Jodie Whittaker and Benedict Wong will star in the Royal Court’s new play ‘ECHO’ later this month

A different celebrity will perform the play each night, having never read it before

Andrzej Lukowski
Written by
Andrzej Lukowski
Theatre & Dance Editor, UK
Benedict Wong and Jodie Whittaker
Composite: Jamie Inglis

Iranian playwright Nassim Soleimanpour made his name with ‘White Rabbit, Red Rabbit’, an experimental drama that played on the fact he was then unable to leave his home country, and thus a different performer was required to read the script every night, having never seen it before.

The show started small but soon became something of a celebrity cause, with the likes of Nathan Lane, Whoopi Goldberg, Dominic West and many more all taking part. It’s the perfect play for a busy star, as it explicitly requires that they don’t prepare, and they only ever do it once.

Originally performed in 2010, it set the template for Soleimanpour’s future works, which brings us to his new one ‘ECHO’. Somewhat enigmatically standing for ‘Every Cold-Hearted Oxygen’, the whole point of his plays is that nobody knows what’s going to happen in advance and thus information scant, but apparently it’s going to be about ‘what it means to be a refugee in time’.

What we do know is who is going to perform in the play, which will run at the Royal Court as the centrepiece of this year’s London International Festival of Theatre (LIFT). The actors tackling it will be Sheila Atim, Monica Dolan, Jessica Gunning, Jeremy O Harris, Adrian Lester, Nick Mohammed, Mawaan Rizwan, Jodie Whittaker, Benedict Wong, Kathryn Hunter, Toby Jones, Fiona Shaw, Meera Syal and Rebecca Lucy Taylor.

The performance schedule is not quite finalised but runs as follows:

13 July, 7.30pm: Fiona Shaw

15 July, 7.30pm: Benedict Wong

16 July, 7.30pm: Sheila Atim

17 July, 7.00pm: Adrian Lester (press night)

18 July, 7.30pm: Jeremy O Harris

19 July, 7.30pm: Rebecca Lucy Taylor aka Self Esteem

20 July, 1.30pm: Monica Dolan (matinee)

20 July, 6.30pm: TBA

22 July, 7.30pm: Meera Syal

23 July, 7.30pm: Jodie Whittaker

24 July, 7.30pm: Mawaan Rizwan

25 July, 7.30pm: Jessica Gunning

26 July, 7.30pm: Nick Mohammed

27 July, 1.30pm: Toby Jones (matinee)

27 July, 6.30pm: Kathryn Hunter (evening)

‘ECHO’ is at the Royal Court Theatre, Jul 13-27. Buy tickets here.

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