London Spotlight: January 2011
The reopening of the month is Bruce Norris' first-rate drama, Clybourne Park, which transfers from the sell-out Royal Court run to Wyndham's (January 28-May 7). This is the one wherein a white American couple is selling their suburban home to a black family and racist problems ensue. Sophie Thompson is among the ensemble directed by Dominic Cooke. Returning to the Young Vic is Vernon God Little (January 27-March 5). It's adapted by Tanya Ronder from the award-winning DBC Pierre novel. The mighty fine Rufus Norris directs.
Musicals are scarce this month, but there is a treatment of Giacomo Puccini's La Boheme at the Soho (January 11-February 19). With a cast of young singers, the superb opera takes place in the establishment's theater and bar. Robin Norton-Hale translated and directs this return engagement. Then there's Barbershopera--Apocalypse No! at the Trafalgar Studios 2 (January 11-February 5). The Rob Castell-Tom Sadler collaboration with Sarah Stipple, who directs, reveals in four-part harmony what transpires when the Four Housemen of the Apocalypse are supposed to show up but Beth arrives instead of Death.
New on the docket: At the never-idle Bush, John Donnelley's play The Knowledge (January 12-February 19), about upsets at a failing school, is only one of two plays on view there in what's dubbed "The Schools Season." The other offering, in which concerned parents establish a "free school" and encounter obstacles has the marvelous but not seen enough Susannah Harker in the troupe. It's called Little Platoons (January 19-February 19) and is written by Steve Waters. Roald Dahl's Twisted Tales comes to the stage for the first time at the Lyric Hammersmith (January 14-February 26). Jeremy Dyson, who's handy at this sort of undertaking, adapts.
More newbies: Nina Raine's Tiger Country bows at the Hampstead (January 13-February 5). Raine also directs a large-ish cast in her drama about hectic life at a hospital. Gina Gionfriddo's excitable Becky Shaw jumps the Pond to open at the Almeida (January 13-March 5). Peter DuBois directs Anna Madeley and others, and Penny Dyer makes certain they all get the American accents right. At Trafalgar Studios 2 is The Fitzrovia Radio Hour (January 11-February 5), for which six self-assured local wits create their idea of 1940s British radio.
At the National's Lyttelton, four playwrights, including Moira Buffini, have come up with Greenland (January 25-April 2), about the state of the planet. The works are based on interviews with experts who've been following the disturbing ecological developments.
Looking for the off-beat? Move fast to the Barbican for Du Goudron et des Plumes (January 26-29), which examines friendships through much physical action, and Flesh and Blood & Fish and Fowl (January 19-29), an American export, which also involves much physical endeavor to send up office politics.