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Ugly, Outgoing & Gone Move Downstairs at Court

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As Polly Stenham’s debut That Face moves to the West End (See News, 18 Feb 2008), three more hit plays premiered during the hit 2007 season in the Royal Court’s 80-seat Jerwood Theatre Upstairs – Marius von Mayenburg’s The Ugly One, [Anupama Chandresekhar’s Free Outgoing and Bola Agbaje’s Gone Too Far! - will move downstairs to the theatre’s 400-seat main house.

The three revivals comprise the first “Upstairs Downstairs” season in the Royal Court Jerwood Theatre Downstairs (See News, 8 Nov 2007): The Ugly One runs from 10 to 28 June, followed by Free Outgoing from 7 to 19 July and Gone Too Far! from 23 July to 9 August.

The Ugly One, translated from the German by Maja Zade, tells the story of an extremely man who turns to a plastic surgeon for help and finds there is such a thing as being too beautiful. RSC associate director Ramin Gray directs with Michael Gould reprising the title role.

Lolita Chakrabarti will reprise her leading role of Malini in Indhu Rubasingham’s production of Free Outgoing by Indian playwright Chandresekhar. In the fiercely conservative Tamil region of southern India, the rampant technology of the modern world comes up against traditional society.

Gone Too Far! centres on two brothers – Yemi who’s grown up on a south London estate and Ikudayisi from Nigeria – and the moment when their two worlds collide. Gone Too Far!, Agbaje’s first play, was chosen from 400 entrants as one of the two centrepiece productions for the Royal Court’s Young Writer’s Festival last year and has just been nominated for an Olivier Award for Outstanding Achievement in an Affiliate Theatre (See News, 7 Feb 2008).

Also confirmed for the Royal Court’s spring/summer schedule is Anthony Neilson’s still-untitled new play, which will be created in rehearsal and will run in the Jerwood Theatre Upstairs from 5 June to 5 July 2008. And, as part of artistic director Dominic Cooke’s promise to stage other pieces outside the traditional auditoria “in unusual locations and at unusual times, behind the scenes”, My Child author Mike Bartlett’s new play Contractions will run backstage from 29 May to 14 June 2008 and four of the plays from Mark Ravenhill’s Shoot/Get Treasure/Repeat cycle will be staged elsewhere.

The four Ravenhill plays at the Royal Court will be The Mother, Birth of a Nation, Fear and Misery and War and Peace, directed by respectively Clare Lizzimore/Max Stafford-Clark, Ramin Gray and Dominic Cooke. The cycle arose out of the playwright’s Fringe First-winning challenge to write a new 30-minute play every day at last year’s Edinburgh Festival (See News, 17 Aug 2007). Other segments will be staged at the National Theatre, the Gate Theatre and other ‘found’ spaces across London (See News, 16 Jan 2008).

- by Terri Paddock


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