome on their (literal and metaphorical) journey with her. Runs to May 11. Tickets from £10.
A Man of Good Hope, Royal Opera House
This Young Vic and Isango Ensemble production brings us the true story of a young refugee’s journey through Africa told through music, singing and dance. Based on the book by Jonny Steinberg, we follow Asad Abdullahi who was just eight years old when his mother was murdered in front of him. He fled war-torn Mogadishu and journeyed through Africa in search of a better life, eventually finding his way to the outskirts of Johannesburg – but his troubles didn’t stop there. Isango re-creates Asad’s journey through a colourful score drawn from music of different African traditions; have a look at the promo video here. Runs 16 April to 4 May. Tickets from £7.
A German Life, Bridge Theatre
“I had no idea what was going on. Or very little. No more than most people. So you can’t make me feel guilty.” Brunhilde Pomsel’s life spanned the twentieth century. She struggled to make ends meet as a secretary in Berlin during the 1930s, her many employers including a Jewish insurance broker, the German Broadcasting Corporation and, eventually, Joseph Goebbels. Christopher Hampton’s play is based on the testimony she gave when she finally broke her silence to a group of Austrian filmmakers, shortly before she died in 2016. Who plays her on stage? Dame Maggie Smith. I mean, come on. Too good. Opens 6 April. Tickets from £15.
Mouthpiece, Soho Theatre
The Stage called Mouthpiece ‘a strong contender for Scotland’s best play of 2018’ so obvs I’m looking forward to seeing it! And it centres on the pretty pertinent subject of who gets to tell which stories as the plot centres on Libby, a struggling writer, who forms an uneasy relationship with Declan, a talented young artist struggling with a volatile home life. But when Libby spots an opportunity to put her writing career back on track and tell a story that really matters – Declan’s – we are forced to examine whether it’s possible to tell someone else’s story without exploiting them. Opens 2 April. Tickets from £10.
Top Girls, National Theatre
The mighty Caryl Churchill wrote Top Girls back in 1982. In that context, this play on female ambition and career focus was very much seen as a stab at Thatcherism and how it had perverted how women and society perceive success. Has much changed? Well, I guess that is what director Lyndsey Turner will be exploring in this revival. Runs to 22 June. Tickets from £15 (though cheap tickets are pretty thin on the ground now as there is a LOT of excitement about this production).
Pah-La!, Royal Court
“Tell that girl, she has changed Tibet forever.” The Royal Court Spring/Summer season really is a wonder and, this month, we’ve Pah-la, which is based on real stories during the 2008 Lhasa riots, and is an examination of the future of non-violence. In a remote Tibetan village, Deshar, a young runaway has disowned her father and become a Buddhist nun. In Lhasa, Chinese Commander Deng is working for the future of the country, unable to meet the needs of his wife and daughter. When Deshar carries out an act of defiance it reverberates across the whole country and a new freedom struggle is born with life changing consequences for Deshar, Deng and their families. Opens 3 April. Tickets from £12.
Night of the Living Dead Live!, Pleasance Theatre
Six strangers, a lonely farmhouse, surrounded by brain-eating zombies – what could possibly go wrong? Who will make it out alive? Well, if you’re here for iconic paranormal cult shows, this clearly is the month for you because as well as The Twilight Zone at the Ambassadors Theatre, we have the first ever UK stage adaptation and the only officially authorised production of George A. Romero’s unparalleled 1968 film. Night of the Living Dead™ Live will pay homage to the cult monochrome classic, skirting the line between the horrific and the hysterical as it resurrects the original zombie masterpiece. Opens 9 April. Tickets from £15.
Sweet Charity, Donmar Warehouse
It’s Artistic Director Josie Rourke’s last hurrah and she is going out with this adaptation of the iconic musical set in New York, 1967. Charity Hope Valentine is a dance hall hostess who “runs her a heart like a hotel”. At the hopeless end of a long line of users and losers, she meets Oscar, a mild-mannered tax accountant, and Charity Hope Valentine once again puts her faith in love. And there’s a lot of talent on board with Anne-Marie Duff and Arthur Darvill on stage and world-renowned choreographer, Wayne McGregor, helping Josie from behind the scenes. Opens 6 April. Tickets from £10.
Three Sisters, Almeida Theatre
Rebecca Frecknall has a lot of eyes on her after her astonishing production of Summer and Smoke. That kind of pressure on women creatives always makes me nervous but the woman is hugely talented and so I’m thrilled to see her team up with writer, Cordelia Lynn for this adaption of one of Chekhov’s masterpieces. It’ll also see Rebecca team up with Patsy Ferran again, as well as Pearl Chanda (Ink) and Ria Zmitrowicz (who wowed in Dance Nation). I never thought I’d be this excited to see (again) a play I’ve seen many times before. Opens 8 April. Tickets from £10.
Going Through, Bush Theatre
This promises to be very special as Going Through is the UK premiere of the critically acclaimed French play, Traversée, about child migration – a story that seems familiar but told through new eyes. Youmna is deaf. She’s been looking after Nour since she was born. But when the men come to drive Nour away, Youmna cuts off her hair. And so begins one girl’s journey. By bus, by lorry, into the sound of gun-shots, through adolescence and across borders. All she can take with her is a little box and her memories of Youmna. Youmna, who told her that everything grows back – grass, desires, branches, even hair. Runs to 27 April. Tickets from £10.