Plays Extend: Brothers Size, 39 Steps & War HorseDate: 21 November 2007
The Young Vic has added a week to its limited season of African-American Tarell Alvin McCraney’s debut play The Brothers Size. The play received its European premiere last week - 13 November 2007 (previews from 9 November) – and is now booking through to 15 December (See News, 23 May 2007).
Transplanting a Yoruba myth into the soil of Louisiana, the play tells the story of two brothers - Ogun owns an auto-repair shop, Oshooshi has just left prison and is already back on the wrong track.
Obi Abili (pictured) plays Oshooshi and Nyasha Hatendi is Ogun, with Nathaniel Martello White as Elegba. Bijan Shebani directs the co-production with the Actors Touring Company. The Young Vic has already obtained the rights to produce the next two plays in Tarell Alvin McCraney’s Brother/Sister trilogy.
Further along the South Bank, the National Theatre also recently extended booking for its recent critical hit, Nick Stafford’s world premiere stage version of Michael Morpurgo’s 1982 children’s book War Horse (See Review Round-up, 18 Oct 2007). The productionopened on 17 October 2007 (previews from 9 October) in the NT Olivier where it has now added a month to its schedule, taking it up to 14 February 2008.
In War Horse, young Albert's beloved horse Joey is sold to the cavalry and shipped to France during the First World War. He's soon caught up in enemy fire, and fate takes him on an extraordinary odyssey, serving on both sides before finding himself alone in no man's land. However, Albert cannot forget Joey and, still not old enough to enlist, the boy embarks on a treacherous mission to find the horse and bring him home.
On stage, horses, children and other selected characters are brought to life by life-sized puppets created by Basil Jones and Adrian Kohler for South African puppet company Handspring. Suitable for over 12s, the production is co-directed by NT associates Marianne Elliott and Tom Smith and designed by Rae Smith, with lighting by Paule Constable, movement by Toby Sedgwick and music by Adrian Sutton. The 26-strong, multi-tasking company features Luke Treadaway (as Albert), Angus Wright, Jamie Ballard, Alan Williams, Toby Sedgwick, Thusitha Jayasundera and Tim van Eyken.
And finally, in the West End, the Whatsonstage.com and Olivier Award-winning comedy The 39 Steps has opened a new four-month booking period at the Criterion Theatre, where it’s now booking through to 7 June 2008. The play started life at the West Yorkshire Playhouse (in June 2005), then had its London premiere last year at the Tricycle Theatre in Kilburn before opening in the West End on 20 September 2006 (previews from 14 September).
Four actors play “150 roles” between them to tell the tale of London bachelor Richard Hannay fleeing to Scotland and breaking a spy ring to prove his innocence after a woman is found murdered in his home. New cast members Simon Paisley Day (as Hannay), Josefina Gabrielle and Martyn Ellis last month joined original cast member Simon Gregor in Patrick Barlow’s adaptation of John Buchan’s whodunit, memorably filmed by Alfred Hitchcock in 1935. Maria Aitken directs.
- by Terri Paddock