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Jo Caird: Some Theatre Tips for 2012

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Happy New Year! We may all be feeling fat and poor from Christmas and the weather may be terrible, but it's an exciting time nonetheless because we've got a whole new year of theatre ahead of us. There are so many exciting shows coming up that this list must be regarded as merely a taster of the good things to come, but I wanted to gather together some of the productions I'm most looking forward to over the next few months. Apologies if it's London-centric – that's where I live you see, so tends to be what I know best.

It's going to be a great year for Philip Ridley fans with a 21st-anniversary production of The Pitchfork Disney opening at the Arcola on 25 January and a new play called Shivered running from 7 March at the Southwark Playhouse. There are also whispers abroad – but no details yet – that the Southwark's startling 2011 production of Ridley's most recent two-hander, Tender Napalm, will be touring the UK from May and returning to London in June.

Elsewhere in January Abi Morgan's Lovesong is coming to the Lyric Hammersmith on tour. I interviewed Morgan and Frantic Assembly directors Scott Graham and Steven Hoggett about the show (which made me cry when I read the script) and can't wait to see it (opens 11 January). Something else that caught my eye on the physical theatre side of things is Hofesh Shechter Company's dance/music/art collaboration piece, Survivor, running at the Barbican from 12 to 14 January. It features a live band of 30 and a set by sculptor Antony Gormley.

February sees A Few Man Fridays, a new work from homelessness charity/theatre company extraordinaire Cardboard Citizens, open at the Riverside Studios (from 10 February). If their last public show, Mincemeat, is anything to go by, A Few Man Fridays will be superlative (for more on this company, see my blog post from 14 December below). I'm also looking very much looking forward to Sean Holmes's and Filter Theatre's A Midsummer Night's Dream (from 11 February). I caught a work-in-progress performance of this show back at Latitude Festival 2010 and adored it, so can't wait to see how it's evolved since then.

Opening at the Yvonne Arnaud Theatre in Guildford on 1 February and touring til 17 March is the world premiere of a play I'm very curious about. David Seidler wrote the stage version of The King's Speech before writing and winning an Oscar for the film of the same name. Adrian Noble directs. Also in March comes a new Complicité show, an adaptation of Bulganov's novel The Master and Margarita (opening 15 March). I'm ashamed to admit that I haven't seen much of the company's work but I found A Disappearing Number absolutely enthralling when it was revived in 2010.

In April I'm looking forward to the Young Vic's adaptation of Jung Chang's 1991 novel Wild Swans, which stars Katie Leung from the Harry Potter films as Chang herself (from 13 April). It's part of World Stages London, the collaboration between eight London producing theatres, so I'll be interested to taste the fruit of this ambitious partnership. On 10 April The Strange Undoing of Prudencia Hart, a show inspired by Sir Walter Scott's Border Ballads and adapted by Midsummer writer David Greig begins a UK and international tour. It got great reviews last year when it toured Scotland and played at the Edinburgh Fringe, and looks like a lot of fun.

Oh dear, my enthusiasm for all these shows is turning what was supposed to be a concise blog post into a dissertation, so I'll have to dash through the rest of the year.

Here we go...in May there's a new Frantic Assembly/National Theatre Wales show, Little Dogs at the Patti Pavilion in Swansea (from 9 May) and, for puppetry fans, a Little Angel classic, The Ugly Duckling, featuring a set and puppets from recently appointed MBE, Little Angel co-founder Lyndie Wright (from 19 May). June sees the return of the glorious You Me Bum Bum Train in an as yet undisclosed location in Canary Wharf (from 22 June), as well as Belarus Free Theatre's Minsk, 2011: A Reply to Kathy Acker at the Young Vic, which will be bonkers, but important viewing (from 12 June). Heading into summer, it's all about Shakespeare, with Desdemona, a staged concert performance at the Barbican (19 and 20 July), Mark Rylance in Richard III and Twelfth Night at the Globe (from 14 July and 22 September respectively) and Jonathan Pryce's King Lear at the Almeida (from 31 August).

I could go on into autumn and winter, but on reflection, the above is probably more than enough to be getting on with. So it just leaves me to ask what shows you're looking forward to in 2012? Let me know by commenting below this post, or get in touch via Twitter. Have a great year of theatre!


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