London's top ten new theatre shows
Risk-taking rising star director Jude Christian mounts this ambitious – possibly foolhardy? – Shakespeare mash-up. 'Othello' and 'Macbeth' are both stories about men who are wheedled into committing acts of violence that lead to their own destruction.
In a not dissimilar set-up to young turk James Graham’s ‘Labour of Love’ (that’ll almost certainly have a completely different execution), grandaddy of British political theatre David Hare returns with a decades-spanning drama exploring Labour party politics and NHS struggles. Neil Armfield directs a cast headed by Siân Brooke.
The Scottish Play is undoubtedly the year’s most popular Shakespeare: the NT, the Lyric, and the Globe are all chipping in this year. As is the RSC, with this imposing-looking, horror movie-inspired production from Polly Findlay, starring Christopher Eccleston and Niamh Cusack as Lady M.
In a production of Shakespeare’s dark moral satire so high concept it's somewhere in the ionosphere, stars Hayley Atwell and Jack Lowden will alternate the roles of puritanical deputy duke of Venice Angelo and his virtuous victim Isabella. The production – directed by outgoing Donmar boss Josie Rourke – will be set in 1604 and 2018, with the role switch presumably corresponding with the temporal one. Confused? Maybe best book a ticket.
Sarah DeLappe's debut play landed rave reviews in New York for its fierce, nuanced exploration of group dynamics and friendship in a high school girls' football team. Now, Theatre Royal Stratford East has scored the show's European premiere.
After a frankly frighteningly good production of 'Hamlet' last year, as well as rave-reviewed, West End-transferring productions of 'Mary Stuart' and '1984, Robert Icke is back at the Almeida Theatre. This time he's creating a new version of legendary Norwegian playwright Ibsen's 1885 masterpiece 'The Wild Duck'.
Stephen Sondheim's witty, endlessly charming musical about a bachelor in New York is getting a (part) gender-swapped revival by West End heavyweight Marianne Elliott For the first time ever, its central character Bobby will be a woman. Rosalie Craig will play Bobbi, now a woman in her 30s who's rebelling against her married friends' insistence that she should settle down. She’ll be joined by legendary Broadway star Patti LuPone as Joanne – her first time in the West End in over 25 years.
Kwame Kwei-Armah is kicking off his first season at the helm of the Young Vic with something he prepared earlier: a musical version of 'Twelfth Night' that premiered in New York, made with composer Shaina Taub. A sizable cast of amateur performers will tell a quirky, warm-hearted reimagining of Shakespeare's story, set to Taub's score, which mixes Motown girlgroup sounds with jazz and R&B, brass bands and Beyoncé.
Emma Rice is finally back, moving on from the troubled Globe years and returning with a new company, Wise Children, named after its debut show: a stage adaptation of Angela Carter’s great late novel about a bizarre theatrical dynasty headed by dancers Dora and Nora Chance.