Natasha Gordon starts rehearsals for The Low Road at The Royal Court, Bruce Norris’s new play which outgoing Artistic Director Dominic Cooke will direct. Opening in the Court’s main house in March, it is preceded by If You Don’t Let Us Dream, We Won’t Let You Sleep in which Ferdy Roberts appears. Over at The Old Vic, Richard Teverson starts rehearsals for Lindsay Posner’s revival of The Winslow Boy also opening March. Derek Hutchinson, meanwhile, will transfer to the West End in Cocktail Sticks, as part of the National’s Alan Bennet double bill performing at The Duchess Theatre. Amy Cudden continues in the roles of Rachel/Roscoe Crabbe In One Man 2 Guvnors now playing opposite Rufus Hound at The Haymarket whilst Roger Sloman and Jess Murphy round off their runs at The National in The Magistrate and People respectively.
Out of town Graham Turner continues in Orphan of Zhao at RSC, Stratford and Mark Stobbart takes the role of Issac in The Hired Man , Colchester/Leicester Curve co-production with Daniel Buckroyd directing. Also Benjamin Davies begins rehearsal with Blackwatch for The National Theatre of Scotland. Msimis Dlamini continues in the UK tour of Soul Sister and Emma Handy opens in Thursday as part of The Adelaide Festival.
The Orphan of Zhao has opened at the RSC to high praise. Graham Turner’s heartfelt performance as the country doctor has been singled out by many critics in Greg Doran’s first production as new Artistic Director. The piece is variously described as an “extraordinary theatrical event” (Guardian) “an emotionally piercing marvel” (The Times) and a “gripping production… of an unseen classic” (The Telegraph).
Also opening last week at The Print Room was Lot and His God , the UK premiere of Howard Barker’s take on the Genesis story in which Hermione Gulliford takes the role of Lot’s wife. The Telegraph writes “Gulliford performs the part mesmerisingly. In a dusty, dirty, dark bar in Sodom she meets the angel Drogheda, who is there to convince her and her husband to flee their home. Gulliford rolls the language around her mouth, easily and playfully and the result lays bare the many layers of meaning and intention in Barker’s script – no easy feat.”
Over at The National Theatre, Alan Bennett’s People featuring Jess Murphy was another opening last week to 4 and 5 star reviews. It now plays in rep in The Lyttelton Theatre alongside Scenes From An Execution (Robert Hands, Jay Simpson) which opened to excellent reviews in October. Previewing now and opening next week is The Magistrate which sees Roger Sloman return to The National in Pinero’s classic. And Derek Hutchinson returns too in another Alan Bennett play Cocktail Sticks which Nick Hytner directs as a companion piece to People.
Looking forward, Lynn Gardner (Guardian) tips Ignorance at Hampstead Downstairs a new play from Steve Waters as one to watch. Daniel Rabin is cast as part of a small-town postwar US community struggling to accept a foreigner in their midst.