OPENING TONIGHT, Monday 23 April 2007 (previews from 19 April), at north London’s Tricycle Theatre, Called to Account, the latest in the Tricycle’s award-winning series of Tribunal Plays, puts the Prime Minister on trial (See News, 10 Jan 2007). Two leading barristers test the rigorously gathered evidence – including witness testimony from MPs, diplomats, international lawyers, UN officials, intelligence experts and journalists - on whether there would be sufficient grounds to indict Tony Blair for his involvement in the Iraq war.
Their reports form the basis for the new play, subtitled “The indictment of Anthony Charles Lynton Blair for the crime of aggression against Iraq - a Hearing”, which follows the Tricycle’s earlier verbatim dramas investigating the ongoing “war on terror” – 2004’s Guantanomo – Honor Bound to Defend Freedom, which transferred to the West End and Broadway, and 2003’s Justifying War, a dramatisation of the Hutton Inquiry into the death of government arms advisor Dr David Kelly. The new piece is edited by Richard Norton-Taylor and, as usual for the Tribunal Plays, directed by Tricycle artistic director Nicolas Kent. Its limited season runs until 19 May 2007.
ALSO ON MONDAY (previews from 20 April), 20-year-old Polly Stenham’s first play, That Face, premieres at the Royal Court Theatre Upstairs, starring Lindsay Duncan (See News, 9 Mar 2007). Mia is at boarding school. She has access to drugs. They are Martha’s. Henry is preparing for art college. He has access to alcohol. From Martha. Martha (Duncan) controls their lives. Martha is their mother. Directed by Jeremy Herrin and also starring Felicity Jones and Matt Smith, the drama continues until 19 May 2007.
OPENING TUESDAY, 24 April 2007, the second double bill in the series of Brecht plays at the Young Vic - Senora Carrar’s Rifles (translated by Biyi Bandele, directed by Paul Hunter) and How Much Is Your Iron? (translated by Enda Walsh, directed by Orla O'Loughlin) – opens for a run to 5 May 2007 (See News, 5 Jul 2006). The Big Brecht Fest, a season of four short early plays by Bertolt Brecht in new translations, are performed in both the Maria and 80-seat Clare auditorium.
OPENING WEDNESDAY, 25 April 2007 (previews from 19 April), a new production of Kiss of the Spider Woman opens at the Donmar Warehouse, starring Rupert Evans and Will Keen, who took over from Iain Glen in the second week of rehearsals (See News, 28 Mar 2007). In Argentine Manuel Puig’s play adapted from his own 1976 novel of the same name, two men forced to share a prison cell form an unlikely relationship. Valentin (Evans) is a young Marxist rebel punished for his ideals, Molina (Keen) a middle-aged man condemned for his sexuality. The Donmar production is directed by Charlotte Westenra and continues until 26 May (See News, 9 Mar 2007).
ALSO ON WEDNESDAY, the Ninagawa Company returns to the Barbican Theatre with the European premiere of its Japanese version of Coriolanus, which runs to 29 April 2007.
ALSO ON WEDNESDAY (preview 24 April), Shared Experience’s production of Diane Samuels’ award-winning Kindertransport, about war evacuees, arrives at north London’s Hampstead Theatre as part of its UK tour (See News, 23 Nov 2006). Between 1938 and the outbreak of war, almost 10,000 children, most of them Jewish, were sent by their parents from Germany to Britain. Nine-year-old Eva arrives in Manchester, changes her name and tries to bury all memory of her previous life. Shared Experience artistic director Polly Teale directs. The London season concludes on 26 May 2007.
OPENING THURSDAY, 26 April 2007 (previews from 19 April), Ayub (East Is East) Khan-Din’s latest Rafta Rafta... receives its world premiere at the National’s Lyttelton Theatre, directed by NT artistic director Nicholas Hytner (See News, 15 Feb 2007). Khan-Din’s play is based on Bill Naughton’s All in Good Time about newlyweds who, while living with the groom’s parents, feel too inhibited to consummate their marriage. The cast features Meera Syal and Harish Patel, star of more than 80 Bollywood films and a regular at the Indian National Theatre.
OPENING FRIDAY, 27 April 2007 (previews from 25 April), Life on Mars screen star John Simm will return to the stage for the first time in 11 years to take the title role in the English-language premiere adaptation of the cult Norwegian film comedy Elling, which runs at west London’s Bush Theatre until 26 May 2007 (See News, 7 Mar 2007). Simm’s character and his co-hort Kjell Bjarne (played by Adrian Bower) are the Odd Couple of the dysfunctional world, but they must convince their social worker Frank that they’re really ‘normal’. The production reunites Simm with playwright Simon Bent – who has written the piece based on Axel Hellstenius and Petter Naess’ Norwegian adaptation of the 2001 film, which was based on the original novel by Ingvar Ambjornsen – and director Paul Miller. Simm’s last stage appearance was also at the Bush, in Bent’s 1996 play Goldhawk Road, directed by Miller.
- by Caroline Ansdell & Terri Paddock