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Bush Theatre

  • Theatre
  • Shepherd’s Bush
  • Recommended
Bush Theatre
Bush Theatre
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Time Out says

The small but infinitely punchy Bush Theatre programmes a raft of demanding, strong new writing.

The Bush Theatre is closed due to the coronavirus epidemic. At time of writing it was due to reopen April 3 with ‘The Living Room’ (but this seems unlikely).

Having moved from their notoriously tiny Shepherd's Bush Green venue in 2012, the Bush Theatre is still fulfilling its role as one of London's smallest major theatres in its new home in the old Shepherd's Bush Library. Until recently, the venue was run by Madani Younis, who presided over a diverse line-up of plays by writers including Vinay Patel and Arinzé Kene, as successor to his comedy-focussed predecessor Josie Rourke. The theatre's new artistic director is Lynette Linton, a playwright and director who was at the helm of a hit production of Lynn Nottage's 'Sweat'. 

Bush Theatre boasts two performance spaces: an 144-seater main house, which can play in traverse, thrust and end-on configurations, and a smaller studio. The shows on offer are generally new plays, with the odd revival of a forgotten late twentieth-century drama. The theatre also continues on its search for and support of new writing with the Bush Green initiative, which allows unsolicited playscript submissions.

Ticket prices are in the £15-£20 mark and there are usually concessions and offers on shows, including the three for two season offer. Locals and students also get discounts.

The cosy, welcoming bar and cafe, with its floor-to-ceiling bookshelves filled with play texts, reminds a little of the original library and the cafe serves up some nice light bites and has free wifi. In summer, theatregoers can soak up some rays in the Bush's usually-packed outdoor seating area. 

Details

Address:
7
Uxbridge Road
Shepherd's Bush
London
W12 8LJ
Transport:
Tube: Shepherd's Bush
Price:
Various
Opening hours:
Check website for show times
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What’s on

‘Sleepova’ review

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Drama

Matilda Feyiṣayọ Ibini’s new play feels rough, juddery and full of life. The Jade Lewis-directed coming-of-age drama about four Black female friends in the months around their GCSEs is absolutely not what you’d call slick, and the relative inexperience of its four young actors – three of whom are making their stage debuts – is often felt in moments of ropey projection.  And it’s all to the good: ‘Sleepova’ has a joyously all-over-the-shop energy, its imperfections and overexcitement perfectly matching the manic pace of the adolescence it’s depicting. To be clear, if the quartet of actors may lack a bit of polish, they absolutely make the play. There’s zestful but chronically ill Shan (Aliyah Odoffin), devout Catholic goody two-shoes Elle (Shayde Sinclair), eccentric, Yoruba heritage-embracing Funmi (Bukky Bakray) and rich-bitch lesbian Rey (Amber Grappy). Ibini’s writing is tender, empathetic and often laugh-out-loud funny, but in theory the four characters teeter on the brink of being teen archetypes. And yet the actors have such abundant chemistry you’d assume they’d all been mates for life. Their raw, buzzing energy torches off any Dawson’s Creekiness that may occasionally creep into the writing. The biggest name here is Bakray: this might be her first time on a stage, but she’s been a hot film property ever since her debut in 2019’s ‘Rocks’. She is brilliant fun as Funmi, the unknowable wildcard of the group who effortlessly keeps her cool throughout the quartet’s adventu

August in England

  • Drama

The great Lenny Henry stars in his own one-man show – his debut as a playwright! – about charming a West Bromwich fruit seller August Henderson, who faces deportation to Jamaica after getting ensnared in the burning injustice of the Windrush scandal. Bush boss Lynette Linton and associate artistic director Daniel Bailey co-direct.

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