Victoria’s Top Ten London Theatre, February 2020


Welcome to February! And new month = new list of shows to see in London town. And there’s a great blend this month with two dance productions on the list centred around the great Pina Bausch and the great Isadora Duncan and I’m going to both of them so that’s exciting for me.

For those wanting a play, we’ve contemporary productions, great revivals and reworked classics for you. Plus a few starry casts to turn your head as well as some exciting new talent so this month is (another!) great line up. I’m already booked for most of them and I hope one or two catch your eye also.

Keep well and enjoy.

Nora: A Doll’s House, Young Vic Theatre

We all know Ibsen’s Nora – and we all feel for her. Nora is the perfect wife and mother. She is dutiful, beautiful and everything is always in its right place. But when a secret from her past comes back to haunt her, her life rapidly unravels. Over the course of three days, Nora must fight to protect herself and her family or risk losing everything. Ibsen’s brutal portrayal of womanhood caused outrage when it was first performed in 1879 and still does. Excitingly, this bold new production by Stef Smith reframes the famous drama in three different time periods: the fight for women’s suffrage, the swinging sixties and modern day. The purpose? To consider how far we have really come in the past 100 years. Runs 5 February to 21 March. Tickets from £10.

No Sweat, Pleasance Theatre

Did you know there is a LGBTQ+ homelessness crisis? Working together with young LGBTQ+ ex/homeless people in London, Vicky Moran’s new play shine a light on a forgotten generation of homeless youth. Combining real stories, verbatim interview clips and an original score, No Sweat reveals stories from within the world of gay saunas – where many young homeless people seek accommodation. In a world where stability is a second from slipping through your fingers, austerity combined with prejudice sees young people putting themselves at risk all too often. Runs 4 to 29 February. Tickets from £12.

Tanztheater Wuppertal Pina Bausch – Bluebeard, Sadler’s Wells

Staged for the first time in over 29 years and receiving its UK premiere is Pina Bausch’s early monumental masterpiece Bluebeard. While Listening to a Tape Recording of Béla Bartók’s “Duke Bluebeard’s Castle” (to give it its full title!). In this, character Judith arrives at Duke Bluebeard’s castle where she is given a set of keys to open seven doors. Behind each door she discovers a torture chamber, weapons, a treasure chamber, a bloody garden, an enormous kingdom and a sea of tears. The piece counts among Pina’s most radical works, breaking with any form of conventional dance aesthetic. It is a disturbing, and at the same time, a moving balancing act across various forms of love, tenderness and violence. Runs 12 to 15 February. Tickets from £15.

La Cage aux Folles (The Play), Park Theatre

Jean Poiret’s seminal classic spawned four blockbuster films and a Tony Award-winning musical and now the legend that is Simon Callow has created a new translation for a play. And this will be its world premiere. So, this is all something to get really quite excited about as, after all, what’s there not to love about this tale of LGBTQ+ characters refusing to stand in the shadows? And in this adaptation, nightclub owner Georges and his dazzling drag artiste partner Albin create the most spectacular shows in St. Tropez. But when Georges’ son Laurent announces his engagement to the daughter of a notoriously right-wing politician determined to bring the curtain down on the town’s vibrant nightlife, the real performance begins… Runs 12 February to 21 March. Tickets from £18.50 (concessions available).

Endgame, Old Vic Theatre

You’ll need to get your skates on if you want affordable tickets to this much-anticipated production of Samuel Beckett’s macabre comedy. Why? Because, as you can imagine, the lure of seeing Daniel Radcliffe, Alan Cumming AND Jane Horrocks together is practically irresistible. With its emphasis on the cyclical nature of life, Endgame is considered to be one of Beckett’s best works. It is short though – only a single act – so the OV is presenting it in a double bill with Beckett’s rarely seen short play Rough for Theatre II, in which two men discuss the fate of the other man in the room, who never speaks. This will be performed by members of the company though. Runs 27 January to 28 March. Tickets from £12 (concessions available).

The Visit or The Old Lady Comes to Call, National Theatre

God, I’m excited for this. For two reasons, principally. First, the plot: “In the town of Slurry, New York, post-war recession has bitten. Claire Zachanassian, improbably beautiful and impenetrably terrifying, returns to her hometown as the world’s richest woman. The locals hope her arrival signals a change in their fortunes, but they soon realise that prosperity will only come at a terrible price.” Second, the creatives: Lesley Manville on stage, Jeremy Herrin (Wolf Hall) in the director’s chair, Tony Kushner (Angels in America) in for the adaptation and Vicki Mortimer (Follies) on set design. BRING IT TO ME!! Runs 31 January to 13 May. Tickets from £15.

The Incident Room, New Diorama Theatre

The NDT really is a special place. It was the stunning Antigone in January and, up next, is this crime thriller based on the infamous five-year police hunt for the Yorkshire Ripper. Set in Leeds in 1975, we follow Megan Winterburn, the Sergeant running the new incident room at Millgarth Police Station, the epicentre of the case that nearly broke the British police force. With public pressure mounting, the investigators resorted to increasingly audacious attempts to catch one of Britain’s most notorious serial killers. Runs 11 February to 14 March. Tickets £16 (concessions available).

Isadora Now: Triple Bill by Viviana Durante Company, Barbican Theatre

American dancer Isadora Duncan was a visionary, pioneer and a timeless feminist icon who made work that enabled women to express themselves physically on their own terms. And so, appropriately with an all-female ensemble, this remarkable evening of performance celebrates one of Isadora’s biggest legacies – a freedom of movement and spirit that has inspired artists and thinkers everywhere – while introducing original dance profoundly influenced by that same revolution today, including a rare opportunity to see Isadora’s own choreography. And, if that isn’t enough, this will be legendary ballerina Viviana Durante’s first solo appearance for a decade. Runs 21 to 29 February. Tickets from £16 (concessions available).

A Number, Bridge Theatre / Far Away, Donmar Warehouse

And so February brings us a(n inadvertent) Caryl Churchill double bill. Over at the bridge, we have Roger Allam and Coin Morgan examining the costs of human cloning and our understanding of identity and humanity in the Polly Findlay-helmed A Number; whilst over at the Donmar, Lyndsey Turner, who recently directed another Churchill Classic, Top Girls, at the NT, is directing this dystopian drama on the brutalities of war. Both of them fall into the ‘not to be missed’ category. A Number runs 14 February to 14 March. Tickets from £15; Far Away runs 6 February to 28 March. Tickets from £10.

The High Table, Bush Theatre

I am SO excited about this HUGELY ambitious debut from Temi Wilkey. We are set up for a glorious Nigerian wedding between Tara and her girlfriend, Leah. But when Tara’s parents suddenly derail the dream day by refusing to attend, Tara must wake her ancestors in heaven to keep the family together. But how will her ancestors react to the proposed match? With such scale, this really promises to be epic and it’s such a thrill to see a new voice given the space and support to write such big stories. Can’t wait. Runs 8 February to 21 March. Tickets from £10.

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