Victoria’s Top Ten London Theatre, March 2020

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Can we say the cold spell is truly behind us now? Probably not; our climate is never certain. But what IS certain is another fantastic list of productions coming our way. (What a painful segue, huh? I think it worked but anyway…) Enough with the intro, here is my top ten tips for the best of the new plays opening in London in March…

Enjoy!


The Seven Streams of the River Ota, National Theatre

Routinely described as a masterpiece, Seven Streams takes the seismic and tragic events of the nuclear bomb drop on Hiroshima as the launching point for this avant-garde theatrical journey through the last 50 years of the 20th century. It follows survivors and their descendants across five decades – and it follows them for a whopping seven hours so this ain’t for the faint-hearted! But this epic production includes stunning visuals and operatic singing to consider the never-ending and ever-evolving impact of the nuclear bomb. The show only has nine performances in this run at the NT so don’t hang about if you want to see this. Runs from 6 to 22 March. Tickets from £30.


The Effect, Boulevard Theatre

I was lucky enough to see this Lucy Prebble-penned gem when it debuted at the National back in 2012. It’s a fantastic examination of where love and neuroscience overlap (and collide) seen through the struggles of two drug-test volunteers. They are supposedly signed up for anti-depressant treatment but as they fall for each other, they are faced with the possibility that their feelings are just side effects, a neuron response to the medication they are taking. It’s one that wracks your brain so props to the Boulevard Theatre for this new revival, which also happens to be directed by the much-loved Anthony Neilson. Should be terrific. Runs from 19 March to 30 May. Tickets from £12.


City of Angels, Garrick Theatre

The Donmar Warehouse’s Olivier Award-winning production is back – this time transferring to the West End – and with a stellar cast to boot, including Hadley Fraser, Rosalie Craig, Rebecca Trehearn and (making her West End debut) the icon that is Vanessa Williams. This slick and stylish detective drama set in 1940s Tinseltown is mesmeric – and a stunning visual achievement. With its swinging score and brilliantly witty book, it’s a musical love letter to old Hollywood and film noir. Completely unique. Runs from 5 March to 5 September. Tickets from £20.


The Special Relationship, Soho Theatre

I am so up for this – a collection of dramatised true stories from the sharp edge of transatlantic deportation. You see, in America, foreign nationals can be deported after serving prison sentences, and some of them are British. Darkly comic, fast paced and powerful, this play is based on interviews with deportees and experts in immigration and criminal law. Caught in the transatlantic tango between Trump and May (and proudly presented by a gun-toting immigration officer), these are their true stories of double punishment and separation from their loved ones. Runs from 26 February to 21 March. Tickets from £10.


The Mikvah Project, Orange Tree Theatre

Looking forward to this as I sadly missed the debut of this play at The Yard back in 2015 and it was met with a wave of love and acclaim, many considering it a hugely affecting and revealing look at nascent relationship between two men. The Mikvah is part of Jewish tradition, a pool where men cleanse and immerse themselves. Yet, here, Avi and Eitan meet every Friday, participating in this traditional Jewish ritual as part of their commitment to purity. And as their bond deepens a transformation begins… Runs from 28 February to 28 March. Tickets from £15.


Shoe Lady, Royal Court

I love writer E.V. Crowe (The Sewing Group, Hero) and I love Vicky Featherstone, so hurrah for this production that brings these two women together. Only thing is, we’ve got little more to go on than this. In fat, all we know for sure is that this play is about a woman who has lost her shoe. In fact, Viv has lost a shoe from her only pair of shoes – her work shoes, her weekend shoes – and she doesn’t know what to do. But with text such as, “It’s incredibly hard isn’t it. To stay afloat. It’s incredibly hard not to sink to the bottom,” I know this could be something very special. Runs from 4 March to 21 March. Tickets from £12.


The Seagull, Playhouse Theatre

So, Chekhov’s The Seagull… A young woman is desperate for fame and a way out. A young man is pining after the woman of his dreams. A successful writer longs for a sense of achievement. An actress wants to fight the changing of the times. In an isolated home in the countryside where dreams are in tatters, hopes dashed, hearts broken and there is nowhere left to turn, the only option is to turn on each other. But this is Jamie Lloyd so don’t expect this to be a traditional take AT ALL. But with Game of Thrones alumni Emilia Clarke as Nina and Indira Varma as Arkadina, expect tickets to fly. Runs from 11 March to 30 May. Tickets from £15.


On Blueberry Hill, Trafalgar Studios

Sebastian Barry is the current Laureate for Irish Fiction and is widely considered to be one of Ireland’s finest writers – which is no mean achievement – and so any new work from him deserves attention. And this production, transferring from New York, is one I most definitely have on my radar. It centres around two Irish men in prison – where they have been and will continue to be for a long time – and these men while away their hours and days reminiscing on everyday events that, to them, now come across as bright, vivid experiences. Only as the feast on the joy of their memories, they slowly reveal the horrors that brought them to their place today. This promises to be a hugely affecting examination of humanity and the limits of forgiveness. Runs from 5 March to 2 May. Tickets from £15.


Love Love Love, Lyric Hammersmith

You can’t ever overlook a play from Mike Bartlett, especially when it’s being directed by the new AD at the Lyric, Rachel O’Riordan. Enter, Love, Love, Love: a play about one couple’s 40-year journey from the era of the Beatles, free love and social revolution, to the present day, where so much of what has been gained is on the verge of being lost. Kenneth and Sandra built their life and family together in a time of increasing national prosperity, when the future is always better than the past. But what happens when the next generation has a very different point of view. This promises to be a timely revival of this play about opposing views across different generations. Runs from 5 March to 4 April. Tickets from £10.


Trainers, or, the Brutal Unpleasant Atmosphere of this Most Disagreeable Season: A Theatrical Essay, Gate Theatre

If the title seems way out, wait for the precis of this play that says this is both, “a queer futuristic adventure story about love, activism and training for a revolution,” AND that it is set in France, “sometime in the 1500s.” Whichever way you cut this though this could be something very special as we join writer, Sylvan Oswald, in a time of revolution where two queer bodies meeting in the fallout of a second civil war becomes the most radical of acts. This queer visionary adventure story explores the different ways we can be lovers and activists and humans and what it takes to train for a revolution. Runs from 27 February to 21 March. Tickets from £12.


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