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Donmar Warehouse

  • Theatre
  • Seven Dials
  • Recommended
  1. © Johan Persson
    © Johan Persson
  2. © Hugo Glendinning
    © Hugo Glendinning

    Josie Rourke (artistic director)

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Time Out says

This Covent Garden studio attracts a 'Who's Who' of big theatre names

Perched on the edge of Seven Dials, the 251-seater Donmar Warehouse can more than hold its own against the West End big hitters that surround it. This ultra bijou space had a reputation for slumming celebrities and impossible-to-get-hold-of tickets during the tenures of its now famous first two ADs Sam Mendes and Michael Grandage. Third boss Josie Rourke shook things up a bit: there were still big names in small shows, but also much more modern work. Talented current director Michael Longhurst has shifted the programming still further towards the avant garde; Caryl Churchill revivals sit alongside new work with an international outlook.

Details

Address:
41
Earlham Street
Seven Dials
London
WC2H 9LX
Transport:
Tube: Covent Garden/Leicester Square
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What’s on

‘Marys Seacole’ review

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • Experimental

Jackie Sibblies Drury’s ‘Fairview’ was the boldest London premiere of 2019, a wildly inventive race relations satire that culminated in all the white audience members being asked to come up on stage and be stared at by the non-white punters. So a reunion for Drury, director Nadia Latif and designer Tom Scutt for the UK premiere of Drury’s ‘Marys Seacole’ is a pretty exciting prospect. As it happens, ‘Marys Seacole’ is an altogether different affair, which retains the extreme willingness to be awkward that ‘Fairview’ had without quite managing to channel it into the same sort of thrilling conclusion. That’s not to be too hard on it: for much of its length ‘Marys Seacole’ is very good indeed. It naturally concerns Mary Seacole, the Scottish-Jamaican nurse who treated British soldiers during the Crimean War and has gone on to be one of the most famous Black Victorians. When we first meet Kayla Meikle’s Seacole she seems exactly how you’d expect: soliloquising expansively to us – I think in direct quotation from her 1857 autobiography – about how grand the adventures she’s about to share with us were, talking about her childhood on Jamaica and the ‘good Scotch blood’ flowing in her veins from her white soldier father. Then, she’s cut off mid-flow when her elderly mother (Llewella Gideon) inexplicably turns up, and pops out a couple of AirPods for them to shove in their ears. Scutt’s set – a big green cloth wall with pockets, like surgical scrubs – lifts to reveal another, similar

A Doll’s House, Part 2

  • Drama

Yup: ‘A Doll’s House, Part 2’ is indeed a sequel to Henrik Ibsen’s 1879 proto-feminist masterpiece ‘A Doll’s House’. Written by US playwright Lucas Hnath, it was a critically acclaimed hit on Broadway in 2017 and has finally made it to London via the tiny but punch-packing Donmar Warehouse. By all accounts a fairly earnest follow up to the timeless original, it sees heroine Nora return home 15 years after she walked out on her own marriage in an effort to pick up the shattered pieces. The brilliant Noma Dumezweni will play Nora, in her first stage role since her Olivier-winning turn as Hermione Granger in ‘Harry Potter and the Cursed Child’. The production will be directed by James Macdonald. NB, you’re advised that it doesn’t matter if you’ve not seen part one.

The Band’s Visit

  • Musicals

The Donmar’s 2022 season is notable for two huge UK premieres of US smashes: first Lucas Hnath’s Ibsen sequel ‘A Doll’s House, Part 2’, and then this ten times Tony-winning musical by David Yazbek and Itamar Moses. ‘The Band’s Visit’ is an adaptation of a 2007 Israeli indie flick about a band of Egyptian musicians who cross the border to play for an Arab-Israeli audience but get lost, winding up in a boring desert town where everybody does a lot of learning and growing and generally has a good time. Lo-fi, touching, somewhat weird and offering an incredibly rare platform as a musical with a Middle-Eastern cast, it’s not a big flashy show, but it did charm Broadway, where it ran for a year-and-a-half and secured that gargantuan haul at the 2018 Tony Awards. David Cromer’s Broadway production is not transferring, however: this is a brand new UK production from Donmar boss Michael Longhurst.

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