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September Top Picks and Autumn Seasons Run-Down

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September is always a fantastic time for London theatre as venues launch their autumn seasons to tempt us back after the quieter summer months. September’s Top Picks includes the usual list of must-see shows, but we’re also providing a run-down of the months to come so you start planning further ahead. Here is the WOS guide to autumn on the Fringe.

Running until 6 September, there’s just time to catch Phil Willmott’s double bill of Jason and the Argonauts and Medea at The Scoop. The next opportunity to see a show on this scale for free might not come around for a while, so put it on the to-do list.

Opening at the end of the month at Riverside Studios is The York Realist by Peter Gill (from 22 September to 11 October). The Hammersmith venue is marking its founding artistic director’s 70th birthday with the first production of a Gill play in almost 30 years. The show will be directed by Adam Spreadbury-Maher.

Katrina, which runs from 1 to 26 September at The Bargehouse, Oxo Tower Wharf, is a promenade production based on the accounts of those involved in the disaster following hurricane Katrina’s destruction of New Orleans in 2005. Drawing on the rich musical heritage of the Louisiana city, Katrina promises to be a deeply affecting theatre experience.

Audiences have another chance to see Stockwell: The Inquest into the Death of Jean Charles de Menezes , the verbatim drama about the shooting of the Brazilian electrician by police in 2005. Following its run at The Landor in June, the show transfers to the Tricycle from 9 to 20 September.

Coming quick on the heels of Stockwell is the Tricycle’s Not Black and White season, which runs from 8 October to 19 December. Leading black contemporary playwrights Roy Williams, Kwame Kwei-Armah and Bola Agbaje each examine life in 21st-century London with their plays, Category B, Seize the Day and Detaining Justice . The season was commissioned as a follow-on to the one presented by the Kilburn venue three years ago which focused on the African-American experience in the 20th-century.

The Orange Tree meanwhile is launching its new season on 3 September. First up is The Ring of Truth, a play receiving only its second production since its premiere at the Savoy Theatre in 1959 (3 September to 3 October). Alison’s House was inspired by the life and work of Emily Dickenson and won its writer, Susan Glaspell, the Pulitzer Prize in 1930 (7 October to 7 November). The two final works are The Making of Moo by Nigel Dennis, which premiered at the Royal Court in 1957 (11 November to 12 December) and the musical, The Lady and the Tiger, first seen at the Orange Tree in 1975 (16 December to 13 February).

Elsewhere in West London the Lyric Hammersmith presents its first season under the new artistic directorship of Sean Holmes, beginning with Punk Rock, a new play by Simon Stephens produced in collaboration with the Royal Exchange, Manchester (3-26 September). This is followed by Comedians, a revival of the Trevor Griffiths modern classic directed by Holmes and featuring Mark Benton, David Dawson and Matthew Kelly (7 October to 14 November). More on the venue’s autumn/winter season, which continues until April, in later WOS news bulletins.

Great things also await at the Almeida with Christopher Hampton’s new translation of the Ödön von Horváth play, Judgement Day (3 September to 17 October); a revival of Mrs Klein , Nicholas Wright’s drama about the renowned psychoanalyst, directed by Thea Sharrock and starring Claire Higgins (22 October to 5 December); and Patrick Hamilton’s dark classic, Rope (10 December to 6 February).

And finally, Polka Theatre, which produces work purely for children, begins its new season with The Ride of Your Life, a funny new play about the life and work of Charles Darwin (25 September to 31 October). Goldilocks and the Three Bears, a new telling of the classic tale, will be playing in the venue’s second space from 21 October to 20 February, while David Wood’s adaptation of James and the Giant Peach plays in the main space from 13 November to 13 February.


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