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Royal Court Theatre

  • Theatre
  • Sloane Square
  • Recommended
Royal Court Theatre
© Helen Maybanks

Time Out says

London's edgy new writing powerhouse

The Royal Court will reopen November 12 with ‘Living Newspaper’.

London's premiere new writing theatre, the Royal Court made its name in the 1950s when it was synonymous with kitchen sink dramas and the Angry Young Men, and has scarcely looked back (in anger) since.

The commercially successful reign of Dominic Cooke was famously marked by his stated mission to acknowledge the nature of the Sloane Square theatre's audience and 'explore what it means to be middle class'. The quote probably came back to haunt him, coming to define a reign that was marked by lots of new writing from BAME playwrights, plus such towering West End transfer successes as 'Enron' and the peerless 'Jerusalem'.

Current Royal Court artistic director Vicky Featherstone has taken the theatre down a much more experimental route that occasionally baffles but frequently thrills, while still managing to score the odd transfer smash via older associates of the theatre: Jez Butterworth’s ‘The Ferryman’ was a monster of a hit. She has also taken something of a leadership role in the London theatre community in the #MeToo era, being the driving force behind a new code of behavious designed to challenge abuse of power within the theatre community.

There are two venues, the tiny Upstairs and large Downstairs, plus a welcoming bar kitchen that's a fabulous place to visit for a gander at the cream of London's playwrights and creatives, who inexorably drift through throughout the day.


Sloane Square
Tube: Sloane Sq
Opening hours:
Check website for tour times and show times
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What’s on

‘Black Superhero’ review

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • Drama

This messy but entertaining dark comedy sees actor Danny Lee Wynter make his debut as a playwright and also star as David, an awkward, hangdog gay Black actor whose ‘career’ has led to him working as a children’s party entertainer for his sister Syd (Rochenda Sandall). His lack of success is particularly galling when contrasted with his friends. There’s buff, disciplined Raheem (Eloka Ivo), whose career is going well and love-life even better (he’s on elite dating app Raya, no less). And in a whole different league, there’s King (Dyllón Burnside), who is the star of a major superhero movie franchise and seems to have the world at his feet. David, however, is like the ghost at the feast: glumly refusing to drink or do drugs with them, dourly complaining about their aversion to using their platforms to publicly raise issues affecting the gay or Black communities, critiquing their directors for not being Black or gay enough. It’s a sprawling and mercurial play that frequently feels like it could have done with a round or two more with a dramaturg. But Daniel Evans’s production is given a sense of coherence by Wynter’s wickedly funny writing – some of the more genuinely outrageous one-liners bring the house down – and also Wynter’s own grounding performance. It would be pushing it to describe David as a Candide-like innocent. But there is an endearingly everyman-like quality to his refusal to have a sexy good time, that’s only magnified as he embarks upon an ill-advised dalliance


  • Drama

Speedily snapped up at this year’s Vault festival for a rapid transfer to the Royal Court, Tatenda Shamiso’s autobiographical solo show sees the performer detail his experience with our healthcare system as a Black transgender immigrant to the UK, via the medium of songs that he wrote and paperwork he filed during his first year on testosterone. It’s directed by Sean Ting-Hsuan Wang.

Dana H.

  • Experimental

US writer Lucas Hnath’s play ‘Dana H.’ was rapturously received by critics, but essentially too weird for mainstream Broadway audiences: it was forced to cut its 2021 run short. The Royal Court, however, would seem to be the perfect London home or the experimental show, which consists of performer Deirdre O'Connell lip-syncing to recordings of Hnath’s own mother discussing the time she was abducted for five months by a violent white supremacist gang member. Critics praised it for O'Connell’s brilliantly technically accomplished, thoroughly disconcerting performance, and Hnath’s ‘script’ – in truth an edit of the recordings – that went like a weird, elliptical true crime podcast. Les Waters’s original production transfers wholesale to the Court, with O'Connell very much along for the ride.

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