London's edgy new writing powerhouse
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 frequently thrills but has perhaps endeared her more to artists than audiences. The Almeida and Young Vic having probably overtaken it in terms of influence, though certainly there's a willingness to try something that might not work that seemed to have disappeared somewhat in the Cooke era.
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.
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Clem’s unborn baby has four parents. Her husband. A Russian egg donor. An Indian surrogate mother. And her. Vivienne Franzmann’s unsparing new play peers into every corner of this uneasy quadrangle, analysing its ethical quandaries with mathematical precision. The...Drama Until Saturday August 12 2017
It's very rare for new writing powerhouse the Royal Court to revive a classic play. So this looks pretty pointed: a new production of Jim Cartwright's 'Road', his seminal, humorous depiction of a Lancashire town in the poverty-stricken '80s, which began...Drama Until Saturday September 9 2017
This whimsical solo show is a tall story from Hoipolloi's artistic director Shon Dale-Jones. He goes on a bizarre journey on the trail of a porcelain figurine, in a piece about priorities and showing care. The performance is in aid of child refugees.Comedy Wednesday September 6 2017 - Tuesday September 12 2017
In the dead of night two women are planting bombs - not to kill anyone, just to make their voices heard. Guillermo Calderon's drama 'B', translated by William Gregory, is a Royal Court international commission that explores politics and violence in contemporary...Drama Thursday September 28 2017 - Saturday October 21 2017
Chris Thorpe has cemented his status as one of the most exciting experimental theatremakers out there with works like his Fringe First-winning look at political bias, 'Confirmation'. His new play 'Victory Condition' is a similarly ambitious exploration...Drama Thursday October 5 2017 - Saturday October 21 2017
This review is from 2016 when 'Minefield' ran at the Royal Court as part of LIFT 2016. It returns for 2017. The Falklands War isn’t taught in British schools. It’s never really made a splash at the cinema, either, barring a few mentions in films like...Experimental Thursday November 2 2017 - Saturday November 11 2017
Following the return of Argentinian previous hit 'Landmines', the Royal Court's daringly international winter season gets properly underway as artistic director Vicky Featherstone tackles this drama from Ukranian playwright Natal'ya Vorozhbit, translated...Drama Wednesday November 15 2017 - Saturday December 23 2017
In a boldly interantional piece of programming, the Royal Court's 'Christmas' show is this blackly comic-sounding new work from Syrian writer and documentary maker Liwaa Yazji, translated by Katharine Halls and directed by Hamish Pirie. As the conflict...Drama Friday November 24 2017 - Saturday December 30 2017
The Royal Court's 'third' space The Site has thus far kept a rather low profile, hosting experimental work for very short runs. That changes with 'Grimly Handsome' by US playwright Julia Jarcho, which receives a full run in the pop up theatre in a production...Drama Wednesday December 6 2017 - Saturday December 23 2017
My Mum's a Twat
This frankly remarkably-named debut from first time playwright Anoushka Warden is a funny, surreal, entirely true acount of her teenage years, wherein she lost her mother to a cult. The new 'Fleabag'? Or much, much weirder? Royal Court boss Vicky Featherstone...Drama Monday January 8 2018 - Saturday January 20 2018
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A good tip - become a member and you get access to £10 tickets on Mondays. The programme here is generally very strong and it's worth taking a risk and booking ahead. And the bar is a great place to hang out before and after productions.
I went to the Royal Court when I first arrived in London decades ago - it knocked me out then and still does now - a proper theatre offering properly stuff - takes some risks but always delivers a satisfying night - great for local drinks and eating pre and post and right next to the tube.